Whether you like to write cover letters or would rather not deal with them, you’ll need them for your job applications. Many recruiters regard cover letters as part of your CV to measure your suitability for the role. 

In fact, 83% of HR pros say cover letters are essential considerations for hiring decisions.  

Interestingly, many job seekers prioritise cover letter writing less than other aspects of their CV. Some only treat it as an afterthought, while others don’t even bother with it. However, you need a cover letter if you’re serious about getting a good job.

Now, it’s understandable if writing a standout cover letter is not your strongest suit. 

That’s what this blog seeks to address. Here, we’ll examine how you can write a cover letter and common mistakes to avoid when putting it together.

What to Include in a Cover Letter

A cover letter is an accompanying message you send with your CV to pitch your competency to the recruiter. 

Primarily, your CV contains your experience, skills, certifications and accomplishments. But it only does a little to explain why you’re the right fit for the role. Instead, you can cover the extra details in your cover letter. 

A cover letter is a note you write to sell yourself to the hiring manager. A cover letter should not be a duplicate of your CV. 

Its content should be more than just a reiteration of the skills and experiences you’ve already mentioned in your CV. It should demonstrate your understanding of the role you’re applying for and how you fit into it. 

To that end, your cover letter should ideally contain the following elements in the steps listed below.

Your Personal Details

The first thing you should have on the cover letter document is your name in bold block letters. Why? Because when you get a message, the first thing you want to know is the sender. 

In the same way, the hiring manager first wants to know who’s sending the letter.

Then after it, you should include contact details such as your email, mobile number and LinkedIn ID. It’s best to position this information at the top of the document as you want it to be easily locatable for the reviewer.


A fundamental rule of letter writing requires addressing it to the recipient near the top, just before the message. The same rule applies in this case. You must start the cover letter by addressing the reviewer. A simple “Dear Hiring Manager is great in this case. 

However, to make a better case, you should address it directly to the reviewer if you know their name or official title. For example:

  • Dear Mr Walters (For a male contact)
  • Dear Ms Cooper ( for a female contact)

Including a specific name on the cover letter can add a personal touch which may work in your favour.


Your opening is arguably the most critical part of the letter. How you start your cover letter is crucial because first impressions matter very much in a hiring process. Many reviewers will decide whether or not to continue reading a cover letter and the CV based on how good the opening is. 

So, if your opening is below par, you will create an unfavourable first impression. The reviewer may even decide your CV isn’t worth their time. And when they continue reviewing it, the wrong first impression will negatively affect how they’ll peruse the rest of your document.

But as much as you want to make a superb first impression, don’t overthink it. Make it simple, straightforward and interesting. Primarily, it should encapsulate the letter’s purpose.

Most people will typically start with something like, “I am submitting my CV for the role of ABC…” 

That’s good and straightforward but a little too generic. To make your cover letter stand out, you need to be a little more creative in your approach.

The Body and Paragraphs

After declaring your intent in the opening, the following line should mention how you learnt about the job position. However, you shouldn’t linger on it. Instead, touch on it and run into why you’re the right fit for the job.

Consider this example: 

“I am writing in support of my submission for the role of (position), which I discovered while going through (where you saw the job). I am thrilled at the prospect of working at (the company). I believe I have the requisite capabilities for the job.” 

The following paragraphs should then buttress your claims to the role. So, they’ll highlight your skills, experiences, proficiencies and your most convincing argument for the position. 

Remember that you’re not just blandly listing your skills and experience; those are already in your CV. Instead, you’re explaining how you can apply them to your responsibilities in that role.


Once you’ve presented your most-compelling pitch for the role, you should round up by stating your availability for the job or an interview. Then, reiterate your interest in the position and desire for more correspondence regarding the application. 

You should also indicate when you’ll reach the contact person for further discussions. 

If there isn’t a specific contact person, then indicate your anticipation for a response. Finally, thank the reader for their time and consideration of your application.


Your sign-off should be formal; “Yours faithfully” with your signature above your name at the bottom of the letter. You can add an e-signature if you’re sending the letter digitally.

Cover Letter Writing Tips – Best Practices to Observe

Now that we have some context into what cover letters entail, we can explore proven methods to write one that’ll get you hired quickly. 

Below are some tips for writing great cover letters and the best ways to apply them.

Write a Unique Cover Letter For Different Roles

Lack of specificity is a major blunder that can quickly turn off hiring managers when reviewing an application. A recruiter will most likely lose interest if your cover letter is a one-size-fits-all draft. 

Instead, it’s best to write a cover letter specifically for each role you’re applying for, even if they’re always similar.

Use the Appropriate Tone for Your Target Role 

Your writing tone should match the role you’re applying for. Ideally, it should reflect a clear understanding of the requirements and capability to handle the expected responsibilities. 

Furthermore, it should express confidence while downplaying your shortcomings.

For example, let’s say you’re applying for a role you have all the necessary experience and skills for. Your tone should express authority, confidence and how you’re distinctly qualified for the position. 

But if you’re applying for a role you don’t have the full competency for, your tone should reflect adaptability and enthusiasm for a new challenge.

Address the Cover Letter Directly to the Reviewer

It often helps to address your letter directly to the reviewer or a contact person. It adds a personal touch and speaks well of your attention to detail. 

Some hiring managers leave their names or contact person’s name in job descriptions. But many don’t, making it difficult to personalise the address.

You can put a little effort into finding the right person to address the cover letter. If there’s no name on the job post, you can look through the company’s website or even call them to ask.

It’s also advantageous to include the name of anyone affiliated with the company who you know would be willing to put a good word for you in the letter. However, ensure you’ve confirmed with said individuals before citing them as referees.

Show a Little Personality

Your cover letter must be professional, but at the same time, it should clearly depict your persona. It should give the hiring manager some idea of your character beyond all your credentials. 

Again, professionalism is a top priority, but it doesn’t equal a rigid personality. You especially want to refrain from using formal phrases that don’t feel natural. 

For example, you want to avoid writing something like “I am taking this opportunity to express my sincerest interest in this stimulating role. 

You don’t want to come across as being corny or unoriginal. Express more of your natural self by explaining why you’re interested in the job beyond the pay and affluence.

Use a Template as a Guideline

While you must make your cover letter sound original, you can always find inspiration from templates. Many people will tell you otherwise, but there’s nothing wrong with using a template as the basis for your letter.

But of course, we’re not saying you should do some minor editing on the template and submit it as your cover letter. That’s lazy work, and the recruiters will most likely spot it. 

Instead, you should study the templates to get an idea of the best steps for your cover letter. The template is only an example or model of what your cover letter should look like. Don’t convert it into yours.

Make It Easy to Read

The hiring manager will have multiple CVs and cover letters to examine. The last thing they’ll want is a cover letter they have to read numerous times to understand. They’ll ditch it immediately.

Hence, simplifying your cover letter’s content is a priority. The goal is quickly making the hiring manager understand your full capabilities and potential. To that end, you want to say much with very few words.

Hiring managers, like most people, have short attention spans and looking at a very long cover letter can be tedious. 

Your cover letter is not the place to praise your skills and achievements. Instead, stick to the ones relevant to the job and don’t dwell much on each of them.

Economising your words is a good strategy in cover letter writing. Overall, you want to keep it brief and focused. Use simpler technical terms and make it easy to understand without sacrificing any hint of professionalism.

Proofread Before Submitting

The best men make mistakes, which also applies to the most prolific CV writers or professionals. So, don’t think for a moment that you can’t commit an error when you write your cover letter. 

Reread your cover letter multiple times before submitting it. Scrutinise the write-up for all types of errors and fix them. It would be best to read it from a critic’s perspective; look for nothing but mistakes in it.

  • Search out the grammatical, contextual and spelling errors you may have committed in it. 
  • Look for awkward phrasing or sentences that are too long. Most people tend to gloss over these common mistakes, but they can have significant repercussions.
  • Deliberately go over each word from your name at the top down to your signature at the page’s bottom. If you addressed the recipient by name, ensure the spelling is correct. It helps to run it through text-correction software like Grammarly for extra checks.
  • Lastly, look out for exaggerated truths and half-lies. The cover letter is an opportunity for you to express your capabilities and share a glimpse of your personality. Take good advantage of it, but don’t let simple mistakes undermine your chances of getting hired for the role.

Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Cover Letter 

These mistakes can affect your delivery and how the reviewers peruse your application.

Too Many Technical Terms, Cliches, and Buzzwords

Being a professional with years of experience in the field, it’s natural that you’d want to show off a little when you write your cover letter. Hence, you may use a lot of technical terms and industry lingo. That’s awesome and often attests to your credibility.

However, more often than not, people tend to overdo it such that it’ll feel like vain bragging. That’s the pitfall to avoid. When you use too many buzzwords and cliches, especially where they’re not necessary, you may come off as egotistical to the reviewer.

Cliches, on the other hand, are boring, and for a reviewer with a short attention span, it’s not worth anything. 

So, using sentences like “I’m a dynamic, self-motivated go-getter who takes an out-of-the-box thinking approach to solve problems” won’t do you much good.

Instead, strive to balance putting your most qualified persona forward and sounding arrogant. The best way to do this is to pick your words carefully. Reserve the technical terms for when they’re necessary and slow down on the industry vocabulary.

Using Abbreviations Acronyms and Unnecessary Jargon

Remember, while hiring managers are professionals, they may not understand or appreciate the language as much as you do. Being more precise with your word choices helps you connect easily with the reviewer.

Additionally, there are guidelines for how you use abbreviations in formal writing. First, spell out the acronyms and abbreviations when you start using them in a cover letter to help the reader know what you’re talking about.

Going Above One Page

There is yet to be an industry standard for the ideal cover letter length; however, the best examples usually feature only a few paragraphs. So, you want to ensure your cover letter is concise and not overwhelming for the reader. 

Understandably, you may not be the best at saying much with few letters. So, you can still have a few paragraphs above the average. 

But, you should always stay within one document page using the recommended font sizing in the job description. If there’s no specified font, then the ideal choices are Helvetica or Arial set on 12 points sizing.

Repeating Your CV’s Content

An exceptional CV neatly lays out your skills, experiences, competencies and other highlights of your credibility for a role. A cover letter shouldn’t simply repeat that. So, you should refrain from blatantly rehashing your CV’s content in your cover letter.

Instead, your cover letter should expand on the bullet points you have in your CV. 

For example, it should describe how your experiences and skills are relevant to the role you’re applying for. 

Again, the cover letter’s purpose is to explain why the hiring manager should care about your application. But it won’t achieve that if it’s blandly repeating your CV’s contents.


It’s a good idea to express some personality when you write your cover letter. But it would be best if you kept it within reasonable limits. 

You don’t need to go into unnecessary details about your personal life, preferences or anything irrelevant to your application.

Instead, stick to what’s pertinent to the role and will be helpful to the hiring manager. Keep the focus on your career and other factors related to the job you’re applying for. 

Anything else is unnecessary. By avoiding such fluff, you can easily keep your letter concise and avoid mistakenly letting out private information about yourself.

Ignoring the Job Requirements or Instructions

You must familiarise yourself with the job description before writing your cover letter and CV. The role requirement tells you what to include in the cover letter. 

But sadly, many people make the mistake of not properly digesting or outrightly ignoring the role requirement details before putting their application together. 

Most job descriptions come with proper instructions guiding the application process. You’ll easily miss the guidelines if you don’t take the time to look through the job posting content. 

For instance, the hiring manager may request that you submit the application in a specific format different from the one you’re familiar with. You’ll likely miss that if you ignore the application requirements.

Cover Letter Writing FAQs

The sections above should have answered most of your questions regarding how to write a cover letter. 

However, below we highlight a few common questions people ask regarding cover letter writing tips and ideas. 

What’s the appropriate length for a Cover Letter?

Most experts recommend 250-300 words as an ideal length for a cover letter. It’s good practice to keep your write-up within 3-4 short paragraphs to avoid overwhelming the reader.

Is a Cover Letter Necessary?

Typically, you should send a cover letter with your CV for every job application you submit. That’s because it’s a core consideration in most hiring processes. The only exception is when the job description says you shouldn’t. 

But you don’t necessarily have to send it as an attachment. If you’re sending the application via email or on Linkedin, your message text can be your cover letter, while the attachments will include your CV and other necessary documents.

Keep Your Cover Letters Simple and to the Point

You don’t need an intricate knowledge of the English language to write a convincing cover letter. You already have your CV and everything you need. Carefully consider the ideas above and apply them to your write-up.

More importantly, watch out for and avoid the common mistakes we mentioned too. Those can undermine your chances of getting an interview and ultimately securing the role.

Or leave it to the professionals. Our specialist CV writing team at The CV Expert will handle your CV and cover letter writing needs excellently. 

Contact us today via 020 8242 4287 to book our CV writing services in the UK.

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