Cover letters: What to write & do you need one?

Did you know? The cover letter was first used to apply for a job on the 23rd of September 1956.

That was over 60 years ago, are they still needed? Should you write one? Does anyone read them?

Writing a cover letter, if you are applying for a lot of different jobs can seem like a waste of time.

Should include a cover letter? The quick answer is YES. ✅

A cover letter is your first impression and it matters. Whether it's a new shirt for a date or a firm handshake at an interview. 🤝

This is your chance to get the employer's attention and stand out.

A cover letter allows you to show how and why you are right for a job. It adds depth to your CV and helps add more of your personality to the application.

The better your cover letter the more likely it is that you'll get invited to interview for the job.

Our 7 rules for writing a kick-ass cover letter:

  1. Write every cover letter for the role you are applying for. Don't send the same letter for every job.

  2. Put yourself on top! 🔝 Add your name and details to the top of your cover letter. Make sure your details are clear and it is easy to find how to contact you.

  3. Be personal. Address the cover letter to the person who is recruiting. It should be in the job advert or do some research and find out.

  4. Grab the reader's attention! 👋 You must stand out in your cover letter. Let your personality shine, think of it as a Tinder bio only more important (and professional).

  5. Explain what makes you the best candidate. Everything you write should add value to your application. Tell them why they should hire YOU.

  6. Experience is everything. Talk about your experiences and the things that make you unique. Be passionate about the job you are applying for. Show off your skills. 👩‍🔬

  7. Finish on a high. Thank them for their time and ask about the next steps. Ask any questions you may have about the job not answered in the advert. Be confident.

When shouldn't you send a cover letter?

  • Don't send one if the advert says not to. 🚫

  • If they ask for something else, such as a video or an application form. 📹

  • If you aren't going to make the effort. A bad cover letter is worse than no cover letter.🗑

Some other top tips:

  • Don't repeat your CV. A cover letter lets you add more colour to your CV it shouldn't be a rewrite.

  • Know the company. Check them out on Breakroom and social media, understand their tone. They will appreciate it if you write like them.

  • Keep it short. Most recruiters will only read 300 - 400 words. Don't overdo it.


Before sending it, check it again and again. 📖

Mistakes are easy to make. Try reading it aloud a couple of times. Leave it for a few hours after writing it and go back to it. This will make any mistakes easier to spot.

Get a friend to give it the once over. You can also use Grammarly which is free to download. 🤓

First cover letter

Bonus did you know? The first job advert asking for a cover letter was for an "Industrial Paint Chemist".

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Published on 4 March 2022