The Nitty Gritty: How to structure a cover letter
So now we’re done with the generalities, we’re going to knuckle down and tell you exactly what your cover letter should look like. Keep it short and snappy; around 400-500 words and definitely no longer than one A4 page. Spend some time on that tone of voice, making sure it matches the formality of the company you’re applying for, but also allows your personality to come across.
Example cover letter structure:
Optional: Links to website, LinkedIn, Twitter
Dear [Name, Sir/Madam, Job title or company]
Paragraph one: Introduce yourself and why you think you would be perfect for the advertised role. Keep the company and its mission at the forefront. Depending on the formality of the company, maybe think of an interesting hook to grab their attention.
Example: Most students think of the graduate recruitment process as arduous and boring. Debut is completely revolutionising this perception, and I think I have the creative drive and energy to thrive within such a groundbreaking organisation.
Paragraph two: This is when you bring in the knowledge and experience you have to back up the assertions you make in paragraph one. What work experience have you completed that has prepared you for this role? How has your degree or society involvement helped too? Just don’t repeat your CV, always keep referring back to the company and the job description.
Example: During my time at university, I helped organise a series of unique careers events to help connect students with companies in the local area, showing I am adept at approaching external clients and coordinating large scale projects.
Paragraph three: Move your focus back to the company itself now. Talk about some aspects of the company’s operations you admire, but also suggest ways in which you think they could improve. Suggest some ideas of things you would like to do if you were to secure the role.
Example: Debut’s Insight section is a fantastic resource for student and graduates looking for unique insights about recruitment, but I think more could be done to tackle the barriers that young people face when seeking employment. I would like to write about topics such as student mental health and unpaid internships that I think have a major effect on young people.
Paragraph four: Now it’s time to wrap up. Bring all your points together in a succinct summary statement about why you think you would be ideal for the role. Don’t forget to thank your reader for their time as well.
Example: Altogether, I think my previous experience shows that I am tenacious and resilient in the work I do, and combined with my passion for helping young people fulfil their career aspirations, I think I would be perfect for the role. Thank you for taking the time to read my application and I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely/Yours faithfully/ Many thanks
Your name [Hand sign this if sending by post.]
So there you have it! We’re not denying that cover letters can be a pain, especially when it takes time to tailor them for each application, but if you get it right, you’re guaranteed to be one step closer to that all-important interview. Just follow Debut’s step-by-step guide, and pair it up with a cracking CV, and you’ll be flying.