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Writing Job Applications


Useful tips for writing covering letters

Format and print your CV and letter in the same way, check that the grammar and spelling conventions you use are the same for both CV and letter, and make sure that you get facts, dates, names etc the same for both.

 Make sure your CV and cover letter are consistent

Proof read for typos, punctuation, glaring errors etc, or get someone else to do this for you if you aren’t good at picking up your own mistakes.

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Tailor your covering letter for different job applications

As with your CV, you will need to tweak your letter depending on the nature of the job you are applying for, and this applies even more to the covering letter than to the CV, as the covering letter gives you more space to engage with the details of a specific job.  Failure to do this is obvious - an employer can tell if you have simply rattled off your standard, bland cover letter which makes no reference to their particular job, and will not be impressed.  And, although this may seem obvious, save a copy of each new covering letter that you write, rather than overtyping one original letter.  This should save you from the pitfall of forgetting to change the name and address of the employer, or the job title!

Address your covering letter correctly

You might think this one is blindingly obvious, but you’d be surprised!  If you know the name of the person to whom the letter should be addressed, use it. If the person is female but you don’t know her title, don’t make assumptions - either use her full name, or use Ms.  If you don’t know, and haven’t been able to find out, the person’s name, or are making a speculative application, use Dear Sir or Madam - starting your letter Dear Sirs will only alienate and possibly offend your potential employer before she has even read your letter!

Always type your letter

Unless otherwise requested, always type your covering letter.  Even if you have the most exquisite handwriting, employers much prefer to see a word processed letter which is legible and clear to read.  It is quite rare these days for employers to ask for a handwritten letter - handwriting is usually irrelevant to a job, and graphology (the study of handwriting) has been shown to be a poor predictor of someone’s suitability for a job.

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