The first thing a potential employer sees in your job application is the cover letter. This doesn't just support your CV – it's an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and persuade the recruiter to put you through to the next round.
Be wary of spending hours on perfecting your CV at the expense of your cover letter. If you need some inspiration on what to include and what format to use, here are our helpful guides – just remember not to copy them as exact templates.
1. Standard, conservative style
This is ideal for sectors such as business, law, accountancy and retail. For more creative sectors, a letter like this might be less appealing, and could work against you.
Dear Mr Black,
Please find enclosed my CV in application for the post advertised in the Guardian on 30 November.
The nature of my degree course has prepared me for this position. It involved a great deal of independent research, requiring initiative, self-motivation and a wide range of skills. For one course, [insert course], an understanding of the [insert sector] industry was essential. I found this subject very stimulating.
I am a fast and accurate writer, with a keen eye for detail and I should be very grateful for the opportunity to progress to market reporting. I am able to take on the responsibility of this position immediately, and have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of it.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
2. Standard speculative letter
This may vary according to the nature of the organisation and the industry you're applying to.
Dear Mr Brown,
I am writing to enquire if you have any vacancies in your company. I enclose my CV for your information.
As you can see, I have had extensive vacation work experience in office environments, the retail sector and service industries, giving me varied skills and the ability to work with many different types of people. I believe I could fit easily into your team.
I am a conscientious person who works hard and pays attention to detail. I'm flexible, quick to pick up new skills and eager to learn from others. I also have lots of ideas and enthusiasm. I'm keen to work for a company with a great reputation and high profile like [insert company name].
I have excellent references and would be delighted to discuss any possible vacancy with you at your convenience. In case you do not have any suitable openings at the moment, I would be grateful if you would keep my CV on file for any future possibilities.
3. Letter for creative jobs
We've used the example of a copywriter but you can adapt it for your profession. The aim of a creative letter is to be original and show you have imagination, but understand what the job entails. Balance is essential: don't be too wacky, or it will turn off the reader.
Dear Ms Green,
· Confused by commas?
· Puzzled by parenthesis?
· Stumped by spelling?
· Perturbed by punctuation?
· Annoyed at the apostrophe? (And alliteration?)
Well, you're not alone. It seems that fewer and fewer people can write. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who can read. So they'll spot a gaffe from a mile off. And that means it's a false economy, unless you're 100% sure of yourself, to write your own materials. (Or to let clients do it for themselves.)
To have materials properly copywritten is, when one considers the whole process of publishing materials and the impact that the client wishes to make, a minor expense. Sloppiness loses clients, loses customers.
There is an answer. Me. Firm quotes are free. You can see some of what I do on my multilingual website at [insert web address]. If you'd like, I can get some samples out to you within 24 hours. And, if you use me, you'll have some sort of guarantee that you can sleep soundly as those tens of thousands of copies are rolling off the presses.
Luck shouldn't come into it!
With kindest regards
Other helpful resources
•How to write a perfect CV and cover letter
•Applying for jobs without experience? How to build and sell your skills
•Five steps to the perfect graduate CV
•School-leavers and graduates: how to write your first CV
•How to write a personal statement for your CV
•CV templates to fit every stage of your career
Looking for a job? Browse Guardian Jobs or sign up to Guardian Careers for the latest job vacancies and career advice
Every part of the cover letter plays a key role in helping you shine a positive light on your candidacy, and that includes the closing. The closing has three objectives: (1) to thank the reader for his or her time, (2) to reiterate your interest in the position, and (3) to call for action.
Closing your cover letter on a strong note is important because your closing is the last thing that the employer will read before going to your resume.
Tips on How to Write a Good Closing Statement
The key to writing an effective closing statement is to be short, confident and reiterate your interest in the position. To keep in line with the three objectives that a closing statement generally serves, make sure to end on a positive note and ask for an interview. This is where being confident is important. You are confident that your experience and qualifications meet (or exceed) the requirements of the position and you ask for the opportunity to convey that in person and answer any questions the employer may have.
Examples of Cover Letter Closing Statements
Following are some examples of cover letter closings, ranging from succinct to a little more elaborate:
Thank you for considering my candidacy. I look forward to hearing from you.
I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my candidacy. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I am confident I can exceed your expectations. I hope we can meet so that I can convey my interest in this position in person.
I recognize the limitations that written words can pose and would like to convey my interest to meet with you in person.
I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and members of your team. I will be flying to (city) next week and should be available from (day) to (day). Thank you for considering my candidacy. I look forward to hearing from you.
If you have questions about my candidacy, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss my qualifications and answer any questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you.
I would welcome a personal interview at your convenience to tell you more about my qualifications, as well as what I can do for (company name). I have enclosed my resume which further details my professional achievements. I look forward to speaking with you.
Knowing that my resume cannot convey all that I have to offer, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to further discuss my qualifications. Thank you for your time and consideration.
* * *
Hopefully, you will find the above examples of closing statements helpful. If you want to read more about this, you can check the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Now, if you are looking for examples of cover letter opening statements or tips on how to write a good opening statement, following are some articles on topic:
by John Sylo