Covering letters are usually sent with a CV as a form of training contract application where the completion of an application form is not required.
However, some firms will also request a covering letter as part of an application form.
Importance Of A Covering Letter
Before you draft a covering letter it is important to understand what you should be seeking to achieve with it.
The very least the letter will achieve is to provide an introduction to your CV. A CV may not even be read if the covering letter is badly presented or contains mistakes.
The letter should therefore be drafted so as to get you past the initial cut of applications. It must give the reader enough confidence that it is worth them continuing to read your CV.
So, if the covering letter could be the green or red light to your application being considered in full you want to take your time over it and get it right.
How To Produce A Winning Covering Letter
Here are our tips on producing a winning training contract application covering letter:
- Address it to the actual person who is in charge of receiving trainee applications. Always telephone or email the firm to confirm who you should address your application to – don’t just rely on what is published as it may be out of date.
- Include your address (but not telephone number and email address as these will be on your CV). Your address goes at the top right of the letter and the addressee’s name and firm’s address goes below the last line of your details but on the left of the letter. The date goes below their address. No need for your name at the top as this appears at the bottom.
- Presentation – covering letters should fit on one page of A4 paper and, in the rare cases where they are to be posted as opposed to emailed, be printed on good quality white or cream paper and typed in a common and professional looking font such as Times New Roman or Arial.
- Spelling & Grammar – check, check and check again – any spelling or grammar mistakes will usually see your application being filed in the big round filing tray marked ‘bin’ no matter how good a candidate you are.
- Write in a simple, direct and concise manner – help the reader by getting your points across in a succinct manner.
- Tailor each letter to the specific firm you are writing to – this obviously takes more time than mass mailing the same letter but the time spent will be the difference between success and failure in most cases.
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