not just a desk job

CIH Scotland

Covering letter

The purpose of a covering letter is to get an interview, not tell a lengthy story. There are two types of covering letters: speculative and general.

Speculative - This letter will focus on a specific job, so start with what the vacancy is and where you heard about it, including any job reference number or letters if relevant. Explain why you’re interested in the job. Highlight your strengths and what you could bring to the organisation.

General - This type of letter is used when you’re sending your CV to a number of organisations, which you’re hoping may have employment opportunities. The focus of the letter should be on the kind of work you’re interested in and why.

Some general points when writing your covering letter:

  • Use one side of A4, no more than four paragraphs.
  • Demonstrate why you’re interested in working in a particular job/sector/organisation.
  • If relevant, explain any gaps in your employment.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm and evidence of research into the organisation you’re writing to.
  • Close with a positive statement - for example, by saying that you’ll phone to follow up your letter or that you look forward to hearing from them.

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