A cover letter will enhance the selling of your skills and abilities to potential Recruiters/Employers, you need to do this in a clear and concise manner, and your aim is to persuade the reader to want to meet you.

Just like your CV, your cover letter is just as essential when looking for work.  On average you have around 30 seconds to make an impression.

Do your research

  • What does the company do?
  • What does the role involve?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • Where are they placed in the market?
  • What experience/qualifications are they looking for?

You then will be able to be clear in your cover letter how your skills and abilities match up with what your employer is looking for.

  • It should be well presented
  • Concise and to the point
  • In an easy to read font
  • Clear paragraphs
  • Make sure that it is the right length, not too long and not too short (maximum A4 page)
  • Cover letters should be addressed to the person dealing with the application
  • Make sure that the letter flows and is structured:
    • OPENING PARAGRAPH –  should be short and to the point (stating why you are getting in touch, where you saw the job advertised)
    • SECOND PARAGRAPH – Why are you suitable for the job, state any relevant experience or qualifications (e.g. noting any specific ones required from the job advert).
    • THIRD PARAGRAPH – What can you do for the company, career goals, include examples of your experience.
    • FOURTH PARAGRAPH – Reiterate your interest in the role and why you would be the right fit for this position, indicate to the employer that you would like the opportunity to meet with them for an interview to discuss further.
    • CLOSING THE LETTER – Sign off with “Yours sincerely” if you know the name of the employer and “Yours faithfully” if you do not (Dear Sir/Madam), followed by your name.


  • You do not get a second chance to make an impression that is why your CV is one of the most important parts of applying for a job.
  • Try to make your CV stand out. Your CV should demonstrate your unique blend of skills and experience.
  • Make this simple. Your choice of font and layout are key to making sure an employer carries on reading your CV. 
  • This is the chance to show you have the right experience, knowledge and skills, and are able to do the job you are applying for.
  • Use your CV to showcase your achievements. It is important that you emphasise how you made a difference in your previous roles and the value you added.
  • You must be honest, make sure that all the information is relevant, accurate and up-to-date.
  • Power Statement – You need to grab the attention of the reader, make them want to know more about you, state any sought after skill set you may have.
  • Using clear subheadings and bullet points can really help to attract the reader’s attention and create interest quickly.
  • Keep to the point and do not try to add bullet points for no reason otherwise the reader will switch off. Do not try and pad out your CV with points that have no benefit.
  • Don’t be generic. Work out who or which industry sector your CV is destined for and tailor it accordingly to highlight the relevant aspects of your experience for the role.
  • Do not give vague statements like “I managed a team of 3 people”, show how your involvement benefited the company, did it improve productivity/make cost savings?
  • Ensure that you are aware of your tense (e.g. Past, Present or Future) and this is consistent throughout your CV
  • CHECK and CHECK again for any errors! This means spelling mistakes, dates (that they do not conflict with others, if they do explain this), contact details are up to date and correct.
  • It is recommended that when you think you have finished ask someone else to proof read it for you. Fresh eyes can help you to pick up on any grammatical or spelling mistakes that you might have missed.
  • Finally, know your CV, this is very important as it will form the basis of your interview, be prepared to discuss everything that you have listed.

Take time to perfect it!


Even the most experienced person is likely to experience some nerves in an interview situation.  Whilst is completely normal to feel nervous, the more preparation you do, the better you will feel and you will be more confident and able to show why you are the right person for this job.

  • Know the time, date and location of the interview and who you should ask for upon arrival
  • Know the name and title of the interviewer
  • Plan your route and allow plenty of time for travel


Consider the most likely questions that you are going to be asked before you even go to an interview.  This way you are ready and will not get stuck for something to say

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What experience from other roles are relevant to the position you are interviewing for?
  • What are your key achievements?
  • What are you looking for from your next position?


Your CV will contain the highlights of your education and career history but this is designed to be a concise document, so there may be other relevant points to discuss face to face.  Before attending the interview, make a list of the less obvious but equally important skills you have acquired, whether through formal training or self-development.

Avoid using “yes” and “no” answers – use examples to answer questions showing how your experience relates to the role. Treat the interview as a conversation so that you are engaging with the interviewer(s)


Employers want to believe that you have a genuine desire to work for their organisation and will be a committed member of the team.  There is nothing worse than being faced with a candidate who does not have any knowledge of the business and just wants “a job”.  That is why it is essential to demonstrate your understanding of the company’s history, plans and culture.  It will also help you to tailor your responses and show you are keen.  SPEND TIME READING THE COMPANY WEBSITE.  Look to see if there have been any recent changes, such as launch of a new product or service.  Ensure the interviewer feels that you have done your homework.

  • What do you know about the organisation?


In most businesses looking smart is expected so think about what you wear carefully.  Even if a business does have a more relaxed dress code, when attending interviews business attire is required (unless the client has advised otherwise).


On the day of the interview, allow plenty of time to get there without rushing or being stressed by delays.  Take everything you might need such as a copy of your CV, notebook & pen.


If there is ever a time to be on your best behaviour it is at an interview.  This may seem an obvious point but is something all too many people forget.  Be polite to everyone you meet, from the receptionist to your potential boss.  Smile, say “please” and “thank you” when appropriate to show that you would be a friendly and valuable member of the team.  When it comes to making a final decision between two equally qualified candidates, the one that comes across most personable could be the deciding factor.

  • A firm handshake and good eye contact will make a positive impression
  • Speak slowly and remember to smile
  • Try to remain relaxed and confident in your answers

If you remember all these points when preparing for an interview then you can feel confident you will perform to the best of your ability on the day.  If you do not get the job try not to feel too disheartened, instead try to think about where you could do better next time and take steps to fill any knowledge gaps or work on your interview technique with a friend.


Even if you are taking everything in, making notes creates the impression that you are paying full attention.  This is one of the best interview techniques for people who want to come across as conscientious.

If you get put off midway through an interview by a difficult question, try to regain your composure, take a moment to think or ask if you can go back to it at the end.  All is not lost if something goes wrong.


The interviewer(s) should let you know when a decision will be made and how you will be notified.  If they do not you should ask, this shows that you are interested in their position and proactive.

  • Be proactive and follow up any interview and always ask for feedback
  • If you have committed to follow up with any information then make sure that you do this.

The interviewer(s) will often ask if you have any questions for them.  This is your opportunity to show that you have thought about the job and the organisation and to get clarity about anything you are unclear about. 

Do not ask about holiday and perks – this does not create a good impression

Do not ask about the salary unless they bring it up (this can always be discussed in more detail when an offer is made)

Do not ask if you have got the job

Sample questions to ask:

  • What does a typical day look like in terms of this role?
  • How many people are in the team?
  • Why has the position become available?
  • What challenges could I face in the first 3 months?
  • What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
  • Can you describe the culture of the company?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing the company/department right now?
  • What do you like best about working for this company?
  • What is the typical career path for someone in this role?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  • How do I compare to the other candidates which you have interviewed?
  • Is there anything you need me to prepare going forward?

At the close of the interview, be positive! Thank them for the opportunity to meet with them and for their time and consideration.  Convey the impression that you really want the job and that you look forward to hearing from them.

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