Cover Letter Template

The first step of most job applications is to submit your Careers Resume or a CV along with a covering letter to the prospective employer. Together they should explain and demonstrate your skills, experience and the contribution you can make towards meeting their organisational objectives.

Both documents should be succinct and clearly written. There are well established conventions for both of these documents, so unless you have exceptional circumstances, you can follow this template.

Purpose and brief

The primary purpose of an application is to get you to the next stage in the application process, which is commonly an interview.

Because both of these documents are reviewed by prospective employers quickly, you should focus on your core skills and experience. You can add context and personalty in an interview. A covering letter is typically just several hundred words long.

Employers often have a strong sense of the skills that they require in a candidate. So tailor your application to highlight the overlap between your skills and experience, and the requirements for the role.

Template

You can cut and paste the most relevant sections of this template into a document and then edit the contents to make it specific for your application.

1. Salutation

A cover letter is a formal document, so start with the appropriate greeting.

If you know to whom you are sending the application write

Dear <first name> <last name>,

or, if you don’t know to whom you are sending a cover letter write

To Whom It May Concern,

2. Skills in context

Start by being specific about which position you are applying for.

Please find attached my curriculum vitae in application for <position>.

Explain how you are able to advance their organisational objectives.

Before writing the cover letter, carefully read:

  • the job listing
  • a position description
  • about the organisation

Provide two or three examples, using the structure:

  • Experience in role
  • Results
  • How this applies their objectives

For example:

In my current role a barista at <place of work>, I collaboratively work to produce between 400 and 500 coffees on a typical day. In the last year I have gained significant experience working with the shop manager to implement changes to our coffee making operations which have reduced the average coffee-making time by a minute and allowed us to grow the average number of coffees we sell per day by over 20%. I am seeking a new Lead Barista role where I can implement these insights and continue to make a contribution to the vibrant and viable operation of <company> coffee shops.
I have a track record of acquiring new business and think I can make a strong contribution to <company's> objectives. Over the past year I have closed six new accounts for <current employer> - a 15% increase on the previous year and initial sales volumes show these accounts to be 20% more valuable than our average customers.

3. Your interests and personality in context

Explain why you think that you would be a good cultural fit for the organisation. Some examples:

I am a team-player and enjoy working with others to achieve common goals.
I have a passion for <task related to organisation's values> and would welcome the opportunity to further <common objective> in <organisation>.

4. Availability and wage or salary expectations

Clearly communicate your availability and renumeration expectations

Availability examples:

I have a two month notice period.
My current contract finishes on <date>.

Renumeration examples:

My current wage is £10 per hour, with 25 days annual leave plus contributions to a pension plan.
My current salary is £30,000 per annum, last year's sales-based commission was £5,000, and I presently benefit from 25 days annual leave, pension contributions, and personal use of a company vehicle.

5. Ending

Communicate your enthusiasm for the role. For example:

I look forward to exploring this opportunity.
I would welcome the opportunity to work as part of the team at <organisation>.

and, if you wrote ‘Dear <first name> <last name>,’

Yours sincerely,

or, if you wrote ‘To Whom It May Concern,’

Yours faithfully,

Finally, write your name in an email or webform

<your name>

Or sign your name if posting a document

 


Notes

It’s important

A cover letter is a key part of most applications, and essential for most roles, so give yourself ample time to write a bespoke covering letter for each application.

Show fit

Your Careers Resume or uploaded CV should communicate your core skills and experience, so use the cover letter to explain how you believe you’ll fit into the organisation and help them achieve their goals.

If you’re not already familiar with the organisation, read the job listing, position description and information about the organisation (on their company page or website, for example) to gain an insight into their culture and priorities.

Use the same language

If the job listing and company website talk about ‘teamwork’, ‘collaborate working environment’, and ‘attention to detail’ – then use these works, or close synonyms, when writing your cover letter.

United Baristas Careers and email applications

When submitting an application on Careers, your cover letter is the message.