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Demonstrating your career interests and highlighting your most relevant strengths and experiences, a professionally set out letter can say a lot about your motivation and your attention to detail.

Well-written covering letters are also particularly effective for speculative applications outside of a recruitment cycle and for explaining any personal circumstances or anomalies in your application.


The following format provides a useful overview for a letter:

  • Briefly introduce yourself, state what position you are applying for and where you saw it advertised. For a speculative letter, include the type of work you are seeking.
  • Explain why you are interested in this type of work.
  • Explain why you are interested in working for this particular organisation
  • Provide evidence of your key strengths by referring to experiences on your CV. Aim for your key strengths to reflect the requirements of the employer and position.
  • Take the opportunity, if necessary, to explain any anomalies in your experiences such as a gap or anywhere you do not match the selection criteria.
  • Indicate availability for interview.


  • A professional business layout is important, addressed to a named individual wherever possible.
  • Aim for one side of A4 with the same quality paper and font style as your CV.
  • The same rules about checking for spelling, grammar or typos still apply.
  • Your writing style should be formal but try not to use words that are only really found in a Thesaurus.