Most people would agree that covering letters are, quite simply, the worst part of applying for jobs. In fact, if you haven’t found yourself sobbing into your laptop while trying to write a covering letter you’re doing better than 90% of the population and should probably be writing this article instead of me.

But we’re here to help. So, here’s the GoThinkBig Ultimate Guide to covering letters.

Make a good start

Before you even type your first words, you need to find out about the company you’re applying to. Obviously you don’t need to know every single little detail, but a little bit of research can go a long way. Read the job description. And then read it again. Your covering letter should reflect the job advert, so make sure you know it well before you start writing.

When you do sit down to write the actual letter, it’s probably best not to start it with an informal ‘Yo’, but we’re sure you already knew that. In an ideal world, it’s best to use the name of the person you’re writing to. Sometimes this will be listed in the job advert so have a look there first, you might find it in the email address you need to send your application to. If it’s not there, don’t give up just yet, give the company a call, they should be able to tell you who you should be applying to. Having done this shows that you’re serious about the job if nothing else.

Be specific, avoid clichés

Covering letters don’t need to be thousands of words long. About four paragraphs is normally more than enough for a covering letter. Be brief and to the point. Don’t waffle. Don’t use clichés. Explain which job you’re applying for and why you’re the perfect candidate. Don’t worry too much about going into a lot of detail: a covering letter is simply your chance to convince employers that they want to interview you.

Focus on the company

It’s really easy when you’re writing a cover letter to get bogged down in me, me, me. Really, what you should be focusing on is the company you’re applying to and what you can do for them. Obviously they will want to know about you, but remember to relate what you write back to what the job description says, show that you’re passionate about the role and demonstrate that you’ve given some thought to the application.

Check it and check it again

Once you’ve written your covering letter, make sure you reread it and check for any typos or spelling mistakes. Nothing makes a worse impression than a covering letter that is littered with mistakes. Maybe even get someone else to look over it for you, often it’s hard to spot your own mistakes but a friend, flatmate or parent will probably be able to help.

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Now that you’re equipped to write the perfect covering letter, take a look at our current Opportunities. Don’t forget to research the companies before you send in your applications.