Cover letter FAQs

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Do I need a cover letter?

  • The need for cover letters has diminished in the advent of the internet. If an employer asks not to be sent a cover letter with a job application or if there is no way to upload one alongside your CV in an online application, then don't send one. However, if there's an opportunity to send a cover letter, then it is generally expected that you should. If you're sending an application in the post, it's absolutely necessary. By email too as an attachment alongside your CV, or treat the email itself as a cover letter (but pick one - attachment or email - not both). On some online platforms - job boards or company websites, for example - that might not allow you to upload more than one document (your CV), there is often a field in which you can paste your cover letter.

Can you write a cover letter as an email?

  • Yes you can. A hiring manager or a recruiter might have a preference for an attachment or an email cover letter, so perhaps find out from them which it is before you send your application. But this isn't always realistic, so a tip is to pick one and go with it. And even if the person prefers one way or the other, it won't make or break your chances - it's not a big deal. If you choose to attach the cover letter, keep the email brief and highlight the attachments.

What makes a brilliant cover letter?

  • A few things, including tailoring your letter for each application, keeping it short, it should complement your CV, it can provide additional information to your CV and explain things like career gaps, among things. More advice: How to write a brilliant cover letter

What information do I need to put in my cover letter?

  • Introduce yourself and summarise why you are applying for the role. The rest of the letter should be used to support your application using specific examples of experience and highlighting the necessary financial qualifications, technical accounting expertise and personal qualities. More advice: How to write a brilliant cover letter

How long should a cover letter be?

Is a letter of interest the same thing as a cover letter?

  • Not really. A cover letter you send with a CV. A letter of interest can be sent at any time. For example, if there is an employer you'd love to work for but you don't see them advertising job roles. You can send a letter of interest as a way to start a dialogue with them to find if they are or will be hiring, and to introduce yourself and your interest in working for them. More advice: How to write an expressions of interest letter 

What is an expression of interest letter and how do I write one?

What are the best tips for a perfect cover letter?

  • 1) Focus you letter for each job application; 2) keep it short, 3-4 paragraphs; 3) it should complement your CV, not repeat your CV; 4) highlight major achievements; 5) get it checked by someone you trust - you don't want bad spelling or grammar, or confusing paragraphs; 6) if you don't have much experience, talk about your academic achievements and any experience you've gained through volunteering or work experience (internships etc); 7) explain a career break. More advice: Top 5 Tips for a perfect cover letter

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