How To Write A Cover Letter
A cover letter means exactly what it says – it is a letter that usually accompanies another document, and provides the basic details relating to the sender
Cover letters need to be short, concise and to the point, rather than some rambling discourse that gives everything from your blood group to your grandmother’s maiden name.
Where possible, try to find out the name of the person to whom your letter should be sent. In publishing, for example, the opening ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ can be the kiss of death to any submission. Without reading any further it indicates that the writer hasn’t bothered to check whether their work suits the house style of that particular magazine or publishing list – or the name of the appropriate editor.
If sending a letter to a large company ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ letters may also land up in the rubbish bin, simply because no one knows who to give them to! The person who opens the post hasn’t got time to read through a letter and accompanying material before making a studied decision as to who gets it – and even if they do, it may not be the correct person.
Your cover letter should include your name, address, telephone number and email address as a header (see How To End a Letter), i.e. all contact details.
The main body of the text should state what is being sent for consideration/perusal and your reason for submitting it. Any biographical details must be kept to a minimum and only pertinent to the submission itself.
A cover letter should never be longer than one A4 sheet of white paper.
Too much information may just convince a prospective employer or organisation that they couldn’t possibly work with you, no matter how much they might be impressed with your work or experience.