Writing Great Cover Letters

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Your CV is impressive and you know how to handle yourself in an interview, now all you need is the right material to get you in the hot seat for that job that you know is best suited.

Your cover letter is your only chance to sell yourself and make sure that you are leaps and bounds apart from the rest of the applicants.  This is your chance to sell yourself and tailor your strengths to the specific position that you are applying for.

This is also your chance to show potential employers your good writing skills and that you are comfortable in a given language, may it be mainstream English or second language Xhosa.  Hence your writing and language skills need to be of perfection without any mistakes at all.  Remember to proofread, proofread, and proofread!

Three Basic Parts to a Cover Letter:

In paragraph one state:

Who you are.

How you heard of the position or company.

Why you are writing.

Convince the reader that you are the best candidate to interview.

In paragraph two you discuss:

Why you are interested in the position and what skills or qualifications you have will fit the spec for the job.

Past experiences can be used here to sell your capability of achieving success for the position.

Use this paragraph to sparkle and bedazzle your reader.

In paragraph three you:

Repeat that you are hoping to be considered for the position.

Give specific plans for your intentions to follow up.

Remember to thank the employer for their time in considering you as an applicant.

Close your cover letter with ‘Sincerely’, ‘Sincerely Yours’ and your typed name with a signature.

Here are some more Do’s and Don’ts:


In the first paragraph – name the title of the position that you are applying for and be specific as to how you heard about it or through which company.

Try to find out the person’s name who will be hiring you and address the cover letter to them specifically.

Try to use the exact wording as the advert / job listing has used and gives examples of your experiences for every qualification that is listed.

Use the same font and paper as your CV.

Remember to sign your name.

Reread the letter a few times and check your grammar and spelling with an extra beaded eye for your punctuation.

Ask someone else to proofread your cover letter.

Say that you are enclosing a CV.

Include your phone number in the last paragraph.

Make sure your envelope is clearly and properly addressed.

Be specific about your skills and experiences.


Send a CV without a cover letter – ever.

Discuss salary.

Repeat information that is in your CV, except in a brief nutshell if applicable to skills needed for the job.

Generalize about your abilities or previous job titles.

Talk about what the job will do for you.

Waffle on too much about personal information.

Include anything that will be tricky to explain in an interview.

Say you will follow up and know that you will not.

Staple or paper clip items.

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