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Write the perfect letter

» Job-hunting

» CV Advice

» Write the Perfect Letter

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Often a letter will be the first point of contact you have in the job search process, so it needs to create an impact and be memorable. So what's the best way of putting together an effective and powerful letter to support your CV?

Ensure you address it to the correct name and job title as well as spelling, call the company if necessary and double check the details with the receptionist. Never use ‘Dear Sir/Madam' if you know their name In addition, make sure your address and phone number are at the top of the letter. These days it is acceptable practice to e-mail CV's and covering letters but if you are sending your information by post always use good quality, preferably white, A4 paper.

Ideally, your letter should be no more than one page, but ensure that there is sufficient white space so that your letter looks appealing and always use between 10 and 12 point type. If posting, letters should always be typed and printed on a good quality printer (unless a handwritten application is specifically requested).

Your letter should be structured as follows:
Your opening must arouse the reader's interest and make them want to read on. State why you are writing and what additional information is enclosed. Include a heading giving the job title and any reference code. The main body of the letter must only contain relevant information. Summarise how your experience, specialist knowledge, education, skills and achievements are relevant to the job. Also, explain the reasons for your interest and if you are already employed, some background as to why you want to change. End with a clear request to the reader or a statement of action on your part. For example, ‘Should you wish to discuss the enclosed information in more detail please contact me on (telephone number)'.

Above all, make sure that the message is appropriate to the reader and, if possible, include a comment referring to the company or industry. Do not include jokes or negative statements such as comments concerning your present/last employer.