A Bullshit-Free Guide To Nailing Your Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter: aka the biggest ball ache of the whole job application process

A Bullshit-Free Guide To Nailing Your Cover Letter

by Jazmin Kopotsha |
Published on

You can spend hours looking for answers to how to write the perfect cover letter, but the unfortunate truth is that there is no one way to do it. But I bet you already knew that, didn’t you?

Nevertheless, we've all been there - sat staring at a blank screen as the application deadline for the job of your dreams inches closer and closer, not having a clue what to say to convince someone who's never met you that you are in fact, perfect for the role. Stressful, we know.

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That's why we've done out best to round up some actually useful, practical advice on how to nail the cover letter thing, straight from the mouths of Team Debrief and Grazia Online who have all been through exactly the same thing (and made a few mistakes along the way). But before you read on, let's just cover the basics real quick...

Your cover letter and your CV are very different things, and since you're sending your prospective employer both, save yourself the trouble of repeating yourself and copying lines from your CV over to the letter. Secondly, and most importantly if you ask me, remember that this is not the be all and end of job applications. As scary as it is, remember it's just a piece of paper. And these things always get easier with practice.

**Georgina Aspinall, Digital Writer **

‘I was told at uni that it shouldn’t be more than a couple of paragraphs and to stick to what you specifically can offer the role, not why you want it or how great the company is.'

Don't forget that the cover letter is about you and explaining to your potential boss how great you are and how well you'd fit within their team.

Katie Rosseinsky, Digital Writer, Grazia

‘This is potentially media specific but make sure any links etc you have to portfolios and stuff actually go to the right place and that any personal websites haven’t expired… (having made this mistake in the past). And don’t bother with Dear Sir / Madam – always address to a real person.’

It can't hurt to make the extra effort to research who the hiring manager will be. All it'll take is a bit of a Google/LinkedIn stalk. Can't find them? You can always call or email to check.

Lucy Morris, Fashion and Beauty Editor

‘Check for typos and that you’re addressing the right person/company - people get this wrong way too often'

On that note, there's no bigger turn off than when people get your name wrong. And if you're applying to a few places in one period, don't make that awful mistake of copy and pasting the one cover letter and forgetting to amend the names. It's awkward and super careless. You're better than that, just rewrite it, okay?

Rebecca Holman, Editor

‘Keep it short!’

You've heard it before, but one more time for the people in the back: everything's super competitive and these things get read SO quickly, so make sure you stick to the most important bits and avoid pages and pages of waffle.

Vicky Spratt, Deputy Editor

‘Whatever you do don’t use an inspirational quote before the body of the letter’

You might be tempted to go for something qwerky to try and stand out. We understand the appeal but think it through, because it can also come across as a bit awkward and out of touch. Remember the cover letter is about you, not the ambiguous person behind a quote everyone's heard too many times.

Rebecca Cope, Deputy Digital Lead, Grazia

‘I spell-checked my uni cover letter and it corrected Jane Austen to Jane Austin. So I guess my advice is double check a spell check’.

Don't put all your trust in Word, you guys. It has it's flaws too.

Jazmin Kopotsha, Culture Writer

‘Read it out loud to yourself. Or better yet, have your mate read it out loud to you. That way it’s easier to pick out things that don’t make sense/are boring’.

Follow Jazmin on Instagram @JazKopotsha

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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