When you send your CV/resume to a company when applying for a job, it is normal to also send a job covering/cover letter with it as well. Many people either don't know how to create a good covering letter or don't think it's important. Both of which are big mistakes, because your covering letter is one of the main factors in deciding whether you'll get a job interview or not.
To help you know how to write your own good covering letter/email, you will find a exercise below that'll show you what to do. Doing this exercise will not only help you understand what makes a good covering letter (the content and the structure), but provide you with professional English phrases/vocabulary that you can use in your own.
But before you start the exercise, you need to know a few things first.
What a covering letter is for
A covering letter is used to:
- Tell the person receiving it that you are applying for a job (and which).
- Summarize the most important & relevant information from your CV/resume.
- Provide information on how they can contact you.
Of these three things, it is this summary of your CV/resume on the job covering/cover letter or email which the people receiving it are most interested in. They use this information to decide if you are right for the job. If they think you are, they will then read your CV/resume. If not, they probably won't. So that's why potential employers want a job covering/cover letter, to save themselves time.
So it is extremely important that when applying for a job, your covering/cover letter is both written and structured well. It has to be formal, polite, short and contain the information (experience, achievements and skills) from your CV/resume that you think a potential employer will most be looking for in a candidate for the job. If you do this, you will improve your chances of getting a job interview.
So let's now do the exercise.
Exercise & Example:
Read the following covering/cover letter from Juan Cruz for a sales executive position/job with a large multinational engineering company.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning and purpose of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.
I am writing in response to the advertisement for the position of a sales executive in the Madrid office of your company. I am confident that I would be an excellent candidate for both this position and for working within a company such as your own which has a reputation for excellence and innovation.
I am a highly motivated, diligent and committed individual, who throughout my 10 year career in sales has demonstrated the ability of being:
Goal-Orientated - Surpassing my annual sales targets every year of my professional career.
Adaptable - Having the ability to quickly learn and use new techniques, methodologies, strategies when selling a variety of different products.
Able to speak fluently in English - I have the Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English and use English on a daily basis in my current position.
I have extensive experience of working as a sales executive for two large multinational companies, Almagro Construction SA and Telefonica SA. During my time in Telefonica I have been responsible for several multi-million Euro project negotiations that were conducted entirely in English and lead to Telefonica obtaining contracts that totalled a value of €61.3 million.
Please find attached a copy of my CV which expands on my experience and achievements.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss further the possibility of working for you in this position. I am available to do an interview when it is convenient for yourselves.
If you have any questions, I can be reached on either my mobile (0034 71761231) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Learn how to do a good job interview
Learn how to write a good CV/resume
Below are 13 questions about the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use each word/phrase once. Click on the "Check answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.
When the answer is correct, this icon will appear next to the answer. Click on this for both extra information and a detailed explanation why this answer is correct.
Now that you understand the vocabulary and the structure, practise it by creating your own covering letter.