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. But why?
Before I answer this, let's quickly talk about what a job covering/cover letter is.
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 it 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.
To help you know how to both write your own covering letter/email and what to write in one, I have created the below online exercise. This will both show you professional phrases/vocabulary that are used when writing a covering letter/email in English and the structure you should use when writing one.
Once you have read the example in the exercise, do the the quiz/test at the end. It will take you less than 5 minutes to do and make sure that you both know how to correctly use the phrases/vocabulary and why.
Click here to do an online exercise on writing a good CV/resume
Click here to see more of our free online exercises on CVs/resumes and job interviews
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 (email@example.com).
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Learn how to do a good job interview
Learn how to write a good CV/resume
Below is a definition/description of each of the words in bold from the above text. Now choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one 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.