Top 3 tips for your first cover letter!

Now that the new year is upon us, you might be starting to apply for jobs – whether that’s part-time work alongside your studies, a summer internship, or a graduate job! As our application adviser, Andrea, tell us, don’t forget about your cover letter…

Alongside your CV, your cover letter (CL) will be your first point of contact with a recruitment team, so it needs to be good. Your CL should be 300-500 words, and should show WHY you are a great fit for the job. So…


  1. Know your audience

Your CL needs to be tailored for a specific employer and position – you need to show your motivation for working for this specific company and prove that your values match theirs.

Start learning about the position and the company through the job description, their own website, and platforms such as LinkedIn. Make sure to read about their corporate values, past/present/future projects or published research outputs.


Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash


  1. Remember that it’s a formal document

This means that you should address it to the correct person and try to avoid writing “Dear Sir or Madam”. If their name isn’t on the job description, try phoning the company to get the name of the recruiter.

Make sure to have a planned structure and base one paragraph on each of these questions:

  1. Why do you want to work in the organisation?
  2. Why you want that particular role?
  3. Why are you a suitable applicant?


  1. Talk about your skills using examples.

Remember that the CV and the CL are complementary documents, so avoid repeating descriptions or listing your skills. Instead, the CL is your chance to select one of your experiences and explained it in-depth. Pick an experience that will allow you to highlight your best feature, and more importantly, the personal characteristic that better aligns with the job description. To do so, we recommend using the STARR method, which consists of dividing the story in Situation – Task – Actions – Results and – Reflection. This narration should aim to highlight that you have the skillset that the company requires.


There’s loads more advice for your Action stage on our KEATS pages and you can refer back to the Discover and Focus sections as well for a refresher! If you need a fresh pair of eyes, book an Application Advice appointment on King’s CareerConnect.