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Writing Covering Letters

What Do You Need to Say?

A strong introduction to your CV is a great opportunity to give the reader a positive first impression of your application.

  • Most job applications are electronic these days.  If you are attaching a CV, make sure your covering letter is included in the email body rather than as a second attachment. In this format it is easier to read as a taster and at the same time as the attached CV itself.
  • Email submission is now the most common and the most desirable method of submitting applications to agencies and employers. Most companies prefer this method as it is easier and quicker to process and respond to the applications received.  Don't spoil this clean and convenient method by scanning an old CV and sending it over - it gives a bad impression of your IT skills and and level of commitment and professionalism.
  • It is worth double checking the spelling, grammar and purpose of what you are writing before sending it out. This is particularly true within the more informal context and structure of email.
  • Within a covering letter it is helpful to indicate reference to a particular job, role type or location you are applying for, or details explaining the particular section of construction you are most interested in. Just as people don’t like spam email, recruiters and employers respond better to personalised applications.
  • Recruiters appreciate it if you mention the advert or referral source that prompted your application.
  • You will reduce the likelihood of calls about positions you are not interested in if you provide clear indication of what you are and aren’t looking for in your covering letter. e.g.
    My preference is for a Senior Quantity Surveyor position with a civil engineering contractor in the London area. Although as my CV indicates, I have worked for a PQS practice for the past 5 years, I would not be interested in a further position as a PQS, or a role based in a rail environment as I am seeking a role with a civil engineering contractor.

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