Covering letters are sometimes the neglected part of the application for an academic job. After spending hours on composing impressive CVs and personal statements on application forms, many candidates send them with a cursory note: 'Enclosed please find my application for your consideration,' and do not take the opportunity to expand.
It may feel that covering letters merely repeat what is already written in an application form or CV, yet they are a vital way of showing your enthusiasm, highlighting key achievements and reiterating your interest and suitability for the post. Taking the time to write persuasive covering letters and tailoring each one for every job application, will improve your chances of being invited for an interview.
A good covering letter need not be longer than a page or two and should include:
- Why you want the job. Demonstrate your research into the institution/department/position and what attracts you to the role.
- Why you are a suitable candidate. Select a few compelling examples (eg your research interests, your teaching record, etc) which closely match the job and person specification.
- What you can offer. Describe what you could make to the department and to the university.
16th July 2014
Mrs. M Foster,
Graduate Recruitment Manager,
Elsewhere Bank plc,
39 High Street,
Manchester. M2 1RS
Dear Mrs Foster
I was very interested to read your advertisement for a Graduate Trainee on the University of Kent vacancy database as it precisely fits my career plans.
I first became interested in retail banking during an "Insight" course which I attended during my second year at University. Since then, discussion with my careers adviser and my own research have confirmed my belief that this is a career which will enable me to use not only my interest in business and finance but also my skills in working with people, both in an advisory and a managerial capacity.
I am particularly interested in a career with Elsewhere Bank, because of the high reputation of your graduate training scheme, and your commitment to giving new recruits early responsibility.
During my time as a student I have had a variety of part-time and vacation jobs, all of which have required me to work as part of a team and to deal directly with the public. I found my work at the Tourist Information Office particularly valuable in teaching me the importance of ascertaining customers' needs and providing clear and accurate information in response to those needs.
As part of my degree course, I chose to carry out a final-year project which involved a statistical analysis of 150 questionnaires sent to local employers. To process this information, I taught myself to set up and use a database and felt great satisfaction in completing this project well ahead of the end-of-term deadline. Although my overall degree result was a 2.2., this particular piece of work was awarded a high 2.1.
I will be available for interview at any time apart from the 12 - 24 August when I have arranged a holiday in Italy. I look forward to hearing from you shortly and enclose my CV for your consideration.