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Cover letters

A CV or application form should always be accompanied by a covering letter. (or e-mail). Use the job and person specification to help you write a tailored covering letting. The job specification will indicate what is expected of the post holder (e.g. roles and responsibilities) whilst the person specification will outline the skills, experience and qualifications required.

Key principles:

  • highlight your qualifications, skills and experience directly relevant to the job
  • show what you can do for them
  • show motivation and enthusiasm for this particular company or organisation.

For academic applications

The purpose of covering letters for academic posts is:

  • to convey your suitability for the post
  • to highlight what skills and experience you will bring
  • to show how your research interests relate to those of the department
  • to outline your plans for future research/teaching
  • to emphasise what you could contribute (possible research collaborations, strong funding record, new courses you could introduce).

For non academic applications

The cover letter should be concise and include:

  • An introduction, outlining who you are and brief details of the vacancy you are applying for.What attracts you to the post - if it is clearly outside your current area of interest/experience then you need to demonstrate your understanding of and commitment to this new career path.
  • Evidence of your suitability for the position - signpost to the information in your CV/application form.
  • Why this company or organisation is of interest - find something specific to say.
  • If you are applying for a non-research job, you can use the covering letter to show why your research skills and experience are relevant to the job, and how they can benefit the company or organisation.

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