How to put it in writing

Presenting yourself in writing – how to perfect your cover letter and CV

Your cover letter and CV are your chance to make a memorable first impression on a potential employer, so take some time and get it right.

Here’s how...

The cover letter:

  • Address the reader correctly. If you do not know the recipient’s name use ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. If you know who it is, use their name (but make sure you spell it correctly).

  • Start positively, something like: ‘I’m delighted to enclose my CV in application for the [role] as advertised on [website/job board].’

  • State briefly your skills as relevant to the role. You want your CV to be opened and read, so this part needs to be short, sharp and inviting. Try ‘I see you're looking for x. y. z skills and I have gained that experience at a, b, c, company.’

  • A note of how to contact you, something like ‘I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss my experience and potential suitability further and can be reached on [email/phone number].’

  • Finish courteously with ‘Kind regards’ or ‘Best regards’ or if you wish to be more formal, ‘Yours sincerely’.

  • Finally, check your spelling!​

  • The CV:

    Write it yourself. Nobody knows your career history and achievements better than you do.

  • To keep it succinct and relevant ask yourself ‘so what?’ after each point.

  • Keep it between 2-4 pages – we cannot expect our clients to read multiple 15-page CVs. Often longer CVs are at risk of being put to the bottom of the client’s pile – or even discarded entirely.

  • Your CV must be scan-able. Use an easy-to-read font, bullets and use bold sparingly.

  • Do not rely solely on spellcheck; proof-read and check it yourself.

  • A CV written in first person is best but if you choose to write your CV in the first or third person, stick to it. Ensure that past experience is written in the past tense.

  • Don't feel you have to gloss over any gaps or unemployed periods, just include a short explanation.

  • In your skills summary list only those that are current and appropriate to your application.

  • Ensure you include your achievements; this is your opportunity to showcase your skills.

    If you secure an interview, whether over the phone, face to face or via video call, our tips could be the deciding factor that help you get the job.


Read our advice on

face-to-face interview tips...


Interview via phone or video call?

Read our tips below...