CVs and cover letters

A CV is a concise, factual document summarising your relevant knowledge, skills and experience. A cover letter should complement your CV and explain why you are applying for the job and how you would be a great fit for the organisation.


How to write a CV

The purpose of a CV is to apply for a job, so before you start, make sure to research the sector you are applying in and the types of CVs they prefer.

When it comes to writing a CV, you should start with the job description - what skills and experience are required? Demonstrate you have the experience and skills by using examples from your degree, previous jobs, internships and extracurricular activities.

A typical CV should be no longer than two A4 pages (exceptions for academic CVs). The order of a CV varies, but you should display the most relevant and impressive information on the first page to grab the employer's attention.

Key sections of a CV

  • Name and contact details
  • Personal Profile or Professional Overview
  • Education
  • Experience or employment
  • Skills
  • Additional Information

How to write a cover letter

A cover letter is a document sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. Its purpose is to complement your CV and explain why you are applying for the job. A cover letter highlights your relevant skills and experience therefore should be tailored to the specific position you are applying for.

The letter should be written in a concise manner and be no longer than one A4 page. It is advisable to use the same font style as your CV, with the font size no smaller than 11.

How to structure your cover letter

A cover letter should be brief whilst emphasising your suitability for the position.

First paragraph

Explain why you are writing the letter, stating the role you are applying for and where you saw it advertised.

Second paragraph

Explain what attracted you to the role and organisation and why you would be a good fit. Demonstrate your knowledge of the organisation and the role.

Third paragraph

Highlight relevant experience and demonstrate how your knowledge, skills and experience match the specific requirements of the job description. Summarise any additional strengths and explain how these could benefit the company.

Final paragraph

Summarise your main points from above and reiterate your suitability to the role and what you are going to contribute. Thank the reader for reviewing your application and state how you look forward to their response.

Student working on laptop

How to send your cover letter

When applying for a job via email, either include the cover letter within the email itself and attach your CV or attach a separate cover letter and a CV.

The email should be brief and professional, referring to your CV and covering letter attached. Name your CV and cover letter appropriately such as your name, date, and the company name you're applying to.

View our CV and cover letters workshop video