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Cover Letter Date Format Uk Addresses

If you’re starting a job search in 2018, getting your cover letter right is just as important as perfecting your CV.

After hours spent crafting your CV, it can seem a little superfluous to transfer the information into letter format. However, your cover letter shouldn’t be a regurgitation of your CV. Instead, it should zoom in on a few key skills and experiences on your CV that the employer values the most. As a result, your cover letter should be bespoke for every application.

Some recruiters may receive hundreds of applications a day, so your cover letter gives you a chance to stand out from the crowd. With 57.1% of professionals ranking the cover letter as an essential application component, you can’t afford to leave it out.

We know that writing these letters can seem daunting at first, especially as it can feel like there’s a lot to remember. To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to building your cover letter and tailoring it for each opportunity you apply to.

Download our cover letter template

Do your research

Research is a crucial part of many aspects of job hunting, and before you begin writing your cover letter, you need to make sure you’ve done your research properly.

The important things you should research before writing are:

  • Who will be receiving and reading your letter
  • The skills and experience mentioned in the job description
  • The company and its culture
  • Their competitors and market position
  • The sector and any recent news or trends
  • The organisation’s aims for 2018 and beyond

Building up a good knowledge of the company and industry helps you to tailor your cover letter for each company you apply to, and shows your passion for the job and sector.

The basic format

There’s a basic format for writing a cover letter that you can follow each time. However, every letter you write should be tailored to the specific job role or company you’re applying for.

Your cover letter should address the following:

  • Which position interests you and why
  • Your most relevant skills and experiences
  • How your skills and experiences can benefit the employer
  • Requesting an interview

Below is a basic break down of how you should structure your cover letter for 2018:

How to structure and write a cover letter

In 2018, it’s very rare for cover letters to be hard copies as most are sent online. However, traditional cover letter conventions state that your cover letter should be written like any other formal business letter, even if you’re emailing it.

Start with your address and contact details in the top right-hand corner. Make sure your contact details are sensible – email addresses like ninjawarrior2000@hotmail.co.uk won’t make you look very professional!  You should then follow this with the address of the company you’re applying for and the date further down and on the left-hand side.

[Address Line 1]

[Address Line 2]

[Address Line 3]

[Phone Number]

[Company address line 1]

[Company address line 2]

[Date]

To [Name],

Paragraph 1:

Your opening paragraph should be short and sweet made up of three things: why you’re writing the letter, the position you’re applying for, how you found out about the position. For example: “I am writing to apply for the role of [job title], in response to an advert I saw on [name of job site]. Please find my CV attached.”

Paragraph 2:

The second paragraph should be about you, expanding on your CV and giving a brief summary of any relevant skills or education you have. Remember, your cover letter shouldn’t be a copy of your CV; it should take your most notable achievements, explain a bit more about them, and then show how these skills could benefit the employer. Mirror the skills mentioned and the phrasing that’s used in the job description.

Paragraph 3:

The third paragraph is your chance to show your knowledge of the company and the sector and go into detail about why you want to work for their company specifically. You should state how you can help the company and add to their success, as well as why you’ll fit in with the company culture and core values.

Paragraph 4:

End your letter with a call to action. As you’re hoping to secure an interview, let them know your availability for a callback. If you plan to follow up with a phone call, say so! If you plan to wait for a response, close with “I look forward to hearing from you”. Thank them for taking the time to read your letter and sign off with:

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

Download our cover letter template

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Sending a cover letter online

With today’s technology, it’s common to send a cover letter – and a whole job application, for that matter – online or by email. This is especially common on job boards like CV-Library, and even with direct employers. If you need to send a cover letter online or via email, the approach you should take is a little different in terms of formatting.

If you just need to send your cover letter as an attachment, then write it as explained before. When it comes to saving it, make sure you use the .PDF file extension; any computer will be able to view the file, and all your formatting will be preserved.

Windows PCs use the .docx file extension for documents by default, whereas Macs use .pages. Avoid either of these, because there’s a chance that the employer won’t be able to open your cover letter. Stick with .PDF.

If you need to send your cover letter as the actual body text of your email, your approach will need to be slightly different. First, make sure you format the subject line of your email like so:

Application for [Job Title] – [Your Name]

If you were given a reference number, include that in the subject line as well. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about the layout of your letter. The paragraphs can be the same as a hard copy of your cover letter, but you can remove the addresses, date and signature.

If you’re applying for a job via a job board, you can sometimes afford to scale down your cover letter to key components. Check out this cover letter template for 2018:

Hi [Name],

I am interested in applying for the current vacancy you have for a [job title].

In my current role as [role title] with [company name], I am responsible for [insert relevant experience relating to job advert] but am currently looking to make a step up into a more challenging role with a reputable company who can offer career growth.

I am currently on a notice period of [notice period] and can interview immediately.

Kind regards,

[Name]

[Phone number]

[Email]

How long should my cover letter be?

Your cover letter should be no longer than a single A4 page. This can be tricky, especially since you want to impress the employer with all your skills and experience. But trust us; they simply won’t be interested in reading a 3,000-word essay. Even if they were, they probably just wouldn’t have the time! Keep it short, sweet, and simple.

Tailoring each cover letter

Each cover letter you write should be tailored specifically to the company and role you’re writing it for and should be detailed. Therefore you’ll want to avoid vague and generic phrases.

During the research stage, try to find the name of the hiring manager or whoever will be reading your letter. This way you can make the letter even more personal, and it will prove you’re a determined candidate who wants this job.

If you really can’t get hold of their name, you should instead start the letter with “Dear Sir or Madam” – but remember, if you don’t know their name, ensure you sign off your letter with “Yours faithfully” instead.

Read the job description so you can pick which of your skills or experiences to reference, and try to mirror some of the phrases they use in the job description. Illustrate your skills with examples to show why you’re the ideal candidate; as each company and role will be different, you’ll probably find that you’re using different examples on each letter.

Having done your research, you should also be able to talk specifically about the company in greater detail. Refer to their values or specific campaigns they have run that you enjoyed. This way they’ll know that you took the time to learn about their company and that you’re genuinely interested in them and the role.

When there’s no job advertised

If you haven’t seen an advertised position, but you’re contacting a company to find out if they currently have any vacancies, the format will be slightly different as you’ll be submitting a cold-contact cover letter.

You should address the letter formally as before, and try to get hold of the name of the hiring manager.

As you aren’t responding to a job ad, you should use your opening paragraph to explain why you’re writing to them and what it was that drew you to their company. If the reason for your application is a recommendation from someone, you know that already works there include their name.

You should also refer to the area of the company that you’d like to go into, for example, marketing or sales.

The body of the letter should remain relatively the same, highlighting your skills and experiences and giving detailed examples. Reiterate why you’re interested in their company specifically, talk about the sector and show that you’ve done your research.

In this instance, you should close the letter by thanking them for their time and expressing your interest in hearing from them with any available job vacancies that they may have.

Remember, each cover letter should be unique (even if you follow the basic format), and the aim is to make yourself stand out to recruiters. Follow these steps to writing your cover letter, and try to have fun with it!

Marketing yourself

In both your CV and your cover letter you should try to imagine yourself as a commodity and sell yourself to the company. There are several ways you can market yourself, and most of this will come from your research.

You need to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and the sector so that you can effectively explain why you’ll be beneficial to their company. As well as listing your skills and qualifications you could also demonstrate your interpersonal skills through talking about social activities and clubs.

All these aspects should help you build a case for why you’re going to add to the success of the company.

Top tips for success in 2018

Follow these cover letter tips for success to make sure you avoid making some fatal cover letter mistakes.

1. Keep it short

It may seem difficult with so much information to include, but you need to keep your cover letter short and sweet. Recruiters will give each letter about 20 to 30 seconds of their time, so it should be no more than an A4 page – they won’t trawl through ten pages, no matter how experienced and skilled you are.

2. Don’t just re-write your CV

The point of a cover letter is to expand upon your CV, not just re-write it—your CV should be attached to accompany your letter. Make sure you pick the most relevant examples and give details of your achievements.

3. Sign by hand

If you’re sending the letter in the post (old school, we know) then you should sign the letter by hand before you send it off—it adds a personal and more professional touch.

4. Sending online

Macs and PCs haven’t quite learnt to work in total harmony yet, and the last thing you want is the recruiter being unable to open your document. Instead, save your final CV as a pdf file; that way you know they’ll be able to open it on any device.

5. Proofread

Once you’ve written your letter, check it over for mistakes and perhaps even have someone else read it over too. Recruiters aren’t going to take you seriously if you’ve made silly spelling or grammar mistakes.

6. Avoid clichés

Each letter should be personal, so avoid clichéd phrases that recruiters have read a thousand times! Don’t just say “I’m a team player”, these buzzwords and phrases won’t make you stand out. Instead, choose an example of when you worked well in a team and explain what happened and what you achieved.

7. Use numbers

If you can, use numbers or stats to illustrate your points as it’s a nice way to quantify your results and adds to the format of the letter.

8. Be creative

Writing cover letters doesn’t have to be boring; you can be a bit creative in your approach – especially if you’re going into a creative industry or job role. Play around with layouts and formats; as long as all the important information is in there and the layout isn’t distracting, have fun with it!

9. Use bullet points

This is not always necessary, but depending on the format you’ve chosen or the job role you’re applying for, bullet points could be an effective way of demonstrating your points and adding to the layout.

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How to lay out a letter

This page includes guidelines for composing letters according to various formats and degrees of formality.

Jump to:

Formatting your letter

Sender's address

Date

Recipient's address

Salutation

Body

Closing and signature

Example letters

Formatting your letter

Letters typically follow one of three formats: block, modified block, or semi-block:

Block format is generally perceived as the most formal format. For semi-formal letters, you may wish to use modified block or semi-block format. For informal letters, use semi-block format.

Most business letters, such as cover letters for job applications, insurance claims, and letters of complaint, are formal. Business letters addressed to recipients you know very well (e.g., a former boss) may be semi-formal. Social letters to less familiar recipients (e.g., a professional colleague) may also be semi-formal. Informal letters are reserved for personal correspondence.

Most formal and semi-formal letters should be typed. Informal letters may be handwritten. If you are typing, use 10- to 12-point font and single line spacing for composing your letter. Include a margin of one to one-and-a-half inches around each page.

If you are writing your letter as an email, use block format, regardless of formality. Omit the sender's address, date, and recipient's address.

Read more about block, modified block, and semi-block letter formatting.

Sender's address

The sender’s address includes the name and address of the letter’s author. If you are using stationery, it may already be printed on the letterhead; if so, do not type it out. If the address is not on the letterhead, include it at the top of the document. Do not include your name:

123 Anywhere Place

London, 

SW1 6DP

or

123 Anywhere Place

New York, NY 10001

In block format, the sender's address is left justified: in other words, flush with the left margin. In modified block or semi-block format, the sender's address begins one tab (five spaces) right of centre.

There is no need to include the sender's address in informal letters.

Date

The date indicates when you composed the letter. Type it two lines below either your stationery's letterhead or the typed sender's address. For informal letters, it may go at the top of the page.

The UK, the date format is day-month-year:

1 July 2014

In the US, the date format is month-day-year:

July 1, 2014

In block format, the date is left justified; in modified block or semi-block format, it begins one tab (five spaces) right of centre.

Recipient’s address

The recipient’s address, also called the inside address, includes the name and address of the recipient of your letter. It may be omitted in informal and social semi-formal letters. For other letters, type it two lines below the date. In all formats, it is left justified.

Your letter should be addressed to a specific person, if possible. Include a courtesy title (i.e., Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr.) for the recipient; confirm what title the person prefers before writing your letter. Only omit the title if you do not know the person’s gender (i.e., for unisex names). If you are unsure of a woman's marital status or title preference, use Ms:

Mr John Smith

10 Utopia Drive

Toronto

M4C 1a7

or

Mr John Smith

1000 Utopia Drive

San Francisco, CA 94109

If you do not know the person's name, include the title of the intended recipient (e.g. Hiring Manager, Resident) or the name of the company:

Human Resources Director

Acme Corporation

246 Looney Tunes Lane

Oxford

OX1 2CL

or

Human Resources Director

Acme Corporation

246 Looney Tunes Lane

Hollywood, CA 90078

Salutation

The salutation is your letter's greeting. The most common salutation is Dear followed by the recipient's first name, for informal letters, or a courtesy title and the recipient's last name, for all other letters. For more on salutations, see Choose the right greeting and sign off.

The salutation is left justified, regardless of format. Type it two lines below the recipient's address (or date, for informal letters). In formal and semi-formal letters, it ends with a colon. In informal letters, it ends with a comma.

Formal letters
Dear Ms Smith:
or
Dear Ms. Doe:
Informal letters
Dear Jane,

Body

The body includes most of the content of your letter. In block or modified block format, each paragraph begins at the left margin. In semi-block format, the paragraphs are still left justified, but the first line of each paragraph is indented by one tab (five spaces). Include a line of space between each paragraph.

In the first paragraph of your letter, you should introduce yourself to the recipient, if he or she does not know you, and state your purpose for writing. Use the following paragraphs to elaborate upon your message.

Closing and signature

The closing is your final sign off: it should be brief and courteous. It begins two lines below your final body paragraph. Common closings include Best regards, Sincerely, and Yours truly. Capitalize only the first word of the closing, and end with a comma. For more on closings, see Choose the right greeting and sign off.

The signature includes your handwritten and typed name. For formal and semi-formal letters, add four lines of space below your closing, and then type your name. In formal letters, you should include your full name; in semi-formal letters, you may use only your first name. Sign your name in the space.

For informal letters, you may omit the typed name; you only need to sign your name below the closing.

For letters written as email, you may omit the signed name; you only need to type your name below the closing.

In block format, the closing and signature are left justified. In modified block or semi-block format, they begin one tab (five spaces) right of centre:

Best regards,

 

 

John Smith

Example letters

See a formal letter in block format (pdf).

See a semi-formal letter in modified block format (pdf).

See an informal letter in semi-block format (pdf).

 

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