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Writing a Covering Letter

Anyone applying for a job in English or contacting a company to express an interest in working with them will need to include a covering, or motivational letter with their application. One study suggested that on average, a recruiter will only look at a covering letter for 6-7 seconds, meaning that your letter needs to create an enormous impact in a very short time.


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Task: To work on this skill you will write your own covering letter.


The materials underneath will show you the most appropriate structure for a covering letter, and explain what to pay attention to, but from working with many people on their own covering letters I will add the following language related guidelines;

  • Read your draft cover letter out loud, how does it sound? It should read as if you are speaking it.

  • Focus on writing as briefly as possible, if it's possible to express an idea in less words then do so, remember we only have a couple of seconds to convince the recruiter.

  • Avoid over using descriptive adjectives; a motivated, problem solving, goal orientated, career driven, team playing, outside the box thinking, progressive minded, head wrapping, base touching, up to the plate stepping, bar raising, own weight pulling employee... is obviously too much, so only stick to descriptive words that you would actually say about yourself in spoken conversation.

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The Materials:

  • Let's start with this video from The Guardian, which is a good way of activating your vocabulary on this particular topic and starting to think about the task.

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So, when you have written the covering letter, send it to myself and we can look at it together as part of a lesson to make sure that it is ready be sent to potential employees!

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