This article will explain what a covering letter is and provide some basic tips for writing a covering letter. It will also tell you where you can find further help and guidance with covering letters. 

Covering letters are used to support and introduce applications for jobs, work placements, and sometimes courses of study. They may also be used speculatively, to enquire whether an organisation may be able to offer work experience or job opportunities. Basically, the covering letter will accompany a CV, application form or some other type of documentation required by an employer or other recruiter.

The University of Portsmouth’s employability service, Purple Door is here to help you with all aspects of applying for jobs including help with your covering letter.

What do I include in my covering letter?

  • It should be no more than one side of A4.
  • Target it towards the employer and the job. Show knowledge of the position applied for, company and how you fit the role.
  • Use the covering letter to highlight relevant information from your CV – but don't just copy and paste.
  • You can use the covering letter to explain any concerns that arise in your CV, such as gaps in your employment history.
  • Make sure the paragraphs are short and clearly themed.
  • Wherever possible, you should address the covering letter to a named person. If necessary, ring the employer to find out the name of the person you should be writing to.

Do you have an example covering letter?

Purple Door have written an in-depth guide to writing a covering letter with some examples to give you an idea about the layout and important things to include. 

To view the guide please visit our website.

Where can I get my covering letter reviewed?

Purple Door, the University of Portsmouth’s employability service, have a dedicated team of friendly, experienced advisers on hand to talk to you. You can drop-in at Purple Door at any time during our opening hours or call us on +44 (0) 23 9284 2684. You can also access a wide range of information and advice on our website at www.port.ac.uk/purpledoor.

How to contact us

Visit us at:

Purple Door

University of Portsmouth

28 Guildhall Walk

Portsmouth

PO1 2DD

Opening hours:

Monday–Thursday: 8.30am–5.15pm

Friday: 8.30am–4.15pm

Telephone or Email:

t: +44 (0) 23 9284 2684

e: purpledoor@port.ac.uk

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