Creating a good covering letter is vital for making a good first impression when you are applying for a student support job, and it gives you the opportunity to position your CV and why you should be selected for an interview. Sometimes, a job will ask for this to be included in the application, but it is recommended you use one wherever possible.

Your overall objective should be to highlight what you have to offer the prospective employer, be clear and provide a summary of your skills rather than repeat your CV.

How to write a cover letter.

Before writing your covering letter, research the college or university you are applying to work with. You can find out about the institution on their website - usually under an ‘About Us’ or ‘News/Media’ section. 

This will tell you how they see themselves, and what they look for in their staff. You can also see if there’s been any recent news stories; or use good reference websites such as Wikipedia.

What to include in a cover letter.

The structure: a covering letter is exactly that, a letter.  Therefore, it should be in a smart format.  

Start off with your name and contact details, the name and job title of the recipient (if known), company name and address and date your letter. If you cannot find out the recipient’s name, use ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.

Subject: include the job title and reference number.

If you are sending a speculative CV and covering letter, make sure you do your research on the institution and always direct your application to the appropriate person. Your content should include:

  • Why you are interested in the role 
  • Why you are suitable for the role - experiences, skills, what you like about the university or college
  • Your strengths including relevant qualifications and/or experience, highlighting how your skills match their requirements - look at the job description or advert, to identify the skills, qualifications or personal traits that they’re really looking for, and tell them why you have those.
  • A positive conclusion, highlighting your confidence in applying for the role 

Remember, this could be your only opportunity to make an impression on a potential employer, so customise your CV and covering letter for each job application. Make sure you carefully check that there are no grammar, spelling and typing errors.  Ask a friend to take a look for you as they may spot something you have overlooked. Listen to any feedback you get; if it works, keep it. If it doesn't, change it.