Skill up: Cover letter template for your first job

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We've told you how to write a good cover letter but now you might be wondering "What on Earth should it look like?". If you're applying for your first job and have no experience, it can be hard to figure out how to structure it. 

Well, luckily for you, we've come up with a helpful cover letter template to get you inspired. Remember, a good cover letter is unique to you and each job you apply for, so use our example for inspiration but follow the tips below to write your own.

OK, let’s get started. It’s probably best to print off our cover letter template so you can have it alongside you while you write your own. To do this:

  1. Right click the image.
  2. Select “Open image in new tab” – a new tab should open automatically.
  3. Press Ctrl and P on your keyboard, and follow the steps to print out the cover letter example.

How to use our cover letter template

Now you’re going to have a go at writing a really good cover letter by following the structure of ours!

1. Letter-writing basics

As you can see, we include the following bits of information in our cover letter example:

  • Employer's address top left: This is where you include the address of the person you're writing to in any letter.
  • Applicant's address and details top right: Whenever you write a letter, always include your own address at the top right, opposite the address of the person you're writing to. Also include your phone number, and your email address too if you have one.
  • Date under your address: We haven't included it here, but to really spruce up your letter, include the date underneath your contact details.

Saying hello: As in our example, start off with "Dear" followed by the name of the person you're writing to (this is called a salutation). Use their name if you know it (it might even be worth a phone call to the employer to find out). If you don't know and can't find out, address it to the "Hiring Manager".

Saying goodbye: There are lots of ways to end a letter, and sometimes the rules can be confusing. We suggest you stick with “Sincerely” – while it’s polite, it doesn’t sound unnatural like “Faithfully” or “Yours truly”.

2. Starting off: Introduce yourself

We begin the example by referencing the job title, where the job was advertised, and saying a little bit about the applicant and why they’re applying for the job. As you can see, you don’t need much – just a few lines – but this is the way to begin any good cover letter.

But don’t just make it all about you – think about why the employer should hire you. And remember, they could be busy – you need to give them a reason to carry on reading your application! 

3. The meat: Why you’re a good fit

In our template, you can see that we go into a bit more detail about why the applicant wants the job. Now’s your chance to show the employer why you care about the role, and why this means you’d make a good member of the team.

Next, we talk about why the applicant’s experience proves that they would be good at the job. Here, you can talk about any transferable skills you might have picked up in lessons, or in a club or society you take part in outside of school.

Don’t just list your skills: keep it brief and remember to make this relevant to the role – in our cover letter example, we focus on communications and teamwork skills which are useful in a customer service job.

If you’re struggling, here are some examples of where you might have picked up different kinds of skills:

  • In lessons: Presenting, teamwork, communication, independent working.
  • In a sports club: Teamwork, strategy, planning, leadership and people skills.
  • At drama society: Public speaking, teamwork, remembering information.
  • In a part-time job at the corner shop: Punctuality, reliability, customer service, people skills.

4. Rounding off: Thank the reader

In our template, we finish up by thanking the hiring manager for taking the time to read the application. This is courteous and shows that you care about the role.

We close our example by giving the hiring manager a reason to get in touch – by reminding them that our skills are relevant to the job. But make sure you’ve already listed these skills earlier on.

Find out about the different bits of a good cover letter in more detail.

More help with your first job application...

How to write a cover letter

My first CV template

How to write a CV

CV dos and don'ts

How long should a cover letter be?

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