The importance of cover letters

Added: 1 month ago by CGG

Not every company requires or allows cover letters as part of their application process but the majority do and a good cover letter will not only increase the likelihood of your application being accepted but is a good way to leave a positive impression with the hiring team from the very beginning. The act of putting together your cover letter will also help you better articulate why you want the role and what your relevant skills are.

Cover letters have two primary purposes: to express your interest in and understanding of the role you are applying for; and to draw the reviewers’ attention to key parts of your CV with the possibility of expanding in more detail on a particular strength, project or experience. 

Cover letters do not have to be long – a couple of paragraphs is often sufficient. Things that are good to talk about are why you chose to study your course (don’t be afraid to sound cliché as for most people it’s often simple experiences as a child or young adult from school, family or outside interests that led them into science); and what you enjoy about it most (again don’t be afraid to be genuine about your interest in some niche aspect of science such as the quantum mechanics of magnetism or predicting the shape of distant galaxies). 

It’s also important to mention what you consider your key strengths and why: pick one or two soft skills referencing extra-curricular and/or work experience; and maybe one technical based on a recent project or internship. Ideally, these should align with skills/competencies in the job advert.

Finally there is no point in telling the hiring managers things they already know about the company such as how many employees it has who work in R&D or the company vision; instead finish off by focusing on a specific technology, product or service they offer that you find genuinely fascinating (and ideally one related to the role you are applying for) and attempt to describe your understanding of its purpose & how it works and how it links to your course or work experience.