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How to write the perfect cover letter [2024 Ireland]

Perhaps you’re searching for your next exciting job. Or you want to find a company where you feel more invested in their team. You want to craft a personal career that you’re proud of, where you progress through the interview feeling valued by the hiring manager and sure that taking the next step was a great idea.

But why is it that the hiring manager keeps overlooking your application?


The cover letter: an overlooked problem

An often neglected facet of a job application is the cover letter. Many good candidates are held back because they do not know how to attract the attention of the hiring manager by writing a strong cover letter.

The cover letter is the first step towards gaining the career of your dreams, but a badly put together attempt can ruin the chances of even the best candidate.

The hiring manager you are approaching may well receive hundreds of cover letters, and if you don’t write a cover letter that stands out from the crowd, you may be overlooked, even though you are the right person for the job.

A well written cover letter is a vital step towards success in your job application. But you are probably wondering how to write a successful cover letter. Luckily, at CareerWise, we are experts in helping you navigate every step of the job search process, from job description to dream job. Here is our guide for how to write a cover letter.


Understand the format

The first step for how to write a cover letter involves understanding the context and format you should be writing in. For a formal application scenario, it is good to demonstrate your knowledge of correct formal letter writing. Be sure to include your name, address and contact details (email address and telephone number) in the top right hand corner of the page. Include the date below this.

Next, include the contact details of the person you are writing to (usually the hiring manager). These should be in a new paragraph, set to the right of the page. Include their job title, and the company name and address.

If you have been given a job reference number, include this underneath the contact details.

A great cover letter demonstrates straight away that the writer understands the conventions of the recruitment process.


Be specific

If you can learn the name of hiring manager or other person in charge of the application process, and address your letter specifically to them, it creates a much better first impression. Grab the hiring manager’s attention in less than a minute and demonstrate your problem solving skills by discovering their name and making your letter personal. Research this on the job ad, in the team information of the company’s website, or through social media profiles.

If you are forced to simply address “Dear Sir / Madam”, try and personalise your letter in other ways, to demonstrate your genuine interest in the role, rather than appear to be a generic application.


Grab attention

Hit the ground running and make a brilliant first impression. Make your suitability and enthusiasm for the role clear from your very first sentence. Start writing using the hiring manager’s name, and go on to highlight your proven track record for each of the job requirements.

However, remember the hiring manager has your entire application to read through, so no need to list every relevant accomplishment. Instead, pick something more anecdotal that stands out and relates you to the company. Include this in your second paragraph, in the main body of the letter, to keep things interesting.


Do your research

Make sure you know as much as possible about the role and the company you are applying to. Cover letters act as your introduction to hiring managers; you need to make clear your relevant skills and the qualities that help you stand out from other job seekers. But this is also about how you will fit in to company culture, and how you can show that you are great match because of your interest in this particular employer.

Your research into the company is doubly valuable, as you will need the knowledge later on for the interview process, but having it now will make your cover letter much more convincing. Find out:

  • what the company does
  • who are their competitors?
  • who are their target audience?
  • what does the role involve?
  • what are the essential skills you will need for the role?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to demonstrate exactly how you can fill the company’s requirements.



One of the key things when you are learning how to write a cover letter is to think about the design. Browse cover letter examples or even use a cover letter template to create something that is attractive to look at.

Make sure you use an easy-to-read font, and a simple, clear layout. Create a document that is a pleasure to look at, and gives an impression of your professionalism. Demonstrate another aspect of your communication skills by making your cover letter look great.

A hiring manager will have a whole pile of cover letters to get through. Don’t make their job harder work. Do not use joke fonts such as Comic Sans, or include unnecessary elements such as pictures.


Don’t repeat yourself

Your covering letter’s role is to introduce your C.V. There is no point in simply repeating everything your C.V. contains. Instead, use this as an opportunity to showcase other skills that make you suitable for the role, that you couldn’t include in your C.V.

Perhaps you could mention volunteering or charity work, a particular interest or hobby, or even an occasion where you have been impressed by the company you are applying to. This is a chance to set the tone of your application, and make yours stand out from the crowd.


Refer to a sample cover letter

When learning how to write a cover letter, it’s a good idea to look at lots of cover letter examples, to get a feel of what to aim for. Writing a cover letter is a real skill, but it’s one well worth learning if you are hoping to attract enough attention from the hiring manager to progress your job application to the next stage.

There are lots of tips and good cover letter examples out there, so do your research and ace the job.


Keep the job description on hand

In a cover letter, you have a very limited amount of time and space to make the right impression. So keep things concise and on track by referring back constantly to the job description and any other information you have about how to apply for the job.

A good cover letter demonstrates to the hiring manager that you tick all the boxes for the advertised role. So make sure that, from your opening paragraph to your final paragraph, everything you write is relevant.


Be concise

Despite the point above, don’t start rambling! There will be many other applicants to the job, and you don’t want to irritate the hiring manager by making them wade through your essay before they even look at the substance of your application. Try and keep it as concise as possible, maintaining a clear format with spacious line breaks for ease of reading. Your cover letter should be a few well chosen sentences, grouped into brief paragraphs, and should never be longer than a single page.


Check your letter!

You might have written the best cover letter ever, but if you don’t go back and double check the basics, you’re in trouble. The best writing can be let down by simple typos, which from the hiring manager’s perspective will suggest you completed the cover letter in a hurry and without much effort.

So once you have written your letter, go back and re-read it. Use spell check, use your personal grammar skills, and perhaps get your housemate or highly literate friend to check it over for you too. A lot is riding on it – use all your resources to ensure you get it right.



A clear structure can help you articulate what you need to say as effectively and briefly as possible. You could consider the following layout:

  • Explain why you are getting in touch – say which role you are applying for, and mention if anyone referred you
  • Explain why you are suitable for the job – for instance, your years of relevant experience.
  • Explain what you can do for the company – perhaps mention a previous example of career success that you didn’t include in your C.V.
  • Reiterate – you could close by briefly restating your enthusiasm for the role.
  • Sign off with the correct formal closing. “Yours sincerely” is the most established formal letter closing phrase, but implies that you have previously had some interaction with the recipient. “Yours faithfully” is traditionally used where you are writing to someone you don’t know.While writing a cover letter tends to address a hiring manager who you have most likely not met, in modern times formality has relaxed slightly. It is now common to sign off with “kind regards” or “best regards”, which both show a polite level of professional friendliness.

 Are you looking for a new job in Ireland?

Whether you are just starting out on your career journey, or you are in a more established phase of life, it’s never too late to brush up your skills and learn how to write a cover letter properly. The hiring manager at your next role will thank you for it!

If you’re hoping to discover your next employer, need to learn how to write a cover letter, or simply want to get beyond a job description and into your next role, look to CareerWise.

CareerWise is Ireland’s leading specialist recruitment firm, based in Cork, Shannon, Galway, Mayo and Dublin – bringing together employers with the perfect employees. We specialise in the Engineering, Supply Chain, Science/Pharma, IT and Accounting industries in Ireland, and we look forward to working with you. Contact us online now or call us on +353 (0)21 206 1900 to arrange a consultatio


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CareerWise Recruitment. EastGate Village, EastGate, Little Island, Cork.

Phone: +353 (0) 21 206 1900