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The Cover Letter demystified

Convince the prospective employer that you’re the perfect choice for that role. Your cover letter explains how your CV and background make you the right candidate for the position. Read on to discover how to write an attention-grabbing cover letter.

Write one paragraph of your cover letter at a time

Paragraph 1: What are you applying for and how did you find out about it?

State the position you’re applying for, and tell the employer how you found out about the position. This will help them out by letting them know how they’re advertising or networking systems are working.

Your first paragraph could end up being as simple as this:

I am excited to apply for a position as a Pharmacy Intern at your pharmacy in 2013. Our telephone conversation, and my recent placement at Levin Pharmacy, encouraged me to put forward an application for this position.

Paragraph 2: Why you’ve decided to work for them

Explain your reason for applying, and then relate it to your history and skills. This will give your cover letter a context that is personal to you – something like this:


During our recent telephone conversation, I noted particularly that Huntly Pharmacy has a strong community focus. My previous experience in customer service and retail roles has developed and strengthened my ability to communicate with customers, in a range of settings and of diverse dispositions and cultural backgrounds, to meet their particular needs. I would welcome the opportunity to combine this background with my knowledge of the pharmacy industry, and to transfer these skills into the setting of your busy community pharmacy.

Paragraph 3: What you can offer them

Use the job description to select something that’s important to them. Describe how your previous experience/skills/values or motivations could make you awesome in the role and their company.


The role of a community pharmacist is of critical importance to the wellbeing of the patients in its community. With the safety of patients at risk, it is important that the pharmacist is enthusiastic and dedicated to their role. I believe that I fit this description; I cherished my experience during my community pharmacy placement, and found it had a profound effect on me. I enjoy patient interaction and being able to see that I have made a positive impact on a patient’s life. The idea of contributing to the team dynamic of your pharmacy to serve the Huntly community, and developing my skills further with the support and guidance of your team, is thus particularly attractive to me.

Paragraph 4: Open a dialogue with your potential employer

Note documents enclosed

First, note the documents that you’ve attached in a brief sentence like this:

Please find my curriculum vitae and application form enclosed.

Don’t be passive, let them know they need you

Don’t forget that you have something to offer them as much as they have something to offer you! Don’t put yourself in a passive, inferior role by saying that you ‘look forward to hearing from’ them. Instead, create equality by becoming an equal participant, but also acknowledge that they’re putting in some effort here too. Something more like this:
I appreciate your consideration, and look forward to discussing this opportunity with you further.

So, in the end, you paragraph may look something like this:

Please find my curriculum vitae and application form enclosed. I appreciate your consideration, and look forward to discussing this opportunity with you further.

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Go for perfect presentation

Presentation pointers:

  • An ill-prepared cover letter signals to the employer that you may be ill-prepared for work. So ensure your presentation, grammar, punctuation, spelling is perfect. It is preferable to get someone else to check as well so that all mistakes are corrected
  • Try to keep it short – one page is about right
  • Use good quality paper and a good quality printer
  • Use a computer unless it is specified that your letter should be hand-written
  • Direct your application to a particular person by name. If the advertisement gives a position to which you should apply, e.g., Human Resources Manager, ring the organisation and ask for the name and title of the person. Ensure that you get the correct spelling of the person's name
  • Make sure your name, address and phone number are presented clearly and accurately
  • Don't forget to sign the letter