Examples of good and bad covering letters to go with CVs


Also see How to write a covering letter and CV and covering letter examples

The Good


Rosalind Franklin
8 Russell Street
MN22 8YY
7th February 2014

Mrs Matty Jenkyns
Personnel Manager
Manchester General Hospital
Hollbrook Avenue

Dear Mrs Jenkyns



Tries to find the name of the appropriate person to write to if possible

I am looking for a placement within a hospital environment from June to September of this year. I am writing to you as I understand that Manchester General Hospital may have appropriate vacancies available. I have a strong interest in laboratory procedures and clinical diagnostics which I understand are predominantly carried out at this hospital. As I live only 5 miles from your site, travel and accommodation would not be a problem for me.



States the job she's applying for.

States when she's available to start and end the placement

I first became interested in the hospital environment after a school visit to your site.  I was taken on a tour around the laboratories where the differing techniques used in testing clinical samples for patients were demonstrated.  Since then, discussion with my careers adviser has confirmed my decision to aim for a career in this field.



Says why she's interested in the type of work

Through my degree course, I have been able to develop my interest in biochemistry, whilst improving my laboratory skills along with my numeracy skills. I have gained some experience in HPLC and have good computing skills, having used several scientific databases. I achieved 68% in my first year examinations and am hoping to achieve a high 2:1 for my course work this year. While at University, I have also been able to utilise my skills in working with people through a variety of vacation jobs. My work at a busy insurance office was valuable in teaching me the importance of ascertaining customers’ needs and providing clear and accurate information.



Summarises her strengths and how they might be an advantage to the organisation.

Relates her skills to the job.

I would be most grateful if you could consider me for any suitable positions. I will be available for interview at any time and am at my home address in Cranford from late May onwards. At all other times I can be contacted at my college address. Please find enclosed my CV where you will find further information.

Yours sincerely

Rosalind Franklin



Mentions dates she would be available for interview

Thanks the employer and mentions an enclosed CV


The Bad


Dear Sir or Madam


  • Doesn't give the name of the person he's applying to. It's not essential to do this, but may suggest a slight lack of initiative. Hasn't proof read the letter.

I am about to complete my English and American Literature degree at the University of Kent, with a prospective result of a 2:1.

As a literature student, I have a strong love of books of all types and see work in a bookshop as a career area which would be a good starting point for a career in publishing which is my eventual career aim.


  • Admits that bookselling is not what he really wants to do.
  • Repeats the word career three times in one sentence.

I have good experience of retail, having worked as a shelf stacker for Sainsburies. I have studied modules in Shakespeare, War Poets, Dickens and Creative Writing all of which I feel give me valuable knowledge. My interests include reading, playing computer games and stamp collecting and I am currently reading Robbie Williams' thought-provoking autobiography.


  • Hardly relevant experience! No mention of any experience working in a team or serving customers. Comes across as a passive loner.

I am writing speculatively in the hope that you may consider me for any full-time vacancies that may arise in your store. I'm interested especialy in the retail side of a bookstore: interacting with customers and seeing where the modern tastes for literature lay.


  • Spelling mistake: hasn't used a spell checker and not really forgivable for someone who has studied a literature degree

I would be available to work from the beginning of June of this year. I have previous retail experience and believe that this, combined with my knowledge of and interest in books could be rewarding both to your store and to myself.

Yours faithfully

Frank Harrison


  • A lot of repetition here. States again about his love of books and his previous retail experience.


..... And the downright ugly!


Deer Sir or Madman

I have wanted to join .................. (space for him to insert the company name) ........ to work as a ........

(another space for him to insert the job title) ........ from an early age as you are a big prestigious employer

that lots of people want to work for and you offer high salaries. I also would like to work in another

country and you are a global company.

Hoping to hear from you shorty.



The worst covering letter I ever saw was from a graduate who had applied to over 80 jobs and was genuinely puzzled as to why he hadn't been invited to a single interview!

The letter, of which he had made 100 identical copies, went something like this one.


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