How to write a covering letter for law

lot of job applications are now done online in fancy, new-fangled, digital application forms. However, many companies still favour the traditional CV and cover letter application combo. Whether it’s a speculative

  • Last updated 08-Aug-2016 12:18:52
  • By Jack Collins, Project Manager, AllAboutLaw.co.uk

A lot of job applications are now done online in fancy, new-fangled, digital application forms. However, many companies still favour the traditional CV and cover letter application combo.

Whether it’s a speculative application, or one targeted at a specific job advertisement, the covering letter is a key ingredient in this process! 

So, how do you stand out from the overstuffed pile?

This article takes a look at how to write a covering letter for all those companies that are keeping it real and asking you to tell them all about your employability on just one page of A4. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

> If you're keen to find out more about those companies, you can head over to our Law Jobs section.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

What's the point of a cover letter?

The covering letter is the paper equivalent of those initial few seconds when we meet someone new. Much is judged upon little!

The ultimate aim of the covering letter is to politely scream “choose me”, in a way that convinces an employer that you are worthy of them offering you an interview. No pressure then!

What does an employer want?

Let’s take a second to consider the employer’s perspective:

“I want someone that is perfect for the job as soon as possible with the minimum amount of fuss or hassle. That means don’t waste my time, don’t waffle and get straight to the point.”

If you fail to fit within any of the above criteria, then you’ll be given short shrift from the employer.

That means shift F7 is definitely out of the question for this one! When creating you covering letter masterpiece, it is important that you follow a clear structure.

Outlined below is a template that most recruitment consultancies and employers recommend:

1) Who are you & why are you writing to me?

You must let them know this within the first few lines of your covering letter; otherwise it is unlikely they will go any further.

E.g. “My name is Joe Gissajob and I’m writing to apply for the position of Editorial Assistant that I saw advertised on the XYZ website.”

2) Why do you want the job?

Be honest. Discuss what excites you about the specific job responsibilities. Demonstrate your enthusiasm in an original but appropriate way.

3) What attracts you to the company & the position you are applying for?

Mentioning money is probably not the best thing to do here. Employers will be far more receptive to your application if you have taken the time to understand their business and how the role you are applying for will fit into it.

4) Why should you be offered the job?

The elders of a settlement in rural India may have honoured you for your efforts in preparing their village for the monsoon season, but can you use Outlook and Excel?

Don’t simply see this section as an opportunity to put down every achievement since primary school on the page.

It must be relevant to the work you will be doing for them, and it must encourage them to read on.

Consider selecting three or four qualities that you possess which match the needs of the job.

Be wary of exaggerating anything though. You’ll soon be found out if you didn’t actually invent the chip and pin device!

Conclusion

Briefly detail any practical issues that might need to be addressed. If they specify you must have a clean driving license, this is your opportunity to let them know.

To summarise, when writing your covering letter: be concise, tailor it to the job specification and talk up the relevant qualities you possess that make you ideal for the position. Most importantly though, good luck!

More like this

  • Law referencesBy Becky Kells, Editor, AllAboutLaw.co.uk

    is the difference between a referee and a reference? A referee is a person who knows you, either in a professional or a personal capacity. A reference is an account of

  • Medical Negligence Law: how do I get into it?By Sara Duxbury, Head of People, Fletchers Solicitors

    negligence is widely considered to be one of the most competitive areas of law to enter. To get ahead of the crowd, aspiring lawyers considering a career in this field

  • How to write a covering letter for work experienceBy Jack Collins, Project Manager, AllAboutLaw.co.uk

    every employer will ask for “relevant work experience” as part of their candidate requirements. However, that creates another issue: how do you convince somebody to take you on for a week

  • Online applications & how to survive the training contract application processBy James Lancaster, Associate Solicitor

    year a typical corporate/commercial law firm will receive umpteen thousand applications for the handful or so of training contracts that they have on offer. The process is, in short, a

  • How to deal with vacation scheme applicationsBy Jennifer Overhaus, Former partner of a US law firm

    you may feel pressure to complete as many vacation scheme applications as possible, remember to focus on quality over quantity. Prior to beginning any application you should have thoroughly researched the