Solicitor cover letter dos and don’ts
Don’t use a template
If you’re applying for lots of positions at once, it is best to avoid using the same cover letter with only minor tweaks for every application. It looks as though you’ve taken a blanket approach to applying for jobs, rather than taking the time to research the firm and the role. Write each new cover letter from scratch.
Do keep it concise
Cover letters need not go on for pages and pages - you’ll convey your experience and qualifications in your CV, so there’s no point telling the recruiter what they will find out later anyway. It’s fine to just put when you’re available, a brief sentence detailing your current firm, as well as addressing the all-important point of which job you’re applying for…
Don’t attach it to the email!
If you’re sending out your cover letter and CV via email, there’s no reason to attach both documents to an email, and be left with the debate of what to put in the body of the email. Your cover letter goes in the body of the email, and you attach your CV as an external file.
Do research the job and firm first
The easiest way to take your application out of the running is to get a key detail about the firm/recruiter/job wrong in your cover letter. Read the job description, research the firm itself by visiting its website, and try to identify the name of the person who is going to be reading application emails, so you can address it to the right individual. It’s a great way to show that you’re serious about the firm and have a vested interest in actually working there.
Don’t send it off with errors
You don’t want the literal first thing your employer ever reads from you to be riddled with spelling, grammar and formatting errors. Compose your cover letter in a word processor and do a thorough spell check - then proofread it a few times yourself. It can help to read aloud, as it slows down your reading speed, highlighting mistakes you may have missed. Once your spelling and grammar check is complete, format your cover letter so that all fonts, sizes and line spacing are consistent, and the whole thing reads easily on screen.
Do integrate your skills
Rather than simply devoting a paragraph to a list of things that you’re good at, it’s good to work your positive attributes into the letter, showcasing them throughout. If you’re a good communicator, put your skills to good use by being direct, concise and clear in the letter itself. If you’re good at research, demonstrate this by explaining briefly what it is about the firm that has attracted you to apply.