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18 April 2024

Keep it short and simple

By Aimee Greaves

The reason for a cover letter is twofold – to outline what position you are applying for and to encourage any potential employer to look at your curriculum vitae.

It is a good way to introduce yourself, but get it wrong and no matter how perfect your CV is, your job application could end up in the bin. Follow these simple rules and the job offers are sure to follow:


It might sound obvious, but Keep It Short and Simple (Kiss). No potential employer is going to wade through page after page of reasons why you are the perfect person for the job. Your letter should be no more than one page and follow this paragraph format: why you are writing the letter, i.e., why you are qualified for the job, why you want to work for the company, thank them for their time and say you will follow up your application with a phone call.


Look at the job description and tailor your letter to the job to highlight your relevant experience, because there could be number of positions you could apply for with your skills.

Julian Kimber, branch manager of Logistics Recruitment, says: “An employer wants to see what you are capable of, not the job description written out. Picking out the key words in the job specification and relating them to the experience on your CV helps a lot.”


If a company sends out a letter it will do it on letter-headed paper, so you should follow suit. Make sure your address and contact number are at the top and set the letter out correctly, before signing it at the end. If you show a professional approach to begin with, you are more likely to be taken seriously.


The cover letter should complement your CV, not copy it. It is OK to highlight one or two points in it, such as professional qualifications or how your current job is the perfect stepping stone to the new position, but employers will get bored reading the same thing twice.

“Highlight your achievements rather than your responsibilities. An employer wants to see what a person is capable of doing for their business. If your job involved sorting the post and you achieved a 40 per cent increase in the speed of delivery, tell them because an employer will think if you can do it for them you can do it for me,” says Kimber.


Make sure you address your letter to the right person. Simply writing “to the manager” will not cut it. An employer will be more amenable to someone who has taken the time to find out who is in charge of applications, especially as making a phone call only takes two minutes.


Tailor each letter to the employer. You should also show some knowledge of the company because in the same way you hate mass e-mails, employers do not take kindly to broad, non-specific cover letters. Every single cover letter should be different and suit the position you are applying, says Kimber.

Where to find your perfect job

1. There are dozens of recruitment agencies in Dubai, some of which specialise while others cover a range of careers. You can often find them in trade magazines or on the internet, so register with a few to make sure you hear about new jobs before everyone else.

2. Newspapers and magazines have job sections. Look regularly as different job sectors are advertised on different days.

3. The great thing about the internet is that space is unlimited, so you are bound to find more jobs here than anywhere else. From search engines to online publications and international publications, get typing and your new role could be just a few clicks away.