People often underestimate the importance of a good cover letter.

They’ll happily spend hours crafting their CV to perfection but don’t show the same level of dedication to writing a high-quality cover letter. But this can seriously impact their chances of being invited for interview, as recruiters can be so put off by a poor cover letter that they might not even read the CV.

It’s worth investing time into perfecting yours. So, if you want to make sure that you impress the recruiter with a top-quality law graduate cover letter, then these three tips will help you:

 

Focus on the purpose of the cover letter 

The cover letter is even more important when there are large volumes of applicants for roles. A good cover letter is like a teaser that leaves the reader wanting to find out more about the applicant. It is your first opportunity to sell yourself and build a rapport with the recruiter, outside of the more structured CV format. 

However, one of the key mistakes made by law graduates is to tell their life story in the cover letter. Your cover letter should be succinct at straight to the point and you should include it in the body of your email, rather than as an attachment so that the recruiter can immediately see it. 

A good cover letter doesn’t need to be any longer than two paragraphs, and you should use your email subject line to make a real impact too, e.g. ‘Award-winning law graduate with 3 years of business law experience’.

 

Optimise the structure

To ensure your cover letter is succinct and includes the right content, follow this suggested structure:

  • Address the recipient – Use ‘Hi {Recruiter name’}’ to start the email.
  • Follow it up with a friendly greeting such as ‘Hope you’re well’, as this helps to build rapport.
  • State which role you are applying for.
  • Explain what makes you suitable for the job (a very brief summary of your experience/law training).
  • Explain your motivations for applying (what do you like, specifically, about the company or role in question?).
  • Sign off in a friendly but professional way e.g. ‘Kind regards’.
  • Include a professional signature at the bottom that includes your full name, tel no. and email address.

 

Target your content

Just like in your CV, the cover letter should be targeted specifically to the role. So, if it’s a family law role, include your experience, even if it was purely during your studies, in that field. 

If you’re applying for multiple law roles, don’t be tempted to use the same cover letter. The recruiter will see it is generic and not tailored to the role. 

As a graduate, you will have less experience to include, so describe your education and transferable skills, as well as the experience from your work placements. You should focus on hard skills, as opposed to your soft skills within your cover letter i.e. include your qualifications and law industry experience.

Within your letter, you should explain your current situation to let them know whether you are still studying, or if you are immediately available for the role. Ensure that you are clear about why you want the role, by describing your main motivation for applying so the recruiter can see your eagerness to work for them.

If you follow these three essential tips for writing your law graduate cover letter, then you should be able to persuade the recruiter to read your CV and be on track to win that interview. 

 

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Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.

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