- Skip to content
How to write winning covering letters for law firms
targetjobs editorial team
Last updated: 24 Mar 2023, 17:42
When applying for a training contract or vacation scheme, your covering letter may be the first part of your application a law firm considers.
Your covering letter creates a powerful first impression, so make it easy for the recruiter to see that you have strong potential as a lawyer.
Many law graduate jobs at solicitors’ firms in the UK will ask you to apply for a training contract with a covering letter. Read this advice from recruiters at Slaughter and May, Cleary Gottlieb and Ince & Co, then follow our law cover letter template.
Some recruiters will want you to upload your covering letter as part of an online application form (such as Baker McKenzie and Jones Day), while others – usually smaller, high street law firms – will want you to send the letter alongside a CV (see our law CV example here ).
- Cover letter template: see our annotated law covering letter sample for more tips and format examples .
How to write a law cover letter tip #1: use the letter to explain why you want to be a solicitor at that particular law firm
A covering letter is a golden opportunity to explain your motivations for becoming a lawyer and for applying to that specific firm. ‘My advice is to use the cover letter to introduce yourself and to explain why you are applying to that firm,' says Janine Arnold, trainee recruitment manager at Slaughter and May . ‘Be sure to include any additional information that you feel is relevant to your application.’
If you’re uploading a covering letter as part of a larger application form you should avoid repeating examples you’ve used to answer questions on the form. Give as broad a picture of your skills and experience as possible and only repeat something if you think it is particularly significant to that law firm. Your covering letter is an introduction to get the recruiter’s attention – a sample of your potential, if you like – not your overall application.
‘A well-written, succinct, persuasive covering letter crafted by an aspiring trainee solicitor who has really thought about the firm stands out,’ says Nichola Rowe, director of legal human resources at Cleary Gottlieb . ‘Ask yourself: what sets this firm apart from other law firms and how do my individual skills and experiences marry with that firm?’.
How to write a law cover letter tip #2: how long should it be?
A covering letter should be a maximum of one page, with a font size of 11 or 12. Slaughter and May ’s Janine Arnold agrees: ‘A lengthy covering letter is not necessary; aim for it to be no longer than one side of A4.' Remember that some firms will give a word count for the covering letter they want you to write as part of your application. It's important to stick to that word count. It shows that you can write succinctly and follow instructions.
Get the insights and skills you need to shape your career journey with Pathways. We’ll show you exactly what goes into a convincing cover letter, so you can give yourself the best chance of getting to the next stage of the application process.
How to write a law cover letter tip #3: the format law firms like
The best law cover letter examples have a clear structure, such as:
1. The introduction to your cover letter
Introduce yourself, explain what stage you are at in your degree course (including the university you’re attending), state that you are applying for a training contract and where you read about the law firm. This should only be a sentence or two.
2. A paragraph on why you want to work at that law firm
The second paragraph should cover why you want to be a solicitor and why you want to work for that law firm in particular. Highlight any experiences you’ve had that have convinced you that you want to be a solicitor, such as vacation schemes, open days or insight days. You can even mention mini-pupillages – it will impress graduate recruiters if you’ve put the effort into comparing the two sides of the legal profession, as long as you have good reasons for picking a career as a solicitor (this could come up at interview).
Make it clear why you want to work in the particular area of law that the firm focuses on. For example, if it’s a commercial firm you’ll want to draw on any work experience you’ve had at other commercial firms. Show off your research about the firm by explaining your interest in their main legal practice areas – don’t just say ‘I am interested in shipping law’, for example, but provide evidence of that interest.
You might also want to mention the firm’s training structure. Some firms will have compulsory seats, in which case you’ll need to show an interest in those areas. If you’ve chosen a firm that doesn’t have compulsory seats, or has no seat structure at all (such as Jones Day for example), then you could explain why this appeals to you above a more defined training contract structure.
3. A paragraph highlighting why you're a good fit for the law firm
Next, you need to pitch yourself to the recruiter. Make it clear that you are suited to a career as a solicitor: highlight achievements that show you have the competencies the firm has asked for. If the firm hasn’t specified exactly what it's looking for, see our article here on the skills most legal recruiters want from applicants. Don’t just say ‘I have good communication skills’ – you need to mention an achievement that hinged on your use of those skills.
4. The ending to your law covering letter
Close by referring the recruiter to your CV or application and stating your availability for interview(s) or assessment centre(s).
How to write a law cover letter tip #4: explain any extenuating circumstances
'Covering letters should also explain any mitigating circumstances relating to exam results and to address any questions that you may reasonably expect to arise from your application, such as any gaps in your CV,’ explains Janine.
How to write a law cover letter tip #5: proofread your cover letter before you hit ‘send’
Once you’ve put your covering letter together, don’t be tempted to rush it off. Ask friends, family and your university careers adviser to check it. ‘There is no good excuse for spelling errors, especially when you’re applying for a job that requires scrupulous attention to detail,’ points out a legal recruitment adviser at Ince & Co . ‘The number of applications we receive that contain errors is surprising. Your application is all we’ve got to go on, so you owe it to yourself to ensure it’s not let down by something so easily avoidable.’
Remember that law firms will be judging your ability to communicate professionally with clients on the professionalism of your covering letter – you’re making a pitch, just like you would do as a practising lawyer.
Legal recruiters at major law firms read through hundreds, if not thousands, of applications from aspiring trainee solicitors each year and will only spend a minute or so reading your covering letter. Some recruiters say that they make their decision paragraph by paragraph – if you haven't impressed upon them that you would be a good fit for their firm halfway through the cover letter, they might not even read the rest. Your covering letter creates a powerful first impression, so make it easy for the recruiter to see that you have strong potential as a solicitor by following the tips above.
In other news: Massive changes to the way solicitors qualify are on the horizon. Do you know how they will affect you? Find out here .
targetjobs editorial advice
This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.
People reading this also searched for roles in these areas:
- Law graduate jobs
Related careers advice
We've got you
- Log in
- Site search
Writing a legal CV and cover letter
If you want to succeed in the competitive field of law, it helps if you get the basics right. To ensure your applications don't fail at the first hurdle learn how to craft a strong legal CV and cover letter
When it comes to selling your qualifications, skills and experience to potential employers your CV and cover letter are your shop window.
Despite many firms now using online forms for their applications, a CV and cover letter are important as they allow you to gather all your information in one place. They're also useful for speculative or ad hoc opportunities. Having a strong up-to-date CV and cover letter means you will be ready for any opportunity which might arise.
What should I include in my legal CV?
Your legal CV should be around two pages in length, and follow this general structure:
- Personal details - At the top of the page, include details such as your name, address, email and telephone number.
- Education and qualifications - Detail any professional memberships (e.g. the Law Society) or qualifications you possess, such as the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) or the Legal Practice Course (LPC) . List your degree, A-levels and GCSEs; when discussing the former, mention the areas of law that you studied while at university and state your dissertation title.
- Work experience - Profile your work history, including the organisation you worked for and its location, plus your job title and, if applicable, your practice areas. Describe your key tasks and responsibilities, paying close attention to the significant results of your actions. You could separate your work experience into different categories, such as legal, commercial and voluntary . Use your law work experience to demonstrate your passion for a career in the field, and your part-time work to exhibit your transferable skills such as commercial awareness.
- IT and language skills - Outline your level of proficiency with relevant software packages such as Microsoft Word and Excel and mention any additional languages that you speak.
- Activities and interests - Avoid listing irrelevant hobbies such as reading or listening to music. Instead, discuss your involvement in sporting teams and other organisations, highlighting any positions of responsibility you've held or awards you've gained. Experiences - such as starting a new club or society at university - can help you stand out.
- Referees - You don't necessarily need to give references at this stage. Stating 'references available on request' will usually suffice.
'Make sure your CV is in chronological order with your most recent work experience and education at the top of each section,' advises Katherine Sharp, early careers manager at Dentons.
As a general rule your CV should contain facts, while your cover letter provides the narrative around the facts.
For more advice on what abilities recruiters in the legal sector are looking for, see 7 skills for a successful law career .
How do I fine tune my law CV?
'Law firms receive thousands of applications. The best advice is to make it easy for the person reviewing your application by having clear sections with heading, including all of the relevant information so they don’t have to contact you for more detail,' explains Katherine. 'Make sure that it is consistently formatted with a simple layout. Sell yourself, don't just say 'I worked for X firm as a Y.' Tell us what you actually did, the skills you developed and what you achieved.'
As well as following the above advice, you should also ensure that your CV is:
- presented using bold sub-headings and bullet points
- if necessary, printed on good-quality paper
- read by a friend, family member or careers adviser before submission
- submitted well before the deadline
- typed in size-11 Arial, or a similarly clear and professional-looking font.
It doesn't matter if you're completing a bespoke application form or drafting your own legal CV, the basics stay the same. You need to:
- Pay attention to detail - 'Double check spelling and grammar – a lack of attention to detail will inevitably mean that you do not progress to the next stage of the recruitment process,' says Katherine. Ask someone else (a family member, friend or careers adviser) to check your work. After all, spelling a firm's name incorrectly doesn't give the best first impression.
- Remember that relevant work experience doesn't always have to be legal - Other types of work and volunteering experience can demonstrate that you are customer-focused, well organised, a good team player and a successful problem solver. Firms like to see what you have been up to outside of your studies. Rather than thinking 'I have no experience' try to work out how to articulate the experience you do have in a way that firms will see as relevant.
For more tips on how to write a good CV see how to write a CV .
What should I leave out of a legal CV?
When writing a law CV, you shouldn't:
- leave any unexplained gaps in your career history
- add too much detail
- include 'personal details such as your date of birth, marital status, nationality or a photo,' says Katherine.
- include your age, gender, marital status etc. as these are irrelevant details and recruiters don't like to see them included
- use overly outlandish formatting
- use pictures or tables
- write bland profile or objective sections
- write 'CV' or 'curriculum vitae' at the top.
It should go without saying, but also avoid lying on your CV. Be authentic. Integrity in law is everything.
How do I write a legal cover letter?
As the number of applications often far outweighs the number of jobs available, writing a strong cover letter is essential for any law career, as it helps to persuade employers that you'd be a fantastic recruit. It should be one page long, and:
- demonstrate your knowledge of the law firm and wider legal sector
- elaborate on your key skills, experiences and characteristics, without simply repeating your CV
- explain why you aspire to work for the organisation.
Bear in mind that employers look at your legal cover letter as an indication of your written communication, so make it interesting.
Write about why you want to work for a particular firm. For example, if you're applying to a niche sports law firm have you had work experience with a sports company or are you part of any sports teams or clubs? If you're applying to an international firm, is it because you have language skills or have you had experience of working abroad?
Make sure to read job adverts carefully. What is the firm telling you they want in a candidate? Do they mention communication skills, attention to detail etc.? This is your chance to choose something from your experience to demonstrate those skills. As prospective lawyers employers want to see you using evidence to support the points you make. If you're a good communicator what's the evidence?
To achieve these objectives, your legal cover letter should follow this general structure:
- Opening paragraph - Briefly mention the position you're applying for and how you found out about it.
- Second paragraph - Tell the recruiter who you are and what stage of your career you're at. Explain how your qualities can benefit the firm with practical evidence from your work experience, academic history or extra-curricular activities. Use powerful and positive language throughout without exaggerating.
- Third paragraph - Tell the organisation why you're specifically attracted to them and their work citing, if possible, any current or recent cases of interest.
- Closing paragraph - Mention that you've enclosed your CV and look forward to hearing from the firm. Explain when you'd be available for interview and cover any practical issues you've been asked to address, such as salary expectations.
Highlight what makes you stand out and make your cover letter punchy and accurate.
Find more general advice on cover letters and discover 5 things to avoid when writing a cover letter .
How do I target my application to a law firm?
It's much wiser to submit between five and ten highly targeted applications than dozens of generic, copy-and-paste ones. Every application should be treated as an individual project.
Consider why you're applying to a particular firm, because it's more than likely you'll be asked this question at interview stage. What attracts you to certain areas of law and particular firms? Do your values match the firm you’re applying to?
Thoroughly research the prospective organisation - the more you know about the firm, the more tailored your application will be. Regularly checking the news sections of firms' websites will allow you to reference current cases and projects in your application and understand which skills would come in useful. What's more, possessing such knowledge will allow you to address your application to the most relevant individual.
All of this also helps you to determine whether your skills and career preferences would be suited to the specialist work that the firm undertakes and vice versa.
This is as invaluable when choosing a law firm as it is when attending law fairs, open days and vacation schemes .
How do I make my application stand out to legal employers?
You are more than the sum total of your academic studies and work experience so be brave and tell prospective employers what it is about you, over and above the academics and work experience that makes you the ideal candidate.
If your legal CV and cover letter do their job and your application is progressed to the next stage, learn more about the questions you might be asked in a law interview .
Find out more
- Get more advice on writing CVs and cover letters .
- Discover top interview tips .
How would you rate this page?
On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like
- Dislike 1 unhappy-very
- Like 5 happy-very
Thank you for rating the page
legal careers guide
6. legal cvs and covering letters.
Despite the widespread use of application forms, the CV is still a vital tool in the recruitment process. This Step guides you through the process of constructing a legal CV and writing a successful covering letter.
Updated Resource Book coming soon
Writing Legal CVs and Covering Letters
The curriculum vitae (CV) is the traditional method of application and is widely used throughout the legal profession. You will still need a CV, even if you are applying to organisations that use application forms, for two main reasons.
- The information on your CV forms the basis of many of the answers you will need to give on application forms
- Having an up-to-date law CV is useful when applying for work experience or to give information to a useful contact.
Before you start drafting
Think about the type of organisation or specific organisation you are applying to. What are they likely to be looking for in a candidate? See your work from Step 1 and 4.
Know what skills and experience you have to offer a prospective employer. See your work from Step 2.
Know what you want to use the CV for. Is it to apply for work experience or a speculative application? See your work from Step 2 and 3.
Tips for a good law CV
- Target your legal CV – you need to adapt your CV to each individual recruiter so that they are able to see how you could fit in with their organisation.
- Length – keep it to no more than two sides of A4 paper.
- Make it easy to read – create a clear structure, leave enough white space and make use of formatting like headings.
- Look professional – use plain white paper, a size 11 standard font like Arial or Calibri, and avoid photos and exclamation marks.
- Correct spelling and grammar is essential – don’t rely on spellcheck; proofread several times to make sure your CV is error free.
- Be honest whilst ensuring you are making the most of what you have to offer.
- Focus on your cover letter as much as your CV.
Legal CV structure and layout
There is no single correct way to lay out a law CV and you will have to try different structures to see which one works best for you.
A traditional structure contains the following information:
Include your name and contact details such as address, email address and phone number as a heading. You don’t need to put the words ‘Curriculum Vitae’ on your CV.
Education and training
Arrange your education in reverse chronological order, with your most recent example displayed first. Include the name of the institution, subjects, dates and your grades. Detail any professional legal qualification you have such as the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) . Don’t forget to mention the areas of law that you studied and state your dissertation title if relevant.
Employment and work experience
Depending on how much experience you have, you might want to separate out and highlight any legal, commercial or voluntary experience. Describe your key tasks and responsibilities, mentioning the positive results of your actions. Apply your law work experience to demonstrate your passion and part-time or voluntary work to show your transferable skills such as teamwork and communication.
A brief mention of other relevant skills you have such as the languages you speak, a proficiency in software packages or technical skills such as programming languages.
Mention things you do outside of work and the classroom such as sports and clubs. Experiences such as membership in the Law Society or starting a new club at the University will help you stand out.
Stating ‘references available on request’ will usually suffice.
Legal Covering letter tips
- Aim for a professional and personable tone
- Fonts and formatting – maximum of one side of white A4 paper, with the same font as your legal CV. Proofread carefully to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Find out who you are addressing – find out the name of the recipient if possible and sign off ‘Yours sincerely’. Try to avoid using Dear Sir or Madam, but if you do remember to use ‘Yours faithfully’ instead.
- Signing off – be polite, say thank you and that you look forward to hearing from them.
Legal Covering letter structure and layout
The purpose of your application.
Talk about the opportunity you are applying for and where you saw it.
Why are you applying to them?
Explain why you are interested in their organisation.
Why should they pick you?
Explain what you have to offer that is relevant to them and the opportunity. This could be your performance on your degree, recent work experience with a similar organisation or experience in their area of practice.
Activity – CV Makeover
In this activity, you can practise applying your knowledge of CV writing as you try to improve the legal CV of a fictitious student named Georgina Berry.
Download CV Makeover Activity ➔
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m making speculative applications. who do i address the covering letter to.
Call the firm you’re targeting, explain that you’d like to send your CV in as a speculative application and ask who to best address the letter to.
If you’re unable to get a specific name, use “Dear Sir/Madam” and you’ll need to sign off as “Yours faithfully”.
I spoke to someone at a law fair recently. Should I mention this in my cover letter?
Definitely mention that you spoke to a representative from the organisation, and give the name of the event. This is evidence to back up your interest in the organisation and shows that you have done your research.
It is a useful tip to write down the name of whoever you speak to as soon as possible. Usually exhibitors wear name badges but if not, politely ask if you can take their name at the end of your discussion.
I have a substantial previous career. Is it important to fit it all on 2 sides of A4?
It is important to keep to the two page limit, so you will need to work out a way of cutting down the content without losing your key selling points.
If you’ve accepted your place or are currently studying with us, seek advice from our careers advisers.
Next step: 7
Go to step 7 in the Student Employability Programme.
Find out how to make the best start to your career through our Employability and Careers Service.
- Online Degree Explore Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees
- MasterTrack™ Earn credit towards a Master’s degree
- University Certificates Advance your career with graduate-level learning
- Top Courses
- Join for Free
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be and What Should Be Included?
If you’re applying for a new job, you want to make sure your cover letter length is appropriate and contains the right cover letter sections. Learn more about cover letter word count and organization as well as tips on crafting an effective cover letter.
A cover letter can be anything between half a page and a full-page long. Generally, you should aim for a cover letter word count of 250 to 400 words and about three to six paragraphs.
A short, concise cover letter serves as a written introduction to a prospective employer and outlines why you’re the best fit for the job. The cover letter, which you submit alongside your resume, highlights your experience and helps explain how your skills and personality will complement the company.
In addition to asking how long a cover letter should be, you might also wonder what to write. To help, we’ll provide tips on the length, offer an outline to follow, and highlight writing suggestions that can impress and inspire the hiring managers to invite you for an interview.
Cover letter length and outline
A cover letter should take up at least half or a whole page, but not longer. Shorter is better.
The length is also dependent on how you plan to send the cover letter, either in the body of an email or as a separate attachment. If you send your letter in an email, it should lean more towards a half-page. If it’s an attachment, you can go a bit longer, but not longer than a page.
Although all options are acceptable, crafting your cover letter in an email gets instant visibility as opposed to an attachment that the recipient must open after reading your email. Check for delivery directions in the job description. If there aren’t any directions, an email will be the best option for you.
What should be included in your cover letter? Here’s an outline of the cover letter sections and the information each paragraph should include:
Contact information and greeting
At the top of your cover letter, include your contact information, which should include your:
City and state
After providing these details, add the date and contact information of the recipient, although you do not need this information if you're writing your cover letter in the body of an email.
Next, write a greeting to the hiring manager. Ideally, you’ll know the name of the hiring manager and will address the letter to that person. However, if you don’t know their name, you can simply address it to the Hiring Manager.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
The first paragraph serves as an introduction. Start by introducing yourself and stating the position you’re interested in within the company. Add a fact or two about the company as you explain how you’ll complement the business.
When you research the company, examine the company's mission statement, values, and products. Review the company’s social profiles, search for news articles about the company, and run a search on the company’s owners and head executives. Use these pieces of information to write your introduction.
Paragraph 2: Relevant experience
The next paragraph should offer your specific qualifications that align with the job description. You should mention your most recent job, its daily responsibilities, and how it helps the current job opening if it applies.
Briefly highlight your skills. If you can, offer statistics that support your achievements by including a statement like, “The content marketing strategies I implemented led to a 300 percent increase in visitors, a 15 percent increase in inbound leads, and a 2 percent increase in conversions."
If your previous job was in a different field or if you’re new to the job market, use this cover letter section to explain why you’re a good fit for the position.
Paragraph 3: Company details or more qualifications
The third paragraph can take two different forms. You can talk about the company and why you want to join such a business, or you can point out additional qualifications that make you a standout candidate.
Speak about the company. By researching the company’s website, social presence, news, and employee LinkedIn profiles, you can synthesize a few details about the company that you appreciate. With this data, determine why it’s the role and work environment for you and include your explanation in the letter itself.
If you’re light on company-specific details, mention more of your alluring qualifications, skills, or personality traits. However, be sure it’s fresh information and not repetitive of anything mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Paragraph 4: Closing
In the last paragraph, you should express your appreciation to the reader and offer to discuss the position more in-depth during an interview.
Every cover letter, no matter what position you apply for, includes a call to action at the end, such as asking for a meeting or an interview.
Add your contact information including your cell phone number, address, and professional sites like your LinkedIn profile or portfolio, all below your signature.
What if a job description says a cover letter isn’t required?
Experts say you should always send a cover letter as it gives you a chance to introduce yourself, showcase your skills, and stand out. You might come across a job description that indicates a cover letter isn’t required and be inclined to skip it. Send one anyway. A cover letter will allow you to highlight your relevant skills, experience, and interest in the company, presenting yourself as the ideal match for the job.
Tips for writing an effective cover letter
You want your cover letter to stand out from the other candidates who are also applying for the job. Your words should express your qualifications and show your potential for growth at the company. Follow these tips to elevate your cover letter:
Check the job description for requirements.
Before writing your cover letter, check for requirements in the job description.
In some cases, the job description may include instructions for your cover letter. It might have requirements such as: maintaining a specific length, naming the recipient, and the information they want to know about you.
Know the name of the recipient.
Include the name of the hiring manager as opposed to a more general greeting like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” Check the job description or company website for this information, or call the company to get the name of the hiring manager assigned to you. If you exhaust these options and can’t find the answer, use the general greeting.
Tailor the letter.
You’ll notice in the outline that company-specific and job posting-specific details should be included in the cover letter. As a result, every cover letter should be uniquely written for each of the jobs you're applying for and not repurposed.
Formatting is important too.
While it’s easy to focus on word selection or questions like, “How long should a cover letter be?” formatting is a priority as well. Keep the margins standard, pick a legible and common font like Arial or Times New Roman, and font size of 11 or 12.
Use bullet points for organization. In your second or third paragraph, when you mention your qualifications, list each of your qualities as a bullet point.
Bullet points make your copy “skimmable,” so if a hiring manager is short on time, they might skip the paragraphs and simply read the bullets.
Complement your resume, don’t repeat it.
Your resume offers a snapshot of your job experience, education, and skill set. Avoid repeating information from your resume in your cover letter. It should complement your resume instead of being a copy of it. Rather than duplicating the bullet points listed on your resume under your most recent job, for example, craft sentences that build on those bullets for your cover letter.
A cover letter is a short document, so every word must count. Make your sentences concise and clear. When you’re finished writing, go back through your cover letter and remove any “fillers,” or phrases that don’t add value to your letter.
Have a clear call to action.
Include a call to action at the end of your cover letter, such as a suggestion to schedule an interview to further discuss your qualifications. It’s one of the last things mentioned in your letter to encourage the hiring manager to take quick action.
Craft your next cover letter by taking Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters from the University of Maryland. To further enhance your job hunt, consider courses like Successful Interviewing or Career Planning: A Path to Employment .
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
Take $100 off your annual subscription
- For a limited time, you can get a new Coursera Plus annual subscription for $100 off for your first year!
- Get unlimited access to 7,000+ learning programs from world-class universities and companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yale.
- Build the skills you need to succeed, anytime you need them—whether you're starting your first job, switching to a new career, or advancing in your current role.
Cover Letter Advice & Samples
Cover letter advice and samples.
- Draft your cover letter knowing it is your first writing sample.
- Understand that a cover letter should persuade the reader.
- Use the cover letter to “connect the dots” of your experiences.
- Resist the temptation to restate your resume.
- Keep your cover letter to one page.
- Use the font style and point size that match your resume.
- Remember that the reader is busy: less is more.
- Ensure your cover letter is error free.
Cover Letter Construction
Address block and salutation.
- Address the cover letter to an actual person.
- Avoid “To whom it may concern” or “Dear hiring committee.”
- Research websites or call employer to determine recipient’s name.
- For firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. For larger firms, contact information is available at www.nalpdirectory.com in the Basic Information section.
- In the salutation, include the recipient’s title and last name (e.g., “Dear Ms. Raintree”) or write the recipient’s entire name (e.g., “Dear Jamie Morales”).
- Tell the employer who you are and what you are seeking.
- Highlight (past, present, and future) geographic connections.
- Indicate if you have talked to students/faculty/friends/alumni who speak highly of the organization.
- Show that you understand the employer’s mission/practice, the work its attorneys do, and the clients it serves.
- Demonstrate your proven interest in and connection to that mission/practice, work, and clients.
- Describe skills you will contribute to support that mission/practice, work, and clients.
- Provide evidence from your experiences and coursework.
- List the documents included with the letter.
- Tell the employer how to get in touch with you by email, telephone, and mail.
- Convey your availability for a conversation, mentioning upcoming trips to the area.
- Thank the employer for considering you.
- Mention availability of Yale summer funding, if applicable.
- Optional: Promise that you will follow up in a few weeks if you think the employer would appreciate the diligence.
Sample Cover Letters (PDF)
First Year Student Examples | Second Year Student Examples | Third Year Student Examples
- Search Jobs
- Search Employers
- Accounting and advisory
- Banking & financial services
- Charity, social work and volunteering
- Construction and property services
- Education and training
- Energy and utilities
- Engineering Consulting
- Entertainment, travel and hospitality
- Environment and agriculture
- Government & public services
- Management Consulting
- Media & Communications
- Mining, oil and gas
- R&D and manufacturing
- Recruitment & HR
- Retail, Sales & Consumer Goods
- Transport and logistics
- Career planning
- Interviews and assessments
- Moving guides
- The Launchpad
- Virtual Fairs
- Top 100 Employers
Writing a law CV and cover letter
First impressions are lasting and this is especially true when it comes to CVs and cover letters for law jobs . After all, the content of your application is only half the game – as a law graduate, it will also be expected that you can write clearly and persuasively. Moreover, recruiters are often time-poor professionals who want to separate the wheat from the chaff quickly, before reaching out to candidates who distinguish themselves with their academic credentials, work experience or diverse interests. So, to help you put your best foot forward, we’ve assembled some tips on how to create a killer cover letter and resume
Creating a Standout Cover Letter
The basics .
A cover letter is like a sales pitch, and what you’re trying to sell is your own suitability for a target job. Successful cover letters:
- Highlight the important parts of your resume
- Provide a sample of your written communication skills
- Show how your skills, education and experience are relevant to the position for which you’re applying
- Address any specific selection criteria in the job advertisement
- Draw attention to your achievements
- Use appropriate formatting and a professional and confident tone of voice
- Encourage prospective employers to read further into your resume or CV
- Demonstrate one’s command of the rules of grammar and style.
Why invest time in writing a good cover letter?
Cover letters can be time-consuming, and that’s largely due to the importance of writing a new one for each application. Nothing turns off a prospective employer quite like the sense that they’re reading a template letter. It’s vitally important that your submission – or, at the very least, the bulk of it – is specific to the employer in question. It’s a chance to convince them that you want to work in their industry, for their specific organisation and in the job role they advertised. For example, why do you want to use your law degree in a community legal centre? What, to you, is the appeal of pursuing a public career instead of a private, commercial one?
A cover letter should include the following:
- Your personal/contact details
- A salutation/greeting
- How you heard about the job/employer
- What attracts you to the job or employer (you can mention some of their recent projects or significant staff members)
- Why you believe you would be an asset to the team
- How you will follow up
- A closing/signature.
The trick is to have a clear idea as to what the company does and what the job entails, then draw out evidence of your own relevant skills, interests and experience. Here, the more specific you can be, the better. For example, instead of simply writing that you’ve ‘interned at a leading law firm’, you could say, ‘As an intern, I helped to draft supporting documents for a case that was ultimately settled in favour of the firm’s client.’
Structure and tone
Your cover letter should have a clear structure with an introduction that leads into a summary of your relevant skills and experiences. This should be followed by a closing statement that reiterates your interest in the job, thanks the employer for their time and includes a ‘soft pitch’. For example, you might write something like:
‘I look forward to speaking with you further about how I can make a positive contribution to your team’.
Throughout the letter, your tone should be polite and professional. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should tie yourself in knots trying to sound overly formal. Simply avoid colloquial language wherever possible, and focus on providing evidence of why you should be hired (as opposed to simply claiming to be ‘excellent’ or ‘talented’).
Finally, keep your cover letter succinct. It should be no longer than one A4 page and should have your details clearly written as part of a letterhead.
Get to the top of the pile: writing a successful CV
A curriculum vitae (CV) is a written overview of your experience and other qualifications for a job opportunity. Creating a good CV generally takes more time than writing a cover letter. However, once complete, a CV can be submitted to each new employer with only minor adjustments.
A CV should concisely outline your relevant educational history, work experience, professional accomplishments and qualifications. It may also include details of referees (if requested). A successful CV:
- Can be read easily and uses a clear font in a reasonable size with logical headings and well structured bullet points
- Uses a skills-focused or chronological format
- Emphasises skills or job experiences that are particularly relevant to the job description.
Why invest time in writing a good CV?
The role of a CV is to provide recruiters and prospective employers with an easily scannable summary of your achievements so they can decide whether or not to progress your application by offering you an interview.
As a law graduate, you’ll often find that your educational pedigree is similar to other applicants, many of whom will have completed near-identical degrees at equivalent institutions. Consequently, it’s worth taking the time to figure out what differentiates you from the crowd before emphasising this in your CV.
For example, you might bill yourself as a lawyer with strong communication skills and highlight that you volunteered for a community law centre. Or perhaps you speak another language, love coding or have a specific five-year goal that the role you’re applying for will help you achieve. Giving your CV a novel ‘twist’ is a surefire way to make sure it doesn’t get lost in all the noise.
A law CV should include the following:
- Your contact details, including your phone number, address and email
- Your residency status
- A career overview, with an emphasis on industry positions or transferable skills gained through other jobs you’ve held
- A summary of your education and training
- A list of any professional accreditations or other qualifications you have (for example, a certificate of proficiency in a different language)
- Details of your referees (or an explicit offer to provide them).
Your educational history from your university years should include your predicted or actual degree grades, information on group projects and your dissertation, any units relevant to the job, and relevant academic awards. Employers don’t need to know the specifics of units that don’t relate to them.
You should prioritise any legal work experience you have, and highlight specific accomplishments that are relevant to the position for which you’re applying. Of course as a graduate, your experience in law may be limited, if you have any at all.
Fortunately, many employers look very favourably on achievements and experiences outside of the law. Examples worth mentioning include fundraising, voluntary work, independent overseas travel, sporting achievements or leading roles in university clubs or societies. You needn’t go into too much detail – a summary of your achievements and any relevant transferable skills (leadership, teamwork or problem-solving skills) will suffice.
The most common CV format is the reverse-chronological approach, which presents your most recent work experience and educational accomplishments first, before moving backwards. If you follow this approach, make sure the chronology is clear and there are no large gaps that could confuse or worry employers. For example, if you took a year off to go travelling between jobs, you might even include that as a CV entry.
As with your cover letter, your tone should be polite and professional, and your entries as specific and detailed as possible. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Describe achievements – don’t just list job titles. Instead of saying you were an intern at Arup, mention specifically what you accomplished, learned or contributed.
- Emphasise more recent jobs and achievements.
- Be honest. You should expect your CV will be read critically and important points will be cross-checked with referees or industry databases.
- Keep paragraphs to three or four lines and space them well. This helps the reader pick out the main facts and assimilate a number of points quickly.
- Use bullet points wherever they add clarity and visual style. When writing bullet points, use direct action words such as ‘designed’, ‘built’ and ‘organised’. This has the effect of assigning credit to you for your achievements and enhances the CV’s overall credibility.
- Prioritise relevance but also leave room for things that make you seem interesting or well rounded. For example, there’s no reason not to include a cooking qualification as a point of interest, and you needn’t claim it will be integral to your success in law.
Sample cover letters
Sample cover letter #1, applying for an internship.
[INSERT YOUR NAME]
[INSERT YOUR ADDRESS]
[INSERT YOUR NUMBER]
[INSERT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS]
[INSERT NAME OF RECIPIENT]
[INSERT RECIPIENT’S POSITION]
[INSERT RECIPIENT’S ADDRESS]
I am a [first/second/third]-year student at [insert academic institution] and I’m writing to apply for [name of position advertised] position with [name of organisation]. I have a strong [insert average mark], which I achieved while [include example of extracurricular activity or personal challenge]. Completing a placement at [insert organisation] would allow me to continue my commitment to [insert an issue relevant to the organisation and for which you are genuinely passionate]. I feel confident that I will make a positive contribution to your office while strengthening the skills I’ll need for a career in [insert relevant area of law].
[NB: We will assume from this point that the author is applying for a clerkship at a commercial law firm.]
As a student at [insert academic institution], I wrote an honours thesis on the need to reform our approach to financial market manipulation, focusing on the legal implications of the way ‘manipulation’ is defined in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). My master’s thesis focused on regulatory responses to the financial crisis in Singapore and Indonesia, allowing me to better understand how other countries handle these complex issues.
I was drawn to [organisation’s name] because it is my career goal to work in financial regulation. As a market leader in banking and finance, [organisations name] has [insert example of its involvement in this area, such as a major case or client]. These matters resonated with me because [insert why these matters resonated with you].
This semester, I participated in the semi-final of the Ashurst Commercial Law Moot, which allowed me to demonstrate my oral argument skills and exposed me to the work lawyers can do to promote responsible market regulation. Additionally, joining the Business Law Review has kept me updated on the legal issues facing commercial law practitioners. I’m particularly passionate about the effects of commercial law reform on smaller businesses. Working in the outreach division of [insert firm] would allow me to gain experience advocating for the specific client populations I hope to assist in my career.
Because of my familiarity with the issues facing smaller businesses and Australia’s market regulation policies, as well as my background in commerce, I would be very happy to work on cases dealing with transactions in remote communities or regional areas. I’d also be delighted at the opportunity to work in any of the other areas on which your office focuses, including mergers and acquisitions for larger organisations.
I have enclosed a resume highlighting my education and work experience. I hope to have the opportunity to interview with you about a summer position, and I will call your office in a few weeks to see if I may schedule a time to speak with you. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Sample cover letter #2
Applying for a graduate position.
RE: Application for [Position] at [Organisation]
Dear [Mr/Ms last name of contact person],
I am writing to apply for the graduate program at [organisation name]. I am currently in my penultimate year of an [insert degree and university], having previously completed my undergraduate major in [insert subject]. I have a strong distinction average, which I have achieved while maintaining multiple extracurricular commitments, including being elected by my peers in 2019 to the role of [position] in the [student society/leadership organisation], and working part time.
I am applying to [organisation name] because of its position as the leading law firm in the Asia Pacific Region, and the first and only global legal practice headquartered in Asia. This is reflected in [organisation name]’s success in consistently winning the [award], as well as its prominent role in [litigation/deal/matter].
My interest in commercial litigation was born of my experience participating in both the 2018 and 2019 [moot competition]. Later in 2019 , I conducted research as a summer legal intern in the litigation department at Mallesons, where I also assisted the lead counsel in a pro bono community outreach case. During this time I learnt [provide examples].
In addition to my summer positions, I have taken every opportunity possible to prepare myself for a career in commercial litigation. Through my work on the Commercial Law Journal, I have refined my research and writing skills. My training during an on-campus litigation workshop has helped me to develop the strong legal reasoning skills so critical to litigation, and I am now putting them to use by volunteering at a community legal centre.
I am the ideal candidate for [organisation name] because my achievements and experience exemplify the characteristics it seeks in its lawyers. My role as a [position] at [organisation name] provided me with legal experience in working in-house for a commercial client, allowing me to strengthen my stakeholder management. Furthermore, my attainment of a High Distinction in Advanced Commercial Law reflects my commitment to excellence in this area of practice.
I believe that my legal research and writing skills, my litigation experience and my dedication to [organisation name]’s mission will enable me to make a positive contribution at your firm. Please find enclosed my resumé and a copy of my academic transcript. I will send an email in a few weeks to follow up on my application.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
For our comprehensive and updated guide on how the craft the perfect graduate CV, check out our latest article here .
Law & Legal Graduate Jobs & Programs Law & Legal Clerkships and Internships Law & Legal Graduate Jobs & Programs in Sydney Law & Legal Graduate Jobs & Programs in Melbourne Law & Legal Clerkships and Internships in Sydney Law & Legal Clerkships and Internships in Melbourne
Get up-to-date insights, advice and opportunities for graduate programs and internships!
Property Law Graduate
Hall & Wilcox
Sydney Law Graduate Program - Pre-register
Newcastle law graduate program, commercial, related articles, getting started in your first job as a law graduate, 20 interview questions the top law firms are asking, how to use chatgpt to write your graduate job cover letter, cover letters, creating a winning cover letter, how to write a winning cover letter by aurecon.
- Universities & Partners
- Our Network
- Partner Terms
- General Terms
- Advertiser Terms
- Become Partner
- Knowledge Base
- Employer Login
- Student Login / Sign-up
- Law Graduate Jobs & Programs
- Engineering Graduate Jobs & Programs
- Accounting Graduate Jobs & Programs
- Graduate Jobs & Programs in Sydney
- Graduate Jobs & Programs in Melbourne
- Graduate Jobs & Programs in Perth
- Law & Legal Clerkships and Internships
- Engineering Internships
- Accounting Internships
- Internships in Sydney
- Internships in Melbourne
- Information Technology (IT) Internships
- Internships in Perth
- Commonwealth Bank
- International student jobs in Australia
- How to write a winning cover letter
- Top tips from Graduates of KPMG
- The Westpac student application process
- Prosple India
- Prosple Indonesia
- Prosple Hong Kong
- Prosple Malaysia
- Prosple New Zealand
- Prosple Philippines
- All Regions
Copyright 2023 © Prosple Australia/GradAustralia. Graduate Jobs, Internships & Programs in Australia
- Cover Letter Examples
Legal / Law Cover Letter: Examples & How to Write (+25 Tips)
As seen in:
It doesn’t matter whether you carried a sense of injustice you needed to correct since early adolescence, or you just really liked Harvey Specter in Suits. Getting the legal jobs you want is about demonstrating that you can do what you’re routinely going to be doing. Building an argument.
A legal cover letter needs to show your powers of reasoning and persuasion to build a strong case for your suitability to the role at hand. You will need to show empirical as well as theoretical basis for why you are guilty of being the best candidate for the position.
This guide is focused on legal professionals after their LPC that hope to train to be a solicitor or barrister. However, you can use these tips whether you’re applying as a paralegal, legal assistant, or else. The same rules apply. Time to go to trial.
Save time and have a cover letter ready in no time. Pick a cover letter template , use pre-written suggestions, and have your cover letter ready in minutes.
Create your cover letter now
Looking for a different cover letter example? See:
- Business Analyst Cover Letter
- Consulting Cover Letter
- Goldman Sachs Cover Letter
- Investment Banking Cover Letter
- Paralegal Cover Letter
Couldn't find your job? See a full list of our cover letter examples .
Legal Cover Letter Example
291 Royal College Street
1 Chancery Lane
June 12, 2021
Dear Mr. Smith,
Having graduated with a Distinction in my LPC from City University, and a 1st Class LLB from Durham University, I am ready to start a challenging and rewarding career as a Trainee Solicitor with Duncan Lewis. I am passionate about immigration, asylum and human rights law, and want to start a career where I make a difference every day.
I have built my commercial awareness during my 3-week internship with DLA Piper, where I assisted the Financial Services team on a compliance project that helped prevent £4m in potential liability to changing regulations. However, it is still my first experience of law that remains my most formative, when in Sixth Form, I assisted my best friend’s father with his immigration dispute. I helped him navigate the initial stages of the process, and explained the feedback received from authorities, and when it was needed, found a pro-bono lawyer in Mr Al-Mudaris of the Good Advice Foundation, who commended me on my summary of the case to him, and validated the advice I had given so far. With Mr. Al-Mudaris’ counsel, my friend’s family remained intact in Britain, and the difference I saw that lawyer make was something that I wanted to be able to do all along, unfortunately being too young and unqualified to do so at the time.
The times are different now. I am qualified to make the difference, and with your guidance I hope to make a foothold in doing so. The type of work you do is the type of legal work I find most rewarding and inspiring, and I am confident in being a productive addition to Duncan Lewis.
When would be a good time to set a meeting or a call for me to tell you about how my mini-pupillages at 39 Essex Chambers further validated my choice in focusing on helping individuals?
That’s how to nail a legal cover letter bang to rights. Let’s craft your own, step by step. Here's what to include in a cover letter :
1. Start with a professional header and salutation
Start writing your cover letter by formatting the header like any other business letter:
- Right-align your contact details (incl. email and phone)
- Left-align your hiring manager’s details
- Put down the date
- State the subject (i.e. the position) of your legal cover letter
If possible, try to address the cover letter directly to the person dealing with it. In this profession, surname may be better than first name, initially. Reference against this legal cover letter sample:
Legal cover letter example—header
Jim Patterson 291 Royal College Street
RE: Trainee Solicitor Position
You can adjust every cover letter created in the builder to meet the job requirements. Choose the name of your profession and the company to which you’re applying, and the builder will automatically adapt the content for you. Create a cover letter faster than you ever thought possible and apply for the job in record time.
2. Open your legal cover letter with strong evidence
Your legal cover letter should not be an investigation. It should be a presentation of evidence. Unlike in the courtroom, don’t save the best until last. Offload it as soon as possible to give them a reason to keep reading. These applications come by the dozen.
Since you are most likely at the beginning of your legal career, you should state your ambition and how it aligns with the profile of the firm you are applying to. This section should be somewhere between 40 and 80 words.
Legal cover letter example—opening paragraph
3. make a good case in the body of your law cover letter.
This is the trial. The main body of your letter will be where you present the majority of your arguments and evidence. Relate it to the needs of your prospective employer and explain how those experiences make you prepared and eager to work in this position.
If you have experience in more commercial areas of law, you will find it easier to provide perspective for your experience, in terms of numerical figures.
Even in the more personal areas of law, you could try to estimate how many cases you assisted on during internship or pupillages, and what was the significance of it. It is also a good place to explain your passion for this particular area of law.
If you are applying to a training contract with rotating seats, you could discuss why you prefer this way over another company’s way of doing it, showing you have done the research. This section could be between 120 and 200 words. It's better to be concise as hiring managers prefer short cover letters .
Example legal cover letter—main paragraph
I have built my commercial awareness during my 3 week internship with DLA Piper, where I assisted the Financial Services team on a compliance project that helped prevent £4m in potential liability to changing regulations. However, it is still my first experience of law that remains my most formative, when in Sixth Form, I assisted my best friend’s father with his immigration dispute. I helped him navigate the initial stages of the process, and explained the feedback received from authorities, and when it was needed, found a pro-bono lawyer in Mr Al-Mudaris of the Good Advice Foundation, who commended me on my summary of the case to him, and validated the advice I had given so far. With Mr. Al-Mudaris’ counsel, my friend’s family remained intact in Britain, and the difference I saw that lawyer make was something that I wanted to be able to do all along, unfortunately being too young and unqualified to do so at the time.
You don’t have to create any content yourself. The LiveCareer cover letter maker will automatically suggest the best content for your cover letter with ready-made examples and expert tips.
Create your cover letter
4. Provide a closing argument with a call to action
The third paragraph is for summing up exactly what you hope to do for your employer, and for yourself. Spend 60-80 words on your closing argument tying up loose ends. Below, add a call to action.
Ask for a call or a meeting to discuss a particular case, achievement, or nuance of working at that firm. Make it interesting and don’t be passive and half-baked. Show conviction and determination in striving for your desired trajectory.
Always close your cover letter formally with ‘Best Regards’ or a suitable alternative.
Example law cover letter—closing paragraph
5. apply a proper legal cover letter format.
Princeton students have found that we make an impression on someone’s trustworthiness within 100ms . With legal cover letters, it could be similar. In whatever position you’re applying for, you’re going to be drafting a lot of documents.
This one is the first they will see, and maybe the last. Don’t let any mishaps sneak through. Brevity is the soul of wit. Here are some cover letter tips :
Legal cover letter length
Here's how long your cover letter should be :
- 1st paragraph—40-80 words
- 2nd paragraph—120-200 words
- Closing paragraph—60-80 words
- Call to Action
- Formal Closing
- Total 200 — 350 words
- No more than 1 page of A4
Use the CV format
Your legal CV and cover letter must have the same style. They are two segments of the same document, and they will look odd if they mismatch. A detail like this will be held against you in a job this challenging. For enhanced readability, use a simple cover letter template without any graphics or icons.
Use an elegant font
Choose a font size between 10 and 12. Choose a readable, but elegant font that matches your CV font —think Arial, Calibri, Noto, Garamond.
Use even margins and white space
When laying your cover letter out , use white space between sections and paragraphs to guide the reader’s eyes. Center your legal cover letter on all sides using even, 1-inch margins. If you are running out of space, consider some bullet points for key points.
Target each legal cover letter
Many firms do similar things, but each firm is different. And above all, each firm believes they’re special. Research each place you’re applying to thoroughly, so that you can adequately focus on their priorities when discussing your strengths and skills .
Save as PDF, unless...
Large firms almost all use Applicant Tracking Systems to manage their applications. Check each job posting carefully for what format they would like to receive documents in, as some are not compatible with certain ATS software.
Otherwise, save as PDF to protect the formatting of your cover letter .
A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Choose a professional CV template and quickly fill in every CV section using ready-made content and expert advice.
Create your CV now
Does this answer how to write a cover letter for legal jobs? Got any more questions on what to include? Did you find the law cover letter example helpful? Let us know in a comment!
How we review the content at LiveCareer
Our editorial team has reviewed this article for compliance with Livecareer’s editorial guidelines . It’s to ensure that our expert advice and recommendations are consistent across all our career guides and align with current CV and cover letter writing standards and trends. We’re trusted by over 10 million job seekers, supporting them on their way to finding their dream job. Each article is preceded by research and scrutiny to ensure our content responds to current market trends and demand.
About the author
Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.
Rate this article:
Legal cover letter
Looking for a job-winning CV?
Your cookie preferences
Strictly necessary cookies.
The following cookies are necessary to allow you to access the website including login, move between pages and to receive services which you have requested. They include cookies to store analytics and track user interactions so we can personalise content to best suit your interests and needs.
These cookies allow the Website to remember choices you make and provide enhanced and more personal features, such as twitter feed and online chat.
Performance cookies monitor site performance and user actions. These cookies do not collect identifiable information.
- Law Society website
- Legal Vacancies - Contact us
- My Basket 0
Tips on creating cover letters.
Having a good cover letter is just as important as having an effective CV. It is often an employer’s first impression of you. It helps set the tone and introduces your CV. These useful tips can help you create a good cover letter that works in conjunction with your CV.
- A cover letter should be no more than one page long.
- It should match the style, font etc. of your CV.
- Best to address the letter to a specific person.
- Aim for the letter to complement and expand on relevant details in your CV.
- Use paragraphs of text to improve readability.
- Always include your contact details and email address.
Main Content of Letter
- Keep sentences under two lines long, succinct and to the point.
- Be professional in the language used but not over formal.
- Avoid clichés and the overuse of complicated language.
- Tailor your letter to the key words of the job advertisement and / or employers terminology.
- The first paragraph will cover why you are writing and identify the position you are applying for.
- In the middle paragraph(s) you will aim to show your match to the job and how your experience, skills and achievements relate to the vacancy.
- Highlight the most relevant reasons as to why you should be called for interview and how you can be of benefit to the organisation.
- The middle section can be divided into smaller paragraphs.
- End the letter by thanking them for taking the time to read your letter and CV.
- State that you are available for interview and how best to contact you.
- Sign off the letter ‘yours sincerely’ followed by your full name.
- Does your letter sound confident and provide a clear message about your suitability for the job?
- Have you customised the letter?
- Did you carefully proofread and check for typos, grammar mistakes etc.?
- You can use the cover letter as the email message or as an attachment.
- Give the cover letter a professional file name ‘J. Murphy cover letter’ if sending as an attachment.
- Always keep a copy of your cover letter so you are prepared when called for interview.
For more helpful information to support your job search, see our Job Seeking Tips .
- Finding vacancies
Writing a CV
Writing a covering letter, preparing for an interview.
- Career advice
When applying for a job you should check the instructions carefully to see what the employer is asking for, such as a CV and covering letter, or an application form.
Before you write your application:
- check the requirements for the role – these will normally be listed in a job description or person specification – and think about how you can show that you have them
- research the organisation, so that you can explain why you’re suited to work there
- check that your CV covers all the requirements, and tailor it if necessary
What to include
If the employer asks for a CV, you should also write a covering letter that is tailored for the role. This is your opportunity to say how you meet the requirements for the role. It should show that you understand what the employer is looking for and that you know about the organisation.
- your contact details
- which role you’re applying for
- why you’re interested in the role
- how you meet the requirements for the role
- relevant skills and experience
- reference to relevant parts of your CV
- any specific information that the employer asks for, such as salary expectations
Check the advert and the job description, and make sure that your covering letter includes all of the requirements if possible. Give evidence to back up your claims. Do not just say that you are good at team working or research – give an example, such as a project you have worked on.
End the letter on a positive note, saying when you're available for interview and that you look forward to hearing from them.
Your covering letter should be concise – around one page.
You may want to send it as a Word attachment, rather than simply an email. You should make sure it is well laid out, with a consistent format and a clear font. Check carefully for spelling mistakes or other errors.
Address your letter to an individual if possible.
Many organisations recruit using application forms rather than CVs and covering letters. This means they can ask specific questions and easily compare applications.
Application forms are designed to get the right amount of information to make a decision, so the recruiter will normally ignore anything else you provide. Often they will have a word limit for each question. However, you should be able to use information from your CV, such as your work history and your skills, to complete the form.
Read through the form carefully and follow the instructions. Be clear and concise, and make sure you provide evidence of how you meet the requirements for the role.
Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS
Have you found this page helpful?