coverletter 1

Hello Mr. Onwukeme,

I trust that this finds you well. My name is (name withheld by us) from Kenya. I’ve just read your blog post on CV writing. It’s very informative and I cannot wait for part 2!!!

Well, my reason for writing to you is that I’ve been having problems writing the best cover letter for a pupilage position in a law firm. I just can’t seem right.

Please advice.


I got this mail from a reader after publishing part 1 of the CV writing course. Cover letters are very important just like the CV. Both must be well crafted.

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Your CV needs to be accompanied by a cover letter. The job of the cover letter is to introduce the CV. Usually, most job ads require applicants to send a copy of their CV to the firm, but then it is customary that a cover letter goes along with the CV.

The cover letter serves as a brief or succinct introduction of the applicant, his/her career goals and the reasons for seeking employment in the firm/company, as well as what the applicant plans to bring on board when hired.

All those are already in your CV and so just make it a glimpse on your cover letter. I mean a glimpse so short and irresistible that the reader rushes over to the CV for more.
The guide to cooking, crafting or designing a cover letter will be all yours in a jiffy. Did I hear you say shoot? Here we go!

The heading of your cover letter should be similar to the heading of your CV. Your personal details should be the header.
Then ensure your cover letter is properly dated and addressed to the appropriate person in the Law firm or company whose duty it is to receive such communications .

Many law firms or companies usually state who your CV should be sent to on their websites or in the adverts calling for submission of CVs. It could be the HR Manager, Practice Manager, Head of Chambers or Managing Partner. Try to ensure you use the appropriate salutation especially with respect to gender. Don’t address a female HR Manager as “Dear Sir” for your own good.

How do you head your cover letter? You guessed right, in the style of an application letter! A cover letter is just a modified application letter which introduces your CV. So your heading should reflect the position you seek. In fact, many firms or companies indicate that as many positions would be advertised. It is by the positions stated in the heading of the cover letters that the various applications are sorted.

In the body of your cover letter, briefly introduce yourself and state your current status. Are you fresh wig or you have some experience? That should be what your introduction says about you.

Then reiterate briefly why you want to start your career in that firm or company if you are a new wig. If you are an old hound, state what a move to the firm or company will do to your career. Don’t forget to add what you are bringing onboard.

Do not exceed 3 paragraphs. Your cover letter is not your CV. Your cover letter is the detonator of the bomb in your CV. So make it the appetizer that would invariably lead to further hunger for the main dish. So make reference to your CV in the cover letter.


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I have made this treatise on cover letters as short as I can so you will get the message and keep it short. Finally end your cover letter with a very good last line. Make the reader want more and rush to your CV. That way you got him/her hooked and most probably make the cut!



Read CV Writing Course for Lawyers Part 1

Read CV Writing Course for Lawyers Part 2

Read CV Writing Course for Lawyers Part 3

Read CV Writing Course for Lawyers Part 4


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  Maduka Onwukeme is an Attorney, Creative Writer and Business Consultant. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook or on Linkedin