Tips on writing a cover letter from an apprenticeship employer

We caught up with Jordan Nichols from DST (Formally IFDS Group) to get the inside track on what to put in your cover letter!

Position referring to: Apprentice and Senior Associate roles within our Essex Funds Operations teams.

How important is a cover letter to your hiring process?

Candidates should always include one as it gives them an opportunity to formally introduce themselves and explain which vacancy they are applying for as well as a brief overview of why they are applying, what they can offer and finally their contact details. It’s a first impression!

Can you give an overview of a great cover letter?

Firstly it’s the layout and presentation of the cover letter: it needs to be neat, clear and concise and draw the recruiter/employer’s attention straight away. Try and address it to a specific person if you can, if not Dear Sir/Madam will suffice. Make sure there are no typos or spelling errors too! The candidate should also talk about the Company/Organisation and how their skills and experience relate to those required in the role profile or person specification.

Finally, close the cover letter by providing your contact details and prompting the recruiter/employer to contact you for eg: “I look forward to hearing from you” and sign off with “Yours Sincerely”.

What would you consider to be poor content in a cover letter?

When a cover letter is longer than one page it usually means the candidate has “waffled” and it’s not eye-catching or concise enough for the recruiter/employer – which means they could stop reading it and even not look at the CV! Time is precious! Also as mentioned in the previous question the layout and presentation of the cover letter is key. Poor content would also cover spelling errors, wrong information and someone who has used the same cover letter as they used at a previous company’s application – but failed to change the company name or contact over! A big no no!

If the cover letter is poor quality will you still look at the CV?

More than likely yes – unless, for example, someone has applied to a letter-writing role but sent a very poor cover letter with lots of grammatical errors and mis-spelt words!

What would be your number 1 tip when writing a cover letter?

Tailor your cover letter to both the company and the role that you are applying for and don’t forget to proof read it first!

Do you have a top tip for writing an industry/sector specific cover letter?

In addition to the above, think about the specific organisation, latest news from them and their competitors aswell as any changes occurring in the wider industry within which you are applying.

Have a look at these sites for further information:

Good luck!


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