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Cover Letter Tips For Gap Year Jobs & Temporary Jobs

Cover Letters
The cover letter that you prepare to secure a GAP year placement, or temporary employment, is an extremely important document. Unless the letter is strong, some employers may not even bother to look at the CV that it accompanies so you must make sure the letter is interesting and informative. Here are some basic rules for the preparation of a cover letter and some further advice on the sort of information you should include when applying for a GAP year placement or temporary employment.

Format and Length

In general, a covering letter should be no longer than one A4 page. The quality of paper and envelope you use is of course very important and should ideally match the CV. Also, letters should always be typed, unless specifically requested otherwise, but should always be signed by hand.
Different Type of Cover Letter
Advert Response Cover Letters

The key to a successful advert response letter is to make sure that you are applying for a GAP year placement or temporary job that you are actually suitable for and that matches your own requirements. There is little point applying for a role that you are not qualified or experienced enough to undertake.

Be sure to read the advert carefully so that you can address the letter correctly and mark it for the attention of the designated member of staff. You should also include the job title and any reference numbers given - often, companies will be seeking candidates for various positions and will want to see clearly which job is being applied for.

The first paragraph should be relatively brief and explain where you saw the advert and on what date. The second paragraph should then go on to highlight your skills and experience in more detail. If certain criteria are mentioned in the advert, you should ideally try to explain exactly how you match these with brief but relevant examples that demonstrate your suitability. Also, say why you want to work for that organisation in particular referring to any research that you have carried out on the company to emphasise that you understand the business.

Finally, read through the advert once more to ensure that you have satisfied the criteria before submitting your application, maintaining awareness of the specified closing date.

Speculative Cover Letters

When sending out speculative applications, just as the objective of your CV should, your cover letter should clearly state that you are only looking for GAP year placements or temporary work. Even though you are not applying for an advertised position, you should try to demonstrate your knowledge of, and interest in, the company you are writing to. Also, try if possible to address the letter to a person in particular rather than simply writing Dear Sir/Madam. Phone the company in advance to find out whom to address the letter to. If you do not, there is the risk that your letter will simply not be received by the correct person and may even be ignored completely.

The general content of the speculative letter should be the same as with the advert response type.
General Tips
Many GAP year placements involve working overseas often in developing countries alongside aid agencies or charities. As a result, your personality is what you really need to be selling in your cover letter as not everybody is cut out for this kind of employment. You must therefore be able to demonstrate your ability to cope under pressure in demanding situations. Emphasise your involvement in any voluntary activities or when you have worked with people from other social or cultural backgrounds. Your ability to integrate into a team is essential and your cover letter should also demonstrate this. Above all, you need to come across as someone that is energetic and enthusiastic and who wants to make a valuable contribution during their GAP year.

In general, whatever type of cover letter you are producing it is important that it is relevant to the job and the company, concise and articulate. It is also essential to check that there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors as this is possibly the company's first impression of you. This is a formal letter of introduction so should be treated as such and prepared as professionally as you can.

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