Excerpted from the United Kingdom Career Guide
Cover Letter Guidelines and Samples
The goal of a cover letter is to encourage the reader to look at the CV (curriculum vitae) and to review it for specific information that relates to the job application. Remember to use British spellings and date formats throughout cover letters.
The cover letter is an introduction on behalf of the job applicant. This document should make it immediately clear what the applicant is seeking from the employer. It may help to imagine the person reading the letter will only spend a couple of minutes looking it over — in fact, a lot of recruitment organizations will spend even less time, so the goal is to get the message across as succinctly as possible. Generally speaking, the cover letter should not exceed one A4 page in length.
Résumé / CV Guidelines and Samples
The aim of the CV is first and foremost to secure an interview for the specific job advertised. Bear in mind, each role will be different and requires different skills; therefore, a CV should change to reflect the needs of different jobs, and this will involve some element of tailoring examples and evidence. Wherever possible, customized the document to suit the particular industry and opportunity.
There is no right or wrong format or style for résumés/CVs, but there are guidelines. Typically, a résumé/CV designed for the UK market should be two pages long, although a one-page CV is becoming more common among some financial institutions. Since most CVs are now submitted as email attachments, it is advisable not to include complicated formatting, as it may not transfer to another system. If the document is attached as a PDF file, this will not be a problem. Remember to use British spellings and grammar.
You'll find more advice and cover letter and resume samples in the complete United Kingdom Guide.