How to write a great cover letter
Treat your CV cover letter as a vital part of your personal marketing literature, which merits attention and consideration.
A cover letter introduces you and your CV, and is your first chance to make a good impression.
Aim to make it entice the reader to take those few extra minutes to consider you against other applicants.
An interview winning cover letter can differentiate your CV. Make sure yours stands out.
Following nine key steps, you should…
- research the organization to learn about their business
- design a professional, visually appealing attractive format
- study the job profile / ad to gain insight into the role
- draw on your CV for key points / expertise matching the role
- include examples that demonstrate initiative, enthusiasm and quantified results
- make clear what you have to offer that would benefit the company
- include just sufficient information to encourage recruiters to want to learn more
- stay away from platitudes (like hardworking, etc.)
- your cover letter should not exceed 1 page
Aim to make it attractive for the reader to take those few extra minutes to consider you against other applicants.
Sample cover letter - structure
Your contact information
The heading of the letter should include your full postal and email address, and phone number(s).
Employer or Agency contact information
Name and job title of recipient (if known)
Company name and full address
Date your letter
Dear Mr or Mrs (ideally address your letter to a named person)
Dear Sir or Madam (only if you cannot find out the recipient’s name)
If applying for an advertised position, insert job title and reference.
The first paragraph of your cover letter should express your interest in the position, and indicate why the role is particularly attractive to you. Briefly outline your current situation and why you are seeking change, tailoring your information to make it as relevant as possible to the organization or job applied for.
Introduce your CV and briefly summarize your strengths - qualifications and / or experience in or knowledge of the company's market sector. This demonstrates you have properly read the advert and have done some research into the organization. Tell them why you are interested in them as an employer.
This paragraph should draw attention to the most relevant aspects of your career - making strong connections between your skills that dovetail with their requirements. Succinctly emphasize why the employer may want to meet and employ you. Highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility; what you can contribute; and what makes you different. Mention personality traits relevant to the role applied for, taking care not to appear too subjective. Ensure the letter flows freely however, and does not slavishly match every point on the job description. The reader should be left with an overall impression that you are a potentially valuable addition to the workforce.
This could briefly refer to experience and achievements in your earlier career, but only if relevant to the job description.
Express confidence in your ability to contribute to the success of the company, and indicate that you look forward to taking your application a step further at interview.
Yours sincerely (if you know the recipient's name)
Yours faithfully (if you do not know the recipient's name)