By Zoe Taylor
Writing a cover letter can be difficult if you’re unsure of what you should be including. We’ve put together some great tips and examples to help you understand exactly what yours should include!
Format and Style
Your cover letter should be just one A4 typed page with 10-12 point Times New Roman or Arial font. Always ensure you’re using plain business English, avoiding abbreviations, industry jargon and slang.
It’s highly important that your spelling and grammar is 100% accurate, and that your sentences are short and concise.
In terms of structure, make sure it’s clear structure and only details one main idea per paragraph. Use a positive tone throughout. Don’t include your weaknesses – these will be asked about in your interview. Make sure you’re really selling yourself and proving that you’re perfect for the position.
Keep it short and sweet. A page and a half to three quarters of a page is plenty – any more and it’s too long-winded and is less likely to be read attentively.
Paragraph 1: Purpose of your letter/Introduction.
To start your letter, use the application manager’s name if it is provided. Otherwise, use ‘to whom it may concern’ or ‘to the applications manager’.
The first paragraph should introduce you and state the job you’re applying for, as well as where you found out about the job.
Use enthusiastic language job to capture the employer’s attention.
Example: Dear (name if provided)/To whom it may concern/To the applications manager, my name is ________________ and I am applying for the position of ______________ as advertised on _________________.
Paragraph 2: Why you’re perfect for the job.
In the second paragraph, address the requirements listed in the ad and how you fit the description. Provide examples that back up your points.
The details you provide should show that you have done your research and understand what the job entails, as well as what the company and industry are looking for.
Example: I have three years of customer service experience, which I acquired in my position as sales assistant at Target.
Paragraph 3: Your skills (general and specialist) that are relevant to the job.
This paragraph follows on from the previous paragraph by outlining both the general skills you possess, and your skills that are specific to the job.
Identify employer needs and the value you can bring to the organisation with the skills you can offer. Describe your specialist skills – relevant qualifications, experiences and achievements as your selling point. Give examples to support your claims.
Briefly describe your course (if not finished include your finishing date), majors or specialisations and results if they are relevant.
Your general skills would include such skills as communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork, initiative and enterprise, problem solving, planning and organising, self-management, technology.
Give examples from all your experiences – team projects, paid work, voluntary work, community activities or sport to provide evidence.
Example: I possess strong communication skills, which I gained in my role as sales assistant at Target. I developed team-building skills whilst studying a double diploma of Business and Management.
Paragraph 4: Closing words
In closing, refer to your resume and any attachments. State that you’re interested in an interview and when you are available. Finish your cover letter on a positive note and thank the employer for their time.
Example: Thank you for reviewing my application. Enclosed are my resume and academic transcripts. I believe that I possess the qualities and skills that you seek and will gladly discuss my application in more detail at an interview.
(Your Best Contact Number)
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