Quick tips for writing a stand-out cover letter
- Keep to one page
- Be specific – mention the job you’re applying for and the employer by name if possible
- Never use the same cover letter for different applications (tailor it!)
- Encourage the reader to read your resume
- Thank them for their time and encourage them to get in contact with you
More detailed cover letter tips
Introduce yourself, and include the essential contact details as a minimum – your best contact number (preferably a mobile phone) and a professional email address (not “email@example.com”) will make the best impression.
Start off the body of your letter by stating your purpose, whether it is to apply for a specific advertised position or a general expression of interest in working for the company.
Either way, make sure you do your research. If you’re applying for a specific position, carefully read the position description (if there is one), and relate your skills and experiences back to it. For example, does the position require you to work with tools? Talk about what tools you used to make the table you built in the backyard, or used in manual arts at school.
The ad might mention that you’ll need to follow instructions or work well as a team – skills you’ve definitely picked up during group activities at school or working weekends at Maccas.
If you know who the employer is, it could be worth your time to research the organisation as well to see the kind of work they do (and to make sure you’d be proud to work there!) Browse their website, especially the About Us sections and tell them why you’d make a good fit in the organisation - you might even find a staff profile on the person you’re writing to.
If you’re applying in general or there isn’t a position description, look up what the type of job you’re applying for entails (this is where our apprenticeship pages can help you!). You’ll then be able to go through the same process of applying your skills and experience to the tasks and duties you would expect to complete day to day.
Round it out by encouraging them to read your resume and ask them to get in contact with you for more details.
The low down on creating the ideal cover letter
Ultimately, your cover letter should show that you understand what the job involves and what the employer would expect of you. To do this, you should be as specific as you can (but brief) about your skills and qualities that match the job and the organisation’s needs.
Don't be afraid to let parts of your personality shine through, and be sure to clarify any details in your resume that might leave the recruiter confused!
Now check out our tips for a stand-out resume to go with it.
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