What is a cover letter and, more importantly, what is a good cover letter?
We know that sending a Resume without a cover letter is generally a waste of time. We need to get the attention of the prospective employer within the first paragraph of the cover letter to ensure they will read the whole thing and then look at the Resume.
Providing evidence of your skills and abilities as they relate to the job you are applying for in a well-constructed cover letter is an essential step in your successful job search. It’s important that you take the right steps to write a cover letter that gets you the job interview!
What is a cover letter?
- A cover letter is a customized and relevant presentation of what skills and abilities you can bring to the job and why you are the right job candidate.
- Your cover letter should create sufficient interest to get your resume read properly.
- Your cover letter and resume work together to convince the reader of your suitability for the job opportunity.
- It demonstrates your ability to communicate your strengths and competencies to a prospective employer.
Different types of cover letters
- An expression of interest cover letter
- Job application cover letter
What is a good cover letter?
- A good cover letter grabs the reader’s attention.
- It creates enough interest to persuade the reader to continue paying attention.
- It converts the reader’s interest into desire to find out more about you.
- It turns desire into action – the employer will move on to your resume, read it carefully and then set up an interview.
What to include in a Cover Letter
Below is a list of the key elements to include in your cover letter.
A list of your relevant skills
- Your letter should include a brief summary of your skills, strengths and experiences that match the job description (a bullet pointed list is fine)
- If you’re answering a job ad, either the ad or the position description may provide a list of skills and experiences that are essential for doing the job. It may also provide a list of “desirable” skills and experience
- Your cover letter needs to respond to all of the items on the “essential” list and as many items as possible on the “desirable” list as concisely as possible
- If you say you have a skill or experience, you need to briefly show how you’ve used it or how you acquired it
- Here’s a helpful guide on how to Address Selection Criteria >>
A summary of why you’re right for the job
After listing your skills and experience you should explain why this means you’re suited to the job.
For example: “I have well developed customer service skills and will handle all event booking enquiries accurately, politely and in a timely fashion.”
Speak their language
- Using the same language as people who do a particular job is a good way to convince people you’re suited to the job.
- Getting familiar with what a company does and how it talks about itself can give you ideas about things to mention in your cover letter, and how to talk about them.
- For example, if there’s a tool or software or skill the job requires – like machining tools or cash handling – mention it in your cover letter (but make sure you mention it correctly!)
Ask them to consider your Resume and contact you
- Your cover letter should finish by asking the reader to look at your Resume.
- You should also ask them to contact you about an interview.
For example: “I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my application at an interview. I have enclosed a copy of my resume for your consideration.”
- Don’t cut and paste your Resume into your cover letter
- Try to re-word the information in your Resume rather than just repeating it
- Spotlight your experience in the context of the job
- Specify the position you are applying for
- Don’t include typos or incorrect information
- Don’t include details about your personal life or salary expectations
- Don’t use “I” too much
- Don’t mention your other job applications
- Check that you have addressed all of the criteria
We hope this article has helped you to write a winning cover letter! If you’re still stuck and need more support, reach out to your Jobs / Youth Advisor.
SEEK has some great cover letter templates you can download for free. Check them out here >>
Do you also need help with writing a Resume? Check out our Resume Writing Guide here >>