How do you write a cover letter?
Where to start, what to include, how to structure.
By Jacquie Liversidge
What really is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document that you submit to employers in accompaniment with your resume. This document outlines how your skills, qualifications and experience are relevant to the role you are applying for.
Your cover letter should include:
– Your personal details
– The address (and contact name if applicable) of the employer
– An introduction
– 2-3 bodies of text explaining how your skills, experience, qualifications and personal attributes are relevant to the role
– Additional selling points
– A closing statement and call to action
How to structure your cover letter:
This section should contain where you found the job, the reference number and a brief overview of any relevant experience or qualifications.
This section should contain references to the position description’s key duties and responsibilities and how you have the experience to meet them. This section is particularly important; you want the employer to be able to tick every box, or at least as many as possible, from the job duties.
Here’s a good chance to show off, too. Infer things about the position. Perhaps it is a receptionist role, and it doesn’t specify the need to have good phone manner. Clearly this will be a part of a role, so include it.
Add extra selling points in dot points. These things could be manual drivers licence and reliable transport, especially if the position is rurally located. Or a Working with Children certification or clear police check are both valuable.
This section should include a call to action for the employer, and thanks for considering the application.
You should be able to fit this all in to a one page document. More than one page is generally overkill and will bore the employer. A well structured cover letter with valuable content also expresses excellent communication skills as well.
Approach your cover letter systemically — and truthfully– and you won’t go wrong.