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Cover letter tips

The cover letter should be aimed at generating the reader’s interest to read your resume. Good cover letters spark the employer’s interest and create an impression of competence.

Similar to what you did with your resume, you should study the employer's requirements and needs before you start writing. Once you have those points, put the most important items first and support this with facts and examples. It is important to demonstrate how your career background, education, work experiences and abilities can meet the needs of the employer.

You should always use a cover a letter for your resume unless specifically instructed otherwise by the employer. Sending a resume without a covering letter is like starting an interview without shaking hands. The main purpose of the cover letter is to introduce your resume and highlight the key points that are most relevant to the job being advertised.

Your cover letter needs to be personalised. It is more effective if you do some research on the company before hand and write a cover letter that is tailored to the company and the advertised role.

Your cover letter should provide the following details.

  • Why are you writing?
  • What interests you about the job?
  • Why should the company be interested in you?

These questions should be answered in 3 main sections of your cover letter.

Introduction

Introduce yourself and explain why you are writing to the employer. Include the name of the position being advertised. If someone has suggested you get in touch with the employer then do mention the recommendation. If you are responding to an advertisement, refer to it and the source that published it. In a sentence or two explain why you are the best candidate for the job (talk about your skills).

Body

Provide a link between your background to the experience and skill requirements of the job position. It is good if you can talk about your experiences that relate to the job at hand. You should identify your strengths, accomplishments and results. Do not repeat what is stated in your resume. Instead, summarise your most relevant qualifications or provide additional details about a noteworthy accomplishment.

Closing

End the letter with a brief active statement, such as an offer to contact the employer within a specific period of time, usually one or two weeks. You have to be proactive and continue to keep your name in the interviewer’s mind. It is crucial that you provide details for them to reach you; this is usually by phone and/or email. Close the letter by thanking the reader for their time and consideration.

Cover letter tips

  • Should be specifically targeted towards the job at hand. Do not write one cover letter and send it to everyone.
  • Cover letters need to highlight your talents and experience.
  • Your cover letter, like your resume, should be perfect. Make sure there are no grammatical or spelling errors. Don’t rely on your computer’s spell check. Get a friend or teacher to read it over for you.
  • Keep it to one page.


 

Last updated
15 February 2016

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