Employers often have many applications to deal with – so make your cover letter work for you. The cover letter is often the first contact between you and a prospective employer. An employer will judge your suitability partly based on this letter.
Your cover letter should cover two key points:
- What you have to offer the organisation
- Why you want to work in this job/position for this organisation, including positive comments about the reputation or performance of the organisation
Treat your application as a marketing document
Your cover letter needs to show your energy, enthusiasm, passion or drive.
It is important that you highlight your:
- Qualities that make you stand out from the crowd
- Skills and abilities. These need to be clearly outlined in order to show how you meet the requirements of the position. Obtaining a job description is important for this task
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Do your research into the organisation
The more informed you are about the organisation and position, the better you can match your skills to those required. Ring the organisation for more information, if necessary.
Need more cover letter help?
Read our cover letter guide “The Cover Letter Demystified”. It provides a model that can be used to respond to advertised positions as well as for unsolicited direct applications.
Read our Cover Letter FAQ for more helpful information.
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How to personalise your cover letter
In writing a cover letter, remember that it should never be generic – it should be personalised and tailored to the job and company that you are applying for.
Have attention to detail. Scrutinise the job advertisement and ensure the details are exactly mirrored in your resume. For example, if job applications are to be sent to ‘Stephanie Green, HR Manager’, ensure that Stephanie’s name and title are on your cover letter and the spelling is exact. If the job title that you are applying for is ‘Administration Assistant’, ensure that you don’t write ‘Administration Coordinator’.
Reference relevant skills and experience. If you’ve done your research, you will know exactly what kind of skills and experience the hiring manager is looking for. For example, if the advertisement mentions that they are looking for a Project Manager who is ‘excellent at stakeholder engagement’, you could say; “As a Project Manager with 8 years’ experience, I am known for my ability to influence and engage key stakeholders to achieve business goals.”
Reference the company. In your research, you may have identified what the company goals or values are. Ensure that you reference those goals and values when writing a cover letter, and articulate how they reflect your own goals and values.