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What is a good covering letter?

It is usually the first thing an employer will see, so it is important that it is well written in order to make a good first impression
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The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to a prospective employer and provide an overview of what you can offer. It is usually the first thing an employer will see before they read your resume/CV, so it is important that it is well written and looks professional in order to make a good first impression.

While a cover letter is not always requested, you should always include one with your resume/CV as it demonstrates your genuine interest in the job and shows that you have taken the time to consider the particular role’s requirements and how you can add value to the business.

Writing your cover letter requires research, thought and personalisation to convince the hiring manager that your application is worth the time to read.

Things to include

  • Your address and contact details
  • Use the recipient’s name in your greeting line (Dear First Name) rather than ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’
  • Make sure your letter follows a clear structure. For example:
    • Paragraph 1: Explain why you are contacting them
    • Paragraph 2: Make specific reference to main skills and work experience and show that your skills and experience match the job requirements
    • Paragraph 3: Explain how you can add value to the business through your unique skills and experience
    • Paragraph 4: State your availability for an interview. Thank the reader for their time and consideration of your resume.
  • End your cover letter with a formal ‘Yours sincerely’ and sign your name.

You can find an excellent guide to writing cover letters from Australian Job Website SEEK here.

Tops tips for a great covering letter

  • Invest time to customise each letter to suit individual roles
  • Address the letter to the appropriate person
  • Use a professional layout and check that there are no formatting, spelling or grammatical errors
  • Use plain English – be professional and succinct
  • Research the company, as this will help you to explain how your skills and background are a good fit
  • Address the main job criteria and explain why your skill set is a good match
  • Your cover letter should be no more than one page in length
  • It is important to sell yourself
© CQUniversity 2021
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