A cover letter is an opportunity for a job applicant to demonstrate their abilities and motivations for applying to a position. The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to an organisation, demonstrate how your abilities align with the position and explain your motivation for applying. A cover letter is also an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to produce a succinct written document.
Below I will detail what you should include in your cover letter.
[Your personal details in the top left corner of the letter]
[Insert date of application]
Date of application
[Include available details of the organisation you are applying to]
Who the letter is addressed to (if you don’t have a person’s name you could address it to the company recruitment team)
Organisation address or email address
[Include a subject line]
Re: Application for [position name] at [organisation name]
[Address the letter to someone, either to an appropriate employee, the organisation’s recruitment team or to whom it may concern]
Paragraph 1 – State what position you are applying for and provide a brief summary of yourself.
This summary should briefly cover key facts about yourself relevant for the position you’re applying to. Some examples of possible information to include are your current position or experience, what you are studying at university, what high school and grade you are currently in and any special achievements such as awards or scholarships.
Paragraph 2 – Explain why you are interested in this position.
Rather than the immediate response that comes to mind – because I need money, a good way to think about this section is reasons why you would prefer this job to another. Potential reasons you may be interested in working for a company include that it is a leading organisation with a strong reputation, flexibility in the hours you can work, exposure to new tasks, training and progression opportunities.
Paragraph 3 – Describe your experience and qualifications.
This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your capabilities and suitability for the role. Depending on what type of position you’re applying for you could include relevant subjects studied in high school, your university degree, other qualifications, volunteer experience, previous experience in relevant positions, and key achievements including awards and scholarships.
Paragraph 4 – Describe your skills and abilities.
In this section you detail the transferable skills you have gained through your experiences including school, TAFE, university, previous positions and volunteer positions.
Paragraph 5 – Thank the reader for taking time to consider your application and note you look forward to hearing from them soon.
You could also include your availability for work including when you’d be available to start and which days of the week you are available to work.
[Sign off on your letter]
- A cover letter should be no longer than 1 A4 page
- Perform a spell check before submission
- Proof read the letter to ensure it makes sense and there are no grammatical errors
- Ask a trusted friend or family member to proof read it also to pick up any errors you may have missed
- Keep paragraphs and sentences short so it’s easy to read
- If you are using a standard template and updating it for each job application do a check to ensure no details from the previous job application you used the letter for are still included
- Think carefully about the genuine reasons you would want to apply to a job as this stands out more. Often people think I obviously just want this job to get money; another way to think about this question is why would I want this job instead of another job?
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