How to Write a Cover Letter for Jobs
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is simply a letter (can be an email these days) that is sent with your CV or resume and explains the contents of the same. Think of it as an opening statement for your main application.
How to write a good cover letter?
Writing a convincing job application cover letter is nothing short of an art. Your application must be uniquely tailored to match the job you are applying for, indicating that you are a good ‘fit’ for the job. To make sure that your cover letter doesn’t get ignored, you should start by carefully scanning the job advertisement for keywords that describe the experience, qualifications and skills being sought.
Go through your own career history for concrete examples which prove that you’ve got what the employer is in need of.
For instance, ad may be as follows: ‘An opening is available for an engaging person who is capable of working effectively in a team setup.’
The keywords here are ‘engaging’, ‘capable’ and ‘team setup’, therefore, your cover letter must show how you are good at meeting each of these crucial criteria.
Since a cover letter is basically there to sell your resume, it must hold the reader’s attention and entice them to keep on reading. Usually, this can be achieved by outlining your ‘unique selling points’ – these are the qualities which separate you from the competition.
Your cover letter needs to complement your CV by outlining those aspects which are most related to the position you seek.
It is recommended that you create a draft first, and when you think it seems good enough, get a second opinion from a colleague or friend.
If you aren’t sure on what qualities / qualifications the employer seeks, you should contact them beforehand and enquire about their requirements in detail through their HR department.
Put shortly, even though there is a lot of demand for candidates in lots of professions at present, and in some areas, there are even skill shortages, the competition is still stiff and employers will prefer candidates who can clearly show how the meet the criteria for the position.
Short tips for a great cover letter:
While you will find several generic cover letter templates online from where you can start, keeping the following advice in mind will help you create a uniquely engaging cover letter for your application:
- Begin by discussing what you are bringing to the company, opportunity, and role.
- Keep it short and concise.
- Make clear connections between your skills and qualifications and the requirements for the job; include any relevant achievements from your past two positions which show that you were a valuable asset for your previous employers.
- Show that you are the right person for the job by clearly indicating how you could resolve the job’s challengers and problems.
- Explicitly state your motivation for applying.
- Don’t just rehash your resume. Your cover letter needs to indicate your personality, and a genuine interest in the profession you are applying for.
- Close off your cover letter strongly by briefly explaining how your skills and experience will make you an excellent pick for the job.
Checklist for a cover letter:
Here is the basic list of things you need to cover to ensure that your cover letter format and content is up to the mark, regardless of the cover letters template you chose to follow.
- Length: Your lever letter should be one A4 page, with adequate spacing.
- Language: Remember to keep your language concise and clear. Action and accomplishments should be demonstrated through strong verbs e.g. ‘supervise’ and ‘organize’.
- Name, title and address: Gather the details about the contact person for the organization you are applying for, and address the letter appropriately. Remember to be correct on the spellings. Also, be sure to include your own address, contact number, and email.
- Layout: You should include an introduction as well as identification of the position sought. For instance, a typical cover letter template will begin with a reference number, followed by the reason you’re seeking the job, and then a summary of your specific qualifications.
- Substance: Identify your qualities, skills, and experience which are relevant to what the employer seeks. Search for keywords in the ad and build on those.
- Proofing: Be sure to proofread carefully the cover letter. Your goal is to make yourself the center of attention, rather than your competition, but not by misspelling a critical name! It is recommended that you have someone else proofread the cover letter as well for extra surety.
You can also seek the help of a professional service which specializes in the cover letter and resume writing Australia.