How to write a cover letter

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How to write a cover letter

Your cover letter is your first introduction to us, so it needs to show that you’re a suitable candidate.

Your cover letter is an important document that introduces your resume to us and highlights your suitability for the role you are applying for. The effort you put into a good cover letter can go a long way to convincing us that you’re a highly motivated candidate, and will help you to stand out in the application process.

The purpose of a cover letter

A common misconception is that a cover letter is simply a reiteration of the information on your resume. However, the structure and purpose of each document is different. While your resume is a polished summary of what you’re offering, your cover letter is a professional letter that introduces your application and reasons for applying for the job, linking the relevant skills and experience on your resume to the job requirements and organisation.

An effective cover letter demonstrates to a potential employer:

  • A strong interest in the role you are applying for and the organisation you are joining
    We want to hire candidates who are genuinely interested in their job, not just any job. Do your research and explain why our organisation appeals to you.
  • How you meet the selection criteria
    Focus on the skills and attributes we have mentioned in the job application kit. In your responses to selection criteria, offer short examples of how you have developed or utilised your skills for a positive outcome.
  • Excellent written communication skills
    A cover letter should be written using professional language and structured paragraphs. Proofread your letter for spelling and grammatical errors.

Cover letter tips

The primary emphasis should be on what you could contribute to our organisation, rather than on what you expect from us. For a cover letter to be effective:

  • Keep it to one A4 page.
  • Ensure your name, address, phone number and email address is included on the letter.
  • Include the title, name and job title of addressee, as well as the organisation’s name and address on the letter. Only use “Dear Sir or Madam” if you can’t find the hiring manager’s name.
  • Be clear about which job you are applying for by referring to the job title or vacancy number listed in the job application kit.
  • Use a professional font (eg, Arial, Calibri – nothing too ornate or difficult to read) and keep your formatting consistent with your other application documents.
  • Indent or leave a space between each paragraph.
  • Send your cover letter as an attachment; do not type it into the body of the email.
  • Do not send the same generic letter to every employer. It must be closely tailored to the job and the organisation.
  • Keep the information in your resume and cover letter consistent – your cover letter should not introduce experience that you have not listed in your resume.


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