Cover letters are an opportunity to promote the unique ‘you’ to a potential employer. What is it that makes you exactly what they want – perhaps it’s something even the employer hasn’t thought of yet! What is it that sets you apart from the rest?
Cover letters take many forms, and may or may not require you to address selection criteria but generally a page is more than enough.
Like any part of your application, a cover letter MUST be tailored for each role.
Ask yourself why the employer is in business (eg. profit, community good) and let that guide your content. This is their ‘bottom line’ and is what they really want you to address even if it isn’t spelt out.
In summary, keep it clear and simple like this…
- Your name and address
- Name and address of employer
- Salutation.. eg. Dear_____ (preferably phone to grab this person’s name. If it’s not available, ‘Dear Manager’ is safe or go with the traditional Dear Sir/Madam
- Can add a reference line eg. RE: Lake Macquarie Sales Representative – Position No. A476.
- State the name of the position you’d like to apply for and where you saw the role advertised
- Start strong….this might include saying ‘why’ you like the sound of the role and how it matches your qualities or you could go for a thinly disguised boast.
- Include an achievement or two – perhaps things that are not in your resume or expand on those that are
- Explain why you want to work for that company (this is a chance to show you have done your research and are not just applying for anything that comes along)
- End politely and positively – something simple about looking forward to an opportunity to discuss the role is fine.
Aligned to the left margin is standard
Use plain fonts – no italics or anything fancy. No less than 10 or 12- point font.
Double space between paragraphs.
Minimise dots and dashes, commas etc that are not necessary and make the page look ‘busy’ to the reader.
There are find plenty of cover letter examples online, (Seek offers one for instance), but keep the key selling points unique. Know your strengths and promote them. This is your opportunity to shine.