Tips for cover letters

A solid cover letter introduces you; backs up your resume and talks specifically to an advert*

An excellent cover letter helps to highlight your most valuable skills and experience for the job. (Ensuring you get put in the ‘yes’ pile and not discarded)

A fantastic cover letter shows a. You have the necessary skills to fit the job, b. You have strong communication skills and, c. You will seamlessly fit within their team.

What to do:

  • Keep the letter entirely left aligned
  • Make sure letter is same font/size as your cv
  • Keep it under a page – short and sweet. Don’t want to overload reader – especially if you are just repeating what is in you resume. 3-5 targeted paragraphs is sufficient
  • Ensure you cover/address key words/phrases used in the job description
  • Mirror the language of the job description… if they call it ‘printmaking’ and you’re a ‘screen printer’ use their term/language
  • Use strong influential language to set you apart – start strong and to the point; grab the leaders attention; don’t beat about the bush, launch straight into why you are perfect for the job
  • Talk about previous experience that directly relates to the job you are applying for ie choose 3-5 specific skills/strengths/experiences you bring to the role. (shows employer you can hit the ground running)
  • Inject some personality – make your letter conversational in tone; demonstrating you are friendly and approachable
  • Take extra care to proof read and edit; typos or grammatical errors will make it look sloppy/ask at least two other friends to check it for you

What not to do:

  • Underestimate the impact a good punchy cover letter can have
  • List your working history (it’s already in your cv)
  • Make it too long; don’t waffle on; keep it tight and relevant
  • Use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ salutation; if you know their name use Ms or Mr first and last name otherwise address it to the department hiring manager or the job title hiring manager
  • Use mediocre catchphrases like “I am passionate about…’, ‘I am a team player..’, and ‘I am a fast learner…’
(*Particularly if there is not a selection criteria. If there is a selection criteria – all your appropriateness to the role should be outlined within that document.)