Many people are unsure of how to write a covering letter to go with a job application. As your cover letter is often the first impression you’ll make on a potential employer, it’s important to get it right to maximise your chances of getting an interview.
The aim of your cover letter should be to introduce yourself to the company, explain why you want the job and encourage the reader to take a look at your CV. Here are some do’s and don’ts for writing a great cover letter:
A cover letter should:
- Say why you are writing and for what position you are applying
- Say where you saw the advertisement
- Be clear and to the point
- Repeat the specific skills, abilities, and experience the job advertisement identifies
- Show you have done your homework – you must match your background to the company
- Highlight key information from your resume, but do not simply repeat what is in the resume
- Be positive and enthusiastic – show you really want the job
- Encourage the reader to take a closer look at your CV
A cover letter should NOT:
- Be a summary or repeat of your resume
- Be a form letter you send with all job applications. Change it to reflect the new company.
Addressing your letter:
- If you can, learn the name of the person who will be reading your resume. Spell the name correctly and use the correct title (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Miss, Dr., or “Professor.”).
- If you do not know the name of the person, write “To whom it may concern,” or Dear Sir/Madam,”
- Include your address.
- Include the position you are applying for. A hiring manager could have more than 1 job advertised at the same time.
Make it natural:
Write a cover letter in your own words – do not copy a template from someone else. It must sound natural and reflect the tone in your resume.
The more personal the letter is to the company, the better. A reader knows if it is the standard cover letter that you use for every application. Make it special.
Sometimes people forget to change the name of another company or position! Be careful!