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Cover letters

Create a great first impression with your cover letter.

Image source: Aurora Project

Your cover letter is your marketing pitch. Along with your resume it needs to create a positive first impression to convince the reader that you should be selected for an interview.

This is your chance to expand, but not repeat, the information in your CV and to mention other details that are specifically related to the role. For example, it should cover why you are interested in the job, demonstrate that you have researched the organisation and outline the skills and experience you have that relate to the role.

A cover letter should be structured in a logical, informative way and reflect your unique professional brand. It demonstrates your communication skills – so check and recheck that your letter is free from errors.

Get started

Underline the key words in the job advertisement or role description that indicate skills and qualities sought. Use this to form a checklist to help structure your cover letter and ensure you respond to the key requirements of the job.

Now, brainstorm the skills, experience and qualities you have that match each requirement. Include transferable skills along with relevant experience.

Research the employer, sector and role so you can knowledgeably and confidently explain why you want to work for them. For example, if the employer has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility and you have a strong record in volunteer community work, use it as an example to show your alignment with their values.

Now write. Remember to follow the rules of clear communication; visit GradAustralia.com.au for helpful writing tips. 

The golden rules:

  • Keep your letter to one page
  • Ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors
  • Sell yourself
  • Address any specific selection criteria in the job advertisement.
  • Write a different letter for every job you apply for.

Cover letter dont’s

  • Don’t start the letter with ‘My name is...’ These details belong at the bottom of the letter
  • Don’t use a template letter or send an identical letter to lots of employers
  • Don’t overuse ‘I’ when starting sentences
  • Don’t use empty phrases such as ‘I believe I am a great candidate and meet all the requirements of this position’
  • Don’t use flattery, such as ‘It would be a great honour to ...’ or ‘Your esteemed organisation ...’