Chances are when you apply for a job, you will be required to write and submit a cover letter. But how do you do that effectively?

An effective cover letter introduces yourself to the potential interviewer/s and gives you a chance to elaborate on your key strengths, skills and experience that are included in your resume, in addition to indicating your suitability for the role. You must convince them that they need you, not that you need them.

So what should you include?

  1. a date, your name and contact details in case the letter is separated from the rest of your application
  2. the name and/or position of the person and their company and address that you are applying to as specified by the job advertisement or listing
  3. the position, reference number (if applicable), and where and when the ad or listing appeared in the very first paragraph
  4. say why you are interested in the job, and give an overview of why you are the most suitable candidate for the position
  5. reference the selection criteria listed in the job advertisement and reference these against your resume, skills, knowledge and/or experience
  6. finish your cover letter with confidence by saying that you look forward to being able to discuss the opportunity/position in more detail at an interview

What should you double and triple check for when you think you're finished?

  • that your cover letter is tailored to the job, and not a formula letter or copy and paste from a previous application (and if you have worked from or edited a previous letter, please don't forget to quadruple check that you've changed every single reference to the previous company either by name, location or any other identifying factor)
  • you've used simple language and not waffled on - avoid super fancy words and overly long sentences
  • speaking of language - that you've spelled everything correctly
  • the font is the same size and style as your resume
  • if you've referenced any attachments, that you attach them
  • you've signed any printed, hard copies
  • a second, third and even fourth set of eyes have proof read the letter
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