HOW tO Write a cOver letter
Formal introduction Step One
a cover letter is a formal introduction to your job
application. it explains why you have sent the analyse the job advertisement to ensure that your
application and highlights your relevant skills and skills and abilities match what the employer is
attributes in relation to the requirements of the looking for.
When applying for jobs, whether work experience/
cover letters are an essential element of your job internships or vacation work, full-time or graduate
application. invest the same time and effort in positions, you should focus, in your written
tailoring them to the position you are applying for application, on how you can meet the needs of the
as you would with your resume. employer.
types of job application letters Step two
• Solicited: a cover letter for those jobs that have research the company.
take time to find as much information as you can
• Unsolicited: a cover letter for a job that has not
about the organisation you are applying to. Focus
been advertised, otherwise known as a ‘cold
especially on the services they provide, their current
application’ or ‘letter of speculation’.
projects and their mission and value statements. if
you can locate the position description of the job
Both cover letters, although structured the same, that you are applying for, you can use this as a tool
have different purposes and will include different to target your cover letter and resume to what the
information. if you have been encouraged to apply employer is looking for. always try to speak to the
by someone who is known and respected within contact person named in the job advertisement.
the organisation, mention this. also explain very this research will help you to reflect on how your
clearly why you have targeted this company. experience and interests relate to the position you
are applying for. even if you do not have directly
email Body or attachment? relevant experience, you will have “transferrable”
experience and skills that you use to show the
employers increasingly request that job applications employer what you are capable of.
are submitted online or by email. ideally, the cover
letter should be sent as an attachment, rather
than copied into the body of the email. if you send
your letter as a separate attachment remember to
remain formal in the accompanying email; a good
application can be ignored if the email is written like
a text message. if you do include the cover letter in
the body of your email, you do not need to include
your address and the address and position of the
person to whom you are sending it to.
Step three Paragraph 3
consider what attracts you to the organisation and in this paragraph, you can outline your relevant
why you are choosing to apply for this position. personal skills. each job, whether it be in science,
education or the arts, will require a certain set of
this will not only help you to target your letter and characteristics or attributes. For example, an artist
resume, but will also assist you in the interview will need to display initiative and a social worker
when asked questions like “what is your interest in will need to possess effective interpersonal and
this position?” organisational skills. research your industry to find
out what key skills and attributes employers are
seeking in their employees.
Writing your cover letter
Some employability skills and attributes you will
a cover letter should always be closely targeted to often be asked to demonstrate are:
the employer and the role you are applying for. Do
not send out template letters that simply summarise • communication skills (written and oral)
• time management skills
a cover letter should also be as personal as possible. • Organisational Skills
this means, addressing your letter to a specific
person. You may need to contact the organisation • interpersonal Skills
and find out who is going to read your application. • creativity and initiative
this can be to your added advantage if the phone
call allows you to make a good first impression • Flexibility, adaptability and dedication
on the employer or a key person involved in the ability to work in teams and independently.
selection process. in some cases, you will not be
able to direct your cover letter to a specific person, For more information on employability skills and
you will then use “Dear Sir/Madam”. attributes visit the website of the Department of
education, employment and Workplace relations:
cover letter Structure
Paragraph 1 Paragraph 4
Paragraph 1 is your introduction. in this section, this is the final paragraph where you should
you will assert your interest and state the title mention that you have included your resume (and,
of the position, exactly as it was advertised. You if appropriate, your selection criteria) with your
should also tell the employer where you found cover letter. State that you would like to talk further
the advertisement and the date on which it was about your application and thank the employer
advertised. for considering your application. You should also
explain the best method by which the employer
Paragraph 2 can contact you.
this is where you can describe your relevant Step Four
technical experience. this includes your education
and training. list your qualifications and the • Use the checklist below
awarding institution and provide a brief overview
of how these relate to the job you are applying for. • Get someone to proof read the whole
You should also list relevant work experience (paid application
or unpaid), the companies for whom you have • Make a copy
worked, and specific duties and responsibilities
directly related to the position.
SOliciteD cOver letter eXaMPle
Your Postal adress
Date (in full)
their Name, title (Dr, Prof, etc... if known. if not direct this to the Manager if a small
company or Human resources Department if a larger organisation)
the Salutation (Dear Mr or Mrs ... or Dear Sir/Madam if unkown)
re: Position title and any reference number if applicable
State the position sought and make reference to how you came to know of the vacancy.
Or, if you are writing an unsolicited letter requesting work experience, discuss what kind
of position you are seeking and why.
State the reasons why you are applying - what attracts you to that company? refer to
your knowledge of what the organisation does. State what you have to offer. include why
you would be able to contribute and possibly what your goals might be with them.
Highlight the appropriateness of your qualifications, achievements and experiences that
directly relate to the position. Describe any relevant work experience and the professional
skills you can bring to the position, highlighting recent successes.
Finally, conclude with a brief statement about the personal qualities you can offer the
company and why you are so keen to be considered for the role.
Be sure to thank the employer for the opportunity to submit your application and
mention that you would be grateful for the chance of an interview. You may at this stage
include your availability and contact number and/or email address.
close (Yours faithfully or Yours sincerely)
Your Name (in a formal business letter always leave a gap between the closing salutation
and your name.)
checklist additional Points to remember
• Have i checked spelling, especially of names? • Professional Business format is required i.e.left
justified with punctuation only in the body of
• Have i listed a phone number where a message the letter.
can be left?
• Be clear, concise and correct - Keep your
• is the date accurate? letter length to one page only. Pay particular
• Have i clearly identified the position i am attention to spelling and grammar.
applying for? • Do not begin every sentence with the personal
• Have i made any ‘empty’, unsupported pronoun ‘i’ – consider ways to change the
statements about myself? syntax. Be creative.
• Have i succinctly demonstrated why i am • Be positive and enthusiastic.
genuinely interested in this position/company • an original personalised covering letter must
and demonstrated my suitability for the be prepared with each application.
• Have i used a conservative writing style and
made use of key words?
• Have i correctly followed any instructions
specified by the employer?
• Have i attached any necessary supporting
• Have i used adequate margins, single spacing
between lines and double spacing between
paragraphs and a font size that is easy to read?
• Have i signed my name? (For postal
contacting the careers centre...
Feel free to visit us at Building 303
email us at email@example.com
Give us a call on (08) 9266 7802
Or check out our website at www.careers.curtin.edu.au
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