Writing a Cover Letter

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					Writing a Cover Letter
    … put yourself in the employer’s shoes!


What is the purpose of this letter?
       Introduce the purpose of your letter - get to the point in the first paragraph. If you are applying for
        an advertised vacancy, give the correct position name along with details of when and where you
        saw the position advertised, or how you came to know about it.
       Introduce yourself - include specific information about your degree (where you are studying, when
        you expect to complete and details on areas of focus in your study).
       Most importantly - try to grab the reader‟s attention!

Why do you want to work for this employer?
Ensure that you tailor the letter for this employer by demonstrating your research into the organisation.

       Why do you specifically want to work for this organisation, other than the fact that they might offer
        you a job? Employers are looking for individuals who can demonstrate a real passion for their
        industry and a genuine enthusiasm to work for their organisation.

What do you have to offer this employer?
       It‟s vital to research the criteria the employer uses to select staff and respond to them in your
        letter.
       Use evidence to demonstrate your characteristics and qualities - reflect on some special skills you
        possess, or experiences you‟ve had.
       Entice the reader to want to meet you in person.
       Find your „unique selling point‟ - a quality or special skill that makes you marketable to this
        employer, in this industry.

Finishing Off
Closing Paragraph

       Include a statement of appreciation to the reader for spending time reading your application and
       A request to meet the employer in person at an interview (or, for speculative applications, notice
        of the date you intend to call to follow up).

Complimentary Closing

       Use “Yours sincerely” if you named the reader personally in your greeting at the start of the letter;
        use “Yours faithfully” if not.
       Follow this with your signature, with your full name typed beneath it.

Enclosures

       Always enclose your resume unless specifically requested not to.
       Where you do enclose a resume, draw the reader‟s attention to it by mentioning it in your letter.



Disclaimer: Information was current at the time of writing and is intended as a guide only. Adapted by Monash University Employment and Career Development, 2008
       Only include written references (eg. from previous employers) if necessary - employers usually
        prefer you to list the contact details of 2-3 referees in your resume instead.


    Content Checklist
       I have included my address and contact details, the recipient‟s address and today‟s date.

       I have addressed the recipient formally (eg. Dear Mr Simpson), not casually (eg. Dear Peter).

       I have clearly introduced myself and stated the purpose of my letter.

       I have sought to grab the reader‟s attention. Use a compliment, specific knowledge of the
        organisation, or perhaps mention a mutual contact.

       I have demonstrated why I want to work for the employer and what I have to offer them -
        highlighting my strengths without exaggeration.

       I have researched and responded to the employer‟s selection criteria.

       I have included the necessary closing elements, mentioned and included relevant enclosures.



    Formatting and Style Checklist
       I have used a standard business format for my letter, presented in a simple font.

       My letter is concise - kept to one A4 page. My sentences are well-constructed and each
        paragraph has a distinct purpose. Avoid the temptation to cramp text and narrow the margins.

       The tone of my letter tone is positive and direct, using straightforward, contemporary business
        language. Avoid abbreviated „chat‟, SMS language and slang.

       I have spell-checked and proofread my letter. Try to vary your phrasing and avoid starting
        every paragraph with “I …”. If in doubt, ask someone to read it over.

       I have signed the letter.

       If sending by post, I have correctly (and neatly!) addressed the envelope.



Speculative Applications
Speculative applications can be very effective, as many positions are not advertised. However, a well-
researched and tailored application is much more likely to be successful than a broadcast letter.

       Clearly state that you are enquiring for a possible position and be specific about what kind of work
        you are looking for. Don‟t simply enquire about „any available position‟.
       Your „unique selling point‟ is critical in a speculative application. You need to have a good
        understanding of the skills required in the employer‟s industry and the ability to market yourself.

You need to show and retain initiative.

       Don‟t expect the employer to contact you the moment they receive your application.


Disclaimer: Information was current at the time of writing and is intended as a guide only. Adapted by Monash University Employment and Career Development, 2008
                                                                                         DO NOT COPY: You are advised not to copy this sample,
                                                                                         but to use it to generate ideas for your own cover letters.
       Inform the reader in your letter that you will call to follow up on your application - give a date when
        you will ring and then do call promptly, as stated.

Sample Cover Letter


             Andrea Douglass
             27 Premier Avenue
             Scoresby VIC 3179
             Mobile: 0413 447 946
             Email: adouglass@hotmail.com


             11 July, 2007


             Mr Brendon Johnson
             Graduate Recruitment Co-ordinator
             Connor White Management Consulting
             60 Albert Street
             East St Kilda VIC 3183


             Dear Mr Johnson,

             Graduate Program Application

             After attending your company presentation at Monash University last Tuesday and speaking with
             your colleague Sarah Jackson at the cocktail event afterwards, I am writing to apply for your
             graduate program. I would like to take this opportunity to outline some of my qualifications.

             I am particularly interested in joining Connor White as the organisation places a strong emphasis on
             working with clients to solve business problems; a philosophy that I believe engenders trust and long
             term client relationships.

             Currently, I am completing my Bachelor of Commerce degree at Monash and it has given me an
             excellent overall understanding of business practice. I am majoring in Management, which prompted
             my interest in management consulting, where I hope to put my interests and learning into practice.

             I was particularly interested to note from your presentation that you look for applicants who can
             operate effectively within a team and apply their creativity. In addition to my studies, my employment
             experience and campus activities have helped me to develop such qualities and skills. At Fine-food
             Supermarket my main role is to work collaboratively with staff, supervisors and merchandisers in
             organising floor space, giving me the chance to develop my teamwork and interpersonal skills. In
             terms of creativity, my natural inclination is to look for new ways of solving problems and an example
             of this was a promotional strategy that I developed as President of the Handball Club, which resulted
             in a 75% increase in membership.

             Enclosed is copy of my resume and academic transcripts. I hope that I have demonstrated the
             qualities and skills that you seek and welcome the opportunity to discuss my application in more
             detail at an interview.

             Yours sincerely,


             (sign here…)


             Andrea Douglass

             Enc: Resume and Academic Transcripts




Disclaimer: Information was current at the time of writing and is intended as a guide only. Adapted by Monash University Employment and Career Development, 2008