How to Write a Cover Letter

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a short letter that accompanies your resume when you apply for jobs. Sometimes employers will ask you to include a cover letter in your job application. The letter should be a brief introduction to you and the skills you have that suit the job. The letter will be different if you are applying for an advertised job or if you are writing to inquire about potential vacancies at a company.

Where do I get started?

First of all, you need to introduce yourself – don’t forget to include your contact details. Then you should state either the specific job you are applying for, or the type of job you are looking for (if you are not applying for an advertised job). You should include where the job was advertised or how you found out about it. Next you should discuss the skills and experiences you have that match those required for the job. Familiarise yourself with the organisation and tell them how enthusiastic you are about working for them. You can include personal qualities you think the employer may be looking for. Finally you should finish with a call to action, like requesting an interview or meeting. Youth Central has some great tips to help you get started.

Your cover letter should be specific to the job you are applying for, that means you should write a new one for each new job you apply for.

Your cover letter should demonstrate that you are familiar with the company and have the right skills for the job. If you need to call the employer to find out more information about the job, or who to address the letter to you should, it shows you are enthusiastic about getting the job.

What to avoid

Try to avoid any typos in your letter, get someone else to proof read it for you before you send it off. Double check to make sure what you say is correct, for example make sure the company name the one you’re applying for! Don’t put your whole resume into your cover letter. You’ll be sending the letter with your resume so make sure they are different – the letter should encourage the employer to read your resume. Try not to start all your sentences with ‘I’, use different sentence structures if you can. Short and sweet is best, try to keep the letter under one page long.

Youth Central have some great sample cover letters.