How to write a cover letter

Whether your study is coming to an end or you need a part-time job to get you through next session, having a powerful cover letter is a crucial part of the job-seeking process.

In short, a cover letter introduces who you are by giving a brief overview of your most relevant experience and qualifications for the job and showcasing why you are the best candidate.

Use these tips to help you rock your cover letter and ace your next job application:

Do your research.

Find out who the hiring manager is and the company’s address. This is usually listed at the bottom of a job advertisement. Ensure your cover letter is addressed to this person.

If you are unfamiliar with the company you are applying to, now’s the time to find out what you can and why you’d be a good fit.

Be specific.

If you are applying for an advertised position, ensure you mention the exact position title, type of employment (e.g. full-time, part-time or casual) and where you found the advertisement.

This will ensure your application is considered for the correct position by the right person.

Keep it relevant.

Highlight the key skills and experience you have that the position calls for. Don’t just rehash your resume here, but do give examples where possible.

Explaining that you used your communication skills to liaise with your practical placement supervisors and colleagues, good. Using your fifth-grade lemonade stand hustle, bad.

Market yourself.

Your potential employer needs to know why they should choose you instead of the myriad other candidates.

Showcase why you are the right person for the job by sharing some of that company research you did earlier and why you can’t wait to join the team.

Include a call to action.

Now that you have your hiring manager on the edge of their seat, let them know what to do next.

Mention that you’ve included your resume for their perusal and invite them to contact you at their earliest convenience to schedule an interview.

Double-check that all of your contact details are up-to-date and included.

Use a template.

If you’re unsure of how to set out your cover letter, there are plenty of free templates to choose from, both online and in Microsoft Word.

This will ensure you don’t forget any important details and that your cover letter is formatted correctly.

Proofread.

Check, double-check and triple-check your spelling and grammar.

Nothing will send your application to the bottom of the list faster than sloppy mistakes, especially if one of your highlighted skills is “attention to detail.”

Don’t just rely on Word’s spell-check feature, run your cover letter through another set of eyes to be certain.

Your next job application may just be your last with the help of a rocking cover letter. Now get out there and enjoy your new career!