Why include a cover letter?
A well written cover letter demonstrates to a prospective employer your skills, experiences and qualifications relevant to the specific job you are applying for, as well as your interest in the job itself. The goal of the cover letter is to get you an interview.
What to include?
What to avoid?
Tips on the format:
Use the format of a professional letter. Choose a font which is clear, and easy to read (eg. Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri) - look to be consistent with the font chosen for your resume.
Ensure there are no grammatical or punctuation errors, and ensure that the paragraphs are sufficiently spaced out across the page (you won't want them all bunched together at the top of the page).
Outline the name of the position you are applying for (including any relevant reference number as seen in the job ad), and a brief introduction to yourself.
List your experiences and achievements relevant to the job (ie. those which will demonstrate clearly your ability to perform the role), and specifically address any criteria outlined in the job ad.
Include any other information which is relevant and not shown in your resume - this is where you can explain that you are re-entering the workforce, for example, or taking a change in career, and how your previous skills and experience will align with this, whilst adding value to the role.
Thank the reader for their time in reviewing and considering your application, confirm that you look forward to hearing from the company soon, and the phone number that you can be contacted on.
When signing off the letter, it is a good idea to include your contact phone number just below your name as well, for easy reference for the reader.
A cover letter is usually the first point of contact with a prospective employer - it's your first opportunity to make a good impression!
A well written cover letter will demonstrate that you have thoroughly reviewed the job ad, carefully read the criteria, and are genuinely interested in the job.
The cover letter accompanies your resume, so it's critical that your cover letter is given as much attention as your resume.