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Woman sitting at desk smiling with pen in hand and laptop open in the middle of writing her cover letter.

Writing a Cover Letter for Success

Writing a tailored, well-constructed cover letter is a pivotal part of any job application, and can be a major factor in helping you get to the next stage.

31/01/24 News

49% of hiring managers admitted that a strong cover letter has convinced them to interview a candidate who has submitted a weak resume[1]. Cover letters are an easy way to make a strong first impression and don't need to be a complicated or time consuming task.

Here are some simple tips to help you easily write a successful cover letter.

Generic letter is not better.

Before we dive into the ingredients that make up a beautiful baked cover letter creation, let's touch on why one size does in fact not fit all. Tempting as it is to create a generic covering letter, send it out to the masses and wait patiently for a response, it can actually do more damage than good. Generic cover letters are usually obvious to hiring managers and show a lack of effort and interest in the job.

Be wise, customise

There is a reason why personalising a cover letter is important. Creating a customised cover letter not only gives you the opportunity to show off your personality but also your understanding of the position and the company. It highlights that you are interested in the role and helps the HR Manager easily identify your relevant experience and skills. With 48% of hiring managers taking between 30 seconds to 2 minutes to read your cover letter[2], you do not want to waste that precious time with irrelevant or hard to find information.

Name of the game

This might be an obvious one, but one that can put a stop to your application before it has even started. Always start your covering letter with the correct name and address. Remember it is a letter after all, it needs a recipient. The name should include the business name, address and if possible, the hiring manager’s name. You can usually find this on the position description. If it doesn’t have one, call the organisation and ask who to address the cover letter to. Try and avoid using a generic title like ‘Hiring Manager’ or ‘Human Resource Manager. Don’t forget to also include the date and the position title so they can easily identify which job it is for.

1 January 2024
John Smith – Hiring Manager
Company Co
123 Example Rd
Example, SA 1234

RE: Application for Customer Service Specialist

Dear John Smith,

Quick tip: When you save the cover letter, include the business name in the file name e.g. Sandra Anderson –Cover letter Company Co. This will ensure you are sending the correct cover letter to the correct business.

Intertwine and align

Perhaps the most important part is showing the hiring manger how your experience connects to the job.

Be sure to:

  • Clearly align their highlighted experience or desired attributes from the position description with your own.
  • Use their language and keywords to describe your tasks.
  • Use the same order of tasks that they have listed in the job advertisement. The order is often purposeful and aligns to the role’s most important or main tasks first.
  • Mention any workplace achievements that are also relevant to the position.

Quick tip: This section is a good place to use bullet points to break up the text.

You can’t spell personalisation without personal

Remember what sets a cover letter apart from a resume is that it’s your opportunity to make it personal. You can let your personality shine through and show off your personal brand. Don’t be afraid to write about why you have an interest in the position beyond experience. It could be in an industry or a cause you are passionate about, or perhaps a company that you really connect to their goals, ethos and culture. Taking time to research the company and highlight your personal connection not only shows the employer your enthusiasm for the position but also how you could fit in with the team.

The layout payout

With only a limited time to impress, first impressions count, and in this case, you will get judged by its cover. Ensuring the cover letter not only looks good, but is well laid out, consistent, and easy to read is paramount to the reader being engaged and extracting the key information fast.

Firstly, your resume and covering letter are like salt n pepper, they go together. Make sure they have the same format and look. That includes fonts, sizes, paragraphs, spacing, colours, headers, footers etc. They should be a nice cohesive document.

Avoid long sentences and too many words. Use bullet points and adequate spacing. Your covering letter may be one in a line of many so why not make it as easy as possible for the Human Resource Manager?

Short and sweet is key. You have your resume to support your work experience so don’t feel like you have to give too much detail or overexplain what you have done. Almost 70% of employers prefer cover letters that are half a page or less[1]. Get to the point and hit the reader with the facts.

Quick tip: Get someone else to read through your cover letter or use a free online spell checker. Grammar mistakes are unforgiving.

Still have questions?

Workskil Australia is here to help and provides support to customers at all stages of their employment journey. Whether you need help to create a cover letter or are just not sure where to start, we are here to help. Speak to your employment consultant or contact us today.

[1]LinkedIn, 15 August 2023, “Twenty statistics to show you why cover letters are important for your job search”, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/twenty-statistics-show-you-why-cover-letters-important-your/

[2] Resume Now, 1 November 2022, “52 Resume Statistics All Job Seekers in 2023 Should Know”, https://www.resume-now.com/job-resources/jobs/resume-statistics#coverletterstatistics

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