If you take a group of 10 people from any given group, chances are your going to get some debate about whether you should or shouldn’t do a cover letter. From my experience in HR and recruitment, the truth is that there is no right or wrong answer. Each company’s HR or recruitment team are different. Some will skip a cover letter, while others will use this document to make their decision about your suitability for a job. In my opinion, it is always beneficial to include a cover letter. Below is a comprehensive guide about how to write an effective cover letter. This guide is useful for anyone from school leavers to chief executives
So, what is a cover letter? Your cover letter provides you with an opportunity to introduce yourself and create a strong link between yourself and the role you are applying for. You should ensure your cover letter addresses each of the job requirements outlined within the advertisement/position description. It should also be written from the perspective of “what is in it for the organisation”. You also need to ensure that keywords are used in your cover letter and resume. Keywords are the main words that feature in the job information, such as the advertisement and job description. It is also vital, however, that you not only use these words
but do so in a way that demonstrates you are what the employer is looking for. It is important to have a unique cover letter for each role.
Cover letter fundamentals
Your cover letter should be no more than 2 pages (typically 1 page is perfect), with between 4-5 paragraphs. It is vital that you analyse the job information and align the content of your letter accordingly, including keywords and/or phrases. This will enable the employer to draw a link between you and the role.
If you have a contact name for the organisation you are applying to, the letter should be addressed to them. If you don’t, call the organisation and ask who will be considering applications and address the letter to them. This helps to build a connection with the employer.
Cover Letter Structure
The first paragraph should include how you found out about the opportunity – for example. “I am writing to formally apply for the position of Compliance Manager, which is currently
advertised on your website.”
Focus on what you can do and mention any transferable skills. You should only use positive language and highlight areas of the job criteria that you do satisfy. Do not highlight any skills you do not have and do not mention areas where you lack experience.
Including some specific achievements is a valuable technique to stand out from other applications. For example, “I recently demonstrated my outstanding project management skills through my successful leadership of the relocation of the operations team to a new office. This was achieved on time and on budget, with almost no time lost”.
The final paragraph should also be positive and should include a call to action. This may include phrases such as “Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to discussing my suitability for the role in more detail at an interview”.
Make sure you get someone else to read your letter, for grammar, spelling and typing errors.
When there is no advertised vacancy, it is best to research the type of role you are targeting on other job sites such as Seek and Indeed, so you can target your cover letter and resume to what is typically required for this type of role.
Sample Cover Letter
15 Oxland Street
Indooroopilly Qld 4068
Hiring Manager’s Name
Reference: HB35 Stakeholder Engagement Consultant
I am writing to express my interest in the Stakeholder Engagement Consultant role currently advertised on your company LinkedIn page. I have been following your company for some time, as I am passionate about the environmental sector. With my extensive relationship skills and experience, I am confident that I can make a significant contribution to ABC Company in this role.
In my most recent role with XYZ Company, I had a successful history of driving marketing and communication strategies across multiple operational sites. As an example, I developed targeted community programs that supported business goals, enhanced stakeholder awareness and staff engagement at all levels of the business.
Key to my success has been fostering a climate of transparency and opening up and maintaining honest, open lines of communication across the company. As a consultant, I provide people with flexibility and project ownership and I offer them the freedom and opportunity to have input into final solutions as they are developed.
Please refer to my enclosed resume, which provides further insight into my career and qualifications. My primary focus is to grow professionally and to make a real difference in environmental issues.
I believe my unique skills and knowledge will add value to your company. I am confident my depth of experience will be a good fit with your organisation. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my application further with you at interview.
Dear (try to obtain a name if possible)
Reference: Part-time Bookkeeper role
I am writing to express my interest in the Bookkeeper role that you recently advertised on Seek. I have had a longstanding interest in the education sector and am confident that this, and my excellent bookkeeping skills, will be an asset to Achieve Education.
In my role with XYZ Company, I have had a successful history preparing and maintaining the accounts for the three businesses that formed the company group. I consistently met the key performance indicators for this role, including the timely submission of BAS, PAYG, payroll tax and all other business compliance activities. Soon after joining the company I identified an opportunity to improve the recording of assets by introducing a central online register. This initiative saved substantial costs and managed risk for the business by minimising duplication, improving the accuracy of accounting control processes, and triggering scheduled maintenance.
For the past three years, I have been the volunteer treasurer for the local C&K Kindergarten. I have really enjoyed this role and it has confirmed my ongoing interest in working with accounts.
I completed a Xero course in 2015 and have consolidated these skills by supporting several small business owners in my network with their accounts this financial year. I have met all of the compliance targets for these businesses while supporting the kindergarten and managing a busy household. My ability to multi-task, strong attention to detail and achievement orientation have been critical to my success.
I am looking forward to re-engaging with the workplace and feel that a two days per week role will be a perfect opportunity to allow me to do this successfully. I love to work in a team and greatly enjoy interacting with others at work. I know that my strong work ethic and friendly personality will be an excellent fit for your business. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to discussing my application further with you at interview. I may be contacted on 0400 000 000.
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