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Cover Letter Tips

Cover letters are an important part of applying for roles. Although the hiring manager or recruiter may not always read it, quite often it will help set candidates apart and gives you an extra opportunity to stand out from the other applicants.

These handy tips will help you get started on writing a cover letter, making sure it is relevant and focused on how your align to the company and the role.

Tailor your cover letter for each individual job

When writing letters it is important to tailor them to the specific job you are applying for. It is important to reference the job title and the name of the company, and address the main selection criteria from the job posting.

Use similar language to the company

A good tip is to use similar language and jargon to that in the job posting and from your own research into the company. This will show that you already speak the company’s language.

Why that company?

It’s an important question to address in your cover letter. It’s good to introduce yourself and explain why you’re a good fit for the role, but it is better to talk to the opportunity at the company as well and why you want to work there.

Why you?

Remember this is one of the few opportunities you will get to sell yourself to the person recruiting for the role, so really outline why you should be considered for the job. Your experience, your education, your enthusiasm… put it all out there to ensure you make a convincing argument. Stay focused though!

Refer to the selection criteria

This cannot be overstated enough. Quite often when assessing candidates how well you refer to and align yourself with the selection criteria is important in getting noticed and keeping your application out of the discard pile.

One page!

Keep it to a page. Sometimes it can be tempting to overdo it however as much as it is important to sell yourself, you need to maintain the interest of the reader. Don’t repeat yourself and cut down the waffle. At first it can be challenging but start out and if you find yourself going over a page, don’t change the font size or margins, go back and edit it down.

Use the spell checker and grammar sites

Nothing can derail a cover letter quicker than bad grammar and spelling mistakes. Use the tools that are out there like spell checkers and grammar checkers and follow their guidance. Remember to ensure you’re using the correct spelling though… UK or AU English for Australia.

Get a friend or peer to proof read it

When you’re finished it’s tempting to fire it off, but first run it by a friend you trust who will give you constructive feedback and help find small errors.

Writing cover letters, especially to each individual role might seem daunting at first but it helps your application greatly and gives you good practice at selling yourself. In time you will build up a collection of letters and it’s more than fine to re-use paragraphs in other letters, just be sure to personalise it to the company you are targeting.

  • Tailored for each individual job
  • Use similar language to the company
  • Why that company?
  • Why you?
  • Refer to selection criteria
  • One page
  • Use a spell checker and grammar tools
  • Get someone to read it

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Nia Lloyd Career Coach

Nia Lloyd

Graduate Diploma in Career Development
Certificate IV in Human Resources
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management

Nia is an experienced career practitioner who is passionate about helping people find their ‘true fit’, move through a career transition. re-entering the workforce or even if they just need someone to talk to.

For over 15 years Nia has worked in Human Resources, Recruitment and Career Counselling, bringing together a wealth of experience from a diverse number of industries to help people with their careers.

Nia is a Professional Member of the Career Development Association of Australia.