How to prepare a cover letter

There is much debate about whether to include a cover letter with your resume when applying for roles. Some online applications request a cover letter and many recruiters and HR professionals believe a well-written cover letter distinguishes an application and provides a summary of the candidate's suitability.

We recommend that your cover letter be one page with short paragraphs that outline your experience, relevant skills and qualifications, suitability for the role and anything else you believe will assist your application. While you may like to mention your current role or most recent role, or a past role that is highly relevant to the one you are applying for, do not include your entire work history as it will most likely make your cover letter longer than one page; remember, your accompanying resume provides your work history.

We also recommend using an easy-to-read font such as Arial or Calibri in 10, 11 or 12pt and asking a friend to proof read your cover letter to check for spelling and grammar errors. And lastly, don't forget to include your contact details, the date, and the job reference number and/or full title of the advertised role.

Example Cover Letter

Your name
Street address
Suburb State Postcode


Company name
Street address
Suburb State Postcode

Dear [name of contact]  (address your application to the name provided on the job ad; if a name isn’t offered, call the company and ask whom you should address the application to)

First paragraph

This paragraph should briefly explain who you are and why you are writing to them. Name the position you are applying for and where you saw the position advertised. If the company is advertising more than one position and you omit the position title you’re interested in, they may be unsure of which role you are applying for and not consider your application.

Second paragraph

Explain why you are suitable for the position and briefly how your previous experience and skills make you ideal for the role. Mention any relevant qualifications (for example ‘I have just graduated from a Bachelor of Business Administration’) and what you think you could bring to the company. If the job advertisement lists selection criteria, this is your opportunity to explain how your skills and experience meet their criteria.

If a job advertisement requests selection criteria to be addressed separately, create a new document and ensure your written responses to each criteria adhere to any word limits and, if provided, formatting instructions.

Third paragraph

Explain why you would like to work for this particular company, showing that you have researched their company and role. Companies want to know you are interested in them and have a solid understanding of what they do and how they do it, which can include their market position, current achievements and challenges and plans for the future. Ensure each prospective employer believes their role is the only one you want, no matter how many you may be applying for.

Lastly, politely request they consider your application and convey your appreciation for the time they have taken to read it. Being polite and enthusiastic will help create an overall good impression.

Yours sincerely,

[Signature] (you should sign your name by hand or insert a scan of your signature)
Print full name