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
Suburb State Postcode
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)
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.
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.
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.
[Signature] (you should sign your name by hand or insert a scan of your signature)
Print full name
‘I want to thank you so much for helping me out and will pass your name onto people as you are fantastic at your job.’ Mel, candidate
‘I will always refer Peninsula Personnel when I get the opportunity. I have to admit I have always had a fairly negative opinion of recruitment agencies from bad past experiences so it was nice to finally have a good experience with one!’ Jane, candidate
‘When I knew I was going to be returning to Sydney I contacted PP and was working almost before I had unpacked my suitcases. The PP team somehow always managed to find positions that suited me perfectly, including an ideal permanent position once I had decided to settle. I have found Lisa and Leigh extremely friendly, always professional and unbelievably efficient. For example, when my situation changed recently and I required temporary assignments again, I forwarded my updated CV to Lisa…
‘If we have short-term employment opportunities, we would use your services …very happy. We have found your temps to be friendly, polite and professional in their manner, always ready to help staff and co-workers above and beyond the call of duty … a wonderful reflection on your business.’ HR, Fossil
‘I would like to extend my gratitude to you and your team for helping me out in the last month or so. It really helped me to get myself motivated and to gain my confidence back.’ Melanie, candidate
‘PP is the best agency on the Northern Beaches – Sydney even!’ Vanessa, candidate
‘Peninsula Personnel and ITS have a very successful working relationship, spanning over six years. PP always provides a prompt, efficient and cost effective service resulting in a number of excellent quality temporary staff being placed with us. PP have an excellent understanding of what we do, the culture of our company and who can do the job for us. Lisa and her team are straight forward, dedicated and act quickly to our requests. No matter who picks up the phone you know you are going to get …
‘Thank you for all your help, advice and everything that you did for me to help me achieve this role. I am forever grateful to you all. You are all a lovely, helpful group of people.’ Christine, candidate
‘I just want to say a BIG thank you to all of you. You went above and beyond trying to find me work and I am so grateful! I was really struggling to find work and your resume and interview tips really helped with my applications and interviews. Peninsula Personnel is truly the best recruitment company I have ever been with.’ One very happily employed Haylee, candidate