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Resume writing tips, career advice and interview strategies to help you get the job you want!

Why do you need to include a cover letter with your resume?

Did you include a customised cover letter with your last job application?

Why are cover letters important?

A customised cover letter allows you, in a story type format, to tell the employer exactly why hiring you, as opposed to all the other candidates, is a good decision for their business.

Four tips for your next cover letter

Let’s have a look at these four tips in a little more detail.

Do not use a generic cover letter ever!

Consider who is reading your cover letter. Identify the language they use. Is it formal or technical or more creative and informal? To find out, research the company on their website. Take note of the language they use. This will differ depending on the industry. For example, technical industries can be very formal and procedural in their language. On the other hand, creative industries tend to use free-flowing language like storytelling. Mirror the language that is used on the website, in the job description or in the job advertisement. Also, research the broader industry type language.

Target your audience!

This is really important. No employer wants to read the same cover letter over and over.

  • Get their attention by submitting a cover letter that is customized to the job requirements.
  • Address your cover letter to the recruiter or employer – the person making the decision. If their details are not provided with the job advertisement, then do some research on their website and see if you can find their contact information.
  • Don’t ever put “To whom it may concern”. This can be very off-putting to the reader.

Do not waste valuable space in your cover letter!

Most employers and recruiters want to read a short, concise cover letter that makes a case for your suitability. So, make the most of the space you have available. Do not take up three to four lines to describe the role you are applying for. They already know that. Instead, insert a one-line paragraph for the role title, reference number, and other relevant information above or below your greeting.

For example: RE: Sales Manager, ABC Gadgets NSW – Ref Number: 04568

The first paragraph should be used to position yourself as the top candidate for the role by describing your top specific skills, experience, and qualifications that match the needs of the role.

Explain why you are the top candidate!

The remainder of your cover letter is used for describing two or three examples of the work you have done and the accomplishments that you have achieved that align with the needs of the position, employer and company. One method to achieve this is to lay out your resume and the role description side by side. Also, include any research you have done on the company. Now highlight your experience, skills, achievements and qualifications that match the requirements of the role. It’s now time to demonstrate how your experience, skills, achievements and qualifications will benefit the role, employer and company by describing the impact you made in similar roles.

No generic cover letter can catch the recruiter’s eye and promote you as well as a targeted cover letter can. When you think about it that makes sense. A generic cover letter is just another document to read with no real value.

If you would like to know more about the author Kathryn Burke, click here.

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