Why is a cover letter so important?
- Published on Thursday 9 July, 2015
- 4 min. to read
Your cover letter is the very first thing an employer will see. A personalised, well-written cover letter is your chance to pique the employers’ interest and draw them in for a closer look. The purpose of a cover letter is to tell a prospective employer about yourself in your own words.
What is a cover letter?
It’s a letter of introduction that highlights your key accomplishments and fit for a job opening.
A cover letter adds focus to your resume.
The purpose of a cover letter
You might be applying for a specific, advertised job, or you might be contacting a potential employer to see if they have any vacancies. Either way, your cover letter needs to:
• introduce you
• mention the job (or kind of job) you’re applying for (or looking for)
• match your skills and experiences with the skills and experiences required by the job
• encourage the reader to read your resume
• finish with a call to action (e.g. requesting an interview or asking to meet).
What to include in a cover letter?
A cover letter shouldn’t be more than one page. It needs to show that you know what the job involves and what the organisation requires.
1. Find out who to address it to
Never address your letter To Whom It May Concern. Finding out who to address your application to takes a little bit of effort, but it’s worth it. If you found the job in an ad, the ad will probably name a person to send the application to. If not, call the employer or recruitment agency (don’t email them) and ask who to send the application to. When addressing a letter, don’t use the person’s first name. Use either ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’.
2. Find out more about the job and company
Understanding the position description and finding out more about a company is a good way to work out how to tailor your cover letter. If you know the name of the company, look for information online and especially check out their About Us page.
3. Your name and contact details
Put your name and contact details at the top of your cover letter. You don’t have to give your postal address, but you do need to include your email and phone number.
4. A list of your relevant skills
Your letter should include a brief summary of your skills and experiences that match the job description. If you’re answering a job ad, either the ad or the position description may provide a list of skills and experiences that are essential for doing the job. It may also provide a list of ‘desirable’ skills and experience. Your cover letter needs to respond to all of the items on the ‘essential’ list and as many items as possible on the ‘desirable’ list in as short a way as possible.
5. A summary of why you’re right for the job
After listing your skills and experience you should explain why this means you’re suited to the job (e.g. “The combination of my interest in XYZ and my experience with book-keeping makes me ideally suited for this job.”)
6. Ask them to check out your resume and contact you
At the end of your cover letter, be sure to announce your interest in hearing from the employer and thank them for taking the time to read your application. Try something simple like, “I have attached a copy of my resume for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you about this application.”
Download a sample cover letter to get started.
If you would like MEGT Australia to help you with your job search, please visit our jobs site. Alternatively, you can register your interest in a position if it is not currently on this list. This goes to the MEGT recruiters.