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Writing a Cover Letter

Objective of a Cover Letter

 

The main objective of a cover letter is to ensure your resume gets read.  Your cover letter gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself and highlight your suitability for the role you are applying for.  It allows you to emphasize your relevant skills, qualifications and experience whilst not repeating what is on the attached resume.

 In order to get your cover letter noticed amongst the rest, it is a good idea to contact the company and get confirmation on what is required in your application and who to address the letter to.

There are usually two types of cover letters:

  1. Response to a position that has been advertised or to a personal contact
  2. Speculative Letters – requesting to be considered for possible employment opportunities.  This includes positions that do not exist, are not advertised or are possible future vacancies.

Speculative Cover Letters

When looking for a job, it is imperative you include the speculative approach for the following reasons:

  1. There are a lot of jobs on the market that are not advertised.  By sending Speculative Cover Letters a high percentage of jobs are filled every year.
  2. Sending a Speculative Cover Letter shows initiative which will impress a potential employer.  This in turn could make the employer read your resume and may create a position to accommodate you.
  3. Your job application will already be in the hands of the employer when an unexpected job vacancy comes up.

Things to Remember when Composing a Cover Letter

Formatting

  1. Should be a maximum of one A4 page long.
  2. Follow business letter writing standards such as:
  • 10-12 point standard font e.g. Arial, Times New Roman
  • 100% accurate grammar and spelling
  • Clear structure
  • Standard margins and spaces between paragraphs
  1. Avoid casual language such as slang, abbreviations, jargon etc.
  2. Use short, structured sentences
  3. Do not use coloured paper, only white
  4. Be concise and to the point.

Research

  1. Find out the name of the person the letter should be addressed to
  2. Contact the company about providing you with additional information such as newsletters, brochures, annual reports etc.
  3. Use the Internet to research additional information about the company

Content

  1. Emphasize, highlight or add to the information on your resume
  2. Show your level of interest in the position and the company
  3. Show how much you know about the company
  4. A brief description  of your relevant skills
  5. Show the employer how you match their requirements.