Writing a Cover Letter

The aim of the cover letter

A cover letter is not just a summary of your CV. Some employers shortlist candidates directly from the cover letters. So the aim of a cover letter is to convince the employer to find out more about you, by reading your CV and calling you for an interview. A cover letter is your opportunity to let the employer know that you have the skills, qualifications and experience to do the job.

What is an employee looking for in your cover letter?

An employer looks for:

  • how well you communicate, including structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • your experience, skills and qualifications
  • your professionalism and attention to detail.

What to put in your cover letter:

  1. Your contact details
  2. Date
  3. Name and address of the contact person
  4. Salutation: Dear Mr/Ms last name, (e.g., Dear Mr Smith) or
    Dear Sir/Madam. (If you don't know their name)
  5. First paragraph: State why you are writing and give the reader a reason to read on. State which position you are applying for (giving a reference number if applicable), mention how you found out about the vacancy and briefly explain why you are interested in the position.
  6. Second paragraph: Show that you can do the job by matching your experience, skills and qualifications with what the employer has asked for.
  7. Third paragraph: Tell them why they would want you. Summarise your strengths and skills that they are looking for from the job description). Prove that you have these skills by explaining how you developed them.
  8. Fourth paragraph:Indicate that you would welcome the opportunity for an interview. Indicate if you are going to follow up with a call and when you will call. Mention any dates that you might not be available for an interview. Thank the employer for their consideration.
  9. Closing: Use sincerely if you have used the Employer's or
    name in the salutation or faithfully if you haven't put in a name.

Things to check:

Cover Letter Template:

Both template formats contain a layout of a professional cover letter layout with comments.

Cover Letter - Word format
Cover Letter - PDF format