When you are applying for a job, employers typically want to see a resume and a cover letter. The purpose of a cover letter is to essentially introduce yourself and make yourself stand out above the other applicants. Knowing how to write a cover letter is imperative to give yourself the best shot at the jobs that you apply for.
Cover Letter Formatting
Your cover letter layout needs to be neat and precise. Start with the proper formatting which includes using the right page margins, line spacing, section spacing, font size and type and paragraph spacing. You also need to pick the right document type.
Use single spacing throughout your cover letter. A 10 to 12-point font in Calibri or Times New Roman is appropriate. Use one-inch margins. The best document type depends on the word processor you are using.
Make sure that your cover letter is short and to the point. Eliminate all fluff and information that is not directly related to the job and why you are qualified.
Here is a cover letter example layout:
Here you will include your name, email address, home address and phone number. This goes in the upper righthand section of the document.
Input the date you create the cover letter. This goes below your contact information in the upper righthand corner.
Here you will include the name of the person you are sending the cover letter to, such as the human resource manager, their title, the name of the company and the company’s address. This goes below the signature, but you align it to the left. Everything else goes below this aligned to the left.
Keep this simple. When you look at cover letter samples, you will see that most use the following for the salutation:
“Dear Ms./Mr. Last Name,”
Cover Letter Body
The first paragraph needs to tell the employer why you are applying for the job and which job you are applying for.
The middle paragraph should include information on what you can offer the employer. Why are you the best candidate? Make a connection between the job requirements and your qualifications.
In the final paragraph, you want to thank them for considering you and provide information about how you plan to follow-up with them.
Keep this simple. For example:
Then, add your signature. Type your name out and then handwrite your signed signature if you are sending a hard copy.
Targeting Your Cover Letter
It is important that your cover letter is targeted to the job that you are applying for. Here are some examples regarding how to target your cover letter:
• Administrator cover letter: Focus on your time management, report writing, coordination and supervising abilities and experience.
• Receptionist cover letter: Focus on your typing, computer, organisation and word processor experience and abilities.
• Accountant cover letter: Focus on your accounting principle’s knowledge, financial report writing, auditing and tax preparation skills and experience.
• Executive assistant cover letter: Focus on your information management, supervising, organisation and related computer program experience and skills.
If you are a new graduate, how you approach your cover letter will be different. Since you have limited experience, focus on your classes and any internships you completed. You can also connect your real-world experience that is relevant to the job specifications. For example, if you are writing an accounting graduate cover letter, focus on your mathematical abilities and any internships you have done.
Use the Right Language
You want to make it clear that you understand the industry. Use jargon when it is appropriate. You must also ensure that all of your languages is professional. Never use slang, emojis or similar things as these are unprofessional.
What to Avoid in a Cover Letter
There are certain pieces of information to never include in a cover letter. These include:
• Avoid using “I” too much. You want to focus on what you can offer the employer.
• Do not repeat your resume in your cover letter.
• Never talk about other jobs that you have applied for.
Proofread Your Cover Letter
It is imperative that your cover letter is free from errors. Use a three-step proofreading process. Read it over and correct errors. Then, read it out loud. Lastly, do a final read through. You can also have a trusted friend read it over to ensure that you catch all errors.
Find Work in Melbourne with WellsGray
Whether you are seeking a temporary or a permanent position, we can help you to find the right job. We will help you with a variety of elements, from determining the best role and environment for your skills, to know what to include in a cover letter. This all gives you a competitive edge in the job market.
With the information you have learned here, you can create a professional cover letter. Make sure that you personalise every cover letter to the specific job that you are applying for. This shows potential employers that you took the time to research their company and it shows initiative.
Author: Jill Wells
Jill Wells is the Managing Director of WellsGray Recruitment with over 30 years experience in the recruitment industry. Since 1998, Jill has built the reputation of WellsGray as one of Victoria’s leading specialist providers of temporary, contract and permanent staff, having proudly established long-term relationships with its clients and candidates.