Six Ways to Structure a Cover Letter That Will Get You Noticed

HR Manager holding a resume for a corporate job

Sending a cover letter in Australia is not an outdated concept. In fact, almost 83% of recruiters agree that while they’re not strictly necessary, a well-presented cover letter could give you an edge over your competition.

Cover letters not only can prove you’re a good fit, but also can be the deciding factor in whether or not you get an interview. A cover letter that will get you noticed is ideal, but not necessarily easy to achieve.

Writing a cover letter can certainly be a challenging and uncomfortable experience, especially if you need to tailor it to multiple companies. What actually goes into the process, and can you learn how to write a cover letter?

You sure can. We’ve put together six ways to structure a cover letter that will get you noticed, so keep reading to learn how to stand out.

What Is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a tailored summary of your qualifications and interest in a position. This is presented to an employer along with your resume. A cover letter layout should provide an insight into your interpersonal skills, work experience, motivations, and attitude. A resume will cover the exact technicalities but doesn’t leave a lot of room for personalization.

Why Is a Cover Letter Important?

Employers will use a cover letter to assess how well each candidate would fit into their corporate culture and how they will use their experience to meet the job requirements. They’re important because they give a more personal overview of you as a person, as well as your interest in the job.

A strong cover letter establishes a clear link between your objectives and the company’s ideals.

Six Ways to Structure a Cover Letter That Will Get You Noticed

The more focused you are on your job hunt, the more time you’ll have at your disposal to craft a cover letter that works as an asset in your arsenal. This could be the difference between landing an interview and getting the dreaded “thanks for your time but no,” response. 

A cover letter should be clear and compelling but gracious and personalized. So let’s look at how to achieve that.

Seize the Opportunity

Foremost, even if the company didn’t specifically ask for a cover letter, if you have the option, send one with your resume. Most applicants don’t include a cover letter in their applications, and all this does is take them out the running. While it may seem a bit old-school, a cover letter has some benefits. 

It gives you the opportunity to craft an individual and personalized submission, highlight your interest in the role, your knowledge of the company, and put forth your expertise in a way that doesn’t feel as formulaic as your CV.

Structure It Right

While cover letters can and should vary with its content, all cover letters need a few key elements to do their job properly. We’ve already clarified that their job is to get you in the door. So, let’s look at what the format or structure should look like.

There are seven key sections every successful cover letter needs. These are:

  • Header
  • Greeting
  • Introduction
  • Qualifications
  • Values and goals
  • Call to action
  • Sign off

The header must include your contact information and some useful links if you have a portfolio of work. The greeting is your first real chance to stand out, so make sure you personalize it to the hiring manager. Just remember that the introduction isn’t the time to talk about your life story. 

Tell Your Story

Remember that a cover letter is your opportunity to share things about yourself that you simply can’t in a resume. You can bring all the elements of your life and career together and show how your passion and expertise fit the role. Even if you’ve moved around a lot and worked in different industries, you can use a cover letter to say how you brought your solving problems to each job, or how each role highlighted your passion for the field. 

In other words, you get to create a unified picture of your experience and, where necessary, close any gaps you may have in your career history.

Get Personal

Getting personal is about showing emotion, but nothing that feels overwhelming or too eager. For example, phrases like: “I was delighted to explore,” “I am confident that,” and “I am excited about,” show that you can develop an emotional connection with the job. 

You can also use this letter to set the tone of your relationship with your hiring company. The right tone and the right language are important, so do a bit of research about their public voice and how they present themselves.

Show Admiration

This one is important. You want to show that you’re passionate about the job, but also highlight where that passion comes from. Do your research and show how you’re impressed with what the company has done. Use words like admiration and reputation. If you use a broad statement like “I admire your firm,” then back it up with something more concrete. 

Do you admire their vision? Their products? Do you admire their leadership? These could be the keys to unlocking the job interview stage.

Get Picky

The details are so important. Yes, people make mistakes, but now is not the time to show that you’re one of those people.

Incorrect details or grammatical errors can undermine your message. Getting all the details right means you’re meticulous, and the hiring manager will see that. It also shows that if you’re hired, you will deliver accurate and polished work.

What to Avoid in a Cover Letter

Mistakes are unavoidable. What they’re not, however, is unfixable. And there are a few things you should ensure you’re not doing before sending your letter out. In summary, you don’t want to:

  • Focus too much on yourself
  • Share every single detail of your past jobs
  • Write about something uncomfortable
  • Write a novel
  • Simply rehash your resume
  • Be too trite

Instead of being vague, be specific, and highlight your skills without overwhelming your hiring manager. Make sure your cover letter isn’t just a regurgitation of your resume, and most importantly, don’t lean too much into buzz words. A good hiring manager will spot them a mile off, and while it’s good to use them, don’t rely on them too much.

Need More Tips and Tricks?

So now you know six ways to structure a cover letter that will get you noticed, but the journey doesn’t end there. And you don’t want it to! You want an interview, and the best way to do that is to look at a cover letter example for Australia and work with recruitment agencies who have your back.

If this sounds like something you want, make sure you regularly check in with the WellsGrays site for helpful content and job postings, especially if you’re interested in temp in Melbourne.

Posted in

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.

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