7 Tips on How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

Posted by GradConnection

Updated on 20 October 2022

Cover letters are an essential part of your application and can make all the difference in ensuring you stand out to a potential employer. While your resume/CV is used to summarise your skills, qualifications and employment history, your cover letter is your opportunity to introduce yourself, what you're looking for and why you'd be a great fit for the role - remember first impressions count! 

1. Review the job requirements

  • Make sure you've gone over the job requirements to find out what you can highlight from your resume and explain in your cover letter how you meet their criteria

2. Get straight to the point

  • Make your cover letter short and concise! Recruiters receive a huge volume of applications per opportunity so make sure your cover letter is at most one page in length.

3. Sell yourself

  • This is your time to shine! A cover letter gives you the opportunity to sell yourself and use persuasive language to why you want the job and why they should consider you as a potential employee

4. Use a simple font

  • While it might be tempting to spice things up with some Curlz MT, it's important to ensure that your cover letter and resume have the same clear font to keep things consistent and professional - Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman are always safe bets.

5. Double check and spell check

  • Double, triple, quadruple check your cover letter for spelling or grammatical errors! An even better option is to get someone else to read over it - having a typo right next to your assurance that you have "great attention to detail" doesn't make a great first impression!

6. Tailor your cover letters

  • Cover letters should be unique for each job you apply for - there's nothing worse than uploading your cover letter with pride only to realise afterwards you've addressed it to the wrong employer! To go the extra mile, you can also background research to find the name and title of the specific hiring person your application may be going to.

7. Structure your paragraphs

  • Paragraph #1
    • Cut straight to the chase! This is where you give the reason to why you’re writing the cover letter; what and how you came to know about the organisation or position, basic information of yourself including your current title and experience. 
  • Paragraph #2
    • Here you can briefly explain why you’re interested in the employer and type of work that you’re applying for. This is where you try to persuade the employer into why you’re the right candidate for job by communication your understanding, relating your experience and education, and state what you can bring to the table that differs from others. You may be able to add bullets of the highlighted skills that are useful for the position, but make sure it's not a direct repeat what you have written in your resume! 
  • Paragraph #3
    • Leave off with a good impression - conclude your letter and indicate that you’d like to have an opportunity to talk with the employer about the position or other possible opportunities for you. You can also offer to provide addition information (portfolio, auditions, and referrals), and finally thank them in advance for their consideration and time. 

Types of Cover Letters

There are generally 5 different types of cover letters, including the application letter, networking letter, prospecting letter, referral letter and value proposition letter.

  • Application: A cover letter written as a response to apply for a specific job opening that was advertised or recommended, stating why you meet their requirements and be fit for the job
  • Networking: This is a cover letter that you send to a contact you were given for advice and assistance on job seeking in hopes that they may be able to recommend you to a company based on your past experience
  • Prospecting: A prospecting cover letter is also known as a letter of interest or cold contact cover letter. This cover letter allows you to inquire about possible job openings at a company that you may qualify in and meet requirements to
  • Referral: If a person, whether it be a family member, friend or acquaintance were to recommend you to work with them, a referral cover letter can be advantageous as it mentions the name of the person who referred the job to you usually before a job has opened
  • Value Proposition: This cover letter is a brief statement of roughly 100-150 words to prove what makes you a unique candidate


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