What Do Grad Recruiters Look For In A Graduate Cover Letter?

Posted by GradConnection

What Do Grad Recruiters Look For In A Graduate Cover Letter?

Grad Recruiters look for a graduate cover letter that is tailored to the position and company that you are applying for. 

Brief is best

Natalie Gibbons (Graduate Programs Consultant, Westpac Group) recommends one to two pages maximum. Make sure to read your cover letter multiple times so that it makes sense from paragraph one all the way to the end.

Structure it like a letter

"Finding out who to address it to is one of the really important things" says Laura Shorrock (Campus Recruitment Consultant, Macquarie Group), "so even for us, addressing it to 'Macquarie Campus Recruitment Team' is better than writing 'To Whom It May Concern'. 

The more you are interested in us, the more interested I am in you 

Spend time researching why you want to work for a company, and incorporate this into your Cover Letter. "A common mistake that students make is to have a cover letter that is really generic" explains HR Manager Jo Dean (Ashurst). "If I can substitute the name of our firm with another firm then it's unlikely you'll make it through that screening stage". 

Proof check everything

In a market that's saturated with applications, don't give employers a reason to discard your application! Janani D'Silva (Associate Director, Capgemini) says to look for typos and grammar errors, and double check that you are attaching the correct cover letter file - ie. check you have tailored it to the job you are applying for and that it is addressed to the right person and company!  

Make your cover letter stand out!

Finally, make sure to provide context to your achievements and experience. Graduate Recruitment Manager James Keane (Herbert Smith Freehills) gives an example of how to do this for your work experience - 

There are two graduates applying for a role:

  • Applicant 1 works 1 day a week at their part-time role
  • Applicant 2 works 2 days a week at their part-time role 

If both Applicant 1 and Applicant 2 write 'I work at a part-time role', and neither included how many days a week they actually work, to the Graduate Recruiter reading their applications it would look like they both have the same amount of experience. Whereas in fact, Applicant 2 actually has double the amount of experience than Applicant 1!


Read more advice on writing Graduate Cover Letters here


Enter an employer or university you want to find in our search bar.