What is a cover letter and why do I need one?

Illustrative representation of What is a cover letter and why do I need one?

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter serves as an introduction to your résumé and is written with a specific job in mind.

The main role of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to the employer and encourage them to read your résumé. It also aims to show them that you are the right person for their business. 

Your cover letter should outline your qualifications, experience, and positive work traits that are relevant to the job.

A well-written cover letter also shows that you have strong written communication skills.

Below is an example over letter:

Kim Nickel 

 0412345678

Kim.nickel@gmail.com

Dear Mr Homunculus,

I am applying for the position of Ride Attendant at Homunculus Park. I have recently completed a Cert IV in Health & Safety and understand the importance of attention to detail and diligence when helping young people onto rides.

I have experience working in fashion retail. In this role, I have demonstrated a range of relevant skills, including customer service, problem-solving and reliability. I have also volunteered at the Folk Festival and have experience handling ticket systems. I am able to work a range of shifts, including night and weekends, and am able to get to work early in the morning for opening.

Please find attached my résumé which further outlines my relevant skills and experience. I welcome the chance to talk with you about this opportunity as I think I am a good match for this position.

Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,

Kim Nickel

Tips to writing a cover letter

Some tips to remember when writing your cover letter:

  • Your cover letter should be short (about 2-3 paragraphs). Explain how your skills, experience and personal traits make you a good match for the job.
  • Always tailor your cover letter to each employer. Sending out a generic letter when you are applying for a specific role can give the impression that you aren't serious about the job. If you are meeting an employer at a jobs fair or networking event and don't know much about them, you could consider giving them a one page pitch.
  • Always address your cover letter to a specific person. Never put 'To whom it may concern' or 'Dear sir/madam'. If you don't know who to address it to, call the business and find out who handles their recruitment.
  • Don't forget to proofread your cover letter. Spelling and other errors can make a very bad impression.

Need more information?

For more information to help you write a killer cover letter, check our our article 'Avoid these four cover letter mistakes'.

You can also complete our workbook 'How to write a cover letter'.

These tools can help you:

…Or you can browse Job Jumpstart for other ideas and suggestions of what to do next.