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 is a document that serves as an introduction to your résumé.

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

Your cover letter should encourage the employer to read your résumé. It 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.

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. Never send out a generic ‘form’ letter as this tells employers you are not interested in them or their job.
  • 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 the proofread your cover letter. Spelling and other errors can make a very bad impression.

For more information to help you write a cover letter, 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.