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?

A cover letter is attached to the front of your job application. A well written cover letter will encourage the employer to read your résumé.

Including a cover letter with your résumé is a way to introduce yourself to the employer and outline your qualifications, experience, strengths and positive work traits that are relevant to the job and business. A well written cover letter also shows that you have strong written communication skills.

Some tips to remember when writing your cover letter:

  • Your cover letter should be short (about 2-3 paragraphs) and 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 the name of the manager or the person who handles recruitment.

These tools can help you:

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