How to Write Cover Letter

A cover letter is not a job application - it's a short and specific letter that should always accompany any resume, folio or any other application documents that you send to a prospective employer.

You might be applying for a specific, advertised job or you might be marketing yourself for possible future work. Either way, your cover letter aims to:

  • Introduce you
  • Highlight your key selling points (skills, experience or achievements)
  • Encourage the reader to discover more about you through your resume
  • Finish with a 'call to action', e.g. requesting an interview (if it's a specific job) or meeting (to discuss more general work prospects)

Tailor your cover letter

The key aim with any cover letter is to make it as personal as possible. This means addressing your letter to a real person (not 'To Whom It May Concern') and a specific job. Avoid the temptation to send out a generic, 'one-size-fits-all' letter.

This means a bit of extra work. You may need to call an organisation and find out how you need to address your letter. Spend some time researching a company (using the internet is often the easiest way to do this) so that you can make your letter relevant to a specific job or a particular company.

What to include in a cover letter

You need to demonstrate to a potential employer that you understand the job requirements and can do the job. So include the skills and experiences you have that match the job description.

You also need to show that you are enthusiastic and have a positive attitude towards the role and the hiring company.

See our Sample cover letters for examples that you can use and tailor for your job applications.

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