Cover letters can be one of the most challenging elements of your job application process. How can you summarise your professional career and personal skills in just a few hundred words? Here is some advice for writing an excellent cover letter, along with some cover letter templates for your use.

Keep in mind that writing a cover letter doesn’t have to be a daunting task! A cover letter is your opportunity to make your CV stand out amongst many other similar applications. It’s a chance to speak about why you fit the role, and explain your motivations for applying. 

How to write a cover letter? 

In your cover letter, elaborate on achievements that don’t come through on your CV. Avoid simply repeating information from your CV, rather add value to what’s listed there.

Also, tailor each cover letter to speak to each company and role. Do research into company values, corporate culture and interesting aspects of the job you’re applying for, and use those details within the letter.

Tips for an excellent cover letter 

  • Ensure your cover letter is completely free of mistakes.
  • Take the time to proofread, and ask someone else to have a look – a fresh pair of eyes might catch that small error you’ve read over hundreds of times.
  • Be professional, but also find small ways for your personality to come through.
  • Start out strong in your opening statement, including a compelling reason for why you are an excellent fit for the job or company you are contacting. Then use the next few lines to elaborate on your skills and experience that back up that claim.  

What should be included in a cover letter?

All cover letters should have the following structure:

  1. An opening that is unique, personable, and gives a bit of insight into your personality and best skills and experience.
  2. Highlights of both professional and personal experiences and specialised knowledge of your industry.
  3. Strong closing which includes a summary of why you are an excellent candidate.

How do you write a cover letter? 

To start writing a cover letter, begin by looking at some cover letter examples to get an idea of how you want to approach the task. These are a few cover letter examples for job seekers in Australia. Either copy and paste these free cover letter templates from here or download the cover letter templates for use later. Remember these are guides, not hard and fast rules for how to write your letter.

Template 1: Generic Cover Letter Template

Generic doesn’t have to be boring! This letter can be used with any type of application.

Sample Cover Letter:

Dear [name]:

I am a [Industry] professional with [list years of experience and 2-3 professional strengths] I am looking for [insert your goals and motivations. Mention any corporate values that you resonate with.] [Finish this paragraph with a summary of your strongest, most recent and impressive experience.]

Some highlights of my career include: [Use this paragraph to give a succinct, but detailed summary of past success, experience and skills learned.]

I can also offer [Include two to three sentences speaking about your education, language skills, and other experience that defines your career.]

Attached, you will find my CV, further outlining my skills, experience and education. I look forward to further discussing any open opportunities [within your company, or mention a specific role]. Thank you for your time.

Best Regards:

[name and signature]

Download the template

Template 2: Cover Letter Template for a Job Ad

Use this template to respond to a specific job ad. Use the job description, including similar language in this letter, and make straightforward connections between stated requirements and your own experience. Highlight skills that most employers look for.

Sample Cover Letter:

Dear [name]:

I am writing in response to an ad for [Insert job title and company]. I am a [Industry] professional with [list years of experience and 2-3 professional strengths]. I am interested in this opportunity because [include motivation for and interest in this particular role.

My previous experience and skills make me an ideal fit for this position because [Give a succinct, but detailed overview of your skills and concrete examples of past success. Use the same language as the job description and where possible, give specific examples that clearly demonstrate a good fit with the role outlined.]

Aside from professional experience, I also have [Include two to three sentences speaking about your education, language and other unique skills.]

Attached is my CV with more details. I look forward to further discussing the role of [Insert job title], with [insert company name]. Thank you for your time.

Best Regards:

[Name and signature]

Download the template

Template 3: Cold Cover Letter Template

Use this cover letter to approach a company without an open job or inside contact. Choose which skills and experiences fit in best with your perception of the culture and the type of role you are seeking.

Sample Cover Letter:

Dear [name]:

I am a [Industry] professional with [list years of experience, professional strengths and motivations. Finish this paragraph with a summary of your strongest, most recent and impressive experience.] I am interested in working with [company] because [include reasons for wanting to work with this company.]

Highlights of career include:

[Insert a list of 3-4 of your most impressive professional achievements, using numbers and concrete, specialised examples of past success.]

  • Highlight 1
  • Highlight 2
  • Highlight 3
  • Highlight 4

Along with my professional experience, I also offer: [Include two to three sentences about your education, technical skills and strengths]

Attached is my CV with more details about my experience. I look forward to further discussing any open opportunities with you company. Thank you for your time.

Best Regards:

[Name and signature]

Download the template

Template 4: Recruiter Cover Letter Template

In cover letters to recruiters, be professional, but also personable, as good recruiters are looking for a culture fit along with qualifications. Look at recruiters as partners for your job search who have inside knowledge about what the company, and with specialised expertise in a job search.  

Sample Cover Letter:

Dear [name]:

I came across your profile as a specialist recruiter in [industry]. I am a [Industry] professional with [list years of experience, professional strengths]. I am now looking for [Include what you’re looking for and motivation for the job search]. Finish this paragraph with a summary of your strongest, most recent and impressive experience.]

Some of my career highlights include: [here, summarise your skills and experience with an emphasis on your strongest and most recent, relevant experience.]  

In addition to my professional achievements, I’m also [Insert education, skills and unique attributes].

I have attached my CV, and I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about ways you could assist me in my search. Thank you for your time.

Best Regards:

[Name and signature]

Download the template

Guidelines for success

Use these templates as a guideline to start, then add your own details to personalise. Cover letters should be formal and professional, but not stiff or insincere. Remember, you’re speaking to a hiring manager or recruiter on the other side of that letter - write to that person.

Now that you have the templates, find out more information about resumes and cover letters.

Summary

Writing a cover letter can be a daunting task. Once you have the cover letter ready, read through these other resources to ensure your job application stands out from the crowd. 

More tips for a great cover letter

All the resume tips and tricks you need

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