Secrets to a great cover letter


You know that next job of yours? Yes, that’s right, the really amazing one with the brilliant co-workers, cool boss, and fresh, free snacks in the office vending machine? That one.

You know how you’re going to land it? By quickly showing your future employer that:

a) You’re going to perform incredibly well in this job.
b) You’re very likable.
c) You’re going to be a great fit for the business.

These are the three primary factors that influence the selection process.

The person who gets that great job will be the one who shows the decision makers, quickly, that he or she is all three of those things. And you have an amazing opportunity to begin planting these seeds right from the introduction, which is your cover letter.

Many people just re-use the same cover letter over and over, and just change who the letter is addressed to (some even forget to do that)

Here are some ways you can not squander the opportunity to shine through the rest of the applicants, and land the job you want.

1) Know who to address

Do your best to avoid the Generic “To who this may concern” – find out who is hiring, their actual name. This can be either the HR recruiter, manager of the team or business owner. Search through Linkedin, Facebook, Google and the companies website – a name should be discoverable.

2) Start of with the main point – why do you want to work for them and do this job

Many people start with I xxxxx am applying for xxxx which I saw in xxxx – The employers already know that you are applying for this job, don’t waste their valuable attention with repetitive text.

The better move is to let the cat out of the bag. In the first sentence, state why you’re excited about the job and why you’re the right fit.

3) Outline what you will bring to the role and company

This isn’t you making a general proclamation of, “Hey, I’m great. I swear!”

You need to scrutinize the job description and use whatever other information you’ve gathered about the opening, determine the key requirements and priorities for this job, and make it instantly clear to the reviewer that you can deliver the goods on these key things. Here is where you do your research on what exactly will be expected from you, and what the company will expect from you as their future employee

Demonstrate to the company that you know a lot about them and that you have genuine interest working for them, that they are not just another of the dozen companies you mass emailed for a job.

4) If you have an internal connection – use it, and make a reference to it

Very often you hear the saying its not what you know, but who you know. Very often this can come into play, especially if you have someone on the inside who can recommend you the hiring party. This not only shows that you have a better chance of fitting in, but also separates you from the tens or even hundreds/thousands of applications they may receive.

If your inside reference agrees, mention your connection in the cover letter. Something along the lines, ” I heard many great things from XXXX and that was one of the other many reasons I would love the opportunity to work in your company”

5) Know their culture and style your letter accordingly

You can often tell from the way the advertisement is portrayed, what kind of culture the company may have. You can also get this from doing research.

A huge law firm in Sydney CBD may not appreciate to much of a personal story, or a more relaxed writing style, and you mentioning your gaming habits on weekends. 

A small business selling music may appreciate your mention of how you play in a band at nights and weekends, and how cool you think their display cabinet is.

I hope these tips help you when applying for a job, as well as give you a bit more insight into the world of recruitment.

Good luck with the job hunting!!!

P.S Monash University have also published a great general guide of how your cover letter’s layout should appear



This was originally published on the Penrith Jobs and Services Board

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