Cover letter tips

A cover letter is how you introduce yourself to a prospective employer. It links with the important elements in your resume.

A great cover letter convinces the employer you have something valuable to contribute and it creates a desire for the employer to interview you. It should be no more than one page.

Write a cover letter for jobs you have seen advertised or a prospective letter when you are enquiring about possible jobs, internships work experience or volunteering opportunities.


There are a variety of salutations that can be used in a cover letter, which you use depends largely on how much contact information you have been provided with for the role. 

  • This is a business letter and your contact details including address phone numbers and email should be in the top left hand corner of the letter and then a space followed  organisations contact and address.
  • If the organisation has provided a contact name then it is important to address the letter to that person or persons ( i.e Dear Mr David Essex). 
  •  If you don't have a name, when possible contact the organisation and ask who they would like the letter addressed to. 
  • If you are unable to get a contact name only then should you use Dear Sir/Madam

Opening paragraph

Quickly try to capture the employer's attention by creating a positive first impression. Utilise your research about the company and position.

  • Indicate the job you are applying for and where and when you saw it advertised.
  • Explain why you are genuinely interested in the position/organisation and what you can offer.
  • Indicate if you have had any direct contact with the company/representatives and how this has affected your interest in the position (e.g. did you discover something interesting about the organisation from a representative at a recent career event).


  • Begin each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that identifies your qualifications, skills, interests or knowledge relevant to the position.
  • Provide examples of how you have previously demonstrated or developed your abilities.
  • The last sentence in each paragraph should link back to the role and your suitability for the position.
  • It is okay to use dot points in the body of your letter but provide evidence to back up what you are saying.
  • Use active and enthusiastic language to market your relevant qualifications, skills, experience and achievements.

Closing paragraph

  • Reaffirm your interest in the position.
  • Invite the employer to read your resume and any other attachments. Offer to provide additional information if required.
  • Indicate your desire to attend an interview to discuss the opportunity further.
  • Let the employer know when you will be in contact if you are making a speculative approach and follow up with a call or email.

Get feedback

  • Get someone else to proofread your document. It must not contain errors!
  • Seek feedback on your application from your professional networks before you submit.
  • Book an application check with Jobshop on your campus.


  • Career Guru can help you build a professional cover letter.
  • CareerOne also has some useful templates and resources suited to the Australian job market.
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