Cover Letter Guide
Topics: Paragraph, Recruitment, Cover letter, Application for employment / Pages: 3 (458 words) / Published: Dec 2nd, 2014

Guide to Creating a Cover Letter
UNSW Recruitment

The purpose of a cover letter is to effectively market your skills to help you gain an interview.
An effective cover letter complements your CV and will help answer three main recruitment questions: “Can you do the job?” - focus on technical skills,
“Will you do it?” - focus on personal skills and attributes, and
“Will you fit in?” - focus on teamwork and “fit” with organisational culture.

This checklist will help you assess and improve the effectiveness of your cover letters. Overall presentation





Letter is one page only
Layout isn’t cramped (include plenty of white space and generous margins)
No long paragraphs have been used (guideline: 6 lines max. per paragraph)
In summary, overall layout looks professional

Top section of your letter
Include:






Your address, preferred telephone contact number/s and e-mail address (a professional e-mail address incorporating your name)
The date
The recipient’s correct title (Ms, Mr, Dr etc) with first name/initial and last name, job title and contact address
A personalised greeting e.g. Dear Ms Robertson (Tip: avoid Dear Sir/Madam or To whom it may concern if at all possible)
A subject line e.g. Re: Project Officer Vacancy (Ref: 4589NET),

1

Opening paragraph
Why them?





Aim to spark a busy reader’s attention and interest with your first paragraph
Demonstrate that you have done some thorough background research (don’t just quote from the company’s website)
Explain specifically what attracts you to the role and/or organisation and/or industry
Use appropriate language – do not use SMS abbreviations, and do not use uncommon acronyms without explaining them

Middle section (one or two paragraphs)
Why you?





Avoid trying to address all the selection criteria (guideline: keep the focus of your middle paragraphs on the most critical three to five criteria)
Demonstrate your suitability for the role by providing specific examples outlining
where

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