How To Write A Cover Letter

Trust us, writing a cover letter is hard! It’s your first impression with a potential employer and as a first impression, it really counts.

A personal cover letter is an opportunity to showcase what you have to offer and to arouse the reader’s interest. But many people are confused about how to write one.

Here are our top tips for writing cover letters that will get you noticed.

Apply the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) tactic used in marketing and advertising as an approach to writing your cover letter.

While your CV content should broadly target fields, industries, sectors or types of roles, it is a fairly dry statement of facts.

Your cover letter, on the other hand, is your personal introduction or your sales pitch, and it provides you with an opportunity to more specifically target the role and organisation you’re applying to.

In our cover letters, we explain why a candidate is applying for a role, why the candidate is suited to a position and introduce other points of relevance such as experience, accomplishments, unique attributes and qualifications. We also ensure that interest in a position is expressed, and we include a call to action.

A great way to get an employer’s attention is with a ‘pain’ letter – if you know what gives them the biggest grief in their organisation, tell them how you’re going to solve that problem for them. The more specific we can be in your cover letter, the stronger it will be – after all, prospective employers want to think they’re your first choice.

Do I need a Cover Letter?

Yes, yes, and yes again!

We are often asked by clients if they really need a cover letter, and our response is always the same: Not having a cover letter is like going to a party and standing in the corner with your back the rest of the room. A cover letter is your chance to extend a handshake on paper. It’s your introduction. It’s your chance to develop rapport with the reader.

While 33% of recruiters surveyed have said they don’t think they’re necessary, the remaining 67% do, and on that basis alone, we always recommend that a cover letter is included with job applications. (In fact, one company we surveyed stated that their CEO reviews all job applicants, and if a job candidate can’t be bothered introducing themselves with a cover letter, he can’t be bothered reading their resume!).


Address your letter correctly. Don’t start out with a generic “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern.” It’s impersonal and defeats the whole purpose of your cover letter. If you don’t know who to address your application to, research it and find out. Sometimes it’s as easy of making a phone call to the HR Department of the employer and ask. Otherwise, get busy on the internet, connect with people who work in the organisation, or check through LinkedIn.

Use the cover letter to tell them why you’re applying and what’s important to you in your career. If you know someone in the organisation, you should name drop – its a very competitive market and if you really want to get interview, make your connections known. This is no time to be shy.

Express your interest in the role, and include a call to action. This means including something along the lines of “I look forward to hearing from you” or if you’re feeling bold, and you’re comfortable being more assertive, you could say “I will be in touch within the next two weeks to see if you require any additional information.” (This approach is not for everyone, nor for every job,  so use your discretion with this method).

Make it clear in your cover letter how the employer would benefit from having you as their new employee.

Briefly give an employer the most important information about you and its relevance to them.

Why are you interested in this position?

What have you done so far that will also help them?

What is your story and why is this of interest to the employer?

Refer to all the key requirements in the job advertisement.

One page is enough. The reader doesn’t need your life story – nor will they have the time to read anything more than one page. Keep it simple, and get straight to the point.

Which job are you applying for? Never assume that the recipient will know what position you are applying for, as companies often have more than one opening at any given time.

Don’t forget to include your contact details on your cover letter. Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t include their contact details on their cover letter).

A great way to get an employers attention is with a ‘pain’ letter – if you know what gives them the biggest grief in their organisation, tell them how you’re going to solve that problem for them.

Do you need an email cover note to accompany your CV, or would you like an email message crafted for you to send as a cold call approach to a prospective employer?

We can help! Contact us for more information.

Read more here about the 5 different types of cover letters. And some more great cover letter writing tips can be found here.

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