When to Use Cover Letters

If you are applying or sending mail as the first point of contact then a Cover Letter or Introduction Letter is essential, however if you have spoken to the person and provided them with a description of your skills and abilities then generally you can get away without a Cover Letter, just a quick memo to advise the requested information is attached.

Construction of Cover Letters / Introduction Letters

Cover Letters usually consist of 3 paragraphs the introduction which explains who you are, why you are writing the letter and if applying for an advertised position include where you found the advertisement, the second section is where you explain how you meet the requirements and what education, training, experience, skills, knowledge and abilities you possess. The third section is where you thank the reader for reviewing the application, refer them to your Resume and provide a contact number. 

Tips on Cover Letters
  • Depending on the position you are seeking and the method of job searching you are undertaking will determine whether you require a Cover Letter or not.
  • While Cover Letters are a great way of building rapport with the hiring personnel, they can quickly end your opportunity of progressing.
  • Employers will genuinely read the Cover Letter and skim read the Résumé.  This is normally referred to the 20 sec review.   Science has suggested that on average an employer will spend between 9-20 secs reviewing your Résumé, so be sure you don’t waste valuable time on irrelevant information.
  • You need to sell yourself to the prospective employer, not list a bunch of words.   A Cover Letter is an introduction to your story (Résumé), which needs to be outlining the relevance of your skills, abilities, and experience based on the listed criteria for the position.
  • When selling your skills include how they are going to be beneficial for the business and the employer.
  • Responding to an advertisement you need to mirror the information, criteria or requirements in your Cover Letter utilizing your skills, abilities, education, training, and experience.
  • A Cover Letter should be no longer than a page unless speculated.
  • NEVER use any negative wording.
  • Do not mention any weaknesses or family and children, if there was someone else with the same skills and abilities as yourself and you mention you have a 6month old, this could be a deal breaker, hirers very well would suggest the reliability due to having a child who is teething and keeping the parents awake all night, or the teenage son who has a drum kit and keeps the household awake all night.  At the end of the day, the hirer is just a person and will only make assumptions like the rest of society, therefore, it is best to only provide the information they require and nothing more.
  • Refer to your Résumé, don’t include all the information from your Résumé just outline the relevant details.
  • If sending the Cover Letter via electronic formats (email and online applications) you do not attach the date to the Cover Letter nor the sender or return address. As it is automatically recorded.