What to Include in Your Cover Letter

  1. Keep it brief. Less is more. But make sure you cover all the key requirements listed in the job advertisement. Recruiting officers scan cover letters to see if you should be put forward as a competitive candidate. Keep to about 350 words at the most. A one-page cover letter is better than a two-page letter. Leave out the puffery and stick to what the job advertisement says you need to have to be competitive.
  2. Be yourself. Don’t get overly formal in your cover letter. Use business language that you would normally use without getting too informal either. Write your cover letter with the same language you’d use at a meeting, i.e. relaxed, knowledgeable, and to the point.
  3. Show what value you can add to the job and/or organisation. Have a look at the employer’s website and annual report to better understand their business and the challenges they’re facing. Do you have a solution? Tell them how you can help with your ideas, skills or experience.
  4. It’s more than repeating your resume. Don’t give a short version of your resume in your cover letter. If an employer wants to read your resume, they will grab that file. What they want to read is about you – what can you show them that is different from every other cover letter? Why would they want to read your resume? What is it that makes you the person they must interview? It’s not just your work history: they want to know how you approach problems, and your interest in both the industry and their company.