When applying for a position in the “open job market” you will usually be competing with many other applicants, of whom at least 80% will have the skills, experience and qualifications to do the job. The competitiveness of the job market means that you have to make your applications stand out from the pack if you want to get the opportunity to prove yourself in an interview. This module looks at preparing quality applications including cover letters to help you get that opportunity.

This guide will:

  • Discuss what cover letters are and why they are important;
  • Learn about the four types of cover letters;
  • Discover why applications are important;
  • Discuss the application function;
  • Learn about the importance of tailoring your applications.

What is a Cover Letter?

Cover letters (sometimes referred to as application letters) are a critical component of any job application. A cover letter accompanies your resume and is used to outline to the employer your interest in the position and why you would be a good fit for their needs. IT should introduce the main points of your resume and help market your qualifications to a prospective employer. It can also explain things that your resume can’t. If you have large gaps in your employment history, re-entering the job market or changing the focus of your career, or relocating and conducting a long-distance job-search, a cover letter can explain these circumstances in a positive way.

Why Use a Cover Letter?

A cover letter should get the reader interested in looking at your resume. It also shows your enthusiasm for the job, demonstrates that you understand the employer’s needs and highlights how you will fit in with their company culture.

So what should go in a cover letter? There are nine key parts:

1. Your name and contact details

2. The date you sent the letter

3. The employer’s name and address

4. A personalised salutation

5. Reference to the advertisement

6. Expression of interest in the position

7. Identification of how you meet the employer’s needs

8. Request for response or interview

9. Statement of appreciation