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6 tips that cover your cover letter

How to write a winning cover letter

6 tips that cover your cover letter

What is a cover letter for?

A cover letter summarises your experience and the value you offer.

While your CV outlines the amazing story of where you’ve worked, studied and lived, your cover letter is the chance to inject some personality and sell yourself.

It’s your chance to make a potential employer stand up and pay attention.

6 top tips

1. Be fresh. Tailor your cover letter to suit the job you’re applying for so you can demonstrate that you’re a ‘fit’. Start by going through the job advertisement and underline the keywords used to describe the skills, training and experience being sought. Think about examples from your work history to demonstrate this fit.

2. Be keen. Tell the reader why you are motivated to apply. Is there something about the job that reflects something about you and your career goals?

3. Don’t repeat your CV. This is your chance to express a little personality, show your enthusiasm for the field you are applying to work in.

4. Be short and sharp. Keep it succinct and get to the point. Stick to one A4 page and use strong dynamic language so your message doesn't get lost in long sentences. Remember, the person reading this has a stack of these things to get through. They don't want to read War and Peace.

5. Be honest. Don’t make stuff up. If you don’t meet one of the requirements don’t say that you do. You can highlight the experience that shows you are perfectly capable of doing the role, and the gap in experience is something you are genuinely excited about filling!

6. Wrap it up. Close the cover letter strongly by explaining briefly how your experience and skills will help you excel at the job. Don't just repeat everything you have just written.


Final checklist

Now that you’ve written an amazing cover letter, here is your final checklist before you hit send.

  • Length: one A4 page, well-spaced.
  • Language: Be sure to make your letter clear and concise. Use strong verbs which demonstrate action and accomplishments.
  • Name and title: Address the letter to the contact person (check the spelling). Don't forget to include your own phone number and email address.
  • Layout: Is there a reference number for the position? Make sure you include that in the opening line of the letter. And, if you are emailing your application, put it in the subject line of your email as well.
  • Proofing: Proofread very carefully! You want the reader to remember you, not your spelling mistakes. Check the organisation's name and the contact names as well. Ask someone else to double-check your cover letter for you.


Need more advice?

The TAFE NSW Counselling and Career Development Service is free for current and prospective students. They can help you choose a career direction and succeed in your studies at TAFE NSW.


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