Cover Letter Tips

What Should be Included in a Good Cover Letter

A cover letter is a single page letter that should be part of any job application. The only time a cover letter should not be included is when a job advertisement clearly says NOT to include one. At all other times you should include a cover letter. You might be applying for a specific, advertised job, or you might contact a potential employer to see if they have any vacancies. Either way your cover letter needs to:

  • Introduce you
  • Mention the job (or kind of job) you are applying for
  • Match your skills and experiences with the skills and experiences required for the job
  • Encourage the reader to read your CV
  • Finish with a call to action (e.g., requesting an interview or asking to meet)

Here is a list of things that you should include when you write a cover letter. For examples of actual cover letters see samples below.

Put your name and contact details at the top of your cover letter. You don’t have to give your postal address, but you do need to include your email and phone number. Make sure you will be able to answer the number you give – no sense in giving your mobile number if you are not going to be the one to answer it. Also make sure that your email address is a professional sounding one. An email like doesn’t create the right impression.

A good cover letter should include:

  • Your name, email address and phone number at the top of the page on the right
  • The name of the business and the contact person's full name (if you know it) on the left
  • The date you wrote the letter on the right
  • A reference line (e.g., "Re: Application for Administration Assistant position")
  • An address to the reader directly (e.g., "Dear Mr. Kamara" - try to avoid using "To whom it may concern" if you can)
  • An opening statement that briefly introduces you to the reader
  • A main body that highlights the skills and experiences you have that are relevant to the job
  • A closing paragraph asking to arrange an interview

Other things you can mention in your cover letter include:

  • General skills that help you work in a team and as part of an organisation
  • Personal attributes that will help you learn to work in a professional work environment
  • Key strengths and contributions that show you are a stand-out applicant
  • School work experience or volunteer work that demonstrates your strengths and attributes
  • Any sporting or community club participation (if relevant)
  • Any hobbies or interests that are relevant to the job or demonstrate your professional experience

Key points of a cover letter are that it:

  • Introduces you to the reader
  • Responds to the requirements of the job
  • Attracts the reader's interest and refers them to your CV
  • Doesn't include too many “I” statements, which can run the risk of disengaging the reader

The focus of a cover letter is to prove that you are able to meet the requirements of the joband make a positive contribution to the organisation or business.

See sample cover letters

Basic Cover Letter Template

Graduate First Job Cover Letter Template

Unemployed Career Break Cover Letter Template

Career Change Cover Letter Template

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