10 cover letter tips

Tips for writing a cover letter

Here are 10 tips for writing your cover letter or letter of application to get that job interview.

Remember it's quality over quantity and, like your resume (CV), proof-read it over and over again.

  1. Limit it to one page of high-quality paper, the same size and type as your resume.
  2. If sending by snail mail, don't write it by hand — use a word-processor and make sure the spell-checker is turned on.
  3. Write it to someone specific if possible and make sure you spell their name correctly.
  4. Write concisely and limit yourself to three paragraphs.
  5. Put yourself in the employer's shoes — focus on what their needs are and what they want to know.
  6. Create a good impression by using dynamic action words, but remember to keep it sounding natural.
  7. Get somebody else to proof-read it for mistakes and to give you their honest opinion.
  8. Close with "Sincerely" or "Yours sincerely" if you have addressed them by name. If not, use "Yours faithfully".
  9. Sign your name neatly with a nice blue or black pen.
  10. Tri-fold the letter with your resume behind — don't use staples.

Don't forget to follow up politely if you don't receive a response to your job application after a reasonable amount of time, for example maybe send an email after a week or two and try phoning after a couple more weeks. While you're waiting, remember to be productive such as applying for other jobs, doing some part-time work or volunteering with a local group. Not only will the waiting time pass faster but it may even lead to other job opportunities. When you do get called for an interview, check out our job interview tips.

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