Writing Cover Letters

A cover letter is not a job application – it is short and specific letter that should always accompany any resume, folio or any other application documents that you send to a prospective employer.

You might be applying for a specific, advertised job or you might be marketing yourself for possible future work. Either way, your cover letter aims to :-

  • Introduce you
  • Highlight your key selling points (skills, experience or achievements)
  • Encourage the reader to discover more about you through your resume
  • Finish with a 'call to action; eg. Requesting an interview or meeting to discuss possibilities

Tailor your Cover Letter

The key aim with any cover letter is to make it as personal as possible. This means addressing your letter to a real person (not 'To Whom It May Concern') and a specific job. Avoid the temptation to send out a generic, 'one-size-fits-all' letter.

This means a bit of extra work. You may need to call an organization and find out how you need to address your letter. Spend some time researching a company (using the internet is often the easiest way to do this) so that you can you're your letter relevant to a specific job or a particular company.

What to Include in your Cover Letter

You need to demonstrate to a potential employer that you understand the job requirements and can do the job. So, include the skills and experiences you have that match the job description. You also need to show that you are enthusiastic and have a positive attitude towards the role and the hiring company.

Remember to include the postal address of the company and yourself at the top of the letter. Also, include the date and salutation to the addressee. The following letter is a good example of a covering letter for a Project Manager role :-

Example Cover Letter

Dear <Title> <Surname>

RE: <Details of Advertised Position>

I am a professional project manager with expertise in the use of personal computers to manage the projects and risk analysis; and dealing with customers and staff. My strengths include the ability to manage staff during periods of change, generating management reports and problem solving, and creating satisfied customers. I have worked for six different organizations, from a private enterprise small business, to a large domestic telecommunications provider, two multinational telecommunications suppliers, two large metropolitan hospitals and an entertainment organization. The skills I can bring immediately to the job are :-

1.   To prepare Project Management procedures for a new IT organization and assume control of existing projects

2.   Project Management of critical telecommunications projects for a large hospital group

3.   Year 2000 project management training and experience in implementing solutions to overcome risk exposure.

4.   Hands on experience in work station rollout for a state government department.

5.   Telecommunications network design experience and business financial management of design sections.

6.   IT teams management during a critical development phase for a major telecommunications provider.

7.   Specifications, design and project management of a Dictation system.

8.   Project management experiences that involved negotiating contract variations and management of contractor relationships.

9.   Developed and maintained performance reporting to senior management

10.  Approved the invoicing of the project management service.

11.  Analyzed data to identify regional performance issues and develop options for corrective action to be taken.

12.  Negotiated the equipment type and timing for customer's projects, resolving any contractual issues that arose.

I have been required to participate in, and manage, teams of up to fifteen members. My management style is participative with a focus on developing and empowering others to achieve business objectives. I look forward to discussing this opportunity with you.

Yours faithfully


<Your Name>


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