The Ultimate 4 Step Cover Letter

Section 1:

Addresses, Date, Greeting and Title

  • A cover letter needs to be structured the same way as a professional letter with your name and address at the top right hand corner of the page and place the address of the company that you are applying to below this on the left hand side of the page.
  • Place the date below the address on the left hand side but before the greeting.
  • It’s a good idea to include a title for your cover letter, so that a busy reader knows at a glance what your letter concerns – underline your title or begin it with ‘Re.’ (short for ‘Regarding’), and include the job reference number (if there is one).
  • It is worthwhile finding out the full name of the right person to address your letter to, rather than using the greeting ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

Section 2:

Opening Paragraph

In this first paragraph, introduce yourself and clearly explain your interest in the role you are seeking.

  • Pretend you’re talking to the employer directly.
  • How would you introduce yourself?
  • How would you summarise your reason for writing?
  • What aspects of the job appeal to you?
  • Avoid using long words and complicated phrases.
  • Keep your sentences simple and try to avoid over-complicated language.

 Section 3:

Middle Paragraphs

Here you need to demonstrate that:

  • Your knowledge, skills and experience meet the selection criteria for the job.
  • You understand the employer’s expectations of people who work for them.
  • You can make a significant contribution to the organisation.
  • You have done your research on the company.

This section allows you to impress upon the employer why it is that you would like to work for them. This is a critical portion of your cover letter and dictates how impressed the employer is by your written application. You have to present yourself in the best possible light, without exaggerating.

Section 4:

Last Paragraph

and Sign-off

This paragraph is your opportunity to express your interest in meeting with the employer for an interview.

  • Reiterate your contact details and your enthusiasm and interest in the role.
  • It is also a good idea to outline your interview availability before thanking the employer.
  • Finally, print your name on the letter and sign it.

Follow up on your application

Following up on your application with a phone call may be the key to securing an interview. By making contact with the employer again, you will let them know that you are still interested in the position; you will demonstrate that you have the initiative to make the call; and you might also find out the status of your application.