JOB BLOG // Cover Letter
When applying for jobs you’ll be expected to write a cover letter to submit with your application.
Cover letters are straightforward in theory, but when it comes to writing one, they can be tedious and confusing.
The following should be taken as advice only as only one way of writing a cover letter.
What do I say in a cover letter?
The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself, identify the job you’re applying for, summarise why you are a suitable candidate according to the Key Selection Criteria (if applicable), why you want it and compel the person reading it to contact you.
What don’t I say in a cover letter?
Don’t just repeat what you’ve written in your Key Selection Criteria and CV. This is your opportunity to expand on why the experience you mentioned in your CV is relevant to the position you’re applying for. It’s also a chance for you show off your personality.
Always include a cover letter unless the ad explicitly says not to. Best case scenario is they don’t need it and they won’t read it. Worst case is that they expected you to submit a cover letter and you missed out on submitting a crucial piece of your application.
If the job doesn’t state Key Selection Criteria, try to draw on other elements of the advertisement in your cover letter.
The following is an advertisement for a Video Production Assistant at an organisation called Momentary HQ.
“About the organisation:
Momentary is a video production company that uses storytelling for social impact.
We help not-for-profits and purpose-driven organisations communicate their positive impact by producing authentic, documentary-style videos.
About the role:
Things are getting busy at Momentary HQ, and we are on the hunt for a versatile new team member to give our production team an extra hand on set, to help wrangle and transcribe footage for our editor, and to get us organised for upcoming shoots.
This is a paid part-time role which requires a minimum of two days per week, with the possibility of full-time work in the future.
More than anything, we are looking for applicants with a willingness to learn and a passion for social change.”
This job was advertised without Key Selection Criteria and therefore the following sample response has drawn on the keywords highlighted in the advertisement. However this is only one way of writing a cover letter for this job:
- Your CV and Key Selection Criteria tend to be more clinical; your Cover Letter is your chance to show a bit of personality.
- Unless it says otherwise, keep your cover letter to a page. The person reading it will be reading a lot of others and you want to make it as concise and to the point as you can.
- Rewrite your cover letter for every job you apply for. This can be tedious if you’re applying for a large amount of jobs, but the person reading it will be able to tell if you’ve copy and pasted it from another application.
- Address it to someone. If you’re not sure who to address it to; find out. Call the organisation, say what job you’re applying and ask who the best person is to address it to is. The person reading it will have a name and they’ll appreciate you using it a lot more than they will if you address it to ‘To Whom It May Concern’.
- Do your research. If you’re not familiar with the organisation/company, have a poke around their website and see what you can find out. If the position description is vague, call them and ask questions about it. You will be able to tailor your responses a lot more accurately if you know specifically what they are looking for.
- If you’re applying for a creative job, don’t afraid to be creative in your application. If you’re applying for a graphic design job, you could write that you are proficient in Adobe InDesign, or you could use Adobe InDesign for your application and demonstrate your skills. This won’t suit every job, but if you’re looking for something to make your application stand out, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.
Remember the Content Development Coordinator is able to read over your job applications at any time. Get in touch with them at content @ syn.org.au.