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10 Tips For Writing A Compelling Cover Letter

Writing a solid cover letter can tip the balance in your favour when searching for the perfect job. While not every job advertisement will require you to attach a cover letter, there is a strong case for choosing to take up the option whenever it is presented.

Writing a compelling cover letter allows hiring managers to get insight into your personality, lets them learn a little more about your experience, and allows you space to express your passion for the work you do.

Man signing a contract with an oversized pen.
You may already believe you know how to write a cover letter, or you could be about to write your first-ever cover letter.

Either way, the team at The Career Academy have compiled ten essential tips for writing a compelling cover letter that could see you land an interview for the job of your dreams, so read on.

1. Short Is Sweet

A cover letter doesn’t need to be newsy or tell the recruiter your entire employment history. Keep it short and pointed, and only include information relevant to the role you are applying for.

A good cover letter will include an introduction highlighting your current situation, a paragraph about your qualifications, and one explaining why you are the best candidate for the advertised position.

2. Steer Clear of Whom’s

To Whom It May Concern is an old-fashioned phrase; it’s no longer necessary to greet prospective employers like you are an Edwardian gentleperson. In fact, using this dated phrase can actually indicate a lack of care.

If you want to know what to put in a cover letter, this is not it. Although not all job ads will include a name to address your cover letter, a little research on LinkedIn, Google, or a quick phone call to the company should give you an idea of where to address your cover letter.


3. Don’t Just List Your Resume Content

Another one of our tips for writing a cover letter for a resume submission is to diversify your content. You can assume the same person is reading both documents and potentially reading dozens of submissions – so don’t send a cover letter that turns your resume points into paragraphs.

Find a hook that reveals your unique value, express yourself with warmth and address the main points highlighted in the advertisement.


4. It’s Not All About You

Part of writing a compelling cover letter is shifting focus back to the company that is offering the job. Read the advertisement properly, understand their goals and needs, then visit their website and look at what language they use to describe themselves.

Looking at customer testimonials is a good tip, as companies generally post testimonials that most closely align with their values and reflect how they want people to see them.

Let them know you see them and are excited to help them achieve their goals.


5. Hit the Ground Running

To win the race, you must start strong, so make sure your first line captures the reader. While you must state the position you are applying for here, there is also room to immediately express a defining quality that makes you the right person for that position.

Stating that you have the definitive qualification listed as a requirement for the job or stating a success you have achieved in a similar role are good openers.


6. Hone In On Your Target

Your employment history may include time in a wonderfully diverse range of industries. You may have picked up skills across a broad range of sectors that could be useful in the role you are applying for. However, writing a compelling cover letter may involve leaving out as much information as you put in.

Be sure that your cover letter doesn’t include irrelevant details, make it personal to the role you are applying for, and don’t talk about your summer working at the chip shop 20 years ago.

Keep it relevant, current, and concise.

7. State Your Objective

If you are wondering how to write a cover letter NZ employers will pay attention to, a good tip is to make certain that you are clear about why you want this job in particular.

So, while you may be applying for more than one job, you should still take the time to tailor-make your cover letter to allow the recruiter to see what drew you to the advertisement.

8. Get Your Cover Letter Checked!

This is extremely important! Spelling and grammar errors are a huge turn-off, and your cover letter won’t even make it through ATS software processes if it includes janky spelling.

Spell check and Grammarly are fantastic tools. However, they could be more foolproof, so make sure your cover letter is reviewed by a third party you trust.

Our Career Centre is a great place to start when you are ready to have your resume and cover letter checked.

9. Show Them You Know Them

While it may not be possible every time you are writing a compelling cover letter, a wonderful way to stand out is to mention a personal connection you have to the company.

A time you got excellent service, an initiative you noticed or an ad campaign that caught your eye are possible personal points to include in your cover letter – one sentence is fine unless it’s a fantastic anecdote.

10. Remember To Shine

The cover letter is where you get to showcase your winning personality and let employers see why they should choose you. Imagine being one of the last two candidates for consideration and think of something unique about you that would lead a hiring manager to pick you for the job.

This is not the place to explore your weaknesses, save that for that one question they always ask in the interview.

Get In Touch

At our Career Centre, the friendly team are always on board to help students with a cover letter or resume check, so before you hit submit, get in touch here.

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