How to Write a Cover Letter

how to write a cover letter

In the competitive job market, a well-crafted cover letter can be the key to unlocking exciting career opportunities. A cover letter serves as your first impression and an opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, and enthusiasm to potential employers. 

However, many job seekers struggle to create compelling cover letters that capture the attention of hiring managers. With the College for Adult Learning, you can access career coaches with real-world experience to help you create the perfect documents to land your dream job. 

Before you enrol and access our exclusive Careers Hub, we can guide you through the process of writing an effective cover letter that highlights your strengths and maximises your chances of landing an interview. 

What makes a great cover letter?

A great cover letter is a compelling and concise document that serves as an introduction to a job application. It showcases your qualifications, experiences, and enthusiasm for the position, while also demonstrating your understanding of the company and its values. It is tailored to the specific job and organisation, highlighting how your relevant skills and achievements align with the desired role. It captivates the reader’s attention from the opening paragraph and maintains a professional tone throughout. 

A great cover letter goes beyond simply reiterating the information already present in the resume, instead providing additional context and insights into your suitability for the position. It effectively communicates your passion, showcases your unique strengths, and conveys genuine interest in contributing to the company’s success. 

Ultimately, it serves as a persuasive tool, leaving a lasting impression on hiring managers and increasing the likelihood of being called for an interview.

The 7 Steps to a Perfect Cover Letter

Understand the purpose of a cover letter

Before diving into the writing process, it’s crucial to understand the purpose of a cover letter. A cover letter is a one-page document that accompanies your resume and provides a personalised introduction to the employer. Its primary goal is to demonstrate your suitability for the position by highlighting relevant skills, experiences, and achievements. It should also convey your enthusiasm for the role and showcase your ability to communicate effectively.

Research and customise

Generic cover letters rarely make an impact. Take the time to research the company and position you’re applying for. Familiarise yourself with their mission, values, and their plans for the future in order to tailor yours to align with their requirements. If possible, address the hiring manager by name to add a personalised touch. 

Structure correctly

A well-organised cover letter enhances readability and makes a positive impression. Follow a clear structure that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In the introduction, state the position you’re applying for and briefly mention how you learned about the opportunity. In the body paragraphs, elaborate on your relevant experiences, skills and achievements. Finally, conclude by expressing your interest in the role and willingness to discuss your qualifications further.

Grab attention with an engaging opening

First impressions matter, and your cover letter’s opening should captivate the reader. Consider starting with an attention-grabbing anecdote, a compelling statistic, or a thought-provoking question.

Alternatively, you can begin by explaining your passion for the industry or the company’s mission has driven your career aspirations. The opening should entice the reader to continue reading and learn more about you. 

Showcase your achievements and skills

Highlight your most relevant achievements and skills in the body of the cover letter. Using specific examples combined with measurable results will highlight how your experiences align with the company’s needs and emphasise how you can contribute to their success.

Demonstrate cultural fit

Employers often seek candidates who not only possess the required qualifications but also align with the company culture. Showcasing your understanding of the organisation’s values and how you embody them can make a significant difference. Incorporating relevant keywords from the job description showcases your familiarity with their requirements and highlights your potential as a culture fit. 

Express your enthusiasm

Passion and enthusiasm can set you apart from other candidates. In your cover letter, express your genuine interest in the role and the company. Explain why you’re drawn to the opportunity and how it aligns with your long-term career goals. This demonstrates to the employer that you’re not just seeking any job but are genuinely invested in their organisation.

Examples of cover letters

There are some great examples of cover letters out there. 

Get a free cover letter template 

In our Careers Hub, you can gain access to free cover letter and resume templates. By using high-quality cover letter templates, you can save time and ensure that your resume follows best practices and meets industry standards, ultimately increasing your chances of impressing employers and securing job interviews. 

Find out more about the Careers Hub and how you can enjoy industry experts helping you land your dream job with our complimentary career services.