Cover Letters – when small things need big attention!

Your cover letters’ primary role is to encourage interest in you from a recruitment agency or employer. Your cover letter does not replace your resume.  The letter should be a document that briefly indicates your suitability to the advertised position and encourage the reader to refer to your résumé for additional detailed information. Together, your cover letter and your resume should reflect one whole story about you and your career path.

The worst way to get the reader’s attention is to spell his/her name incorrectly in your cover letters. A salutation that inaccurately reflects the readers gender is also not good. If you are responding to an advertisement that contains a contact name, use the name correctly. If in doubt phone the company. Receptionists are a great source of information.

Be cautious when using “form letters” for your cover letters. Correctly addressing a letter to “Mr John Smith” is undermined if your letter also starts “Dear Sir/Madam” or refers to a job advertised by another company.

Don’t try to oversell yourself in the arrogant style sometimes suggested by “self-help” books. Just because it helped the author sell their book, this does not automatically have the same effect on your resume. Most Australian employers value quiet confidence and honesty.

Pay extra attention to spelling and grammar. Australian English spelling is more appropriate when applying for a job in Australia. There is no room for typos, not even the smallest one.

State why you think you are suited to the position you are applying for in your cover letters. Highlight specific relevant experience but do not over do it. The detail should be in your resume.

Make sure you include your current contact details. This sounds obvious but does not always happen!

Finally, don’t get discouraged. You can not please everyone and at the end of the day your resume will be assessed by a human being who has individual likes and dislikes that you can not possibly predict.

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