Why do you need to send a cover letter with your CV?  Because if you don’t your application could end up in the bin!

When preparing a covering letter, getting it right is very important.  An effective cover letter could make a difference between you getting an interview or a rejection.  So don’t waste your hard work by attaching a poor covering letter.  You only get one chance, so make a good strong impression and explain why they should hire you.  

What not to do – here are some common attributes of bad cover letters:

  • Poor overall appearance and layout
  • Poor grammar, punctuation and spelling errors
  • Rambling, lack of focus
  • Is excessively formulaic:  It is not tailored to the job you are applying for.
  • Embellishes the applicant’s qualifications.
  • Aggressive, pushy in tone

We have even seen university graduates misspell the word ‘Bachelor’ with wrongly using ‘Batchelor’.  Graduate Recruiters have always emphasised that any spelling errors spotted on applications is automatically a decline.  A letter or email greeting with ‘Hi there’ or ‘To whom it may concern’ is definitely inappropriate.

A cover letter needs to set you apart from other applicants. It should highlight your accomplishments, qualifications, skills, areas of expertise, and potential.  A business letter format is best and it needs to engage the reader so they will read your CV.  You will have a maximum of 20 seconds to wow the reader of your letter so better maximise its impact by making it dynamic!

You can Google many guidelines on writing successful cover letters, but do remember to check on the careers page of your potential employer too.

The following  cover letter tips come from:  jobx.co.nz

  • Always send a neat letter or email – business style
  • Be honest and to the point.
  • Be unique and focused in your paragraphs.
  • Make a personal connection with the target.
  • Portray your personality in your communication.
  • Target the correct individual.
  • Ensure you have some control over the outcome.
  • Be concise in your choice of words.
  • Be consistent ensuring the phrases are similar to your CV.
  • Ensure no extraneous issues are inadvertently included.
  • Only one page is necessary (anything longer is too much information).
  • The objective of the cover letter is to get you to the interview.

And don’t forget that Vic Careers can help with cover letter resources and students and graduates of Victoria University of Wellington can use the Drop In service for cover letter checking or attend a workshop.

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