Over the busy March recruitment period, employers have been on campus providing tips to students on job applications, including perfecting covering letters. Your aim is to write a personalised, professional, one page cover letter and get the interview you want! You articulate in simple language to share your motivation of why you are applying for the job and to demonstrate that you are the right fit for the role and the organisation.

As this is the initial part of the recruitment screening process, it is important to put your best foot forward:

• Address your cover letters to a specific person if you can.
• Tailor your letters to specific situations or organisations by doing research before writing your letters.
• Keep letters concise and factual, no more than a single page. Avoid flowery language.
• Give examples that support your skills and qualifications.
• Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What can you write that will convince the reader that you are ready and able to do the job.
• Remember that this is a marketing tool. Use lots of action words.
• Have someone proofread your letter.
• If converting to a .pdf, check that your formatting translated correctly.
• Reference skills or experiences from the job description and draw connections to your credentials.

Here is Duncan Cotterill’s advice on what not ‘to do’. They are happy to share with you, their campus presentation on job applications: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/st_services/careers/students/graduate_recruitment/employer_presentations.aspx

• Balance between enthusiastic and assertive without being pushy.
• Keep language simple – avoid clichés and expressions like ‘aforementioned‘.
• Don’t use words that weaken your message or give the impression that you lack confidence e.g. ‘fairly experienced’.
• Avoid spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Get someone to proof read your work.
• Send the right cover letter to the right firm.

Sample cover letters can be viewed on CareerHub: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/careerhub
A hand out on Cover Letters available: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/st_services/careers/resources/career_publications/career_essentials/index.aspx

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Career advice, Graduate jobs, Job application, Looking for work