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Composing a Cover Letter

Composing a Cover Letter

Composing a Cover Letter



Keep it to one page, use the words in their advertisement if replying to an advertisement or be consistent with your resume when sending an unsolicited letter.

Here are some of the best ideas for composing effective cover letters:

Initiate action
Understand what you would like the employer to do as a result of your letter — and ask him or her to do it.

Make it quick and easy to read
Format your one page letter using short paragraphs and bullet points.

The Introductory Sentence
You need to grab the employer right away with the first sentence of your letter. The point of your lead line is to engage the hiring manager — make them sit up straight and think, "OK, here's someone I need around here!" If you can elicit that kind of response, you already have that person wanting to meet you.

Deliver a bold statement that makes the employer want to understand how you could fulfil such a promise or to find out what you're talking about. For instance:

"Great article in the Sunday paper! As soon as I read it, I knew I needed to get my resume to you right away."

"No home wares retailer store would accept the situation you addressed in the XYZ newspaper! I've already managed around this successfully and would like to talk to you about a role."

"XYZ Financial has come a long way in the last five years so why not benefit from entering the XYZ market! If you had someone like me you'd have a huge segment of the market share in your pocket."

Begin with a quote that will snag the reader's attention.

"Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm”. “Mediocrity is easy and accomplishment is not." — Sportsman and successful business owner.

"The business of this country is business." — World renowned statesman.

A Few More Sample Introductions
To actually write an introductory sentence for your cover letter is one of the hardest things to achieve when preparing your cover letters. To help you think of an appropriate opening sentence, in other words a suitable sales pitch, browse through the following lists (categorised: formal, friendly, and bold). Use any of these lines as is, mix and match more than one line, or just use them to get inspiration for your own award-winning approach.


      • The Formal style
      • "You may have a situation that requires (a skill I have)."
      • "As an experienced (whatever professional),"
      • "I recently read about (something relevant to the company)."
      • "Last year at the (such-and-such) conference, I met you..."
      • "For some time now, I have been looking for an opportunity to (do such-and-such)



      • The Friendly style
      • "Last year alone, (x) people did (such-and-such related to the company)."
      • "Developing (such-and-such) is no easy task."
      • "In some organisations, things move so quickly that (someone like me) is needed to..."
      • "Now that you have my CV in hand,"
      • "When you read my CV, you'll understand how I fit into your program."
      • "Immediate results are what you can expect from my performance as a (whatever)."
      • "At first glance, (such-and-such about my qualifications) may surprise you, but look closer..."



      • The Bold style
      • "Call me ambitious, or downright tenacious!"
      • "Here's the catch:"
      • "If you don't remember anything else after reading this letter, remember this:"
      • "People say I have the most exciting profession in the world. I couldn't agree more!"


Thank You Letters
Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate to send thank you letters as follows:

Thank you for the job interview.
Thank you for the job offer.
I appreciate your letter advising me that I have been unsuccessful.
Thank you for the information meeting.

Samples of each are available with our sample thank you letters.