Cover letters

​A cover letter is your introduction to a potential employer. It aims to communicate two key messages: why you want the position and why the organisation should hire you.​

Your cover letter should:

  • Be professional and personable in tone
  • Be concise, focussed, and no longer than one page
  • Avoid academic language and long complicated sentences
  • If possible, include the name and position of the person who will receive your application
  • Tell the employer why you’re applying for the position
  • Tailor your skills and experience to the role you’re applying for. For example, if the role requires you to work in a large team environment, highlight times when you’ve needed to collaborate and communicate well with others.

Writing a cover letter for an unadvertised job

Sometimes it may be appropriate to proactively contact employers about opportunities which may not be advertised. Ideally you will have thoroughly researched the organisation and have a direct contact you can email.

In this situation, you may need to make a few changes to your cover letter:

  • Email your letter directly instead of attaching a document. This way, it’s more likely to be read.
  • Make the most of your subject line. Be specific and include positive qualities about yourself (e.g. University of Melbourne Commerce graduate seeking work or experienced intern seeking work).
  • Use short, focussed paragraphs with only one key message per paragraph.
  • Make the opening paragraph a clear statement detailing why you're writing and what type of role you're seeking. If you have been referred to the organisation by someone you know, mention the contact’s name here.
  • In your final paragraph, specify what you would like to happen next.

Plan your cover letter on EmployMe

Visit EmployMe to try our cover letter builder and access an extensive library of resources to help you tailor your application for success.

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