Tips For Writing a Job Application Cover Letter

Job application cover letters are an often overlooked part of a job seekers toolkit, however, there are several scenarios where you may need to write a covering letter for your resume.

This article will look at the different scenarios and cover the basics of writing a job application covering letters.

Why should you include cover letters with your Resume?

Well, mainly because it looks more professional.

If a recruitment agency or an employer received anything in the post (a Resume, promotional material, etc) without a brief covering letter explaining its purpose, they will instantly think less of it.  Covering letters will also serve as a reference for your contact details.

Also, it is a further opportunity to market yourself.  You can put your skills and ambitions into a better context within your covering letters as they are more personal than your resume (which is basically just stripping the glossy stuff away to the essentials).

Look at it this way – if you were emailing your resume, you wouldn’t send your Resume by email attachment without writing anything on the actual email, would you?

When you should include covering letters

  • When sending your resume to recruitment agencies (you have to let them know what kind of work you are looking for).
  • When enquiring about possible job vacancies with an employer.
  • When applying for advertised jobs that request you send your resume to the employer.

Basic letter writing techniques apply to all of these scenarios, although each letter should be tailored every time (ideally, so should your Resume).

Covering letters for recruitment agencies

When sending your resume to a recruitment agency, you should include a covering letter to let them know what kind of work you are looking for.

You are helping them out, so (hopefully) they will help you out in return.  By carefully wording your desired career goals, you can save them the time of finding out that information from you (which they will have to do anyway in order to find you a job).

So, instead of, “So, what kind of work are you looking for?” when you meet them or speak with them, it will be, “I see that you are interested in xxxxx”.  From here it will either be, “We currently have a position available that may be of interest to you”, or “We don’t have anything along that line just now”.

Either way, you will know the current situation.

If they don’t have the job you are looking for, then ask them what kind of jobs they are currently looking to fill (generally, if they can get you a job, then they will – that’s how they make their money!).

When you originally contact an agency about 482 job opportunities, you should state your preference (if any) between locations/cities and give an idea of what kind of job role you are looking for.

It should be noted at this point that if you state-specific job titles, then you may be limiting your possibilities (after something else may come along that you would like, but not be offered because you didn’t specify it).  If you don’t have the experience for a particular job then it may be worthwhile keeping your options open for possibilities that may lead to your ideal job.

For example, instead of saying you want to break into web design, say you are IT literate and have an interest and a particularly good range of web-related skills.  This way, you may be considered for work in a number of job roles. However, if you are experienced in your particular field, stating exactly what you want to do from the start will ultimately be more beneficial, as you are less likely to be offered something that is inappropriate for you.

job enquiry cover letter tipsEnquiring about possible 482 sponsored job vacancies

This is similar to sending your Resume to recruitment agencies except for this time you are using the opportunity to market yourself directly to employers.  Using this method has its advantages.

  • Chances are you will receive some feedback (at the very least they will keep your Resume, but they may also direct you to their own recruitment process, eg their website). Hopefully you will also receive some insight into the companies approach to engaging overseas candidates for job opportunities.
  • You are cutting out the middle man (if you happen to contact an employer that has a position that would suit you, then you are saving the cost of advertising and recruitment fees for the employer).
  • Even if you don’t get any response, you are still covering all the bases in the recruitment process (there is only so much you can do – you have to do everything you can to give yourself the best opportunity for success, especially when it comes to 482 Visa opportunities.

When writing your covering letter to employers, be sure to direct it to the HR Manager or Office Manager.  This way you know at least it is going to the relevant person (chances are that they won’t read it, but it will be filed in the appropriate place for future reference and not be passed from department to department where it may be lost).

Again, similar to your letter to recruitment agencies, you should specify what type of role you want.  If you don’t know what you want to do, then use the letter to briefly elaborate on your skills and what you think you would be good at and ask if they have any suitable vacancies.

Also, when targeting employers, choose ones that you would want to work for.  Decide upon your reasons for your choice and explain them in your letter, along with what you can offer.

Applying for advertised jobs

When applying for advertised jobs here on 482jobs.com, your covering letters should, again, state why you are the best person for the job, relating the information in the job description to your experience and skills.

You should make a special note of what the requirements are in the job specification and reflect this in your Resume.

Your covering letter, however, should be brief, professional and be directed to the person stated on the job advert.  At the end of the day, the employer is only going to look at Resumes in this case.

General rules for writing your covering letter

  • Your covering letter should be a professional layout and you should refer to the contact as Sir or Madam if you do not know the name of the contact in the organisation. Please do not use ‘Dears” as we have seen. In Australia, ‘Dears’ can sound patronising and does not come across well as an opening to a letter or email.
  • Your covering letter should be no more than one page long (it’s a covering letter, not an essay – you don’t want to bore the person who is about to read your Resume!).
  • It should be easy to read – use small paragraphs to break up the text.
  • It should have all your contact details on it, along with the date it was sent out.
  • It should not repeat what is said in your Resume.  Use the covering letter to elaborate on details that are only briefly covered in your Resume.
  • When elaborating on your skills, you should both reflect on your own experience and relate them to the skills asked for in the job advert.
  • When closing the letter, finish with “Yours Sincerely” or “Kind Regards”.

Did we miss anything?

Did we miss any key areas or do you have any questions about writing your cover letter for job applications? Let us know in our comments below and we will be happy to help,