Creating a Winning Job Cover Letter

Step 2

Job Advert/Description

Firstly, a Job Advertisement and a Job Description are two very different sources of information. It's wise to remember this when browsing through vacancies.

The Job Advertisement: A job advertisement is what you'll see listed on Seek, SMH, MyCareer etc. These "ads" are written as a marketing tool for the employer/recruiter to "sell" the vacancy in such a way that it captures the reader’s imagination and interest, and appeals to w wider audience. They seldom offer much insight into what the positions is really about.

The Job Description: This is the document that you really want. If you like the Job Ad, then follow up with the recruiter/agent/employer and ask for a full job description. These are often readily available, but it might take a couple of attempts before you make contact.

Note- recruiters are sometimes a little less inclined to provide the full job description for fear it may disclose their clients name. However, it's worth trying.

Now, think about customising your letter:

  • Find 5 or 6 key points that are in the job description for inclusion in your letter;
  • Use both Job Advert and Job Description to base your cover letter;
  • Look out for Key Skills & Criteria;
  • Don't dwell on general points such as soft skills in your cover letter;
  • If you don't have a skill, don't mention it;
  • Keep your letter focused on the job descripton - don't stray to irrelevant areas;
  • Remember - some points are best left for interview.
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