I enjoy writing targeted cover letters in partnership with clients. We have a lot of success with them. Every paragraph is a ‘punchy’ selling point, which goes to the heart of the application. Below is some good advice from Youth Central in Victoria. It’s aimed at young people but much of it also applies to older applicants.
A cover letter shouldn't be more than one page. It's only meant to be a summary of the information you put in your resume, so remember to keep things short.
Matching your cover letter to the job
Don’t use the same cover letter for different job applications. Your cover letter needs to show that you know what the job involves and what the organisation is looking for. Be as specific as you can about your skills and qualities and how they match the job or organisation's needs.
Find out who to address it to
Try not to address your letter "To Whom It May Concern" if you can. Finding out who to address your application is worth it.
Find out more about the job
Also try to contact that person so you can ask questions that can help you match your cover letter (and resume) to the job. Questions you could answer include:
Does the job involve working as part of a team?
Who would I be reporting to if I got the job?
Can you tell me more about the kind of people you're looking for?
Is there a position description I can look at?
What you should include in your cover letter
Put your name and contact details at the top of your cover letter. You don't have to give your postal address, but you do need to include your email and phone number. Make sure you'll be able to answer the number you give. Your email address should create a professional impression. Don't use an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org.
The name of the job you're going for
At the start of your cover letter, explain which job you're applying for. You can either do this on a line by itself, eg, Application for Stock Controller position”) or in the opening paragraph.
A list of your relevant skills
Your letter should include a brief summary that matches your skills and experiences to the job description. If you’re answering a job ad, either the ad or the position description may provide a list of skills and experiences that are essential for doing the job. It may also provide a list of “desirable” skills and experience. Address those too.
A summary of why you’re right for the job
After listing your skills and experience you should explain why these mean you’re suited to the job (for example, “The combination of my interest in AFL and my experience with book-keeping makes me ideally suited for this job.”) For examples of how to do this, visit our Sample cover letters page.