How to Write a Cover Letter

What’s the difference between a CV and a cover letter?

Generally a CV is more impersonal, informational and generic; what you've studied, where you've worked, who your referees are etc. There can still be opportunity to add some personality, but it can be limited if you have a lot of detail to cover. 

Cover letters allow you to target the employer specifically. You can introduce yourself as a professional and tell your story, clearly highlighting why your skills, qualities and experience will meet their needs.

Do I have to write a cover letter for every job I apply for?

Most entry level jobs won’t require you provide a cover letter - many only require a basic CV, or use application forms to obtain key information from you. 

Some employers or hiring managers will put more emphasis on the cover letter, as it can frame your experience and demonstrate who you are and your understanding of the role.

This is also a great way to explain your journey if your work experience isn’t directly relevant to the role you are applying to. If you want to play it safe, always include a cover letter!

Will employers even read a cover letter?

It always depends on the employer, but it can be worth putting the extra effort to write one if you want to make a unique impression. A strong, well-written cover letter can be really effective in setting you apart from the other applicants. 

What’s more important is whether or not the information is relevant. Do your best to show a clear connection between your CV and cover letter to increase your chances of a positive response. 

How much personal information is ‘too much’?

This can be tricky to navigate, but again, it will be dependent on the role, the industry and the specific employer, as all will have different priorities.

Keep the information you're sharing relevant to the position you're applying for as this will help you keep it simple and succinct.

Sometimes taking a bit of a risk can really pay off, but do your research first.

Contact information

Careers and Employability Facilitators