Robert Half's cover letter template is designed to support you in finding and securing the perfect job. Whether your job application is submitted by mail or electronically, your cover letter is the first document that most employers read, and acts as a sort of appetiser to your resume. It is critical that your cover letter captures the best parts of your resume without being a duplication of this document, and that it is personal, tailored and convincing.
Here are our top tips on how to best use this cover letter template, no matter what role you’re applying for.
Be strict with the length
Stick to one page. Whether you’re using a cover letter template as a candidate applying for your first job or because you’re a senior executive trying to secure the top job, cover letters should never be much more than 300-350 words, or about four paragraphs. You improve your chances of persuading an employer to read your resume if you’ve kept your cover letter equal parts impressive and brief. However you adapt it, be tough on yourself when it comes to cover letter length. It is better to give the employer a taste of the rest of your application rather than risk wearing them down with too much information.
Get the details and facts straight
If you’re going to address specific employers at an organisation, make sure you get their names, titles, addresses and emails correct. Even a modest error in title or name could give the impression that your cover letter lacked effort and attention, and that you failed to the take the time required to research and find the correct details. Assuming you’ve obtained the correct details, err on the side of caution when using them, particularly titles and names. If in doubt of the correct usage, always opt for the more formal title followed by surname format. For example, “To Mrs Verberne”, or “To Dr. Tengku”.
These days, most job applications are submitted online, so often an office or mail address is unnecessary, but including it can show you’ve gone to the effort of finding it, verifying it and including it in your cover letter.
Personalise your cover letter
This is the fun part. While your resume tends to be fact, outcome or accomplishment based in a way that the critical information is easy to identify and comprehend, your cover letter is the place where you can tell a prospective employer a little more about yourself. In your cover letter you can include information about the qualities you possess and what you are uniquely positioned to bring to the organisation to improve both its process and people.
You could also imbue these cover letter examples with personality by including a short anecdote explaining how you became passionate about project management, or briefly reference a quote or insight from a financial sector leader you admire. Unlike your resume, your cover letter is the perfect place to include these elements and show that in addition to all your practical work and success metrics, you’re an ambitious and dedicated worker that will be a great cultural fit and likeable colleague.
Your cover letter is not your resume
While personalising and tailoring these cover letter examples, remember that it’s not just a process of copying the information that resides in your resume. In fact, sometimes writing a cover letter can be the most challenging part of completing a job application, as you have to promote yourself, detail your ambition and express your enthusiasm for a new role and organisation in a way that is distinct from your resume, but still complementary. It’s a delicate balancing act, but if done right, you can be sure you’ll impress employers.
Always include a thank you or courtesy
Use the courtesies in our examples or come up with your own, but whatever you do, make sure they are always included at the conclusion of your letter. This gesture shows a politeness and gratitude that is both expected and welcomed by employers when they’re reading through, often, hundreds of applications - so always allow room for this.
Proofread and spell check
This is step is a no-brainer, though for a number of reasons it can often be overlooked. Always run an electronic spelling and grammar check over your cover letter and if possible, get a friend, family member or mentor to read over the document before submitting it. This process only takes a few minutes and you’d be amazed at what a second set of eyes can pick up.
Take a look at our cover letter tips hub for more cover letter writing tips and examples.