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Cover letter examples: what works and what doesn’t

You’ve seen your dream job advertised and you know that you’d be perfect for the role. The next step is convincing the employer to hire you. Writing a cover letter for a job application is an integral part of this process: it’s an opportunity to make a great first impression.

Reviewing examples of cover letters is a great place to start when you’re setting out to write your own. Having worked with countless students and graduates who are keen to write stand out cover letters, Sandy Babiolakis, Senior Career Consultant with DeakinTalent has seen firsthand what works and what doesn’t.

Mistakes to avoid

Babiolakis says the first thing to remember is that your cover letter is as vital to the application process as your resume. Writing a one-size-fits-all cover letter is never a good idea. Simply changing the company’s name and contact person details and sending the same letter to multiple employers makes it evident to the employer that you aren’t serious enough about the role to invest your time.

‘Your cover letter should be specifically tailored for each position you apply for,’ Babiolakis explains. ‘The purpose of a cover letter is to provide additional context to your resume and entice the employer to want to find out more about you. It has to answer the question ‘Why should I hire you?’’

Other common mistakes include focusing on how the company can benefit you rather than how you can benefit the company. For obvious reasons, the company needs to know how you plan to fulfil the demands of the role.

Writing a long-winded cover letter with sentences that are hard to follow is another way to lose the recruiter’s attention. As is skipping the cover letter altogether. ‘Even if an employer does not stipulate that you need one, consider writing one to tell the employer how you can meet his/her needs and contribute to the company,’ Babiolakis says.

Put in the time, reap the rewards

It’s worth proofreading your cover letter several times before you send. Better yet, you could have your cover letter and resume reviewed by someone experienced who can give you feedback. Babiolakis explains: ‘Being careless with your grammar and spelling errors is a sure reason for your application to be thrown out.’

Both a cover letter and a resume share the common purpose of proving that you have the right skills and experience for the job for which you are applying. ‘Your cover letter should always be in the same font style and same font size as your resume,’ Babiolakis says. ‘They should look like they belong together as one application package.’

Mastering the perfect cover letter hopefully ensures that your application gets the attention that it deserves. If you’ve demonstrated that you have what the company is looking for, it’s time to sit back and relax…or start prepping for an interview.

'The purpose of a cover letter is to provide additional context to your resume and entice the employer to want to find out more about you. '

Sandy Babiolakis,
Graduate Employment Division, Deakin University

Cover letter example – graduate role  

Your Name
3 Xxxx Road
Suburb, Vic 3XXX
+61 4X XXX XXX

Day, XX Month 2019
Manager Name Example
Operations Director
Company X
Level X, Xx Xxx Street
Melbourne, Vic 3000

Dear Mr Example,
RE: Application for Systems Analyst position
I am writing to apply for the position of Systems Analyst with Company X that was recently advertised on [website]. I graduated from Deakin University at the end of 2017 with a Master of Information Technology (Professional) and my education and experiences in computer science are a strong match with the responsibilities outlined in the position description.

I have learnt that many challenges exist with systems analysis within a large organisation like Company X. These issues stem from both the continual upgrading of systems and the diversity of application needs. Through my internship as a Systems Administrator with Deakin University’s Technology Services team, I have gained valuable insight and experience within a similarly large-scale IT environment. On one occasion, I advised a university department on their selection and setup of LAN hardware and appropriate new software. This required me to use appropriate and professional communication, problem solving, and technical skills. I was able to adapt well to working in a fast-paced IT environment and I enjoyed tackling problems as they arose. I would bring this adaptability with me to this role with Company X.

In addition to a strong technical base, I perform well both independently and as part of a team. I communicate effectively with all levels of staff, as reflected in my experience working with both senior and more junior staff within the Technology Services team. Additionally, as part of my internship, I was offered the opportunity to deliver a 15-minute presentation to the team on a relevant project I had recently completed as part of my degree. I asked some initial questions to ensure I had understood the task, and prepared and delivered my presentation using supporting slides. The audience was engaged and I received generous applause and many positive comments afterwards.

I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with Company X. In addition to my interest in complex IT operations, the organisation’s commitment to innovation and inclusion through your involvement in the TedX Charity Conference every year and your progressive, inclusive policies are exciting and important to me.

My qualifications, skills, experiences and motivations ensure I am well suited for this role. Please find my resume enclosed. I hope to be able to discuss my experience and this position in further detail with you at interview. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Your Name

Cover letter example – casual/part-time role

Your Name
3 Xxxx Road
Suburb, Vic 3XXX
+61 4X XXX XXX

Day, XX Month 2019
Recruitment Manager
Company Y
Level X, Xx Xxx Street
Geelong, Vic 3220

Dear Recruitment Manager,
RE: Retail Assistant position
I am writing to apply for the Retail Assistant position with Company Y advertised on your website. I’m very interested in, and excited by the opportunity to join and contribute to your growing team. I am passionate about health and beauty and understand Company Y is a leader in the Australian beauty industry – offering exclusive global brands and professional, knowledgeable service.

My current work experience as a Sales Assistant at Henderson’s Fruit and Vegetable Market has provided me with relevant and transferrable experience. In my role, I am responsible for delivering exceptional and efficient customer service, assisting with store merchandising, working collaboratively as part of a broader team, and assisting the Store Manager to balance cash drawers at the end of the day. I would bring my commitment to strong customer service, and my dedicated worth ethic with me to Company Y. In addition to my part-time work, I am currently studying towards a Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion at Deakin University. I am a highly motivated and focused student and in addition to maintaining strong academic grades, I have been actively involved in the university community, currently as a DeakinTALENT Ambassador where I promote services related to graduate employment to Deakin students.

I’m excited at the prospect of bringing my sales, customer service, and well developed interpersonal skills to the Retail Assistant position with Company Y and feel confident I would be a valuable addition to your team. Please find my resume enclosed. Thank you for your consideration. I very much look forward to the opportunity to speak with you in person about my interest in this opportunity.

Kind regards,
Your Name

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Sandy Babiolakis
Sandy Babiolakis

Consultant, Graduate Employment Division, Deakin University

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