How to Make a Winning Cover Letter | FREE TEMPLATE & SAMPLES

How to Make a Winning Cover Letter

Your covering letter is designed to introduce yourself, provide a summary of who you are and detail your talents, skills, knowledge, and personal qualities. To make the most of your chances, inject a good and optimistic tone into your application. You can also create an excellent first impression by using impactful, powerful words.

Your letter should be restricted to one page, and for maximum impact, it MUST:

  • grab the readers' attention
  • be succinct, relevant and interesting
  • show originality in the way you present your key attributes
  • reflect your motivations and interests in the position
  • demonstrate an understanding of how your background links with the
  • company and with the requirements of the position
  • create a desire for the reader to meet with you.

Make an Impressive First Impression: Our Top-10 Cover Letter Tips

  1. Make sure that you follow conventional letter-writing etiquette, including the person to whom you are writing, the date, and any reference numbers on the top left of the page.
  2. Address the person by their title and first/last name.
  3. Give brief examples of skills and experience to demonstrate that you 'fit' the job
  4. Use verbs to express what you have actually done or achieved. For example, 'decreased', 'increased', 'managed', 'led', 'created', etc.
  5. Use specific and concrete examples rather than generalisations
  6. Quantify your achievements where possible. For example, "overcame a 20% decrease in market share by doing XYZ".
  7. Proofread for grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes!
  8. Avoid clichés and expressions that may be read as insincere and over the top.
  9. Use strong persuasive language to make a good impression and increase your chances of being offered an interview.
  10. Highlight what you have to offer and how you match the selection criteria (if required).

How to Structure an Impressive Cover Letter

  • Introduction: A brief first paragraph clearly summarising your most important and closely aligned skills, experience or qualifications.
  • Main statement: 1-3 paragraphs, highlighting the relevance of your qualifications, interests, knowledge, skills and abilities to complete the particular position. Make sure to give examples that illustrate how you fulfil the role's daily responsibilities and why you would be of value to the employer. Use any information you have gathered through research, including language and terminology, to connect you with the position and the organisation.
  • Conclusion: Demonstrate your understanding of the organisation and reaffirm your interest in the position. Let your research show! Indicate a willingness to provide further information, if required, and let the employer know that you have included a résumé and any other requirements, such as selection criteria.
  • Closing statement: State your interest in attending an interview and, if relevant, the dates you will be available for work.

Sample cover letter for a Contact Centre Manager (Call Centre & Customer Service)

 

[Organisation]

[Address]

[Long Date]

Dear Hiring Manager – [Insert position title],

Re: [Insert position title] opportunity

My previous manager once told me that I have very high expectations of myself, but unlike most people, I always strive to reach these goals. This has continued to be true throughout my career.

Over the last [Number] years at [Organisation], I have been very successful, achieving various promotions and currently, I manage a high-performing Sales Team. While my leadership skills will be beneficial for the Contact Centre Manager position, my high-level coordination, strategic planning, administrative support, and computer literacy across the Microsoft Office suite and various software platforms will no doubt bring value to customers across the customer journey from the initial enquiry through to the sale.   

In previous roles, I worked in a health and community care call centre, which enabled me to mature and focus on my career plans, further develop my teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills and apply my personable conflict management skills.

To further demonstrate my willingness to attend an interview, you will find my resume attached and information addressing your selection criteria on the next page. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss my application further with you at the interview.

Should you require any additional information, I can be contacted on 0400 000 000 or at email@email.com.

Kind regards

First and Last Name

  

If you would like help writing your tailored cover letter, please book a professional writer today. Email the job you would like to apply for to info@theperfectresume.com.au.

Key Selection Criteria Tips From Successful Job Seekers

A cover letter and key selection criteria are often confused with each other. A cover letter is a 1-page brief introduction to who you are as a candidate, whereas the selection criteria is a 2-3 page document with specific examples to demonstrate you have the hard and soft skills the employer requires.

Regardless of the specific position you may be targeting; there are general criteria that tend to apply across nearly all graduate vacancies. Examples of these include:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving

Employers will differ in the extent to which they emphasise each selection criteria.

If selection criteria are provided in the job advertisement but you are not specifically asked to address them in your application, you should use them in bold throughout your cover letter, backed up by specific examples.

If you are asked to address the selection criteria, provide a separate document following your tailored cover letter.

Key Selection Criteria

Preparation

  • Examine the company culture and frame your replies in their terms.
  • Look at the job advertisement, recruitment brochure, website, and position description if one is available.
  • Read all the selection documents carefully, especially position descriptions and recruitment notes.
  • Highlight the skills required in the job advertisement to help you focus your application.
  • Using each selection criterion as a heading, address each in around 250-300 words.
  • Draw upon unique evidence in support of different criteria – not the same examples over and over again.
  • If you're stumped for examples to demonstrate criteria, think laterally. When have you utilised your expertise, abilities/competencies in a similar way before?

As evidence to support selection criteria, refer to your past experiences, such as study, work, extracurricular or non-work activities, using the STAR technique to structure your response. Here are some examples that you could use to demonstrate that you meet key criteria:

Teamwork: Demonstrate your understanding of team dynamics

  • being a member of a sporting team(s)
  • coaching a team
  • having an active involvement in group assignments/assessment tasks
  • engaging in employment experience in a team environment

Communication: Demonstrate your oral, written and interpersonal - listening, clarifying, and negotiating skills

  • possessing client or customer service experience
  • being involved in clubs or societies
  • tutoring or coaching experience
  • leading or participating in a group discussion
  • co-publishing a publication
  • managing a tutorial
  • solving a group conflict

Time management: Demonstrate your planning, organisation skills, and ability to negotiate changes

  • balancing time between a variety of activities
  • being self-motivated to work with minimal or no supervision
  • ability to plan and organise work to meet timelines
  • taking the initiative and being a leader to coordinate, facilitate, and action tasks without being asked
  • committee or community group involvement
  • experience in coordinating an event or directing a team or group
  • thinking 'quickly on your feet

Problem-solving: Demonstrate your ability to plan, implement, think or act quickly on your feet

  • dealing with customers experiencing problems
  • developing an innovative solution to an assignment, task or problem
  • identifying a system or procedure in your workplace, sporting club, etc.
  • putting together a strategy to implement a beneficial change.

Relationship building: Demonstrate your ability to relate to a broad range of people, and establish rapport

  • client or customer service experiences
  • involvement in clubs or societies
  • tutoring or coaching experience.

Sample Key Selection Criteria Statements

Demonstrate your experience in contributing to a team goal

When I first joined the Customer Service team at [organisation], I was informed about the team's goal to answer 95% of calls within 2 minutes. On my first day, I got off to a good start, answering all calls within the required time frame. However, as the days went by, I started to fall behind, even though I was at my desk ready to work and not feeling rushed at my start time. When I asked a colleague why we were all falling behind, she mentioned another team member was on holiday for the next 3-weeks, and the manager couldn't find a replacement.

Over the next days, I noticed the team seemed exceptionally busy, and team morale was under attack. I wasn't sure how I could help as I was given a customer service manual but little other training. So, during my lunch break, I listened in on my colleague's calls and wrote down possible responses I could provide to prevent me from needing to pass over the call to another team member.

That night, I typed up the responses. The next day, I arrived early for my shift so I could listen to the early shift's phone calls. I wrote down these responses as well and tried to anticipate the types of questions customers were asking to require this response (as I could only hear one side of the conversation).

Over the next week, I used my newfound knowledge to help with the increased call load and managed to answer 94% of calls autonomously. The team improved its performance to meet the 2-minute goal, with me as a big team contributor. Further, the manager was impressed with my initiative and requested me to listen in on several phone recordings so the manual could be extended for other newcomers.

Demonstrate your experience in communicating effectively

I was allocated to the dispute line at a well-known insurance company where, daily, I was required to handle a high volume of calls from highly emotive customers. Many were angry, some were in tears, and a lot of them were distraught. However, it was my job to listen to their problem, show empathy and then solve it to the best of my ability. Therefore, I remained calm and polite, no matter how the customer was behaving, acknowledged their feelings and tried to diffuse the situation by offering them solutions or having the humility to accept when I needed to put the call through to a supervisor or manager if I did not have the knowledge to handle the call myself. This role required me to be an excellent communicator as many customers just wanted to vent their frustration.

Further, I had to interact with customers or clients in a professional capacity, often under pressure. With a proven ability to develop and maintain positive relationships with others, through effective written and oral communication skills, I communicated complex information in a clear and concise manner. As a result, I was able to attain a 95% first-time resolution rate for the company and customer.

 

The above examples relate to a hypothetical application for an entry-level position. They are intended to be a 'guide' as to one way you may care to address the selection criteria for a given application.

If you would like help writing your selection criteria, please book a professional writer today. Email the job you would like to apply for to info@theperfectresume.com.au.