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cover letter

How to write a cover letter employers will want to read.

What's on this page?

Cover letter basics, make your cover letter easy to read, what to put in your cover letter, cover letter template, find out more.

Your cover letter needs to show:

  • why you are interested in the job
  • how your skills and experience match the job
  • why an employer should read your CV.

Remember to:

  • check your cover letter for spelling and grammar
  • send your cover letter as a Word document
  • also copy your cover letter into the message box of the email.

To make your cover letter look good:

  • use a black, easy to read font in one size
  • use simple language and be warm and friendly
  • use positive phrases like 'I have' and 'I can'
  • use bullet points to list information
  • avoid weak words like 'some knowledge' or 'fairly experienced'
  • avoid starting each sentence with 'I'
  • avoid repeating your whole CV
  • avoid photos or images
  • keep your letter to one page.

1. Contact details

Start with your contact details. For example:

Lizzie Long 1 Short Street Middelsburgh Auckland 9999 09 999 9999 [email protected]

Then the date you send the cover letter. For example:

10 January 2019

Then the advertiser's name, organisation, address and email. For example:

Reginald Farnham ABC Sales 85 Tuesday Road Papakura Auckland 7777 [email protected]

Start with 'Dear ...'. Use the name given in the job advertisement. If there isn't one, call the organisation to find out the name or use the name of the organisation.

Under the greeting put the position details. For example:

 I am writing to apply for the Sales Assistant vacancy (vacancy number 40568) at ABC Sales, as advertised on Trade Me.

3. Explain your interest in the job

In the next paragraph, explain your interest in the job and how you will fit into the organisation. Be enthusiastic and use positive language.

I have been a customer of ABC Sales for several years and have always been impressed by the quality of service I have received. I am enthusiastic and professional, and I believe I would fit well into the company's team culture and contribute to the ongoing success of the sales department.

4. Link your skills and experience to the job

In one paragraph link your experience, skills and qualifications to the job. Use two or three key examples.

Research the employer online and show how your skills can be useful to the employer.

For the past two years I have worked as a sales assistant at a busy shoe store, which has enabled me to develop excellent customer service skills. I am now looking for a new challenge that will provide me with the opportunity to further develop my retail sales career. In support of my application I have attached a copy of my CV. It shows that I will bring important skills to the position, including: time management and strong organisational skills a high level of customer service cash handling and sales ability motivation and dedication. 

5. Ask the employer to contact you

Finally, ask the employer to contact you to talk more about your application.

For example:

I would enjoy having the opportunity to discuss my application with you and how I could use my skills to benefit ABC Sales. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely Lizzie Long 

See a cover letter example and try our cover letter template:

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Updated 29 Oct 2020

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best cover letter examples nz

Free cover letter template

A cover letter is all about making a great first impression and giving your job application the best chance of making progress. A well-written cover letter will encourage a potential employer to read through to your resumé and get in touch to find out more or set up an interview.

We’ve come up with a template to help you get this all down on paper. Use it as your starting point and you’ll be on track to a great cover letter that will get your application noticed.

Remember, this is just a basic outline of the information to include, so make it your own by including skills and experience specific to you.

Download our free cover letter template

Download cover letter template

Download cover letter template

Think of your cover letter as a pitch – a way to introduce yourself professionally and show the value you could bring to the role you’re applying for. Your resumé is there to document your skills, experience, and achievements, but your cover letter sums these things up in a way that speaks to the job and offers a sense of who you are.

It’s also your chance to show why you’re interested in the particular role, and that you’ve done your research about the company or organisation.

You can tailor the cover letter to you and the job you’re applying for, by explaining:

  • why you’re interested in that role
  • what the most relevant skills and experience you could bring to it.

“I’m starting out my career in…"

You want to open your cover letter by giving the reader a sense of who you are and why you’re interested in the role.

Alternatively, you could pick an element of the role or field that is exciting and start on that.

Don’t be afraid to vary from the standard opening line by using these first sentences to introduce yourself and your skills in a more personal and unique way.

You might write an opening that explains where you’re at in your career, and where you’re aiming for next. Or perhaps you’d like to emphasise a particular aspect of the job or field of work that appeals to you, and relate it back to the skills or attributes required for the role. For example:

  • “ I’ve committed myself to building skills in <aspect of the job> and <another aspect > throughout my work as an <your current role> . Now, I’m ready to take the next step in my career. The <job title>  role at <company name>  would allow me to contribute my skills to the <team name>  team, and in doing so, help <company name>  to succeed in <what the company does> .”
  • “ Providing patient-centred care has grown to become my key focus as I establish my nursing career. I’m passionate about ensuring dignity and respect, and that’s why this role as Graduate Nurse at Smith Hospital appeals so greatly to me .”

"<Company name>  has been of interest to me since …"

By showing your genuine interest and enthusiasm in this role and the business, you’re showing the reader why you’re interested and that you’ve done your research.

This is your time to shine with the knowledge you have about the business, what you admire or like and where you think you fit or can help them achieving their business goals.

"I welcome the opportunity…"

This final section of the cover letter should sum up your enthusiasm for the role and how you believe you can make a contribution to both the role and the business. It’s also an opportunity to suggest next steps in the process and thank the reader for their time.

Once you’ve used the template to create your own cover letter, come back to it with fresh eyes and ensure there are no errors or things you’ve missed. Try reading it aloud, or better yet, have someone you trust look over it to give you feedback.

Ultimately, you want to make your cover letter as compelling as possible, to capture the reader’s attention then make them want to get in contact with you. And the best way to do that is to make sure it’s a true reflection of you as a person and what you’ve achieved.

Discover what roles are right for you and the job opportunities available, with our  explore careers tool .

Read more 

Cover letters: the good and the bad, 7 cover letter openers to land you an interview, 8 things to cut from your cover letter.

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How to write an NZ cover letter (with examples and templates)

Along with your CV, a cover letter is essential to any NZ job application. Let's get you started.

Using a cover letter template and examples are a great way to get started

Every New Zealand job application should include a cover letter.

This document is key to showing an employer you’re serious about their vacancy, and for demonstrating what you bring to the table . Despite its importance, many people aren’t sure how to write a cover letter – and their applications suffer as a result.

That’s why we’ve created this guide, giving you advice on everything from what to include, to how to lay it out.

We’ve also snuck in a few examples to make life even easier for you … aren’t we nice?

best cover letter examples nz

Cover letters vs. CVs: what’s the difference?

To understand the role cover letters play in job applications, it’s important to realise how they differ from CVs:

1. Purpose:

CVs give a broad picture of you as an applicant – providing details such as educational background and employment history . By contrast, a cover letter targets why you want this specific role, and how your skills and experience make you a great candidate.

While there will be areas of overlap as you select qualifications or abilities to draw out in your cover letter, it definitely should not be an elongated version of your CV.

An NZ cover letter should be no longer than one page, while CVs are usually between one and two.

The most obvious visual difference between these documents and CVs hinges around bullet points.

While your CV should be a bullet point bonanza, cover letters favour full sentences. That’s not to say you can’t have any bullets in a cover letter, just use them more sparingly.

It’s not always easy to know what to put in your cover letter.

You should include a cover letter with every job application.

What to include in a cover letter

1. your contact info, the date and the business’ address.

At the top of your cover letter should be:

  • Your full name, contact details and home address
  • The date you submit the application
  • The business’ postal address

It should look like this:

Here's how to start your cover letter.

Head up your cover letter like this.

2. Your opener

People worry about how to start a cover letter , but there’s a simple formula and structure for getting this right:

Make it personal : start with ‘dear’, and address it to a person – i.e. the hiring manager. If their name isn’t in the job listing, try a good old fashioned stalk of the company website, or ring the business and find out. ‘To whom it may concern’ is a no go.

Make it clear : organisations often list multiple vacancies at a time, so make it obvious which position you’re applying for. A sentence like, ‘I’m writing to apply for the Marketing Assistant role, as advertised on Trade Me Jobs’, will do the trick.

Make it punchy : next, add a snappy one-liner summing up why you’re interested in the role and what you’d bring to their business. Remember, you can go into more detail in the interview itself. For example:

You have options when choosing your cover letter intro.

3. Why them

A common cover letter mistake is to only focus on yourself. Before choosing you, employers want to know why you’re choosing them. This helps sort candidates who are genuinely passionate about their organisation from those who are mass applying to anything and everything.

Warning : this section is not about inflating the hiring manager's ego by flattering the company – be positive, but be thoughtful.

Your cover letter should tell the hiring manager why you want to work there.

Now, it’s time to sell yourself.

This section of your cover letter is where you highlight your most relevant skills and experience.

You can draw on anything from previous work experience to certificates and qualifications. The important bit is linking whatever you mention to the job – simply listing skills is not the answer.

To do this effectively, you need to carefully study the job ad and identify what capabilities the employer values most. If your Trade Me Jobs Profile is up-to-date, you can then quickly skim your skills and experience to find those which most closely match the job description.

Top tip: the more detail you can give, the better. Helped raise sales? Great. Helped raise sales by 6%? Even better.

Use your cover letter to highlight core relevant skills.

If you want to add some extra skills or information to this section, a bullet point list is a good option. Note : only do this after introducing your headline examples in full sentence form, as above, and keep your list to three or four concise bullets.

5. Signing off

The end of your cover letter should (politely) prompt the reader to get in touch with you to arrange the next steps. Make sure you end on a high, and continue the energy from earlier in your closing sentence, for example:

Sign off your cover letter with a call to action.

How to format a cover letter

With your content sorted, it’s now about nailing the visuals. Cover letters are usually easier than CVs in this regard, as they’re laid out like a traditional letter. However, there are a few things to bear in mind:

  • What font should I use? Keep it simple, and the same as on your CV. If your font is hard to read, or too small, the letter will end up in the wrong pile.
  • How long should a cover letter be? New Zealand cover letters should be under one page long.
  • Should I use paragraphs? Would you read huge, unbroken chunks of text? We doubt it, so make sure to break up your cover letters into paragraphs.
  • What are the correct cover letter margins? Leave these at their default setting so your cover letter has plenty of blank space, and doesn’t look crowded.

All done? Not quite.

Perhaps the most important stage of cover letter writing is proofreading. After all that hard work, you don’t want a few silly typos or poor punctuation letting you down.

So check it yourself, then get someone else to have a look, then have a final glance.

Once you’re happy, it’s time to attach it to your application, and hit send.

Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.

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Resumes & cover letters: Cover letter templates

free cover letter template

A cover letter is often your first communication with a potential employer, and therefore it is vital that when writing a cover letter  you make it compelling and professional from the very first line, marking you out as a candidate they need to contact.

A good cover letter is an opportunity to showcase your written communication skills and your motivation for applying for the role. Writing a cover letter customised to the job demonstrates you have taken the time to put some effort into your application. You can also use a cover letter as an opportunity to highlight and provide more detail on any specific skills or experience which are relevant to the role you are applying for.

To help you structure your cover letter, we’ve developed 4 free cover letter templates and cover letter samples you can use to write a cover letter that will catch the eye of hiring managers and recruiters and increase your chances of getting an interview. For additional tips and advice on cover letter writing, check out our article How to write a cover letter .

Download our free cover letter templates

Cover letter template 1: response to a job ad, cover letter template 2: response to a job ad, cover letter template 3: letter to a recruiter on linkedin, cover letter template 4: ‘cold contact’ prospecting letter to a hiring manager, related insights.

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The importance of cover letter, what is a cover letter.

So, what is a cover letter? Let’s go back to basics. A cover letter acts as a personal introduction in a professional setting. Most commonly, it’s a separate document that you should attach to a job application along with your CV. You should use it to demonstrate your personality and summarise why you are the right person for the job, so the reader can consider the rest of your CV with this set up in mind.

Follow our tips for how to write a cover letter or download our cover letter template. 

Why write a cover letter? 

The idea for writing cover letters for your resume is simple: it needs to be engaging enough for an employer to read to feel compelled to find out more about your skills and experience in your resume, before (hopefully) calling you in for an interview.  

Not all candidates will make the effort to write a tailored and personalised cover letter, so by making sure you write a cover letter that answers specifics needs on the job ad, it’ll help separate you from other applicants. In turn, giving you a greater likelihood of being shortlisted for an interview. 

Download your Cover Letter template 

Enter your details below to download your Cover Letter template:

How to write a cover letter | Video | UB

Cover letter advice.

Recruiters & hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications for each job. You need to start with a great cover letter to gain attention. Learn how with this video from Hays.

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How long should a cover letter be , how to write a cover letter | 3rd content block | ub, cover letter format, how to write a cover letter | 4th content block | ub, 1. do your research, 2. address your cover letter to the right person, 3. how to start a cover letter write an attention-grabbing introduction, 4. add evidence of your successes  , 5. highlight key skills, 6. sign off professionally, 7. review your cover letter , how to write a cover letter | 5th content block | ub, what not to include in a cover letter, excessive details, repeat your cv, don’t write in the third person, can ai write the perfect cover letter, how to write a cover letter | 6th content block | ub, final tips around how to write a cover letter.

  • Keep it succinct and relevant to the job you’re applying for. Your cover letter should not exceed five paragraphs. 
  • State what your motivation is behind your application. 
  • Just as you would in your CV,  use strong verbs  to demonstrate action and accomplishments, such as ‘organise’ or ‘supervise’. 
  • Optimise the subject line. Also check the job description again, in case the employer asks applicants to include something specific in the subject line. 
  • If you are applying for a job online rather than email, consider putting your cover letter and resume into the same document so they don’t get separated. 
  • Remember, our cover letter template is free to download and can be used as another way to capture the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager and encourage them to more closely review your resume. Good luck.

How to write a cover letter | 7th content block | UB

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Career Services

Cover letters.

When you apply for a job your CV or Resume can be accompanied with a cover letter. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and outline exactly why you believe you are the right candidate for the job.

A cover letter is your opportunity to introduce yourself.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a short letter which accompanies your CV or Resume. Your cover letter is the first impression an employer has of you, if your cover letter stands out, they will go on to read your CV. An employer may look at a cover letter for only   6 seconds before they decide to read further or not.

It is good practice to send or hand out a cover letter with your CV. As all employers are different, it is best to provide all the information when first applying for the job.

What is the difference between a CV and a cover letter?

Show key differences

What goes into a good cover letter?

When you see a job advertised that you really want, make sure you tailor your cover letter to the job description and the list of skills required, if you are confident that you have these set skills.

A cover letter should:

A good cover letter is  clear  and  straight to the point and   it should be  focussed  on only one job. You should first clearly state your  main reasons  for choosing that organisation as your preferred place to work. Tell the employer why you are interested in the position at that organisation and what you can offer them - this is important.

It is a good idea to do research on the company as well, so you can say why you want to work for them specifically and express to them how you would add value to their working environment.

Always use  full sentences  and  paragraphs  in a cover letter. It should be no longer than a page in length and makes use of  professional wording  (avoid common fraises like ‘a well rounded person’).

Direct your cover letter to an employer, if their name is not on the job advert, contact the company to ask or do further research to find who to direct it to. This will show you are able to go the extra mile for the role. Pay close attention when writing your cover letter and ensure that you are not addressing it to the incorrect employer.

How to write a Cover Letter

Paragraph one.

Identify which job you are applying for and where the job was advertised (in case the organisation has multiple jobs being advertised at once).

Paragraph two

Briefly explain your current situation - what you’re currently studying/working towards, your experiences and your suitability for the job in general.   

Paragraph three

Provide more details on your situation - talk about any placements you’ve done or are doing during your studies, what skills you have that will support you to get the job, any career plans that include this job and any other relevant factors.

Paragraph four

Do your research about the company - what are their values/goals/aspirations? Do any of these match your own in your career goals? How would you add value to their team environment? Here you are telling them why they should employ you.

Paragraph five

Closing paragraph - thank the employer for their time and provide contact details so they are able to contact you (please make sure your answer phone message is a professional one).

Your cover letter can make you stand out of the crowd.

Cover letter template

Use this template to help with the structure and layout of your cover letter.

Show template

Cover letter template Download the Word version

Here is an example cover letter using this template.

Show cover letter example

Cover letter examples

  • Example 1 - Debra Messing
  • Example 2 - George Bush
  • Example 3 - Lynne Tullett

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