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A great cover letter can be your ticket to securing that interview spot. It's a snapshot of who you are, what you bring to the table, and why you want to work for a specific employer. 

Here’s how to write a cover letter that will stand out from the crowd and get you one step closer to nabbing your dream role. 

Key Features of an Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter

  • Personalised Address: Address the hiring manager by name if possible.
  • Engaging Opener: Start with a compelling sentence to grab attention.
  • Job Connection: Clearly relate your skills to the job requirements.
  • Relevant Achievements: Highlight achievements that showcase your fit for the role.
  • Company Knowledge: Demonstrate your understanding of the company and why you want to join.
  • Professional Tone: Maintain professionalism with a personal touch.
  • Concise Writing: Keep it brief, ideally one page.
  • Strong Closure: End with a call to action, expressing your eagerness.
  • Error-Free Writing: Ensure impeccable grammar and spelling.
  • Professional Sign-Off: Use a suitable closing phrase (Regards, Sincerely) before your name.
  • Keyword Integration: Include relevant keywords from the job description.

Preparing to Write Your Cover Letter

Crafting an attention-grabbing cover letter that positions you as a top candidate is essential. To begin, thorough research is key. While you can tailor your cover letter to your unique style, it should typically include:

  • The specific job you're applying for and your availability to start.
  • Your reasons for wanting to work with that particular employer.
  • A showcase of your skills and relevant experience.
  • How your skills align with the company's needs.
  • What sets you apart as the ideal fit for the role.

Consider the Skills That Make You Stand Out 

Remember, a cover letter should fit on one A4 page, so it's essential to be concise and relevant. 

Your goal is to offer a glimpse of your skills and talents that pique the employer's interest. Choose three or four skills that match the job requirements and briefly describe how you've used them before. 

For instance, if the employer values strong communication skills, you might express it like this: "I thrive in collaborative environments and, as an example, I led a successful project to implement new monitoring software, effectively communicating and coordinating the team to meet deadlines and stay within budget." 

Customise your examples to your strengths while keeping your cover letter concise and on point.

How to Structure a Cover Letter

A well-structured cover letter follows a clear and coherent format:

  • Header: Put your contact info - name, phone, and email.
  • Salutation: Start politely with 'Dear Hiring Manager' or 'To Whom It May Concern' if the recipient's name is unknown (ideally find the right name – it shows you take initiative!) 
  • Opening: Begin by introducing yourself and expressing your interest in the job.
  • Body: Detail your relevant skills and experience using bullet points, connecting them to the job description.
  • Closing: Reiterate your enthusiasm for the role and mention interview availability.
  • Formal End: Conclude formally with 'Sincerely' or 'Warm regards,' followed by your name.

9 Tips for Writing a Standout Covering Letter 

  • Tailor Every Letter: Ensure each cover letter is customised for the specific job. Avoid using a generic template for all applications.
  • Address the Right Person: If possible, address the letter to the hiring manager (usually listed in the job posting). Avoid generic salutations like 'To Whom It May Concern.'
  • Proper Formatting: Use the correct layout for written cover letters. Begin with your contact info, followed by the date and the recipient's name. Then, include the body of the letter and the salutation.
  • Font: Use a font size of 11 or 12, such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Use single spacing with a line break between paragraphs. Do not indent paragraphs; keep them aligned to the left margin.
  • Write Clearly and Concisely: Keep your cover letter to one page, removing any unnecessary information or language if it exceeds this limit.
  • Match Job Requirements: Align your skills and experiences with the job description.
  • Make It Engaging: Share a brief, interesting story and mention any mutual contacts if possible.
  • Proofread: Ensure flawless spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Consider having someone else review it. While using Word's spell and grammar checkers is helpful, don't rely solely on them.
  • Email Subject: When applying via email, use an appropriate subject line. In the email body, include your name, the job title you're applying for, and reference your attached cover letter and resume.

How to Write a Cover Letter (Example)

Referencing the job description in your cover letter shows you've done your homework, making your application more likely to be noticed, especially when employers use software to sort through candidates.

OCA Tip: Many employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). This software scans applications for keywords from the job description. Including these keywords means the ATS is more likely to flag your application as a good match, increasing your chances of being noticed by the employer.

How to Write a Cover Letter for Nursing  

[Your Full Name]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Email Address]


Dear [Recipient's Name/Hiring Manager],

I'm thrilled to apply for the Registered Nurse role at [Hospital/Company Name]. My [number] years in [specific field, e.g., paediatric, emergency, or geriatric care] have honed my skills in delivering outstanding patient care, a passion I'm eager to bring to your team.

At [Your Previous Employer's Name], I not only provided compassionate care but also collaborated effectively with diverse teams to enhance patient outcomes. My expertise in [specific nursing skills relevant to the new job] has prepared me well for the challenges at [Company Name].

A standout moment in my career was [describe a significant achievement]. This experience showcased my [specific skills or qualities] and reinforced my commitment to nursing excellence.

I'm drawn to [Company Name] for its [specific reasons like reputation or values], and I'm excited about the possibility of contributing my [specific skills or experiences] to your renowned team.

My resume is attached for more details on my background. I look forward to hopefully further discussing how my qualifications can meet your team's needs.

Thank you for considering my application.

Warm regards,

[Your Full Name]

Need help writing a standout resume? Take our online resume writing short course.

ChatGPT Prompts to Help You Write a Cover Letter 

AI is a great resource when it comes to writing a cover letter (especially if writing isn’t your forte!) Here are some prompts you can feed to ChatGPT or any AI writing tool to help you write a cover letter:

"I need help writing a cover letter. It should be short, sharp and concise, following a standardised structure. In the first paragraph, I want to mention the position I'm applying for, which is 'Allied Health Assistant'. The second paragraph should focus on highlighting my relevant skills, experiences, or achievements that align with the job requirements. For the third and final paragraph, I'd like to express my enthusiasm for the role, thank the recruiters for their time in reviewing my resume, and convey my eagerness for the next stages of the hiring process. Please ensure that the cover letter maintains professional language and tone while adhering to industry best practices.”

Or some simpler, shorter prompts:

  • “Write an ATS approved cover letter based on this job ad: [paste job description].” 
    OCA Tip: An ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is software used by employers to screen and filter cover letters and resumes submitted for job applications.
  • “What are the three main challenges associated with this job description [paste job description].” Then you can map your experience to those three challenges.
  • “Give me a list of keywords/interview questions based on the job description [paste job description].” This can help you accurately write a cover letter and also prepare for questions you’ll likely be asked in an interview.
  • “I’m going to paste you my resume and the job description of the role I’m applying for. I’d like you to write a cover letter based on my personal resume/experience/achievements and align it with the job description [paste your resume and the job description].”

Remember: You shouldn’t rely on AI to do all the hard work, but rather, as a tool to help you get started/finesse your cover letter. 

Cover Letter Do’s & Don’ts  



Keep it short – clarity and brevity are essential

Don't recycle – customise each cover letter

Tailor vocabulary and style to the audience

Don’t write more than one page

Ensure accuracy in spelling, grammar, and layout

Don't regurgitate your resume

End with a clear statement of intent

Avoid lying – false skills may backfire

Use correct names when addressing recipients

Don't highlight inexperience; emphasise relevant skills

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If you're still deciding, no problem—our friendly team is just a call away at 1300 601 404. 

Let us help you find the perfect course to enhance your cover letter and career prospects! 


How to Write a Cover Letter FAQs

What is a cover letter? 
A cover letter is a personalised document that accompanies your resume in a job application. 

It's a direct communication channel to the recruiter or hiring manager, where you can articulate why you're the best fit for the job. 

Unlike the resume template, a cover letter allows for a narrative style, presenting your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position in a more dynamic way.

How to write a cover letter when you have no work experience?
When you lack direct work experience, focus on transferable skills (like communication, interpersonal skills, organisational skills etc), academic achievements, any relevant online courses you’ve taken and any volunteer work.  

Express your eagerness to learn and grow in the role, positioning yourself as a motivated and adaptable candidate.

What do employers look for in a cover letter?
Employers seek clarity, relevance, and personality. They want to see how well you understand the job and how your skills align with the company's needs.

What is the best opening sentence for a cover letter?
An impactful opening sentence should be concise, engaging, and relevant to the job you're applying for. It could be an expression of your passion for the field or a highlight of your career.

Who do you address a cover letter to?
Ideally, address it to the hiring manager. If unknown, 'Dear Hiring Manager' or 'To Whom It May Concern' are acceptable but not ideal. 

How to end a cover letter?
End with a professional closing, a thank you, and an indication of your next steps, like following up with a phone call.

Is a CV a cover letter?
No, a CV (curriculum vitae) is a detailed overview of your academic and professional history, while a cover letter is a tailored narrative for a specific job application.

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