How to create a winning cover letter

A cover letter is one of the first opportunities an employer will have to make a judgement about whether you are the right person for their vacancy and their organisation. First impressions are important, so it’s essential that you get your cover letter right.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when you are putting together each cover letter.


  • Do pay attention to the details, including the name of the contact person, the title of the job you are going for, and how to submit your application.
  • Do find out exactly what the employer is looking for – you can find out a lot from the job ad, position description or selection criteria.
  • Do get to the point. Make a list of the important things, and add facts and examples..
  • Do be honest. This is an opportunity to tell people about your strengths and let yourself shine.
  • Do show your personality, but remain professional.


  • Don’t hand write your cover letter or resume, unless the employer asks you to.
  • Don’t write a generic template and just change the name.
  • Don’t address it to the wrong person, or spell their name incorrectly.
  • Don’t make statements of belief. Instead, make strong statements of fact.
  • Don’t waffle on. Go for a maximum of 2 pages.
  • Don’t be humble or underplay your successes or strengths.
  • Don’t be misleading and exaggerate your successes or strengths either.

For more information about how to create a winning cover letter, read our ‘Writing a cover letter Tip Sheet’.