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What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a document you send with your resume, that provides additional information about your skills and experiences related to the job for which you are applying.

A cover letter is an opportunity to highlight key information on your resume that specifically applies to the prospective employer and the role, linking it together and providing a strong business case and a positive first impression of the value you bring to a role – it sells your potential.  

Employers use cover letters to narrow down the applicant pool and choose the group of candidates they want to interview. A well-structured and targeted cover letter will help ensure you get an interview.

What content should you include in a cover letter?

There is no exact formula to follow in drafting your cover letter however a cover letter should succinctly tell the reader several key things:

1. Who you are? Introduce yourself and the purpose of the letter. (1 paragraph)

  • Who are you? (Professional brand) Highlight points of differentiation – Professional, academic, community involvement, volunteering and leadership, research, educator or mentor, cultural and social background etc.
  • Highlight strengths, skills and attributes
  • Confirm interest in applying for internship with them (You can open or close the first paragraph of the letter with this).

2. Why do you want to work for their health service? (1-2 Paragraphs)

  • Programs, training opportunities, education and research, rotations, alignment with values, previous experience working / training with them, culture, and support.
  • Respond to their ‘Values’ – highlight alignment and that it is a lived ‘value’ of yours (can be in this section or the next but must be addressed).
  • Demonstrate you understand what they are ‘known for’ and how they align with the pathways you would like to pursue.

3. Why should they hire you? State your business case. What value will you bring?  (1-3 paragraphs)

  • What key competencies and skills will you bring with you?
  • Provide proof of how you have demonstrated these in the past?
  • Do you meet their key selection criteria? How?
  • How do you align with their values? Align your abilities to the organisation’s values – Back this up with examples / proof – link it to things you have done or are doing.
  • Highlight points of differentiation and try to highlight some of your achievements in this section – try to use examples that provide evidence of your claims.

4. Wrap up (1 brief paragraph)

  1. Summarise key benefits of hiring you and confirm your interest in completing internship with them and attending an interview

This format and order outlined above is a guide – however it works well and ensures that you keep on message and that the letter flows.

Remember we are here to support you if you feel you need more guidance. Book a 'love your cover letter - 30 minute consult (student)' here