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Cover letters – needed or not?

Debate currently rages on whether job seekers should or shouldn’t include a cover letter (letter of introduction) with their CV when applying for a job. We think if you can include one you should. Cover Letters show employers you are familiar with the particulars of their role and their company. Preparation of a cover letter can set you apart from those that simply click on the “apply button” on the job board advertisement, they show you have spent some time and effort on your application.

A clearly and carefully written covering letter is the first step in the process of selling yourself to a prospective employer, it can separate you from the rest.

Key tips

Your cover letter must focus on the job that you are applying for. It must answer the questions being asked in the advert very quickly and show that you have the particular skills and experience they are looking for.

3 – 5 paragraphs should do it. Less is more. Employers are busy and are time poor – say what you need to say in a straightforward and easy to understand manner.

Research the company on the internet, ask people you know who may know something about the company or have a wantok who works there. Are you their kind of employee? What do you have that would be of benefit to them? Background knowledge (if you can get it) will permit you to add some substance to your cover letter.

Spell names on the Cover Letter correctly. Check your spelling and punctuation. If you don’t have the name of the person who will be reviewing candidate applications – call up the Company and ask them. If not address your cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern” or to Dear Sir / Madam.

Try and not exaggerate – we know you will be trying to show up your experience but do not go over the top.The PNG business community is a small one and people know people – any lie will generally be found out. Reference checking will be carried out so don’t lie about achievements or experience or length in a role in the cover letter to get attention or in the CV.

Some fine cover letter examples

Take a look at some of these provided by Head Hunters Recruitment – they may give you an idea on how to construct your cover letter and how to ensure employers wish to take a look at your CV.

Have a read, and get some inspiration.

Personal assistant/admin

Why it got attention...

shows a clear understanding of skills required:

the structure of the company,

where the advertised position fitted into the company,

the company's products and its markets

Dear Mr Klein

I wish to apply for the position of Personal Assistant (your reference 0900/A) as advertised on PNGJOBSEEK.

My resume demonstrates that I have the complete range of skills and experience required in the advertised position including the advanced communication and computer skills mentioned. It is harder in a résumé to demonstrate the personal qualities and beliefs that I have which are also necessary to be a good Personal Assistant (PA).

The manufacturing industry is going through a period of significant change and it is important that senior managers are able to devote their energies to ensuring that gains result from this change. I believe that PAs should assist in this process by freeing senior managers to devote time to the serious issues while the PA takes care of the more peripheral issues.

To do this successfully the PA must be able to develop a relationship with a senior manager built on understanding, trust and the ability to keep confidences. It is the quality of this relationship which often is as much the measure of the efficiency of a PA as the technical skills.

A good PA also has a broad understanding of the structures of the company, the industry in general, the markets for the company products and influencing factors on those markets.

I understand the importance of a good PA and I am sure that my referees will attest to my good nature and my personal qualities as well as my skills and experience. I am happy to bring my certificates gained through secondary and vocational training with me if I should secure an interview.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. I am available for interview any time at your convenience.

Yours sincerely

Kila Tan


Why it got attention...

Reference to the position

Brief and to the point

Core skills needed are highlighted

Dear Mr Yangen

I wish to apply for the position of machinist (ref 301/14) that was advertised on PNGJOBSEEK on 20 August 2014.

I have over seven years experience as a Machinist with PNG Textiles and have experience of a wide variety of pattern techniques. My technical skills are second-to-none, and I have an excellent record as a reliable, productive employee.

I am looking for new challenges and the position of Machinist sounds the perfect opportunity. Your company is well regarded, and has an excellent reputation as an employer who looks after their staff, making the position even more attractive to me.

I enclose my resume for your review and look forward to hearing from you soon. I am available for interview at your convenience. I can be contacted by email or on my mobile phone 7200 xxxx.

Yours sincerely

Martha Pepo


Why it was a winner...

A graduate letter has to standout from hundreds of others. This got the job seeker an interview –ultimately she got one of the roles that over 300 applied for because:

"The cover letter is well written, highlights current projects and degree background and best of all, includes her technical skills. It also showed her motivation when she mentions what an invaluable experience she believes this would be."

Dear Sir/Madam

I wish to apply for the position of Graduate as advertised on PNGJOBSEEK 13 December 2013. I believe I would enjoy the challenge and the opportunity to learn provided by this position. I also recognise the invaluable experience that would be gained working with such a recognized company in the PNG business community.

I am currently completing my Bachelor of Engineering)/Bachelor of Information Technology (Computer Science) degrees at the University of Papua New Guinea and will be completed in October this year. Over the past two years in particular, I have achieved an average Grade Point of 4.96 (on a 7 point ascending scale) in subjects completed. I have attained academic excellence in subjects involving large professional-style projects, communications, management and business skills.

My involvement in the Business student society in PNG has strengthened my leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and decision-making abilities and has enabled me to acquire expertise in all facets of successful business administration. I believe that these factors, along with my broad information technology and engineering knowledge base, my extensive experience with the Microsoft suite of products and my personal skills such as initiative, creativity, adaptability and a willingness to learn will enable me to excel in a Graduate role with your company.

Please find attached my resume and academic transcript. I would appreciate the opportunity of an interview and I can be contacted by email or on my mobile number.

Yours faithfully

Michelle Kundi