Covering letters are a unique selling tool when approaching a prospective employer directly, and are vitally important to applications sent by overseas candidates. This is your chance to capture the attention of a New Zealand employer and demonstrate the qualities that set you apart from the other applicants.
KEEP IT BRIEF
Your cover letter should ideally not exceed one A4 side, with well-spaced lines.
TAILOR EACH COVER LETTER TOWARDS THE JOB LISTING
Wherever possible, account point-by-point for each of the requirements listed by the employers and detail how you are qualified to meet these requirements.
BE CLEAR AND CONCISE
Use strong, active verbs that demonstrate actions and accomplishments, for example, ‘organise’ and ‘supervise.’
FIND OUT THE DETAILS OF THE CONTACT PERSON
Do a bit of research, and, if a name is not supplied try to find out who the application is going to. Do not forget to include your own contact details, though these should be on your CV regardless.
THINK ABOUT THE STRUCTURE
Your letter should include an introduction and identification of the position (for example, the reference number used in the job advert), relevant qualifications and your current position, and a summary of how you meet their core skill set.
ADDRESS THE EMPLOYER’S ESSENTIAL CRITERIA/CORE SKILLSET
Identify your skills, experience and attributes that match the employer’s criteria. It can sometimes be helpful to use the same headings that they have supplied, with a short sentence or two addressing each one. Look for keywords that reveal what attributes they are looking for, and show how you embody them. If you can demonstrate that you meet the essential criteria, you will greatly increase your chances of an interview.
PROOFREAD YOUR LETTER PROPERLY
Again, this should go without saying. Have a trusted friend or colleague to review both your CV and cover letter, prior to applying. It is vital that there are no errors if you want to be taken seriously.