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Writing the Perfect Cover Letter

A cover letter is a key component of any job application.  In many cases employers will take the initial review purely based on the documents you provide. Here are a few simple steps to make sure you are on point with your application.

Step 1: Map out a business cover letter

Your cover letter showcases your personality and your grammar so make sure you include all the elements of proper business letter:-

  • your name and address
  • the recipient’s name, title, company and address;
  • the date;
  • the greeting;
  • your four-paragraph body;
  • your salutation; your name.

Having a saved template with all of this information in the proper formatting makes it easy for you to dash out a new cover letter at a moment’s notice.

Step 2: Build paragraph 1 with these four items

Introduce yourself- More specify what position you are applying for – use the exact title as it appears and mention a position/ job description number if there is one.

Specify how you heard about the position – this is where you mention if someone referred you. Having the name of an employee as the source is a great way to get the recruiter’s attention. Write a transitional statement that summarizes why the employer should be interested.

Step 3: Decide on your introductory hook

If you’re going for a job where academic credentials matter, you may open with your degrees – If the job requires subject matter expertise, you might open with your involvement in the industry- If you’re angling for a meeting with a specific person and you’ve identified a shared interest you might open with that. For example, I was trying to land a senior executive as the opening speaker to a conference I was organizing, and we both were active in improvisational theatre and had studied with the same teacher – I opened with that shared interest, even though the conference was business, not arts.

Step 4: Pick your two main arguments for paragraphs 2 and 3

The meat of your cover letter will be the middle two paragraphs that build the case for why the employer should consider you (remember you’re not trying to land the job in one move, just get the interview). You want a compelling but logical structure, something that enables you to pick from the best of your background and is not just a chronological retelling of your resume. Three structures I recommend:

1-      Inside and outside: Focus one paragraph on your professional experience (inside the workplace) – recent jobs, specific projects, industry knowledge experience. Focus the other on academic experience or community service (outside the workplace). This structure works best if you need to lend emphasis and credibility to your experience outside of the workplace – if you’re changing careers, for example, your most relevant experience may come from a recent degree or side activities.

2-      Hard and soft: Build your case around hard and soft skills. Each paragraph could draw from professional, academic, and volunteer experience but thematically you would emphasize technical skills, analysis, and/ or subject matter expertise in one section and communication skills, relationship-building, and management/ leadership potential in the other.

3-      Contrasting stories: If you have two substantive projects or roles with measurable accomplishments and that showcase specific skills or expertise, write a paragraph on each one. Ideally, these stories contrast in some way – they occur at different employers so you show you are able to get results in different environments; or they showcase different types of skills (e.g., one is a growth project, another is a turnaround).

Step 5: Decide on specific details to support each argument

Once you have the structure you want, review your resume and capture which roles, projects, expertise, skills and results you want to capture. The cover letter is so much more powerful than a resume in this way. The cover letter is your chance to lead the prospective employer to exactly what information you want them to know.

Step 6: Build your closing (paragraph 4) with these three items

Summarise why the employer needs to see you. Don’t just give the generic “I am confident with my skills and experience….” Summarise the skills and summarize the experience. Yes, you just detailed it in two paragraphs, but you want to bring it all together in the close. Then thank the employer for the consideration – the words “thank you” must be somewhere in the close. Finally, end with a call to action, ideally that you will follow up in the next week but also inviting them to contact you – don’t forget to include your phone and email.

Step 7: Map your general cover letter to the job description

Now that you have the a general cover letter done, the final step is to compare the general form with the actual job description and see if there are words from the job description you want to call out in your letter. Or perhaps you have a special affinity for this company, and you want to add a line explaining your deep and genuine interest.

Finally – Good Luck!

Career Tips of the Month – November 2015

This month we are discussing how to make flexible working arrangements successful.

The main area for focus is- Do you have a well thought out Plan?

If you are working from home or part time you need to consider:-

  1. What are the hours I will be available?
  2. How many hours do I need?
  3. How can people contact you?
  4. How will you participate in meetings?
  5. How often will you respond to emails- client and work related?
  6. Do you have the necessary technology to complete your tasks?
  7. How do you plan to communicate?

If you plan to work with flexible arrangements our key advice is to communicate, communicate, communicate! Take the intuitive to check in regularly, particularly in the beginning to see how the situation is working for both yourself and the employer. Be prepared to make adjustments based on the outcomes from advice and feedback, and take all comments as constructive.



East Maitland Recruiter

Looking for a East Maitland Recruiter? – Accountable Recruitment Solutions has arrived – 93 Lawees Street (East Maitland) – 1300 937 771

Our East Maitland Recruitment Team is available Monday to Friday – 8.30am to 5pm.

The Accountable East Maitland Team offers a boutique Recruitment and HR advisory firm. The ARS team have extensive experience providing recruitment and HR consulting services to Australian businesses and jobseekers.

Our East Maitland Recruitment Team will be critical to your success.

To contact the team 1300 937 771 or

Our location is directly opposite to the Windsor Castle Hotel.

Newcastle Recruiter

Newcastle Recruiter

Looking for a Newcastle Recruiter? – Accountable Recruitment Solutions has arrived – 8/21 Merewether Street (Honey Suckle) – 1300 937 771

Our Newcastle Recruitment Team is available Monday to Friday – 8.30am to 5pm.

The Accountable Newcastle Team offers a boutique Recruitment and HR advisory firm. The ARS team have extensive experience providing recruitment and HR consulting services to Australian businesses and jobseekers.

Our previous Newcastle Recruitment office was located in the grand T&G Building – Hunter Street Newcastle. Our Director & Founder decided that the firm needed to relocate to the Honey Suckle Area – close to the new Court Building & the buildings of Newcastle University.

Our Newcastle Recruitment Team will be critical to your success.

To contact the team 1300 937 771 or

Our location is directly opposite to the Newcastle Crown Plaza.

Why use a recruiter?

Why should you use a recruiter?

  • Recruiters can attract the best people
  • Recruiters define and describe the position best
  • Recruiters keep employers focused
  • Recruiters save staff time and cost
  • Recruiters speed  the job fill
  • Recruiters know where to look for talent
  • Recruiters know how to attract talent
  • Recruiters are less apt to lose the best candidates
  • Recruiters offer a method for continuous improvement
  • Recruiters produce results

Give us a call today to see how we can be a benefit to your business- 1300 937 771

ARS Seeking Accounting Candidates
  • All levels from Intermediate – Partners
  • Jobs located throughout the Hunter Valley
  • Excellent salaries and conditions



Testimonial from another happy candidate ARS placed

I would like to thank the team at ARS for not only finding me the perfect job, but for all of her encouragement, knowledge and advice.  After being made redundant after 15 years in the same job, I had no idea where to start.  They made it so easy for me.


I have registered with a number of recruitment agencies and the team at ARS has been the most professional, knowledgeable and got me a job in a day.    I would highly recommend them to any person looking for a job and any business wanting to employ staff.


Tips for an interview

·         Dress to suit the job you are going for