A generic cover letter is commonly required for private sector applications. Don’t expect to have a set of criteria or responsibilities that require a direct response. While not stated explicitly, a solid technique for writing a cover letter is to peruse the information within the position description and write your cover letter with regards for critical information such as responsibilities, ideal candidate attributes and mandatory requirements.
Key characteristics of a quality cover letter include:
Writing skills: Given the length and structure requirements of a cover letter, it also acts as an opportunity to highlight your writing skills, in particular your ability to form a structured response, persuasive writing ability, vocabulary, grammar, formatting and spelling. When done thoroughly, a strong cover letter is able to articulate and demonstrate your suitability for the role.
Expand on your resume: The cover letter should not be a repeat of what is in your resume. You have one to two pages to sell yourself and present new information to the panel. In conjunction with your resume, the cover letter is where you can expand on your relevant experience and support claims you have made regarding your skills, experience and abilities.
Ability to perform in the role: While relatively general, the position description can be used to assess a candidate on their ability to perform within the role. It sets out the skills, abilities and qualifications required of the successful applicant.
An eye for detail: The cover letter is an opportunity to demonstrate to the panel your eye for detail. By clearly responding to role responsibilities and requirements within the position description, the effort and consideration you have put into your application will be evident. This also makes it easier for the panel to assess your skills and abilities if they are clearly set out, rather than the panel having to find that connection themselves.