5 cover letter tips

A well written cover letter can be the difference between an interview invitation and rejection.  In this article we explore 5 cover letter tips aimed at helping those looking to find work in Zambia.

5 Cover Letter Tips

1. Layout  

Getting the cover letter layout right is vital. Remember that before the employer has even had the chance to read the content of a cover letter an impression will have been made based on layout and presentation. Therefore you should aim to ensure that you do not rule yourself out before you have the chance to rule yourself in. Cover letters are usually presented in a standard letter format. Unless specified by the employer the layout should include:

  • The name, department and address of the employer as specified in the job advertisement
  • Your name, address and contact details
  • The date the letter was written
  • A subject line that includes the job title and job reference number (if provided)
  • A greeting (e.g. Dear Sir/Madam)
  • A few short paragraphs of content (see Content)
  • Sign-off (e.g. Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully) and signature

To download some sample Cover Letters (PDF) please click on the following links:

2. Formatting

The formatting of your cover letter should be in keeping with the position to which you are applying. In most cases it is not necessary to use a background template, lots of colour or different fonts. If you are applying for a creative role (such as a graphics designer) you may want to showcase your creative ability – if not, stick to plain and simple formatting. Avoid inconsistent formatting such as inconsistent bullet points and line spacing as this shows a lack of attention to detail and can infuriate employers.

3. Less is more

It is often said that employers will spend less than a minute reading a cover letter. Whilst this is probably not true (the time taken to consider a cover letter depends on a number of factors, including the number of applicants, recruitment time-scale, job-level) what is  true is that candidates will need to succinctly demonstrate their suitability for the role. Unless you are applying for a very senior a 1 page cover letter is appropriate. This should give you sufficient space to highlight your suitability for the role. Anymore than this and you risk waffling and/or burying information that should be easy for the employer to find. Writing succinctly is a skill and your cover letter provides the opportunity to showcase this skill.

4. Make a match

Skills and experience matching is a vital part of the recruitment process. The employer will have provided information on the skills and experience that they require in the job advertisement.  For example, if an employer states that they require a ZICA qualified accountant with over 5 years accountancy experience and you meet these requirements – make it as easy as possible for the employer to find this information in your cover letter. This can be done in short sentences such as:

“A ZICA qualified accountant with over 5 years accountancy experience…”

or, in bullet point form:

  • ZICA qualified accountant
  • Over 5 years accountancy experience

It is vital that prior to writing your cover letter that you read the job description and highlight the employers requirements. You can then use this information to match the employers requirements with your own skills and experience. Remember, if you do not include this information how will the employer find this out? Also, do not be tempted to submit a generic cover letter as these are easily spotted and demonstrate a lack of thought and effort. Remember – make a match and boost your chances of getting an interview.

5. Make every word count

Try to make sure that every word in your cover letter counts – if a word does not add anything to your cover letter then look at removing or rewording. From the first to the last word each word provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate why you should be considered for the job.

Need tips on how to apply via email?

Check out our article: How to submit applications via email

Further Information

To find more careers articles visit: Careers Advice

Search for Jobs

To search for the latest jobs in Zambia visit: www.gozambiajobs.com

30 thoughts on “5 cover letter tips”

  1. It a good thing I never knew that there is something like this its a good help for us looking for employment

  2. Excellent article! It is extremely helpful to me as job seeker to write effective cover letter that will make me stand out from others in competitive job market. I am going to follow all these tip to write a good cover letter for my next interview. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is so fruitful ,some of this things we didn’t learn in details ,may the good God bless you

  4. This is a great platform and its helping a lot especially for some of us who are job hunting but in areas where it takes months to see a news papers, may God continue blessing you people and excell higher than your expectations

    Best regards


  5. Let me mention my gratitude to career advice and application under GO ZAMBIA JOBS that through this , my mind has been highlighted with special staff ,” the information provided to us” thank you very Much , your Highness !

  6. Thanks To Go Zambia Jobs, Career Advice And Application Has Indeed Pumped Some Knowledge In Me, At least I’ve Come To Know On What To Do And How To Go About It. Thanks

Comments are closed.