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Creating a Successful Cover Letter


Your cover letter is crucial to induce and sell yourself to your future employer. In this section we provide you with the necessary resources to create a great cover letter.

  • Important Tips
  • Sample Letter
  • Display All

Important Tips

  1. Keep it brief

    Ideally, your cover letter should only be about half to three quarters of a page. It should never exceed one page. Two to four brief paragraphs are ample, and will show that you are focused and concise.

  2. Include a heading

    It is important that you state the position that you are applying for.

  3. Match, but don’t rehash your resume

    Sophisticated applicants are capable of matching specific skills and academic highlights to a firm rather than simply repeating their CV.

  4. Do your research

    One of the most important aspects of this stage! Firms can spot a pro forma cover letter a mile away.

    Let the reader know why you are interested in them by displaying knowledge of the firm. To be successful, you want to show the reader that you are taking the application process seriously are genuinely interested in working with the firm. For example, when applying to a law firm, you can mention an area of law which that firm specialises in and talk about a case in which they took part in. Use firm profile links on this site, and links to client sites to help.

  5. Proof read

    Using a spell checker is not enough. Reread your resume 10 times and then give it to your old year 12 English teacher!

    One of the MOST common mistakes made by applicants on a cover letter is using the same letter for each application and referring to the wrong firm, or listing the firm by an incorrect name. This is a big no no!

Sample Cover Letter


31 January 2015

Dear Ms Law

APPLICATION FOR ARTICLES OF CLERKSHIP 2015

I am applying for an articled clerk position at Big Guns for the year 2015. I am currently in my penultimate year of a combined Commerce/Law degree at Federation University. I have a sound academic record, including a score of 80% in Industrial Arbitration Law and 75% in Evidence.

I am attracted to Big Guns because of the variety of commercial work that is carried out. My perception of your firm is one of professionalism, excellence in legal advice and a rewarding place in which to work, which has drawn me to apply for articles. I have a particular interest in Industrial Arbitration and am aware that your firm has a very strong practice in this area. This is exemplified by the fact that Big Guns represented the Electrical Workers Union in the Victorian Electricity Dispute.

Throughout my course I have undertaken various extra curricular pursuits and work experience to develop professional skills relevant to legal practice.

My leadership qualities are illustrated by high appointments on the sporting arena and university committees. My oral presentation skills are demonstrated by my employment as a part-time Italian teacher at Top Notch Language School. I also spent three months working full-time enabling me to travel the world in 1998. This shows dedication, diligence and initiative in achieving my goals.

Please contact me at your convenience should you wish to discuss my application further.

Yours sincerely

Sue Mareva

*This covering letter was modelled on covering letters written by successful applicants in the 2013 & 2014 Articles of Clerkship application process.
Ensure that your covering letter is addressed to the right person.

It is useful to provide short highlights of your academic achievements.

Show that you have done your research. Describe what attracts you to the firm. For more information about how to research law firms see our research guide.

Highlight your strengths and achievements and indicate how they will add value to the firm. Rather than merely listing strengths, back up your point by listing specific examples.

Important Tips

  1. Keep it brief

    Ideally, your cover letter should only be about half to three quarters of a page. It should never exceed one page. Two to four brief paragraphs are ample, and will show that you are focused and concise.

  2. Include a heading

    It is important that you state the position that you are applying for.

  3. Match, but don’t rehash your resume

    Sophisticated applicants are capable of matching specific skills and academic highlights to a firm rather than simply repeating their CV.

  4. Do your research

    One of the most important aspects of this stage! Firms can spot a pro forma cover letter a mile away.

    Let the reader know why you are interested in them by displaying knowledge of the firm. To be successful, you want to show the reader that you are taking the application process seriously are genuinely interested in working with the firm. For example, when applying to a law firm, you can mention an area of law which that firm specialises in and talk about a case in which they took part in. Use firm profile links on this site, and links to client sites to help.

  5. Proof read

    Using a spell checker is not enough. Reread your resume 10 times and then give it to your old year 12 English teacher!

    One of the MOST common mistakes made by applicants on a cover letter is using the same letter for each application and referring to the wrong firm, or listing the firm by an incorrect name. This is a big no no!

Sample Cover Letter


31 January 2015

Dear Ms Law

APPLICATION FOR ARTICLES OF CLERKSHIP 2015

I am applying for an articled clerk position at Big Guns for the year 2015. I am currently in my penultimate year of a combined Commerce/Law degree at Federation University. I have a sound academic record, including a score of 80% in Industrial Arbitration Law and 75% in Evidence.

I am attracted to Big Guns because of the variety of commercial work that is carried out. My perception of your firm is one of professionalism, excellence in legal advice and a rewarding place in which to work, which has drawn me to apply for articles. I have a particular interest in Industrial Arbitration and am aware that your firm has a very strong practice in this area. This is exemplified by the fact that Big Guns represented the Electrical Workers Union in the Victorian Electricity Dispute.

Throughout my course I have undertaken various extra curricular pursuits and work experience to develop professional skills relevant to legal practice.

My leadership qualities are illustrated by high appointments on the sporting arena and university committees. My oral presentation skills are demonstrated by my employment as a part-time Italian teacher at Top Notch Language School. I also spent three months working full-time enabling me to travel the world in 1998. This shows dedication, diligence and initiative in achieving my goals.

Please contact me at your convenience should you wish to discuss my application further.

Yours sincerely

Sue Mareva

*This covering letter was modelled on covering letters written by successful applicants in the 2013 & 2014 Articles of Clerkship application process.
Ensure that your covering letter is addressed to the right person.

It is useful to provide short highlights of your academic achievements.

Show that you have done your research. Describe what attracts you to the firm. For more information about how to research law firms see our research guide.

Highlight your strengths and achievements and indicate how they will add value to the firm. Rather than merely listing strengths, back up your point by listing specific examples.