Cover Letters for Public Service Careers in Australia

Statement of claims


When it comes to applying for a government job, your cover letter can make or break your chances of landing the position. It is your first opportunity to make a strong impression on the hiring manager (which might be in HR or your new boss) and showcase your skills and qualifications. In this article, we will discuss how to write an effective cover letter for government jobs, including tips and best practices.

Components of Cover Letter

A cover letter typically includes the following components:

1. Contact Information

This includes your;

a. Full name, 

b. Address, 

c. Phone number,  

d. Email address, 

e. The date,

f. The contact information of the employer or hiring manager you are addressing.

2. Salutation

This is the greeting at the beginning of your letter. You should address the recipient by name if possible (if it’s not on the position description, see what you can find out via the Org Chart or LinkedIn), or, if absolutely necessary, use a generic greeting such as;

a. “Dear Hiring Manager” 

b. “To Whom It May Concern.”

3. Introduction

In the opening paragraph, you should briefly introduce yourself and state the position you are applying for. You might also mention how you learned about the job opening or why you are interested in the company.

4. Body

The body of your letter should explain why you are a good fit for the job. You can highlight your relevant skills and experience, and provide specific examples of your accomplishments that demonstrate your qualifications for the position.

5. Closing

In the closing paragraph, you should express your enthusiasm for the job and thank the employer for considering your application. You might also include a sentence about following up on your application, such as “I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my suitability with you further.”

6. Signature

End the letter with a professional closing, such as “Sincerely” or “Kind regards,” followed by your full name and signature.

Mechanics of writing a cover letter for Australian Government Jobs

When writing a cover letter for an Australian Government job, there are a few specific things to keep in mind. Here are some tips for the mechanics of writing a cover letter for Australian Government jobs:

1. Format your Letter According to the Guidelines

The Australian Government often has specific guidelines for formatting cover letters, so be sure to follow them closely. This may include using a certain font and font size, including specific information in your header and footer, and using a certain file format.

2. Address The Key Selection Criteria

Many Australian Government jobs require applicants to address key selection criteria in their cover letter. These criteria are usually listed in the job description or selection documentation, and you will need to provide specific examples of how you meet each one.

3. Use Clear and Concise Language

Be sure to use clear and concise language in your cover letter. Avoid using technical jargon or acronyms that the reader may not understand, and make sure your sentences are easy to follow.

4. Showcase your Achievements and Experience

Use your cover letter to highlight your relevant experience and achievements. Provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated the skills and experience required for the job.

5. Use A Professional Tone

Your cover letter should be written in a professional tone. Avoid using slang or colloquial language, and make sure your letter is free from spelling and grammar errors. Get someone else to proofread the letter for you if you can.

6. Tailor Your Letter To The Job

Finally, make sure you tailor your cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. Research the organisation and the job requirements, and make sure your letter demonstrates how you are a good fit for the position.

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Government Job

1. Research the Job and Organisation

Before you start writing your cover letter, it is important to research the job and organisation you are applying to. This will help you tailor your letter to the specific requirements and needs of the position and demonstrate your understanding of the organisation’s mission and values.

Take some time to review the job posting and make note of the key qualifications, responsibilities, and requirements. You should also explore the organisation’s website and social media channels to gain a better understanding of its culture and priorities.

2. Address the Hiring Manager

When writing your cover letter, it is important to address the hiring manager by name if possible. This shows that you have taken the time to research the organisation and demonstrates your professionalism.

If you cannot find the hiring manager’s name, address the letter to the appropriate department or use a generic greeting such as “Dear Hiring Manager.”

3. Introduce Yourself and Your Interest in the Position

Your first paragraph should introduce yourself and express your interest in the position. Be sure to mention the specific job title and explain why you are interested in the position and organisation.

For example, you might write:

“I am writing to express my strong interest in the Policy Analyst position with the Department of Health and Human Services. As a passionate advocate for public health and a skilled analyst, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the Department’s important work in this area.”

4. Highlight Your Skills and Qualifications

In the next few paragraphs, you should highlight your relevant skills and qualifications. This is where you can really demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job.

Refer back to the job posting and make sure to address each of the key qualifications and responsibilities. Use specific examples and metrics to illustrate your experience and accomplishments.

For example:

“As a Policy Analyst with over five years of experience in the public health sector, I have developed a strong understanding of policy development and analysis. In my current role at the National Institute of Health, I led the development of a comprehensive policy framework for reducing tobacco use among youth, which resulted in a 20% decrease in youth smoking rates over two years. I also collaborated with stakeholders across the government and private sector to develop a national public education campaign on the dangers of vaping.”

5. Emphasise Your Fit with the Organisation

In addition to highlighting your skills and qualifications, it is important to emphasise your fit with the organisation. This can include your alignment with the organisation’s mission and values, your experience working in a similar environment, and your ability to work collaboratively with others.

For example;

“I am excited about the opportunity to join the Department of Health and Human Services because of its commitment to promoting the health and well-being of all Australians. My experience working in the public health sector has prepared me well for the challenges of this role, and I am confident that my skills in policy development and analysis, as well as my ability to collaborate effectively with stakeholders, will enable me to make a valuable contribution to the Department’s work.”

6. Close with a Strong Call to Action

Finally, your cover letter should close with a strong call to action. This should include a clear statement of your interest in moving forward with the application process and your contact information.

For example;

“Thank you for considering my application for the Policy Analyst position with the Department of Health and Human Services. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications in more detail and to learn more.”


Overall, writing a strong cover letter is an essential part of applying for a government job. By taking the time to research the position and organisation, tailor your letter to the job requirements, and highlight your skills and qualifications, you can increase your chances of landing the job you want.