Example of a cover letter for a government job: maximize your chances for getting an interview

| April 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

Your cover letter for a government job is not a job application, but it is the first thing that your prospective employers will see when they are looking at your actual application. It is very important that this cover letter outlines your qualifications in the way that they relate to the responsibilities listed in the advertisement. To emphasize your suitability for the job, you also need to provide examples of where you have acquired the appropriate experience and qualifications.

The cover letter is a short and specific letter that reveals many things including how well you communicate, what your experience and qualifications are, your level of professionalism, clues to your personality, and how attentive you are to detail.. It should always accompany any resume or application documents you send to a prospective employer.

Your cover letter for the government job you want aims to:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Highlight your key selling points (skills, experience and achievements)
  • Encourage the reader to discover more about you through your resume
  • Finish with a ‘call to action’, for example, requesting an interview, if this is a specific job, or a meeting to discuss more general government work prospects.

A cover letter for a government job needs to be tailored to the particular job you are going for.

The key aim with any cover letter is to make it as personal as possible. It is important to address your letter to a real person (not ‘To Whom It May Concern’) and to a specific job. Your effort will in all probability have been useless if you send out a general letter.

This means some specific research on your part. You will need to go online and check out the website of the government department you are targeting. Here you will pick up some very useful information not only on people or titles associated with the department, but – more importantly – what specific issues and targets this department is focusing on. It will make you look much more impressive if your letter mentions experience you have had in the past which relate to those issues.

It will certainly be worth the effort to call up the government department and request the name of the person who heads that department. Say to the Operator that you are writing to the department Head, and you would like to know how to spell his name and the best postal address to send your letter to.

Below we have given you an example that you can use as a guide for your own cover letter for a government job.

Through your cover letter for a government job you intend to make maximum impact, and so be remembered when you and all the other applicants are being reviewed.

  • Use the style of heading and salutation required by for a formal business letter.
  • There’s no one formula for writing a cover letter. Be clear as to which position you are applying for. Reference the specific job title and competition number.
  • Emphasize your top selling points. Match your skills and experience to the competencies and be very specific. Get to the point and list the reasons why you should be considered.
  • Thank the reader for his/her time and consideration.
  • Ensure that you have a strong opening.  Say who you are, why you are writing, and how you heard about the job opening. Ask yourself what does the prospective employer need?
  • Tailor the length of the cover letter to ensure that you have addressed the qualifications of the position. A cover letter is typically 1-2 pages in length.
  • Be sure to address each of the responsibilities listed in the job ad and make sure you match your experience to the job requirements.
  • Think what are three to five qualities that you would bring to this employer or this job.
  • Expand on the content of the resume without repeating information already in the resume.
  • Be clear and concise with your statements.

Your first chance to offset yourself from the competition is through the cover letter for the government job

Below we have given you an example which you can adapt to highlight your own qualifications and range of skills.

Your cover letter for the government job should look like this –

Brian Williamson
20 Devon Avenue
Quebec, NW3489

September 10, 2012

Mr David Sutton
Director, Public Health
15 Downing Street
Ottawa W1232

Dear Mr Sutton
Re: Public Policy internship with The Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) Reference PA50089

I wish to express my very great interest in applying for the position as public policy intern with IPAC, advertised on 31 July in The Ottawa Gazette. As a prospective May 2013 graduate from Quebec College with considerable writing and administrative experience, and a very keen interest in public policy and law, I believe I am a strong candidate for the public policy intern position.

The job description states that you are looking for a candidate with a commitment to contributing to public policy who has strong communication and interpersonal skills, excellent writing skills, organizational skills and someone who pays meticulous attention to detail. As a government major currently involved in writing a thesis on the law related to public policy and as someone who contributes regularly to several blogs dealing with government and public policy issues, I have become a proficient and skilled writer. Invited to help with the campaign for Mayor Armstrong at the Quebec City Court House, I have developed strong interpersonal skills, acquired a basic knowledge of public affairs, and have polished my organizational and administrative skills. In my capacity as a current intern and assistant to John Wilson, Legislative Assistant for Attorney Robert Douglas, in Quebec, I have further enhanced my quantitative and qualitative research, editing, writing, and administrative skills.

As a government major, I have spent the past four years of my academic career focusing on Canadian and U.S. public policy.. I have taken courses in American Politics and Dissident Political Thought, in addition to conducting several research projects in collaboration with Professor Ian Johnson at Quebec College. While working on my thesis I learned a great deal about the process in conducting legal research/
I have excelled in my academics and previous internships and jobs and feel that I would be an asset if I were selected to intern for IPAC.

I will call within a week to discuss my candidacy and see if we might arrange for a mutually convenient time in which we can discuss this further.

Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.


Brian Williamson

Further ideas for making your cover letter for a government job an excellent step towards an internship –

  • Make known any University or community achievements or awards (Head of successful debating team, Youth Club Committee etc)
  • Commitment to keeping fit, for example in training for the New York marathon
  • Proofread the letter and have a friend check for grammar and spelling errors.
  • Check the flow of your letter. Does it have a clear and logical flow of information?
  • Keep copies of all your cover letters. This assists in follow-up and review before an interview.

Download This Letter Example

Category: Cover Letter for Government Job

About the Author ()

Melanie Walters is a writer and editor for several businesses both online and offline. Her experience with writing business letters and marketing materials has helped her understand exactly what works in written communication for businesses. In the 10 years she's been writing, Melanie has amassed a large collection of letter examples that she gladly shares with you here on Letter Example Help.org

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