How to write a cover letter

The content

The cover letter has the form of an official letter; therefore, it contains the sender’s personal details (upper left-hand corner), the date of posting (upper right-hand corner), the addressee’s details (on the right, below the date of posting). The body of the text should be preceded by a salutation: “Dear Madam” or “Dear Sir” (if you manage to find out who you are addressing the application to). The letter should be concluded with “Yours sincerely” and signed with your name and surname.

Introduction — in this section, you need to introduce yourself briefly and explain the reason for sending the documents. When responding to a specific job advertisement, provide the source of information, the name of the position and the reference number or the date on which the advertisement was published. If your offer is spontaneous, explain why you have chosen this specific company rather than a different one, explain why it is attractive to you, e.g. you know the industry well, you are following the company’s developments, etc.

Presentation of qualifications and achievements — this fragment of the letter is intended to highlight your own strengths, emphasise skills or characteristics relevant to the job you are applying for. You can briefly and specifically describe your achievements or particularly important projects in which you participated that required responsibility. It is also good to mention your professional plans, obviously relating to the company where you are applying for a job. This is where you can also explain any gaps in employment history that may appear in your CV.

Conclusion — thank for the time spent reading your documents and emphasise your readiness to attend a job interview at a time convenient to the potential employer. You should also indicate how you can be contacted.

The form

The cover letter should be short and concise. It is meant to complement the CV, so it cannot be a summary of it. Its length should not exceed one A4 page. Formulate clear sentences, avoid pathos and artifice.

A cover letter is always meant for a particular addressee, so you should adapt its content to the specific offer and company. Unlike the CV, a cover letter cannot have a single, universal version. It is unacceptable to send a letter containing empty spaces, e.g. for the addressee’s details, which are then filled in by hand.

The letter should be written on a computer and printed on the same paper as the CV. Avoid paper that is colourful or has a clear texture. Do not use any embellishments. Carefully check the syntax and spelling, eliminate any typos. Carefully analyse whether the name of the company where you are applying for a job is correct. If the letter will be sent by mail or fax, do not forget about your handwritten signature.

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