Career Advice » Cover Letters

When you send your resume to a prospective employer or job agency you should always explain why you are sending it, why you are the right person for the job (if you apply for an advertised position) and why this job is right for you. That’s the purpose of the Cover Letter.

Unlike Resumes, Cover Letters are custom-made for the job to which you apply and the employer you contact. As a rule of thumb:

  1. Use the same Resume for all job applications;
  2. Write a different Cover Letter for each job application.

Some guides disagree with point (1) above: they argue that customizing your Resume for each job gives you a better chance to get the job. It may be so, but the time and effort required to create and manage different versions of your resume can be overwhelming. Plus you run the risk of walking into an interview with the wrong version of your resume. This can be an intimidating experience!

Types of Cover Letters

  • Recipient: Do you write to an employer or a job agency?
  • Specificity: Do you apply for an advertised job post? Do you simply send a speculative CV to explore if there are any suitable job openings for you?
  • Job hunting phase: Is this your first contact with the employer or the hiring agency? Have you called or met either before?
  • Via email or on paper? Do you send your resume by post or email?

Depending on the circumstances, the letter should explain your situation and ask the recipient for some specific action, consideration, or response.

Tip: A Cover Letter should be about half a page long and no longer than a page.

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