Cover Letter

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English Cover Letter
In most cases, the cover letter is your first contact with potential employers. Use this opportunity to make a strong and convincing impression, otherwise you may not get the attention you want.
Before writing, ask yourself why you are the right person for the job.
  • Which of your qualities might be essential for the job?
  • What contributions can you make to the company?
In your cover letter, emphasise why you are the ideal candidate for the position.
Structure and Content
  • Introduction
    • Mention where you found out about the job offer and show interest in the position.
  • Details
    • Give reasons for your application: Why are you the ideal candidate? What relevant qualifications, experiences do you have? (Important: refer to the requirements given in the job description.)
  • Conclusion
    • Demonstrate your interest in the position once more.
Important Tenses
  • Present Perfect / Simple Past (for experiences gained)
  • Simple Present (for general information)
Note
Even if there are hundreds of experiences that you wish to emphasise on, keep your cover letter short (no longer than 1 page). Employers usually have to read lots of applications and usually cannot afford spending all day reading lengthy cover letters.
When writing a cover letter, keep to following rules:
  • Write an interesting cover letter that impresses the employer.
  • Emphasise on qualifications and experiences that are relevant for the job. Explain why you are the right person for the job.
  • Avoid negative statements (e.g. I have no / very view experiences ...).
Use a nice letterhead for your cover letter. Check your word processor for templates on formal letters.
Structure
  • Sender's Address in a Cover Letter
  • Date in a Cover Letter
  • Recipient's Address in a Cover Letter
  • Salutation in a Cover Letter
  • Subject Line in a Cover Letter
  • Body of a Cover Letter
  • Greeting in a Cover Letter
  • Enclosure in a Cover Letter
  • Word Lists on Cover Letters
Introduction
  • Details
  • Conclusion
  • Conjunctions
 

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Sender's Address in a Cover Letter
Use a nice letterhead for your cover letter. Check your word processor for templates on formal letters.
Example:
 
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Date in a Cover Letter
British English
Write: 30 October 2003
Position: on the right, one line below the sender's address (in letters with a ready-printed sender's address, the date can also be put in the top left corner)
Example with address on the right:

Example with address in the letterhead:

American English
Write: October 30, 2003
Position: top left corner (sometimes centred) or left-justified one line below the letterhead
Example with address on the left:





Remarks on the Date
In British English the day is usually put before the month. If you wish, you can add the ending of the ordinal number. The preposition of before the month is usually dropped. You can put a comma before the year, but this is not common anymore in British English. (i)

Example: 5(th) (of) October(,) 2004

In American English the month is usually put before the day. If you wish, you can put the definite article before the day. It is common to write a comma before the year.

Example: October (the) 5(th), 2004

You can also write the date by using numbers only. The most common forms are:

Example: 5/10/04 or 5-10-04

Note, however, that 5/10/04 usually means 5 October 2004 in British English and May 10, 2004 in American English. To avoid any possibility of confusion, you should spell out the month or use the abbreviation.
 

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Recipient's Address in a Cover Letter
Position: on the left
Ms / Miss / Mrs / Mr / Dr ...
company
street
place
area code
COUNTRY (in capital letters)
In American English, the area code is usually at the same level as the place, separated by a comma.
Sometimes the name of the company is put in the first line and the name of the addressee in the second, preceded by attn (attention) or FAO (for the attention of), e.g. attn Mr Johnny Welsh. You are on the safe side if you copy the address exactly in the way it is given in the job application.
British English
In British English, the recipient's address starts on the same line as the date or one line below the date.
Example:

American English
In American English, the recipient's address starts two lines below the sender's address (or two lines below the date if the sender's address isn't placed in the top left corner).
Example:
 

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Salutation in a Cover Letter
If you know the person's name:
When applying for a job, it is very important to know the name of the addressee and address him/her personally.
  • Dear Ms / Miss / Mrs / Mr / Dr + Nachname
    • Example: Dear Mr Miller
  • Dear first name + surname
    • Example: Dear Chris Miller
If you don't know the person's name:
If despite all efforts you cannot find out the addressee's name, the only possibility is to use one of the following salutations:
Screen Shot 2013-12-21 at 7.28.49 PM.png
Punctuation after the Salutation
  • In British English, don't use any punctuation mark or use a comma.
    • Example: Dear Mr Miller or Dear Mr Miller,
  • In American English, use a colon:
    • Example: Dear Mr. Miller:
Ms, Miss or Mrs?
  • Mrs – to address a married woman
  • Miss – to address an unmarried woman (rarely used now)
  • Ms – to address a woman whose marital status you don't know; also used to address an unmarried woman
Note: The abbreviations Mr, Mrs etc. are usually written without full stops (Mr) in British English and with full stops (Mr.) in American English.
 

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Subject Line in a Cover Letter

Cover letters don't usually contain a subject line.
Body of a Cover Letter

Capitalise the first word of the text (even if the salutation ends with a comma). The text is left-justified and a blank line is put after each paragraph. It is not common to indent the first line of a paragraph.
Structure and Content
  • Introduction
    • Mention where you found out about the job offer and show interest in the position.
  • Details
    • Give reasons for your application: Why are you the ideal candidate? What relevant qualifications, experiences do you have? (Important: refer to the requirement given in the job description.)
  • Conclusion
    • Demonstrate your interest in the position once more.
See word lists:
  • Introduction
  • Details
  • Conclusion
  • Conjunctions

 

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Greeting in a Cover Letter

The typical ending of a cover letter is sincerely. In emails you can also write:
  • Regards
  • Kind regards
  • Best wishes
Note: If you end the salutation with a comma or colon, use a comma after the greeting. If you didn't punctuate the salutation, don't punctuate the greeting.
Position: Write the greeting two lines below the last paragraph and left-justify it.
Leave 4 blank lines after the greeting (space for the signature) and write the sender's name below that space.
Example:

 

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Enclosure in a Cover Letter

If you wish to enclose documents, you can either list all enclosed documents separately or just write the word 'Enclosure' below the signature.
Example:

OR...

 

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Cover Letter: Word List - Introduction

Introduction
  • I was interested to see your advertisement for (position) in (paper) / on (site).
  • I noticed with interest your advertisement for (position) in (paper) / on (site)
  • I am applying for the position of (position), which was advertised (date) in (paper).
  • (Name) advised / informed me of a (position) that is available at your company.
  • I was referred to you by (name), who informed me of a (position) that is available at your company.
  • (Name) informed me that you are / your company is / (name of the company) is looking for someone with (skills).
  • (Name) suggested I contact you regarding the position of (position).
  • Perhaps I am the person you seek in your advertisement in today's / yesterday's (paper).
  • When I read your advertisement for (position) in (paper) / on (site), I could not help noticing how well your requirements align with my experience / education / background / skills / career interests / ...
  • The position seems to fit very well with my experience / education / background / skills / career interests / ...
  • I am very interested in applying for the position (of ...)
  • My experience / education / background / skills / ... make me an ideal candidate for the position.
  • I have the experiences / skills / ... you desire (in your advertisement).
  • From my enclosed CV / Resume you will find that my experiences / skills / ... meet the requirements you have outlined for the position.
  • I believe that my enclosed CV / resume will demonstrate that I have the experiences / skills / ... you seek.
  • While my enclosed CV / resume provides a good overview of my experiences / skills / ..., I have also listed some specific skills that meet your requirements for the position.
 

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Cover Letter: Word List - Details
Refer to the requirement given in the job description and demonstrate that you meet the requirements. Emphasise on experiences that are relevant for the job.
Details
  • According to your advertisement, your position requires (skills). These skills I have developed during ... (experience).
  • I understand the position requires (skills). I ... (details why you meet the requirements).
  • I recently graduated from (university) with a degree in (field).
  • Since 2002 / For 2 years I have been working for (company).
  • Following my training as a (job title), I spent (time) working for (company).
  • As (current job) for (company), I have developed my skills and experience as (job title)
  • Prior to my current position, I was working for (company), where I ... (jobs, tasks, skills).
  • Throughout my career I have acquired a thorough knowledge of ...
  • I have solid experience in ...
  • I have more than ... years of ... experience.
  • My experiences / skills / ... will provide your company with a highly productive (job title).
  • I have always had a strong interest in ...
  • I am very competent in ...
  • I very much enjoy both ... and ...
  • My experience in (field) have convinced me that (future position) is a career option I would like to explore.
  • My high degree of motivation has been appreciated by my previous employers.
  • Thanks to my high degree of motivation I was quickly promoted to positions of greater responsibility.
  • The enclosed CV / resume elaborates on the details of my skills and experience.
 

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Cover Letter: Word List - Conclusion

Conclusion
  • I would like very much to talk with you concerning a position at your company / (name of the company).
  • I am eager to talk with you about the contribution I could make to your firm.
  • I would appreciate the chance to meet with you to discuss how I could be a vital part of your company.
  • I am confident that I can perform the job effectively, and I am excited about the idea of working for your firm.
  • I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these and other qualifications with you.
  • If you would like to schedule an interview or otherwise discuss my interest in this position, please call me at the number listed above.
  • If you are interested, please contact me at (number).
  • You may reach me at the above phone number or email address.
  • I am sure my services would be useful to you.
  • I will call you in a few days / next week / in early July / ... to discuss an interview.
  • Should you have any questions before that time, feel free to call me at the number listed above / to contact me via the email address listed above.
  • Should you wish to contact me before then, you may / can reach me via phone (number) or via email (email address).
  • I look forward to our meeting.
  • I look forward to meeting you.
  • I look forward to talking with you.
  • I look forward to hearing from you soon.
  • I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the ways my skills may best serve your company.
  • Thank you for your time and consideration.
  • Your consideration is greatly appreciated.
  • Thanking you most sincerely for your time and consideration.
 

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Cover Letter: Word List - Conjunctions

Conjunctions
  • but / still / however
  • especially / mainly / particularly
  • before
  • as / because / since
  • so that
  • then / after that
  • that's why / so
  • either ... or
  • after all
  • after
  • of course
  • though / although / even though
  • or
  • as soon as
  • as long as
  • finally / eventually
  • in spite of / even so / all the same
  • perhaps ...
  • above all
  • neither ... nor
  • because
  • first of all
  • for example / for instance
 
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