Basics & presentation

/ Category: Application letter

The ABC's of a cover letter

Before writing your cover letter, be aware of the following rules:

  • If you are responding to an ad, write in the same language.
  • The cover letter should not exceed one page (4 paragraphs).
  • By way of a title, put the job title in the subject line.
  • Address your letter to the person whose name is mentioned in the ad. If you are making a spontaneous application, do some research to find the name of the manager of the department that interests you.
  • Show the recruiter your motivations for applying to this company.
  • Highlight your strengths.
  • Use positive vocabulary and active verbs (I did, made, carried out, accomplished, realized, sold, initiated, created, supervised, etc.).
  • Use the present tense or past perfect tense, particularly when you are listing your successes or describing your results.
  • The text must be clear, legible and coherent. Use short sentences and make your point. Avoid stock expressions that are overused.
  • Write a different letter for every position you are seeking. "Mass-produced" letters are easy to recognize.
  • Re-read or have someone else check over your letter to avoid any spelling and syntax errors.
  • The layout should be simple and airy (view the sample).
  • The cover letter should be typed unless the company requires a handwritten letter, in which case it will be stipulated in the ad.


Presentation of the letter

A few basic rules will allow you to show your professionalism: 

  • Pay attention to the layout (margins, balanced paragraphs).
  • Align your text to the left.
  • Choose a font such as "Arial" or "Verdana" and make sure the size is between 10 and 12 points.
  • Avoid fonts that are too fancy or hard to read. 
  • Keep the paragraphs short.
  • Keep in mind that an airy text is a lot more pleasant to read.
  • If you are printing certain titles or passages in color, try to keep these as sober as possible and avoid multiple colors on the same page (maximum 2).
  • It is useless to underline a word or parts of sentences in your letter or to put them in bold. The reader is old enough to discern what is important or not.





Source: Manpower