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This article teaches about how to prepare for the process of composing and writing a cover letter.
A person at a desk with a computer and some papers, writing in a note book.

Before you start writing your cover letter, you want to make sure to read the job ad thoroughly. You are also recommended to do the following:

Find out who your audience is

This will help you determine what the tone and register of the language you use when writing. What type of company are they?

  • Formal and traditional or informal and fun?
  • International or not?
  • Start-up or long-running and developed?

What does the job ad say that they are looking for?

Oftentimes we quickly read a job ad and fill in the blanks with things that are not there. Try to avoid making assumptions and instead make the effort to really understand what the employer wants.

Do some research

  • Check out the company’s website and read about them in their own words. Sometimes it’s also useful to look for company reviews from other sources.
  • Usually, there is contact information in the job ad where you can ask some questions to find out more. This is a good way to show your interest. Remember that people are busy, so make sure that you are not disturbing the employer or putting any pressure on them before they have seen your CV and cover letter and have had some time to process it.

You might find out that the job you thought you wanted to apply to is not for you, and that is totally okay. There are many jobs out there and you should not waste your time applying to jobs you aren’t really sure you want. Instead, put your effort into making really great applications for the jobs you would really like to land.

Sometimes, a job will very obviously be out of your range. For example, applying for a senior position as your first job might seem like a waste of time. But don’t be too careful! If you think you might have even a small chance at getting a position, it is worth it to apply because despite what you think, they may be looking for someone just like you. Either way you will get the experience of applying which will improve your job seeking skills. Just be honest and avoid applying for jobs that you will not be able to perform. It’s all about finding a balance.

© Luleå University of Technology
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