How do I Write a Cover Letter for a Curriculum Vitae?

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  • Written By: H. Terry
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2020
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A good cover letter for a curriculum vitae (CV) focuses on explaining why the applicant is suitable for the position and does not dwell on facts already available in the CV. It should instead provide new or more detailed information in which the potential employer could be interested. It should also seek to connect the skills and experience cited in the CV to the particular job for which the applicant is applying.

A CV will normally contain only very basic sentences, whereas a cover letter for a curriculum vitae more clearly illustrates a candidate's ability to write. Employers will sometimes infer a disorganized mind from reading a poorly written letter. All paragraphs should be carefully checked for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and each paragraph should follow logically from the one before it.

In terms of format, a cover letter for a curriculum vitae should have the same presentation as a standard business letter. This standard differs between cultures. If applying for work in a foreign country, one should research how people in that country are commonly taught to structure a formal business letter and adapt his or her own accordingly.


In most English-speaking countries, cover letters for CVs usually look alike since the standard business letter formats are also quite similar. The typical letter-sized paper may vary between some of these countries, however. Most employers will likely not be as interested in the size of a printed page as in its content, but whenever possible, it is probably best to give the employer what he or she is accustomed to in terms of presentation.

The employer's interests should be foremost in one's mind when writing a cover letter for a curriculum vitae. While it is important to express enthusiasm, a cover letter should not explain why the job is perfect for the applicant, but rather why the applicant is perfect for the job. The letter's main purpose is to demonstrate why a candidate is the best choice to fill a particular vacancy. It is important to tailor one's cover letter as much as possible to the specific job role and organization. A non-specific cover letter makes the applicant appear equally generic and is unlikely to draw much attention.

A cover letter for a curriculum vitae should only be used when applying for a position. It should not be sent without a CV or where a query letter would be more appropriate. A query letter is an unsolicited advertisement of one's own services or a request for information regarding employment opportunities. It is usually much shorter than a cover letter and is not accompanied by a CV.


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