Cover letter

Cover letter - how to write a good motivation

How do you write a good cover letter? Although there is no such thing as the perfect cover letter, this basic formula will help you on your way and it will be a valuable introduction to your resume

Cover letter - how to write a good motivation

Try to match your letter to the job you are applying for. It may take a little bit more time than a standard letter, but it is a good investment;  you show that you have thought about the position and the organization.

Cover letter structure

It is imperative that you customise your letter to each role you apply for. To do this, it helps to research the organisation and 'tell them about themselves' in your letter (e.g. "As you are the largest publishing company in the Netherlands"). While the letter needs to be fairly formal, avoid unnecessarily large words and words that you don’t normally use. Keep the letter succinct and ordered. Use a common font with standard formatting and punctuation as once it's opened on another computer, the whole presentation may change.

Introduce yourself

Explain why you are writing, whether it’s in response to an advert or just a speculative application to see whether there are any vacancies. If you're replying to an advert, it’s important to state where and when you saw it. If there is a reference number, make sure to quote it because they may be recruiting for several roles.

Explain your background

Very briefly, explain your current or most recent job and any qualifications or experience that you think is relevant to the job, and perhaps you could list a key achievement here. “I most recently worked at ......, where I increased turnover of my department by 30% in my first year.” Take care that you don’t just repeat your CV.

Explain why should they employ you

Now you should directly specify how your background makes you the ideal candidate for the role and why you want it. Say why they should employ you and why you would be a good employee. Pick out specific traits or skills mentioned in the job advert and explain how you’ve demonstrated these. Now that you’ve made a case for yourself, it’s time to tell them your planned next steps.

Provide an action plan

It’s common to end with a paragraph saying that you look forward to hearing from the employer and will await their response; however, you don't have to leave the ball in their court, and could even suggest a time or date that you will call if you don't hear from them. If you do this, make sure you to call when you said you would.

Cover letter tips - What are the Do's and Dont's?

Provide clear addressing

Do not send your letter to "Mr", "Mrs" or "To whom it may concern", but find out who your contact is and direct the letter to that person. Pay close attention to the spelling. Mention all your contact details in the letter: address, telephone number, e-mail address.

All on one page

Make sure your letter is not too long, but short and concise. Details which are in your CV, you do not have to mention in the letter as well. Make sure that both the letter and your cv have been checked for spelling errors and sentence structure.


Personalize your letter. Everyone can download a standard letter, but by personalizing it you show that you are really interested and have put some effort in writing the letter. Include certain characteristics or skills which are mentioned in the advertisement and apply to you, in your letter.

Important to keep in mind

Do not include negative information such as personal conflicts with previous employers, details of lawsuits or negative comments on your current employer. Do not use long sentences or difficult words to impress. Do not let your letter be written by someone else. When you ascribe yourself certain characteristics, be prepared to explain this in a possible interview.

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