To catch a recruiter's attention, you need to write a cover letter or motivation letter. This is a brief narrative about who you are and why you believe you're a good fit for a specific job opening. More often than not, it helps to reveal your motivation to work in that particular company and position.

Steps to Take Before Writing a Cover Letter

The following advice is primarily for those companies you're genuinely interested in and keen to join. For others, a more standard letter will suffice.

Research the Company:

Understand what the company does and whether it aligns with your values, project interests, and work style. Review the company's website and aggregator sites that collect reviews about the company, like Glassdoor.

Learn the Job Posting Carefully:

Try to understand the team's needs and the required technology stack. This will help you focus on relevant skills and knowledge. During this process, you'll also determine if the job is right for you.

Identify What You Really Like:

Clarify for yourself why you want to work for this particular company.

After completing these steps, you can begin writing the letter.

Generic Structure of a Cover Letter


Open with a polite salutation. For example, "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear [Company Name] Team."

Introduce Yourself

Start with something akin to your CV summary, but focus on the most relevant information that aligns with the company's needs.

Express Your Interest in the Company

Explain why you're interested in this particular company. This could be due to their business area, tech stack, company culture, or positive reviews you've come across. Highlight what you learned about the company during your research. Emphasize what appealed to you about the company and the position, and explain why you would be effective in this role.

If you have friends or acquaintances within the company who can vouch for you, definitely mention it. For instance, "I am acquainted with John Doe from your company, who works as a PM. He recommended I apply for this vacancy as he believes I am a good fit."

Address Skill Gaps

If you notice a job vacancy matches your profile but you're slightly lacking in skills, address this proactively. For example, if the job requires experience with "Oracle Database" and you lack this, mention in your cover letter that you are eager to grow in this area and gain valuable experience in a prestigious company.

Closing and Call to Action

Conclude by expressing hope for a response or a meeting, and provide your contact details or links if necessary.

Create Base Template for Mass Applications

It's a good practice to create a base template for your cover letter and use it for all applications. You can then personalize this base letter for companies you are particularly interested in.

Developer Cover Letter Example

“My name is Micheal Strickland, and I am a Java software engineer with over 7 years of experience. You can find more details about my experience in my attached CV.

I am interested in your position. The business domain is crucial for me in my job. As a developer, I focus on solving business problems, not just writing code. I believe an engaging domain ensures productive and high-quality work. I find your domain interesting and would like to develop in it. I am also interested in your company, as I have previously met employees from your company who spoke highly of their work experience there.

I hope we can be mutually beneficial to each other! Please respond to this email or call me.

Best regards, Micheal Strickland”

Typical Mistakes in a Cover Letter

Clichéd Phrases and Repetitions:

Avoid using formulaic expressions and unnecessary, meaningless adjectives. Instead, provide specific facts and examples.

Illegible Text:

Ensure your letter has a clear structure. Avoid writing in one continuous block without formatting, paragraphs, and highlights.

Grammatical Errors:

Always check your letter before sending it. Use online services for grammar and spell checks.