I figured out I may as well send a .PDF file featuring my CV and Cover Letter. It sounds simpler to handle on the other side. The cover letter begins on a new page so when it's printed, it looks like 2 different documents were received.

If they are just going to visualize it, they'd get the first impression with CV and then simply check the next page to find the cover letter.

Is it wrong? I can feel it's not a standard practice but I have no clue why it would be regarded as bad. I still personalize the cover letter for each company.

  • 1
    "simply check the next page to find the cover letter". Your cover letter is not a cover anymore. That's what's wrong. Do you want them to look at the cover letter or not? If not, why bother with the cover letter? They won't send the file for printing unless they are interested
    – Nobody
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 10:14
  • 1
    I see, how about putting it before the CV? It makes it a cover letter again... It sounds like a hack though.
    – Aki
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 10:18
  • 2
    Don't put the cart before the horse!
    – quant_dev
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


No, don't do that. If you're applying by email, copy/paste a base cover-letter into an email and adjust it for your audience. If you're applying on paper, put it at the front.

Your cover letter should tell me exactly why I should even bother to double-click to open your CV. It should tell me exactly why I shouldn't bother clicking on anyone else's. It should tell me why you're awesome and, coincidentally, a perfect fit for the role I'm trying to fill.

Then, when I think, "Oh my, I really have to know more about this person." I should open your CV and see something that you're sending to every job. It can be tailored, but if it feels tailored then I'll assume I'm the only person who's ever seen this bag of lies. Let the tailoring be in the cover letter. Make it the first thing I see. Blow me away before I even start.

  • Both answers changed my mind, and I already got answers using this method, I guess it was indeed a bad idea. I hope others can learn from my mistake! Thanks.
    – Aki
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 3:54

Like pdr said, "Don't do that."

The cover letter plays a very specific role in the application packet, which is to create a clear path between the job ad, you, and your resume. The cover letter is used to show the links between what's in the ad and what's on your resume, not only to show how you match (prove to them you're a perfect fit), but to show the employer that you pay attention.

The cover letter is your chance to make the employer want to read your resume, and therefore if it comes behind the resume, you're either a) not doing that or b) placing a burden on an already overworked pair of eyes who has to go hunting for your cover letter (not a good first impression).

If the ad says send a CV and cover letter, you send both; if you put them in one PDF for some reason, then put the cover letter first (it is a COVER, after all...).

If the ad does not say to send a cover letter, then you decide whether you want to use one or not, but if you do, still put the cover letter first.

I would also note that your assumption that electronic documents are printed is not a particularly good assumption; as a hiring manager I can't remember the last time I printed something.


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