I am starting the process of looking for a new programming job. Cover letter writing has never been my strong suite.

A little about me: I'm a senior software engineer. Mostly .NET stack and web (HTML5, JS, CSS3). Also do a lot of GIS.

Any tips specific to programming for what I should include in a cover letter? Structure, number of paragraphs, focus of paragraphs, etc.

closed as too broad by Philipp, gnat, Chris E, Roger, Reinstate Monica Mar 21 '15 at 17:23

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    This question seems overly broad. Please read some guides on how to write cover letters (there are many available online), then ask a more specific question. – sleske Mar 20 '15 at 10:08

My cover letters are three-parters:

  1. About me - who I am and what I am that is relevant to the requirements of the position and the needs of the prospective employer. "Infosec specialist and systems engineer with 12 years of experience who does software engineering from the Devops side of the House" seems to work for me.

  2. My technology stack - I usually includes the technologies that a prospective employer requires plus the technologies that the prospective employer could get seriously excited about. A prospective employer who can't get excited about Docker - I don't want to know that such a prospective employer exists.

  3. What I want to do and what I can do for the client or employer. "Implementing systems resiliency, adaptiveness and scalability through continuous integration/continuous development" seems to hit the spot with the right people. I have no need to hear from the clueless.

Cook up your own three-parter.


The way I've always looked at a cover letter is that it forms a partnership with the cv. So the letter is effectively the sales pitch to the employer (why you should hire me), and the cv is the evidence to back it up (I realise a resume shouldn't be thought of the same as a cv, it's more a point list rather than the detail of a cv).

So I have 3 sections as part of my "pitch":

  • Intro paragaraph, mentioning the role I'm applying to and a couple of sentences detailing why I'm the ideal choice.
  • Second part is a bullet list of relevant points to demonstrate the statement
  • Third part another paragraph where I can mention other relevant info, why this is the natural next move for me, and invite the reader to contact me to arrange the next step.

If you have a short resume, you may need to bulk out the evidence in the letter some more (people suggest one page for a resume, my cv usually runs to about 6 pages, even when it's tailored with only relevant projects, but I've been doing this for 20+ years).

  • Thanks for the response. I marked Vietnhi Phuvan's as the answer because they answered first, but both were useful answers. – user33446 Mar 20 '15 at 13:54