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In a cover letter, should the job title you are applying to be included in the opening sentence, or at least the opening paragraph? Many of the positions I am applying to have long titles (7-8 words), making the sentence it is included in awkward and hard to follow.

Is there another location within the cover letter that the job title can be included, perhaps before the first sentence?

  • 7-8 words as a job title? seems excessive for most circumstances- but if it's a problem including it in a sentence (not sure why) just put a line above the "Dear name" saying "Re: position of xyz at abc" – HorusKol May 9 '16 at 2:52
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When the company has a long complex job title, that is usually because they have many different job positions and need to distinguish them from each other. If the job title is "Intermediate Hardware Quality Assurance Specialist - Medical Devices" that probably means there are Hardware Quality Assurance Specialists in other departments, and other kinds of Quality Assurance Specialists in that department. You need to make sure you get added to the pile for the right one. Job applications are often processed centrally by HR departments, whose workers may not be able to tell from your resume that you are obviously applying to the Medical Devices department.

Specifying the exact job title does two things: firstly it precisely identifies the position you are applying for, reducing the possibility of a mistake, and secondly demonstrates that you have read the company's job adverts and have a real opening in mind. Both of those are far more important than elegant sentences.

The lack of readability is not something you should worry about, compared with that. If simplicity and clarity were important to the company, they would not have job titles that long.

If you really want to be concerned about readability, make the job title the subject line:

Dear Sir/Madam

Intermediate Hardware Quality Assurance Specialist - Medical Devices

I am writing to apply for the above position...

  • You can also pre-pend 'In re:` and then add the job title. – Burhan Khalid May 10 '16 at 8:55
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Generally, the company will be aware of the title of the position which they are trying to fill. The only time this may not be true is if the position was posted on a 3rd party recruiting site, who changed the actual title.

Regardless, the rest of your cover letter should make it clear what position you're applying for and why. I'd keep it more general, as you may get consideration for other, related roles that way:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am aware of an opening for a {technician|engineer|salesperson} in your {sales|marketing|IT} department. I am writing to express my interest....

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    You should repeat the exact title from the ad, as per DJClayworth's answer - you only need to do it once, and then refer to it as "the position" after that. – HorusKol May 9 '16 at 2:54
  • Hmmm I don't believe I did that during my last round of cover letters. Maybe put in a short heading with the position title, date, and name before the body? Otherwise I agree with OP. Long job titles can be a huge pain to craft an elegant sentence around. – agentroadkill May 9 '16 at 12:37
  • Your example sentence does not make it clear which technician etc you are applying for if the department has multiple ones. Your elegant sentences will do you no good if you end up in the wrong job pile. – DJClayworth May 9 '16 at 13:53
  • @DJClayworth, that was sort of my point. If there's multiple similar positions open, why not make yourself available for all of them? – agentroadkill May 9 '16 at 15:33
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    My answer explicitly says to quote the exact name of the opening in your letter. Yours says not to. But no worries. I just wanted to explain why I disagreed with your answer. – DJClayworth May 9 '16 at 15:56
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Some companies offers many different job opportunities with different roles that may apply to you with your degree. To put it in other words, you are maybe applicable for many job opportunities of that company lets say "Software Engineer" or "Tester" if you graduate from a computing degree then you are applicable for both.

In such case, and especially when applying by email, is good idea to make crystal clear the position you are applying for.

If you are applying by email, then maybe you can reference the job position in the email's title (which allows you to exclude it from your cover letter) or in my opinion if you want to be sure that is clear of what you are applying for to put it in your opening sentence.

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