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About a year ago, I applied to a company where I passed the initial screening for which I submitted my resume, cover letter and portfolio. I politely let them know I was going for another opportunity, and now I'm looking for a new job and the aforementioned company is hiring for the same position.

My resume is updated, but I'm not sure about what else to write for the cover letter. Is it ok to use the same the cover letter that helped me pass the last time or should I at least paraphrase my letter?

  • In theory, it would be ideal to write a completely new one, but the previous cover letter worked and it's not certain the new one will be as good. Although, I don't know how much they cared about my cover letter. – blueseal Apr 3 '17 at 18:17
  • Suppose someone who was there a year ago reads the same or very similar cover letter now and thinks "this feels familiar", decides to check, and indeed sees that you've sent a near-duplicate of last year's. What impression would that make? – Brandin Apr 4 '17 at 12:17
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Might it work? Sure.

But odds are someone might look at your previous application, see the same cover letter, and not be able to read your mind about what changed from before (when you turned them down after getting into the process).

From the companies perspective:

  • You interviewed 1 year ago
  • You turned them down
  • You didn't tell them anything new to make them think you won't do the same now

I would absolutely rewrite the letter or at the very least make it clear why that company is a good fit for you now.

  • Wow, that's a great point! I guess I could paraphrase some relevant points and make sure to add what has changed. – blueseal Apr 3 '17 at 18:19
  • @blueseal you don't need to say "I turned you down before because of X." but what you do need to do is provide at least something so that people can see a difference in why you are applying. Sending the same letter gives exactly zero information to a reader. – enderland Apr 3 '17 at 18:28

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