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Types of Cover Letters

Response to an advertised job opening (Targeted Covering Letters)

The Cover Letter in response to a specific advertisement. The advertisement will give you an indication of the type and amount of information that is required. This letter has a standard format and style.


  • The employer expects and welcomes the application.
  • There is a job opening
  • Job advertisements will sometimes state the job's selection criteria.
  • You are able to highlight your skills and experience that match the job requirements and motivate why you are the perfect person for the job.
  • When the company name is revealed you have the opportunity to research and demonstrate your knowledge of the company/industry.
  • An advertised position gives you the chance to telephone and speak to the person who has the power to employ you.


There will be a higher level of competition for the position.

Response to an Unadvertised job opening  (Cold/Speculative Cover Letters)

These are letters that are written by jobseekers and then sent to potential employers who are not actually advertising jobs at the moment but who may do so in the future. By contacting them in advance with a speculative covering letter and providing them with a CV, you may have an advantage over other candidates in any future vacancies.


  • Hidden Job market
  • A proactive rather that reactive approach.
  • It may lead to an interview or a referral to another company/job.
  • The employer will not be busy with other applications and your application may receive a thorough reading.


  • It will receive little attention unless you provide a good reason for reading it.
  • There may be no job available.
  • This method generates the fewest leads.
  • Your skill set may not  match the company’s needs