Cover Letter

Cover Letters and Finding a Job in Rwanda, How to Write a perfect Cover Letter, What is a Cover Letter?, Cover Letters and Salaries and Work on Mywage Rwanda

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a document sent with your CV/resume which provides additional information on your skills and experience. It is the first form of communication between yourself and a prospective employer, so it is important to make the cover letter as interesting and enticing as possible.

What does the cover letter usually consist of?

A cover letter usually provides detailed information on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for. Good cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific job and identify your most relevant and recent skills or experiences.

An effective cover letter can mean the difference between being invited for an interview, or not. So it is very important to make it stand out.

What types of cover letters are there?

  • An application letter – in response to a job opening.
  • A prospecting letter – which enquires about possible openings.
  • A networking letter – which requests information and possibly assistance in your job search.

Can I send out the same cover letter to all potential employers?

No, you should not. Ideally, you should tailor-make your cover letter for each job or company you are contacting. This takes more time, but will be worth your while.

Is there a format which I should use, however?

Yes, there is a basic format. All cover letters should consist of:

  • Your contact information
  • Your potential employer’s contact information
  • A salutation/greeting (for example: Dear Mr Jones)
  • The body of the cover letter (letting the employer know what position you are applying for, what qualifications you have and what relevant experience)
  • A conclusion (thanking the potential employer for considering you for the position)
  • A complimentary close (for example: Respectfully yours)
  • Your signature

Must I put all my CV details in the cover letter?

No, the cover letter is a more short, personal letter which pulls out the highlights of your CV, especially details relevant to the job being advertised.

What should I include in my cover letter?

  • Keep it short and simple, but make sure you have all the relevant details.
  • Highlight your skills and experience that suit the job.
  • Pair key words in the job advertisement to match your capabilities.
  • Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct.
  • Make sure you have all the important details, such as your contact details, in the cover letter.
  • Research the company your are applying to, so you can demonstrate knowledge of their goals, missions etc.
  • Use polite language.
  • Check for any mistakes before sending. If possible, as a friend or colleague to help you check. Also ask if they find the letter appealing/enticing.

What should I avoid in my cover letter?

  • Avoid mentioning your salary requirements, unless requested.
  • Don’t use a light, casual or humorous tone, this is not appropriate.
  • Do not enclose photographs.
  • Don’t exaggerate or make up details about your work experience or skills.
  • Do not say you are applying because you are looking for better work than what you have – this may suggest you are a job hopper.
  • Do not run down your current employment – this suggests disloyalty.
  • Do not ramble – keep your cover letter short and to the point.
  • Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Try not to only focus on your abilities – think of what would be best for the company you are applying to.
  • Don’t forget to attach your CV to the cover letter!

An example of a cover letter:


Olive Mukantabana
Avenue de l'Armée 12, Kigali, Rwanda
+250-590 400

12 May 2013

Mr Eric Nshimiyimana
Head of Research and Development, Biology Faculty
Kigali Independent University

Dear Mr Nshimiyimana,

I am interested in job of research assistant that you advertised in The New Times this week. I have enclosed my CV for you to review. Please consider my qualifications and experience, which I think are best suited to this job opportunity in the light of the following reasons:

  • I have five year’s experience working as a senior assistant in a biological research institute, which satisfies your requirement of working experience.
  • I have been managing a small team of interns and junior biology researchers for the past three years, which relates to your criteria demanding experience in managing work teams in the biology research field.
  • I graduated with a Masters degree in Molecular Biology from the National University of Rwanda, which satisfies your academic requirements for this position.

I would really appreciate your going through my credentials. Thank you very much for your kind consideration.
Olive Mukantabana (signature)

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