So You Want to Write a Study Abroad Cover Letter?

Problem 1. (Understanding the genre)

a) Who will read your essay and make decisions about your admission?

b) Why do they make you compose this text instead of just looking at your academic record? What signals are they searching for?

c) What is more important for the host university: your personality, your academic achievements, your ability to take courses in English, or something else?

d) Is there a word limit? If yes, why do you think this is the case?

e) Are you expected to write a conventional cover letter? Or do they want you to be creative and tell them your personal story? (Think about statements of purpose for MBA vs PhD programs)

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Words and Expressions to Describe Your Skills and Qualities

Employers tend to use language appropriate to their organizational contexts. If you have many of the skills an employer is looking for, make them aware of your suitability. Make sure that you link your skills to the job you apply for and show that you understand the business of the potential employer.

The following list will help you to 'translate' your cover letter into the language of the appropriate sector.

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Cover Letters


The cover letter works in conjunction with your resume to explain why you are applying for the job. It should be brief (250-300 words) and describe a few experiences and skills that make you a good fit for the position, speaking directly to the requirements and duties listed in the job ad.

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