How to land your next IT job

Getting your job application noticed in today's increasingly competitive tech industry necessitates going above and beyond standard expectations.

For a tech employer, a well-written cover letter may help you stand out from the crowd.

It should clearly and persuasively express your desire to accept the position and the value you will provide to their company.

Taking the time to write a compelling cover letter demonstrates your professionalism.

It also indicates that you've given the application serious consideration. 

Although a cover letter is a much shorter document than your CV (see our tips on writing your IT resume), it requires just as much effort to perfect.

Below you'll find our advice on how to write a winning IT cover letter.

Plus you can download our technology cover letter template so you can attach it to your resume and increase your chances of being shortlisted for an interview.

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IT cover letter advice

What is an IT cover letter?

Let's start by defining what an IT cover letter is. It is a brief, personalised note that you attach with your resume when applying for a tech position. Its primary aim is to introduce you as a tech professional and to explain why you believe you are qualified for the job. 

It's intended to be read before your CV and as a means of enticing the employer or hiring manager to learn more about you. It should not repeat information from your resume; instead, it should add another layer of context for what the reader will discover there. 

If this all sounds a bit much, don't worry – below, we'll show you how to write an IT cover letter. We've also included a free IT cover letter template to help you get started. 

Why should I prepare a tech cover letter for my job application?

You may think that attaching a personalised cover letter won't make much difference because IT jobs tend to focus more on measurable abilities and experience than communication skills. However, writing a cover letter is an excellent way to differentiate yourself from other applicants, especially when so many tech roles require similar skills and competencies. 

A compelling cover letter will pique the reader’s interest, leading to a more favourable CV evaluation. Because not all job applicants take the time to create a cover letter, you can easily set yourself apart by making the extra effort. 

A good cover letter will increase your chances of being shortlisted for an interview. If you really want to maximise your chances of securing job interviews in the technology sector, you'll have to create a cover letter for each application you submit. 

What's the ideal length for an IT cover letter?

Regardless of the position, an excellent cover letter should only have around five paragraphs. This should be more than enough to show why you're a suitable candidate for the role and why your CV will demonstrate that you're qualified for it. 

In the end, no matter if you use our IT cover letter template or write your own using the advice on this page, keep in mind that brevity is key. Employers in the tech sector are likely to be dealing with a large number of applications, so they won't have the time to read an overly long cover letter, regardless of how well written you believe it is. 

What's the ideal layout for an IT cover letter?

A basic and straightforward design is critical to ensuring that your cover letter is easily understood. Begin with a clear and to-the-point subject line, just as you would with any other email. 

When it comes to the body of your IT cover letter, break each paragraph down into small, digestible pieces that demonstrate your suitability for the role (making sure what you include is relevant to their job description). No one would want to read through a massive chunk of text, so breaking things down can help ensure the crucial information stands out. 

You should also leave a gap between each paragraph so the reader can easily follow the sequence of information you're providing. Finally, regardless of how tempted you are to do otherwise, avoid using fanciful fonts or including any images (your words will set you apart, not how pretty the letter appears!). 

Make sure you've created a new cover letter for each employer, and don't just rely on editing a standardised letter. Here's a thorough explanation of each stage in the process, from writing your cover letter to formatting it correctly. 

9 tips on how to write a tech cover letter

Follow the standard structure below while adhering to clear formatting and concise wording to begin creating your IT CV. 

1. Study the job description and include keywords

Start by highlighting the keywords that have been used to describe what the company is searching for in the role's job description. It's useful to use these keywords in your cover letter, just like with your CV, so that it gets sorted favourably by the employer’s applicant tracking system (ATS). 

For example, a Data Scientist's cover letter template might include references to important skills and competencies like data mining, analysis or statistical modelling. In a cover letter for this role, it would be beneficial to leverage these terms so they're detected by the ATS. 

Take the time to learn more about the firm you want to work for. Read their website, employee profiles, blogs and social media posts to get a better feel for their culture (mirroring their tone of voice in your writing can make you a more appealing candidate). 

2. Tailor your cover letter towards the specific job you’re applying for

Since many jobs in the technology industry require similar skills and responsibilities, it's all too easy to apply with a standardised cover letter for each application (changing a few details here and there). However, while this may be a time-saver, it contradicts the goal of a cover letter - showing your genuine interest in the position and why you're a fantastic choice. 

Try to ensure that your IT cover letter has been tailored with care for each position you apply for. Employers can tell the difference between a good cover letter and one that’s been hastily constructed, so using a copied version may reduce your chances of being selected for an interview. 

3. Use a clear and direct subject line

The subject line of your cover letter is critical for ensuring that it gets read in the first place. If your subject line is confusing or uninteresting, it has a good chance of being overlooked among hundreds of other emails in an employer's inbox. 

A good subject line should be succinct and to the point. For instance, a Software Developer's cover letter template might have the following subject line: "Experienced software developer for X position." 

4. Be sure to address the cover letter to the right person

This is simple if the hiring manager or recruiter has included their name in the job advertisement, but this isn't always the case. Instead of relying on a stock phrase like "To whom it may concern," try to learn more about the firm and who you should be addressing. 

You may discover the person in charge of recruiting simply by browsing the company's website or LinkedIn. If you can address your cover letter to a specific person, it will be much more engaging for them (and impactful in securing you an interview!) 

5. Grab their attention with a strong introduction

The first paragraph is your opportunity to genuinely sell yourself, so make sure you get off to a flying start and demonstrate that you know what the reader wants. Highlight your technical specialty and why you stand out from the competition with your unique selling point (USP). 

For example, let's say you were following a cyber security cover letter template. In this case, your introduction could read, "I am a cyber security specialist with five years of experience and a proven track record in protecting online systems against attack." 

Another method of introducing yourself is to mention a mutual connection. You may have been referred for the position by a friend who works at the firm or met the recruiter at an industry gathering. If you have a relationship with the reader, mentioning it in your opening paragraph is guaranteed to catch their attention.

6. Demonstrate your technical skills along with how they will benefit the employer

After you've captured their attention, spend one or two paragraphs talking about what you could contribute to their organisation if hired. Make sure the abilities and expertise you reference align with the duties described in the job description. Also, include evidence of your accomplishments (such as pertinent facts and case studies) to demonstrate that you're what the organisation is searching for. 

For example, if you were applying for a role as a Data Analyst, then you might include the following in your cover letter "In my previous role as a Data Analyst, I increased the accuracy of our data entry by implementing a new system which saved the company $20,000". 

Providing tangible evidence of how you've used your expertise and experience to benefit a company leads the reader to consider how you might do the same for them. It will be very difficult for the reader not to open your CV if you get this section of your cover letter right.

7. Bring attention to your key skills and achievements

Next, include some bullet points to further emphasise why you are the ideal candidate for the advertised position. Introduce your bullet points with a statement that sets them up as motivators for your ambition at the reader's business. This seeds the idea that if they hire you, they will get someone who's eager to deliver even greater results. 

8. Sign off professionally

At the end of your cover letter, include a personal touch by expressing gratitude to the reader for their time and confirming your availability to talk about the position. It's always good to finish off with a power phrase like "I look forward to hearing from you soon" or "My CV is attached for your review, and I'm eager to discuss this opportunity with you". 

Finally, as you'll see in our IT cover letter template, close off with a formal and universally accepted "Yours sincerely" or "Kind regards". Under your signature, make sure you've listed your contact information, including your phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile. 

9. Proofread and review your formatting

It's not unusual for recruiters and hiring managers to give cover letters a great deal of attention when evaluating a potential job candidate. This is because it is assumed that a candidate will typically not proofread their cover letter as much as their CV, and therefore, the cover letter may be a more genuine reflection of their communication abilities. 

With this in mind, you should carefully check your cover letter for any grammatical or spelling mistakes, taking into account that a potential employer will read it. If you've used Microsoft Word to compose your cover letter, double-check that the formatting transfers properly when sending it as an email. If possible, get someone else to look over the document for you to pick up any errors you may have missed. 

What NOT to include in your IT cover letter

Needlessly complex information

It can be easy to go on and on about your technical accomplishments while writing your IT cover letter. Keep in mind that your CV will include a more comprehensive description of your talents and achievements, so keep the information in your cover letter brief and to the point. 

Dumping information from your CV

You don't want your cover letter to just repeat the same information as your CV. Your cover letter is designed to introduce and complement the story you're attempting to tell about your suitability for the role. Use your cover letter to connect the skills and accomplishments highlighted in your CV and how they prove you'd be a valuable addition to the employer's team. 

However, double-check that the pertinent information you mention in your cover letter also appears in your CV - just in case the recruiter or hiring manager misses it.

Arrogant self-promotion

Hiring managers are used to reading cover letters that praise the applicant’s merits. Unfortunately, most won't be fooled. You should always maintain a confident yet modest tone and realistic expectations about your chances of getting the job. 

For example, if you're applying for a role as an experienced Software Engineer, don't introduce yourself with: "I am the best candidate to lead your software team". Instead, win them over by highlighting some of your most impressive achievements in the industry and what you can do for the employer.

Writing from a third-person perspective

Some IT professionals make the error of writing their cover letter in the third person. However, your cover letter should be a personal statement about your suitability for the position. As a result, it should be written in the first person since it is about you and your capacity to satisfy the organisation’s needs. 

Final tips for how to write an IT cover letter

  • Keep your material succinct and relevant. Stick to five or six well-written paragraphs. Anything more is overkill.
  • Clearly explain your reason for wanting to work in the position that's been posted. 
  • Use strong verbs to describe your accomplishments, such as "led," "organised," "supervised" and so on. 
  • Take the time to perfect your subject line. Also, double-check the job description to see if the employer has requested you to format your subject line a certain way (failing to pay attention to this may result in your CV being overlooked).
  • If you're submitting via an online application rather than a standard email client, it's good to include your cover letter and CV in the same submission so they don't get separated. 
  • Contact the employer if you haven't received a confirmation that your application has been received. The individual in charge of reviewing applications may be swamped with other people, so a quick phone call might remind them to open yours (and demonstrate your enthusiasm for interviewing). 

As you can see, there's a lot to consider when writing an IT cover letter. Download our IT cover letter template to see what our recommendations look like in action. 

Good luck in applying for your next IT role!