How to Write a Computer Science Cover Letter

FT Contributor  | 

While a cover letter might feel like something you don’t need to put effort into when applying for jobs in the computer science industry, that’s not the case. A strong cover letter can prevent you from being weeded out as an “unqualified” candidate.

If you are applying for a position in the computer science field, this guide will help you draft a cover letter that captures the attention of the hiring manager, which could potentially lead to an in-person interview.

Important Considerations for a Cover Letter in Computer Science

When writing a cover letter in the computer science realm, it’s important to consider the subfield of computer science you are applying for.

IT or Cybersecurity Consultants

For an IT or cybersecurity consultant cover letter, it’s worth mentioning any professional certifications you have. For example, you might be an IT Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) if you work in cybersecurity.

Your cover letter should also mention your education. While it’s not a requirement, hiring managers are typically looking for someone with a four-year degree in cybersecurity, computer sciences, or an equivalent track.  

Information Systems Manager

When writing a cover letter for an information systems manager position, mention any certifications you have. Popular certifications for this role include Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) or Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). Highlight your education as well. Typically a bachelor’s degree in computer science is preferred.

Technical Writer

To be a technical writer, your cover letter should include where you received your technical writing certificate from, as well as your educational background. Employers typically prefer a bachelor’s degree in English or technical communications for this role.

Structure for a Computer Science Cover Letter

As with any cover letter, a computer science cover letter should be easy to read and ascertain your qualifications and interest in the position. Use a 12 point font that is legible, such as Calibri, Times New Roman, or Arial. Use single line spacing and align your letter to the left.

Follow the structure outlined below.

Contact Information

Your contact information should be at the top of your cover letter. This makes it easy for the employer to reach out to you to schedule an interview.

Be sure your contact information includes:

  • Full name.
  • Address.  
  • Phone number.
  • Professional email address.

Your email address must be a professional one, not a personal one. Use the format First.LastName@email.com as a general rule of thumb.

Additionally, If you’re sending a hard copy of your cover letter, it might be necessary to include the employer’s contact information. List that underneath your contact information.

Salutation

The salutation is how you greet the potential employer. Your salutation should be friendly, but professional. To maximize the impact of your cover letter, find out the name of the hiring manager so you can address your letter directly to them.

If you’re not sure who will receive your resume and cover letter, a general salutation such as “To whom it may concern:” or “Dear Hiring Manager” will do, but it’s best to use a name if you can.

Body

The body of your cover letter should be three to four paragraphs. Use each paragraph to briefly summarize something about yourself.

In the first paragraph, introduce yourself to the employer and explain how you came to find the job posting and why you’re interested in submitting an application.

In the second paragraph, discuss your background, technical skills, education, and any certifications you might have. This shouldn’t be a comprehensive breakdown of your qualifications — that’s what your resume is for. Instead, it should highlight notable qualifications that set you apart from other candidates.

In the third paragraph, highlight what you hope to bring to the company while working for them. Sometimes, an employer will request professional references in the job listing. If that is the case, you can list professional references in this portion of the cover letter.

Closing

The fourth and final paragraph should conclude your cover letter. Express your appreciation to the hiring manager for their time and consideration of your application. This is also a good time to inquire about the next steps in the hiring process and explain your desire for an in-person interview.

Signature

The signature of your cover letter should be three spaces below your final paragraph.  If you are sending your cover letter digitally via email, you might include a link to your resume, portfolio of work, or LinkedIn in your signature. For hard copies of cover letters, three spaces between your closing and your name allow you to physically sign the document before submitting it.

Acceptable signatures include:

  • Thank you.
  • Sincerely.
  • Regards.

Computer Science Cover Letter Example

Below is a sample computer science cover letter.

[Your Name.]
[123 Main Street.]
[123-456-7890.]
[first.last@email.com]

[Employer’s name.]
[456 Employer Avenue.]
[employer@email.com.]

[Date.]

Dear Ms. Lee,

My name is [Your Name] and I am a cybersecurity professional with expertise in risk analysis, intrusion detection, and data analytics for corporations such as Big Pharma. I came across Massive Medicine’s posting for a cybersecurity analyst and felt that my qualifications and experience make me an excellent fit for this role.

I have an extensive background in the field of cybersecurity. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in cyber sciences from the University of Cyber Security. Working for Big Pharma, I became a Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) as well as a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). These experiences will allow me to go above and beyond the needs of the cybersecurity analyst role with Massive Medicine.

I feel confident in my ability to contribute positively to your cybersecurity efforts. My passion for the computer sciences and my background in the field will allow me to hit the ground running and help Big Pharma stay protected from security threats.

Thank you for your time. I would appreciate the opportunity to speak further about my qualifications.

Sincerely,

[Your Name.]

With this guide, you will be able to craft a good cover letter that attracts hiring managers and ultimately, lands you an in-person interview.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/

This post was updated January 29, 2020. It was originally published January 29, 2020.