How to write a professional computer science cover letter

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A career in computer science is ideal for individuals who enjoy working closely with technology. Careers in programming, data science, software or hardware engineering and other specialities are all accessible with a background in computer science. A well-written cover letter tailored to computer science is one of the first steps to kick-starting a successful and fulfilling computer science career. In this article, we provide a guide on how to write a computer science cover letter to boost your chances of securing a role, alongside a cover letter template and example.

What is a computer science cover letter?

A computer science cover letter is part of an application for an available job position that is relevant to someone who has experience in computer science. This document contains the most valuable details of your CV that you submit alongside this, including details about your skills and relevant work experience.

Your cover letter acts as a way to provide additional information about yourself to potential employers so that they have a greater understanding of your background. A cover letter may address the reasons why you want the computer science-related role and share the reasons why you are the right fit for the job. Your cover letter may also express how your background and previous experience has prepared you for the role if you are successful throughout the application process. Your letter is an opportunity to develop your professionalism and communication skills through your writing.

Related: How to use the best cover letter format (with examples)

How to write a computer science cover letter

Steps to follow when writing a cover letter include:

1. Review the available role listing

Before you begin to write your cover letter, the best thing to do is to review the job listing for the available role you are applying for. It is important as it details the kind of person they are looking for to work within this role, whilst also detailing the necessary skills and experience they expect from potential candidates.

Some employers filter their applications using software before they reach a hiring manager, and this is why it is important to previously identify the role-specific keywords used throughout the job listing so you can include them throughout your cover letter. It is important to tailor your cover letter not only to the role itself but to the company or organisation you are applying to. You can tailor your cover letter to the company by reviewing available information about them, including their mission statement or their company values.

2. Brainstorm details and ideas to include in your cover letter

The next stage in writing your cover letter is to brainstorm ideas and details you want to include. As you want to include as many role-specific keywords as possible, brainstorm topics that enable you to include these keywords. When brainstorming what to include in your cover letter, focus on your professional and personal strengths alongside the valuable and relevant work experience you have acquired. Detailing your strengths and relevant experience showcases the ways you might be valuable to an employer within the role.

Related: 9 examples of computer careers (plus duties and salaries)

3. Organise and structure your ideas

Once you have established all of the ideas and details you wish to include across your cover letter, it is important to organise and structure them. A good way to start is to look for identifiable patterns across the details so you can group them together into sections. For example, you might notice your brainstorming ideas are organisable into categories like skills, personal qualities and work experience.

The next stage is to think about the best ways to structure these ideas and what structure might be most effective for hiring managers to read. Placing your compelling and most relevant details towards the start of your cover letter ensures these details are evident early on by a hiring manager, especially if they are simply skim reading cover letters. You can outline your structure using a diagram or a map so you have a clear idea of the letter in your head prior to writing your draft.

4. Drafting

Using a cover letter template, you can begin your first rough draft by piecing your ideas together in full sentences. When writing a cover letter, it is effective to bring all of your ideas together and establish relationships between them. Do this by using transitional phrases and language that enables your ideas to flow and work together to express your value.

Each paragraph of your draft leads on from one another, which is a sign of good communication and writing ability. Your main points, which are your relevant work experience and your professional skills, have evidence that really showcases your value to employers and the ways that you have previously demonstrated your skills and abilities in a working environment.

5. Seek feedback on your first rough draft

Receiving feedback is beneficial for curating a strong cover letter. You can ask a friend, a colleague or a mentor to review your cover letter and make suggestions for improvement. You can guide their feedback by asking questions about areas you personally feel are weaker or need improving. For example, you might ask a specific question relating to the successful flow of ideas. If you feel uncomfortable asking someone else to review your cover letter draft, you can always set it aside for a while before returning to it and performing a self-assessment of your work.

6. Revise, edit and finalise your cover letter

Following the feedback you received or improvements you identified yourself, it is time to revise and edit your draft to improve it and refine it. Make sure it has the right amount of detail and that these details showcase your strengths and suitability for the role. You can omit any irrelevant information at this stage. Make sure you correct any grammatical or spelling errors to showcase your attention to detail and your professional communication abilities.

Related: How to write an open cover letter (with a template)

Cover letter template

Below is a template of a cover letter for a computer science position that you can follow and use when writing your own:

Dear [Mr/Mrs/Ms/Dr] [Name of the hiring manager]

Following up on the listing for a [job title] role within [company name], I wanted to [express your interest in the available role].

I strongly appreciate and respect your mission [detail the company values and express how they match your own values]. My education, experience and professional background qualify me as a valuable asset to add to your team.

[Begin to describe your relevant experience]. I have extensive experience working with the technologies that you named in the job listing, such as [name specific technologies you have worked with from the listing]. Throughout my professional career, I also demonstrate [name your skills and abilities that you have and the results of successfully applying these skills]. I am passionate about applying these skills to work with and support [company name] in the [job title] role, and I would be delighted to discuss my application and my qualifications with you further in person.

Attached to this document is my complete CV, which details my professional experience and achievements for you to review. Thank you for your time and this opportunity. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Related: How to write a software engineer cover letter (with examples)

Cover letter example

Here is an example of a cover letter for a computer science position, written using the above template to inspire your own cover letter writing:

Dear Ms Saunders,

Following the listing for a software engineer role within your company, I wanted to express my eagerness to apply and showcase my appreciation of your company.

I strongly appreciate and respect your mission to provide collaborative, goal-oriented services to both individual and corporate clients. My education, experience and professional background qualify me as a valuable asset to add to your team. Following my graduation, I have worked across a number of engineering roles within the software sector.

I have extensive experience working with the technologies you named in the job listing, such as Java, Kubernetes and Ruby. Throughout my professional career, I also demonstrated my problem-solving abilities and awareness, enabling me to be extremely successful in my field. I am passionate about applying these skills to work with and support your company in the software engineer role. I would be delighted to discuss my application and my qualifications with you further in person.

Attached to this document is my complete CV, which details my professional experience and achievements for you to review. Thank you for your time and this opportunity. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

James Smith

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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