Writing A Punchy Junior Software Developer Cover Letter: A Case Study.

The following is a real cover letter from a real application. I decided to publish the feedback that I gave in order to help out other Junior developers. From the original text and the suggestions you should be able to see how to make a cover letter more punchy.

Specific improvements

The following are excerpts from the cover letter, followed by feedback.
I am a self-taught web developer since 2016. As you can see from my attached CV, I was a full-time student during that year. I was just focusing on my learning, practices and building my skills. Some of my skills includes HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, Ruby, Bootstrap and I am on my way to add API and HTTP requests.
Keep it brief I like that they mention technologies specifically. However it is a little soft and lacks punch. To do that, it could be re-written as something more like: “I am a self-taught web developer. Some of my skills include HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, Ruby and Bootstrap and I’m currently studying API and HTTP requests.”
Also, I can assist my fellow colleagues and mentor interns whenever I am ready. I have some work experience in mentorship and I was doing some design mentoring when I was a regular attendee with Codecademy’s Katathons and Hackathons.
Be bold – You can see repeated use of the word some in this paragraph. By omitting the word “some”, it immediately makes the paragraph stronger.
 
Emphasise teaching Companies are going to love you if you love to teach, this experience is great. I would omit the first sentence and state that you have mentorship experience and you enjoy passing on knowledge. e.g. “I enjoy mentoring and sharing my knowledge with others as this tests my own ability and helps the team deliver. I have work experience in mentorship as a design mentor at Codecademy’s Katathons and Hackathons.”

Overall suggestions

Emphasise self teaching – The candidate had a strong self taught background but they didn’t emphasise it enough. They could have really shown their autonomy and motivation.
 
People buy why – By including your why you do what you do, you’ll have a much bigger impact. It’s cheesy, but I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek’s golden circle. People buy why you do, not what you do. So emphasise why, then how, then what.
 
Make it about them – Don’t forget to include references to the employer specifically. If you like some of their products, say so. If you have ideas about how to improve their products, say so. Be as specific as possible.

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