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Write a cover letter

Write a cover letter

The cover letter is going to bring you to an interview. It should show that you understand the job requirements, what the employer wants, and that you have it. Make it clear why you want the job!

Before you start writing

Before you start writing

  • Read the job advertisement carefully. It is important that you know whom you address.
  • Save the job posting. It might be taken off the website, and you want to the review the posting if you are invited to an interview.
  • A well-written cover letter will make you stand out, and will open the door to the next step - the interview.
  • Write the cover letter in the same language as the job advertisement.
  • Customise each cover letter for the specific position. A copy of previous written cover letters is bad form. Be specific and personal, and demonstrate that you have done research on the specific company and the specific position.
  • Keep your cover letter within one page, and make it easy to read.
  • Try to use a precise language. Avoid vague or excess words that do not provide additional information. Also, avoid sentences in parenthesis.
  • Each country has its own traditions for writing a cover letter. In Norway, the wording might be less formal than you are used to. However, a good tip is to try to have the similar wording as in the job advertisement.

The elements in a cover letter

1. Opening paragraph

Mention how you heard about the job, especially if you are acting on a personal referral. Express the reason for applying for that particular job.

Tips Opening Paragraph

Ask yourself why you want the job. Try to avoid standard reasons. Rather make the necessary research to figure out why the specific position is interesting for you.

  1. Directly:

As marketing director for Blabla, I had the responsibility for administration of social media. By introducing new marketing strategies, I doubled the number of followers at Instagram and Twitter. This experience will be useful in Digiwords current focus on social media.

  1. Express enthusiasm:

I was pleased to see that you want a new co-worker! I have been interested in development of new web solutions for quite some time. This was also the objective of my master’s thesis. Silba AS has reputation for being an excellent company to learn about customisations of IT-solutions. Therefore, I want to apply for the position as a developer at your company.

  1. Name-dropping:

It was with pleasure I heard that you are looking for an editorial secretary at Better publishers! Last week I talked to your Director of communications, Berit Olsen who informed me about this position.

  1. Updated:

Lately, I have read about Valziv AS new cooperation with Fjordbeit AS in Economist News. After reading the articles, I was inspired to ask for job opportunities at your company.

The main part

2. The main part

Education, work experience and personal skills. Give specific information of how your skills and experience relate directly to the new position. Always provide examples. Only write about topics that demonstrate your match with the company’s needs. Your job is to figure out what the employer wants, and to make it clear that you meet the challenges.

Examples main part

  1. I have previous experience with developing web applications in Linux and Apache through my summer job at the company IT-Flow.
  2. From my master’s thesis, I have experience working structured by handling a large amount of collected data.
  3. I thrive in a team environment, as I did working as responsible for arrangements in the student organisation at my study programme. I worked in a team of four people responsible to contact employers and arrange career fairs.
  4. From my experience at the restaurant Good Food, I have learned that I handle stressful situations well.

Closing Paragraph

3. Closing Paragraph

The last phrase of your cover letter should reiterate your enthusiasm and remind them why you are a good candidate for the job.

Tips Closing Paragraph

  • What you can contribute to in the position, your experience that is useful for the company.
  • That you consider the company the best place to learn about the work tasks or your area of interest.

To write an open application

To write an open application

A cover letter for an unadvertised job requires that you make a strong pitch for yourself and describe what you can offer to the employer. Start with finding out what the company need. Check their website and call them to check if they want to receive open applications. Your letter should explain the reason for your interest in the organisation. Identify your most relevant skills or experiences and explain why you would be an asset to the company.


  • Do your research! Consider which position is correct for you in this business and how can you contribute to the company.
  • Find out if the company accepts open applications. Look at their website or contact the company directly. To whom can you talk to or send the open application?
  • Try to talk to someone who has knowledge about your discipline or can make decisions in a relevant department. Ask what skills they are especially interested in: These are tips for your customised cover letter! If the conversation goes well, why not ask if you can refer to it in the cover letter.
  • Express your motivation for that particular job, why do you want to work in that specific company. What skills do you have that would benefit the company?
  • Follow up after a couple of weeks. Check if they have received your application. Appear polite, interested and not fussy.
  • Consider social media for job searching.

Cover letter for academic positions

Cover letter for academic positions

Carefully consider the research at the target department and current emerging research fields, state-of-the art technologies and novel applications. The focus of your cover letter for an academic position should be about communicating the relevance and depth of your academic experience, as well as how you will contribute in the research field.


Include in the cover letter:

  1. Focus on the motivation and interest in conducting research and elaborate on current research topics. Demonstrate why you want to go into research in this field, be specific.
  2. State areas of expertise and indicate briefly specific aims of your future research program. Often, you have to include an additional 2-10 pages about own research ideas based on the project description in the listing.
  3. Establish the foundation on which you will base your research and define novel aspects of your research. Describe how your aims align with current research initiatives in the department.
  4. Address requirements and desired skills outlined in the job posting. Demonstrate your productivity, as well as key scientific or technical strengths, with supporting details.
  5. Give concrete examples to support your assertions about your strengths.
  6. If the position includes teaching, emphasize interest, commitment, and experience in teaching.

Check if your current supervisor can give you some tips for the field of research. The cover letter should normally be one page long. Some institutions accept two pages.

Tips for job seekers

Job vacancies sites2

Job vacancy sites

Whether you want an internship, part-time job or a full-time job, you might find English speaking opportunities in Norway here:



All our job search courses are held as webinars. Find information about course content and registration in the drop-down menu below.


In this free course for students at NTNU, we share our best tips for writing a good CV and job application/cover letter. You will get input on both layout, structure and content, and we discuss CVs and job applications for the Norwegian labour market. A good job application maximizes your chances of getting to the job interview. 
Why not start on your CV and your job application before the course? Then you may ask any questions you find you have in the webinar. Find tips on how to write a CV and a job application/cover letter. 

It will be possible to submit questions via chat, and they will be answered during the webinar. 

The webinar is in English and for NTNU students only. 

1st of February at 12:30 p.m

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29th of February at 12:30 p.m

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Are you an international student looking for a job in Norway?  

If you need some advice on where and how to find relevant jobs but are unsure how things work in a Norwegian setting and context, join our free webinar. Here we will go through and discuss several different strategies for finding the jobs, and how to approach prospective employers/companies. 

It will be possible to submit questions via chat, and they will be answered during the webinar. The webinar does not address topics like work or resident permits, or other legal issues. 

The webinar is in English and for NTNU students only. 


15th of February at 12:30 p.m

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14th of March at 12:30 p.m

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Have you been invited to a job interview in Norway? Or are you just waiting to hear back regarding your job applications, anticipating an invitation for a job interview any day now? 

In this free webinar we share our best tips for what to expect in an interview, the most common interview questions and how to best prepare yourself.   

We will answer your questions during the webinar and recommend that you check out this website for advice for job interviews prior to the webinar. 

The webinar is in English and for NTNU students only. 


8th of February at 12:30 p.m

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7th of march at 12:30 p.m

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e-course cover letter


How to write a cover letter

Texting in English



  1. The length is no more than one page
  2. My focus is on my motivation for the position and the needs of the company
  3. My skills is linked to work tasks and requirements
  4. I include examples to illustrate my skills
  5. Others and I myself have performed proofreading
  6. I have deleted sentences not relevant for the position

Quick CV check

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We offer a free video feedback on your CV  in 15 minutes.

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Counselling for NTNU students

Career counselling

For current students, applicants and recent NTNU graduates. The career service at NTNU Career are for students only. PhD and Post Doc are to be considered employees at NTNU.

Book free 45 minutes counselling for:

  • Feedback on CV / cover letter
  • Choosing a career path
  • How to map your competence
  • The job search process

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 Contact 

Contact for employers:

NTNU Bridge

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