I redesigned my resume using InDesign and this modern resume tutorial.

However, I'm wondering whether I need to redesign my cover letter as well since it might look odd if I email my beautiful resume (pdf) and a bland cover letter created with Word. My question is, should I also create a cover letter in InDesign as well? I'm not a designer. I'm applying for a programmer position. Thanks in advance.

  • BTW, the top and bottom of the above resume got cut off. It is supposed to have 4 circles at the top, and a footer with two nice circles. – Anthony Aug 28 '13 at 18:00

If emailing... the email is your cover letter. It should NOT be designed. Well, at least not to any real degree. I, personally, prefer plain text emails, so if I get an HTML email.... it's ignored as spam for the most part.

The purpose of a cover letter is to get the potential employer to look at your resume. If you add the cover letter as part of your PDF, you've completely ruined the purpose of the letter to begin with.

Put the body of the cover letter in the actual email you are sending, not in a PDF.

There is generally nothing wrong with including the cover letter in your PDF in addition to putting it in the body of the email. But you should not expect anyone receiving an email to open a PDF to view your cover letter.

  • +1 Wow, I did not know that haha. I've been emailing both my resume and cover letter (basically a 2-page word document) all the time. Thanks! – Anthony Aug 28 '13 at 0:47
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    @Scott Thank you! I've been saying this for years, only to have every HR air head and ancient career services (at school) lady tell me that I still need to attach a cover letter, that not doing so is extremely unprofessional. I say that doing so is the activity of an insane person. I generally write two, maybe three (it ends up being this much or so, I don't decide ahead of time how much to write; I write, then decide when I've made my points) paragraphs about myself and my interest in the position in the email, attach a resume, and done. – Eric Aug 28 '13 at 13:18
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    @Anthony HR and career services people in my experience seem to be ironically out of touch. Their expertise is generally centered around obtuse formalities and everything they say can't be questioned without being thrown into the thought ending cliche of unprofessional. I usually find it strange speaking to one, and being corrected on what's best by someone who's never really had a career of their own. Unless HR counts as a career, but I don't think it does. All that said, the cover letter can be taken care of in your email by writing about yourself and your interest in the job. – Eric Aug 28 '13 at 13:37
  • +1 @Eric Thank you very much. You comments were very help. I'm about to apply for a job and I'm really trying my best to do the right things (like create a website with my own domain name, a portfolio, a github account, a decent resume etc). I tried to upvote you but got a strange error saying I can't mark a comment more than once. Anyway, thanks again – Anthony Aug 28 '13 at 17:57

Adding to Scott's answer, sometimes (if you are applying through a portal that saves your information, for example) you might be asked to upload a cover letter file, separate from your CV.

In both cases I think the best option is to go for simple. Depending on what your CV looks like, you could re-use some styles from your resume (titles, body font). But I wouldn't design a cover letter, the attention in this case should be in the content and not the container.

  • +1 Oh yes thank you! Thanks for reminding me. I forgot that there is one disadvantage to emailing pdf is that some employers use automated systems to copy your skills and they cant do this with a pdf. – Anthony Aug 28 '13 at 0:44

The other answers have covered quite a bit. However, if you do end up needing a cover letter, I would suggest that you go for something that matches your resume design. In a way, you are creating your personal branding. You want potential employers to remember you and often continuity of design can be beneficial. With that being said, you do want to keep the design simple and not at all overpowering. Also, if you are sending an email as the cover letter, I agree with @Scott in that you shouldn't be designing the email, as that can quickly become a deterring factor for the potential employer.

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