Cover Letter (take 2)

Hi guys, posted a cover letter some time back and got completely annihiliated for it…

This is my second attempt… and yes it is slightly long. Any suggestions on tweaks and improvements are much appreciated.


Dear Hiring Manager,

Role: XX

I am excited to apply for the above role which I found out about through [XX]. I have enclosed my resume and a link to a sample of my work to give a sense of what I have been currently working on alongside study for Level 3 of the CFA program.

I have a deep and long-standing interest in finance, economics and the share market and I realized that I wanted to pursue investment analysis as a long-term career goal as soon as I qualified an accountant and immediately began my pursuit of the CFA designation.

Graduating from university with a first class degree in Accounting and Finance has always made me naturally comfortable with dissecting and analysing a set of financial statements, yet I enjoyed my time the most whilst studying markets at JP Morgan and Credit Suisse where I was involved in number-crunching, working with excel and other tools to develop models, provide answers and draft written reports. Since leaving my most recent role, I have developed my own website that I update on a daily/weekly basis with global macroeconomic news that keeps me abreast of developing economic trends and sector-specific research in relation to the growing Personal Luxury Goods Market. Sound and diligent analysis will continue to form the basis of my investment decisions, including those I have recently made in London property immediately following the Brexit vote.

It’s important to choose well for a position like X. Aside from being a naturally analytical thinker with obsessive attention to detail, I outline what I can immediately offer your team;

  1. A passionate individual that will constantly seek to enhance professional knowledge and understanding of the industry/economy in order to perform better quality research and analysis that will lead to better investments
  2. Disciplined with a vast amount of experience working late and/or under pressure. This was tested whilst working ‘busy season’ out in Bermuda as I successfully balanced CFA study with 70-80 hour working weeks. I aim to emulate my success at Levels 1 and 2 of the Program by passing the Level 3 exam on first attempt
  3. I am an excellent marketer and salesman with the necessary levels of skill in persuasion in order to be able to effectively convince buy-side managers and internal clients. From telesales manager at Anglian Windows whilst back at college to presently pitching to partners in order to secure joint investment in property, I feel I have always had the warm networking and interpersonal abilities to get people on board with my ideas and I especially work well within a team. My ability to speak fluent French is an extra language skill.

I hope from the above you can gather that I am a highly motivated individual that is willing to do all that is necessary to make investment analysis my full-time occupation and my ultimate ambition is to become a recognised and respected name within my assigned sector. I look forward to discussing with you in more detail about how I can perform in your [position name] role. My phone contact is xxxx, and my email is


Hi. I can tell that you put a lot of work into this letter, and I am sure employers will appreciate that. However, it still needs significant work. I don’t want to be overly critical, but that is how readers will treat your application when they are looking for reasons to filter it out. If you are applying for a research position, it will be crucial that you demonstrate the ability to write gramatically correct and efficient sentences and paragraphs, while communicating a coherent train of thought. To me, a poorly written cover letter would demonstrate that an applicant is unfit for the position.

My general comments are:

  1. It should be much shorter. The wall of text tells the reader that this is going to be a chore to read, rather than an invitation to a direct and useful summary of your experience.

  2. It should be more specific. Take this line for example: “I enjoyed my time the most whilst studying markets at JP Morgan and Credit Suisse where I was involved in number-crunching, working with excel and other tools to develop models, provide answers and draft written reports.” What was your job…? This sentence takes so much space but says essentially nothing. What is this, Obama speech? Get to the point.

  3. Most of the sentences should be rewritten with simpler language and shorter sentences. This would actually make the letter more sophisticated, since it will be more efficient. Let’s look at this sentence again:

"Graduating from university with a first class degree in Accounting and Finance has always made me naturally comfortable with dissecting and analysing a set of financial statements, yet I enjoyed my time the most whilst studying markets at JP Morgan and Credit Suisse where I was involved in number-crunching, working with excel and other tools to develop models, provide answers and draft written reports. "

This is a nightmare to read. It is long, rambling, and is grammatically incorrect. Whenever you see a sentence that extends to three lines or longer, consider if it can be broken into two or even three sentences.

  1. You have too much random shit that no one cares about. No one gives a crap that you bought a condo in London during Brexit.

  2. There is so much self praise and self evaluation in this letter. “I am an excellent marketer”, “first class degree”, and other stuff like that. This is for the reader to decide. Stick to the facts, and when you need to state your opinion, phrase it as such: “I believe this makes me a good fit for this position”, “I hope to achieve Level 80 in WoW”, etc.


Here is a very basic version that I am writing in a few minutes. Let’s assume you are applying for the position of Generic Analyst Drone, since we need some basis for writing anything here. If anyone comments on this, I can explain my writing choices and why I decided to include/remove various details of the letter. Forgive me if this is not that polished. I am free form writing, basically, so it’s not the best. The elements of an effective letter, however, are present in this writing.

123 Sesame Street, NY Address

212 555 3456

Dear Sir or Madam,

I’m excited to apply for the position of Generic Analyst Drone, which I found through a pop-up add on PornHub. Currently, I perform a similar function as an Financial Statement Enthusiast at Ponzi Unlimited, where I have worked for the past three years. I have had a great experience at Ponzi and am grateful for the talented team that I have the opportunity to work with. However, after some consideration, I’ve decided to try to transition to a role that focuses more on writing and fundamental analysis, which I am most interested in and where I have had the most success so far.

As a Financial Statement Enthusiast, I perform bottom up analysis of financial companies and provide detailed investment write ups to porfolio managers and executives at Ponzi. Over the past few years, I’ve developed several tools and models for measuring key financial ratios, and these tools have since been adopted by the broader investment group. A year ago, I was given the responsibility of supervising a small group of junior associates, as well as training them to adopt more independent positions in the company.

Prior to working at Ponzi, I was a Spreadsheet Fetishist at JP Morgan, where I built automated processes for filtering investment recommendations at the Private Portfolio Group. Many of these programs are still used by the group today. I accepted an internship position at JP Morgan, and later a full time offer, while enrolled as an undergraduate student in Accounting at UT San Antonio. Today, I try to give back to the university community by participating in an alumni mentoring program, where I counsel students who aspire towards careers in finance. In my remaining free time, I am studying for the CFA Level 3 exam in June.

Thank you very much for your consideration. In addition to the attached resume, I’ve included a sample research report and a series of glamorous headshots, which I hope can provide you with some idea of my writing and fashion style. I understand that your time is valuable, so feel free to disregard this additional material. In case it was not obvious, I’m quite interested in this position and would be delighted at the opportunity to discuss it further.


Boner McWood

I always skip cover letter unless it is strictly required because:

  1. Ain’t nobody got the time to read the wall of text

  2. More you write, the higher chance you will make a mistake

DannyBoy, I am curious. Has this cover letter been getting you any interviews? From what I can see you have sound experience and you have sold yourself reasonably well though as Ohai has pointed out I would avoid too much self praise and stick to the facts i.e. what was the results of you be being an excellent marketer? Let the results speak for themselves. Also, I assume since you posting again I assume you are struggling to find interviews. Is this correct? However I would say though you are taking the right approach and sooner or later you will start to see results

Yep, I haven’t actually put myself out there just yet - just wanted to see what the community thought first. Thank you so much guys for your feedback… It’s been tough, but I’m pretty determined now to wedge that foot in the door!


I was genuinely curious and going to give you pointers but honestly after the first 3 lines it was a turnoff.

I know the art of writing formally is dying but you professionally write exactly like you speak. I’ve noticed this in Brits so it’s not uncommon but you need to strike a balance between a) demonstrating your flair for writing, and b) using professional terms. Generally this is still a conservative business and using such colloquial terms may stand you out in a bad way. Another good reason for writing more professionally is that it is succinct and less wordy. Remember the overall objective of the letter is first and foremost get them to finish reading it, and secondary, to stand out.

Focus the message, then cut, condense and polish.

edit: I agree with less-than-subtle self-praise but i think “first class” degree is a term to note graduating honours in the UK

Thanks everyone.

May I ask, why you left your current role? This might be raising some eyebrows with employers. Also, I would not have thought it too difficult to find a job in the UK since the market for finance is so large in London. I would also say dont worry too much about keep changing your cover letter but get out there. Speak to recruitment agencies and go to CFA Events there must be a ton of these in London. This will help build a network and give you some useful input for interviews

It was temp role at jpm and both of my most recent roles have been back office product control. Prior to that it was pure Big 4 audit. Yes, the market is big, but is changing now since a lot of the banks are shifting away towards elsewhere in europe following the brexit vote. Thanks for the input. How would you say i find out about these cfa networking events ie. will it be posted on the CFA main website? I kind of wanted to get this cover letter down first, as I feel coming from a very accounting-based background, it will make up a significant contribution towards my applications :slight_smile:

OK, I understand. CFA UK events are listed under There are a number of events from networking to information sessions. I guess it remains to be seen how the brexit vote will effect financial services employment in London. But I find it difficult to imagine that all the firms will move en masse to Europe

Dan - similar background with experience in Big 4 in BDA (funds & reins.) for several years and London based for some time.

Drafting cover letters is no fun, and its an incredibly iterative process - you need to be comfortable with that. Every iteration will have things you can tweek and improve so don’t expect to have a perfect CL as it’s also dependant on the recruiter’s own quirks.

One general comment I would add is that on a 5 second scan your CL is very me-centric. It’s all about me-me-me. Take the legwork out of the recruiters day by linking what you’ve done to the responsibilities of the job description to show you can ACTUALLY do the job, not that you can be taught how to do it. You mention your blog far too late in the para that I’d stop reading, you want it to pop out so either make a new para or something. Also offer to share some of your research you’ve done, again, make it specific!

Look, I’ve had to read over hundreds of CVs and CLs and if the candidate doesn’t tick the expected boxes (which you dont) then their CL really has to pop, and it has to pop quick. I understand you are eager and motivated to switch careers so take it a step further and put yourself in the shoes of the person reading you resume - someone who is very time strapped and has hundreds of candidate vying for that job - why would they want to talk to you? Tailer your CLs through that lens and you’ll be golden if there’s an opportunity.

A few specific comments:

" JP Morgan and Credit Suisse where I was involved in number-crunching, working with excel and other tools to develop models" - I probably wouldn’t use those words.

“goal as soon as I qualified AS an CHARTERED accountant and”

Thanks Zubbo. I too actually worked in Bermz auditing reinsurers, so nice to hear from someone else that also had the pleasure of enjoying this part of the world.

I have re-drafted thanks to a few members on this forum. Comments always appreciated;

Dear sir or madam,

I’m excited to apply for the position of X, which I found through X. Currently, I perform a similar function as a freelance Investment Analyst, carrying out my own research and searching for potential opportunities for investment. Equity research – bottom up analysis in particular – has always been an area of great interest to me, and the position at [Company X] would be an outstanding opportunity for me to further my career in this field, while learning from a reputable coverage team.

In terms of professional background, I am a qualified accountant, and am grateful to have been given the opportunity to work within talented teams in my two most recent roles at Credit Suisse and JP Morgan. As a Product Control Analyst, I quickly developed a strong awareness of the wider macroeconomic environment and how market moves translate into economic P&L generated.

My most valuable contributions to my teams consisted of becoming a key point of contact for market-related news, charged with educating and assisting my colleagues in understanding how developing market events were shifting the value of their traders’ exposures. Aside from my main duties, I personally took it upon myself to use various research resources and develop my own excel tools, that would help smoothen our daily dealings with the traders and transform the weekly reporting process. Through analysing country-specific global economic data, fixed income research, movements in credit curves and emerging market news, I received favourable feedback from my manager and seniors within other Groups, whilst being personally commended by the Head of Product Control at CS for the additional value being derived from my reports in assessing group performance. To my understanding, these tools have since been adopted by the broader control group.

Rather than immediately looking for another job in accounting, I have taken the opportunity to indulge my interest in fundamental investment analysis, using a personally developed research approach. Since last year, I have been working on a website that I update regularly with global macroeconomic news and sector specific research in relation to the growing Personal Luxury Goods Market. I am in the process of applying my analysis to a universe of around 20 large-cap sector-leading stocks, building proprietary cash flow models, and attempting to identify attractive stock investments. In addition, I manage a portfolio of newly acquired rental properties in London and have invested some time in developing a private tax client base; my background in corporate accounting was useful in developing a robust excel model that can be adapted to different client circumstances. My remaining free time is spent studying for the CFA Level 3 examination in June.

Thank you very much for your consideration. Together with the attached resume, I have included a sample research report, which I hope can provide you with some general idea of my analytical approach and writing style. In case of any doubt, I am quite interested in this position and would be delighted at the opportunity to discuss it further.