Volume 4, Issue 3  December 2021, pp. 132–148          Download PDF

Regular Articles
Constraints imposed on the creative cover letter writing by digital online job advertisements

Debbie Guan Eng Ho https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9673-26141, Alex Henry https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4835-57032

1 Universiti Brunei Darussalam, BRUNEI debbie.guan@ubd.edu.bn
2 Independent researcher, AUSTRALIA alex.henry470@gmail.com

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v4n3.513


Genre studies on the job cover letter (letter of application) have focused mainly on linguistic analyses of the genre in terms of the generic structure and linguistic strategies commonly used by applicants. These studies have taken the view that the cover letter was an open-ended opportunity for favourable self-promotion. However, to date no study has provided a detailed description of the context in which these letters were written. This study examines one essential contextual aspect, the job advertisement, and its impact on the cover letter. It aims to determine if the cover letter is still of major significance in the application process in the digital era. Based on a genre-based analysis of sixty Australian-based online advertisements and a case study, it is found that the open-ended and creative cover letter may no longer be the preeminent genre of the job application process.


© Debbie Guan Eng Ho, Alex Henry

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Ho, D., & Henry, A. (2021). Constraints imposed on the creative cover letter writing by digital online job advertisements. Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(3), 132–148. https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v4n3.513

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