- to separate items in a list ("My German, English, French and Russian language skills...")
- after introductory words such as "however", "moreover" and "unfortunately"
- to separate extra information from the rest of the sentence ("During my year at Birmingham University, where I took part in their business programme, I ...")
- following a subordinate clause if you start the sentence with the subordinate clause:
-> After I completed my first degree, I did an internship in ...
-> As I noticed on your website, you will be inviting applications for three trainee positions ...
-> If you require further information, please contact me at ...
Do NOT use commas
- between every clause in a sentence (as you can in German)
- before "that" (= dass) clauses. This is true for both an explicit and an implicit "that".
-> I am convinced that I would be able to ... (no comma before an explicit "that")
-> I am convinced I would be able to ... ("that" is implicit and there is no comma).
Do not use exclamation marks (!) in your cover letter. Exclamation marks are considered to be in bad taste in formal business correspondence.
Apostrophes are used with a genitive "s" to show belonging. The apostrophe comes before the "s" with single nouns and after the "s" with plural nouns:
- The student's job application was complete. (one student)
- The company's employees were very satisfied with their work conditions. (one company)
- The students' examination results were very good. (more than one student)
- The companies' merger was successful. (two companies)
An apostrophe is also used to show that one or more letters are missing (I'm, I'd, I've, It's etc).
Do not confuse "it's", which means "it is" or "it has" (and should in any case be written out in your cover letter) with "its", the possessive adjective (for example, "The company improved its sales in 20XX.").
In UK usage punctuation goes outside quotation marks:
-> A “CV”, which is called a resume in the US, details your qualifications and previous work experience.
In the US, punctuation goes within quotation marks:
-> A “CV,” which is called a resume in the US, details your qualifications and previous work experience.