If you are taking a shot at a career in Belgium, a cover letter tailored according to the local standards will significantly increase your chances.

Belgians are known for being conservative so you must pay attention to the way you communicate your achievements. In other words, remain humble and make sure your language is straightforward and concise without any going overboard on descriptions (otherwise the employer may think of you as being arrogant).

Style and format

Like with the CV, the language you write the cover letter in is also very important. If you apply for a job in Brussels and you are not sure, choose to write your cover letter in French or English. Although the language should adhere to the job description, it is also convenient to search the company online and read a little bit about it.

The cover letter should always be typed on a A4 page format, although in Wallonia you may be asked to send in a handwritten version. Do not go into too much detail - you have the CV for that - and try not to exceed one page. Usually, three paragraphs are enough. However, if you feel like you have more to say, insert paragraphs between word blocks longer than seven lines so the employer quickly can scan the content.

With all the details in mind, you can start writing the text by typing your contact details in the upper corner of the page. Your contact details should remain as accurate as possible. Shortly describe in the introduction what position are you applying for and where you found the job announcement.

The body of your letter should sum up your reasons for applying with a brief review of the main qualities that make you the perfect candidate for the job. Keeping your language relatively sober, conclude your cover letter with a formal request of a possible interview meeting.

It is very interesting how Belgians use a reverse application process where the CV weights more than the cover letter compared to other job markets where the cover letter is the element that makes the difference between the candidates. It is up to you if you can use this to your  advantage.

However, when applying for a job in Belgium, always remember to remain modest no matter how great you are.