Using Golang to Generate Custom Cover Letters

Writing a cover letter for every application is quite cumbersome. So why not automate the process? That is why I wrote a simple Go application to help with the process. The logic is quite simple as all you have to do is fill out a templated Latex .tex file and then compile it. If you want to go even further, the process for generating a custom cover Email is almost the same. Instead of using a templated out .tex file, you just use a templated out .html file.

For this tutorial, I recommend using the popular Moderncv Classic LaTex template. If you wish to use this LateX template for your resume as well, I recommend moving the cover letter and CV / resume sections in main.tex to seperate files. To do so, you can use the \include LateX command. StackExchange: When should I use \input vs. \include?

Here is an example of a templated out cover letter .tex file

First, you take in the arguments, that are dependent on the position, as command line flags. Read this tutorial on building a simple CLI tool.

Using the provided arguments, you can generate default statements.

You might also want to get the current date. Read Date and time formatting in Go.

The user specified and generated values are then passed into a map which is used to fill in the templated out .tex file.

You then read the templated out text file and when a key attribute in the map is found in the templated out file, you replace it with it’s corresponding value attribute.

Now you want to save the string to a new .tex file.

If you wish to just send a cover Email, you do not have to write to a new file as the string can serve as the body of the Email. As already stated, you should use a templated .html file to generate cover Emails.

Now to build the .pdf file, you will have to call an external command to run pdflatex. Read this tutorial on running shelled out commands in Golang.

If you are an over achiever and would like to be able to automatically send generated cover Emails, the gomail library makes this easy. Read the gomail README.

If you would like to keep track of where you sent your applications out, you can simply write to a log file. I recommend writing to a CSV based log file as they import easily into Microsoft Excel and LibreOffice Calc.

You can also pass an “application” object by reference instead of passing variables by value.

You can find my full implementation with sample template files in this git repository.