How to Write a Cover Letter
A cover letter , also known as an application letter, is a personalized letter from you to the person overseeing the hiring process for the job you’re applying for.
A cover letter is not the same as a résumé . While a résumé provides a clear, point-by-point map of your career thus far, a cover letter tells the personal side of your career story. Ideally, your cover letter and résumé complement each other, with each document answering any questions the recruiter has about your skills and work experience after reading the other.
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What should a cover letter include?
Make sure your application letter includes all of the following:
- The position for which you’re applying
- How you found the job opening
- Why you want to work for the company
- Why you’re applying to the specific position you’re seeking
- The skills, experience, and work-related personality traits that make you a great fit for the role
Mentioning the position you’re applying for and how you found it is simple—just state your interest in the job title in your opening sentence:
- “I’m writing in response to the content writer position posted on Indeed.”
When you talk about why you want to work at the company, you can’t just write “because I need a job.” Even if it’s true, it does nothing to make you stand out as a well-qualified candidate for the role. This part of your cover letter should communicate how your specific values and career goals fit the company’s mission. You might say something like:
- “As a lifelong animal rights activist, I’m excited for the opportunity to work with an organization that directly benefits threatened species.”
Your cover letter also needs to talk about how and why you’re qualified for the position for which you’re applying. Sentences that communicate these points can look like this:
- “During my years teaching English in Japan, I developed the classroom management skills, cultural sensitivity, and linguistic knowledge base necessary to succeed as an ESL teacher.”
- “I have worked in customer service for the past seven years. During that time, I’ve become an expert in clear communication, problem-solving, and guiding customers to the products best suited for them.”
Beyond sharing why you’re interested in working for the specific employer and why you’re qualified for the role, include a little bit about yourself and how this shines through at work:
- “I’m a natural organizer. In my past roles, I’ve helped my colleagues increase their productivity by introducing them to my favorite organization tools and strategies.”
Is a cover letter necessary?
With most job applications, you’ve probably seen the phrase “cover letter optional.”
But is it really optional? The stats on whether a cover letter will actually help you get a job or not are mixed. According to the 2016 Jobvite Recruiter Nation report , 74 percent of recruiters do not consider a cover letter when assessing whether to hire a job applicant. However, 90 percent of executives from recruiting firm Robert Half reported that they don’t only consider cover letters in the hiring process, but that cover letters are invaluable .
The truth is, cover letters are more important in certain industries or for certain roles than they are in others. Familiarize yourself with your industry’s norms for cover letters, which you can do by talking to more senior professionals in your industry and reviewing job postings for positions like the one you’re seeking. If the job posting says a cover letter is required, write a cover letter. And if it doesn’t, write one anyway. The only times when you shouldn’t write a cover letter are when the job posting explicitly says not to send one and when the application process doesn’t allow you to provide one.
When in doubt, it’s always better to be overprepared than underprepared. While the thought of submitting a cover letter that nobody reads can be annoying, missing out on a great opportunity because you didn’t write a cover letter can leave you kicking yourself.
How to write a good cover letter
When you apply for a job, it’s extremely rare to be the only applicant. In nearly all cases, you’re one of a group, potentially hundreds, of applicants.
That means your cover letter is one of potentially hundreds the recruiter will read . This is why it’s so critical that you write a cover letter that excels in the following:
- Grabs the recruiter’s attention
- Effectively communicates why you’re an ideal candidate for the role
- Makes you stand out from the crowd
Remember, your goal with a cover letter isn’t to give the recruiter a recap of your work history (your résumé should accomplish that and you don’t want to be redundant), but to intrigue them enough to offer you an interview .
Research and brainstorm first
Before you start writing your cover letter, familiarize yourself with the role and its requirements. Read the job listing carefully and pull out the most important information, like which of your specific skills to highlight in your cover letter and how your experiences have prepared you for this role. Then, spend some time on the company’s website to get a strong sense of the company’s culture, values, and mission.
Once you thoroughly understand everything the role entails, brainstorm the most effective way to communicate your suitability for the role in your cover letter. Brainstorming is a key part of the writing process . As you brainstorm, determine all the possible topics to include in your cover letter and ways to emphasize your competency for the role.
Personalize the greeting
The first thing the recruiter or hiring manager will notice in your cover letter is whether you addressed it to them personally.
It’s not always easy to find the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s name, but it’s always worth your time to do so. If their name isn’t listed in the job posting, take some time to find it. You can likely find it on the company’s website. If that doesn’t yield results, try LinkedIn.
If you absolutely cannot find a relevant name, a generic greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear [Company Name] Team” is acceptable. But do this as a last resort—it’s always best to directly address the person who will be making the hiring decision.
Grab the reader’s attention
Just like a book needs to grab its reader’s attention within the first few pages, your cover letter needs to grab attention within the first sentence or two. Remember, the recruiter is going to be reading lots of cover letters —cover letters that will contain pretty similar content. If your cover letter doesn’t captivate them from the get-go, you could end up getting overlooked.
You can grab the reader’s attention by starting with an interesting fact about yourself:
- “At the last two universities I worked at, I ended up playing Santa at the holiday party. Maybe it’s because I’m jolly, maybe it’s because I love cookies, but I like to think it’s because I spearheaded the most successful alumni giving campaigns each year.”
Or you can highlight a unique way one of your job skills has come in handy:
- “As a project manager, I’m no stranger to connecting people to keep projects moving forward. But I never imagined I’d be managing an effort to get a beached pontoon boat moving forward—until my company fishing trip last year.”
Just make sure your sizzling opener relates to your fitness for the role you’re seeking.
Showcase your most relevant strengths and skills
You’ve probably been told to “show, not tell” in writing assignments before. Your cover letter is no different. Instead of listing your strengths and skills (remember, your résumé does that), tell stories that show these assets in action.
Use the same techniques you used to grab your reader’s attention in your opening lines. For example, you may highlight a major career accomplishment by first describing the circumstances that led to you taking action and achieving a specific result.
Anecdotes like these demonstrate why you’re the perfect person for the job.
Make it as much about the employer as it is about you
This one can be tricky. The key here is to not simply write a letter about yourself, but communicate the benefits you offer the employer as you do so.
Here’s where your initial research into the company’s culture pays off. The person (or team) tasked with filling the open position isn’t just looking for somebody who can do the work; they’re looking for somebody who fits into the existing company structure and culture. By writing your cover letter in a way that mirrors their brand style, you’re communicating that you understand who they are and the kind of person they’re looking for. If the copy on their company website has an understated, simple style, stick to similarly simple, straightforward writing in your cover letter. If they have more of a hip, edgy feel, you have room to go outside the box a bit in your cover letter.
If a current employee at the company referred you to the role, mention that in your cover letter. But don’t just mention their name—include a sentence or two about why they specifically reached out to you and recommended you pursue the role.
Show your enthusiasm about the role
Throughout your cover letter, use language that communicates your passion for the kind of work you do. Your word choice plays a big role in shaping how recruiters perceive your attitude toward your work experience and your enthusiasm for the role.
When you’re highlighting your past achievements, use specific language and action words. Take a look at the difference between these two sentences:
- I was a manager to a team of four salespeople.
- I ran a nimble sales department.
Or consider the difference between these:
- After sixteen years as a bank teller, I decided I’d rather be an electrician.
- After more than a decade as a bank teller, I pivoted to a new career and began my electrical apprenticeship.
With words like “ran,” “nimble,” and “pivoted,” you paint a more dynamic picture than you do with words like “was a manager” and “decided.”
Here’s another easy way to make your writing more dynamic: use the active voice . Instead of “under my leadership, 50 loans were prepared,” say “under my leadership, our team prepared 50 loans.”
When you use the active voice, you’re owning your accomplishments.
Ask for the interview
You’ve also got to ask for an interview. Do this in your last paragraph before signing off. Asking for an interview directly can be awkward, but it’s a crucial part of your application letter. Here are a few ways to phrase the interview request:
- “I would like to meet in person to discuss this position further. Please contact me at [insert phone number] or [insert email address].”
- “I’m looking forward to meeting with you to discuss my fit for this role further.”
- “I hope you’ll consider me for this position. Please contact me at [insert phone number] or [insert email address] to schedule an interview.”
Although you need to be direct, avoid presenting yourself as presumptuous or entitled in this section of your cover letter.
When it’s time for your sign-off, keep it simple. Stick with one of the basics, like “sincerely” or “best.”
Cover letter dos and don’ts
When you’re writing your cover letter, keep these important points in mind:
Do keep it objective. You’re not asking them to hire you, you’re demonstrating why you’re the best candidate for the role.
Don’t use overly formal, stiff, or complex language. Although a cover letter should never include slang or otherwise overly casual language, it should feel friendly and personable. Grammarly’s tone detector can help you get your professional vocabulary and phrasing just right.
Do have another person read your cover letter and give you constructive feedback before you send it to the recruiter. This can be your partner, your friend, your parent, or anybody else who knows you well enough. These close readers can help you determine where to add or remove information, how to accurately showcase your achievements , and that your application letter covers everything necessary for the specific position you’re seeking.
Don’t reuse the same cover letter for every job. Your cover letters can be similar and you can even use one cover letter as a template for others, but recruiters know when they’re reading generic cover letters. Show each recruiter that you read the job description carefully and you’re genuinely interested in the job by writing them a personalized cover letter that specifically addresses the role and company.
Do work keywords into your cover letter. You can find these keywords in the job listing. Typically, they’re the job title, department, industry, and specific tasks. Many large companies use software to screen applicants and these programs look for specific keywords in cover letters.
Don’t write a long, rambling cover letter. Keep it under a page in length with short, manageable paragraphs. Grammarly Premium includes formatting suggestions, like identifying when you’ve written a hard-to-follow paragraph, and engagement suggestions, which can help you rewrite sentences to better hold the reader’s attention.
Alongside your résumé, a cover letter is how you can communicate your work experience and skills to each potential employer. Invest in your career and increase your likelihood of scoring the interview by mastering the art of the cover letter.
This article was originally written in 2013 by Karen Hertzberg. It’s been updated to include new information.
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How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job Application
Including a cover letter with you job application takes a little extra time, but it can mean the difference between getting an interview and your CV being discarded.
Learn how to write an effective cover letter as part of your job application to maximise your chances of getting an interview.
When applying for a job, more often than not, you will need to include a cover letter. Consider your cover letter your sales page, giving an introduction to yourself and an invitation to the recruiter to read your CV or application. It’s not always clear whether you need a cover letter or not when studying a job advert, so if you’re unsure, always include one. A good cover letter could be the difference between the hiring manager reading your CV, or discarding your application and moving on.
Get your facts together
Writing a cover letter for the first time can seem a daunting prospect. With so much that could be included, it’s hard to know where to start. The best place is by getting your facts together and deciding what you want to include.
Think of all your accomplishments to date that are relevant to the role and make a list. Try not to use anything that comes directly from your CV. Your cover letter is the place to elaborate on the points in your CV to provide more detail and to really highlight what you can do, rather than repeating points.
Also do some research on the company. Find out what its values are, its mission, and any defining features. This will help you tailor your experience and skills to the company culture and give you some background to explain why you are a good fit.
Address the criteria
It’s important that you don’t include anything and everything. Less is more with a job application cover letter. You will be scored on how well you meet the selection criteria, so use that as a guide for what to include. Link everything you write back to the criteria, and try to find relevant examples where possible.
If you don’t have an industry related example to hit a criterium, use something else, but make it very clear what it is demonstrating. There are many ways to demonstrate soft skills. For example, learning a language can demonstrate your communication skills, and being part of a sports team can show that you know how to work well with others.
When you know what you want to include, put a plan in place for the structure of the letter, and writing it will be much easier.
Start with a strong opening
If you want a recruiter to read the entirety of your cover letter and consequently move on to your CV, the opening is what you need to focus on. You want to draw the reader in and impress them enough to keep their attention. This means addressing the letter properly and giving a clear reason for writing.
In the case of a job application cover letter, you will need to state what you are applying for and what makes you the ideal candidate. This will be covered further in the bulk of the letter, but the first paragraph can be a summary of your experience, skills, and accomplishments, linked clearly to why this makes you the ideal candidate and giving a taste of what’s to come in the rest of the letter.
Your research on the company will be beneficial in helping you to tailor the cover letter for a job application. Generic cover letters don’t do well. Job application cover letters that have been tailored to the role perform best. Aside from ensuring you evidence how you meet the job criteria, you can also make it clear that you know the company you’re applying to and value what it does.
Mention something in your cover letter that particularly draws you to the position or company and aligns with your values, experience, or way of working to show that you have done your research and have picked this company specifically as a result.
Be confident about your achievements
The body of your cover letter is where you highlight your relevant achievements in relation to the role you’re applying for. Don’t be vague here. Clear, evidence-based examples do best when communicating your value, so be confident in citing what you’ve accomplished throughout your career and how that relates to what you can do in the role in question.
To back up your accomplishments, use numbers to really highlight your results. Rather than stating you increased a company’s ROI, how much did you increase it by? If you have a percentage value, this adds clout to your examples. Similarly, use figures when talking about how many people you manage or how many delegates you got through the door at an event you organised. Adding a measurable gives your achievements more weight.
To ensure that you're really tailoring your job application cover letter, it’s helpful to use the job description to pick out keywords. Using the exact wording used in the advert, job description, and person specification, will mean you have the best chance of passing ATS screening systems, which scan your application for keywords to determine whether you are a good match.
Be positive and enthusiastic
Give your cover letter for a job a positive, enthusiastic tone. Use future tense to show how you will use your skills and experience to benefit the company you’re applying to and show how keen you are to take on a new role and new challenges.
If you are lacking experience in some areas, don’t highlight it. Always find a way to compensate for it, without implying it is a negative factor. For example, if you don’t have experience in project management, but you have a qualification in Scrum, write about your qualification and all the benefits that brings, without pointing out your lack of experience.
Call to action
Your cover letter should always end with a clear call to action. In your last paragraph, sum up your skills and experience and make it apparent that you would welcome discussion around your application and the role. You can be bold and propose your availability or simply tell the reader that you will look forward to hearing from them regarding an interview.
Cover letter structure
Taking on board all of the advice above, you can consider the following structure for your cover letter for a job application. This can of course be varied to suit your needs but is a great outline. Look to write no more than a page, unless you are writing a cover letter that is a part of the application process and you need to address all of the essential criteria. In this case, take the space you need.
I’m writing in application of the role of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX which I saw advertised on XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. - Approx 10-20 words.
Opening paragraph: Cover why you are writing (what you are applying for), why you are interested in this company and role, and why you are a great fit (giving an overview of your relevant skills and experience). - Approx70-100 words
Middle paragraphs: Depending on what you need to cover, this could vary between one and three paragraphs. This is essentially the most important part of the cover letter, where you detail your skills, experience and accomplishments, in evidence of the selection criteria. Pick out the most important requirements from the person specification and evidence your ability to meet them. - 100 - 250 words in total.
Closing paragraph: Include a brief summary of why you are the ideal candidate for the role and include a strong call to action. - Approx 25- 50 words
Use this guide to write a cover letter for a job that can help you get you noticed and land an interview. For advice on how to write cover letters for specific roles, you can take a look at these articles. If you are looking for further support, you can take a look at cover letter courses on Coursera as a starting point.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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Best Cover Letter Examples for 2023
Our cover letter examples help with your job application because they show you what to include and how to convince employers you’re the right person for the job. We have 245+ samples from over 18 industries. Plus, we give advice and tips on how to use cover letters in various hiring situations.
Popular cover letter examples
Here are some of our most-viewed cover letter samples.
Don’t see your job title? Keep scrolling to search for the exact job title you need,and find hundreds more examples below!
Universal cover letter example
Every cover letter should include the same sections as the sample seen here, regardless of the job.
All cover letters should include these six sections:
- This belongs at the top of the document, where you include your contact info and the address of the person to whom you are writing.
- You should identify the person you are writing to by name .
- An attention-grabbing opening paragraph where you introduce yourself, mention the role you want and briefly explain what makes you qualified.
- One or two paragraphs that tell a story about your relevant professional experience, career growth, achievements or skills.
- A final paragraph that restates your interest in the role, thanks the hiring manager for their time, and expresses hope for a future chat or meeting.
- A formal sign-off with your name.
Cover letter samples can inspire and show what’s needed to write your cover letter .
For even more help, use our Cover Letter Builder ! It’s a modern tool that gives easy, step-by-step guidance, features 30+ cover letter designs and provides industry-specific phrasing written by resume experts.
Cover letter examples by industry and job title
Looking for a sample cover letter for a resume in your industry? Check out our examples listed by job title and organized by industry.
SEARCH BY JOB TITLE
- Accounting & Finance
- Customer Service
- Hotel & Hospitality
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Safety & Security
Accounting & Finance Cover Letter Examples
Study our accounting and finance cover letter samples for your job application to multiply your chance for success. See how other candidates describe their math skills, tax code knowledge and education to earn these roles.
- Accounting Clerk
- Accounting Manager
- Internal Audit Manager
- Junior Accountant
- Payroll Accountant
- Revenue Manager
Administrative Cover Letter Examples
A cover letter demonstrates your organization and communication skills before you step into the office. These administrative letter examples will help you get ready to write. Use our cover letter examples for the job you desire.
- Administrative Assistant
- Data Collector
- Data Entry Clerk
- Deputy Clerk
- Executive Assistant
- Office Manager
- Personal Assistant
Business Cover Letter Examples
Here are good cover letter examples for business roles. They’ll help you see the selling points your job competition uses to frame their experience.
- Assistant Director
- Business Analyst
- Business Consultant
- General Manager
- Operations Manager
- Risk Manager
- Shift Manager
Construction Cover Letter Examples
We’ve got example cover letters that you can use as blueprints for your own solid introduction. Get inspired and learn how other job seekers are framing their skills in the construction field.
- Construction Supervisor
- Crane Operator
- General Contractor
- Independent Contractor
- Manual Labor
- Site Supervisor
Customer Service Cover Letter Examples
Writing a cover letter is a breeze if you’ve got the patience and communication skills required for customer service roles. Just stick to the script! Write a great letter using our cover letter examples to guide you.
- Airline Customer Service
- Call Center Representative
- Customer Service Associate
- Customer Service Manager
- Customer Service Representative CV
- Room Attendant
- Service Coordinator
- Ticket Agent
Education Cover Letter Examples
A good cover letter example can show you what you should say to get hired. Study our education cover letter examples below. They’ll help you brainstorm and craft a cover letter worthy of a gold star.
- Academic Dean
- Admissions Counselor
- Assistant Superintendent
- Assistant Teacher
- Director of Admissions
- Instructional Designer
- Literacy Coach
- Preschool Director
- School Guidance Counselor
- School Principal
- School Superintendent
Fire Fighting Cover Letter Examples
Our firefighting example cover letters provide you with good ideas for how you can tell your own career story.
- Fire Inspector
Healthcare Cover Letter Examples
Give your job search the booster shot it needs, a cover letter that demands attention. Our cover letter samples will help you write your own letter that will impress hiring managers and land you an interview.
- Assisted Living Manager
- Health Care Assistant
- Medical Billing Specialist
- Medical Interpreter
- Medical Office Assistant
- Patient Care Coordinator
- Patient Care Technician
- Patient Service Representative
- Personal Care Assistant
- Speech Therapist
- Wellness Activities Assistant
Hotel & Hospitality Cover Letter Examples
Our cover letters are at your service! Check out our collection of hospitality cover letter samples below. They’re full of great ideas for describing your passion for hospitality, guest satisfaction and great service.
- Guest Service Representative
- Hotel Concierge
- Hotel Guest Service Agent
- Hotel Manager
- Hotel Receptionist
- Retail and Restaurant Associate
Human Resources Cover Letter Examples
HR is often responsible for hiring at many companies, so your cover letter should be top-notch. Review our cover letter samples for HR positions. See how others describe their skills in hiring, managing and developing talent within a company.
- Benefits Analyst
- Compensation and Benefits
- Corporate Recruiter
- Employment Advisor
- HR Business Partner
- HR Coordinator
- HR Executive
- Human Resource Specialist
- Human Resources Generalist
- Human Resources Manager
- Organizational Development
- Recruiting and Employment
- Recruitment Coordinator
- Technical Recruiter
- Training and Development Manager
Information Technology Cover Letter Examples
Nearly every modern business needs technical support. Get insight into how others sell their tech skills. Take advantage of our great cover letter examples to help land the IT job you desire.
- Chief Technology Officer
- Computer Technician
- Data Coordinator
- IT Service Manager
- Project Officer
- Service Delivery Manager
- Service Desk Analyst
- Technology Director
Janitorial Cover Letter Examples
Spruce up your cover letter to score a new job with our maintenance and janitorial example cover letters below. They’ll help you craft a letter that shows employers you’ll keep their workplaces up and running.
- Cleaning Professionals
- Executive Housekeeper
- Housekeeping Supervisor
Marketing Cover Letter Examples
If your resume is your personal branding statement, your cover letter is the sales pitch to get hired. Hone your message for marketing and advertising positions by looking over cover letter example letters here.
- Account Manager
- Advertising Operations Manager
- Analytics Manager
- Brand Manager
- Chief Marketing Officer
- Digital Marketing Manager
- E Commerce Manager
- Market Researcher
- Product Marketer
- Public Relations
- Social Media Manager
Medical Cover Letter Examples
Our cover letter samples for medical professionals will show hiring managers you’ve got the necessary skills, schooling and work experience to succeed. We’ve got examples from every medical specialty.
- Clinical Research Assistant
- Dialysis Patient Care Technician
- General Practitioner
- Health And Safety Officer
- Hospital Clerk
- Medical Records Clerk
- Nursing Home Administrator
- Optical Assistant
- Respiratory Therapist
- Ultrasound Technician
Retail Cover Letter Examples
Earn a new job in retail with a stellar cover letter. See how our cover example letters for retail jobs demonstrate the full range of skills needed in the industry.
- Area Manager
- Assistant General Manager
- Assistant Merchandiser
- Merchandise Associate
- Mobile Sales Pro
- Retail Assistant Store Manager
- Retail Merchandiser
- Retail Sales Associate
- Retail Supervisor
- Store Manager
- Supermarket Cashier
Sales Cover Letter Examples
Sell your future employer on hiring you with an excellent cover letter. Browse through our sales cover letter samples for one matching the role you want.
- Automotive Salesperson
- Client Relationship Manager
- Franchise Owner
- Inside Sales Representative
- Medical Sales Representative
- Outside Sales Representative
- Regional Manager
- Sales Account Executive
- Sales and Marketing Coordinator
- Sales Coordinator
- Sales Director
- Sales Operations Manager
- Sales Representative
- Sales Supervisor
- Technical Sales Representative
- Territory Sales Manager
Safety & Security Cover Letter Examples
Secure a job by submitting a great cover letter. Check out some top-notch security cover letter samples to see how you can best sell your own experience to employers.
- Director of Security
- Loss Prevention Manager
- Protection Officer
- Safety Coordinator
- Safety Manager
- Security Guard
- Security Officer
- Security Supervisor
Transportation Cover Letter Examples
A cover letter is a vehicle to accelerate your job hunt. Take a look at our transportation application letter examples for ideas on how to impress hiring managers. They’ll help you arrive at your next job.
- Fleet Manager
- Freight Associate
- Passenger Service Agent
- Transportation Customer Service Advisor
- Transportation Manager
Cover letter examples for every scenario
Use the example letters below to find the right words or phrases to explain yourself in different professional scenarios.
If you lack work experience, a cover letter can help you fill in the gaps by pointing out the skills, education and training you possess that make you an excellent fit for the role. It’s also the best place to share your enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.
Why this cover letter works:
- Establishes a personal connection to the business.
- Uses volunteer experience to support skills.
- Focuses on how the job seeker meets the needs of the shop.
A cover letter is valuable if you have limited work or internship experience. It helps you draw a direct connection between the experience and education milestones to the employer’s needs.
- Does a good job tying education to the demands of the job.
- Grabs attention by including numbers in the body paragraph.
- Expresses enthusiasm for the role.
If you have an employment gap on your resume, a hiring manager may wonder why. In this case, a cover letter is the perfect opportunity to explain. In the body of your letter, briefly mention why you stepped away from the workforce, such as a layoff, family emergency or to raise children.
- Tells a story about the candidate’s career development.
- Uses body paragraph to explain reasons for the job gap.
- Sells the gap as helping the candidate renew and improve.
When you want to make a career change, your cover letter is the space to explain your reason(s) for doing so. Keep your explanation for the change brief and highlight your passion. The bulk of your cover letter should highlight your relevant work experience and transferable skills .
- Connects skills developed in previous roles to the new one.
- Explains the job seeker’s motivation for the career change.
- Shows candidate’s personality and commitment to learning.
A cover letter is critical when seeking a promotion or transfer with your current employer. Use it to explain your motivation and why you believe you would excel in the new role.
- Mentions notable contributions, e.g., 15% revenue increase.
- Establishes a sense of devotion and passion for the company.
- Identifies top skills that make the job seeker qualified.
If you have a connection who works at the company you’re applying to or is a colleague of the hiring manager, mention it in your cover letter’s first paragraph. Your chances of getting the job will increase if someone inside the company recommends you.
- Builds trust with the hiring manager by citing reference.
- Establishes that the candidate is involved in the industry.
- Reinforces qualifications by telling a story.
If you have your eye on a company you want to work for but haven’t seen any job openings, you can use a cover letter to show your interest. Your introduction should explain why you want to work for this company in addition to selling your skills.
- Shows the candidate’s passion for inquiring about a role.
- Mentions a former colleague to create an internal reference.
- Cites top skills that the job seeker brings to the table.
Have a lead on a great role that will open in the future? There’s no need to wait for it to post on a job board. Get ahead of your job competition by reaching out with a cover letter that explains how you heard about this opportunity ahead of time.
- Establishes trust with connection to a current employee.
- Shows motivation by being ahead of the application process.
- Angles for a meeting before the interview process begins.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a cover letter.
A cover letter is a document that accompanies your resume when applying for a job. Its aim is to introduce yourself, outline your skills and experience, and explain why you would be the best fit for the role.
Cover letters shouldn’t be long, just a few paragraphs –– about 250 words or one double-spaced page.
They are a great way to convey your enthusiasm for the position or company and discuss what interests you about the role. Personalize your letter by directly addressing the hiring manager or recruiter.
What does a cover letter look like?
A cover letter looks like any other standard business letter: It consists of a recipient address, a greeting, two to three body paragraphs (the main text) and a signature. It’s three to four paragraphs long and should all fit on a single page.
While a cover letter will always consist of the same parts, you can change the appearance by changing details such as the font or adding a touch of color.
If you’re uncertain about what a cover letter looks like, it’s a good idea to use a cover letter template .
A template is just a preformatted document that takes care of the visual elements of your cover letter. That way, you can focus on the message of your cover letter instead of the design.
How important are cover letters when applying for jobs?
Cover letters are very important to apply for jobs. The only time that you shouldn’t include one is if the job post requests that you don’t or if the website you’re using to apply for a job does not allow you to attach one.
Even if it’s not requested, submitting a cover letter will help attract the attention of hiring managers. It’s a way to show that you have solid communication skills and expand on your resume’s key skills.
Since it’s more space to advertise yourself than a resume alone, it helps you better sell yourself. Cover letters are critical because you may be at a disadvantage for the job if you don’t take the time to include one, and other candidates do.
What are three good cover letter tips to remember?
Here are three helpful cover letter tips:
- Customize your cover letter for every role. Make sure you tailor your letter to the employer’s needs based on what it says in the job post. That way, it speaks to an employer’s needs and better appeals to them. Furthermore, many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS). ATS is software that scans your resume and cover letter for specific phrases. Targeting your cover letter to the job post helps ensure that you pass an ATS.
- Go deeper than what’s on the resume. Cover letters should elaborate on key details in your resume, not repeat them. For example, instead of just restating that you are organized, you could expand on this by including a line about how you used that skill to revamp the company filing system, which increased efficiency. Turn the lifeless details of your resume into an engaging story!
- Use numbers and metrics. Including numerical metrics helps quantify your skills to a potential employer. Saying something like, “Analyzed ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues and improve profits 33%,” will help you. That’s because numbers pop out and grab the attention of the person reading your cover letter. Furthermore, they add more detail to your abilities and performance level.
What should be in a well-written cover letter?
Our sample cover letters show you all the elements of a strong cover letter. At its most basic, a well-written cover letter is composed of five key sections:
- Header: The header of your cover letter contains your contact information. Include your telephone number, professional email address and links to your LinkedIn profile, personal website or online portfolio, if applicable.
- Greeting: Do your research to find the hiring manager’s name and address your cover letter to that person. If it’s not listed in the job ad, research LinkedIn or the company website to identify the right person. In a pinch, find the name of someone in the recruiting department and address your letter to that person. Avoid generic greetings, such as “To whom it may concern,” if possible.
- Opening paragraph: The opening paragraph of your letter should mention the name of the company and the job title to which you are applying. It should also briefly say why you are applying for the job. Then, you should cite the top skills that make you qualified for the role.
- Body paragraph(s): The body of your cover letter is its longest, most important section. It’s one or two paragraphs where you expand on the most relevant parts of your experience or education. Whereas in the opening paragraph, you tell the employer you’re right for the job, in these paragraphs, you should show them by using numbers or telling a story that illustrates your abilities. This is the section where you should use data and metrics in this section to detail to recruiters the impact your work has had and what you will bring to the table if hired.
- Closing paragraph: Your closing paragraph should briefly summarize your enthusiasm for the role and express hope for a future discussion. Then, thank the reader for their time. Sign off with a formal closing statement like “Regards” or “Sincerely” and your name.
Is it OK to have a two-page cover letter?
Cover letters should be focused and concise, so it’s not advised to go past one page. That’s the accepted standard practice for cover letters.
That’s because recruiters often get hundreds of applications for a single job opening and don’t have time to read long letters. That’s not to mention including a cover letter that is longer than other candidates’ may look sloppy and unprofessional.
How should I prepare my cover letter?
There are two ways to write a cover letter:
- You can do it the old-fashioned way, from scratch. That means formatting your page, brainstorming what to say, writing and then editing your document.
- Use a modern tool: Our Cover Letter Builder . It uses computer automation to make creating a resume much easier than doing it from scratch!That’s because it’s like having an expert guide you through the process. All you have to do is answer a series of easy-to-follow prompts.Best of all, our builder offers suggested prewritten text suggestions crafted by our team of career experts. They’re all targeted to the job title for which you’re applying.This extra help saves time compared to doing it the old-fashioned way. You can complete a cover letter in under 15 minutes!
See more on our FAQ Page
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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How to write a great cover letter for a job
How to write a great cover letter for a job
Job hunting can be tough—especially when it comes to your cover letter. Writing a unique, eye-catching cover letter for a job application is one of the toughest parts of the entire process.
To help you land your dream job, we’ve created this quick guide to writing a stand-out cover letter. Let’s dive in.
What is a cover letter?
Before you can write an outstanding cover letter for a job application, you’ve got to understand what it is.
Your resume lays down the facts about your professional history. Your cover letter puts all of that information in context. A good cover letter will contain:
- An explanation for why you are applying for a role
- A description of how your past work history makes you an outstanding candidate
- A hint of your soft skills and ability to adapt to a new work culture
Cover letter contents vary depending on your industry, work history, and the open job. There is no clear formula for writing one, though there are certain tips you can follow. Because there is no “right” way to craft a cover letter, templates will not be much help. While you can use a template to format your cover letter, you’ll want to write the bulk of it yourself.
The more unique and creative your cover letter is, the more likely a recruiter will contact you for an interview.
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Why is having a good cover letter important?
Cover letters are optional for some applications. In the current tight job market, employers try to make it easier for people to apply for their positions. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write one.
Over half of senior managers say that cover letters are worthwhile. If other applicants don’t include a cover letter for a job and you do, you have already set yourself apart from the pack. If your cover letter is well-written, your initial impression gets more of a boost. Even if a cover letter isn’t requested, it’s a good move to include one anyway. Be sure to go the extra mile.
For jobs that do require cover letters, a well-written cover letter can easily prove your professionalism to recruiters.
Ten tips for writing a stand-out cover letter for a job
Cover letters are important, but how do you write one that recruiters and hiring managers won’t stop talking about? Here are ten top tips for crafting a cover letter for a job:
- Address your recruiter or hiring manager by name. Using your recipient’s name quickly makes your cover letter stand out. Addressing your recipient by name shows them that you’re willing to put that extra work in.
- Link your history to the job description. Carefully review the job description before you write your cover letter. Pick out a few leading job requirements, and connect your work history examples to those requirements.
- Show, don’t tell. Don’t just tell your audience about your achievements. Show them. Give examples, and try to include results where you can. Add in numbers where you can, too. Quantified results will stand out.
- Create a story. In your cover letter, demonstrate how your past work history has raised you to your present level. Then, explain how you will be able to succeed at the specific role you’re applying for. Think of it as a story with a strong narrative arc.
- Use an appropriate, approachable tone. Formal cover letters can seem off-putting in this day and age. Write in a casual yet professional tone. If your industry skews conservative or otherwise, keep that in mind.
- Insert your personality. Hiring teams want to know if you’ll be a flexible co-worker. Try to make your cover letter reflect your personality—especially if you’re naturally energetic, positive, or kind.
- Be honest. Don’t stretch the truth in your cover letter. In fact, this is the place to address any potential issues, like an employment gap or botched project. Honesty can be impressive, showing hiring managers how you would resolve a mistake or problem in your new role.
- Leave out what you can. Mainly, you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with information. They can ask follow-up questions during the interview. Leave out any history that isn’t necessary or relevant.
- End with a call of action. Don’t tell the letter recipient that you’d like for him or her to reach out immediately. That’s overstepping boundaries. But you should feel free to let them know that you’re excited to talk with them soon.
- Coordinate your letter with your resume. Finally, you can coordinate your cover letter with your resume. Ensure both documents use similar language. You can even ensure the design matches for that extra touch with cover letter and resume templates .
Overview: what your cover letter is really about
At the end of the day, the best way to write a good cover letter for a job is to be yourself and show how much you want the job. Ultimately, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for enthusiastic team members who are willing to work hard for good results.
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How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023 + Examples
After weeks of heavy job search, you’re almost there!
You’ve perfected your resume.
You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.
You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.
But then, before you can send your application and call it a day, you remember that the job ad requires a cover letter.
Now you’re stuck wondering how to write a cover letter ...
Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think.
In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.
- What’s a cover letter & why it’s important for your job search
- How to write a convincing cover letter that gets you the job (step-by-step!)
- How to perfect your cover letter with the Novoresume free checklist
- What excellent cover letter examples look like
New to cover letter writing? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!
So, let’s get started with the basics!
What is a Cover Letter? (and Why It’s Important)
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or Resume).
Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .
A good cover letter can spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume.
A bad cover letter, on the other hand, might mean that your application is going directly to the paper shredder. So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
How does a good cover letter look, you might ask. Well, here’s an example:
Keep in mind, though, that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you don’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume.
If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, writing all this might seem pretty tough. After all, you’re probably not a professional writer.
The thing is, though, you don’t need to be creative, or even any good at writing. All you have to do is follow a tried-and-tested format:
- Header - Input contact information
- Greeting the hiring manager
- Opening paragraph - Grab the reader’s attention with 2-3 of your top achievements
- Second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job
- Third paragraph - Explain why you’re a good match for the company
- Formal closing
Or, here’s what this looks like in practice:
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter (And Get Hired!)
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, we’re going to guide you through the process of writing a cover letter step by step.
Step #1 - Pick the Right Cover Letter Template
A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.
So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, visual template?
You can simply pick one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in a jiffy!
As a bonus, our AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter on the go.
Step #2 - Start the Cover Letter with a Header
As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with a Contact Information section:
Here, you want to include all essential information, including:
- Phone Number
- Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
- Name of the company you’re applying to
In certain cases, you might also consider adding:
- Social Media Profiles - Any type of profile that’s relevant to your field. Social Profiles on websites like LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
- Personal Website - If you have a personal website that somehow adds value to your application, you can mention it. Let’s say you’re a professional writer. In that case, you’d want to link to your blog.
And here’s what you shouldn’t mention in your header:
- Your Full Address
- Unprofessional Email - Make sure your email is presentable. It’s pretty hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected].” Whenever applying for jobs, stick to the “[first name] + [last name] @ email provider.com” format.
Step #3 - Greet the Hiring Manager
Once you’ve properly listed your contact information, you need to start writing the cover letter contents.
The first thing to do here is to address the cover letter to the hiring manager .
That’s right, the hiring manager! Not the overly popular “Dear Sir or Madam.” You want to show your future boss that you did your research and are really passionate about working with their team.
No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes to get hired in any of them.
So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager? There are several ways to do this.
The simplest option is to look up the head of the relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably Head of Communications or Chief Communications Office.
So, you do a quick lookup on LinkedIn:
And voila! You have your hiring manager.
Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of a server. In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager.”
If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.
Here are several other greetings you could use:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Team
Step #4 - Write an Attention-Grabbing Introduction
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.
Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.
So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph .
The #1 problem we see with most cover letter opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Most of them look something like this..
- Hey, my name is Jonathan and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a sales manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.
See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say pretty much anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.
Do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.
Instead, you want to start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.
So now, let’s make our previous example shine:
My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed their sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the job.
See the difference between the two examples? If you were the hiring manager, which sales manager would you hire, Jonathan or Michael?
Now that we’ve covered the introduction, let’s talk about the body of your cover letter. This part is split into two paragraphs: the first is for explaining why you’re the perfect person for the job, and the latter is for proving that you’re a good fit for the company.
So, let’s get started...
Step #5 - Explain why you’re the perfect person for the job
This is where you show off your professional skills and convince the HR manager that you’re a better fit for the job than all the other applicants.
But first things first - before you even write anything, you need to learn what the most important requirements for the role are. So, open up the job ad and identify which of the responsibilities are the most critical.
For the sake of the example, let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. You scan the job ad and see that the top requirements are:
- Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
- Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
- Excellent copywriting skills
Now, in this section, you need to discuss how you fulfill these requirements. So, here’s how that would look for our example:
In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation & management process end-to-end. Meaning, I created the ad copy , images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.
Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:
- Google Search
Are you a student applying for your first internship? You probably don’t have a lot of work experience to show off in this section. Learn how to write an internship cover letter here.
Step #6 - Explain why you’re a good fit for the company
Once you’ve written the last paragraph, you might be thinking - I’m a shoo-in for the job! What else do I need to write? I’ll just wrap up the cover letter and hit that sweet SEND button.
Well, no. You’re not quite there yet.
The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.
After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary .
Meaning, you also need to convince the HR manager that you’re really passionate about working with them.
How do you do this? Well, as a start, you want to do some research about the company. You want to know things like:
- What’s the company’s business model?
- What’s the company product or service? Have you used it?
- What’s the culture like? Will someone micro-manage your work, or will you have autonomy on how you get things done?
So, get to Googling. Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or somewhere around the web.
Then, you need to figure out what you like about the company and turn that into text.
Let’s say, for example, you’re passionate about their product and you like the culture of innovation / independent work in the organization.
You’d write something like:
I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2 were real game changers for the device.
I really admire how Company XYZ thrives for excellence for all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone that thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I and Company XYZ will be a great match.
What you don’t want to do here is be super generic for the sake of having something to write. Most job seekers tend to mess this one up. Let’s take a look at a very common example we tend to see (way too often):
I’d love to work for Company XYZ because of its culture of innovation. I believe that since I’m super creative, I’d be a good fit for the company. The company values of integrity and transparency really vibe with me.
See what’s wrong here? The example doesn’t really say anything about the company. “Culture of Innovation” is something most companies claim to have.
The same goes for “values of integrity and transparency” - the writer just googled what the values for the organization are, and said that they like them.
Any hiring manager that reads this will see through the fluff.
So, make sure to do a lot of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying.
Step #7 - Wrap up with a call to action
Finally, it’s time to finish up your cover letter and write the conclusion.
In the final paragraph, you want to:
- Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? Any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision? Mention it here.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time. It never hurts to be courteous, as long as you don’t come off as too needy.
- Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. You should ask the hiring manager to take some sort of action.
And now, let’s turn this into a practical example:
So to wrap it all up, thanks for looking into my application. I hope I can help Company X make the most out of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your facebook marketing goals.
Step #8 - Use the right formal closing
Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.
Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions to a cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
And we’re finally done! Before sending off the cover letter, make sure to proofread it with software like Grammarly, or maybe even get a friend to review it for you.
Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?
- Professional email
- Relevant Social Media Profiles
Do you address the right person? I.e. hiring manager in the company / your future direct supervisor
Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?
- Did you mention 2-3 of your top achievements?
- Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
Do you successfully convey that you’re the right pro for the job?
- Did you identify the core requirements?
- Did you successfully convey how your experiences help you fit the requirements perfectly?
Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?
- Did you identify the top 3 things that you like about the company?
- Did you avoid generic reasons for explaining your interest in the company?
Did you finalize the conclusion with a call to action?
Did you use the right formal closure for the cover letter?
5+ Cover Letter Examples
Need some inspiration? Read on to learn about some of the best cover letter examples we’ve seen (for different fields).
College Student Cover Letter Example
Middle Management Cover Letter Example
Career Change Cover Letter Example
Management Cover Letter Example
Senior Executive Cover Letter Example
Want to discover more examples AND learn what makes them stand out? Check out our guide to cover letter examples .
Next Steps in Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume
Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application is for naught.
After all, a cover letter is just an introduction. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression, but flopping at the end because of a mediocre resume.
...But don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered on that end, too.
If you want to learn more about Resumes & CVs, we have a dedicated FREE guide for that. Check out our complete guide on how to make a resume , as well as how to write a CV - our experts will teach you everything you need to know in order to land your dream job.
Or, if you’re already an expert, just pick one of our resume templates and get started.
Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:
- A cover letter is a 250 - 400 word document that convinces the hiring manager of your competence
- A cover letter goes in your job application alongside your resume
- Your introduction to the cover letter should grab the hiring manager’s attention and keep it all the way until the conclusion
- There are 2 main topics you need to include in your cover letter: why you’re the perfect candidate for the job & why you’re passionate about working in the company you’re applying to
- Most of the content of your cover letter should be factual , without any fluff or generalizations
At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve, every step of the way! Follow our blog to stay up to date with the industry-leading advice. Or, check out some of our top guides…
- How to Write a Motivational Letter
- How to Write a Resume with No Work Experience
- Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
- Search Search Please fill out this field.
- Career Planning
- Finding a Job
- Cover Letters
How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)
What is a Job Application Letter?
Tips for writing a job application letter, how to get started.
- Writing Guidelines
- What to Include in Each Section
Simple Formatting Using a Template
Tips for writing an effective letter, sample job application letter, sending an email application, review more letter examples.
Do you need to write a letter to apply for a job? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Even when employers don’t require a job application letter , writing one will help you highlight your skills and achievements and get the hiring manager’s attention. The only time not to send one is when the job listing says not to do so. It can help, and it definitely won't hurt to include an application letter with your resume.
A job application letter, also known as a cover letter , should be sent or uploaded with your resume when applying for jobs. While your resume offers a history of your work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments, the job application letter you send to an employer explains why you are qualified for the position and should be selected for an interview.
Writing this letter can seem like a challenging task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing application letters to send with your resume.
Melissa Ling / The Balance
Before you begin writing your job application letter, do some groundwork. Consider what information you want to include (keeping in mind that space is limited).
Remember, this letter is making a case for your candidacy for the position. But you can do better than just regurgitating your resume—instead, highlight your most relevant skills, experiences, and abilities.
Analyze the Job Posting
To include the most convincing, relevant details in your letter, you'll need to know what the employer wants.
The biggest clues are within the job advertisement, so spend some time decoding the job ad . Next, match your qualifications with the employer's wants and needs .
Include Your Most Relevant Qualifications
Make a list of your relevant experience and skills. For instance, if the job ad calls for a strong leader, think of examples of when you've successfully led a team. Once you've jotted down some notes, and have a sense of what you want to highlight in your letter, you're ready to get started writing.
Writing Guidelines for Job Application Letters
Writing a job application letter is very different from a quick email to a friend or a thank-you note to a relative. Hiring managers and potential interviewers have certain expectations when it comes to the letter's presentation and appearance, from length (no more than a page) to font size and style to letter spacing :
Length: A letter of application should be no more than one page long. Three to four paragraphs is typical.
Format and Page Margins: A letter of application should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1" margins and align your text to the left, which is the standard alignment for most documents.
Font: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points.
What To Include in Each Section of the Letter
There are also set rules for the sections included in the letter, from salutation to sign-off, and how the letter is organized. Here's a quick lowdown on the main sections included in a job application letter:
Heading: A letter of application should begin with both your and the employer's contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.
- Header Examples
Salutation: This is your polite greeting. The most common salutation is "Dear Mr./Ms." followed by the person's last name. Find out more about appropriate cover letter salutations , including what to do if you don't know the person's name, or are unsure of a contact's gender.
Body of the letter: Think of this section as being three distinct parts.
In the first paragraph , you'll want to mention the job you are applying for and where you saw the job listing.
The next paragraph(s) are the most important part of your letter. Remember how you gathered all that information about what employers were seeking, and how you could meet their needs? This is where you'll share those relevant details on your experience and accomplishments.
The third and last part of the body of the letter will be your thank you to the employer; you can also offer follow-up information.
Complimentary Close: Sign off your email with a polite close, such as "Best" or "Sincerely," followed by your name.
- Closing Examples
Signature: When you're sending or uploading a printed letter, end with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.
- Signature Examples
Overwhelmed by all these formatting and organization requirements? One way to make the process of writing a job application easier is to use a job application letter template to create your own personalized job application letters for applying for a job. Having a template can help save you time if you are sending a lot of application letters.
Be sure that each letter you send is personalized to the company and position; do not send the same letter to different companies.
- Always write one. Unless a job posting specifically says not to send a letter of application or cover letter, you should always send one. Even if the company does not request a letter of application, it never hurts to include one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow the directions exactly (for example, they might ask you to send the letter as an email attachment, or type it directly into their online application system).
- Use business letter format. Use a formal business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
- Sell yourself. Throughout the letter, focus on how you would benefit the company. Provide specific examples of times when you demonstrated skills or abilities that would be useful for the job, especially those listed in the job posting or description. If possible, include examples of times when you added value to a company.
Numerical values offer concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments.
- Use keywords. Reread the job listing, circling any keywords (such as skills or abilities that are emphasized in the listing). Try to include some of those words in your cover letter. This will help the employer see that you are a strong fit for the job.
- Keep it brief. Keep your letter under a page long, with no more than about four paragraphs. An employer is more likely to read a concise letter.
- Proofread and edit. Employers are likely to overlook an application with a lot of errors. Read through your cover letter, and if possible, ask a friend or career counselor to review the letter. Proofread for any grammar or spelling errors.
This is a job application letter sample. Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.
Sample Job Application Letter (Text Version)
Elizabeth Johnson 12 Jones Street Portland, Maine 04101 555-555-5555 email@example.com
August 11, 2020
Mark Smith Human Resources Manager Veggies to Go 238 Main Street Portland, Maine 04101
Dear Mr. Smith,
I was so excited when my former coworker, Jay Lopez, told me about your opening for an administrative assistant in your Portland offices. A long-time Veggies to Go customer and an experienced admin, I would love to help the company achieve its mission of making healthy produce as available as takeout.
I’ve worked for small companies for my entire career, and I relish the opportunity to wear many hats and work with the team to succeed. In my latest role as an administrative assistant at Beauty Corp, I saved my employer thousands of dollars in temp workers by implementing a self-scheduling system for the customer service reps that cut down on canceled shifts. I also learned web design, time sheet coding, and perfected my Excel skills.
I’ve attached my resume for your consideration and hope to speak with you soon about your needs for the role.
Elizabeth Johnson (signature hard copy letter)
When you are sending your letter via email include the reason you are writing in the subject line of your message:
Subject Line Example
Subject: Elizabeth Johnson – Administrative Assistant Position
List your contact information in your signature, rather than in the body of the letter:
Email Signature Example
Elizabeth Johnson 555-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.org
Review more examples of professionally written cover letters for a variety of circumstances, occupations, and types of jobs.
CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter ?" Accessed July 14, 2021.
University of Maryland Global Campus. " Frequently Asked Questions ." Accessed July 14, 2021.
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15 Cover Letter Templates to Perfect Your Next Job Application
Published: August 10, 2022
Are cover letters necessary? I'm not in HR, but I've been approached by applicants who wondered whether their cover letter would actually be read. My answer is one not many of them wanted to hear: "sometimes." Sometimes it will be read. Other times, you can get away with just sending in your resume — like when you network your way into applying for a position.
The truth is, you can't really predict on a case-by-case basis — and you're better safe than sorry. For the most part, having a cover letter will give you an upper hand in ways your resume doesn't. It allows you to show off your writing skills, provide details that you couldn't fit on your resume, demonstrate your passion, and show your willingness to put in as much time and effort as possible.
If you’ve ever rolled your eyes or balked at an application that required a cover letter, this guide is for you. We’ll go over how to write a cover letter and provide cover letter templates to help you perfect your own.
An application letter is a written document addressed to an employer by a job applicant, explaining why they're interested in and qualified for an open position. More commonly known as a cover letter, this document can come in the form of an email, MS Word document, or similar application template offered by the employer.
Seems fairly basic, right? Cover letters can hold different levels of importance to an employer depending on the industry you're in and the job you're applying for. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 49% of recruiters say sendign a cover letter along with your resume boosts your chance of landing the role.
If you do plan to write a cover letter, keep in mind there are certain qualities it should have that are not included in the definition above.
5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Five fill-in-the-blank cover letter templates to help you impress recruiters.
- Standard Cover Letter Template
- Entry-Level Cover Letter Template
- Data-Driven Cover Letter Template
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
What to Include in a Cover Letter
So, what should you include? We'll let the 11 templates below this list do most of the talking. No matter which one you download, pay attention to the following elements — all of which should shine through in the letter you send to your future manager.
Fill out this form to access your templates.
1. contact information.
Cover letters shouldn't just carry your contact information, but also that of the company to which you're applying. Contact info includes your phone number, email address, and any social media accounts you're willing to share and receive connections to.
Home addresses aren't required, but they can be a helpful reassurance to the employer that you already live nearby and would have no trouble coming into the office.
Avoid offering phone numbers, email addresses, or actual addresses that belong to your current employer. Using your personal Gmail address over your work email, for example, ensures your correspondence with recruiters remains separate from all of your current work communication.
2. A Personal Address Line
For as often as you see "to whom it may concern" at the top of cover letters today, do your best to avoid writing this exhausted line.
Address lines that specify a person or company grab your reader's attention much more quickly, and show the employer that you've taken the time to tailor your application letter to them. Don't have the name of the hiring manager? "Employers at [company name]" will do just fine.
A "hook" is a clever introduction that "hooks" your reader into wanting to learn more. Think about yourself as a job candidate — what makes you unique? What about your career might a recruiter be intrigued by that you can package into an interesting first sentence?
4. Why You're Qualified
It's a no-brainer that you should summarize your professional experience in your cover letter. However, today's best applications describe why this experience qualifies the applicant for the job they're applying for. For example, don't just state that you spent three years writing for a company blog. Explain that this type of work lends itself to managing your new potential employer's content calendar every week.
5. General Knowledge of the Business
Grammatical errors could mean your application is thrown in the trash, but that's not the only thing that could get your letter tossed aside. Using a generic "one-size-fits-all" cover letter — especially if you forget to change the name of the company — will also hurt your chances of landing an interview.
So, if you take the time to write a cover letter, take the time to comment on the business itself. Why are you applying to this company? What about their business stuck out to you as a professional?
Now, let's take a look at an example cover letter , what makes it effective, along with 11 templates you can download or draw inspiration from.
Cover Letter Example
The example above illustrates how to write a marketing cover letter using the elements we listed.
Besides the contact information and the address line, the first few paragraphs explain why the candidate is qualified for the position. This example uses specific data to show why they would be a good fit.
Additionally, in the second to last paragraph, the candidate discusses why they're interested in the specific company, demonstrating general knowledge of the business.
By combining all the elements to a cover letter, this is a great example to use for inspiration.
Featured Resource: 5 Professional Cover Letter Templates
14 Free Cover Letter Templates for Your Next Job Application
Template 1: basic.
The example above is a basic (but great) cover letter. The numbered sections are explained in more detail below.
The level of formality your header has will depend on the company to which you apply. If you're applying to a formal business, it's important to use a formal header to open your cover letter, like in the sample above. Put your address, the date, and the company's address. But if you're applying to a company that isn't as formal, you don't need to include yours and the company's addresses. You can still include the date, though.
Using "To Whom It May Concern" is okay, but you may want to take the time to research the name of the recruiter or hiring manager online. If you do your research and aren't confident you found the right name, then you should definitely use the generic greeting — but if you are sure, then it shows you put in the effort to find their name and it will catch the recruiter's eye.
If you have the recruiter's name, do you greet them by their full name, or by their courtesy title (i.e. Mr., Ms., or Mrs.)? Similar to the header, it depends on the company's level of formality. If you're applying to a corporate business, you may want to consider using "Mr. Snaper" instead of "Jon Snaper." If you're applying to a start-up or a business with a more casual culture, you can use "Jon Snaper," as shown in the example.
Your opening paragraph should, in 1-3 sentences, state why you're excited to apply and what makes you the perfect candidate. Get right to the point, and don't worry about explaining where you found the posting or who you know at the company. This isn't a place to go into detail about why you're a great candidate — that's for the second paragraph. Here, simply list a few key reasons in one sentence to set up the rest of your letter. Keep in mind that the recruiter may cross-reference your cover letter with your resume, so make sure the two sync up.
4. Paragraph 2: Why You're a Great Fit for the Job
Next, sell yourself and your experience by choosing one or two concrete examples that show why you're a great fit for the position. What did you do at a previous company that gave you relevant experience? Which projects have you worked on that would benefit the new company? How will your prior experience help this company grow? Stay humble in your explanation of credentials while still showing that you would be an asset to the team. Use this paragraph to show you're genuinely excited and interested in the position.
5. Third Paragraph: Why the Company Is a Great Fit for You
While it's certainly important you're a good fit for the job, it's also important that the company is a good fit for you. "A cover letter typically describes why you're great for a company — but how will you benefit from getting hired?" asks former HubSpot Team Development Manager Emily MacIntyre . "We want to know why our company appeals to you, and how it will be a mutually beneficial working relationship."
In the third paragraph, show you're serious about growing and developing your career at this new company. What impresses and excites you about the company? Is there something that you feel strongly about that aligns with the company's goals? For example, the candidate in the sample letter used this space to show his personal commitment to environmental causes aligns with the company's green initiatives.
6. Strong Closer and Signature
Don't get lazy in the final few sentences of your cover letter — it's important to finish strong. Be straightforward about your interest and enthusiasm about the new position, and tell them you're available to talk about the opportunity at any time. Be sure to include your phone number and email address. At this point, the ball is (rightly) in the recruiter's court to decide how to follow up.
Last but certainly not least, thank them for their time and consideration. Use a formal sign-off like "Best," "All the best," or "Sincerely," and finish by typing out your full name. You don't need to sign it with a pen.
Template 2: Data-Driven Marketing Cover Letter
Get it here..
When applying to a data-driven position, it might be tempting to inject your cover letter with, well, the data to describe what you've done for other employers. But in an application letter — particularly for the marketing industry — how you convey this data is just as important as the data itself.
The cover letter template above, which we created here at HubSpot, can help you present the data that's most important to you as a candidate such that it'll matter to your future employer.
Notice the three bullet points near the center of the letter above, preceded by the statement: "... I've developed a strategy that has helped the company achieve ..." This setup is important, because while you can add as many statistics as you want to this template, your data points should describe how your current/former business benefited from your work, rather than how you, yourself, benefited.
Template 3: Straight-to-the-Point Cover Letter
Harvard Business Review contributor David Silverman hailed the above cover letter example as "The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received." For context, Silverman believes there are only a handful of times when writing a cover letter is actually necessary:
- When you know the name of the hiring manager.
- When you know something about what the job requires.
- When you've been referred to the job personally.
Under those three circumstances, a straight-to-the-point cover letter like the one above could be your best bet. Because it's so concise, however, make a point to add your own letterhead above the message itself. It might be easy for a recruiter to sift through a short and sweet cover letter like the one above, but it's just as easy for it to get lost in the shuffle of their application list without a unique design or format.
Template 4: Referral Cover Letter
Just because a friend or colleague recommended you for a job doesn't mean the company is all set to hire you. Therefore, the cover letter template above is written specifically for referrals. We made this one here at HubSpot. Download it here (it comes with four other cover letter templates , too).
As you can see in the picture above, the first paragraph of the cover letter is dedicated entirely to acknowledging the circumstances of your applying: You know someone who works there — no harm in that. But there might be harm in not mentioning it to the hiring manager. Telling the reader about your connection at the company shows you're aware and confident of the actions you take to get the opportunities you're interested in.
Ultimately, it's better than the recruiter hearing about your employee connection from somebody else.
As for the rest of the cover letter, treat your message the same way you would if you had applied with no connection from within. Your skills and successes are no less important because of your internal referral.
Template 5: Photo Letterhead Cover Letter
The cover letter template above was designed by Microsoft Office, and as comprehensive as it looks, it's completely free to download and modify.
As it looks right now, this cover letter contains about half photo, half text. Feel free to shrink (and change) the image to give yourself more room to tell your story. Of course, a nice washed-out image that expresses who you are can be part of that story ...
Template 6: Digital Creative Cover Letter
This sixth template is perfect for the applicant who wants to emphasize the many different digital channels they areon. This template goes well with a resume of the same format.
As you personalize this letter with your own experience, make note of the social networks and industry software included in this template. You'll see there’s additional space along the top to add your LinkedIn and personal website to fill with your own information.
You can improve upon this template by formatting your most important highlights and accomplishments with bullet points. This will make the document easier to read for the hiring manager and emphasizes the value you provide.
Template 7: Marketing Manager Cover Letter
Our seventh cover letter comes from Monster.com. This cover letter, shown above, is focused specifically on a marketing role.
Notice how the writer includes references to important marketing metrics and terminology. If you're applying to a data-driven role, you might not want to fill the page with a story of your experience in paragraph form, like Template 1 does at the beginning of this article. Instead, consider highlighting three (or four, or five) of your successes that you believe the hiring manager would resonate most with, in bulleted form.
As a marketing professional, breaking up your letter with bulleted details like the ones above shows a respect for the hiring manager's limited time — a mentality that all marketers must understand when communicating with a brand's audience.
Template 8: Career Day Follow-Up Cover Letter
This is a unique kind of cover letter from Princeton University.
LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Monster, and Indeed might take the lion's share of your job searches online, but still some employment opportunities come out of a trade show, job fair, or similar networking event. For those occurrences, you have the follow-up cover letter template above.
This cover letter has everything you need to help an employer recall a conversation you had with him/her at a career fair. As you can see in the second paragraph, the letter is particularly useful to people who are about to graduate college.
Template 9: Logo and Watermarked Cover Letter
Here's another cover letter template from Microsoft Office. This one has a light touch of color in the design just above the letterhead, but make no mistake — the template caters to any professional looking to make a good first impression on their future employer.
Don't let the logo space on the top-right of the page confuse you. This can be the logo of the company to which you're applying — to quickly get the attention of the recruiter — or your own logo. Perhaps you freelance on the side or simply like branding yourself. This cover letter template is meant for customization.
Template 10: Data Scientist Cover Letter
This is our second template from Princeton University. While this is focused on a data scientist role, it is an excellent template to use for students applying to jobs prior to graduation.
The text emphasizes how the applicant’s academic research and projects makes them an ideal candidate for the position. The format is also simple enough to submit as a pdf, as text in an email message or an application text box.
Template 11: Business Cover Letter
The cover letter template above is perfect for entry- and mid-level marketers who want to show a little extra professionalism in their opening note to a potential employer.
The multi-colored header (you can change the color if you wish) shows just the right amount of creativity and can go quite well with a resume of the same style. If you don't have enough experience to fill the entire page, don't worry. Feel free to write to a length you think is representative of who you are and what the hiring manager wants to see.
No matter how long your final cover letter is, the above template is your opportunity to show your attention to detail — from your contact information in the top header, to the personalized address line where you can include the name of the hiring manager. Like we said, "to whom it may concern" is pretty outdated, anyway.
Template 12: Entry-Level Cover Letter
The cover letter template above, written by HubSpot, is specifically designed for entry-level applicants.
When you only have a few years experience, it's important to display how you gained your skills and what you learned from your education or internships. Additionally, it's important to mention why you want to work at the company you're applying to.
No matter your experience, the template above will help you decide what skills you want to highlight and flesh out in your cover letter.
You can download it here (it comes with four other cover letter templates , too).
Template 13: Healthcare Cover Letter
Additionally, phrases like "I'd love to put my skills to work for your clinic" and "Please contact me at your convenience and let me know how I can help you" focus on what the business will gain as a result of hiring the applicant, rather than what the applicant is looking to gain.
Template 14: Freelance Cover Letter
If you're looking for freelance work, your biggest goal is to get your strengths across quickly, so busy clients won't pass by your cover letter entirely. Additionally, if you're sending out multiple cover letters to different clients, you'll want to target each one to that client's unique goals.
For instance, if one client is looking for SEO-optimized content related to marketing, you'll want to highlight past experience writing marketing content; this will change if, for instance, the client is looking for fitness content.
For this reason, it's a good idea to structure your cover letter so you start with a) past credentials or references, and b) bullet-point information related to the client's goal, as shown in the cover letter above.
Template 15: Director Cover Letter
In the cover letter above, the candidate does a good job outlining how she succeeded in a leadership role previously: "For the past five years, I have successfully developed and maintained all data systems, including schedules and records for a business employing more than 100 people."
You'll want to demonstrate how your skills align with a Director position — both through organization and leadership — and, when possible, where you received recognition for your hard work (i.e. "I earned an award for Most Valuable Administrative Staff Member").
Write a Winning Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is easier said than done. Don't hesitate to spend a lot of time writing and editing it. Or, ask a friend or family member to read it over and give you feedback. If the recruiter does end up reading it, you'll be thankful you did.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Don't forget to share this post!
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- Cover Letter
- How to Write a Cover Letter? Examples, Format, & Tips
How to Write a Cover Letter? Examples, Format, & Tips
Good cover letters are very much in demand. And that’s why learning how to write a cover letter is worth your time. Especially if the knowledge is right in front of your eyes!
As seen in:
A cover letter is your unique opportunity to showcase your personality and skills. And more than that—it can also demonstrate why you're the ideal candidate for the job. Knowing how to write a cover letter can significantly influence your career trajectory.
This comprehensive guide will demystify the process of cover letter writing, providing you with valuable insights and practical tips to help you craft a standout document with confidence and finesse.
If you experience writer’s block, let us write your cover letter for you. Tell us your name, job title, and years of experience to get an automatically generated cover letter. Pick from 18+ cover letter templates and match your resume!
Create your cover letter now
Sample cover letter for a resume—See more cover letter samples here.
Here’s what you’ll find in this article (jump right into the desired section):
Why Do You Need a Cover Letter?
- Prepare Yourself Beforehand
- Format the Cover Letter Template
- Create a Cover Letter Header
- Address the Reader
- Make a Proper Introduction
- Explain Why You’re the Perfect Fit
- Show Your Motivation to Join the Company
- Close With a Promise
- Stay Formal in the Closing Salutation
- Add a Postscript
Cover Letter Examples
- Frequently Asked Questions About Cover Letters
What Is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one-page job application document you should submit together with your resume or CV. Its purpose is to introduce you in a personal way as well as provide a broader context for your qualifications and achievements. A good cover letter can help the hiring manager see your worth.
This guide focuses on writing a cover letter for a job. However, you can also write an application letter if you haven't entered the job market yet. For example, writing a cover letter for a scholarship can increase your chances of getting a cash grant. In a similar way, an internship cover letter can help employers notice your skills instead of worry about your lack of work experience.
A good cover letter complements your resume. It shows the employer that your qualifications match their needs, and that you are a good fit for the position.
Plus, a well-written cover letter:
- Shows you did research and take the job seriously.
- Proves you understand the challenges of the company.
- Reflects that your vision aligns with their goals.
- Presents how your skills and experience are a solution .
Ultimately, a good cover letter should be all about “ why should we hire you ” and “what’s in it for us.” The winning tactic here is focusing on them , not just on you, which will ultimately make you stand out from other applicants
And that’s why it’s worth spending time writing a solid cover letter.
Let’s find out how to do it.
No work experience yet? Head to this guide: How to Write an Entry-Level Cover Letter
How to Write a Cover Letter
For many jobseekers, writing a cover letter is the worst step of applying for jobs. So, let me guide you through the process. You'll see that it's really not that hard!
Prefer the video format? Watch this video to uncover the simple truth of how to write a cover letter for a job application:
Worried you might miss something? We’ve got a checklist guide for you: What to Include in a Cover Letter
Here's how to make a cover letter: Use a business letter format and a professional cover letter template. Include your and the employer's contact details, and address the hiring manager by name. In 200–400 words, highlight your achievements, professional skills , and relevant experience that make you the best fit for the job.
A bit too tl;dr? Let’s now move on to detailed instructions on how to write a successful cover letter:
1. Prepare Yourself Beforehand
You may feel tempted to dive in straight away. But hold your horses for a few more minutes! Before writing a cover letter, it's worth knowing what to write, right? That's why you should spend some time on gathering info first.
Here are a few things to research before writing a cover letter:
- Job requirements: make sure you understand what they are because your letter will refer to them.
- Company website: that's the minimum. Check the company history, its goals, and try to learn about the company culture.
- Hiring manager: you want to address them by name, so do your best to find it!
- Your resume: make sure it clearly shows you're a good fit for the role, and keep it nearby so you can take a look at it whenever necessary.
Pro Tip: You can actually reach out to someone from the company you're applying to via LinkedIn. It's best to pick the hiring manager. Try to ask them a clever question about the position. Then, you will be able to refer to this exchange in your cover letter.
2. Format the Cover Letter Template
There's not much freedom when it comes to the cover letter format. Writing poetry when applying for a corporate job may not be the best idea. However, there is certain freedom in choosing a template, as soon as it includes the key parts of a cover letter . The image below shows them all:
By the way, you can upload your resume into our cover letter builder , and it will convert the info into the cover letter!
If you decide to go for a ready-made cover letter template, you'll save a lot of time. There's a large variety of styles and designs out there, including modern cover letter templates and cover letter templates for creative professions . But you can also make the template from scratch in Word or Google Docs. It's entirely up to you.
Here’s how to format your cover letter :
- Choose a legible cover letter font like Arial or Garamond, and keep it between 10 and 12 points in font size.
- Set even margins on all sides: 1-inch margins should be perfect.
- Left-align all your contents.
- Use double cover letter spacing between paragraphs and 1–1.15 between lines.
- Title your cover letter by JobTitle—CoverLetter—YourName .
- Let your cover letter layout stay intact en route to the recruiter by saving the file in PDF.
- Fit all the information included in the letter on one page. That's how long a cover letter should be .
Need inspo? Check here: This Is What the Best Cover Letter Looks Like
3. Create a Cover Letter Header
A professional cover letter opens with a header. Ideally, your cover letter header should be the same as in your resume (for consistency), so feel free to use the same template.
If you prefer to write the header of your cover letter from scratch, include the following contact information:
- Phone number
- Email address
Pro Tip: If you send your cover letter via email , don’t use your current work email address. It’s impolite to your current and potential employer.
4. Address the Reader
Once you’re done with the header, it’s time to mention the location and date of writing.
Then, address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager like so:
- Dear Katherine,
- Dear Ms. Smith,
- Dear Mr. McConnor,
According to studies , people respond actively to hearing/seeing their names—so use it in the cover letter salutation . Look for the hiring manager's name by:
- Checking the job description
- Going to the company’s LinkedIn page (to look for the person responsible for uploading the job offer)
If you can’t find the name by any means possible, opt for “ Dear Hiring Manager .” Avoid starting your cover letter with “ To Whom It May Concern ” like the plague. And if you’re not living in Victorian England, don’t start a cover letter with “ Dear Sir or Madam ,” either.
Follow this template to make sure you include everything:
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Name]
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Job Title]
Dear [Ms./Mr.] ...
Pro Tip: Wondering whether you should use the hiring manager’s first or last name? That depends on the company culture. Use the first name if you’re applying to a relaxed, casual company. For corporate cover letters, it’s safer to use the addressee's last name.
5. Make a Proper Introduction
Here’s the brutal truth: these few sentences at the beginning of your cover letter will determine whether the hiring manager will read on. So you need to write the cover letter's intro in a way that attracts and holds the reader’s interest.
Here are several proven strategies for starting your cover letter :
- Highlight your achievements.
- Display your passion and enthusiasm.
- Drop names.
- Do all the above.
Have a look at these two sample cover letter opening paragraphs:
Cover Letter Examples: Opening
Why is the wrong example not delivering? Because it provides no value and details. The bottom line is: “I’ve already done this job, so I think I’d fit in.” And it’s just not enough for someone with more than eight years of experience to get the job.
6. Explain Why You’re the Perfect Fit
The second paragraph (main body) of your cover letter has a couple of jobs to perform:
- Give the hiring manager what they’re looking for.
- Show that you’ll satisfy the company’s specific needs.
Job seekers impress employers by identifying transferable skills related to new positions. People often apply to new positions, so it’s likely you’ll not have the exact experience requested. But employers would rather know how your past experiences will inform future decisions. You were a hostess? Relate those management and organizational skills to the Executive Assistant position. Lauren Little Career Coach
Let’s look at another cover letter example to see how this could be done. Remember Jane, our digital marketing manager candidate? The XYZ company she applies to needs (based on the job ad):
- A savvy digital marketing manager (1)
- Someone who will supervise the development of their new online portal (2)
Let’s look at how Jane managed to show that she’s both:
Cover Letter Examples: Middle Part
Your go-to strategy on what your cover letter should say in the main body:
- In the first sentence, prove you’re an expert in your field (refrain from bragging too much).
- The remaining part should be all about how your previous experiences will help your future employer press ahead with their plans.
Pro Tip: A cover letter also is a great place to explain gaps in your employment , if you have any.
7. Show Your Motivation to Join the Company
Your future employers have needs . If they’re willing to hire you, it’s because they think you’ll satisfy those needs. But they also want you to enjoy working with them. That way, they know you’re more likely to stay with them for longer.
The key to writing a perfect third paragraph of your cover letter is showing the hiring manager why you want this job, not just any job. That’s particularly important for entry-level candidates—enthusiasm and passion help prove you'll hit the ground running.
Have a look at these cover letter examples:
Cover Letter Samples: Middle Paragraphs
Above all, you want to avoid writing too much of a general cover letter . Generic doesn't win jobs; targeted does. (We’re, of course, assuming you tailored your resume to every job description you’re after, too.)
Pro Tip: Make your cover letter more impressive by including relevant resume keywords from the job ad.
8. Close With a Promise
How to write a cover letter ending that gets people excited? By providing value.
The worst mistakes you can make in writing your cover letter's final paragraph are:
- Coming off needy
- Focusing on how much you want the job, not on what you have to offer
- Repeating the clichéd phrase, “Thank you for your consideration and your time”
Instead, tell the hiring manager that you’re looking forward to meeting in person and discussing how your experience and knowledge can help your future employer fulfill their goals. Like here:
Cover Letter Example: Ending With a Promise
Trying to find exciting ways to end your cover letter, but to no avail? See how to write a convincing final paragraph here: How to Successfully Close a Cover Letter
9. Stay Formal in the Closing Salutation
Once you’ve written the body of your cover letter, you just need to put a formal closing at the very end. Write “Sincerely” and follow it with your full name. Adding your handwritten signature is optional (recommended for more formal cover letters).
If you’re not a fan of the well-worn “Sincerely,” feel free to use any of the following:
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- Respectfully yours,
- With best regards,
Want to learn more? Check here: Examples of Professional Cover Letter Signatures
10. Add a Postscript
All of the above sections are must-haves in a good cover letter. But there’s one special trick you can use—the postscript. Why is it so important? Because it’s like a magnet for the hiring manager’s eyes that screams: “you cannot miss this information.”
Write a cover letter postscript to tell the hiring manager about something impressive about your career, even if it’s not strictly related to the job opening. And say you’d be happy to provide them with more details if they find it interesting.
Cover Letter Sample: Postscript
Pro Tip: Looking to work for a company, but there aren't any open positions? Try writing a letter of interest for a job . It's a great way of uncovering vacancies that aren't even advertised.
If you get stuck when writing your cover letter, taking a look at a professional cover letter example can be really helpful. Here's a selection of 10 great sample cover letters for job applications:
- General Cover Letter : you can quickly personalize it and adapt for any job you want
- Career-Change Cover Letter : great if you're planning to switch professions
- Manager Cover Letter : easy to customize for any management position
- Student Cover Letter : it will show you how to highlight educational achievements and skills
- Teacher Cover Letter : to inspire the headmaster before you can inspire your pupils
- IT Cover Letter : can help you prove you're more than your coding skills
- Federal Cover Letter : getting a government job ain't easy, but it's worth trying
- Academic Cover Letter : that tenure might be waiting for you!
- Cover Letter With No Experience : we've all been there at some point!
- Cover Letter for an Internal Position : in case you're moving within the same company
You can also browse our collection of pro cover letter samples here.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here . Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing .
Here's a reminder of how to write a great cover letter in 10 steps:
- Research the company and the job beforehand.
- Format the cover letter template according to standards.
- Ensure your contact info in the header is correct.
- Address your hiring manager or recruiter personally.
- Attract their attention in the introduction.
- Use your experience to prove you're the exact match to the company's needs.
- Explain your motivation and fit for the position.
- Finish with a call to action and ask for a meeting.
- Be formal in the closing sentiment.
- Include a postscript.
Or use our cover letter builder to remember it all for you!
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Do you have any questions about how to make a cover letter? Want to share an example of a cover letter? Give us a shout in the comments, and we’ll reply!
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Frequently Asked Questions about How to Write a Cover Letter
What is a cover letter.
A cover letter is a formal letter that accompanies a CV or a resume . It includes a candidate’s introduction and an overview of the candidate’s qualifications , skills, and accomplishments most relevant to the job they’re pursuing. The cover letter also serves to express the candidate’s interest in the position and the company, as well as eagerness to contribute to the company’s success. It can also help to explain employment gaps .
What are the four parts of a cover letter?
- Cover letter header with your contact information such as full name, phone number, and email address
- Cover letter introduction with your hiring manager’s address and a hook that hypes the reader up so much that they can’t stop reading
- Cover letter body with a description of your significant accomplishments and strengths that you’ll bring to the table. (Beware! It’s not a copy of your resume.)
- Cover letter closing with a call to action and your signature
What should a cover letter say?
That you’re the one. That you want them, but that they want you, too. That you’re the solution to their problems. That’s what your cover letter should say .
And you can achieve all of that by having a number of things in your cover letter :
- action verbs and power words
- accomplishment statements
- organized cover letter layout , and
- enthusiastic but determined tone of voice
How to write a simple cover letter?
To make cover letter writing simple, you need to know a couple of things first:
- Create proper cover letter formatting before putting down words. You’ll ensure a correct structure and that you’ll fit onto one page with your cover letter.
- Find your hiring manager’s or recruiter’s name. By personalizing your cover letter, you have a higher chance of landing the gig.
- Create a list of job keywords you need to target with your application. Have a look at the job ad and mark those words which speak of necessary qualifications and qualities. Then use them in your paragraphs.
- Never lie in your job application .
- And lastly, do as extensive research about the company as possible. The intricate details about their mission, values, and vision will help you find an angle to write your cover letter.
How to write a cover letter for an internship?
A cover letter to an internship resume is a fantastic way to shoo away your competition. So don't hesitate and write a cover letter for an internship you’ve dreamt of for too long.
First and foremost, prove to your potential employer that you’re worth hiring, and that they’re a great company to work for. Do your research and don’t be shy to show what you’ve learned. Later use that knowledge to give away your connection to the company and its values. Show your transferable skillset and achievements, and let your determination and motivation do their magic.
How to write a cover letter for 2023?
In 2023, write your cover letter with these simple steps:
- Create a consistent look by mirroring a resume header to your template.
- Make a clean cover letter layout to keep enough whitespace on the page.
- Find an angle to write your cover letter—motivation to advance, shared values or mission statement, recent developments in the industry. Doing thorough research always helps.
- Start your cover letter with a relevant accomplishment that makes the reader want to carry on.
- Create a smooth transition from the hook through your strengths to motivation in 3 to 4 paragraphs, tops.
- Call your recruiter to action in the cover letter closing and ask for a meeting with you.
Is a cover letter necessary?
Almost half of the recruiters reject applications without a cover letter. Cover letters are a treat for those who still care to hire dedicated professionals. (And that’s you, right?)
It’s no surprise, though, that you’re questioning whether a cover letter is necessary . The entire job application process can be exhausting, so cutting down on documents you have to produce always seems like a good idea. But not this time.
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IT Cover Letter Examples (Information Technology Jobs)
Excited about applying for that lucrative tech job? Before sending in your application, you need a cover letter. Here’s how to write the best IT cover letter the CTO has ever seen.
What Does the Best Cover Letter Look Like in 2023
Not sure what a cover should look like? Confused by all the contrasting guidelines? Here’s an article that will straighten out all your queries once and for all.
10 Short Cover Letter Samples (+ Writing Guide)
Today’s hiring process is fast and furious. Don’t waste the recruiter’s time—see our 10 short cover letter examples and learn how to make every word count.
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Three excellent cover letter examples
Cover letters are the first chance you have to impress an employer – they’re not just a protective jacket for your CV. Here’s our guide on what to include and how to format them
- More CV and cover letter templates
- Looking for a job? Explore the range of vacancies on Guardian Jobs and find the perfect role for you
The first thing a potential employer sees in your job application is the cover letter. This doesn’t just support your CV – it’s an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and persuade the recruiter to put you through to the next round.
Be wary of spending hours on perfecting your CV at the expense of your cover letter. If you need some inspiration on what to include and what format to use, here are our helpful guides – just remember not to copy them as exact templates.
1. Standard, conservative style
This is ideal for sectors such as business, law, accountancy and retail. For more creative sectors, a letter like this might be less appealing, and could work against you.
Dear Mr Black, Please find enclosed my CV in application for the post advertised in the Guardian on 30 November. The nature of my degree course has prepared me for this position. It involved a great deal of independent research, requiring initiative, self-motivation and a wide range of skills. For one course, [insert course], an understanding of the [insert sector] industry was essential. I found this subject very stimulating. I am a fast and accurate writer, with a keen eye for detail and I should be very grateful for the opportunity to progress to market reporting. I am able to take on the responsibility of this position immediately, and have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of it. Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Yours sincerely
2. Standard speculative letter
This may vary according to the nature of the organisation and the industry you’re applying to.
Dear Mr Brown, I am writing to enquire if you have any vacancies in your company. I enclose my CV for your information. As you can see, I have had extensive vacation work experience in office environments, the retail sector and service industries, giving me varied skills and the ability to work with many different types of people. I believe I could fit easily into your team. I am a conscientious person who works hard and pays attention to detail. I’m flexible, quick to pick up new skills and eager to learn from others. I also have lots of ideas and enthusiasm. I’m keen to work for a company with a great reputation and high profile like [insert company name]. I have excellent references and would be delighted to discuss any possible vacancy with you at your convenience. In case you do not have any suitable openings at the moment, I would be grateful if you would keep my CV on file for any future possibilities. Yours sincerely
3. Letter for creative jobs
We’ve used the example of a copywriter but you can adapt it for your profession. The aim of a creative letter is to be original and show you have imagination, but understand what the job entails. Balance is essential: don’t be too wacky, or it will turn off the reader.
Dear Ms Green, · Confused by commas? · Puzzled by parenthesis? · Stumped by spelling? · Perturbed by punctuation? · Annoyed at the apostrophe? (And alliteration?) Well, you’re not alone. It seems that fewer and fewer people can write. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who can read. So they’ll spot a gaffe from a mile off. And that means it’s a false economy, unless you’re 100% sure of yourself, to write your own materials. (Or to let clients do it for themselves.) To have materials properly copywritten is, when one considers the whole process of publishing materials and the impact that the client wishes to make, a minor expense. Sloppiness loses clients, loses customers. There is an answer. Me. Firm quotes are free. You can see some of what I do on my multilingual website at [insert web address]. If you’d like, I can get some samples out to you within 24 hours. And, if you use me, you’ll have some sort of guarantee that you can sleep soundly as those tens of thousands of copies are rolling off the presses. Luck shouldn’t come into it! With kindest regards
Other helpful resources
How to write a perfect CV and cover letter
Applying for jobs without experience? How to build and sell your skills
Five steps to the perfect graduate CV
School-leavers and graduates: how to write your first CV
How to write a personal statement for your CV
CV templates to fit every stage of your career
Looking for a job? Browse Guardian Jobs for your next career step.
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How to write a cover letter.
A cover letter introduces you to an employer and asks them to think about your application.
It’s a short letter, usually 3 to 5 paragraphs long.
When to include a cover letter
You should always include a cover letter when you apply for a job using a CV.
You can write it as an email if you’re applying online or print a copy to go with a paper application.
When writing a cover letter, let the employer know you’re keen by showing that you’ve researched the company. Learn more about what they do through:
- their website
- recent news articles
- talking to people you know who work there
Send it to the right person
It's important to try to address your cover letter to someone by name. Check you have the details of the person you need to send it to.
You'll need their name and preferred title. For example, ‘Dr’, ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Ms’, and their job title. You should also make sure you have the right company name and address, including postcode.
If you do not know their name
If the job advert does not include a name you can check the company website. Try to find details of the head of the department, head of human resources or a recruitment manager.
If you still cannot find a name, you can start your letter with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.
Introduce yourself and explain how you found the advertised job. You can mention the job title, and reference number if there is one.
If you’re asking about any job openings and not applying to a vacancy, tell them what sort of job you’re looking for. Let the employer see how keen you are to work for them.
Show you're right for the job
Highlight the skills and experience you have that match what the employer is looking for.
Convince them that you're enthusiastic about working for them. Let them know you share their work values, culture and style.
Give extra information
If you have gaps in your employment history, you could talk about the skills you gained while you were out of work.
If you’ve mentioned on your CV that you have a disability, you might want to talk more about this in your cover letter. Organisations like Disability UK can give you advice on how to do this. You do not have to mention your disability at this stage if you prefer not to.
You can get more help with specialist advice on finding work if you have a disability.
Ending your cover letter
Thank the employer for considering your application. Let them know that they can get more details from your CV, and tell them you're looking forward to hearing from them.
Let them know how they can best contact you. Make sure your contact details are correct on both your cover letter and CV.
Yours sincerely or yours faithfully
If you know the name of the person you’re writing to, you should end the letter with ‘Yours sincerely’.
If you’ve addressed the letter ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, you should end the letter with ‘Yours faithfully’.
Tips for writing a cover letter
When writing your cover letter, remember to:
- write a new one for every job you apply for and make sure it’s tailored to the company and the specific role
- use the same font and size as you do for your CV, so it looks consistent
- make sure the company name and recruiter’s details are correct
- use the right language and tone: keep it professional and match the keywords used by the employer in their job advert
- show you’ve done your research into the job and the company
- highlight your most relevant skills and experience to stand out from other applicants
- back up any statements you make with facts and use the STAR method
- double check spelling and grammar before you send it
- keep a copy of your cover letter as they may ask you about it in an interview
How to write a CV
Completing application forms
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Why do cover letters still exist?
Writing cover letters for applications is tedious and may seem pointless – but you need one now more than ever.
Job applications are not fun, but most parts of the process seem to be a necessary evil. Proofread your CV, prepare for a marathon of interviews , send a thank-you email after each one. Yet, one step of the employment application process seems curiously outdated: composing a cover letter.
Not only do many of us hate writing cover letters , but they often seem pointless . One 2017 survey showed only 26% of US recruiters consider cover letters important in the hiring process. If nothing else, cover letters feel as outdated as a faxed CV – and especially now, in a market favouring workers, should job applicants really have to waste time on the step they hate so much?
Yes, some recruiters still say. Ultimately, your cover letter is “your one opportunity” to stand out – to show off what specifically you bring to the position in a way that you can’t fully describe in your CV or with an online profile. And perhaps surprisingly, cover letters may be more important than ever.
The labour of letters
Traditionally, we’re told cover letters build on your resume. They showcase your personality; they explain why a specific role excites you. But that’s precisely why job hunters loathe writing them – it takes a long time to craft one, and then tweaking it or writing a new one from scratch for every single job application takes even longer.
Cranking out a cover letter can feel especially daunting if writing isn’t your forte. It’s easier to understand why candidates in creative industries might need a good cover letter. But for others, a sharp cover letter may seem an excessive ask for a job requiring specific technical skills (and maybe no writing at all).
Spending hours on a draft can feel even more tedious when contrasted with simpler application processes such as LinkedIn’s Easy Apply, which requires a single click. It’s often unclear why a particular company requires more from candidates at the initial application stage. And, when some recruiters openly acknowledge they don’t read cover letters – at least not as soon as an application crosses their desk – it’s difficult to know how much effort you should put into a cover letter at all.
It’s well known, after all, that many companies use online portals that don’t send your application to a human right away; AI and algorithms scan your CV for keywords, and throw it out if those targeted terms aren’t on it. In that case, why write a cover letter for an application that may get rejected before it even reaches a person?
More relevant than ever?
Yet, experts argue there’s never been a more important time to include a solid cover letter with your application.
First, writing a decent, detailed letter is indicative that you’ll put some work in to secure the role. “I look at it as kind of wearing make-up to an interview. It’s showing that you’re taking it seriously – you’re willing to put in some effort,” says Kristie Loescher, senior lecturer of management at the University of Texas, Austin, who teaches business communications.
Companies may ask for cover letters – over simpler application processes like Easy Apply – because it influences the quality of applicants. With simple processes, recruiters may get a lot of resumes that don’t match the job description, or people who are “just out there fishing”, says Loescher. But a cover letter immediately adds to your application, and proves you care about this particular role. Loescher, for example, says when she reads cover letters, she’s looking for passion and enthusiasm; she wants to find “people who are really excited about wearing [the University of Texas’s] burnt orange”.
Cover letters also matter because you can use them to explain any gaps – something relevant to many people who’ve been made redundant or dropped out of the workforce during the pandemic, says Kimberly McNeil, HR knowledge advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). McNeil says even though it’s a job-seeker’s market, many people are acting on epiphanies they’ve had during the pandemic to seek out work that is more meaningful to them or gives them more flexibility. That means that for many roles, the cover letter remains “pivotal” to setting yourself apart.
Explaining your motivation is also particularly important if you’re trying to change careers. If you’re applying for a creative job, but have been in a corporate environment your whole career, how can you convince them you’re actually creative? In your cover letter, experts say, using persuasive language and concrete examples will do the trick. “It’s addressing concerns without naming concerns,” says Loescher. Your cover letter can help pre-emptively answer questions a hiring manager may have when they read your CV, and help increase your chances of securing an interview.
Act like it’s ‘going to come into play’
Importantly, not every company, sector or position is going to treat a cover letter equally. Some will give them more weight than others, to identify a certain skill or passion; some simply want to see one attached, as a signal that the candidate didn’t apply just because they could do it in one click.
For instance, especially at big corporations, McNeil says your cover letter may very well may go unread, at least at first. But it may come into play further on in the application process – and could potentially be read by multiple people. At smaller companies, especially start-ups, it may come into play a lot sooner. Tinier companies may not have the kind of AI-monitored application portals that big firms do, “so it is possible that the cover letter may be the applicant’s introduction to the employer”, says McNeil.
The writing process is still onerous, however. Loescher recommends keeping a cover letter template handy, and simply filling in the blanks with bits relevant to that role or company. You do want to be specific and original, and don’t want to sound scripted, but efficiency is key to staying sane. You need to balance the effort of writing one, says Loescher, “with the possible chance that it may make a difference”.
You can never know for sure when in the process a recruiter will read your cover letter. “I think a lot of times, we get bogged down with thinking ‘will it or won’t it [be read]’,” says McNeil. “Just assume that it’s going to come into play at some point.”
This means as a candidate, you have to respond accordingly – however pointless it may feel.
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