What’s in a Cover Letter?
When applying for a new job, it is important to include a well-written and memorable cover letter with your resume. You might have written an excellent and effective resume to apply for your dream job, however, a resume is not the only document you will need. This article explains what to include in your cover letter and also provides a template and example to help when crafting your own.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a short document that you send with your resume when applying for a job. As a hiring manager will read this letter first, and possibly even decide whether to go over your resume or not based on what they think of the letter, it is important to take care when drafting this document. Many hiring managers have to work their way through hundreds or even thousands of applications, so you want to ensure that your cover letter is error-free, memorable and stands out from the rest.
Tips for writing a cover letter
Take care not to simply repeat your resume in your cover letter. Whereas a resume provides all the necessary information, such as your education, skills and work experience, a cover letter should provide some detail about your specific career story to demonstrate your unique personality and work style. A cover letter also gives you the opportunity to provide an employer with information that you could not add in your resume, such as gaps in your job history.
How to write a cover letter
Here are a few guidelines you can follow when writing a cover letter:
1. First, start with a proper salutation
Ensure that you direct the letter to the appropriate person by stating their name instead of using a generic salutation, such as ‘To whom it may concern.’ By doing so, you demonstrate that you are interested in the specific job and have put extra effort into sending your letter to the relevant person.
2. Second, use a memorable introduction
In the introduction of your letter, you want to mention the job you are applying for and express your interest and enthusiasm. If possible, add a quick anecdote or a personalized sentiment in your introduction. Remember, the hiring manager has to read through multiple cover letters, so you want your letter to draw their attention.
3. Third, mention your skills and experience that match the job description
In the body of the letter, you want to make it clear why you are an excellent candidate for the position. You should mention your top accolades and achievements in this section, and match the skills and work experience you mention to those outlined in the job posting. For instance, if the job posting lists marketing experience and lead generation, you could highlight your previous role as a marketing manager where you implemented an innovative ad campaign that drove extensive lead generation for your client.
4. Fourth, include a specific example or tangible evidence of your skills
If possible, add specific statistics, as this provides tangible evidence of your skills and achievements. Instead of saying that you are a problem solver, mention a specific example in your past when your problem-solving skills yielded positive results. Take care, however, to only include information in this section that is relevant to the job you are applying for.
5. Lastly, close your letter with a thank you and a call to action
In your conclusion, you should thank the person for considering you for the position. Also, add a call to action. For instance, instead of stating that you will contact them to follow up on your letter, rather state that you are available to provide more information at any time and will be very happy to meet with them for an interview. You could also add, if relevant, that you are happy to relocate for the position or any other pertinent information.
Cover letter template
Here is a template of a cover letter that you can follow:
[Your name] [Address] [Phone number] [Email address]
[Name of hiring manager] [Job title] [Name of company] [Address]
Dear [Name of hiring manager],
[Introduction: State the position you are applying for. Include a sentence that draws attention.]
[Body of the letter: Mention your top accolades and match your skill set and experience to the requirements or essential points from the job posting.]
[Conclusion: Conclude the letter with a call to action and thank the person for considering you for the job.]
Yours sincerely, [Your name]
Cover letter example
Here is an example of a cover letter:
Sasha Parker 9056 Edgemont Ave. Jacksonville, FL 32218 (555) 555-5555 [email protected]
January 10, 2020
Ronald Stevens Owner The Health Bar 4321 West Lane West Palm Beach, FL 33415
Dear Mr. Stevens,
I have always wondered why some restaurants make it, while others don’t. In my 20-plus years in the hospitality industry, of which 12 have been spent working as a restaurant manager, I have reached the conclusion that it boils down to effective and innovative management. I have read your job posting for a restaurant manager with interest and think that I am the woman for the job.
In my current position as the restaurant manager at Francesco’s Pizza Parlor, I have managed to turn a failing business into a profitable and successful venture. In the last two years I have delivered:
- A 25% revenue growth by bringing in a new head chef, overhauling the menu and starting a catering side business for the company
- A 10% margin increase by reducing food wastage, improving stock control and negotiating better prices with suppliers
- Have increased our social media following by 40% through innovative marketing campaigns
I am proud to announce that in November last year, Francesco’s received its first accolade when Jacksonville Magazine announced that we had been chosen as the Best Pizza Restaurant in Jacksonville for 2019. I would be very honored to bring my skill and expertise to your venture, and am specifically excited about your focus on sustainability and organic, locally-produced ingredients.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I am available at any time if you require more information from me. I am willing to travel to West Palm Beach at your earliest convenience so we can meet in person.
Yours sincerely, Sasha Parker
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- Career Planning
- Finding a Job
- Cover Letters
Cover Letter Sample for a Resume
When to Write a Cover Letter
How to write a cover letter for a job, customize your cover letters.
- Explain What's On Your Resume
- Review Examples and Templates
Sample Cover Letter for a Resume
Sending an email cover letter, more cover letter examples.
The Balance / Alex Dos Diaz
Do you need to write a cover letter (also known as a job application letter ) for a job? You may feel as though the document is unnecessary since you are already providing a resume with plenty of information.
Not so! A cover letter serves an important purpose: it presents the case for why you should be hired and distinguishes you from other candidates. Your cover letter is where you can show your passion for the position and the company, and highlight your most relevant qualifications. A well-written cover letter will supplement your resume by focusing on why you're a well-qualified candidate for the job.
Many employers require cover letters as part of the job application process . However, even when an employer does not explicitly ask for a cover letter, you should send one. A Robert Half survey reports that 58% of employers prefer to receive a cover letter and find them to be valuable.
A strong cover letter can make your application stand out from the crowd.
Review these tips for writing and sending a cover letter. Then, use the cover letter sample below as a guide for when you write your own cover letter.
Even when an employer does not directly ask for one, be sure to always send a cover letter . When shouldn’t you send a cover letter?
The only time you should avoid sending a cover letter is when a job listing explicitly says not to send one. In that situation, it's more important to follow the directions on the job listing.
Make a Match
In your cover letter, address the top skills and abilities you have that match the job description . Ideally, you should select the qualifications that are most relevant to the position for which you are applying:
- Review the job description and try to determine which qualifications seem to add the most value to the position.
- Provide a specific example of a time you demonstrated each of these qualifications.
Consider Using Bullets
One great way to showcase your skills and achievements is to include a bulleted list of your most impressive qualifications in the body of your cover letter. Using four or five bulleted items helps this information to “pop” on the page.
Quantify Your Achievements
When describing significant professional successes, make this information even more impressive by quantifying your contributions with numbers, percentages, or dollar amounts in boldface.
While it might seem tedious, you should always customize each letter to fit the specific job for which you are applying. After all, an effective cover letter must illustrate how your experience matches up to the requirements outlined in the job listing. Failing to do so can quickly get your application eliminated from the pool.
Echo the keyword phrases that are emphasized on the job announcement in your cover letter.
Employers often now use sophisticated applicant tracking systems to provide a first review of the cover letters and resumes they receive. The more industry-specific keywords your cover letter includes, the more likely it is that your application will be advanced for a deeper review.
Explain What's On Your Resume
You can use your cover letter to go into detail about something in your resume that needs explaining.
For example, a cover letter is a great place to talk about a career shift , a career break , or to explain an extended gap in employment .
Proof and Edit Your Cover Letter
A CareerBuilder survey reports that typos and grammatical errors can cost you an interview, as can not including a cover letter.
Be sure to thoroughly proofread each cover letter before sending it, looking for grammar and spelling errors. Consider asking a friend or family member, or even a career counselor , to read over your cover letter. It can be helpful to print a copy of your cover letter and edit it with a pen in hand. Reading it out loud is another good way to catch mistakes.
Review Examples and Templates
For help writing your cover letter, read samples like the one below, as well as cover letter templates . Remember to tailor any example or template to fit your own experiences and the job for which you are applying.
Want more tips? Review the top 10 cover letter writing tips for more details on how to craft a successful cover letter. It’s smart to familiarize yourself with what it takes to write an effective cover letter before you get started writing. That way, you can spend less time on editing and more time on getting it right from the start.
You can also use a cover letter sample, like the one below, for inspiration.
Be sure to tailor any samples you use to match your own background and the job for which you are applying.
As a reminder, always rework your cover letter to fit each specific position that you apply for. In addition to tweaking the content, don’t forget to update the salutation, the job title, and the company name.
This is a cover letter sample for a resume. Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.
Sample Cover Letter for a Resume (Text Version)
Joseph Q. Applicant 123 Main Street Anytown, USA 12345 555-212-1234 email@example.com
August 17, 2020
Jane Smith Director, Human Resources Acme Company 123 Business Rd. Business City, NY 54321
Dear Ms. Smith,
I am interested in the author's assistant position at Acme Company, as advertised on LinkedIn. I am currently employed as legislative director for Assemblywoman Nora Kiel, Chairperson of the NYS Assembly. I believe that the skills and experiences I have gained at this position make me an ideal candidate for the job of author’s assistant.
As legislative director, I have developed strong writing and editing skills. For example, one of my main duties is to prepare Assemblywoman Nora Kiel’s personal legislation, which deals with issues related to her position as Senior Member of the NYS Assembly Standing Committee.
This duty requires meticulous writing and editing skills, and an ability to convey complex legal ideas clearly. I have prepared dozens of pieces of legislation and received praise for the clarity of my writing.
I have also gained extensive experience in legal and policy research – fields that you state the author’s assistant must be familiar with. My experience in the NYS Assembly has afforded me the opportunity to become familiar with the consolidated and unconsolidated laws of the State of New York. In particular, through my work with Assemblywoman Nora Kiel, I have become heavily involved in the current welfare and Medicaid reform movement. I am always eager to learn more about state legislation, reading up on these topics on my own time to become more knowledgeable. I would love to bring this passion for policy and law to your company.
I am confident that my experience in the Legislature and my research and writing skills qualify me for consideration. If you would like, I can provide you with current samples of my work. I have also enclosed my resume. I look forward to meeting with you and discussing my qualifications in more detail.
Joseph Q. Applicant (signature hard copy letter)
Joseph Q. Applicant
If you're sending your cover letter via email , list your name and the job title in the subject line of the email message . Include your contact information in your email signature, but don't list the employer's contact information. Skip the date, and start your email message with the salutation.
Ready to get started? You can review 100+ free cover letter examples for more inspiration. Or, follow this guide on how to write a cover letter in 5 easy steps .
Robert Half. " How to Write a Cover Letter That Will Stand Out ." Accessed March 17, 2021.
CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter? " Accessed March 17, 2021.
CareerBuilder. " Employers Share Their Most Outrageous Resume Mistakes and Instant Deal Breakers ." Accessed March 17, 2021.
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How and Why to Write a Great Cover Letter
A cover letter is a one-page business letter that you submit when applying to a job, along with your resume. As a piece of persuasive writing, your cover letter will aim to convey to the employer why you’re a great candidate for the role.
What is the purpose of a cover letter?
Your cover letter complements your resume by making it easy for the employer to see how your experience and interest connect to the position. Your goal is to convince the employer to interview you.
With your cover letter, you’ll aim to:
- Highlight your qualifications: You’ll show how your skills and experience relate to the employer’s needs for a specific position.
- Showcase your motivation: You’ll demonstrate your enthusiasm for the specific position and the organization.
- Reflect your voice and written communication skills: You’ll give the employer a sense of your personality and writing style.
When should I write a cover letter?
Not all jobs require cover letters. So, how do you decide whether to submit one?
Submit a Cover Letter when…
- The posting explicitly requests that you do so
- You’re applying to an opportunity at a mission-driven organization
- You think that doing so could provide important information to the employer that they wouldn’t get from your resume
Consider Submitting a Cover Letter when…
- It’s marked “optional” in an application, and you have the bandwidth to do so
- You have content that you can easily recycle or repurpose into a tailored cover letter
No Need to Submit a Cover Letter when…
- A posting specifically tells you not to submit one
- There’s no way to submit one in an application portal, and doing so would require a serious workaround
If you’re applying to several similar opportunities, creating a draft cover letter in advance, geared toward that type of opportunity, can be a helpful way to save time in your actual application process.
How do I write a cover letter?
Your cover letter should articulate your qualifications and motivation for the position. Read the job description closely and research the organization. As you craft your cover letter, use examples that demonstrate your relevant skills, knowledge, and interests. The cover letter should be concise, clear, and well-organized.
Research the employer.
Learn enough about the organization to articulate why you are a strong fit for that firm.
- Review the firm’s website and LinkedIn page.
- Speak with current or previous employees.
- Read articles and social media for current news.
Analyze the job description
Look for skills, duties, and qualifications of the job so you can design your letter to match these as much as possible.
Reflect on your experience and motivation
Identify skills and personal qualities you have developed which will be useful in this role. Ask yourself:
- What attracts you about this role/company/industry?
- What have you have done in your work experiences, classes, internships, activities, projects, volunteer work, travel, etc., that is similar to the duties required of the job?
Cover Letter Structure
As a business letter, the cover letter should include:
- Heading: Include your name and contact information in the same format as your resume
- Salutation: Address your letter to the specific individual who can hire you, if this is known. If the name is not included in the job description, address the letter to the Hiring Manager or title mentioned in the job description.
- Body Paragraphs: Discuss your experiences, interests, and skills to show the employer how you can add value to their team. See the section below for more guidance.
- Signature Line: Include a closing and your name.
The cover letter should be one page, about three or four paragraphs, and single spaced. Use 10-12 point font and one inch margins.
When applying online, upload your cover letter as a PDF file, unless another format is specified. When sending your resume and cover letter by email, you may write a short note or paste your cover letter in the body of your email (without the address header) and also attach the PDF file.
Cover Letter Content
Your cover letter should answer who, what, when, where and why you are applying for the opportunity.
State the position for which you are applying. If you have a referral or spoke with someone from the company, you can mention it in the introduction. Provide some basic information about yourself; this can include your class year and what you’re studying at Columbia. Briefly outline why you’re interested in the organization and what you bring in terms of relevant experience and skills.
These paragraphs will highlight your qualifications and strengths that are most relevant to the organization and position. Use the job posting and your research as clues to determine what the employer is seeking in a candidate. Have your resume beside you and reflect on what you want the employer to know about you. Are there experiences you want to expand upon that demonstrate your understanding of the role and ability to do the job requirements?
Structure the paragraphs based on relevance, not chronology. Lead with your most relevant skill or strongest experience.
Start each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence. This can highlight a key skill set, a transferable experience, or a core area of knowledge you’ve built through your studies. Walk the reader through a project or experience, integrating the relevant skills you used and qualities you demonstrated. Provide details about your accomplishments and impact. Connect how these experiences have prepared you for this role and why you are motivated to do this job. There is no need to apologize if you feel you lack experience; focus on the accomplishments that you have.
Recap what you would bring to the organization and your interest in the position. Thank the employer for their consideration. Keep your tone positive and enthusiastic.
Check out our example of how to structure your cover letter content .
Use our Cover Letter Checklist to make sure your format and content is in line with best practices.
- Ensure that the content reflects the requirements in the job description
- Keep the cover letter concise, at one page or less
- Correct any errors in grammar, sentence structure, and spelling
- Use the active voice
- Avoid beginning too many sentences with “I”
21+ Cover Letter Examples in 2024 [For All Professions]
No matter where you are in your career, or what job you’re applying for, submitting a cover letter with your resume is a must .
Done right, a cover letter will effectively complement your resume and explain to the hiring manager in more detail why you’re the right person for the job.
Writing a cover letter, however, is easier said than done.
You have to effectively demonstrate that you’ll be able to perform the responsibilities listed in the job description and that you’d be a better fit for the company compared to other candidates.
And unless you’re a professional writer, this can be a very hard task.
Fortunately, we created these cover letter examples to inspire you and help you get started with your own cover letter!
Let’s dive in!
21 Cover Letter Examples
#1. career change cover letter example .
Here’s what this cover letter does right:
- Has an ideal length. This cover letter includes all the relevant information for the hiring manager without getting into too much detail.
- Relevant introduction. The candidate explains that they’re changing careers and why they want to work in this new field from the get-go.
- Explains their related experience. The candidate explains how their previous experience in retail sales can help them succeed in PR.
Check out our guide video guide to learn how to write a Cover Letter that gets you HIRED!
#2. Recent Graduate Cover Letter Example
- Personally greets the hiring manager. The candidate has taken the time to find the hiring manager’s name and address them by it, which makes the opening of the cover letter much more personal.
- Wraps up with a call to action. The candidate wraps up the cover letter by suggesting a meeting with the hiring manager, which makes them more memorable.
- Explains why the candidate is the right person for the internship. In this cover letter for an internship , the candidate explains how they’ve previously interned in a different firm, which gives them the experience to succeed in this role.
Have you just graduated from college? Make sure to check out our guide on writing an entry-level cover letter from start to finish!
#3. Middle Management Cover Letter Example
- Use of bullet points. The candidate presents the information in a concise and reader-friendly way, making it easy for the hiring manager to find their key achievements.
- Formal closing. The candidate has used a formal and polite tone to conclude their cover letter, which combined with a call to action makes them look professional and passionate about getting the job.
- Explains how the company would benefit from hiring them. The candidate outlines exactly what they could do for the company, which not only highlights their skills but also shows they’ve done their research on the company’s needs.
#4. Business Manager Cover Letter Example
- Detailed header. In addition to the must-have contact details, this candidate has also included their professional Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, making it easy for the hiring manager to look more closely into their career.
- Concise and to the point. This candidate has used short paragraphs and bullet points to make the cover letter easy to skim through.
- Wraps up with a call to action. By letting the hiring manager know they’ll be contacting them soon, they’re more likely to make an impression.
Check out this article for a complete writing guide and an inspiring business manager resume sample.
#5. Ph.D. Cover Letter Example
Here’s what this cover letter does right:
- Attention-grabbing introduction. In the opening paragraph, this candidate explains why they’re passionate about pursuing a Ph.D. in great detail.
- Explains the candidate’s qualifications in detail. The candidate builds on their passion by explaining how they’re also qualified for the degree because of their education history and academic achievements.
#6. Senior Executive Cover Letter Example
- Professional and minimalistic template. This senior executive has used a professional but minimalistic template that lets their work experience do the talking.
- Achievement-oriented opening paragraph. Right from the get-go, this candidate explains what makes them so good at their job, effectively grabbing the hiring manager’s attention.
- Wraps up with a call to action. By suggesting to have a meeting and discussing how they can help the company meet its goals, the candidate stands more chance to make a positive lasting impression.
#7. Architect Cover Letter Example
- Modern resume template. This architect has picked a template that perfectly matches his industry, as it is professional and modern at the same time.
- A personal greeting to the HR. They address the hiring manager by their first name, which helps make a better first impression.
- Measurable achievements. By quantifying their achievements, the candidate proves their achievements instead of just claiming them.
Struggling with your architect resume ? Check out our full guide!
#8. Business Analyst Cover Letter Example
- Detailed contact information. The candidate has listed both their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, providing the HR manager an opportunity to learn more about the candidate.
- Mentions what the candidate can do for the company. This cover letter doesn’t just explain why the job would be great for the candidate, but also how the candidate would benefit the company. Win-win, right?
- Error-free and reader-friendly. It’s super important for the cover letter to have no spelling or grammatical errors and be reader-friendly. This candidate made sure they did both.
Need a resume alongside your cover letter? Check out our guide on how to write a business analyst resume .
#9. Consultant Cover Letter Example
- Professional cover letter template. Being an experienced consultant, this candidate has picked a professional template that doesn’t steal the spotlight from their achievements.
- Experience and achievement-oriented. The candidate has effectively elaborated on their top achievements relevant to the job.
- Highlights the candidate’s passion. To show they want the job, this candidate has also explained how passionate they are about their profession.
For more advice on landing a job as a consultant, check out our guide to writing a consultant resume .
#10. Digital Marketing Cover Letter Example
- Creative cover letter template. This digital marketer highlights their originality by picking a creative cover letter template.
- Lists the candidate’s awards. The candidate has taken advantage of the cover letter to list their most noteworthy awards in the industry.
- Concludes with a call to action. As they used a call to action to conclude their cover letter, the HR manager will be more likely to remember them.
Want to take your digital marketing resume to the next level? Check out our guide!
#11. Graphic Designer Cover Letter Example
- Detailed contact information. The candidate has included additional contact information such as their website link, as well as their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.
- Ideal length. This cover letter is concise, which means that the HR manager is more likely to read it from start to finish.
- Draws attention to the candidate’s strong points. Although this candidate is a recent college graduate, they’ve managed to effectively show that they have enough knowledge and experience to do the job right.
Read this guide to write a graphic designer resume that’s just as good as your cover letter!
#12. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Example
- Minimalistic cover letter template. The candidate picked a well-designed but minimalistic template for their cover letter.
- Focused on skills and achievements. This cover letter is packed with the candidate’s skills and achievements, proving he can be an excellent employee.
- Formal closing. Politeness can go a long way and the candidate has used this to their advantage to make an impression.
Our article on how to write an administrative assistant resume can help you take your job application to the next level.
#13. Front Desk Cover Letter Example
- Modern cover letter template. This template incorporates memorable colors and clear lines, which make the cover letter very visually appealing.
- Attention-grabbing introduction. Using an attention-grabbing intro, the candidate is more likely to make an impression.
- Calls the HR to action. By including a call to action, the candidate is reminding the HR of their immediate availability.
#14. Human Resources Cover Letter Example
- It is concise and to the point. The candidate doesn’t dwell on unimportant details the HR won’t be interested in.
- Uses a traditional cover letter template. The cover letter design is more on the conventional side, which fits the industry better.
- Highlights the candidate’s strong points. The candidate has rich work experience and they use the cover letter to elaborate on it.
This HR resume guide can help you get your resume just right.
#15. Sales Agent Cover Letter Example
- Attention-grabbing cover letter template. As a salesperson, this candidate knows how important first impressions are, so they’ve picked a catchy cover letter template.
- Has an ideal length. At the same time, they’ve also made sure to keep their cover letter at just the right length.
- Lists the candidate’s career highlights. The candidate has made perfect use of the space by mentioning their most impressive professional achievements.
Check out this sales agent resume guide to create an attention-grabbing sales resume .
#16. Receptionist Cover Letter Example
- Modern but minimalistic cover letter template. The template’s design hints the candidate is creative but professional at the same time.
- Uses a catchy introduction. The candidate has used an attention-grabbing opening paragraph to catch HR’s attention.
- Concludes the cover letter formally. The candidate proves that they’re polite and well-spoken, a quality very much important for the role they’re applying for.
Take your receptionist resume to the next level with this receptionist resume guide .
#17. Information Technology Cover Letter Example
- Mentions measurable achievements. Numbers make an impact, which is why this candidate has included measurable achievements.
- Lists both soft and hard skills. The candidate has mentioned a great mix of soft and hard skills, showing how well-rounded they are.
- Contains relevant contact information. The candidate’s GitHub, website name, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles are all great additions to the resume.
Looking for tips to help you write a great IT resume ? Check out our guide!
#18. Real Estate Cover Letter Example
- Ideal length. Short and to the point, this cover letter is bound to get noticed by the HR manager.
- Wraps up with a call to action. This candidate reinforces the HR to call them back through a final call to action.
- Mentions the right skills. On top of their sales accomplishments, the candidate touch upon important soft skills such as customer service and communication .
This real estate resume guide will help you take your resume from good to great.
#19. Teacher Cover Letter Example
- Mentions relevant contact information details. This candidate has included optional (but relevant) contact information details, such as their LinkedIn, Quora, and Medium profiles.
- Achievement-oriented. The candidate has elaborated on their achievements in more detail throughout their cover letter.
- Highlights the candidate’s passion. For some jobs, being passionate is much more important than for others. Teaching is one of these jobs, which is why this candidate explains their passion for the job.
Our guide on how to write a teacher resume has all the tips you need to land the job.
#20. Project Manager Cover Letter Example
- Leverages a catchy introduction. Through a catchy introductory paragraph, this candidate is sure to grab the HR’s attention and get them to read the rest of their cover letter.
- Lists measurable accomplishments. This candidate explains exactly what they’ve achieved using numbers and hard data.
- Personally greets the HR. A personal greeting sounds much better than “Dear Sir/Madam,” and the candidate knows this.
This guide on how to write a project manager resume can help you perfect your appication.
#21. Paralegal Cover Letter Example
- Minimalistic cover letter template. This cover letter design looks good but doesn’t steal the show from the candidate’s abilities.
- Mentions the candidate’s academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Although the candidate is a recent graduate, they’ve used the cover letter to explain they have enough skills and achievements to do the job.
- Lists measurable achievements. The candidate proves they did well in their internship by mentioning quantifiable achievements.
Check out this paralegal resume guide to perfect yours.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application, alongside your 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 give the hiring manager more insight into what makes you a good candidate and help them make up their mind about whether they should invite you for an interview. A bad cover letter, though, will get ignored (at best) and lose you the job (at worst).
So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
The first thing to remember is that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you shouldn’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume and call it a day.
Optimally, you should use your cover letter to shed more light on your skills and qualifications, as well as explain anything you didn’t have space for in your resume (e.g. a career gap or why you’re changing careers).
If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, though, putting all this together might seem pretty tough.
Fortunately, you can follow our tried-and-tested format to make the experience much easier:
- Header - Input your contact information.
- Greeting the hiring manager - Open the cover letter with a “Dear Sir or Madam,” or use the hiring manager’s name if you know what that is.
- Opening paragraph - Grab the hiring manager’s attention by getting straight to the point. Mention what your professional experiences are, and what role you’re applying for.
- The second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Mention your top 2-3 achievements, your top skills, why you want to work in that specific industry, and whatever else is relevant.
- The third paragraph - End your cover letter with a call to action. E.g. “I would love to meet personally and discuss how I can help Company X.”
- Formal closing - Something like this: “Thank you for your consideration. Best, John Doe.”
Here’s what this looks like in practice:
9 Tips to Write a Cover Letter (the Right Way)
Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about cover letter tips . Below, we'll give you all the knowledge you need to take your cover letter from "OK" to "great."
#1. Pick the right template
A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.
And what’s a better way to leave a good impression than through a professional, well-formatted, and visual template?
You can simply pick one of our tried-and-tested cover letter templates and you’ll be all set!
#2. Add your contact details on the header
The best way to start your cover letter is through a header.
Here’s what you want to include there:
- Phone Number
- Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
- Name of the company you’re applying to
Optionally, you can also include the following:
- 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 content portfolio site or blog.
#3. Greet the hiring manager the right way
Once you’ve listed all your relevant contact information, it’s time to address the hiring manager reading your cover letter.
A good practice here is to find the hiring manager’s name and address them directly instead of using the traditional “dear sir or madam.” This shows that you’re really invested in the company and that you took your time to do some research about the job.
So, how can you find out the hiring manager’s name?
One way to do this is by looking up the head of the company’s relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Office.
Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of server at a restaurant. In that case, you’d be looking to find out who the restaurant manager is.
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.
If you still can’t find out the hiring manager’s name, here are several other greetings you can use:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Team
#4. Create an attention-grabbing introduction
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 problem with most cover letter opening paragraphs, though, is that they’re usually extremely generic, often looking 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.
As you can probably tell, this opening paragraph doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything other than that you’ve worked the job before - and that’s not really helpful in setting you apart from other candidates.
What you want to do, instead, is 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.
My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed its 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 my excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the role of X at Company Y.
The second example shows how the candidate is a top performer. The first just shows that they’ve worked a sales job before.
Which one are YOU more likely to invite for an interview?
#5. Show you’re the perfect person for the job
One great thing about cover letters is that they allow you to expand more on the top achievements from your resume and really show the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job.
A good way to do that is to first read the job ad and really understand what skills/experiences are required, and then to ensure that your cover letter touches upon the said skills or experiences.
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 and management process end-to-end. This means I created the ad copy and images, as well as 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
#6. Explain why you’re a great company fit
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 .
To convince the hiring manager that you’re a great company fit, do some research on the company and find out what it is you like about them, or about working there. You want to know things like:
- What’s the company’s business model?
- What’s the company's 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?
Then, turn your top reasons for liking to work there into text and add them to your cover letter!
#7. Wrap up with a call to action
To make the end of your cover letter as memorable as possible, you want to:
- Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Mention anything you’ve left out that you think could help the hiring manager make up your mind.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time. After all, it never hurts to be polite.
- Finish the cover letter with a call to action. A call to action is a great way to make your cover letter ending as memorable as possible.
#8. Write a 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 in a cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
#9. Proofread your cover letter
Last but not least, make sure to always proofread each and every document that you’ll be including in your job application - cover letter included.
The last thing you want is to be claiming you’re a great candidate for the job with a cover letter full of typos!
For an even more comprehensive guide on how to write an impactful cover letter , check out our article !
Cover Letter Writing Checklist
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have some questions about cover letters? Check out the answers below:
1. How do I write a simple cover letter?
To write a cover letter that’s simple but also professional, make sure to include a header with your personal information, a formal greeting to the hiring manager, an attention-grabbing opening paragraph, a second paragraph explaining why you’re a good candidate for the job, and a formal closing (preferably with a call to action).
2. What are the 3 parts of a cover letter?
The three parts of a cover letter are:
- The introduction , namely the header, the greeting to the hiring manager, and the opening paragraph.
- The sales pitch is usually the body of the cover letter.
- The conclusion involves a formal closing and a signature line.
3. What makes a great cover letter?
A great cover letter should be personalized for each job you’re applying for, instead of being overly generic. It’s also preferable to address the hiring manager by their name and not use the overly-used “Dear Sir/Madam.”
To make a great first impression, you should mention 1-2 of your top achievements in your opening paragraph - the more job-specific they are, the better. Also, don’t stop at showing the hiring manager why you’re a great candidate for the job. Make sure to also talk about how you’re a good culture fit for the company.
Last but not least, wrap up your closing paragraph with a call to action to give the hiring manager a little extra something to remember you by.
4. When is a cover letter necessary?
Unless the job ad specifically states otherwise, you should always include a cover letter with your job application .
Even if the hiring manager doesn’t read it, you will look more professional simply by including one.
And that’s a wrap! We hope our cover letter examples and writing tips will inspire you to write a cover letter that will land you your next job.
If you’re looking for more invaluable career advice and articles, make sure to check out our career blog , or any of these related articles:
- How to Write a Resume
- Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
- Cover Letter Format (w/ Examples & Free Templates)
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Resumes or CVs and cover letters
Your resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) and cover letter are how you introduce yourself when applying for a job. Learn what to include and the best way to structure these documents.
Make a great first impression with an employer
Your resume or CV and cover letter are short, professional documents that you use to introduce yourself and outline your experience when applying for jobs.
Most job advertisements ask for both a resume or CV and cover letter.
What to include to stand out
Resumes or cvs.
These include a summary of your education, work experience, achievements, and other relevant experience.
These include an introduction to yourself, and a summary of how your experience matches the job description.
Don't know where to start?
Use our Resume templates and cover letter examples .
Talk to a specialist
For free and personalised career support, talk to a Careers NSW careers practitioner or an industry expert.