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How to Write a Cover Letter
Advice for tackling one of the toughest parts of the job-hunting process.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the job application process is writing an effective cover letter. And yes, you should send one. Even if only one in two cover letters gets read, that’s still a 50% chance that including one could help you. Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. Next, catch the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter with a strong opening line. If you have a personal connection with the company or someone who works there, mention it in the first sentence or two, and try to address your letter to someone directly. Hiring managers are looking for people who can help them solve problems, so show that you know what the company does and some of the challenges it faces. Then explain how your experience has equipped you to meet those needs. If the online application doesn’t allow you to submit a cover letter, use the format you’re given to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role.
No one likes job hunting. Scouring through online job listings, spiffing up your résumé , prepping for grueling interviews — none of it is fun. For many, the most challenging part of the process is writing an effective cover letter. There’s so much conflicting advice out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Do you even need one, especially if you’re applying through an online system?
- Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast , and the author of two books: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict . She writes and speaks about workplace dynamics. Watch her TEDx talk on conflict and follow her on LinkedIn . amyegallo
How to Write a Cover Letter (Cover Letter Tips + Free Templates)
A well-written cover letter to accompany your resume can help you stand out to employers and significantly impact a hiring manager’s decision to call you for an interview .
David Grimes, director of people and talent operations at Taulia LLC, told us, “I sincerely appreciate cover letters, as they signal to me an amplification of interest and offer an additional opportunity to convey that [job candidates] have taken the time to truly review the position or organization and see an alignment.”
He notes that “when done well, a cover letter can provide a window into the candidate as they picture themselves at our organization.”
So, if you’re wondering if you need a cover letter for a job, or you’re asking, “what is a cover letter for a resume?” and you want to know how to create a cover letter effectively, look no further!
In this guide, we’ll address the following:
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page business document that should complement a CV or a resume in a job application. Its purpose is to:
- Introduce you to hiring managers.
- Provide details about your qualifications.
- Tell employers why you want to work for them.
- Illustrate why you’re the best match for the job.
- Explain circumstances like job hopping or gaps in employment.
Pro tip Did you know? 41% of job seekers replicate their resumes in their cover letters — a huge mistake. Your cover letter should complement your resume, not repeat it.
How to write a cover letter for a resume in 10 steps
Follow the simple steps below to make a cover letter that wows prospective employers.
STEP 1 Prepare to write your cover letter.
Preparation is key to writing a cover letter that stands out. Having your essential information ready will save you time and ensure you put your best foot forward.
First, review the job requirements and compare them to your relevant qualifications.
Then make a checklist of your:
- Notable accomplishments from previous jobs and volunteer work .
- Skills that match the required skills in the job ad. Include a mix of hard and soft skills .
- Educational qualifications, including certificates and licenses.
- Awards and honors.
Next, if you haven’t already, research the company to:
- Get an idea of the culture and their mission and values so you can tell the hiring manager how well you fit and why.
- Take note of the company’s news and press releases so you can highlight how you can help them reach their goals or congratulate them on a milestone.
- Learn the hiring manager’s name, so you can address your cover letter to them.
STEP 2 Choose a cover letter template
Want to know how to write the perfect cover letter? Use a cover letter template . Why? Because cover letter templates ensure your cover letter is in the correct cover letter format , they’re ATS-friendly and they are designed by professionals.
We have hundreds of templates to help you get started on the right track. Pick from modern, creative, or simple styles to match your CV or resume template and build a professional cover letter in minutes. Not sure if a template’s right for you? Try one for free!
STEP 3 Add your contact information.
Place your name, city, state, ZIP code, phone number and email address in your cover letter heading. Your email address should be professional like [email protected] and not personal like [email protected]. Include links to your LinkedIn profile or professional online portfolio if you have one.
STEP 4 Add the recipient’s address.
First, write the current date followed by a space. Then include the hiring manager’s name and title, company address and hiring manager’s email address (in that order).
It should look like this:
Pro tip Always follow instructions in the job ad. If an ad directs you to address your cover letter to a human resources team member or the HR department, use the information the prospective employer provides for the recipient’s address.
STEP 5 Address the hiring manager (by name).
Here’s a tip for how to address a cover letter correctly: Use the hiring manager’s name (unless the job ad specifies a department or HR team member), avoiding titles like “Mr.” or “Mrs.” unless you are certain of the person’s gender.
“Dear [hiring manager’s full name],” but if your research doesn’t turn up a name, then use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Hiring Team.” If you know their title, then write “Dear [Title].
Don’t use informal language like “Hello,” or “Hi,” or old-fashioned salutations like“Dear Sir or Madam,” or “To Whom it May Concern,” to greet the person reading your letter.
Pro tip Did you know? 45% of hiring managers read an applicant’s cover letter before their resume.
- Dear Lucy Garcia,
- Dear Ms. Lowe,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Vice President of Marketing,
- Hey Mr. Jones,
STEP 6 Grab the hiring manager’s attention with a powerful cover letter introduction
The opening sentences of a cover letter are like an elevator pitch . They should clearly and concisely tell hiring managers why you’re interested in the job and they’ve got to be compelling.
But how do you start a cover letter in a way that intrigues hiring managers and makes them want to read more?
The following tips and examples can help you write a cover letter opening that gets attention.
Exude confidence, passion and enthusiasm.
“I was excited to see that Tech Solutions — a company I respect for its innovation — has an opening for an experienced lead producer .”
Talk up your skills and experience.
“With seven years of experience in production for leading start-up companies in Silicon Valley, I have in-depth knowledge of cyber security and cloud computing and know my way around artificial intelligence .”
Show you’ve done some research.
Mention an interesting fact or statistic from an article, news story or the company’s website.
“When I saw that WILCO Services was touted in Business Magazine for being one of the most inclusive companies in the world, I knew I had to apply for the marketing associate position.”
- Highlight an impressive accomplishment, award or honor and use numbers when possible.
Tell a story about why you are applying.
“When I was a child, I spent my days in the city parks around my neighborhood, listening to birds sing and watching squirrels jump through trees. Those days instilled a passion in me for wildlife that has intensified over the years and, combined with admiration for the animal rehabilitation programs at Prospect Park Nature Conservancy, led me to apply for the Wildlife Technician position at the conservancy. ”
Mention a shared contact (if you’re sure it’s a positive connection).
“ Jayne Peck told me you had an opening on your graphics team, and I’m thrilled to apply for the role. You and I know Jayne from Volunteers for the Bay, where I volunteered on the cleanup crew in 2017.”
STEP 7 Explain why you’re the best candidate for the job in your cover letter body paragraphs.
The body of a cover letter should paint an in-depth picture of your professional life while providing insight into your personality. It’s your chance to show the potential employer what you’re made of.
Here’s what to write in a cover letter body paragraph, no matter your background:
- If you have work experience in your target role or industry, detail your work accomplishments and use numbers to quantify the results of your actions.
- If you’re applying for your first job , connect the new opportunity with a personal or school project, extracurricular activity or internship.
- Highlight your most relevant skills and explain clearly how you can apply them to the job.
- If you think you’re a shoe-in for the company’s culture, show it! For example, if you enjoy volunteering for social justice causes and you are applying to a nonprofit organization focused on social justice, then explain why the company’s mission is meaningful to you.
- If you’re changing careers, explain your motivation and emphasize your transferable skills to how you can contribute to the company’s success. Career change cover letters that emphasize transferable skills are more effective because they show prospectives that you can perform the work with little or no experience.
Pro tip Did you know? 83% of hiring managers surveyed said they would hire a candidate who sent a strong cover letter, even if their resume wasn’t up to par.
STEP 8 Write your closing paragraph.
When you write a cover letter closing statement, make it clear that you’re excited about the possibility of working for the employer and that you are confident you have the expertise to be successful at the job.
You must also thank your reader for their time and consideration, and perhaps most importantly, end with a call to action that encourages the reader to follow up with you.
Remember that you’re writing a cover letter to a specific person, so thank them for their time and consideration. You should also encourage the recipient to follow up (e.g., “I look forward to further discussing my qualifications with you.”).
Here are a few examples of how to create a cover letter closing paragraph.
Pro tip A “call to action” in your cover letter closing paragraph shows hiring managers that you’re serious about the job and confident in your qualifications.
STEP 9 Sign off.
What goes in a cover letter ending isn’t complicated, but you have to get it right if you want a chance at the job.
That means you must be respectful, polite, professional and formal.
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
STEP 10 Proofread your cover letter
Knowing how to write a cover letter for a job isn’t all there is to making a cover letter. You have to proofread it at least once before sending your job application letter to a potential employer. Typos and cover letter formatting mistakes can reduce your chances of getting hired. When you’ve finished proofreading, have someone else read it for you too, just to be sure it’s job application-ready.
And there you go! That’s how to write a good cover letter.
What should a cover letter look like?
All cover letters follow a basic business letter structure that looks like this.
What to include in a cover letter
A professional cover letter must contain:
Your contact information
The current date
The hiring manager’s name and title
The company’s address
The hiring manager’s email address
A salutation (greeting)
An opening paragraph
A closing paragraph
Cover letter writing checklist
- Did you choose a cover letter design that matches your resume?
- Are your name, location, phone number and email address up to date and displayed at the top of your cover letter?
- Did you add a link to your professional portfolio or website and your current LinkedIn profile (if you have them)?
- Did you add the current date at the top of your cover letter?
- Did you address your letter to the hiring manager by name and include their title, email address and the correct company address?
- Did you greet the hiring manager, recruiter or HR associate by name or title?
- Did you use a polite but formal greeting?
- Are the first few sentences of your cover letter clear and compelling?
- Do you convey enthusiasm for the job?
- Did you effectively express how you can apply your skills, experience and achievements to the target job to help the company achieve its goals?
- Did you highlight one or two things you like about the company, such as their values or culture, and why?
- Did you thank the reader for their time?
- Did you end your cover letter with a call to action?
- Did you use a proper, formal closure to end your letter?
How to make a cover letter fast
A professional cover letter template is the best place to start a cover letter . Download one for free to create a cover letter from scratch, or use one of our expertly designed templates with our Cover Letter Builder to make a cover letter in minutes.
Our templates frame your qualifications with the correct formatting , and they meet the latest applicant tracking system (ATS) requirements.
Our builder makes writing a cover letter a snap with:
- Job-specific phrases and skills: No matter the job you’re applying for, we give you the right words and relevant skills you can incorporate with just one click.
- Step-by-step guidance: Get expert advice at every step to help you present your best self and get the job.
- Easy customization: Write a cover letter for every job application and save as many versions of it as you need.
- Multiple download formats: Save and export your cover letter as a PDF, DOCX or plain text.
Pro tip Always match your cover letter template to your resume template for a polished job application. Use our resume builder to create a matching resume and cover letter!
Cover letter tips
We’ve given you almost all the advice for writing a good cover letter that you’ll need to start creating a cover letter, but we’ve saved a few pointers for last.
Here are our top five tips for how to make a cover letter effectively.
TIP #1 Follow instructions. This is probably the most important tip for writing a cover letter. Read the job description carefully and do what it says. If the job posting says to send your letter as a PDF, don’t send a Word document. If it tells you to send your cover letter as an email attachment, then do so. If the job posting says to write your cover letter in the body of an email, then do that. If you fail to follow all instructions in a job ad, you will likely not be considered for the position.
TIP #2 Tailor your cover letter to the job. Hiring managers know a generic cover letter when they see one — and they usually ignore them. That’s why it’s critical to customize your cover letter to show your enthusiasm for the specific job and company you’re applying to. To do this, use keywords from the job description when they apply to you. Doing so also ensures ATS software can find you and signals to hiring managers that you meet their requirements.
Our Cover Letter Builder makes it fast easy to customize a cover letter for every job you target.
TIP #3 Don’t apologize. Never point out the skills and experience you lack. If you are qualified for the job but don’t have much experience in the field, don’t apologize. Instead, focus on experiences like volunteering, school projects and community service you’ve done that make you a good fit and play up your transferable skills.
TIP #4 Don’t overshare. While writing a cover letter to explain a career change or job gap is a good idea, sharing every detail about your life or career is not. Keep away from the following topics every time you create a cover letter:
- Political views.
- Current or past salary or salary expectations for the target job.
- Exaggerations and lies (about anything).
- Personal details such as marital status, family background, financial situation, ethnicity or religious beliefs
- Negative thoughts about your former boss, company or coworkers.
- Irrelevant personal hobbies.
- Details about work from more than three years ago that doesn’t pertain to your target job.
TIP #5 It’s possible to be too enthusiastic. We stress the importance of conveying enthusiasm when you write a cover letter because you should. However, use caution when displaying your zeal. Keep your tone professional, be genuine and never present yourself as desperate.
Cover letter examples
Cover letter examples for top jobs.
Get inspired with our professionally crafted cover letter examples for top jobs and industries. You can use them with our builder to make a cover letter that’s as unique as you are.
- Executive assistant
- Customer service representative
- Educational assistant
- Case manager
- Payroll specialist
Cover letter examples by situation
Example of how to make a cover letter when you have no experience.
Use this example to help you write a career change cover letter.
Here’s what to include in a cover letter if you have employment gaps.
Example of how to write a “cold call” cover letter.
This example shows how to write a cover letter for a job that isn’t advertised.
Here’s how to write a cover letter for a temporary to a permanent position.
Example of a cover letter for a job with the same company.
Example of a job application letter when you’re seeking a promotion.
How to write a cover letter: important takeaways
Let’s recap the basics of what to include in a cover letter one more time:
- A cover letter is a one-page document that complements your resume without repeating it.
- Address the cover letter to the hiring manager. If you don’t know who to address the cover letter to or can’t find their name, then address them as “Hiring Manager,” by their title, or address the department.
- Write a cover letter introduction that immediately grabs the hiring manager’s attention and compels them to keep reading.
- It’s a good idea to use a professionally designed cover letter template to ensure your cover letter is formatted correctly.
- A good cover letter is a custom cover letter. Tailor yours to your target job and use keywords from the job description if they fit your abilities.
How to make a cover letter FAQ
How long should a cover letter be.
A cover letter should cover one half-a page minimum and it should never be more than one-page long. Aim to concisely express your points in about 250-500 words.
How do you write a cover letter for a job application?
To make a cover letter effectively, use a standard business letter format, include your contact details and the potential employers’ contact information, address the hiring manager if possible, and in 250-500 words, explain how your achievements, skills, and work experience make you the best fit for the job. Introduce yourself and show enthusiasm for the job in the first paragraph, then in one or two paragraphs, detail exactly why you’re the best fit for the position. Ensure you address situations such as job gaps, a career change, or a move to a new location, and wrap it up in a compelling closing paragraph that reiterates your interest in the job and invites the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.
How to address a cover letter without a name?
It’s always best practice to try to find the hiring manager’s name when writing a cover letter because it personalizes your letter and emphasizes your interest in the position by showing you’ve done your homework. It also creates a connection with the hiring manager and conveys that you’re willing to go the extra mile, which is a quality most hiring managers want to see in prospective employees. But if you don’t have a name, it’s acceptable to write “Dear hiring manager,” “Dear [Title],” or “Dear [Department Name] to address your cover letter.
Can I send an email cover letter for a resume?
Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a cover letter in an email message, unless the job description states to attach it. Be sure to attach your resume to the email and let the hiring manager know it’s attached.
Is a cover letter necessary?
Yes! Unless a job posting specifically states not to send one, writing a cover letter for a job application is a must if you want to stand out from the competition. Sending a cover letter along with your resume shows recruiters that you are a professional who is sincerely interested in the job and willing to go the extra mile for it — traits employers look for in job candidates.
What to write in a cover letter?
Generally, cover letters should tell employers why you’re the best fit for your target job. Write about your background and how it fits the job, show your personality, and explain precisely what you can do for the employer and how. It’s also a good idea to explain unique situations like job gaps and the reasons for a career change in a cover letter.
Of course, you should also include your name, contact information, links to professional profiles, the employer’s address, addressee’s name and title, a greeting, a job applicant’s contact information, the employer’s address, a compelling introduction, a strong closing inviting the hiring manager or recruiter to follow-up and a formal signoff.
What does a cover letter look like?
A good cover letter looks like a classic business letter. Some cover letter templates have splashes of color, like this one:
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How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023
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Kellie Hanna, CPRW
Career advice expert.
Kellie is a Certified Professional Resume Writer with 20+ years of experience in digital media and is passionate about helping job seekers navigate their careers. She earned a B.A. in English and writing from Temple University.
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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 Make a Resume in 2023
- Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
- Cover Letter Format (w/ Examples & Free Templates)
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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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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.
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It's important to get your cover letter right. It's your one opportunity to sell your skills and experience to potential employers. Find out how to write and format a cover letter and take ideas and inspiration from our cover letter templates
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. It acts as a personal introduction and helps to sell your application.
Cover letters are necessary as they give you the chance to explain to an employer why you're the best candidate for the job. You do this by highlighting relevant skills and experience; therefore, you should always write your cover letter with the position you're applying for in mind.
Not to be confused with personal statements for your CV , cover letters should complement your CV but not duplicate it. The consensus among recruiters when it comes to the length of these documents is the shorter the better. Typically, three to five short paragraphs, cover letters should not exceed one A4 page.
If sending electronically, put the text in the body of the email rather than as an attachment, to avoid it being detected by spam filters.
Applications should always include a cover letter unless the job advert instructs you differently.
How do I write a good cover letter?
Before writing your cover letter it's important that you do your research. While reading the job description thoroughly is essential, it's not enough on its own. To help you craft a successful cover letter you’ll need to find out more about:
- who will be reading your cover letter
- the organisation and its culture
- the industry it operates in and any relevant news
- company competitors and market position.
- the organisations goals over the next five years.
When writing your cover letter keep it brief, while making sure it emphasises your suitability for the job. Cover letters can be broken down into the following sections:
- First paragraph - The opening statement should set out why you're writing the letter. Begin by stating the position you're applying for, where you saw it advertised and when you are available to start.
- Second paragraph - Highlight relevant experience and demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description. Summarise any additional strengths and explain how these could benefit the company.
- Third paragraph - Cover why you're suitable for the job, what attracted you to this type of work, why you're interested in working for the company and what you can offer the organisation. This is a good opportunity to show off your knowledge of the company.
- Last paragraph - Use the closing paragraph to round up your letter. Reiterate your interest in the role and indicate your desire for an interview. Now is the time to mention any unavailable dates.
Once finished read through the document and cut out any unnecessary words and sentences. Don't fill up space by repeating what's already covered in your CV. As a rule, only mention your current salary or salary expectations if the employer has specifically asked you to. If you're asked to include this information, put it between the third and last paragraphs.
Unless the job advert states differently (for example, it may ask you to provide your CV and cover letter as a Word document) save with a .PDF file extension to make sure it can be opened and read on any machine. Windows PCs and Macs don't always work in harmony - Windows use a .docx file extension and Macs .pages but if the recruiter uses the opposite system, they may not be able to open your file. Using a .PDF file extension should solve this.
If you need help with your CV take a look at how to write a CV .
How should I address a cover letter?
Always try and address your cover letter directly to the person who will be reading it. Bear in mind that you're more likely to receive a reply if you send it to the right person.
If you're struggling to find a named contact, you can use a general greeting such as:
- Dear Sir/Madam
- Dear Hiring manager
- Dear Human resources director.
However, general greetings should only be used once you have exhausted methods of finding a named contact.
How do I sign off?
How you sign off your cover letter depends on how you addressed it. If you include a named contact, sign off 'Yours sincerely'. If you use a general greeting, finish with 'Yours faithfully'.
Example cover letters
- Sample cover letter - Used to highlight your skills and experience and to express your suitability and passion for the job, cover letters are used to encourage recruiters to look at your CV. Attention to detail is crucial and spelling, grammar and formatting needs to be spot on. Take a look at our sample cover letter for inspiration.
- Speculative cover letter - These can sometimes be an effective method of creating an opportunity. To ensure that speculative cover letters are successful you'll need to do your research on the company you're applying to. Using our cover letter template, discover what to include in speculative applications.
- Cover letter by a Masters graduate - You probably embarked on a Masters to expand your subject knowledge, gain industry contacts and improve your job prospects but to really make it work you need to know how to sell your postgraduate qualification to employers.
- Cover letter for a jobseeker with no experience - It can be tough applying for a job with no experience, but our example cover letter shows you how to promote yourself to an employer if you haven't got any directly related work experience.
- Explaining a gap in your CV - Knowing how to navigate around gaps in your CV can be tricky but it's a mistake to try and gloss over them. Your cover letter is the perfect place to explain these gaps in your employment history to potential employers. Take a look at our sample cover letter to find out how to go about it.
- Cover letter for changing career - Find out how to explain a change of direction in our example cover letter for career changers. You'll need to briefly cover why you want to change career and relate your past experience and wealth of skills to the industry/job you’re applying to.
- Cover letter by an international graduate - If you'd like to expand your horizons by working abroad, take a look at our cover letter of an international student applying for a job in the UK. You’ll need to do your research if you apply for a job in another country, as application rules may differ.
- Disclosing a disability - Just like your gender, marital status and dependants your disability doesn't affect your ability to do a job and you're not legally required to disclose it on your CV or in your cover letter. However, if you would like to disclose a disability to outline any adjustments you may need, this sample cover letter will show you how.
- Internship cover letter - To set yourself above the competition you need to successfully sell your relevant skills and experience while conveying your passion for the role. As well as explaining to employers what the opportunity could do for you, you'll need to communicate what you could do for the company. Discover how to craft the perfect application for a formal internship with our internship cover letter template.
- Apprenticeship cover letter - Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular route into work, as well as a great alternative to university. Find out how to apply for these roles with our apprenticeship cover letter example.
For inspiration and guidance on crafting a CV see example CVs .
When should I follow up my application?
It's always a good idea to follow up on a job application if you don't hear back. If two weeks have passed and you've had no response, send an email to the hiring manager to check that your application has been received. Use this opportunity to reiterate your interest in the role and why you think you'd be an asset to the company.
Keep this email brief. It shouldn't act as a second cover letter or attempt to replace or repeat the original.
What are some top tips for writing a cover letter?
With employers often receiving lots of applications for each vacancy, you need to ensure that your cover letter makes a lasting impression for the right reasons. These tips will increase your chances of success:
- Tailor to the organisation - You should rewrite your cover letter every time you apply for a position in order to target the company. Sending out a generic letter for all applications rarely yields positive results and recruiters can spot your lack of time and effort from a mile away.
- Format - Presentation is important so you'll need to format your cover letter properly. Make sure the document is as uncluttered as possible, use the same font and size as you use in your CV and if you're sending it through the post or handing it in use good quality plain white paper to print it on.
- Use keywords that appear in the job advert - This lets the employer know that you’ve read and understood the job description. It also demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to tailor your application to the job.
- Identify your USPs - They're your unique selling points. Be positive about what you have to offer and clearly outline how your skills and experience meet those requested in the job description. Demonstrate why you're the perfect candidate.
- Include examples - Back up the claims in your cover letter with real evidence or examples that show how and when you've used your skills and experience.
- Save a copy - If you’re invited to interview you might need to refer back to it.
If you're a student or recent graduate, you can make an appointment with your university's careers and employability service to access further help when writing your cover letter. You'll be able to talk with specially-trained advisers, get advice on what to include and have a professional eye look over your application before sending.
To make sure you don’t trip up read about the 5 things to avoid when writing a cover letter .
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How to write a cover letter employers will want to read.
What's on this page?
Cover letter basics, make your cover letter easy to read, what to put in your cover letter, cover letter template, find out more.
Your cover letter needs to show:
- why you are interested in the job
- how your skills and experience match the job
- why an employer should read your CV.
- check your cover letter for spelling and grammar
- send your cover letter as a Word document
- also copy your cover letter into the message box of the email.
To make your cover letter look good:
- use a black, easy to read font in one size
- use simple language and be warm and friendly
- use positive phrases like 'I have' and 'I can'
- use bullet points to list information
- avoid weak words like 'some knowledge' or 'fairly experienced'
- avoid starting each sentence with 'I'
- avoid repeating your whole CV
- avoid photos or images
- keep your letter to one page.
1. Contact details
Start with your contact details. For example:
Lizzie Long 1 Short Street Middelsburgh Auckland 9999 09 999 9999 [email protected]
Then the date you send the cover letter. For example:
10 January 2019
Then the advertiser's name, organisation, address and email. For example:
Reginald Farnham ABC Sales 85 Tuesday Road Papakura Auckland 7777 [email protected]
Start with 'Dear ...'. Use the name given in the job advertisement. If there isn't one, call the organisation to find out the name or use the name of the organisation.
Under the greeting put the position details. For example:
I am writing to apply for the Sales Assistant vacancy (vacancy number 40568) at ABC Sales, as advertised on Trade Me.
3. Explain your interest in the job
In the next paragraph, explain your interest in the job and how you will fit into the organisation. Be enthusiastic and use positive language.
I have been a customer of ABC Sales for several years and have always been impressed by the quality of service I have received. I am enthusiastic and professional, and I believe I would fit well into the company's team culture and contribute to the ongoing success of the sales department.
4. Link your skills and experience to the job
In one paragraph link your experience, skills and qualifications to the job. Use two or three key examples.
Research the employer online and show how your skills can be useful to the employer.
For the past two years I have worked as a sales assistant at a busy shoe store, which has enabled me to develop excellent customer service skills. I am now looking for a new challenge that will provide me with the opportunity to further develop my retail sales career. In support of my application I have attached a copy of my CV. It shows that I will bring important skills to the position, including: time management and strong organisational skills a high level of customer service cash handling and sales ability motivation and dedication.
5. Ask the employer to contact you
Finally, ask the employer to contact you to talk more about your application.
I would enjoy having the opportunity to discuss my application with you and how I could use my skills to benefit ABC Sales. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely Lizzie Long
See a cover letter example and try our cover letter template:
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Updated 29 Oct 2020
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How to write a great cover letter
A cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to a potential employer and spark their interest in reading your resume.
When you’re prepping job applications, a cover letter might seem like an afterthought compared to your resume. But your cover letter is worth just as much attention . That doesn’t mean it needs to be overly detailed – in fact, a simple single page is best.
Here are the key points to know about cover letters, plus the steps to follow to write one.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a short letter that accompanies your resume when you apply for a role. It’s often the first point of contact you make with a potential employer, hiring manager or recruiter for a job application.
It’s a way to give the employer a sense of who you are, highlighting your skills and experience, before they read the information in your resume. Just as if you were meeting someone for the first time, you’d introduce yourself first before getting into the detail.
Sometimes, a short email can take the place of a cover letter, but the way you write it is much the same.
Take a look at this article comparing an average cover letter to a great one to help you see how to craft yours well.
How does a cover letter compare to your resume?
Your resume and cover letter complement each other but do slightly different things. Your resume summarises the key details of your skills, work experience and education. Resumes are best formatted with bullet points and broken into sections with subheadings, across about two pages.
A cover letter is shorter and sharper: a single page is best. It’s also more of a conversation opener – you’re speaking to the person responsible for the role you’re applying for, expressing your interest in the job and showing them why you’re a good fit for it.
The language in a cover letter is more personal. For example, a social worker ’s resume might include, Redeveloped community youth program, increasing participation by 20 per cent. But in a cover letter you can write in the first person, which might read as, I’m a dedicated and driven social worker, with a strong commitment to supporting disadvantaged youth. It’s a chance to describe your skills and experiences in a way that also gives some insight into you and your career.
How to write your cover letter
- Start with a brief introduction about yourself and why you’re writing. Mention the job you’re applying for and your interest in it.
- Give a snapshot of the relevant skills, experience and qualifications you have that relate to the job. Think about the key two or three points in your resume and explaining these in a way that links them to why you’d be great for the role.
- Give examples of your skills or mention how you’ve used them – you might need to do this in more detail if the job ad requests that you address selection criteria.
- Note that your resume is attached. To finish, you can say that you’d welcome the opportunity to meet to discuss the role, or that you’re happy to provide more information, before signing off.
How to make your cover letter stand out
A cover letter should be engaging – you want to capture the interest of the person reading it so that they turn to your resume to find out more.
It’s also about showing the employer how your skills and experience are a good match for the role. That’s why you should always create a cover letter especially for the role you’re applying for – it shouldn’t be a generic letter. These tips can help you tailor your cover letter to the job.
A good cover letter can also demonstrate your written communication skills. Write for the environment you’re applying to: if it’s a more informal workplace or a creative type of work, don’t be afraid to inject some personal style into your writing to stand out.
Reading the 5 things employers wish they could say about cover letters and what recruiters look for in cover letters can also help you to write one that will impress.
Quick tips for improving your cover letter
- Use clear, concise language. It’s best to avoid complicated or flowery wording.
- Avoid overly long sentences. Try reading it aloud to see if there are any you struggle with.
- Always tailor your cover letter to the job. An application is all about showing how you’re a good fit for the role on offer, and you don’t want your cover letter to seem reused.
- Rather than writing ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, find out who to address your letter to; you could phone the company to ask. It’s more personal that way and shows you’ve taken initiative.
- Triple check your spelling and grammar. Try printing your letter out then coming back to it fresh, or get someone with a keen eye to look over it for you.
- Keep your letter to around 250-350 words on a single page.
- Take a look at these examples of cover letters written by successful job seekers .
Writing your cover letter might feel intimidating at first when you’re facing a blank page. But by following these steps and tips, you can focus on crafting a cover letter that captures what you can bring to the role and makes a winning impression to the employer.
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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
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