How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023 | Beginner's Guide
After weeks of heavy job search, you’re almost there!
You’ve perfected your resume.
You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.
You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.
But then, before you can send your application and call it a day, you remember that the job ad requires a cover letter.
Now you’re stuck wondering how to write a cover letter ...
Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think.
In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.
- What’s a cover letter & why it’s important for your job search
- How to write a convincing cover letter that gets you the job (step-by-step!)
- How to perfect your cover letter with the Novoresume free checklist
- What excellent cover letter examples look like
So, let’s get started with the basics!
What is a Cover Letter? (and Why It’s Important)
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or Resume).
Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .
A good cover letter can spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume.
A bad cover letter, on the other hand, might mean that your application is going directly to the paper shredder. So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
How does a good cover letter look, you might ask. Well, here’s an example:
Keep in mind, though, that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you don’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume.
If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, writing all this might seem pretty tough. After all, you’re probably not a professional writer.
The thing is, though, you don’t need to be creative, or even any good at writing. All you have to do is follow a tried-and-tested format:
- Header - Input contact information
- Greeting the hiring manager
- Opening paragraph - Grab the reader’s attention with 2-3 of your top achievements
- Second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job
- Third paragraph - Explain why you’re a good match for the company
- Formal closing
Or, here’s what this looks like in practice:
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter (And Get Hired!)
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, we’re going to guide you through the process of writing a cover letter step by step.
Step #1 - Pick the Right Cover Letter Template
A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.
So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, visual template?
You can simply pick one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in a jiffy!
As a bonus, our AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter on the go.
Step #2 - Start the Cover Letter with a Header
As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with a Contact Information section:
Here, you want to include all essential information, including:
- Phone Number
- Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
- Name of the company you’re applying to
In certain cases, you might also consider adding:
- Social Media Profiles - Any type of profile that’s relevant to your field. Social Profiles on websites like LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
- Personal Website - If you have a personal website that somehow adds value to your application, you can mention it. Let’s say you’re a professional writer. In that case, you’d want to link to your blog.
And here’s what you shouldn’t mention in your header:
- Your Full Address
- Unprofessional Email - Make sure your email is presentable. It’s pretty hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected]” Whenever applying for jobs, stick to the “[first name] + [last name] @ email provider.com” format.
Step #3 - Greet the Hiring Manager
Once you’ve properly listed your contact information, you need to start writing the cover letter contents.
The first thing to do here is to address the cover letter to the hiring manager .
That’s right, the hiring manager! Not the overly popular “Dear Sir or Madam.” You want to show your future boss that you did your research and are really passionate about working with their team.
No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes to get hired in any of them.
So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager? There are several ways to do this.
The simplest option is to look up the head of the relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably Head of Communications or Chief Communications Office.
So, you do a quick lookup on LinkedIn:
And voila! You have your hiring manager.
Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of a server. In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager.”
If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.
Here are several other greetings you could use:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Team
Step #4 - Write an Attention-Grabbing Introduction
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.
Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.
So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph .
The #1 problem we see with most cover letter opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Most of them look something like this..
- Hey, my name is Jonathan and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a sales manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.
See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say pretty much anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.
Do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.
Instead, you want to start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.
So now, let’s make our previous example shine:
My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed their sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the job.
See the difference between the two examples? If you were the hiring manager, which sales manager would you hire, Jonathan or Michael?
Now that we’ve covered the introduction, let’s talk about the body of your cover letter. This part is split into two paragraphs: the first is for explaining why you’re the perfect person for the job, and the latter is for proving that you’re a good fit for the company.
So, let’s get started...
Step #5 - Explain why you’re the perfect person for the job
This is where you show off your professional skills and convince the HR manager that you’re a better fit for the job than all the other applicants.
But first things first - before you even write anything, you need to learn what the most important requirements for the role are. So, open up the job ad and identify which of the responsibilities are the most critical.
For the sake of the example, let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. You scan the job ad and see that the top requirements are:
- Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
- Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
- Excellent copywriting skills
Now, in this section, you need to discuss how you fulfill these requirements. So, here’s how that would look for our example:
In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation & management process end-to-end. Meaning, I created the ad copy , images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.
Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:
- Google Search
Are you a student applying for your first internship? You probably don’t have a lot of work experience to show off in this section. Learn how to write an internship cover letter here.
Step #6 - Explain why you’re a good fit for the company
Once you’ve written the last paragraph, you might be thinking - I’m a shoo-in for the job! What else do I need to write? I’ll just wrap up the cover letter and hit that sweet SEND button.
Well, no. You’re not quite there yet.
The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.
After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary .
Meaning, you also need to convince the HR manager that you’re really passionate about working with them.
How do you do this? Well, as a start, you want to do some research about the company. You want to know things like:
- What’s the company’s business model?
- What’s the company product or service? Have you used it?
- What’s the culture like? Will someone micro-manage your work, or will you have autonomy on how you get things done?
So, get to Googling. Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or somewhere around the web.
Then, you need to figure out what you like about the company and turn that into text.
Let’s say, for example, you’re passionate about their product and you like the culture of innovation / independent work in the organization.
You’d write something like:
I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2 were real game changers for the device.
I really admire how Company XYZ thrives for excellence for all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone that thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I and Company XYZ will be a great match.
What you don’t want to do here is be super generic for the sake of having something to write. Most job seekers tend to mess this one up. Let’s take a look at a very common example we tend to see (way too often):
I’d love to work for Company XYZ because of its culture of innovation. I believe that since I’m super creative, I’d be a good fit for the company. The company values of integrity and transparency really vibe with me.
See what’s wrong here? The example doesn’t really say anything about the company. “Culture of Innovation” is something most companies claim to have.
The same goes for “values of integrity and transparency” - the writer just googled what the values for the organization are, and said that they like them.
Any hiring manager that reads this will see through the fluff.
So, make sure to do a lot of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying.
Step #7 - Wrap up with a call to action
Finally, it’s time to finish up your cover letter and write the conclusion.
In the final paragraph, you want to:
- Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? Any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision? Mention it here.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time. It never hurts to be courteous, as long as you don’t come off as too needy.
- Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. You should ask the hiring manager to take some sort of action.
And now, let’s turn this into a practical example:
So to wrap it all up, thanks for looking into my application. I hope I can help Company X make the most out of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your facebook marketing goals.
Step #8 - Use the right formal closing
Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.
Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions to a cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
And we’re finally done! Before sending off the cover letter, make sure to proofread it with software like Grammarly, or maybe even get a friend to review it for you.
Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?
- Professional email
- Relevant Social Media Profiles
Do you address the right person? I.e. hiring manager in the company / your future direct supervisor
Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?
- Did you mention 2-3 of your top achievements?
- Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
Do you successfully convey that you’re the right pro for the job?
- Did you identify the core requirements?
- Did you successfully convey how your experiences help you fit the requirements perfectly?
Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?
- Did you identify the top 3 things that you like about the company?
- Did you avoid generic reasons for explaining your interest in the company?
Did you finalize the conclusion with a call to action?
Did you use the right formal closure for the cover letter?
5+ Cover Letter Examples
Need some inspiration? Read on to learn about some of the best cover letter examples we’ve seen (for different fields).
College Student Cover Letter Example
Middle Management Cover Letter Example
Career Change Cover Letter Example
Management Cover Letter Example
Senior Executive Cover Letter Example
Want to discover more examples AND learn what makes them stand out? Check out our guide to cover letter examples .
Next Steps in Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume
Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application is for naught.
After all, a cover letter is just an introduction. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression, but flopping at the end because of a mediocre resume.
...But don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered on that end, too.
If you want to learn more about Resumes & CVs, we have a dedicated FREE guide for that. Check out our complete guide on how to make a resume , as well as how to write a CV - our experts will teach you everything you need to know in order to land your dream job.
Or, if you’re already an expert, just pick one of our resume templates and get started.
Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:
- A cover letter is a 250 - 400 word document that convinces the hiring manager of your competence
- A cover letter goes in your job application alongside your resume
- Your introduction to the cover letter should grab the hiring manager’s attention and keep it all the way until the conclusion
- There are 2 main topics you need to include in your cover letter: why you’re the perfect candidate for the job & why you’re passionate about working in the company you’re applying to
- Most of the content of your cover letter should be factual , without any fluff or generalizations
At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve, every step of the way! Follow our blog to stay up to date with the industry-leading advice. Or, check out some of our top guides…
- How to Write a Motivational Letter
- How to Write a Resume with No Work Experience
- Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
Your Complete Guide to Writing a Cover Letter (Plus Bonus Tips and Examples)
Hot jobs on the muse.
Ah yes, the familiar cycle: You sit down to write a cover letter, open a blank document, check your email, browse cover letter examples , do some chores, watch that cursor blink a few more times, and finally Google something like “how to write a cover letter”—which hopefully brought you here. But you still might be thinking something to the effect of: Does anyone really read cover letters? Why do they even exist?
First off: Yes, we can assure you that cover letters do, in fact, get read . To some hiring managers, they’re the most important part of your job application . And regardless, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell prospective employers who you are, showcase why they should hire you, and stand out above all the other candidates.
To ensure your letter is in amazing shape (and crafting it is as painless as possible), we’ve got easy-to-follow steps plus examples, a few bonus tips, and answers to frequently asked questions
What is a cover letter and why is it important?
How to write a cover letter hiring managers will love, what do examples of cover letters look like, bonus cover letter tips to give you an edge over the competition, cover letter faqs (a.k.a., everything else you need to know about cover letters).
A cover letter is a brief (one page or less) note that you write to a hiring manager or recruiter to go along with your resume and other application materials. Done well , a cover letter gives you the chance to speak directly to how your skills and experience line up with the specific job you’re pursuing. It also affords you an opportunity to hint to the reviewer that you’re likable, original, and likely to be a great addition to the team.
Instead of using cover letters to their strategic advantage, most job applicants blabber on and on about what they want, toss out bland, cliché-filled paragraphs that essentially just regurgitate their resume, or go off on some strange tangent in an effort to be unique.
Given this reality, imagine the leg up you’ll have if you learn how to do cover letters right.
OK, you’re sold on how important cover letters are. Here are eight steps to writing one that screams, “I’m a great hire!”
Step 1: Write a fresh cover letter for each job (but yes, you can use a template).
Yes, it’s way faster and easier to take the cover letter you wrote for your last application, change the name of the company, and send it off. But most employers want to see that you’re truly excited about the specific position and organization—which means creating a custom letter for each position.
While it’s OK to recycle a few strong sentences and phrases from one cover letter to the next, don’t even think about sending out a 100% generic letter. “Dear Hiring Manager, I am excited to apply to the open position at your company ” is an immediate signal to recruiters and hiring managers that you’re mass-applying to every job listing that pops up on LinkedIn.
At the same time, there’s nothing that says you can’t get a little help: Try out one of our free cover letter templates to make the process a bit easier.
Step 2: Add your contact info.
At the top of your cover letter, you should list out your basic info. You can even copy the same heading from your resume if you’d like. Some contact info you might include (and the order you might include it in) is:
- Your pronouns (optional)
- Your location (optional)
- Your email address
- Your phone number (optional)
- Your Linkedin, portfolio, or personal website URL (optional)
Note that only name and email are mandatory, and you don’t need to put a full address on a cover letter or resume anymore. A city and state (or metro area) are more than enough.
So your header might look like this:
Inigo Montoya he/him Florin Metropolitan Area [email protected] 555-999-2222
If the job posting tells you to submit your cover letter in the body of an email, you can add your contact info at the end, after your name (and if you’d like to forgo the email address here, you can—they have it already).
So your sign off could look like this:
Violet Baudelaire she/her [email protected] 123-123-1234 https://www.linkedin.com/in/violet-baudelaire/
Step 3: Address your cover letter to the hiring manager—preferably by name.
The most traditional way to address a cover letter is to use the person’s first and last name, including “Mr.” or “Ms.” (for example, “Dear Ms. Jane Smith” or just “Dear Ms. Smith”). But to avoid accidentally using the wrong title, or worse, inadvertently misgendering someone—first and last name also work just fine. And if “Dear” feels a bit too stiff, try “Hello.” But never use generic salutations like “ To Whom it May Concern ” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”
For more help, read these rules for addressing your cover letter and a few tips for how to find the hiring manager .
Step 4: Craft an opening paragraph that’ll hook your reader.
Your opening sets the stage for the whole cover letter. So you want it to be memorable, friendly, conversational, and hyper-relevant to the job you’re pursuing.
No need to lead with your name—the hiring manager can see it already. But it’s good to mention the job you’re applying for (the hiring manager may be combing through candidates for half a dozen different jobs), and yes, you could go with something simple like, “I am excited to apply for [job] with [Company].” But consider introducing yourself with a snappy first paragraph that highlights your excitement about the company you’re applying to, your passion for the work you do, and/or your past accomplishments.
This is a prime spot to include the “why” for your application. Make it very clear why you want this job at this company . Are you a longtime user of their products? Do you have experience solving a problem they’re working on? Do you love their brand voice or approach to product development? Do your research on the company (and check out their Muse profile if they have one) to find out.
For instance, say you’re applying for a marketing job with a company known for its incredible pies and baked goods. You might want to use your opening to mention how you love pie so much that when you were in the 4th grade, you took the blue ribbon in the National Cherry Festival pie-eating contest. Or take a look at this cover letter hook by a client of career coach and Muse writer Jenny Foss , who was working to land a leadership role at a nonprofit specializing in fire prevention:
“I have a personal interest in fire prevention that dates back to my youth. As the daughter of a nurse who worked in a hospital burns unit for many years, I grew up with significant exposure to those impacted by fire. I’d spend hours thinking about my mom’s patients, wishing there were some way to better protect people from fire.”
Read More: 30 Genius Cover Letter Openers Recruiters Will LOVE
Step 5: Convey why you’d be a great hire for this job.
A common cover letter mistake is only talking about how great the position would be for you . Frankly, hiring managers are aware of that—what they really want to know is what you’re going to bring to the position and company.
So once you’ve got the opening under wraps, you should pull out a few key ideas that will make up the backbone of your cover letter. They should show that you understand what the organization is looking for and spell out how your background lines up with the position. Study the job description for hints . What problems is the company looking to solve with this hire? What skills or experiences are mentioned high up, or more than once? These will likely be the most important qualifications.
Select the three to five important qualifications that you feel you exemplify best. For instance, maybe you’re looking for an account executive role and come across a posting that excites you. You might pull out these details that match you well:
- The job description mentions meeting and exceeding quotas several times.
- The company has a very collaborative, cross-departmental approach to solving problems.
- The sales department requires a fast learner so the account executive can get up to speed quickly on leads and tailor pitches to their needs.
If you tend to have a hard time singing your own praises and can’t nail down your strengths, here’s a quick trick : What would your favorite boss, your best friend, or your mentor say about you? How would they sing your praises? Use the answers to inform how you write about yourself. You can even weave in feedback you’ve received to strengthen your case (occasionally, don’t overuse this!). For example:
“When I oversaw our last office move, my color-coded spreadsheets covering every minute detail of the logistics were legendary; my manager said I was so organized, she’d trust me to plan an expedition to Mars.”
Step 6: Back up your qualifications with examples and numbers.
Look at your list of qualifications from the previous step, and think of examples from your past that prove you have them. And go beyond your resume . Don’t just regurgitate what the hiring manager can read elsewhere. Simply put, you want to paint a fuller picture of what experiences and accomplishments make you a great hire and show off what you can sashay through their doors with and deliver once you land the job.
For example, what tells a hiring manager more about your ability to win back former clients? This: “I was in charge of identifying and re-engaging former clients.” Or this: “By analyzing past client surveys, NPS scores, and KPIs, as well as simply picking up the phone, I was able to bring both a data-driven approach and a human touch to the task of re-engaging former clients.”
Having trouble figuring out how to do this? Try asking yourself these questions and finding answers that line up with the qualifications you’ve chosen to focus on:
- What approach did you take to tackling one of the responsibilities you’ve mentioned on your resume?
- What details would you include if you were telling someone a (very short!) story about how you accomplished one of your resume bullet points?
- What about your personality, passion, or work ethic made you especially good at getting the job done?
Come up with your examples, then throw in a few numbers. Hiring managers love to see stats—they show you’ve had a measurable impact on an organization you’ve worked for. Did you bring in more clients than any of your peers? Put together an impressive number of events? Make a process at work 30% more efficient? Work it into your cover letter!
Going back to the example from the last step. How could you prove that you’ll meet and exceed sales quotas if they hire you? Try something like:
“ I’ve always been very goal-oriented—whether that goal was hitting a new personal best on the swim team in college or smashing my quotas as a sales development rep for ZZZ Inc. As an SDR, I break my quarterly sales goals down month-by-month and then week-by-week—so that I always know whether I’m ahead, behind, or on-track. I also take an hour every Friday to reflect on what I could’ve done better in the previous week—so that I’m always improving. With these strategies, I’ve met my goals for meetings set 10 out of the last 10 quarters and actually averaged 114% to goal for finding leads that eventually turned into sales over every quarter last year. As an account executive for your company, I’d bring that same drive and systematic approach for meeting longer-term targets to my sales quotas. ”
Do this for each of the qualifications you want to focus on, and feel free to connect your accomplishments directly to the company. Pro tip: Use your space wisely. For more important qualifications, you might dedicate an entire paragraph, while others may only need a sentence or two.
Step 7: Finish with a strong conclusion.
It’s tempting to treat the final lines of your cover letter as a throwaway: “I look forward to hearing from you.” But your closing paragraph is your last chance to emphasize your enthusiasm for the company or how you’d be a great fit for the position. You can also use the end of your letter to add important details—like, say, the fact that you’re willing to relocate for the job.
Some advice might tell you to go with a hard close: Boldly insist that you’re the one, and that you’re going to call them within a week to set up a meeting. But with over 10 years of experience as a recruiter, Foss finds this annoying. It’s one thing to be proactive and confident but, to her, this approach feels like a cheesy tactic stripped out of an old school “How to sell yourself” textbook.
Instead, try something like this:
“I believe my energy, desire to innovate, and experience as a sales leader will serve OrangePurple Co. very well. I would love to meet to discuss the value I could add as your next West Coast Sales Director. I appreciate your consideration and hope to meet with you soon.”
Then be sure to sign off professionally , with an appropriate closing and your first and last name.
Read More: 3 Cover Letter Closing Lines That Make Hiring Managers Grimace (Plus: Better Options )
Step 8: Reread and revise.
We shouldn’t have to tell you to run your cover letter through spell-check, but remember that having your computer scan for typos isn’t the same as editing . Set your letter aside for a day or even just a few hours, and then read through it again with fresh eyes—you’ll probably notice some changes you want to make.
You might even want to ask a friend or family member to give it a look. In addition to asking them if they spot any errors, you should ask them two questions:
- Does this sell me as the best person for the job?
- Does it get you excited?
If the answer to either is “no,” or even slight hesitation, go back for another pass.
Here’s an example cover letter that follows this advice:
Alia Farhat San Francisco Bay Area [email protected] 444-000-1111
Hello Danny Tanaka,
If I’m being honest, I still haven’t fully gotten over the death of my first Tamagotchi pet when I was six years old. (His name was Tommy, and I’ve gotten far more creative since then, I promise.) When I was older, I discovered NeoPets and I was hooked for years—not just on the site, but on the community that surrounded it. So when I heard about FantasyPets last year, I immediately started following news about your development process, and that’s how I saw your post looking for a marketing strategist. Not only do I have eight years of experience in digital marketing, but as a lifelong gamer with a passion for pet-focused titles who’s spent years in online communities with like-minded people, I also know exactly what kind of messaging resonates with your target audience.
You’re looking for someone to help you craft a social media marketing campaign to go along with your game launch, and I’ve been a part of three launch-day marketing campaigns for mobile and web-based games. In my current role as social media manager at Phun Inc., I proposed a campaign across Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok based on competitor research and analysis of our social campaigns for similar games to go along with the launch of the mobile game FarmWorld. Using my strategy of featuring both kids and adults in ads, we ended up driving over one million impressions and 80k downloads in the first three months.
I’ve always believed that the best way to find the right messaging for a game is to understand the audience and immerse myself in it as much as possible. I spend some of my research time on gaming forums and watching Twitch streams and Let’s Plays to see what really matters to the audience and how they talk about it. Of course, I always back my strategies up with data—I’m even responsible for training new members of the marketing team at Phun Inc. in Google AdWords and data visualization.
I believe that my passion for games exactly like yours, my digital marketing and market research experience, and my flair for turning data into actionable insights will help put FantasyPets on the map. I see so much promise in this game, and as a future player, I want to see its user base grow as much as you do. I appreciate your consideration for the marketing strategist role and hope to speak with you soon.
Looking for more cover letter examples? Check out these from across our site:
- 4 best cover letter examples for different types of job seekers
- Pain point cover letter example
- Internship cover letter example
- Recent graduate cover letter example
- Career changer cover letter example
- Stay-at-home parent returning to work cover letter example
- Sales cover letter example
- Email marketing manager cover letter example
- No job description or position cover letter example (a.k.a., a letter of intent or interest)
- Buzzfeed-style cover letter example
- Creative cover letter example (from the point-of-view of a dog)
As you write your cover letter, here are a few more tips to consider to help you stand out from the stack of applicants:
- Keep it short and sweet: There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general, for resumes and cover letters alike, don’t go over a page. Need help? Check out these tips for cutting down your cover letter .
- Never apologize for your missing experience: When you don’t meet all of the job requirements, it’s tempting to use lines like, “Despite my limited experience as a manager…” or “While I may not have direct experience in marketing…” But why apologize ? Instead of drawing attention to your weaknesses, emphasize the strengths and transferable skills you do have.
- Strike the right tone: You want to find a balance between being excessively formal in your writing—which can make you come off as stiff or insincere—and being too conversational. Let your personality shine through, for sure, but also keep in mind that a cover letter shouldn’t sound like a text to an old friend.
- Consider writing in the company’s “voice”: Cover letters are a great way to show that you understand the environment and culture of the company and industry. Spending some time reading over the company website or stalking their social media before you get started can be a great way to get in the right mindset—you’ll get a sense for the company’s tone, language, and culture, which are all things you’ll want to mirror—especially if writing skills are a core part of the job.
- Go easy on the enthusiasm: We can’t tell you how many cover letters we’ve seen from people who are “absolutely thrilled for the opportunity” or “very excitedly applying!” Yes, you want to show personality, creativity , and excitement. But downplay the adverbs a bit, and keep the level of enthusiasm for the opportunity genuine and believable.
The bottom line with cover letters is this: They matter, much more than the naysayers will have you believe. If you nail yours, you could easily go from the “maybe” pile straight to “Oh, hell yes.”
- Are cover letters still necessary?
- Do I have to write a cover letter if it’s optional?
- Can I skip the cover letter for a tech job?
- What does it mean to write a cover letter for a resume?
- How can I write a simple cover letter in 30 minutes?
- How can I show personality in my cover letter?
- What should I name my cover letter file?
- Is a letter of intent different from a cover letter?
- Is a letter of interest different from a cover letter?
Regina Borsellino and Jenny Foss contributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.
The employees have spoken. See the Best Places to Work 2023!
Resume & Cover Letter
How to write a cover letter in 2022 (6 tips and 3 templates).
Posted by Dominique Fluker
Content Marketing Manager, Editorial
Last Updated June 9, 2022
A guide to writing a cover letter that impresses your reader.
The cover letter is a tool to help introduce yourself in a memorable, personal way during a job application. A well-crafted cover letter goes over information on your resume and expands this information for the reader, taking them on a guided journey of some of your greatest career and life achievements . Its purpose is to elaborate on the information contained in your resume while infusing your personality. Unlike a resume, a cover letter lets you introduce yourself to the hiring manager, provide context for your achievements and qualifications, and explain your motivation for joining the company. So how do you pique the interest of your future employer and hiring manager all while highlighting your truest self?
When starting to write any cover letter, it is always best to plan the content of your letter based on the requirements of the job you’re applying for.
We’re here to help you! This guide will cover:
- The essential elements of a successful cover letter
- How to write a unique cover letter,
- What to include in a cover letter
- What not to include and how you should submit your cover letter
What is a Cover Letter?
Your resume is intended to lay out the facts, but your cover letter is meant to convey more personality. The cover letter is your first introduction to the person who may hire you, and its goal should be to make you as memorable as possible , in a good way.
That means writing a unique cover letter for every job you apply to. No templates. No pre-written nonsense. The format of your cover letter should also match the company and the industry you’re applying to.
There is no “official format” for your cover letter or the information you include in it, but your cover letter should be visually organized , and orderly in its presentation of information.
Successful cover letters go something like this:
- Memorable introduction
- Specific, organized examples of relevant work done and problems solved
- Concise conclusion with a call to action
The rest is up to you. As we’ll go over in the next section, “What to Include in Your Cover Letter,” successful cover letters prove that you are qualified for the job by telling stories that demonstrate your skills and experience .
What to Include in Your Cover Letter?
You shouldn’t try to fit your whole career and life into the space of a cover letter.
Your cover letter should be a carefully curated selection of stories f rom your career that gives the reader a clear idea of who you are and how you can add value to their company.
The Society for Human Resources surveyed organizations on resumes , cover letters , and interviews and found the top three things that must be included in a cover letter are:
- How a candidate’s work experience meets job requirements.
- How a candidate’s skills meet job requirements.
- Why a candidate wants to work at the organization.
Your cover letter needs to provide this information and leave the reader convinced that you are the right person for the job .
To accomplish this, you should be using the requirements of the job to dictate the content of your cover letter and following these best practices.
Show how you can solve specific problems
Saying you’re a ‘problem-solver’ is about as helpful as explaining your preference for chocolate croissants over regular croissants. Don’t tell them about your amazing problem-solving skills . Explain the details of a particular problem you were key in solving and how exactly you employed your skills to solve it. Better yet, if you know the company has a particular problem you could help solve, outline how you can help solve it.
Pick an appropriate voice and tone
You should write like yourself, but you should also pick the appropriate voice and tone for the company you’re applying to.
Researching the company will help dictate the tone you want to use, which may differ greatly, depending on where you apply. For example, the tone of your letter for a legal consulting firm will likely differ from a tech startup .
Tell your story
Telling stories from your career is a great way to demonstrate your skills and give hiring managers some insight into your personality and work style .
When looking for the right stories to tell, always look to the requirements for the position in the job description .
It is also helpful to research the company further online to get a sense for the company’s culture. Before drafting your cover letter, compare your skills with the requirements for the position.
It can be helpful to use Venn diagrams to brainstorm and find what competencies you want to highlight and what specific experiences you want to share. After you create this diagram and identify what falls into both circles, overlapping subjects will direct and inspire the content of your cover letter.
Let’s say you’re applying for a marketing director position. Among other aspects in the description, the job requires several years of marketing experience, a deep knowledge of lead generation, and strong communication skills . Describe how, in your previous role as a marketing manager, you ran several campaigns for your clients and exceeded their expectations of lead generation (with specific numbers, if possible), and how you also trained and mentored new associates on how to manage their own accounts, which improved client retention rates.
Your anecdote is accomplishing a lot at once—it’s demonstrating one of your top hard skills, lead nurturing, and showcasing how you can collaborate with trainees, communicate effectively , and educate new employees on processes and client relations. You’re proving that you can meet the communication standards and marketing knowledge they’re seeking.
Honesty is the only policy
Dishonesty on your cover letter isn’t in your best interest.
Implying or stating that you have a skill that you don’t actually have will come back to bite you upon being asked to use that skill in the interview or on the job.
Don’t sound like everyone else
“Hi, I’m ___. I’m a detail-oriented, multi-tasking, natural-born leader and I am perfect for your company.”
Hiring managers are going to read the same basic cover letter repeatedly, and you don’t want to be the last template email the hiring manager discounts before lunch. Adding a little word variation helps you stand out against other applicants .
Instead of describing yourself as creative, try imaginative. You’re inventive, not innovative. You’re not determined, you’re tenacious. These word variations at least show that you can think beyond what the average applicant is willing to do.
End with a call to action
End your letter with a reason for them to contact you . But don’t add remarks like, “I’ll call to schedule an interview.” This doesn’t make you a go-getter, it crosses a boundary.
Instead, let the call to action be polite and open ended, suggesting that you are excited to offer more information and that you’re looking forward to talking with them.
Proof your cover letter
Always proofread your cover letter for errors and have friends and family read through the cover letter.
How to Make Your Cover Letter Unique?
When thinking about how to make your cover letter unique , keep the following statements in mind:
- You should make your cover letter unique and show the reader who you are as an individual.
- You should include experience and skills that relate directly to the job posting.
These might sound like opposing statements, but they’re equally important for writing a successful cover letter.
Your cover letter needs to be highly related to the job you’re applying to, but the way that you prove your qualifications should show who you are as an individual.
Tell a compelling story
Everyone loves a good story, and recruiters and hiring managers are no exception. Telling compelling stories from your career will make your cover letter unique and memorable for whoever reads it.
Just be sure that the stories you choose demonstrate proficiency with the skills, tools and concepts that are required by the job you’re applying for.
What makes this company your go-to choice? Why is this company special to you? Perhaps you’re attracted to the workplace culture , or perhaps you’ve always admired the business philosophy that the company lives by.
Address the recruiter or hiring manager by name
Now it’s fine to just use “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” when addressing the recruiter. In fact, I can tell you from experience that most people use precisely these words. However, I can also tell you that most people don’t get the job. If you want to make a strong impression, take time to research who you’re addressing .
You may have to make a few phone calls or try several searches before you find the right name, but, the harder they are to find, the less likely other applicants are to do it and the more impressed they will be with you.
Give your cover letter a unique visual format
A unique visual format for your cover letter can help you stand out from other candidates in a positive way. Just be sure that the unique format you use is appropriate for the company you’re applying to and their industry.
Here’s a good example of an eye-catching cover letter format :
What to Leave Off a Cover Letter?
Recruiters and hiring managers read thousands of cover letters and resumes, so make sure that you avoid these cover letter errors :
Avoid overused phrases
The average cover letter is going to be extremely generic and contain overused expressions such as “Thank you for taking the time to look at my resume” or “I believe that my set of skills make me a great fit for the job.” While none of these lines hurt your chance of getting the job, they certainly don’t help either.
Career coach Angela Copeland says, “stay away from phrases that are known to annoy hiring managers, such as ‘heavy lifting’ or ‘think outside the box’ or ‘game-changer.’”
Here are some more phrases that make recruiters and hiring managers groan :
- “To Whom It May Concern”
- “I’m not sure if you know”
- “Please feel free”
- “Self-Starter,” “Detail-Oriented,” and “Forward-Thinker”
- “Really, truly, deeply”
Recruiters and hiring managers go through hundreds of cover letters and get tired of these clichés . They’re waiting for something new and refreshing to come along and it’s in your best interest to do so.
Never include irrelevant information
Never include irrelevant information in your cover letter. Irrelevant information can confuse or bore the reader, causing them to miss important points in your cover letter.
How to Submit a Cover Letter?
The longer you “sit on” a cover letter to edit and re-write it , the longer you prolong the opportunity for someone else to get the attention of the hiring manager you want to impress.
You should submit your cover letter as soon as you are certain that:
- Your cover letter, resume and portfolio work are free from errors.
- Your cover letter is written in a way that balances professionalism with personality.
- Your cover letter catches the reader’s interest from the first sentence and maintains it throughout.
- Your cover letter uses the requirements for the job and information on the company as a guide for its content.
- Your cover letter tells stories that are filled with examples that satisfy job requirements and make you stand out positively as an individual and a potential employee.
Submitting your cover letter
Always follow the submission instructions laid out in the job description when submitting your cover letter.
If you are submitting the letter though a website with fillable fields, be sure that no formatting or content errors have occurred.
Be Very Specific
Do not send a generic cover letter. Repeat: DO NOT send a generic cover letter. They can be spotted a mile away and are as fun to read as they are to write. Try your very best to find a name you can address your letter to. A name is one of the most effective ways to make the letter feel more personal.
Visually Match Your Resumé
The heading of your letter should correlate with your resumé, the font should be the same and the paper (if you’re printing it) should also be the same. Along with your resume, your cover letter is part of a pair, and this pair should be visually consistent.
Consider Using a Template
This is an especially good idea if you’re already using a template for your resume. In fact, if your resume is templated, your cover letter absolutely should be too. A template is a great way to get some structure going. It can help make a big, blank, white page a little less intimidating.
If you have any more questions about how to write a successful cover letter, here are some related articles we’ve written on crafting cover letters that make you stand out from other applicants.
- Get Noticed: Write A Cover Letter That Makes You Stand Out
- How To Write An Entry Level Cover Letter
- 9 Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter Examples
- 4 Cover Letter Blunders and How To Fix Them
- How To Write a Cover Letter & Resume That’ll Guarantee a Job Offer
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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, gave us his insight as a hiring manager and human resources industry veteran:
“From my perspective, 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, how do you make a cover letter that influences hiring managers to interview you ? We’re here to show you!
Our detailed guide will cover:
Table of Contents
- What is a cover letter for a resume, and how long should a cover letter be?
What should a cover letter look like?
- How to write a cover letter for a job
How to make a cover letter fast
- Cover letter tips
Cover letter examples
How to write a cover letter: important takeaways, how to write a cover letter faq, more help writing a cover letter.
What is a cover letter, and how long should a cover letter be?
A cover letter is a one-page business letter, between 250 and 500 words, that can:
- Introduce you to hiring managers.
- Provide a glimpse of your personality.
- Give an overview of your qualifications.
- Tell employers why you want to work for them.
- Explain circumstances like job hopping or gaps in employment.
- Launch your career.
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
How to write a cover letter
What should a cover letter say? Follow the steps below to learn what to write in a cover letter to pique a prospective employer’s interest.
STEP 1 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 2 Add the recipient’s address.
Here’s how to address a cover letter correctly:
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 3 Address the hiring manager (by name).
Writing a good cover letter salutation is relatively straightforward. Always start with “Dear Ms., Mr., Miss or Mrs. [surname]. If you do not know the person’s gender or marital status, then use “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 What if you don’t know the hiring manager’s name? Try to find it! Doing so conveys resourcefulness, interest and determination — all qualities most hiring managers want in their employees. Search the company’s website, look on LinkedIn or call the HR department and ask. It can’t hurt!
- Dear Lucy Garcia,
- Dear Ms. Lowe,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Vice President of Marketing,
- Hey Mr. Jones,
STEP 4 Grab the hiring manager’s attention with a powerful opening paragraph.
The first few sentences of a cover letter are the most important because they have to grab the reader’s attention immediately and keep them on the page. But how do you start a cover letter?
Think of your introduction as a sales pitch: You’ve got to convey your message clearly and concisely in a compelling way. Try some of the following time-proven techniques to get prospective employers to notice you and want to learn more:
Exude confidence, passion and enthusiasm.
Talk up your skills and experience.
Show you’ve done some research.
Mention an interesting fact or statistic from an article, news story or the company’s website.
Highlight an impressive accomplishment , award or honor and use numbers when possible.
Tell a story about why you are applying.
Mention a shared contact (only if you’re sure it’s a positive connection!)
STEP 5 Tell them why they should hire you in the main body of your letter.
While your resume should summarize the most notable aspects of your career, the body of your cover letter should paint an in-depth picture of your professional life and provide insight into your personality. Here’s how to write a cover letter body that complements your resume and stands out from the competition.
- Provide further details about work accomplishments you list on your resume, and use numbers to quantify the results of your actions. Numbers provide impact and help make your capabilities resonate with hiring managers.
- Showcase your most relevant skills and detail how you can apply them to the job for the company’s benefit.
- Explain what’s motivated you to change careers or jobs and how your skills will contribute to the company’s success. Job-change cover letters focusing on transferable skills are more effective because they show prospective employers that they can perform the necessary work.
- Draw a connection between your work experience and the new target role by connecting your previous job responsibilities with what the new position requires. Don’t have work experience? No problem! Connect this new opportunity with a personal or school project, extracurricular activity or internship.
- Show you understand the company culture, goals and values and explain how you’re a great culture fit. Doing so will help convey that you’re the best candidate for the role.
NEED MORE GUIDANCE? Check out our extensive library of cover letter examples for most job titles in every industry. We also have matching resume examples !
STEP 6 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 statement.
STEP 7 Sign off.
What goes in a cover letter sign-off? Honestly, it’s not 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,
Now that you know what to put in a cover letter don’t forget to proofread your document at least once when you’re finished writing. Typos and grammatical and spelling mistakes can reduce your chances of getting hired. When you’ve finished, have someone else read it for you, too, just to be sure it’s application-ready.
And there you go! That’s how to write a good cover letter.
Cover letter writing checklist
- Did you choose a 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?
The best place to start a cover letter is a professional cover letter template .
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 cover letter format , 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.
Did you use our online resume maker ? If so, upload your new resume to our cover letter generator to get a cover letter customized to match your resume
Pro tip Always match your cover letter template to your resume template for a polished job application.
Make a cover letter with My Perfect Resume
Our Cover letter builder can help you write the perfect cover letter. Start Now!
Cover letter writing tips
We’ve given you almost all the cover letter advice you need, but we’ve saved some of our favorite pointers for last.
Here are our top five tips for how to write a cover letter that makes an impact:
TIP #1 Follow instructions. This is probably the most important cover letter tip: 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. If you have some of the required skills for the job, play them up but never point out the skills you lack. The same goes for experience: 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 using your cover letter to explain a career change or job gap is a good idea, sharing every detail about your life or career is not a good idea. Here are some of the biggest no-no topics to keep to yourself when 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 for the job, passion for the work, and a keen interest in the company when you write a cover letter because you should. However, use caution when displaying your zeal for the role. Keep the tone professional, be genuine and never present yourself as desperate.
Cover letter examples by job and industry
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.
- Business operations
- Customer service
- Social services
Cover letter examples by situation
Example of a cover letter for a job with no experience.
Use this example to help you make a cover letter for a career change.
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.
This example shows how to write a cover letter when seeking a promotion.
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 and helps you market yourself as the best candidate.
- Address the letter to the hiring manager. If you don’t know who to address the cover letter to or can’t find their name, it is acceptable to address the letter to the department.
- Write a cover letter introduction that immediately grabs the hiring manager’s attention and compels them to keep reading.
- Cover letters should explain why your skills and experience are perfect for the job and why you want to join the employer’s company.
- A good cover letter thanks the hiring manager for their time and consideration before signing off. Remember to prompt them to follow up.
- It’s a good idea to use a professionally designed template to ensure your cover letter is formatted correctly.
- Consistency is essential, so ensure your cover letter and resume match.
- 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.
What is a cover letter for a job application?
A cover letter is a business document that should complement a CV or a resume as part of an application for a job. Its purpose is to give insight into the job applicant’s personality, career goals and details about their work experience, skills and education.
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 do I 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 sign off.
What does a good 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:
Content strategist, career advice expert.
Kellie is the content strategist for My Perfect Resume. She has more than 20 years of experience in digital media and is passionate about helping job seekers navigate their careers. She has a B.A. in English and writing from Temple University.
Get Hired Fast: Best Cover Letter Writing Tips of 2022
From researching the company to cutting the fluff, these seven cover letter tips will help you write a cover letter in the right frame of mind.
5 Qualities That Are Part of Every Successful Cover Letter
Ever wonder what makes one cover letter effective but not another? Read on to learn the secrets of a good cover letter.
4 Ways A Cover Letter Can Launch Your Career
More than an introduction, a cover letter could take you to the next level. Read more to find out how.
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How to format a cover letter in 2023: examples and tips
It just might be the most important letter you’ll ever write. Your carefully crafted cover letter could lead to lifelong job satisfaction, buy you a house or put your kids through college. And so you wonder if cover letter format is important?
You know your field, you know your skills and you know the people you want to work for. Now all you have to do is write them a one-page letter. Every journey to a dream job begins with a standout resume and a stellar cover letter.
But whether you’re a rocket scientist or a railroad worker, you may experience brain freeze when faced with this blank piece of paper and this seemingly simple task. And it IS a simple task, though it isn’t necessarily easy.
It’s actually one of the ultimate feats of persuasive writing — a one-page letter so irresistible that it lands the writer a new job. It’s the kind of letter that can change your life. So what are the secrets to getting this crucial part of your job application right? What is the appropriate format for a cover letter? How do you start and end a cover letter? What do employers look for in a cover letter?
How to format a cover letter
While the content of your application letter will be completely unique, the elements are standard. The proper cover letter format includes:
- The greeting
- The body, or middle paragraphs
- The conclusion and call to action
- The signature or sign-off
Now that you understand the components of a cover letter format, here are our top 10 tips to cover letter formatting, writing and design. Below is a complete cover letter format sample follow by our top 10 tips to cover letter formatting, writing and design.
1. Start with a well-designed cover letter header.
Good cover letter layout starts with a header, an electronic version of what used to be called a letterhead. This is the space at the top of the page containing your name, address, phone number and email. (Sometimes the mailing address is omitted, and sometimes people add their contact info for LinkedIn or other platforms.)
The main purpose of the header is to convey your critical contact information so that the potential employer knows how to reach you.
But the secondary purpose of the header is also important: to provide an attractive design element at the top of the page. Everything below the header will be black body text, which hopefully will be interesting to read but unfortunately isn’t very interesting to look at.
The header is critical because it’s the one place on the page where you have any real design options. You can opt for color, creative use of typography and other touches that start your page off with a visual bang. That doesn’t mean it should be garish or loud, but it should be pleasing to the eye.
You can check out Resume.io’s collection of cover letter format examples to get an idea of some good design options for your header.
A letter of interest and a cover letter are similar but not identical documents used to apply for a job. Here we explore the differences and discuss how to write each of them to maximize your chances of getting the job that’s right for you in 2023.
2. Engage the hiring manager with an appropriate cover letter greeting.
In old-timey days, it used to be OK to write “To Whom It May Concern,” “Dear Sir or Madam,” or even “Gentlemen” in a cover letter greeting . But those days are long gone.
Always try to address your letter to a specific person. If the job posting doesn't mention the hiring manager's name, do some research, and make a call if necessary, to find out who the decision-maker is on the job you want. (But don’t even THINK of misspelling that person’s name, and be sure you know what title they prefer.)
Psychologists have found that people get a little thrill from reading their own names, and it tends to make them to sit up and pay attention. Also, a letter addressed to a specific person is more likely to be answered than a letter sent to an entire department. In some cases you may find that the name of the hiring manager or recruiter is purposefully undisclosed, and if so, you might need to say something more generic like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear (Company Name) Hiring Team.”
3. Write an irresistible cover letter introduction.
In the opening paragraph of your cover letter, you need to make an opening statement that sets up a make-or-break case. Find a way to introduce yourself, identify the job you are seeking, and provide a preview of why you are eminently qualified for this job. Your cover letter introduction should strike the right tone of voice from the outset — friendly, enthusiastic, confident, competent, but never arrogant or conceited. Your introduction should grab the reader’s attention, but for the right reasons.
Above all, your opener should make a positive first impression and give your reader a reason to read on.
Here’s an example of a good cover letter introduction :
After graduating with a BA degree in Hotel Management from Miami University, my first role in the hospitality industry set the tone for my career. I was sent on a year’s placement for Marriott to London during the 2012 Olympics, helping their London hotel network to organize events and promote their services at the various sporting venues.
4. Make your case in the body of the cover letter.
In the body of your cover letter, you must build a persuasive case that you are the right candidate for the job. You might need to boast a little bit, and that’s OK, because if you don’t promote your candidacy for this job, nobody else will.
Talk about your work experience, and be specific about your accomplishments in past jobs. Wherever possible, use facts and figures (numbers, dollar figures, percentages) to quantify your achievements and work history. Also, go where your resume can’t by relating an anecdote about a problem you once faced and how you resolved it.
A commonly asked question is: Are bullet points acceptable in a cover letter? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is: Use them sparingly and think about whether they benefit the visual look and reading flow of your cover letter. What you don’t want is to turn your cover letter into a second resume.
The body of your letter can also mention your education , certifications and relevant skills. And you may choose to discuss your aspirations for the future, specifically as they relate to the position you’re applying for. Be sure to study the job description carefully, and demonstrate that you meet the job requirements. (But obviously, you need to remain truthful, because any falsehoods in a job application will come back to haunt you.)
The tone of your writing is also important. To match the language and the level of formality, check out your prospective employer’s website, social media accounts and any other material you can find.
Here’s an example of the body of a cover letter:
During my teenage and college years, I worked at my parents’ hardware store and have a strong understanding of what goes into a successful retail business. I managed the inventory, sorted the pricing and ran the promotional calendar. I was passionate about the trade, so assisting customers who are always in need of practical advice was a pleasure.
A step into becoming a tradesperson myself was entirely natural, and after fifteen years of building up a local clientele, it is time for my career to come full circle. I have a huge number of contacts in the business and am sure I would attract many customers your way.
I understand the profile of customers that visit your store and am able to help in terms of ensuring suitable stock for project purchases and helping to coordinate the best promotions. Tradespeople love to take advantage of a bargain, so the role of a retail assistant is to point them in the right direction. I increased sales by 20% year-on-year when I worked in retail previously – you have to be proactive, or the customers will go elsewhere.
5. Conclude your cover letter with a call to action.
Your closing paragraph can include a recap, a thank you and anything else important that you haven’t said yet. But your conclusion should also contain a call to action — a suggestion that you would be delighted to come in for an interview, or even just to talk by phone. You might also want to say that you’re always reachable at the contact info provided.
Make it clear from your close that you’re serious about this job and that you are genuinely eager to follow up.
Finish up with an appropriate sign-off phrase, such as “Sincerely,” “Respectfully” or “Best regards.”Then type your name below that, or add your signature if you’re planning on mailing this letter or delivering it in person.
Be sure to proofread your letter carefully, and ideally find a good editor to revise it for you. Typos and other English errors are among the top reasons cover letters and resumes are rejected.
Here’s an example of how you might write the conclusion of your cover letter:
I would welcome the chance to visit and understand more about your operation, your plans for the future and how I might be able to contribute.
6. Make a sensible font your first formatting choice.
Good choices for a cover letter format start with a good font. Use a modern, attractive, easy-to-read cover letter font, nothing too flashy or exotic, nothing that calls attention to itself. You want people to be reading your text, not staring at your odd font choice. Take a moment to read our article on “What are the best fonts for cover letters?”
Choose a font size between 10 and 12 points — any smaller and it’s hard to read, any larger and it starts to look like a Mother Goose book.
Align text left, in a style known as “ragged right” because it leaves space to the right of the last word in each line. Justifying text from margin to margin makes the page look like it’s filled with solid blocks of black text, and it sometimes stretches words horizontally to reach the margin.
7. Keep paragraphs short.
Keep paragraphs short , add a space between them, and do not indent.
It used to be OK to send a business letter with no spaces between paragraphs, provided you indented each paragraph. But these days, unless you’re typesetting a book, you need non-indented paragraphs with a space between them.
And you need to keep the paragraphs fairly short, and make their lengths consistent. If you received a one-page letter containing 400 words that were all in the same paragraph, would you look forward to reading it? The eye needs a break, and the brain does too. That’s why paragraphs were invented.
8. Use 1-inch margins.
Leave room for 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, right and left of your cover letter.
There’s a saying among page designers, both print and digital: “White space is your friend.” Every design, illustration or art element needs to incorporate a certain amount of negative space that contains nothing at all.
Designers will also tell you to avoid “trapped white space,” meaning an inconvenient blank in the center of your design. That’s why white space should be “pushed to the outside” — providing a sort of an invisible frame that allows the central image to dominate.
This is the whole idea behind margins — it’s a white frame that surrounds and highlights your content.
9. Stick to one page.
You might as well consider it a cardinal rule that your cover letter length cannot exceed one page. Yet anyone who’s tried to write one could probably testify that the first draft is usually too long.
You may be tempted to reduce the font size, shrink the margins or get rid of all the white space. But please resist the urge to atone for your verbosity by tweaking the formatting. Trim the fat from your text before resorting to measures that will make the letter denser and harder to read.
10. Use a professionally designed cover letter template.
There’s a simple way to sidestep the potential pitfalls of formatting a cover letter, and that’s to use a professionally designed template .
Here is exactly how you can write a cover letter that will stand out from the crowd, and help you land that interview.
A cover letter template is a pre-designed framework that already has an eye-catching cover letter header, appropriate typography and an adequate use of white space. All you have to do is replace the existing text with your own, and your letter is done.
For more information, click on this video, "How to Format Your Cover Letter," from the University of Southern California Career Center.
Take a moment to look through Resume.io’s cover letter samples , find a template you like and get busy customizing it to make it your own. You’ll be building on a foundation of success.
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How to Write a Cover Letter for Any Job in 8 Steps (2023)
You need to write a cover letter, but what is a cover letter, exactly? And what’s the best way to write it? Learn how to write a cover letter the best way with tips from experts.
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Unlike a resume, a cover letter lets you introduce yourself to the hiring manager, provide context for your achievements and qualifications, and explain your motivation to join the company.
But you can’t just write a cover letter. It has to be perfect. So… How do you write the ideal cover letter? You know—the kind of letter that will make the employer call you up in the middle of the night? Give us 10 minutes, and you’ll know how to write a cover letter like that.
This guide will show you:
- How to write a cover letter for a job application better than 9 out of 10 others.
- A sample cover letter that will get you more interviews.
- Cover letter writing tips and hacks to boost your chances of landing a job.
- Step-by-step instructions for making a cover letter in our online builder.
Have a specific job in mind? Find the right cover letter sample for your job among Cover Letter Examples for All Professions
And if you experience writer’s block, let us write your cover letter for you. Tell us your name, job title, and years of experience to get an automatically generated cover letter in less than a minute. Pick from 18+ cover letter templates and match your resume!
Create your cover letter now
Sample cover letter for a resume— See more cover letter samples here .
What Is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a document attached to a job application designed to introduce the candidate in a more personal way. It should complement the information from a resume or CV, expanding on the skills and achievements and highlighting a selection of the most relevant accomplishments.
See? It’s not rocket science. It’s just a letter that supports your job application.
What Is the Purpose of a Cover Letter?
There are several reasons hiring managers request cover letters, and job applicants should write them. The main reason is that the cover letter can provide additional, more personal information—something difficult to grasp reading a resume. But it also:
- Makes you stand out from other applicants
- Expresses your interest in the position
- Shows your knowledge about the company
- Presents how your skills and experience can assist the company
- Proves you understand the needs of the company
And that’s why it’s worth spending some time writing a great cover letter that does all of the above. So let’s learn how to.
How to Write a Cover Letter
Watch the video to uncover the simple truth of writing a cover letter for a job:
Worried you might miss something? You can relax. We’ve got a checklist guide for you: What to Include in a Cover Letter
Let’s now move on to detailed instructions on how to write a successful cover letter:
1. Start With a Header
Ideally, your cover letter header should be the same as in your resume for consistency. So use the same template and don’t worry about the design. If you prefer to make one from scratch, though, include the following contact information:
- Telephone number
- Email address
Pro Tip: If you send your cover letter via email , don’t use your current work email address. It’s impolite to your current and potential employer.
2. Address the Reader
Once you’re done with the header, mention the location and date of writing. Then follow with your reader’s details like this:
Use the below template to format yours:
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Name]
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Job Title]
Now, address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager, no two ways about it. And use their name in the cover letter salutation . According to the study , we tend to react actively to hearing or seeing one’s name. Use that knowledge to catch their attention.
Choose from the below examples of professional cover letter greetings:
Pro Tip: Wondering whether you should use the hiring manager’s first or last name? That depends on the company culture. Use the first name if you’re applying to a relaxed, casual company. For corporate cover letters, it’s safer to use the addressee's last name.
To find the hiring manager’s name, look into the job description to see if the recruiter left their name or go to the company’s LinkedIn page. You should find people there responsible for uploading the job offers.
If you can’t find the name by any means possible, opt for Dear Hiring Manager . Avoid starting your cover letter with To Whom It May Concern like the plague. And if you’re not living in Victorian England, don’t start a cover letter with Dear Sir or Madam either.
3. Make a Proper Introduction
Here’s the brutal truth: these few sentences at the beginning of your cover letter will determine whether the hiring manager will read on. So you need to start your cover letter in a way that attracts and holds the reader’s interest.
There are a few different, effective strategies for your cover letter opening . You can highlight your achievements, display your passion and enthusiasm, or drop names.
Have a look at these two sample cover letter opening paragraphs:
Why is the wrong example so bad? Because it provides no value and details, the bottom line is: “I’ve already done this job, so I think I’d fit in.” And it’s not enough for someone with more than eight years of experience to get the job.
No achievements yet? Don’t worry. We’ve got a dedicated guide to show you how to write a good cover letter and land your dream internship: Internship Cover Letter
4. Explain Why You’re the Perfect Fit
Your second paragraph needs to give the hiring manager what they’re looking for and show that you’ll satisfy the company’s specific needs.
Remember Jane, our digital marketing manager candidate? The XYZ company she applies to needs:
- First of all, a savvy digital marketing manager (1) .
- And, on top of that, someone who will supervise the development of their new online portal (2) .
Let’s look at how Jane managed to show that she’s both:
Wondering how to say that in your cover letter ? In the first sentence, prove that you’re an expert in your field but don’t keep on bragging. The remaining part should be all about how your previous experiences will help your future employer press ahead with their plans.
Job seekers impress employers by identifying transferable skills related to new positions. People often apply to new positions, so it’s likely you’ll not have the exact experience requested. But employers would rather know how your past experiences will inform future decisions. You were a hostess? Relate those management and organizational skills to the Executive Assistant position. Lauren Little Career Coach
5. Show Your Motivation to Join the Company
Your future employers have needs . If they’re willing to hire you, it’s because they think you’ll satisfy those needs. But they also want you to enjoy working with them—that way, they know you’re more likely to stay with them for longer.
The key to writing a perfect third paragraph is showing the hiring manager why you want this job, not just any job. This is particularly important when making an entry-level cover letter . Enthusiasm and passion help prove you'll hit the ground running.
Have a look at these cover letter examples:
Above all, you want to avoid writing too much of a general cover letter . Generic doesn't win jobs; tailored and targeted does.
Pro tip: If you're looking to work for a company but there aren't any open positions, try writing a letter of interest for a job . It's a great way of uncovering vacancies that aren't even advertised.
6. Close With a Promise
How to make the best cover letter ending? By providing value. The worst mistakes you can make in the final paragraph are coming off needy, focusing on how much you want the job, not on what you have to offer, and repeating the clichéd phrase “Thank you for your consideration and your time.”
Instead, tell the hiring manager that you’re looking forward to meeting in person and discussing how your experience and knowledge can help your future employer fulfill their goals. Like here:
Trying to find exciting ways to end your cover letter, but to no avail? See how to write a convincing final paragraph here: How to Successfully Close a Cover Letter
Want to save time and have your professional job application ready in minutes? Here are a sample cover letter and a matching resume made using Zety builder. Pick a cover letter template and build a coordinating job application.
See more cover letter samples and start writing.
7. Stay Formal in the Closing Salutation
Once you’ve written the body of your cover letter, you just need to put a formal closing at the very end. Write “Sincerely” and follow it with your full name. Adding your handwritten signature is optional, but it’s recommended for more formal cover letters.
If you’re not a fan of the well-worn “Sincerely,” feel free to use any of the following:
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- Respectfully yours,
- With best regards,
8. Add a Postscript
All of the above sections are must-haves in a good cover letter format. But there’s one special trick you can use—the postscript. Why is it so important? Because it’s like a magnet for the hiring manager’s eyes that screams: “you cannot miss this information.”
Use the postscript to tell the hiring manager about something impressive about your career, even if it’s not strictly related to the job opening. And say that you’d be happy to provide them with more details if they find it interesting.
9. Double-Check the Formatting
Before you hit send, make sure your cover letter formatting is intact. Here’s everything you need to know:
- Choose a legible cover letter font like Arial or Garamond, and keep it between 10 and 12 points in font size.
- Set even margins on all sides. 1-inch margins should be perfect.
- Left-align all your contents.
- Use double cover letter spacing between paragraphs and 1–1.15 between lines.
- Be sure to keep your cover letter length to one page.
- Title your cover letter by JobTitle—CoverLetter—YourName .
- Let your cover letter layout stay intact en route to the recruiter by saving the file in PDF.
The final step of writing your cover letter is, in fact, checking up on your resume to see if they both match the job requirements. Make sure you meet your hiring manager's expectations to the best of your ability.
How to Write a Cover Letter Using an Online Builder
Not enough time? Or maybe a few too many jobs to apply for? Try giving an online cover letter builder a go to write and tailor your cover letter in a flash.
Let’s walk you through the five stages of making a cover letter in the Zety builder:
1. Choose Where to Start
Depending on your preference, you can either create a cover letter from scratch or use the resume upload feature. The latter allows you to import the information from your resume into the cover letter, and it proves useful when applying for multiple jobs. (Of course, assuming you tailored your resume to every job description you’re after!)
2. Target the Specific Job
Now’s the time to detail your cover letter. Let us know which position you’re chasing, along with the company name.
Based on the position you selected, pick your top skills that should make it to the cover letter. But! Choose wisely. Recruiters may not treat all skills with the same importance. Use the job description to find out which are the most desired and highlight them in the letter.
3. Include Your Background Information
Choose how many years of relevant experience you have, which also involves internships or volunteer gigs . Depending on your selection, you’ll be prompted to say more about your education or work history.
If you have any gaps in your employment , you’ll also have a chance to disclose and explain them.
4. Establish Your Working Style
As the final part, help us personalize your cover letter by selecting the working style that best describes you. This will set the right tone for your application.
5. Double-Check and Download
Once you’re done filling out the information, see if there’s everything you expected. There might be cover letter sections that you need but which aren’t the default. Don’t worry! By using the Add Section function, you can include information detailing, for example, your availability or expected salary.
Now that you have the contents ready, use the bar below to swap the templates, pick the correct formatting, or choose colors. Keep in mind that it’s best when your cover letter matches your resume.
Et voilà! Your cover letter is ready. Download it in either .docx or PDF format, depending on your recruiter's wishes.
For the final thought on how to write a cover letter in 8 steps:
- Ensure your contact info in the header is correct.
- Address your hiring manager or recruiter personally.
- Attract their attention in the introduction.
- Use your experience to prove you're the exact match to the company's needs.
- Explain your motivation and fit for the position.
- Finish with a call to action and ask for a meeting.
- Be formal in the closing sentiment.
- Include a postscript.
Or use the cover letter builder to remember it all for you!
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Do you have any questions about how to make a cover letter? Want to share an example of a cover letter? Give us a shout in the comments, and we’ll reply!
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Write a Cover Letter
What is a cover letter.
A cover letter is a formal letter that accompanies a CV or a resume . It includes a candidate’s introduction and an overview of the candidate’s qualifications , skills, and accomplishments most relevant to the job they’re pursuing. The cover letter also serves to express the candidate’s interest in the position and the company, as well as eagerness to contribute to the company’s success. It can also help to explain employment gaps .
What are the four parts of a cover letter?
- Cover letter header with your contact information such as full name, phone number, and email address
- Cover letter introduction with your hiring manager’s address and a hook that hypes the reader up so much that they can’t stop reading
- Cover letter body with a description of your significant accomplishments and strengths that you’ll bring to the table. (Beware! It’s not a copy of your resume.)
- Cover letter closing with a call to action and your signature
What should a cover letter say?
That you’re the one. That you want them, but that they want you, too. That you’re the solution to their problems. That’s what your cover letter should say .
And you can achieve all of that by having a number of things in your cover letter :
- action verbs and power words
- accomplishment statements
- organized cover letter layout , and
- enthusiastic but determined tone of voice
How to write a simple cover letter?
To make cover letter writing simple, you need to know a couple of things first:
- Create proper cover letter formatting before putting down words. You’ll ensure a correct structure and that you’ll fit onto one page with your cover letter.
- Find your hiring manager’s or recruiter’s name. By personalizing your cover letter, you have a higher chance of landing the gig.
- Create a list of job keywords you need to target with your application. Have a look at the job ad and mark those words which speak of necessary qualifications and qualities. Then use them in your paragraphs.
- Never lie in your job application .
- And lastly, do as extensive research about the company as possible. The intricate details about their mission, values, and vision will help you find an angle to write your cover letter.
How to write a cover letter for an internship?
A cover letter to an internship resume is a fantastic way to shoo away your competition. So don't hesitate and write a cover letter for an internship you’ve dreamt of for too long.
First and foremost, prove to your potential employer that you’re worth hiring, and that they’re a great company to work for. Do your research and don’t be shy to show what you’ve learned. Later use that knowledge to give away your connection to the company and its values. Show your transferable skillset and achievements, and let your determination and motivation do their magic.
How to write a cover letter for 2023?
In 2023, write your cover letter with these simple steps:
- Create a consistent look by mirroring a resume header to your template.
- Make a clean cover letter layout to keep enough whitespace on the page.
- Find an angle to write your cover letter—motivation to advance, shared values or mission statement, recent developments in the industry. Doing thorough research always helps.
- Start your cover letter with a relevant accomplishment that makes the reader want to carry on.
- Create a smooth transition from the hook through your strengths to motivation in 3 to 4 paragraphs, tops.
- Call your recruiter to action in the cover letter closing and ask for a meeting with you.
Is a cover letter necessary?
Almost half of the recruiters reject applications without a cover letter. Cover letters are a treat for those who still care to hire dedicated professionals. (And that’s you, right?)
It’s no surprise, though, that you’re questioning whether a cover letter is necessary . The entire job application process can be exhausting, so cutting down on documents you have to produce always seems like a good idea. But not this time.
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Do I Need a Cover Letter? Are Cover Letters Necessary in 2023
Do I need a cover letter? Is it important? What if the job offer doesn’t require a cover letter? Read this guide to find out all you need to know.
What Does the Best Cover Letter Look Like in 2023
Not sure what a cover should look like? Confused by all the contrasting guidelines? Here’s an article that will straighten out all your queries once and for all.
5 Short Cover Letter Examples for Any Job (+ Writing Guide)
Today’s hiring process is fast and furious. Don’t waste the recruiter’s time—see our 5 short cover letter examples and learn how to make every word count.
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Home Cover Letter Help How to Write a Cover Letter
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job
Unsure what to write in your cover letter, or how to make a cover letter that pairs well with your resume? Our cover letter writing guide explains these details in-depth, and shows you how to write a good cover letter for a job application that lands you an interview.
Picture this : you’ve already made a resume that highlights your experience and you’re about to submit a job application. But before you can continue you see the phrase that every job seeker dreads: “ cover letter required .”
Nobody likes writing cover letters, but if you’re job hunting in 2023, you’ll need to write a cover letter .
We’re here to help. In this article, we break down what a cover letter is, provide some proven examples, and guide you through every step of making a cover letter for a job. Let’s get started.
What is a cover letter for a job?
Not quite clear on what a cover letter is exactly? Here’s a quick definition:
A cover letter is an application document you pair with your resume that explains why you want a particular job, and why you think you’re the right person for that job.
But seeing an example is always better than just reading a definition. So here’s an example of a cover letter to show you what a good cover letter looks like in 2023:
Download Cover Letter Example
Cover Letter Template (Text Version)
December 3, 2022
Mrs. Connie Finnegan
24 Federal Ave.
Atlanta, GA, 30308
Dear Mrs. Finnegan,
I’m writing to apply for the Restaurant Manager opening at Cool Bistro. I have more than three years of experience managing successful restaurants and bars, delivering excellent customer service, and creating unique dining experiences. I’m confident my professional expertise would make me a great addition to the team at Cool Bistro.
In my role as Restaurant Manager for Bar Louie, I proved to be an efficient, enthusiastic, and strong leader. My value quickly became apparent to Bar Louie’s owners after I trained and prepared the entire waitstaff for opening night. Not only did our team meet sales goals each month for the first year, but we received glowing reviews in the local papers as well.
I’m confident Cool Bistro would benefit from my skills in the following areas:
- Eye for excellence and high level of standards
- Strong work ethic and leadership skills
- Positive attitude even under pressure
I believe Cool Bistro will be a great success for many years to come, and my extensive expertise will help ensure your establishment succeeds well into the future. My time spent in this industry has prepared me for such an opportunity, and I sincerely hope I can contribute soon as a member of your team.
I’d appreciate the opportunity to discuss the Restaurant Manager position in more detail soon. I’m happy to come by whenever is most convenient for you. Thank you for your time, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
To maximize your chances of getting an interview, you need to write a cover letter that makes a strong positive first impression on employers. And if you don’t have time to write one, no worries — you can also make a cover letter quickly using online tools or a cover letter template .
Writing a cover letter for a job with no experience ? Watch the video below to get started. Or keep scrolling to learn everything you need to know about how to write a good cover letter that gets you hired regardless of your background.
How to write a cover letter for a job application
Not sure what to write in a cover letter? Follow the seven simple steps below to make a cover letter that leaves a lasting impression on employers:
1. List your contact details
Underneath your name in your cover letter header , list the following contact information:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Mailing address (optional)
- Linkedin profile link (optional)
- Portfolio or website (optional)
- Pronouns (optional)
2. Address the hiring manager by name
Here’s how the top half of your cover letter should look.
After your header, include the date and the company contact information in this format:
Cover Letter Address Format
Name or job title of the person or team you’re writing to Company name Company’s street address Company’s phone number Hiring manager’s email address
Next, address your cover letter to the hiring manager — by name if possible.
A standard cover letter salutation includes the hiring manager’s last name, and begins with “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or another relevant professional title.
If you don’t see the hiring manager’s name listed in the job ad, don’t worry. You can still easily find out who to address your cover letter to:
Ways to find the hiring manager’s name
- Search the company on LinkedIn and click on “People”
- Explore the company’s website (specifically their “About Us” or “Team” page)
- As a last resort, contact their human resources department and ask
However, if you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, using their job title or something like Dear [Department Name] Director is okay.
Here are some example cover letter greetings:
Ways to open your cover letter
- Dear Jane Smith
- Dear Ms. Smith
- Dear Accounting Department
- Dear [Company Name] Recruiter
3. Write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph
Start your cover letter with an informative, direct introduction.
In the first one or two sentences, mention the position and organization you’re applying for, where you found the position, and why you’re excited about the opportunity. Check out this example of an effective cover letter introduction:
Example of a good cover letter introduction
Your opening paragraph should encourage the employer to read the rest of your cover letter.
Highlight your passion
You can make your introduction even more attention-grabbing by adding some personality, or by including a career highlight. Here’s a sample cover letter for a job application highlighting the jobseeker’s passion for the role.
Displaying your passion for a job
As a teenager, I would cut my friends’ hair because of my passion for haircare. Eventually, many of my friends and family would come exclusively to me when they needed their hair cut. Today, if anything, I’m even more passionate about hair care, which is why I’m applying for the open Stylist role at Grateful Dreads.
Showing personality in your cover letter helps employers understand what motivates you.
Just be sure to strike the right tone for your industry or field. For instance, if you’re applying for a job in law or finance, keep your writing formal.
Mention any referrals or contacts you have at the job
If you received a referral to the job by a current employee, your introduction is the place to mention it. Include a referral in your cover letter by quickly stating their name and your connection to them. This is a great way to quickly win over a hiring manager.
Adding a referral for a role
Your Personal Trainer, Augusta Maine, informed me about your open Executive Diary Secretary role and encouraged me to apply.
4. Explain why you’re qualified for the job
Your second and third paragraphs should convince employers that you’re the right person for the job. Use these paragraphs to best market yourself by discussing your relevant work experience, skills, and achievements.
Some things to include in your cover letter that highlight your value to employers include achievements , awards , and expertise . Here’s how you can add these elements:
If you’ve received compliments from management or colleagues for your work, you can add them to your cover letter:
Showcasing success on a cover letter
The managing partner of the law firm, Olympia Washington — one of my references — informed me that without my research skills, we wouldn’t have been able to guarantee such a good result for our clients in a class-action suit against an eldercare facility that had been overcharging its residents.
5. Relate your experience to the company’s needs
Begin to close your cover letter by restating your interest in the job and explaining how your experience fits into the needs of the company.
For example, if you’re applying to work at a company that’s seeking to break into a new market that you have experience in, you should highlight this experience in your writing.
Showing prior experience on a cover letter
I noticed in The San Antonio Express-News that you’re expanding Los Pollos Sobrinos into neighboring New Mexico. As a supervisor at Big Kahuna Burger, I’ve onboarded 20+ new employees, and I’m sure I could help you rapidly grow and train your team.
If you’re not sure what the goals or needs of the company are, find out by doing some research online. Take note of the products or services they offer, what their work culture is like, and if they have any future goals.
The job ad is also an excellent place to find out what the company is seeking.
6. Finish with a concise closing paragraph and sign-off
When writing a cover letter closing , be polite, confident, and continue to market yourself as the best candidate for the job.
First, restate your excitement about the job opportunity. Then, encourage the hiring manager to interview you (remember to mention when you’re available), and thank them for their time:
Finally, wrap up your cover letter with a professional closing salutation. The standard closing is “Sincerely” but here are some more options:
6 more sign offs for a cover letter
- Best wishes,
- Kind regards,
- Best regards,
- Yours truly,
Then, make two spaces below the salutation, and type your full name.
7. Check your cover letter’s content and formatting
After creating your cover letter, you need to review it before you send it off. Here are a few things to consider when reviewing your cover letter:
Double-check your cover letter formatting
A professional cover letter is normally:
- 200–350 words
- US Letter (USA) or A4 (elsewhere) page size
- Left-aligned (except for your contact details, which can be centered)
Take a look at the checklist below before you submit your application to make sure your cover letter is formatted correctly.
Simplify your writing
The trick to writing a good cover letter that gives employers an easy overview of your qualifications is to use direct language.
Ideally, a cover letter for a resume should be easy to read, confident, and friendly.
To instantly improve your writing tone:
- Use contractions like “don’t” instead of “do not”
- Avoid overused buzzwords and phrases like “dynamic,” “think outside the box,” and “go-getter”
- Choose simple words like “helpful” instead of “advantageous”
Here’s a comparison between a friendly writing style and an overly formal one:
Excited and professional
I’m thrilled to apply for the customer service position at [Company Name]. Having been a customer service representative for 5+ years at Walmart, I’m confident I can quickly apply my experience using Zendesk and Salesforce to make a positive impact on [Company Name]’s bottom line.
It is with great interest that I apply for the open customer service position posted by your company on Indeed. I possess the requisite skill set to ably perform the customer service duties described in the job requirements.
Typos and grammatical errors in your cover letter will leave a negative impression on employers.
Here are two quick tricks professional editors use to catch mistakes:
- Read your writing out loud : Reading your letter aloud forces you to consider every word, sentence, paragraph, and punctuation mark. Plus, you’ll more easily notice hard-to-read sentences, and can then simplify them.
- Change the font : A new font forces your brain to process something that seems new. Switching your cover letter to a different font and font size can help you notice mistakes you’d otherwise miss.
After you’ve read your cover letter out loud, have someone else read it over. They can provide helpful feedback like whether your letter is clear and well-argued, or vague and filled with cliches. They’ll also (hopefully) notice any small grammar and spelling errors you missed.
How to make a cover letter using online software
If you’re short on time, try using a web application to quickly make a convincing cover letter.
There are several powerful cover letter builders online that you can try out. We’ll walk you through our own cover letter generator , so you can create your own letter in a few quick steps.
Step 1: Fill in your personal information
This information is what the software uses to generate your cover letter, and includes your:
- Educational background
- Skills and personal qualities
Additionally, you’ll need to list the job title and company that you’re applying for so that the builder knows how to address your cover letter.
Depending on your educational status and how much relevant work experience you have, the software will highlight different information to help put the focus on your strengths as a candidate.
For example, if you already have several years of relevant work experience, the builder won’t mention your college education because your degree is no longer your most relevant qualification.
The last question asks you to explain how your coworkers might describe you (the answer ultimately being a soft skill you’ve developed over time). The builder then uses this detail in your cover letter to help further market you as the best candidate for the job.
Step 2: Select your template
But before you download your cover letter, make sure it looks appropriate for the job you’re applying for and matches the design of your resume.
Click on the left or right side of your cover letter to swap between the many HR-approved templates available in our builder. We offer a variety of templates designed for different industries and levels of formality, so you’ll soon find a design that works for you:
Step 3: Download your completed cover letter
With your cover letter written and neatly formatted, you’re ready to download your finished document.
Once you click “Proceed to Download”, you’ll be prompted to download your file in either PDF or .docx format.
In most situations, you should save your cover letter as a PDF because it’s easy for employers to open and ensures the reader doesn’t accidentally edit your cover letter when viewing it.
However, if a company specifically asks you to send your job application in .docx format, you should save your cover letter as a docx.
Frequently asked questions about how to write a cover letter
Still unsure about something? Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about writing a cover letter:
What makes a good cover letter?
A good cover letter expands upon the information in your resume, providing context for your skills and accomplishments. It also gives employers insight into your personality so they can determine if you’d be a good cultural fit for the company.
What should you not say in a cover letter?
What you shouldn’t say in a cover letter is anything that makes you seem negative . For example, avoid talking about why you hate your job , or complaining about your current employer.
Instead, focus on what you learned in your current position that will help you succeed in your next role.
Should you include salary requirements in a cover letter?
No, you shouldn’t include salary requirements in your cover letter unless the company requests it.
If the salary you state is too high, the employer might reject your application before you get the opportunity to explain why your skill set and experience warrant a higher salary.
How do you write a general cover letter for a resume?
You write a general cover letter for a resume by highlighting the skills that make you a competitive candidate in your target industry without including any specific details about the job you’re applying for.
However, keep in mind that tailoring your cover letter to each position you apply for will increase your chances of landing a job. We recommend against using a general cover letter unless you really need to save time.
Additional cover letter FAQs:
Still have some questions that haven’t been answered? Here are some of our other cover letter FAQs:
- Does a resume need a cover letter?
- How do I include a referral in a cover letter?
- How do you write salary requirements in a cover letter?
- What is an enclosure in a cover letter?
- Should you use a template for a cover letter?
- Does a CV include a cover letter?
- Can a cover letter be two pages?
- Do cover letters need an address?
- Do I need to sign a cover letter submitted electronically?
- Should you put a photo on a cover letter?
- What does a cover letter look like?
We also have the answers to many more frequently asked questions about cover letters if you don’t see your question above.
Click to rate this article
Written by Ida Pettersson
Ida is a Content Writer at Resume Genius, where she assists job seekers as they plan their next career moves. She graduated from New College of Florida with a double major... more
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10 Best Cover Letter Tips for 2023
Most job applications require a cover letter as well as your resume. Your cover letter should be concise and include specific examples of how you qualify for the role. Be sure to adhere to any instructions set out by the hiring manager and proofread your draft.
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How to Start a Cover Letter.
Your cover letter should start with a concise header that includes your personal details, followed by an address to the hiring manager. The details you provide should include:
- Contact details, both email and telephone.
- Hiring manager's address, which should include their title and name.
- Name of the company you're applying to.
Find out the hiring manager's name, if possible, as this will make you stand out.
Top 10 Cover Letter Tips:
1. write a new cover letter for each application..
If a cover letter is too general, it will indicate that you have used it for several applications. Hiring managers will likely find this lazy and an indication of a lack of interest in the position. Write a new cover letter for each application, with role-specific information like relevant skills and experience.
2. Address the hiring manager by name.
Addressing the hiring manager will make your cover letter stand out, as most candidates will use "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam." You can find the hiring manager's name by looking at the company website, searching LinkedIn, or calling the company and asking.
3. Follow the instructions.
Some companies have a specific format for cover letters, and they will outline this in the job description. Make sure that you follow any instructions about format and content so that you are not penalized early on in the hiring process. A cover letter that pays attention to requirements shows that you can follow instructions — an important skill for most roles.
4. Highlight specific, relevant skills.
Your resume should list all skills that are appropriate for employment opportunities, but your cover letter should address skills that are specific to the role you are applying for.
For example, a role in marketing might require a candidate with social media and communication skills. Make sure that your cover letter goes into a bit of detail about these skills and your previous experience that demonstrates your abilities.
5. Use simple and affirmative language.
Try to avoid sounding too formal in your cover letter, because this makes it difficult for a hiring manager to gauge your personality. It can also come across as being disingenuous. Wherever possible, use assertive verbs like "founded," "initiated," or "managed."
6. Proofread your cover letter.
Spelling errors are one of the more obvious ways to tell if someone has not paid attention to detail. A quick read through your cover letter should alert you to any mistakes. Identifying poor grammar can be a bit more difficult, which is why using simple language can be best. Use spellcheck software that highlights any mistakes you may have missed.
7. Don't mention what you lack.
Your cover letter is an opportunity to impress the hiring manager. While you should be honest about your experience if asked, your cover letter should highlight the skills you have. Try to focus on how you meet the job requirements and go into detail about those skills or experiences.
8. Limit your content.
Your cover letter should not be longer than one page, with about four paragraphs. Your format should be one introduction paragraph, two body paragraphs, and one conclusion. There is room for perhaps another paragraph, if necessary, but be sure that you are not rambling.
9. Speak about the company.
The first priority of any cover letter is to demonstrate how you would fit the role. Something that has become equally important is whether you will fit the company culture. Do research on this aspect of the company and include a description of how this appeals to you and how it may align with your values.
10. Ask another person to read your draft.
Reading over your own writing can lead to skimming because you know what you want to say. However, a fresh set of eyes can pick up on errors or run-on sentences that you may not have noticed. A friend, co-worker, or professional career counselor can help by giving your cover letter a read and letting you know their impression of you from your writing.
How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
What are the best cover letter tips for 2023?
To write a cover letter , you should read the job listing carefully and make note of specific instructions and preferences required. Next, you should describe how you meet the role requirements with reference to your experience and skills.
What are some cover letter format tips?
A cover letter should include an introduction, a few body paragraphs in which you describe how you qualify for the role, and a conclusion that mentions your eagerness to hear from the hiring manager.
What are some tips for writing an impressive cover letter?
An impressive cover letter makes specific reference to how your skills and experience make you a good fit for the role and the company. Writing a cover letter that pays attention to detail and shows your suitability in a straightforward way will impress the hiring manager.
What are some cover letter tips for recent graduates?
Focus on the experience you have from student societies and internship programs if you have no formal work experience to reference. If you have completed any relevant courses in your personal time, this would be beneficial to mention because it shows initiative and a dedication to your chosen industry.
How to write a cover letter [a complete guide], admin assistant cover letter, hiring managers: how to contact them and make an impression, how to write a resume, how to quit a job.
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How to Write a Cover Letter That Sounds Like You (and Gets Noticed)
- Elainy Mata
Do the research, start off strong, and emphasize your value.
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .
I hate cover letters. They add so much stress to the already uncomfortable and grueling job hunt. Every time I’m writing one, I find myself wondering: Do people even read these?
Unfortunately, the answer is “yes.” But, there are some ways to make the process a little less terrible. I asked Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review editor and author of “ How to Write a Cover Letter ,” for her advice. From doing the research, to starting off strong, to emphasizing your value — Gallo taught me exactly what I need to do to get my cover letters noticed by hiring managers. I even wrote a new cover letter that has her blessing. (Scroll down if you’re in need of an expert-approved example.)
Subscribe to HBR Ascend on YouTube for more videos on work, life, and everything in between.
ELAINY MATA: So you want to know how to tackle the cover letter. I do too. I actually really hate cover letters. I hate cover letters. I hate cover letters.
But the cover letter is important. It’s time to face our fears, and just figure out how in the world we are actually going to write it.
I got you, and we’re going to do this together. These tips are going to help you go through the process a lot easier. So if you are ready to tackle the cover letter, stick around and keep watching.
In front of me right now are three cover letters that I’ve written in the past, for three different jobs. And I’m just embarrassed. I’m embarrassed to read these.
To whom it may concern, to whom it may concern, to whom it may concern. I would like to respectfully submit this cover letter. I would like to respectfully submit this cover letter. I am a passionate, detail-oriented person. I am passionate, detail-oriented person.
This sounds like I’m — this doesn’t sound like me at all. I think you want me to talk this way. Here we go like. Hire me.
I talked to Amy Gallo, an HBR editor, and the author of one of our most popular articles, “How to Write a Cover Letter.”
AMY GALLO: First of all, you’re not alone. I write about how to write cover letters, and I also hate them.
ELAINY MATA: She’s done the research. She’s talked to the experts. And I’m going to tell you exactly what she told me.
Make it one page
ELAINY MATA: So how long does a cover letter actually have to be? Just one page, one.
AMY GALLO: Don’t play with the font, and make it like eight point font, and like make your margins really wide. Just really figure out what is the most essential things that need to go on one page.
Do research, find a name
ELAINY MATA: This should be a no-brainer, but let’s get specific. Let’s say you’re applying for a job here, at Harvard Business Review. Go on the company’s website, go to their “About Us” section, and read what they’re about, see their mission statement, see their tone, see what that company is actually looking for, and what they stand for.
So you’ve got the broad stuff, but let’s dig a little bit deeper. What is the company that you’re applying for talking about now? You should actually go into their LinkedIn, their Twitter, see what they’re sharing, see who are they’re talking to, see what they’re talking about, so you can get a sense of what is currently happening. Lastly, find that hiring manager. It is so much better to address your cover letter to an actual person and a name rather than, to whom it may concern. So I have to kind of creep a little bit, and be like a private investigator.
AMY GALLO: Yeah, creeping is definitely part of the process. Usually, with LinkedIn, you can see who’s posted the job, who is sharing it with their network. You may not know for sure that that’s the hiring manager, but at least it’s a little more personable. Sometimes, I’ve heard people just reach out and say, “Who’s the hiring manager for this job? I’d like to address my cover letter to that person.”
ELAINY MATA: You’ve probably written this 100 times before. “Hi, my name is this. I’m based here, and I’m applying for this job.” No, no, no, no, don’t do that. The hiring manager has a stack of cover letters. So you have to write yours to grab their attention. Amy, can you please give me an example of a strong, bold, opening line for cover letter. I promise I won’t steal it.
AMY GALLO: You’re allowed to steal it. Anyone should be able to steal it:
“I saw your listing on this website, and I was thrilled to see it, because it’s exactly the kind of job I’ve been looking for to apply my skills in X.”
Write something that’s short, to the point, but shows both enthusiasm, as well as experience that’s relevant to the job.
Emphasize your value
ELAINY MATA: Figure out what problem the company is facing. They’re hiring for a reason. Figure out what that reason is, and how you can best solve that problem. Amy also found the top two qualities that people generally look for is adaptability, and the ability to learn quickly.
How about if I just got out of college, and I’m looking at these jobs that are asking for three to five years or more of experience. How can I write a cover letter if I feel like I don’t have enough to write about?
AMY GALLO: Yeah, so that’s a good question, because the cover letter shouldn’t be focused so much on the past. That’s the resume’s job. The cover letter is really about the future. So how are you going to take what’s in that resume, your past, and apply it to where you’re going.
Convey enthusiasm, not desperation
ELAINY MATA: This is really hard to balance. You want to show them that you’re excited to work there, and that you’re going to bring a lot of energy to the team. But don’t be too strong, because over eagerness can actually work against you.
Find a proofreader
AMY GALLO: Write the letter you want to write. Then share it with someone else, someone who knows you well, but someone who also will tell you like it is. We’re not good judges of our own writing.
ELAINY MATA: So getting a second pair of eyes will help you look for any errors, typos, and most importantly, they can tell you if you make sense.
Amy, this sounds like a lot. Is there even like a sort of a shortcut to this, or a sort of scalable way that I can do this for multiple different jobs?
AMY GALLO: I mean, you’ve probably heard the phrase looking for a job is a full-time job. It does take a lot of time. You’re tweaking some things. You’re not writing a whole new letter. So you’re going to have a template. Write your best cover letter for the first job you apply for. Share that with your friend to check the tone. Do the research on the company, right? Do that the first time. Then and adjust the cover letter accordingly. Does that seem more reasonable?
ELAINY MATA: Yes, much more reasonable.
So my task is to apply for a job here at HBR, and to write a new cover letter using the advice that Amy gave me. Let’s do it.
This is hard. I never said it was going to be easy, maybe easier than what you were doing before, but definitely not easy.
The first draft
Dear Maureen and hiring team, I saw your listing on Linkedln and am excited because this is exactly the job that I’ve been looking for to showcase my skills in video production and production management to assist the creative center in producing compelling content. Working in news and movie production has taught me to hear an idea and a concept and be able to fully plan out the logistics needed to make the desired final visual product. I have been able to work with software like Adobe Creative Suite and TriCaster, and have worked with other team members to write scripts and compose story boards. Being part of the Creative Center team will give me the challenges to grow as a skilled producer and assist in production, help the production planning process, create a quick tum around for video publication, and manage content.
AMY GALLO: You did well on length. It is very short. That’s good.
ELAINY MATA: My gosh.
AMY GALLO: I read this, I’m like, that first sentence is spot on. And then it gets a little bit stilted. And then it goes into what’s probably on your resume. And I want a little more personality.
The final draft
ELAINY MATA: So Amy, after many back and forths — How do you think I did?
AMY GALLO: All right. So I’m looking at it right now. And I think you did a really good job.
You’ve got the main components here. There’s some personality in it. There’s some flattery in it about the company you’re applying to, but it’s not like over the top. I have to tell you, I would have you in. I think it’s a great letter.
ELAINY MATA: That’s it for me. I wrote the cover letter. You got to see the whole process. And I feel like I definitely have a better outlook on how to approach it. These are not easy to write, so good luck out there. Watch as many times as you can. Practice makes perfect. I’ll see you soon.
Cover letter example
Dear Maureen and hiring team, I was so excited to see your post on LinkedIn because it’s exactly the type of job I’m looking for: an opportunity to bring my experience with video production and enthusiasm for storytelling to an organization that sets the standard for high-quality management content. In addition to five years of experience in broadcast journalism, research, and video production, I would bring an organized and systems-level perspective to this role. I view video production as a puzzle, and like to think about which parts need to come together in order to make a great final product. My approach is to have in-depth conversations with my team members, and the various stakeholders, before each project. This helps me nail down the logistics — from location to talent. From there, the fun begins: fleshing out the concept and identifying what visuals will best represent it. Ideation and storyboarding are essential in this step. I know I’m not right all the time, so I enjoy working with a diverse team that can bring in new perspectives, brainstorm, and pitch ideas that will make the final product stronger. Whenever possible, I also try to seek out other sources for inspiration, like magazines, which allow me to observe different ways of expression and storytelling. This approach has served me well. It’s what has allowed me to enter the film industry and grow as a creator. On my website, you can see examples of how I use the above process to create fun, engaging content. Given this experience and my enthusiasm for the work you do, I believe I’d make a great addition to your team. I recently had a chance to try out your Patient Zero product at my current organization. The simulation is both challenging and engaging. I was impressed by your ability to apply different storytelling methods to an online training course (which, let’s admit, can often be a little dry). Your work exemplifies exactly what I believe: There’s an opportunity to tell a compelling story in everything — all you have to do is deliver it right. I’d love to come in and speak with you more about what I’d be able to offer in this role. Harvard Business Publishing is my top choice and I believe I’d make valuable contributions to your team. Thank you for your time and consideration!
- EM Elainy Mata is a Multimedia Producer at Harvard Business Review. ElainyMata
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The Only Cover Letter Guide You’ll Need in 2023 (+Examples)
- Kaja Jurcisinova ,
- January 19, 2023 13 min read
Last edit January 19, 2023
Oh, the dreaded cover letter. Job seekers hate writing it and nobody knows if anybody even reads cover letters anymore. And yet, not attaching one to your application would be a terrible mistake. This cover letter guide will tell you not only why to write one, but also how to write a really good one.
But first , why does everyone hate writing cover letters so much? After all, a cover letter gives you a unique opportunity to distinguish yourself from others.
In comparison with a resume, the cover letter allows you to provide details that didn’t fit in on your resume and demonstrate your passion.
All the negativity that surrounds the cover letter probably comes down to the fact that good cover letters require a bit of alchemy. They also take time to write.
As a result, many cover letters end up looking sloppy and, rather than help, they harm their author’s chances of landing a job. This guide will help you avoid these mistakes and write a strong cover letter that will catch the recruiter’s attention.
Generally speaking, you want to make your cover letter:
- easy to read for the recruiter;
- max 4 paragraphs/1 page long;
- professional in both tone and greetings;
- tailored for the specific opening.
Let's get to it!
Table of Contents
Click on a section to skip
Why should you write a cover letter?
How do recruiters read cover letters, how to write a great cover letter in 9 simple steps.
- What if you're told to NOT submit a cover letter?
Final cover letter tips and hacks
Cover letter examples.
So, how exactly is the cover letter important for your job application?
Some may argue that the cover letter in 2023 isn't really relevant anymore. In fact, one study stated that only 18 percent of hiring managers think cover letters are a key part of an application.
However, don’t get fooled by these statistics. While your resume may be considered more important during the hiring process, including a well-written cover letter can increase your chances of landing a job.
For instance, 83% of hiring managers would be convinced by a really good cover letter — even if the resume wasn’t good enough, according to this study .
And there's more to it.
Some of the key advantages of the cover letter are:
- It’s much less structured than the resume and lets you develop a story.
- It gives you space to get a little more creative.
- Your personality can shine through thanks to it.
- You can elaborate on key achievements mentioned in your resume.
- It helps explain a lack of experience, career change, or an employment gap.
In other words, the cover letter is a perfect chance to bridge the distance between you and a recruiter even before the actual job interview .
Pro tip: Before writing a cover letter, make sure that you have a powerful resume that matches the job description. Because if your resume doesn’t fit a desired profile, your cover letter probably won’t get read at all. To learn more, you may want to check out our Ultimate Resume Guide .
First, they read them to decide if you’re the right fit for a position. For this reason, avoid generic write-ups at all costs. What recruiters love to see is a short persuasive argument of why you fit the role and the company. Something like this:
“I was happy to hear about this job opening from my former manager, Jane Anne. She and I have worked together on many projects throughout the years and she thought that I would be the perfect match for this position.“
Second, recruiters are looking for inconsistencies . For instance, if your resume shows attention to detail but your cover letter is addressed to the wrong person, wrong company, and is filled with typos, it's inconsistent. You want to ensure the number of inconsistencies is kept to a minimum.
Third, they're trying to get a hint of your personality . Cultural fit is important to many companies.
So, throughout the process of cover letter writing, it's essential to keep in mind the recruiter who's going to be the recipient of your letter.
Because at the end of a day, a good cover letter shouldn't be solely about you — it's supposed to be written with the hiring manager in mind.
So ask yourself:
- Is my cover letter easy to read?
- Have I addressed the right person in the opening?
- Will it help them decide if I'm the right fit?
- Did I use the right tone of voice that fits their company culture?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, our cover letter guide is exactly for you.
Writing a cover letter may seem like a challenging task at first but if you know a few key cover letter rules, the process can become much easier.
1. Prepare and do some research
Knowledge is power. Before you begin writing:
- Find out more about the company and the position you're applying for. Spend some time on the company’s website, its executives’ Twitter feeds, and employee profiles on LinkedIn. It will also help you decide on the tone of your cover letter. For example, if it’s a company like Kickresume , you can easily get away with more unusual approaches. But if it’s a conservative institution, like a bank or a lawyer's office, you should probably keep it formal.
- Search for specific cover letter examples for your role online . Pick some examples that fit your role and use these for inspiration. (By the way, that link just now will take you to our database of successful cover letters from real people who got hired. Totally worth checking out.)
- Look at the job descriptions of the roles you’re applying for . Identify major experience and hard skill keywords, so you can insert them in your letter in the relevant sections.
Once you've done this basic research, you can finally start thinking about the structure of your cover letter.
This short infographic will show you that writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might have thought:
2. Include a header with basic info rmation
Placed at the very beginning of your cover letter, the header is the place where you should include your contact information and the contact information of the company.
A cover letter is still a letter, after all.
At the left side of the page include the information based on which you can be reached by the recruiter.
Here, make sure to include:
- your full name
- your email address
- phone number
Optionally, you can also add:
- your professional title
- address (if it vaguely matches the location of the job offer)
- current date
- personal website/LinkedIn
The top right side of the page is reserved for company-related information. Here, you should put:
- the manager’s or recruiter’s name (if available)
- job title
- the name of the company
- company’s address
Not a fan of writing?
Our AI writer will write the first draft of your cover letter for you.
3. Write a strong cover letter headline
When you’re browsing the web, what articles usually catch your attention? Those with great headlines, of course!
The same applies to cover letter headlines.
Start by paying attention to the headlines around you — especially in tabloids and websites like Buzzfeed (Is Buzzfeed still a thing? How very 2010s of me). These are usually designed to stir up your interest and make it impossible to not click through.
Notice how they use numbers, questions, and interesting adjectives to promise the reader to learn something valuable.
And you can do the same in your cover letter.
When in doubt, try to use this formula: Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise.
The result can look something like this:
- 3 Reasons Why I’m An Excellent Fit For [Job Position]
- Are You Still Looking To Fill The Position Of [Job Position]? This Is Why I Believe I’m Exactly Who You’re Looking For
- 5 Ways I Can Help You Improve Your Company’s [insert a position-related keyword]
Finally, don’t forget to adjust your header to the company’s level of formality and put your headline in the subject of the email.
4. Use the correct form of greeting
In this time and age, there’s no excuse for using “To Whom It May Concern.”
If the name of the hiring manager isn't written in the job posting, you’re expected to research their name and contact information online. For example, look at the company's page or LinkedIn.
Once you have their name, feel free to go for a personalized greeting:
“Dear [first name]” or “Dear Mr./Mrs. [last name]”
Honorifics (e.g. Mr., Mrs., Ms .) are more appropriate if the company’s culture is formal.
And if you cannot find the recruiter’s name, it's okay to go for a generic:
“Dear Hiring Manager”, or “Dear Recruitment Officer”
Alternatively, you can address the letter to the whole company team or the HR department. In this case, your greeting should look like this:
“Dear [name of the company/department] Team” or “Dear Human Resources”
5. First paragraph: Introduce yourself with a BANG!
The best way to start a cover letter is to open strong. The first impression matters the most and busy recruiters often have a chance to properly dive into only a few selected cover letters.
So if you make your first paragraph captivating, chances are that your letter will be one of the lucky ones that actually end up being read.
In fact, the first paragraph is the perfect place to shortly explain why the job seems exciting to you and why you’re the right person for it.
While most people begin their letters with “I’m applying for the position X I saw in Y place,” it's a waste of space.
Instead, open with a sentence like this:
“I’m a content marketing professional with more than 5 years of experience and I’d love to bring my ability and passion to your team.”
In the first paragraph, you can also:
- Compliment the company. Show that you know details about the company and you’re approaching it for a reason. For example, demonstrate appreciation for what the company does. Not only will this flatter them, but it will also provide them with insight into who you are.
- Name a mutual acquaintance if you can. This is sometimes called a “magic bullet,” as it’s the one thing that will assure the hiring manager reads your cover letter until the end.
However, limit the introduction to 1-3 sentences. This isn’t the place to go into detail about what makes you ideal for the role — save that for the second and third paragraphs.
6. Second paragraph: Explain why you’re a great fit for the company
The second paragraph is the place where you should sell yourself and your experience.
Here, write a short summary of your career, skills and accomplishments, tailored to fit what the company is looking for.
You already did your research, so now it's time to ask yourself these questions and try to address them in your cover letter:
- What did you do at a previous position that gave you relevant experience?
- How could this experience help the new company grow?
- Which of the projects you have worked on would benefit their business?
- Which of your skills make you well-equipped for the position?
- Do any of these skills give you an edge over other candidates?
After you’ve picked the most relevant accomplishments, put them at the start of your letter.
However, when talking about them, avoid sounding like you’re bragging. The best way of doing this is to focus on your experiences rather than yourself . Ideally, support your claims with concrete examples.
Also, mention any other additional relevant hard skills or knowledge areas they’re looking for, as well as any qualifications.
Finally, the second paragraph is the perfect place for showing that you’ve done your research. Demonstrate that you’re familiar with some of the challenges that the company faces and present how you can help them.
Pro tip: Don’t simply repeat the same things you’ve already put on your resume. You want to go beyond that (this applies to every other section of your cover letter).
7. Third paragraph: Explain why the company is a great fit for you
In this paragraph, you want to show that you’re serious about developing your career at this new company. And good companies want to know why they appeal to you and how will your professional relationship be mutually beneficial.
Consider addressing the following questions:
- What excites you about the idea of working at this company?
- How do the company goals align with your own?
- What do you hope to gain and learn from working there?
For example, you can say something like this: “I've seen on your website that you heavily focus on cryptocurrency projects. As a cryptocurrency enthusiast, I would love to join your team”.
However, don’t go overboard with flattery and stay professional.
Also, don’t say anything that isn't true or you don’t mean it, as it will probably come up again in the later stages of the application process.
8. Closing paragraph: Finish strong and stay in touch
Now that you’ve nailed the main part of your cover letter, you also want to finish strong. This way, the recruiter will remember you in a good light. But how do you achieve that?
- Reiterate that your experience and enthusiasm make you a great candidate. This is to emphasize the two main points from the previous paragraphs. Do this in one or two sentences, not more.
- Add a confident call to action. In a sentence or two, you should suggest the next steps. Something like “ I would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the value I can bring to [company]."
- Express gratitude. Simply thank them for their time and for considering your application.
- Always use a formal sign-off. Something like “ Sincerely , Best wishes , or Respectfully” . Finish by typing out your full name.
9. How do you send a cover letter?
I can’t stress this enough — unless it's specifically required to attach the cover letter to the body of the email, consider not sending your cover letter as a document attached to your email.
Instead, put it inside the body of the email . The email itself is now your cover letter! This way the recruiter won't ignore it.
However, remember that hiring managers receive hundreds of emails a day. So if you want your email to get read, it's the subject line that's likely to play the most important part.
As we've advised before, if you have a good resume headline, simply put it in the email subject.
However, if you’re unhappy with the result, you have other options, too.
For instance, if you have a reference, include it already in your email subject line:
Referral from Jose Nachos: Pedro Tacos, candidate for a senior software analyst position
If you don't have a reference or a catchy headline, check out more tips on how to write the best subject line for your email .
Finished writing your cover letter?
Make it stand out with an eye-catching design.
What if you're told to NOT submit a cover letter?
Today, many companies are using online application systems that discourage applicants from attaching a cover letter.
Instead, they have their own application systems where in different sections you're required to fill in the information you would normally place in your cover letter.
If this is the case, just work with the format they gave you.
In other words, include the same information that you'd normally have in your cover letter but place it in the correct sections.
And don’t forget to follow the cover letter principles:
- explain why you're the right candidate;
- make it clear that you've researched the company well;
- indicate in what way you'd be an asset;
- mention your biggest past achievements.
Because no matter the format, you're still expected to present your skills and convey enthusiasm about the job.
Alternatively, you can also try to find a relevant manager or a recruiter online (either on the company pages or LinkedIn) to whom you can send a brief follow-up email with an attached cover letter.
Now that we've covered the basics, there are several other tips that you should keep in mind to elevate your cover letter to the next level:
- Keep it short. Limit your cover letter to three to four paragraphs and a maximum of one page. Hiring managers are busy people who often don't have time for reading long texts.
- Keep it clean and easy on the eye. Take a look at how this article is written. It’s replete with short paragraphs, sentences typed in bold letters, bullet points, and numbers. All of these make reading and searching for specific information easier. So, never send a letter that looks like an unreadable wall of text. The easiest way to achieve a sleek cover letter design is to use a pre-formatted cover letter template .
- Don’t risk being funny if it ’ s a company with a formal work culture. Poorly executed humor will hurt your chances rather than help. Being direct and dynamic is a much surer way to catch the recruiter’s attention than a number of jokes. On the other, if the company is smaller or known for its creative products, being original may in fact help your chances!
- Show, don’t tell. Usually, there’s no point in saying you’re “a dependable hard worker” or “a creative thinker.” Why should anyone believe such generic statements? Instead, offer an example of how these qualities helped you achieve something in the past.
- Never write the same letter twice. A cover letter should always be tailored to a specific job application. Remember the previous sections? You’ve made a great effort to research the company and its hiring managers, so you’ve written your cover letter accordingly. This is a process you need to repeat with every application (ugh, I know).
- Check for typos. This goes without saying but make 100% sure your cover letter is without typos. There’s no reason to believe you're competent if you can't even type without errors. Moreover, typos automatically reveal almost criminal carelessness on your part, since every text editor nowadays has a spellchecking feature.
- Don't use any buzzwords. Your cover letter needs to be authentic and persuasive — and buzzwords are neither. If anything, they simply give the impression of you being someone who's just trying to fit a skewed idea of what an ideal corporate employee should be. Instead, focus on using relevant keywords from job descriptions.
In the end, there are many different ways to write a great cover letter. And even if you follow the cover letter guide above, you’ll end up with a cover letter that's invariably your own.
It all depends on your own personality, the position you’re applying for, and the hiring manager’s preferences.
And that's good, actually!
Still, there's a lot to learn from cover letters written by other people. That's why we've selected five cover letter samples that deserve your attention.
Each of these helped real job seekers find real jobs in real companies. They'll teach you valuable lessons you can use in your own cover letter.
1. Norwegian — Cabin Crew Cover Letter Example
This cover letter sample was provided by a real person who got hired with Kickresume’s help.
2. Volvo — Machine Learning Intern Cover Letter Example
3. tory burch — account executive cover letter example, 4. lush — sales associate cover letter example, 5. romeo — social media officer cover letter example.
Do you still need some more inspiration? You can find more examples in our cover letter library
FAQ: How to write a cover letter
250 to 400 words is the standard cover letter length range. A cover letter should never exceed one page.
Yes! Show that you can go that extra mile and stand out from the crowd of applicants.
Ideally, use a pre-formatted cover letter template. Then use a simple and professional font, such as Times New Roman. The font size should be between 10-12.
If you have the name of the hiring manager, try to find their contact on the company page or LinkedIn. If you still can't find the right person, you can address it to the whole team or HR.
This article was recently updated. The original article was written by Martin Poduska in 201 7.
Kaja Jurcisinova is a junior copywriter at Kickresume. Kaja completed her undergraduate degree in Art History at the University of St Andrews in 2018 and graduated with a Master’s in Arts and Culture from the University of Groningen in 2021. She was an intern at multiple cultural institutions across Europe, including the Dutch Museum Association in Amsterdam, the Matter of Art Biennale in Prague, and the European Cultural Centre in Venice. At the moment, she resides in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland.
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