- SUGGESTED TOPICS
- The Magazine
- Most Popular
- Managing Yourself
- Managing Teams
- Work-life Balance
- The Big Idea
- Data & Visuals
- Reading Lists
- Case Selections
- HBR Learning
- Topic Feeds
- Account Settings
- Email Preferences
How to Write a Cover Letter
Advice for tackling one of the toughest parts of the job-hunting process.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the job application process is writing an effective cover letter. And yes, you should send one. Even if only one in two cover letters gets read, that’s still a 50% chance that including one could help you. Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. Next, catch the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter with a strong opening line. If you have a personal connection with the company or someone who works there, mention it in the first sentence or two, and try to address your letter to someone directly. Hiring managers are looking for people who can help them solve problems, so show that you know what the company does and some of the challenges it faces. Then explain how your experience has equipped you to meet those needs. If the online application doesn’t allow you to submit a cover letter, use the format you’re given to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role.
No one likes job hunting. Scouring through online job listings, spiffing up your résumé , prepping for grueling interviews — none of it is fun. For many, the most challenging part of the process is writing an effective cover letter. There’s so much conflicting advice out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Do you even need one, especially if you’re applying through an online system?
What the Experts Say
The answer is almost always yes. Sure, there will be times when you’re submitting an application online and you may not be able to include one, but whenever possible, send one, says Jodi Glickman, a communications expert and author of Great on the Job . “It’s your best chance of getting the attention of the HR person or hiring manager and an important opportunity to distinguish yourself from everyone else.” And in a tight job market, setting yourself apart is critical, says John Lees, a UK-based career strategist and author of Knockout CV . Still, as anyone who’s ever written a cover letter knows, it’s not easy to do well. Here are some tips to help.
Do your research first.
Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. Of course, you should carefully read the job description, but also peruse the company’s website, its executives’ Twitter feeds, and employee profiles on LinkedIn. This research will help you customize your cover letter, since you shouldn’t send a generic one. It’ll also help you decide on the right tone. “Think about the culture of the organization you’re applying to,” advises Glickman. “If it’s a creative agency, like a design shop, you might take more risks, but if it’s a more conservative organization, like a bank, you may hold back.”
If at all possible, reach out to the hiring manager or someone else you know at the company before writing your cover letter, advises Lees. You can send an email or a LinkedIn message “asking a smart question about the job.” That way you can start your letter by referencing the interaction. You might say, “Thanks for the helpful conversation last week” or “I recently spoke to so-and-so at your company.” Of course, it’s not always possible to contact someone — or you may not get a response. That’s OK. It’s still worth a try.
Focus it on the future.
While your résumé is meant to be a look back at your experience and where you’ve been, the cover letter should focus on the future and what you want to do, says Glickman. “It can be helpful to think of it as the bridge between the past and the future that explains what you hope to do next and why.” Because of the pandemic there is less of an expectation that you’ll be applying for a job that you’ve done before. “There are millions of people who are making career changes — voluntarily or involuntarily — and need to pivot and rethink how their skill set relates to a different role or industry,” says Glickman. You can use your cover letter to explain the shift you’re making, perhaps from hospitality to marketing, for example. Think of it as an opportunity to sell your transferrable skills .
“People typically write themselves into the letter with ‘I’m applying for X job that I saw in Y place.’ That’s a waste,” says Lees. Instead, lead with a strong opening sentence . “Start with the punch line — why this job is exciting to you and what you bring to the table,” says Glickman. For example, you might write, “I’m an environmental fundraising professional with more than 15 years of experience looking for an opportunity to apply my skills in new ways, and I’d love to bring my expertise and enthusiasm to your growing development team.” Then you can include a sentence or two about your background and your relevant experience, but don’t rehash your résumé.
Read more about
How to Write a Resume That Stands Out
Chances are the hiring manager or recruiter is reading a stack of these, so you want to catch their attention. But don’t try to be funny. “Humor can often fall flat or sound self-regarding,” says Lees. Stay away from common platitudes, too. “Say something direct and dynamic, such as ‘Let me draw your attention to two reasons why I’d be a great addition to your team.'”
If you have a personal connection with the company or someone who works there, also mention it in the first sentence or two. And always address your letter to someone directly. “With social media, it’s often possible to find the name of a hiring manager,” says Glickman.
Emphasize your personal value.
Hiring managers are looking for people who can help them solve problems. Drawing on the research you did earlier, show that you know what the company does and some of the challenges it faces. These don’t need to be specific but you might mention how the industry has been affected by the pandemic. For example, you might write, “A lot of health care companies are overwhelmed with the need to provide high-quality care while protecting the health and safety of their staff.” Then talk about how your experience has equipped you to meet those needs; perhaps explain how you solved a similar problem in the past or share a relevant accomplishment. You want to provide evidence of the things that set you apart.
Lees points out that there are two skills that are relevant to almost any job right now: adaptability and the ability to learn quickly. If you have brief examples that demonstrate these skills, include those. For example, if you supported your team in the shift to remote work, describe how you did that and what capabilities you drew on.
“When you don’t get hired, it’s usually not because of a lack of skills,” says Glickman. “It’s because people didn’t believe your story, that you wanted the job, or that you knew what you were getting into.” Hiring managers are going to go with the candidate who has made it seem like this is their dream job. So make it clear why you want the position . “Enthusiasm conveys personality,” Lees adds. He suggests writing something like “I’d love to work for your company. Who wouldn’t? You’re the industry leader, setting standards that others only follow.” Don’t bother applying if you’re not excited about some aspect of the company or role.
Watch the tone.
At the same time, don’t go overboard with the flattery or say anything you don’t mean. Authenticity is crucial. “Even if you’ve been out of work for months, and would take any job at this point, you want to avoid sounding desperate ,” says Lees. You don’t want your tone to undermine your message, so be professional and mature. A good rule of thumb is to put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and think about “the kind of language that the hiring manager would use with one of the company’s customers.” Of course, it can be hard to discern your own tone in writing, so you may need to ask someone to review a draft (which is always a good idea anyway — see advice below). Lees says that he often cuts outs “anything that sounds like desperation” when he’s reviewing letters for clients.
Keep it short.
Much of the advice out there says to keep it under a page. But both Glickman and Lees say even shorter is better. “Most cover letters I see are too long,” says Lees. “It should be brief enough that someone can read it at a glance.” You do have to cover a lot of ground — but you should do it succinctly. This is where asking a friend, former colleague, or mentor to review your letter can be helpful. Ask them to read through it and point out places where you can cut.
In fact, it’s a great idea to share your cover letter with a few people, says Lees. Rather than sending it off and asking, “What do you think?” be specific about the kind of feedback you want. In particular, request two things. First, ask your friend if it’s clear what your main point is. What’s the story you’re telling? Are they able to summarize it? Second, ask them what’s wrong with the letter. “Other people are more attuned to desperation, overselling, over-modesty, and underselling,” says Lees, and they should be able to point out places where the tone is off.
When you can’t submit a cover letter.
Many companies now use online application systems that don’t allow for a cover letter. You may be able to figure out how to include one in the same document as your résumé, but that’s not a guarantee, especially because some systems only allow for data to be entered into specific boxes. In these cases, use the format you’re given to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role. If possible, you may try to find someone to whom you can send a brief follow-up email highlighting a few key points about your application.
Principles to Remember
- Have a strong opening statement that makes clear why you want the job and what you bring to the table.
- Be succinct — a hiring manager should be able to read your letter at a glance.
- Share an accomplishment that shows you can address the challenges the employer is facing.
- Try to be funny — too often it falls flat.
- Send a generic cover letter — customize each one for the specific job.
- Go overboard with flattery — be professional and mature.
Advice in Practice
Case study #1: demonstrate an understanding of what the company needs..
Michele Sommers, the vice president of HR for the Boys & Girls Village, a nonprofit in Connecticut, recently posted a job for a recruiting and training specialist. “I was looking for someone with a strong recruiting background who could do everything from sourcing candidates to onboarding new hires,” she says. She also wanted the person to hit the ground running. “We’re a small team and I can’t afford to train someone,” she says.
More than 100 candidates applied for the job. The organization’s online application system doesn’t allow for cover letter attachments, but one of the applicants, Heidi (not her real name), sent a follow-up email after submitting her résumé. “And it’s a good thing she did, because she would’ve been weeded out otherwise,” Michele says.
Heidi’s résumé made her look like a “job hopper” — very short stints at each previous employer. Michele assumed she was a poor performer who kept getting fired. She was also the only candidate who didn’t have a four-year college degree.
But Heidi’s email caught Michele’s eye. First off, it was professional. Heidi stated clearly that she was writing to double-check that her application had been received. She went on to explain how she had gotten Michele’s name and information (through her husband’s boss, who was on the board) and her personal connection to Boys & Girls Village (her father-in-law had done some work with the organization).
Stand Out in Your Interview
What really stood out to Michele, though, was Heidi’s understanding of the group and the challenges it was facing. She’d done her research and “listed some things she would do or already had done that would help us address those needs,” says Michele.
“The personality and passion she conveyed in the cover letter came through during her phone screening,” Michele says. Heidi ended up being more than qualified for the job. “I wanted this role to be bigger from the get-go, but I didn’t think that was possible. When I met her, I knew we could expand it.” Three weeks later Michele offered Heidi the job and she accepted.
Case Study #2: Catch their attention.
Over the past four years, Emily Sernaker applied for multiple positions at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). She never gave up. With each application, she sent a personalized cover letter. “I wanted my cover letter to highlight my qualifications, creative thinking, and genuine respect for the organization,” she says.
Sarah Vania, the organization’s regional HR director, says that Emily’s letters caught her attention, especially because they included several video links that showed the results of Emily’s advocacy and fundraising work at other organizations. Emily explains, “I had prior experience advocating for former child soldiers, human trafficking survivors, vulnerable women, and displaced persons. It’s one thing to make statements in a cover letter, like ‘I can make a pitch, I am a creative person, I am thoughtful,’ but showing these qualities seemed like a better way of convincing the recruiter that the statements were true.”
This is what Emily wrote to Sarah about the video:
Here is a short video about my story with activism. The nonprofit organization Invisible Children made it for a youth conference I spoke at this year. It is about four minutes. As you’ll see from the video, I’ve had a lot of success as a student fundraiser, raising over $200,000 for Invisible Children. I’ve since gone on to work as a consultant for Wellspring International and have recently concluded my studies as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar.
In each of the cover letters, Emily also made clear how much she wanted to work for IRC. “To convey enthusiasm is a vulnerable thing to do and can come off as naivete, but, when it came down to it, my enthusiasm for the organization was genuine and expressing it felt right,” she says.
This is how Emily conveyed her interest in working for IRC:
You should also know that I have a sincere appreciation of the IRC. I have enjoyed learning about your programs and have personally visited your New York headquarters, the San Diego New Roots farm, the We Can Be Heroes exhibit, and the Half the Sky exhibit in Los Angeles. The IRC is my top choice and I believe I would be a valuable addition to your fundraising team.
Emily learned throughout the process that the organization had hundreds of applicants for each position and it was extremely competitive. “I appreciated that I wouldn’t be the best for every opening but also remained firm that I did have a significant contribution to make,” she says. Eventually, Emily’s persistence paid off. She was hired as a temporary external relations coordinator, and four months later she moved into a permanent role.
Editor’s note: The author updated this article, which was originally written in 2014, to reflect the latest advice from the experts and the reality of job-seeking during the pandemic.
- Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast , and the author of two books: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict . She writes and speaks about workplace dynamics. Watch her TEDx talk on conflict and follow her on LinkedIn . amyegallo
- Cover Letter
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.
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
- Search Search Please fill out this field.
- Career Planning
- Finding a Job
Resume and Cover Letter Writing Guide
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.
- What's the Difference?
How to build your resume, review resume writing techniques, review resume samples.
- More Resume Examples
How to Write a Cover Letter
Review cover letter writing techniques, review cover letter examples, more cover letter examples, the end game.
Resumes and cover letters alone won't get you a job; rather, they'll help you win an interview. Here is comprehensive information that will guide you through the process of writing a targeted resume and cover letter.
What's the Difference?
What should you communicate on a resume versus a cover letter? Before you begin, review the key differences between the two and information on what each should focus on.
Keep in mind that the more specifically you can tailor your resume and cover letter to address the requirements of the position, the better your chances of earning an interview.
Below, you'll find step-by-step information on how to create your resume, along with formatting tips and insight into which words to use, and which words to avoid. The guide also features techniques for writing cover letters that showcase your accomplishments and form a clear connection between your experience and the position you are applying for. If you follow these steps, you'll increase your chances of securing job interviews.
Before delving into writing a resume, ask yourself some basic questions that will shape your direction.
- Are you seeking an entry-level job?
- Changing careers?
- Are you re-entering the workforce after a lengthy time off?
- Do you need to refresh and update your current resume?
The first step to writing an eye-catching resume is determining what you're trying to accomplish. While you might not include an "Objective" section on your resume, write one just for yourself to serve as a guiding principle for your overall resume.
Build your own professional resume quickly and easily with this step-by-step guide . It will help you through every step of the resume writing process.
A resume includes information on your education, work history, and skills . Get started writing your resume by creating a list of your accomplishments in each job that you have held.
From there, you can decide which details are most important to highlight and work on phrasing information in a way that will get the attention of both hiring managers and searchable databases. These resume writing techniques will help you write an interview-winning resume .
There are power words you can use to enhance your resume , and there are others that won't make a good impression . Write your resume so it focuses on the attributes that best qualify you for the job.
You may simply read the resume sample below or download the Word template by clicking on the link. Also see below for more examples.
Resume Example (Text Version)
Bethany Booker 3242 Magnolia Avenue • Memphis, TN 38108 • (123) 456-7890 • firstname.lastname@example.org www.linked.com/in/bethanybooker
Dedicated to supporting the literacy and growth of children grades K-8
Highly organized and engaging School Librarian and Information Specialist experienced in instructing and mentoring students in the use of library resources including instructional media and educational technology.
Partner well with teachers and staff to plan cooperative lessons and class activities, identify curricular needs, and order new library materials. Fluent in written and spoken English and Spanish.
MEMPHIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Memphis, TN
SCHOOL LIBRARIAN (September 2008 – Present) Optimize library programs for multiple public elementary schools. Plan and implement library media programs, supporting students in the use of print and digital materials. Ensure available library resources comply with school district’s curriculum standards.
- Developed highly successful visiting children’s author program and after-school book groups.
- Coordinated Scholastic book fairs and other fundraising events that raised over $10K earmarked for new book and media purchases.
KNOXVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY, Knoxville, TN LIBRARY AIDE (September 2006 – June 2008) Concurrent with graduate education, supported children and adult patrons of public library. Helped with book location and selection, shelved materials, and assisted in issuing library cards and collecting overdue fines.
- Selected to lead well-attended semi-weekly story times in children’s library.
- Willingly worked overtime and on weekends to ensure adequate library staffing.
EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE , Knoxville, TN
Master’s Degree in Library Science EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY , Johnson City, TN
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (Major: U.S. History) Valid Tennessee State Teacher certificate with library science endorsement
More Resume Examples
Get inspiration for your own resume by reviewing these sample resumes , including chronological , functional , and mini, as well as templates for resume writing.
A cover letter typically accompanies each resume you send out. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored. Where a resume focuses on your work experience and accomplishments, a strong cover letter will make a connection between what the company needs and what you can offer .
There are several different types of cover letters , including application letters , inquiry letters , referral cover letters , and prospecting letters . Here's where you'll be able to see examples of different kinds of cover letters used to apply for jobs or inquire about open positions.
The body of your letter tells the employer what position you're applying for, why the company should select you for an interview, and how you will follow up.
Grab the reader in your first paragraph with some specific information about the job you're seeking and a few core strengths that demonstrate your suitability for the position.
Then delve into what you have to offer the employer by highlighting examples of the work performed and achieved results. Detail your knowledge of the company based on your research and the ways in which you can contribute to their goals. Finally, close the letter by suggesting a meeting or next steps.
It makes sense to devote the necessary time and effort to write an effective, targeted cover letter. Your letter should convey how your skills and accomplishments will benefit the company. These tips will help you craft a cover letter that's a strong match for the job for which you're applying.
You may review the cover letter sample below or download the Word template by clicking on the link. Also see below for more examples.
Cover Letter Example (Text Version)
Bethany Booker 3242 Magnolia Avenue • Memphis, TN 38108 (123) 456-7890 • email@example.com www.linked.com/in/bethanybooker
March 11, 2019
Ms. Harriet Williams, Principal Liberty Bell Middle School 718 Morningside Drive Johnson City, TN 37604
Dear Ms. Williams:
Please accept the accompanying resume as a sign of my sincere interest in the School Librarian / Media Specialist position that has opened at Liberty Bell Middle School. As a school librarian with eleven years’ experience optimizing elementary and middle school library programs in Memphis, Tennessee, I can offer you strong capabilities in lesson and activity coordination, materials sourcing and acquisition, and student advocacy.
My qualifications for this position include:
- Proven effectiveness guiding students in the use of library resources, instructional media, and educational technology.
- A proactive stance in developing supplemental after-school literacy programs for students and their parents.
- Annual success in planning book fairs and other major fund-raising activities that have raised thousands of dollars for library programs.
- A Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a valid Tennessee State Teacher certificate.
Supporting the growth and welfare of young people through reading and literacy has been my life-long passion. Eager to return to my hometown of Johnson City, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my candidacy for this role in greater detail. Thank you for your time, consideration, and forthcoming response.
With about 100 sample cover letters and templates to choose from , you will get plenty of guidelines on how to write the perfect cover letter for your situation, regardless of your occupation and employment situation.
When you've finished perusing the step-by-step guide, you'll have a resume and cover letter(s), which will be polished, professional, and ready to send to prospective employers.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Covid updates. The bivalent COVID-19 booster is required for on-campus presence.
How to Write a Great Resume and Cover Letter
Linda Spencer offers helpful tips and resources to help you write your resumé and cover letter.
What makes a great résumé and cover letter? Linda Spencer, associate director and coordinator of career advising at Harvard Extension School, shares examples of a few strong résumés and explains what makes them stand out.
Perfect Your Marketing Documents
Spencer stresses it’s important to know that your résumé and cover letter are marketing documents. Also keep in mind that the average employer takes about seven seconds to review these documents. They’re not reading: they’re skimming. So you need to make it clear right off the bat how you can add value.
Strong résumés don’t have to be lengthy. One to two pages that feature your most top accomplishments works well.
Use Action Words and Customize Your Pitch
When highlighting your professional experience, use accomplishment statements rather than descriptions of your role. Start with an action verb. Then detail the impact that action had: Did you increase, decrease, modify, or change anything in your work? Finally, be sure to quantify the accomplishments. Data helps.
Your cover letter should be one page, highly customized to each position you’re applying for. It answers two questions: why are you the right fit for the position? And how will you add value to the organization?
While it’s important to have a strong résumé and cover letter, it’s also important to remember that the number one job search strategy is networking. You don’t want to simply be reactive, applying blindly to job postings. You want to conduct a series of informational meetings so that you build a network of people you can reach out to when it comes time to start your job search.
Any Extension student can attend first-come, first-served 15-minute call-ins (via phone or Skype) with Linda. See Career Services for more information.
Ready to take your next step? Browse graduate and undergraduate options
Choose from individual courses, certificates, or degree programs
Tips on Public Speaking: Eliminating the Dreaded “Um”
Learn how to remove filler words from formal speeches to present with confidence.
Harvard Division of Continuing Education
A division of Harvard University dedicated to bringing rigorous programs and innovative online teaching capabilities to distance learners, working professionals, high school students, college students, and those seeking higher learning in retirement.
You control your data
Choose type of cookies to accept
These cookies give you access to a customized experience of our products. Personalization cookies are also used to deliver content, including ads, relevant to your interests on our Site and third-party sites based on how you interact with our advertisements or content as well as track the content you access (including video viewing). We may also collect password information from you when you log in, as well as computer and/or connection information. During some visits, we may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, download errors, time spent on certain pages and page interaction information.
These cookies are placed by third-party companies to deliver targeted content based on relevant topics that are of interest to you. And allow you to better interact with social media platforms such as Facebook.
These cookies are essential for the Site's performance and for you to be able to use its features. For example, essential cookies include: cookies dropped to provide the service, maintain your account, provide builder access, payment pages, create IDs for your documents and store your consents.
To see a detailed list of cookies, click here .
- English (AU)
- English (CA)
- English (UK)
- English (IN)
- Français (CA)
- Cover Letter
How to Write a Cover Letter for Any Job in 8 Steps (2023)
So you need a cover letter. Where do you start? How long should it be? Do yourself a favor: follow our guide on how to write the best cover letter the recruiter has ever seen.
As seen in:
Why do you even need to write a cover letter? Isn’t it extra work on top of an already stressful and time-consuming job hunt?
It’s work that pays off. A resume alone can show your achievements and qualifications, but can it explain in detail why you’re the absolute best for the job? Or show a glimpse of your personality? A good cover letter will do all that—while also defining your motivations and showing the employer you’re the asset they truly need to make their lives easier.
And that’s why this guide will show you:
- What a cover letter is and why you should write one.
- A sample cover letter to tweak, customize, and get more interviews.
- How to write a cover letter for a job—better than 9 out of 10 others.
- Cover letter writing tips and hacks to boost your chances of landing a job.
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.
Here’s what you’ll find in this article (jump right into the desired section):
- What Is a Cover Letter?
- What Is the Purpose of a Cover Letter? (i.e., Why You Should Write One)
- Start With a Header
- Address the Reader
- Make a Proper Introduction
- Explain Why You’re the Perfect Fit
- Show Your Motivation to Join the Company
- Close With a Promise
- Stay Formal in the Closing Salutation
- Add a Postscript
- Frequently Asked Questions About Cover Letters
What Is a Cover Letter
A cover letter is an integral part of your job application, along with your resume. It’s designed to introduce you in a more personal way, complementing the contents of the resume/CV, expanding on relevant skills and achievements, and highlighting a selection of your most prominent accomplishments.
How long should a cover letter be ? Aim at 2–4 paragraphs within one page.
Not many achievements or relevant experience to talk about yet? Don’t worry—read our dedicated guides:
- How to Write a Cover Letter With No Experience
- How to Write a Good Cover Letter for an Internship
What Is the Purpose of a Cover Letter
A good cover letter persuades the employer your qualifications match their needs , plus:
- Shows you did research and take the job seriously.
- Proves you understand the challenges of the company.
- Reflects that your vision aligns with their goals.
- Presents how your skills and experience are a solution .
Ultimately, a good cover letter should be all about “ why should we hire you ” and “what’s in it for us.” The winning tactic here is focusing on them , not just on you, which will ultimately make you stand out from other applicants
And that’s why it’s worth spending time writing a solid cover letter.
Let’s find out how to do it.
How to Write a Cover Letter
You can start working on your cover letter right away as you follow our steps. Use this cover letter template, or explore more cover letter samples here (we have one for most jobs and industries):
By the way, you can upload your resume into our cover letter builder , and it will convert the info into the cover letter!
Let’s now move on to detailed instructions on how to write a successful cover letter:
1. Start With a Header
A professional cover letter opens with a header. Ideally, your cover letter header should be the same as in your resume (for consistency), so feel free to use the same template.
If you prefer to make the header of your cover letter from scratch, include the following contact information:
- Phone number
- Email address
Pro Tip: If you send your cover letter via email , don’t use your current work email address. It’s impolite to your current and potential employer.
2. Address the Reader
Once you’re done with the header, it’s time to mention the location and date of writing.
Then, address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager like so:
- Dear Katherine,
- Dear Ms. Smith,
- Dear Mr. McConnor,
According to studies , people respond actively to hearing/seeing their names—so use it in the cover letter salutation . Look for the hiring manager's name by:
- Checking the job description
- Going to the company’s LinkedIn page (to look for the person responsible for uploading the job offer)
If you can’t find the name by any means possible, opt for “ Dear Hiring Manager .” Avoid starting your cover letter with “ To Whom It May Concern ” like the plague. And if you’re not living in Victorian England, don’t start a cover letter with “ Dear Sir or Madam ,” either.
Follow this template to make sure you include everything:
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Name]
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Job Title]
Dear [Ms./Mr.] ...
Pro Tip: Wondering whether you should use the hiring manager’s first or last name? That depends on the company culture. Use the first name if you’re applying to a relaxed, casual company. For corporate cover letters, it’s safer to use the addressee's last name.
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.
Here are several proven strategies for starting your cover letter :
- Highlight your achievements.
- Display your passion and enthusiasm.
- Drop names.
- Do all the above.
Have a look at these two sample cover letter opening paragraphs:
Why is the wrong example not delivering? Because it provides no value and details. The bottom line is: “I’ve already done this job, so I think I’d fit in.” And it’s just not enough for someone with more than eight years of experience to get the job.
4. Explain Why You’re the Perfect Fit
The second paragraph (main body) of your cover letter has a couple of jobs to perform:
- Give the hiring manager what they’re looking for.
- Show that you’ll satisfy the company’s specific needs.
Let’s look at the cover letter example from above to see how this could be done.
Remember Jane, our digital marketing manager candidate? The XYZ company she applies to needs (based on the job ad):
- A savvy digital marketing manager (1)
- Someone who will supervise the development of their new online portal (2)
Let’s look at how Jane managed to show that she’s both:
Your go-to strategy on what your cover letter should say in the main body:
- In the first sentence, prove you’re an expert in your field (refrain from bragging too much).
- The remaining part should be all about how your previous experiences will help your future employer press ahead with their plans.
Pro Tip: A cover letter also is a great place to explain gaps in your employment , if you have any.
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 of your cover letter is showing the hiring manager why you want this job, not just any job. That’s particularly important for entry-level candidates—enthusiasm and passion help prove you'll hit the ground running.
Have a look at these cover letter examples:
Above all, you want to avoid writing too much of a general cover letter . Generic doesn't win jobs; targeted does. (We’re, of course, assuming you tailored your resume to every job description you’re after, too.)
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
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
- 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
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 (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. 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 you’d be happy to provide them with more details if they find it interesting.
Pro Tip: Looking to work for a company, but there aren't any open positions? Try writing a letter of interest for a job . It's a great way of uncovering vacancies that aren't even advertised.
9. Double-Check the Formatting
Before you hit send, make sure your cover letter formatting is intact.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to format your cover letter:
- Choose a legible cover letter font like Arial or Garamond, and keep it between 10 and 12 points in font size.
- Set even margins on all sides—1-inch margins should be perfect.
- Left-align all your contents.
- Use double cover letter spacing between paragraphs and 1–1.15 between lines.
- Title your cover letter by JobTitle—CoverLetter—YourName .
- Let your cover letter layout stay intact en route to the recruiter by saving the file in PDF.
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.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here . Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing .
For the final thought on how to write a great 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 our cover letter builder to remember it all for you!
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Do you have any questions about how to make a cover letter? Want to share an example of a cover letter? Give us a shout in the comments, and we’ll reply!
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.
Don't miss out on exclusive stories that will supercharge your career!
Get a weekly dose of inspiration delivered to your inbox
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.
- Skip to main content
- Skip to footer
The World's Smartest Resume Builder
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
Cover Letter Examples for All Job Applications in 2023
February 2, 2023 | By Conrad Benz
Cover Letter Statistics for 2023
January 12, 2023 | By Rebecca Tay, Ph.D.
- Cover Letter Templates
September 18, 2022 | By Pauline Delaney
Are Cover Letters Necessary in 2023?
January 11, 2023 | By Corissa Peterson
Best Cover Letter Examples of 2022 & Why They’re So Good
May 18, 2022 | By Aaron Case, CPRW
Making a ChatGPT Cover Letter: The Good, Bad, & Ugly
March 9, 2023 | By Eva Chan, CPRW
How to Write a Cover Letter With No Experience
July 26, 2022 | By Eva Chan, CPRW
Cover Letter Format: How to Format Your Cover Letter in 2023
December 8, 2022 | By Emily Crowley
- Resume Builder
- Resume Templates
- Resume Examples
- How to Make a Resume
- Resume Format
- Resume Summary Generator
- Resume Help
Cover Letter Tools
- Cover Letter Builder
- Cover Letter Examples
- How to Write a Cover Letter
- Cover Letter Format
- Cover Letter Help
- What Is a CV?
- How to Write a CV
- CV Templates
- CV Examples
- Thank You Note Samples & Templates
- Resignation Letter Samples
- Letter of Recommendation Templates
- Business Letter Formats
- Career Advice
- Forgot Password
- Terms & Conditions
© 2023, Sonaga Tech Limited. All rights reserved
ResumeGenius.com is owned and operated by Sonaga Tech Limited, Hamilton, Zweigniederlassung Luzern with offices in Luzern Switzerland.
Have a strong opening statement that makes clear why you want the job and what you bring to the table. · Be succinct — a hiring manager should be
How to write a cover letter in 6 steps · 1. Start with your header · 2. Include a greeting · 3. Write an opening paragraph · 4. Add a second
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
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or Resume).
Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored. Where a resume focuses on your work
Reference skills or experiences from the job description and draw connections to your credentials. • Make sure your resume and cover letter are prepared with
When highlighting your professional experience, use accomplishment statements rather than descriptions of your role. Start with an action verb.
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
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
Chapters. View all · Intro · Intro · Intro · Tailor Both Documents · Tailor Both Documents · Tailor Both Documents · Show You Are The Solution · Show