A cover letter is a one-page business document written as a companion to a resume or a curriculum vitae (CV). Cover letters are necessary elements of every job application because they give job applicants the room to introduce themselves in-depth and express why they are interested in the job. They’re an effective way to distinguish yourself from the competition.
This comprehensive guide will show you how to make a cover letter to capture employers’ attention. We’ll explain what to include in a cover letter and how to match one to a resume. We’ll give cover letter tips, such as what to include in a cover letter heading, how to address a cover letter, how to start a cover letter, and how to write a good cover letter if you are a job seeker with unique circumstances, such as an employment gap.
Anatomy of a well-written cover letter
What does a cover letter look like? This image below is a perfect example. And what should a cover letter include? The following list outlines what to include in a cover letter, no matter your job title or industry.
Every cover letter must include the following:
A cover letter heading: This is where you add your complete contact information and the employer’s address.
Salutation: Also known as a greeting, the salutation addresses the hiring manager or recruiter. A cover letter greeting must always be professional.
Introductory paragraph: This brief paragraph is your chance to grab the hiring manager’s attention.
Body paragraphs: The body of a cover letter can be one to three paragraphs long. It should tell the hiring manager exactly why you are the best person for the job.
Closing paragraph: The closing is where you reiterate your interest in and enthusiasm for the position and invite the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.
Sign-off: This should be a professional but straightforward statement like “Sincerely, Ann Jones.”
Cover letter writing — a detailed guide
Now that you know what to put in a cover letter, you’re ready to put your knowledge into practice. Read the following step-by-step breakdown carefully to learn how to write a great cover letter.
You must customize each cover letter you write for every job, so gather all the facts before doing anything else.
- Research the company. Take note of their values, goals, culture, recent news and history.
- Find the hiring manager’s name so you can address them directly.
- Write down all your past work experiences, volunteer jobs and community work.
- If you have already written your resume, note all the skills and accomplishments you will bring up in your cover letter.
- Jot down recent awards, their titles and dates.
- Think about why you want the job and how you can contribute.
- If you have a unique story to tell, such as returning to work after a long absence, are unemployed, or you’re seeking your first job, for example, see our cover letter advice below.
Pro tip: Write a rough draft of your cover letter first, and then edit and add to it in a second draft before proofreading and polishing it. It’s worth the extra time.
Pick a cover letter example to use as guidance.
We all learn best by example, and cover letter examples are a great way to learn how to make a cover letter. That’s why we have hundreds of cover letter samples to guide you through the process of writing your cover letter, easing stress and saving time. Our cover letter examples will show you how best to use keywords, express your personality, and address difficult or unusual situations.
Pro tip: When choosing a cover letter sample, pick one from the same industry or a role similar to the one you are applying for.
Choose a cover letter template.
A cover letter template is a helpful tool for writing a cover letter. Templates provide the design and layout for your content, putting everything together in an eye-catching way. We have many different designs from which to choose.
Pro tip: Match your cover letter template to your resume template for consistency.
Fill in the cover letter heading with your and the employer’s contact information.
Place your header in the top left, top right, or in the top center of the page, depending on which template you choose. To write a cover letter heading correctly, follow these steps:
- Start with your contact information. Your heading should contain your name, city and state, phone number, a professional email address, and links to your LinkedIn profile and professional website if you have them. Add two spaces below your contact information then write the date.
- Add two more spaces, then write the name of the hiring manager (you might have to do some research) and the full address of the company you’re applying to.
- Add a space under the employer’s contact information.
1234 Street Name
City Name, State, ZIP Code
March 16, 2021
Hiring Manager’s Name
Hiring Manager’s Title
Company City, State, ZIP Code
Pro tip: The contact information in your cover letter heading should be identical to the contact information you use for your resume. If you add a link to your portfolio on your resume, then add it to your cover letter, too.
Greet the hiring manager professionally and politely.
It’s critical to address the hiring manager or recruiter by name. Sometimes a job ad will include the name and email address of the person who placed the ad. But if you’re not sure how to address a cover letter without a name, it’s best to search for one. Comb through the company’s website, dig deep online, call the company, or use LinkedIn to learn the hiring manager’s name and greet them like so:
“Dear Sam Smith,” “Dear Doctor Kenney,” “Dear Professor Liu.” Never use informal greetings like “Hi,” “Hello,” or “Good morning,”.
Pro tip: If you can’t find a name to address, then write a greeting using the hiring manager’s title, like “Dear Sales Hiring Manager.”
Introduce yourself enthusiastically.
Start your cover letter by showing interest and exuding confidence. Tell the employer who you are and why you’re writing.
Here are two great examples of good cover letter opening lines:
“I am applying with a great interest in the social media associate position with [Company Name]. I have admired [Company Name] excellence in consumer product marketing and its dedication to social causes for many years. As a social media coordinator with three years of experience in the nonprofit sector and a lifelong human rights advocate, I think I’m just the person to fill the role.
“I’m very interested in your job posting for a technical writer with [Company Name]. I am a methodical and detail-oriented person with more than five years of experience as a technical writer for software companies in Silicon Valley. You will find that I have a track record of exceeding deadlines and improving workflows to ensure that projects run smoothly and efficiently. I’m sure my experience and varied skill set could be of benefit to the position and to [Company Name].”
Pro tip: Use fewer words to say more. Your cover letter introduction should be brief and get right to the point, leaving the rest of your letter for the details.
Tell employers exactly why you’re the best candidate for the job.
The body of a cover letter includes up to three paragraphs that describe your qualifications in detail. It explains why you’re interested in the position, what you hope to accomplish for the company, and provides examples of your past achievements.
When writing cover letter body paragraphs:
Demonstrate your personality. Cover letters are meant to give employers a glimpse of the person behind the letter. Show them what makes you unique.
“I see myself as a positive person with a lot of energy. My friends sometimes ask me how I manage to balance work as a server while pursuing a degree in nutrition science.”
Describe specific aspects of your related experience. Part of this is calling out your most admirable and relevant achievements and briefly telling the stories behind them.
“I realized the potential for viral videos to increase market reach early in my career. Over time, my portfolio of successful productions grew to include video marketing campaigns for [company names], interactive social media advertisements, and paid marketing strategies that increased brand awareness as much as 35% across the fashion industry.”
Talk about atypical aspects of your resume if you have them. These may include employment gaps, a string of short-term jobs, or a job or industry that is much different than the one you’re applying to. This gives you the chance to explain why those experiences add to your qualifications.
“Two years ago, I became my mother’s primary caregiver when she became seriously ill. During this difficult period, I was inspired to change my focus to health care. I enrolled in an online associate degree program and got certified as a home health aide. I am available to work full time now, and I’m eager to apply my new skills to your open home care assistant position.”
Pro tip: Always talk about your qualifications in terms of the company’s needs and not in terms of what you want to get out of the job.
Close your cover letter with an invitation to follow up.
A cover letter closing is where you reiterate your interest, thank the hiring manager for their time, and invite them to contact you or state that you’ll follow up with them.
“I look forward to speaking with you about how I can apply my specialized skills and passion for nursing to the lead nurse position in your department. You can reach me at [phone number and email] Monday through Friday. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
Pro tip: There’s a fine line between inviting the hiring manager to connect and being pushy or desperate. Avoid statements like, “I really want this job, please contact me for an interview” and “I will call you tomorrow to talk about my qualifications.”
The signature is where you politely sign your cover letter. Conventions include “Sincerely,” “Thank you,” and “Respectfully,”.
After your closing paragraph, add a line break, write your sign-off, add another break, and sign your full name.
Pro tip: Avoid informal sign-offs, such as “Cheers,” “Love,” “Take care,” or “Warmly,” even if you know the hiring manager very well.
Build your cover letter.
Congratulations! You’ve written a great cover letter! Use our easy-to-use Cover Letter Builder to put it all together. It’s a convenient way to give your cover letter the professional polish it needs to get an interview.
Cover letter writing advice for job seekers with unique circumstances
You’ve got the basics of cover letter writing down. But what if your experiences are different from the norm? We’ve got some great tips for how to create a cover letter if you are a job applicant whose background and goals might require different approaches than a standard cover letter.
- 1. How to write a good cover letter if you are a recent graduate
Introducing yourself as a recent graduate tells employers that you’re confident, honest and willing to learn, so don’t be afraid to let them know right off the bat.
Here’s what that could look like:
“I am excited to submit my application for the associate copy editor opening at Runner’s Journal. As an avid runner, I’ve enjoyed your in-depth articles and admired your editorial excellence for the last three years. As an aspiring editor and recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, I’m excited about the prospect of working for such a prestigious magazine. I know I can enhance your publication with my love for language and my keen eye for detail.”
Then, in the body of your cover letter, let them know what you can do for them by pointing to a specific, measured accomplishment you achieved in an internship position or in school, like this:
“While attending Temple University, I spent three years on the staff at the Owl and one year as its copy chief. Under my direction, the Owl won the Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Copy Editing. I also developed and administered a research process that cut turnaround time by 35% while increasing output by 50%.”
Close the cover letter by reminding them that you’re confident and ready to roll. For example:
“Thank you for your time and consideration. I’m thrilled about the prospect of working for such a prestigious magazine, and I’d value the chance to meet with you to discuss how my leadership abilities and editorial acumen can increase Runner’s Journal readership. Do you have time available next week?”
- 2. How to write a resume cover letter for an entry-level job
Entry-level job seekers have between one and three years of experience in their fields of interest. Here’s how to write a cover letter with minimal experience.
Start by demonstrating your intent. Declare your interest in the role and tell the company why you want to work for them. It’s essential to present your research skills, which will show employers you’re willing to go the extra mile.
“I am writing to express my interest in the administrative assistant role with Velocity Digital. Most of my friends are drawn to startups for free snacks, catered lunches and company swag. While I would never turn down a free meal, the real perk of working for Velocity Digital, for me, seems to be the collaborative, team-oriented culture.”
As an entry-level job applicant, you can use the body of your cover letter to highlight your job-related skills and recent work experience, providing specific examples of your achievements like this:
“I have first-hand experience running a fast-paced office, and I can help with your goal of cutting expenses in half. At Online Media, Inc., the chief operating officer and his senior staff consider me a critical department member. In this role, I serve five full-time staff by scheduling meetings, managing travel arrangements, and organizing the day-to-day needs of the office. I was awarded Admin of the Year in 2019 for saving the company $200,000 in vendor costs.”
Reiterate your interest and show them you’re serious in your closing paragraph. You might do this like so:
“I would love to apply my experience and skills to help streamline your office processes while saving you time and money. Feel free to reach out to me any time — I’m happy to set up a meeting to chat with you about how I can benefit your team and Velocity Digital. Thanks for your time.”
- 3. How to write an application letter for an internship
Applying for an internship while in school is just as serious as applying for a job. The rules of professionalism and standard business etiquette apply to writing cover letters to get an internship.
If you’re an internship seeker, you can do well to start your cover letter by expressing your passion for the company, job or industry.
“I have long dreamed of the chance to apply my lifelong passion for design as part of the award-winning marketing team at Sol Graphics. Your innovative use of color and your creative brand designs have inspired me as a student at Pratt Institute. As a Sol Summer intern, I will bring dedication, hard work, daring ideas and nonstop creativity to every project I am assigned.”
As an intern applicant, you probably don’t have much real-world work experience to sell, so play up your skills, college work and volunteer experiences when you write the body of your cover letter.
“At Pratt, I took a semester of classes focused on website design and production, which taught me the power of the web for marketing a brand. I proactively applied my learnings as a volunteer web designer for my local community center, which involved a full-scale rebranding effort for three months. I’m happy to note that the center’s membership is up 20% since the organization’s relaunch six months ago.”
To write a cover letter closing, reiterate your passion and lead them with a call to action, like so:
“I hope my letter intrigues you so that you want to learn more. What a thrill it would be to have my childhood dream come true! Let’s chat about your ambitions for Sol Graphics’ design team. I’d love to show you how I can help you make them a reality. Thanks for your consideration.”
- 4. How to write a cover letter for a job as a manager or supervisor
You have to think like a manager to get a supervisory position. That means your cover letter should reflect what you would want to read from a job applicant applying to work in a supervisory role.
To accomplish this, start your cover letter with a compelling introduction, like:
“I’m ready to take the next step in my career with a company that shares my belief that customers come first, and so it is with great enthusiasm that I submit my application for customer service staff supervisor at Spare Parts Trucking. I bring 12 years of experience in the freight industry, dedication to customer happiness, patience and well-honed leadership skills. I love what I do!”
Then play up your experience and achievements in the cover letter body paragraphs.
“Throughout my career, I have worked my way up from phone sales representative to customer service associate, and now my current title of senior customer satisfaction representative. In the last year alone, I trained more than 25 new hires, created a proprietary customer satisfaction survey, and increased customer happiness by 45%.”
Reel them in with a strong closing, like this:
“Thank you for your time. I’m excited for the chance to start this next phase of my career with Spare Parts. Let’s talk about how we can work together to take your customer service team to the next level and retain your current customers while increasing your leads. I look forward to hearing from you.”
- 5. What to include in a cover letter if you are changing careers
Job applicants who want to change careers come from all industries and levels of experience, but they share the same challenge: proving they can do something new. Here’s how.
You’ve got to exude confidence from the get-go. You could draw on similar experience from a previous job or your current position, like this:
“I’m applying in earnest for the events coordinator position with Power Meetings Inc. As a seasoned marketing manager, I’ve helped to plan and execute customer-focused events, team get-togethers, and I’ve run meetings with C-suite executives.”
As a career changer, your transferable skills are your power. Pick some of your best and craft your story around them, like so:
“In my various marketing roles over the last 10 years, I have gained considerable experience building relationships with clients, partners and internal teams; created and presented award-winning campaigns for Fortune 500 companies; and developed an international network of partners.”
Bring it all together at the end of your cover letter while maintaining confidence and interest.
“I’m excited to show you how I have applied my interpersonal skills, planning and networking abilities, and my marketing insight to internal and external events, and how I use them to help Power Meetings elevate their meeting experiences. I appreciate your consideration and time.”
- 6. Cover letter tips for job-hoppers
Job-hopping is more commonplace today than it has ever been. Still, you need to prove to employers that you’re a serious candidate with a lot to offer.
Here’s how job-hoppers can use their cover letters to strengthen their applications.
First of all, don’t call attention to it! Instead, focus on your interest in the job and the skills you bring to the table. An introduction to a job-hopper cover letter might look like this:
“I’ve been searching for a company where I can make a long-term contribution, and so I was thrilled to see an opening for a billing clerk with Sayers Product Group. I’ve admired Sayers’ integrity, transparency and commitment to its employees, and I’d be happy to bring my superb 10-key skills, ability to manage multiple tasks at one time, and my keen attention to detail to your group.”
In the body of your job hopper cover letter, keep the focus on your skills and match them with the job description. Emphasize what you accomplished with those skills.
“I see that this job requires close attention to detail, organization, and the ability to manage more than 300 accounts simultaneously under demanding deadlines. In my previous job at One Medical, I created a Gantt chart to effectively manage more than 500 delinquent accounts and I used Asana to keep track of processed payments.”
Close by reminding the employer that you’re serious. You might write something like this:
“I’m confident that my technical skills, combined with my adaptability and flexibility, make a great match. I’d love to talk about how I can contribute to your present and future goals. Thank you for your consideration.”
- 7. How to create a cover letter if you are returning to work after an absence
No matter why you left work or for how long, getting back into the swing of things can be an exciting challenge. A cover letter focused on how you grew in your time away can help set the stage for a smooth future.
It’s best to start your cover letter honestly, so be candid about your time away from the get-go, but don’t focus on it. Instead, focus on your contribution. Your cover letter might go something like this:
“I’m writing to express my interest in the teaching role at Manor School. With 10 years of experience teaching at the elementary level and having spent the last five years caring for my children, I would make a great addition to your teaching staff.”
Use the body paragraphs to highlight skills you gained in your time away:
"For the past five years, years, I spent time away from the workforce to raise my two children, both of whom have learning disabilities. During this time, I became certified to teach children with autism and continued to develop my teaching skills. I also volunteered at an after-school program teaching life skills to children with learning disabilities, and I started a part-time online tutoring service, Miss Williams Tutoring. Above all, I ensured my credentials and my capability to manage a classroom stayed up to date."
Add a reminder that you’ve grown and are excited to return to work with new skills in tow.
“I’ve grown so much in the last five years — as a person, a mother and a teacher. I can’t wait to get back into a classroom where I can use my past work experience along with my new knowledge and skills to prepare children for their futures. I look forward to talking with you soon about how I can best serve your school. Thank you for your time.”
- 8. How to make a cover letter for a resume if you have been recently laid off or unemployed
Layoffs happen to the best of us. If you find yourself in that situation, you might wonder how — or if — you should explain being unemployed. Let’s dive in.
Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to writing a cover letter. Still, there’s no need to overshare before you meet someone. Leave those details for your interview.
“I’m excited to apply for the position of warehouse associate at Home Goods. In my five years at ABC Plumbing, I routed products, shipped supplies, sorted and organized shipments, managed inventory, and received an award for upholding safety standards three years in a row. I’d love to apply my skills to a similar position with a well-known company like Home Goods.”
Now show them why they want to hire you. Use your cover letter body paragraphs to spotlight what makes you the best fit, not your employment status. That might look something like this:
“I see that you’re looking for someone with a well-rounded skill set. My on-the-job experience has given me great time management, excellent communication skills, and unparalleled attention to detail. I am an efficient, results-oriented worker with a collaborative mindset. I get things done.”
Let your cover letter closing bring it home, but leave the layoff behind.
“I’d enjoy talking with you about how my experience and skills can be an asset to your warehouse operations. Please feel free to call me at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
- 9. How to write a great cover letter if you want a job transfer or promotion
If you’ve been with a company for a while but want to transfer to another team or request a promotion, then you need to tailor your cover letter for the new position. Here’s how.
Start your cover letter by telling the hiring manager where you heard of the position and why you want to transfer to another department.
“I am writing to request consideration for a transfer from my role as an accountant for Assured Insurance to the position of finance manager under Claire Chang. I saw the opening from the company intranet. I have enjoyed my four years as an accountant, but I am asking for this transfer because I would like to grow in my career, and I feel ready to take on the responsibilities of the job.”
Next, use the body paragraphs to explain in detail why you can perform the duties of the position, highlighting your related and transferable skills, like this:
“The financial reporting, analysis and resource planning skills I gained in my current position are invaluable for a finance manager at Assured Insurance. In addition, I can put my well-practiced communication skills to good use in the new role, since it requires working closely with cross-functional teams.”
To close your cover letter, strike a positive tone:
“I’ve learned a great deal in my current job, and I’ve enjoyed working under Don Henry for the last four years. I hope to continue to grow alongside this company while supporting Mr. Henry’s team in a new way. I’d be happy to talk with you about how I can help Assured Insurance prosper. Thank you for your time.”
- 10. What to include in a cover letter if you want to move into a permanent position
Maybe you’ve worked with a company for several months as a contractor and know a permanent position is available. With this type of cover letter, you’ll have to explain that you’re happy with the work, connect well with the manager and fit with the team. Here’s how to do it.
Start your cover letter by introducing yourself as someone who has already worked with the company as a contractor, then explain that you’re so happy with the company that you would love to work there full time.
“As a contracted nanny with Eastside Nannies for more than a year, I’ve fully enjoyed the families I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and I fit well within the company culture. I can’t think of a better place to pursue my passion for the field. To that end, I’d love to work for Eastside Nannies as a full-time employee.”
Then, use the body paragraphs to describe how you can benefit the company by moving into a full-time role. That might look something like this:
“I know that Eastside Nannies values honesty, integrity and a family-first mindset, which is what I respect most about the company. As a full-time employee, I would use my early childhood education and the skills I deepened as a contractor to enrich the lives of the children I work with and their families.”
Close your cover letter with an invitation to interview, like this:
“Thanks for your time. I’d love to set up an interview with you to discuss how I can be a permanent asset to Eastside Nannies. Please feel free to call me at your earliest convenience.”
- 11. What should be in a cover letter if you need to relocate
You found your dream job! The only problem is you have to relocate to get it. If you want to show your potential employer that you’re serious about working there, your cover letter must detail your intent to relocate ASAP. Here’s how to convince hiring managers that they should hire you, regardless of your current location.
First, your cover letter introduction must convey your excitement about the job. Then get right to your intent to relocate to get it. Doing so early on shows the hiring manager that you are serious. Your genuine enthusiasm could encourage them to keep reading.
“I was thrilled when I saw the senior producer position with Website Designs on the job board. I admire the work your company creates, and I am impressed by your philanthropic culture. With more than eight years of experience as a web producer, I am ready to elevate my career and help Website Designs expand its portfolio and client base. I am relocating to New York to be closer to my family. As a native of Manhattan, I know the city well, and I’ve got a close-knit professional network there.”
The body of your cover letter should provide examples of your work experience and dedication to your field, and it should highlight your hard and soft skills, like this:
“I’ve learned that anything can happen in the technology industry, so I have developed a flexible mindset and have learned to manage my time effectively. At my current job, we had to scrap a build we’d been developing for months to rescale our platform. That’s when I learned the value of patience and seeing the bigger picture.”
Your final paragraph should underscore what you bring to the table and reiterate your intent to relocate.
“If you choose me for your new senior producer, I will bring deep knowledge of web development and design, as well as a level-head and focus to the role. My love for New York and respect for Website Designs will fuel my passion for technology. Thank you for taking the time to review my qualifications. I look forward to speaking with you soon.”
- 12. Cover letter writing advice for when you have a referral
If you know someone who has a positive connection to a company or is a solid mutual connection to a hiring manager, then, by all means, mention them in your cover letter. Hiring managers like to hire job candidates through referrals, so it’s a great way to get their attention when writing a cover letter for a job application.
To effectively mention a referral in your cover letter, do so in your introduction so that the hiring manager sees it immediately.
“I was happy to learn about the opening for human resources coordinator at Penn Bank. Your human resources manager, Lisa Merced, was my direct manager at Unified Savings before she took her current job with Penn Bank. I do not doubt that she will attest to my knowledge of compliance and labor standards and my decision-making skills.”
In the cover letter body, explain why the person referred you. Point out past achievements and share your goals as they pertain to the position.
“Under Lisa, I created a unique onboarding process that increased efficiency by 70%. We still use the process at Unified Savings, and I have refined it so that now efficiency is at 90%. I recently achieved my Master’s in Business Administration, and I’m eager to bring the knowledge I’ve gained in my studies to my job through process development, new employee recruitment strategies and employee retention initiatives.”
Like you would any cover letter, close confidently, inviting the hiring manager to interview you, but mention your referral’s name one more time to round it all out. That could look something like this:
“My experience working under Lisa Merced at Unified Savings and my training in business administration has prepared me to take on the challenges of working for a large regional institution such as Penn Bank. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my qualifications in more detail. Please contact me at any time to arrange a meeting. Thank you for your consideration.”
- 13. How to make a cover letter for unadvertised job openings
Sometimes companies have openings they don’t advertise. This might be because they get flooded with applications from advertising or because it’s a new position for the company. Whatever the reason, there are ways to write a cover letter for an unadvertised job. We’ll get you started.
When you write a cover letter for an unadvertised job opening, you have to explain right away how you heard about the job. Your introduction might look like so:
“I was pleased when your maintenance manager, Scott Dobbs, told me about the new electrician opening at General Hospital. I am a fully licensed, Class A electrician with more than 12 years of experience in industrial and commercial settings. I have recently completed a California 32-hour continued education program, and I am about to embark on writing my NABCEP.”
After that, your body paragraphs should contain the usual cover letter highlights: why you’re the best, why you want the job and what you bring to the table. Focus on your skills for this type of letter.
“Apart from my technical skills and education, you will find that I am hardworking, dependable, and focused on safety. I take pride in my work, and I value the input of others.”
When closing your cover letter for an unadvertised job, keep it simple and reiterate your interest, like:
“Thank you for your time. I’m excited about this opportunity, and I would be delighted to discuss my qualifications with you in detail. Please call me anytime this week to set up an interview.”
- 14. What should be in a cold-call cover letter
Writing to an employer out of the blue just to show your interest in a job is tricky, but it conveys confidence and interest! Here’s how to write a cold-call cover letter with finesse.
Start your cover letter by explaining why you’re interested in the company and the job so that there’s no confusion about why you are writing to the hiring manager. You don’t know the job requirements, so your research will require some heavy lifting, but you got this.
Your cover letter introduction might look something like this:
“I have enjoyed playing Vortex Games’ online games for several years, and after hearing of your recent award for innovation, I did some research about the company. Now I’m intrigued by the idea of working there. I’m writing today to apply for a position in your marketing department.”
The body paragraphs of your cover letter should shine a light on your work experience as well as your relevant skills.
“I have five years of experience in online marketing and have received accolades for my campaigns. I recently won the Creativity International award for an integrated campaign I created for Intelligent Systems. As an avid, lifelong gamer, I would be honored to put my marketing and design experience to use at Vortex Games.”
Close your cold-call letter by letting the hiring manager know that you are available to discuss open positions and add a call to action, like this:
“I’m available to meet at your convenience to discuss your open marketing positions and to share more information about my skills and background. In the interim, please look at my portfolio for an idea of what I can do. Thank you for taking the time to review my qualifications. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
- 15. How to write the best cover letter for networking
A networking cover letter is a way for friends, family, acquaintances, and professional contacts to assist in your job search by providing referrals, references or job opportunities. This type of letter requires that you pay close attention to your target lead and your tone. Here’s how to go about it.
In your cover letter introduction, explain how you’re connected, then mention why you’re writing, like this:
“I’m Karen Snyder, Leslie Johnson’s friend from college. We met last week at Leslie’s wedding and talked for some time about our experiences in sales. I liked your ideas on prospecting leads, and I have managed many lead-generation projects over the last decade.”
A great networking cover letter must summarize relevant strengths and include at least one example of recent accomplishments to illustrate your value. Use your body paragraphs for persuasion, like:
“At Millenium Sales League, I increased our client base by 45% by being proactively involved in advertising campaigns, promotions, and cold calling. I also revamped the company’s social media program, which saw a 30% increase in sales in just two months.”
Close your cover letter by bringing it back to how you and the reader met, then tie it to your interest and invite them to meet. That might look like this:
“I am at a point in my career where I’d like to focus on prospecting. Your thoughts on the subject have left me intrigued, and I’d like to learn more about the projects your team is working on and how I might contribute. Can you talk more next week?”
7 tips for cover letters
Great work! You’ve come a long way, and now you know what it takes to create a cover letter. Keep the following cover letter tips handy whenever you need to write a cover letter for a job, and run through the checklist when you proofread your cover letters to ensure you’ve covered all the bases before sending it off to a prospective employer.
Cover letter writing checklist
- Customize your letter for the employer.
- Consider your audience.
- Demonstrate your value by providing answers to such questions.
- Be specific.
- Show your excitement for the job or company.
- Use the right format.
Research is crucial when writing your cover letter. You must learn about the prospective employer so you can speak to how you’re a possible match. Career consultants agree that someone who makes an effort to find out more about a company and shows this in their cover letter is preferred because they show commitment.
Our certified resume writers advise you to review every part of a company’s website, including its blog; check out its LinkedIn page for relevant recent business information; and Google any news articles or press releases that help you contextualize your candidacy for their business needs.
While conducting your research to create a cover letter, look for the following:
- What product(s) or service(s) do they provide? Learn about the company’s current products and services and what they intend to launch, and think about how you can assist with their plans.
- What is the company culture? Do you feel you’re a good match for their culture? Find out if the culture is more on the creative and innovative side or more conventional and conservative.
- What are the company’s values, challenges, mission and goals? Find out if you share common interests and values. Do you feel you could support them in achieving their mission and goals?
- Who are their competitors? Learn about the organization’s current or emerging competitors. If you’re familiar with their competitors, this will be helpful to share in your cover letter.
Customize your letter for the employer.
Once you’ve done your research, you’re ready to customize your cover letter for your target company. One way to do this is to tailor your skills to the job requirements.
Consider your audience.
To make an impact, you’ve got to think about who will be reading your cover letter. Chances are, your audience will include the following:
- Applicant tracking systems (ATS)
Many hiring managers and recruiters often make use of ATS software, which scans and sorts cover letters and resumes to weed out those that don’t match a job’s required skills and experience. To get past them, use keywords in your cover letter that best describe the company, job description and the position.
Recruiters rate and rank candidates for interviews. They look for the “best of the best,” scanning cover letters for achievements, awards and unique skill sets. When writing your cover letter, be sure to emphasize your most relevant successes and how you can apply them to the job.
- Hiring managers
Busy hiring managers want to see a well-thought-out cover letter that shows you understand the role and you took the time to learn about the company and have the qualifications necessary to perform the job.
- Applicant tracking systems (ATS)
Demonstrate your value in the cover letter body by providing answers to such questions as:
- How would you help to meet the company’s goals? For instance, if a retail business or manufacturer wants to expand their sales operations, share examples of your related achievements.
- How would you help to further their mission? If you want to work for a company because you know its purpose is to sell only sustainable products, mention your passion for environmental causes. If you volunteered for a green organization, weave that experience into your narrative.
- How would you help to support the company's ethics, business or values? For example, If you’ve learned that the company wants to expand its charitable outreach to nonprofit organizations and you’ve worked for nonprofits, definitely highlight this experience.
- How can you help them solve a problem? Demonstrate how you can provide a solution to a problem you may have discovered through your research.
Employers want to know what you bring to the table. This could mean including facts and figures about past accomplishments. Job candidates must convince prospective employers that they are a perfect fit for a role by providing related stories and anecdotes throughout their cover letters. For example, how many managers have you supported, and how many sales have you made? Did you create a new process that helped the team or the company be more efficient?
Show your excitement for the job or company.
A great way to stand out from the competition is to show enthusiasm (but don’t go overboard!) when you start a cover letter. Doing so helps employers envision you in the role and helps to create a sense of connection between you and the hiring manager. While researching the company conveys interest, sprinkling powerful and dynamic words, such as “motivated” and “thrilled,” for instance, emphasizes your desire to work for the company. The Houston Chronicle recommends describing this feeling in the first sentence to grab the hiring manager’s attention. So if you’re thrilled at the idea of working at a start-up, let the company know right away.
Use the right cover letter format.
Hiring managers expect to see cover letters formatted correctly, meaning they contain the proper margins, fonts and spacing. Your cover letter may be swiftly rejected if it’s misaligned or the typeface is illegible. And keep it short — no more than one page for quick reading. One way to think about it is if you only had 15 seconds to tell the prospective employer what they needed to know about you, what would you say?
Common cover letter writing mistakes to avoid
If you’re taking the time to write a thoughtful cover letter for a job application so you can jump to the front of the pack, you’ve got to market yourself in the best way possible. Don’t ruin your chances of getting a job interview by making the following common mistakes:
Rehashing your resume
The point of writing a cover letter is to connect with employers by showing them who you are and telling them why you want to work for them. Your cover letter should dive deep into critical pieces of your resume, fill in gaps, and tie your qualifications to employers’ specific needs.
Writing a generic letter
One of the worst things you can do when applying for a job is to write a generic cover letter for every employer. Trust us; it will be obvious. If you want to impress an employer, it’s critical to tailor your message to the company and the position. Take the time to learn about the company’s history, goals and culture, what the job means for its success, and how you fit in the picture.
Focusing on what you want over the employer’s needs
The company is looking for the best candidate to help them solve a particular problem, so your letter should focus on what you can do to help their needs. Present your qualifications in a way that shows you are the answer to their problem.
Being too wordy
No one, busy hiring managers especially, likes to read awkward and wordy sentences. Keep your cover letter crisp, concise and to the point.
Having misspellings, grammatical errors and typos
Proper grammar, good spelling and typo-free sentences convey to employers that you are detail-oriented, care about how you present yourself, respect them, and want the job. Always proofread your cover letter, and then proofread it again.
How to pair a cover letter with a resume
A polished job application includes a resume and a cover letter. The two documents should complement each other.
To align your cover letter and your resume:
- Apply the same style. Your resume templates and cover letter templates should have a similar style and use the same colors. A consistent look between the two will make your application cohesive and tell employers you pay attention to details.
- Be mindful of formatting. You must format your cover letter and resume correctly. If you use Arial 11-pt font for your resume cover letter, then use it for your resume, too.
- Use the same header content. Again, consistency matters. If you add a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume, then put it on your cover letter, too. If you write your phone number (415) 555-5555 on your resume, don’t write it as 415-555-5555 on your cover letter.
- Use your resume to summarize your qualifications and cover letter to talk about them in detail. Your cover letter is not a repeat of your resume, so don’t use it to rehash it or talk about each job line by line. Instead, make your cover letter into a short narrative using skills and experience from your resume strategically. For example, pick a few skills from your resume and give meaning to them in your resume application letter. And if you display awards on your resume, then use the space on your cover letter to talk about one or two of them in detail.
Check out these articles for more information about writing cover letters.
Why do we write cover letters?
We write cover letters because they expand on our resumes and provide details about our backgrounds that we can’t include in a resume. Plus, cover letters allow us to create a strong narrative around why we are the best choice for the position. When we learn how to write a good cover letter, we significantly increase our chances of landing an interview.
How long should a cover letter be?
A cover letter should be half a page to one full page in length. Cover letters should be no more than five paragraphs long and 450 words in length. You should start your cover letter with a strong introduction, then follow it with three or four concise paragraphs and an attention-grabbing cover letter closing.
How do I write a cover letter if I’m underqualified for the job?
Here’s how to write a cover letter if you are underqualified for the job you’re applying to: Focus on your transferable skills and enthusiasm for the job. After all, the most vital letters don’t simply list qualifications. They paint a picture of a passionate applicant who will bring value to the team.
What should a cover letter say?
A cover letter should mention the job you want and express your sincere interest in the job you’re applying for, the company, and the work they do. The body paragraphs should clearly and concisely explain why you are the best fit for the job and show real examples of how you can help the company succeed. You can do this by highlighting past achievements and matching them to the job description. A cover letter closing should express sincere appreciation for the reader’s time, conveying enthusiasm and confidence.
How do I write a good cover letter for my first job?
Writing a cover letter for a job when you’ve never worked before can feel intimidating. Fortunately, you don’t always need a lot of experience to get hired; passion and determination can go a long way. You can also play up your skill set, class projects and testimonials to build a compelling case for yourself. Show whatever relevant experience you have, even if it isn’t from previous jobs.
Where can I make a cover letter?
The best place to create a cover letter is Resume Now’s Cover Letter Builder. Use the powerful editor, pre-written suggestions and beautiful, professional templates to make an immediate cover letter now.
What goes in a cover letter?
Every cover letter must include the following:
- A cover letter heading with the writer and the prospective employer’s contact information.
- A salutation is how you address the cover letter.
- An introduction or cover letter opening paragraph.
- Three or four cover letter body paragraphs.
- A closing paragraph that reiterates your interest thanks the reader for their time and invites them to follow up with you for an interview.
- A sign-off is where you professionally and politely close the letter. “Sincerely” and “Thank you” are great examples of cover letter sign-offs.
- Your signature.