When starting to write any cover letter, it is always best to plan the content of your letter based on the requirements of the job you're applying for. This guide will.
Most people write cover letters for job applications, but that’s not their only use. Cover letters can be used in a variety of professional situations. Crafting a terrific cover letter can help you stand out in several different scenarios, including:
A prospecting cover letter is written by a job seeker to a company of interest. This type of cover letter is a general inquiry about open positions rather than being in response to a specific job ad. This type of cover letter is designed to put you on a recruiter's radar so that when an appropriate role opens up, you are top of mind.
Unlike a standard cover letter that is sent as part of a job application, a networking cover letter might be sent to a former colleague, mentor, friend, or another professional contact. This type of cover letter is designed to inform the recipient that you are looking for a job and request their assistance. This type of cover letter is the most casual and tends to be the shortest
This type of cover letter can play a big part in proving your worth when you are looking to make a career change. This type of correspondence allows you to explain why you want to make a change into a new title or field and prove that you have the necessary transferable skills. Further, a career change cover letter allows you to draw a line between your work experience and the responsibilities you’d have in this new role.
If you are planning to relocate, your cover letter should reassure the employer that this is a long term move and that the transition will be a smooth one. If you are looking to relocate for the sake of the job opportunity, give a convincing reason why you would like to make the move, such as a stronger economy or a better lifestyle.
Writing a cover letter is a key part of the job application process. A great cover letter will impress potential employers, set you apart from other.
Writing a cover letter is a key part of the job application process.
A great cover letter will impress potential employers, set you apart from other applicants, and get you more interviews. A poorly written cover letter will hurt your chances of landing any work at all.
Don’t write a bad one. Learn how to write a cover letter for a job, so you can create a complete application that resonates with hiring managers everywhere. Follow these simple instructions, and you’ll be able to assemble the best cover letter possible.
Table of Contents
In short, a cover letter (sometimes called a covering letter) is a one-page document written to express why you’re the best candidate for a particular job. It is always paired with a resume, and should:
A strong cover letter is also an essential part of a job application. A well-written cover letter can get you interviews even if your resume is lacking. A bad one, however, can make you look unprofessional and hurt your job prospects.
If you’re applying to a company that isn’t advertising any job openings, send them a letter of interest instead of a cover letter to ask about potential employment opportunities.
Although a cover letter is brief, a good one packs a punch. If you write yours well, it can:
Check off these five boxes, and your covering letter will be a compelling, powerful companion to your resume.
Our business letter format guide covers letter writing of various types in great detail, in the event you need more than just a cover letter for your job hunt.
If you’re curious what to include in a cover letter, this handy chart breaks things down nicely:
Contact Information: Basic cover letter for a job info includes your details + those of the target company.
The “Intro” Paragraph: Your cover letter introduction should grab the reader’s attention (in a good way).
The “Body” Paragraphs: A good cover letter has body paragraphs that showcase your abilities & how you fit into the company’s future.
Call-to-Action: The best cover letter CTA lets the hiring manager know when you’re available to interview, and that you will follow up if necessary.
The Sign-off: A cover letter closing should consist of “Sincerely,” “Regards,” or “Best Regards,” + your name.
If you want to see what a cover letter for a resume should look like, browse through our cover letter examples. We have over 100+ from a wide range of industries.
Not sure what to write in a cover letter? This simply written cover letter guide will help you land more interviews.
First, you must know how to address a cover letter.
Start by including the employer’s contact information as well as your own. Be careful here – a small slip-up could send your application to the wrong place. Needless to say, this diminishes your chances of getting called in for an interview.
While this example demonstrates the information you need to include in the section, there are various ways to format it. Just make sure the information is complete and correct.
Next, find out towhom you’re writing.
Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Would you rather be addressed as “To whom it may concern” or by your actual name?
Even worse, writing “Dear Sir or Madam” makes it sound like you’ve just popped out of a time machine from Victorian England.
Writing a good cover letter greeting sometimes takes a bit of research. So do it. Look through the company’s website, scour LinkedIn, and make a call to ask for the hiring manager’s name if it’s not readily apparent. Even if you end up addressing your cover letter to the wrong manager, it still looks like you’ve made an effort.
Looking for more cover letter tips? You’d be surprised at how much work can go into a one page document.
You want your cover letter introduction to stick out for the right reasons, and to reflect your application in the best possible light. It all starts with your first sentence.
There’s no need to get fancy here. The first sentence of even the best cover letter should simply include,
Your opening line is like a firm handshake — a formality, but an important one nonetheless. You’ll have time to elaborate on what you bring to the table later.
The rest of your first paragraph should concisely present your background. Information like your degree, area of study/expertise, career goals, and relevant experience can be touched upon, particularly in terms of how they align with the goals of the company.
Don’t be afraid to let a little personality shine in this paragraph, either. Just remember that serious companies might not share your sense of humor, and that a good cover letter should always keep things appropriate.
The second paragraph should directly respond to the job description posted by the company. Use this space to explain how your previous work experience, skills, and abilities will allow you to meet their various needs.
To make sure this section resonates with the hiring manager, you can (and should) literally include words and phrases from the job description.
The second paragraph is the “what you bring to the table” portion of your cover letter, so be sure to take your time and make it great.
You’re allowed to talk yourself up in your covering letter, so long as you have the evidence to back it up.
In your third paragraph, explain how you personally fit into the company’s future. Paint a clear picture of the ways you can help push the company forward and achieve any goals you suspect they have.
You’ve already proven that you’re a capable candidate in the second paragraph. Use the third one to illustrate ways you’ll take those capabilities and help the company grow and reach new heights.
Your cover letter closing paragraph should set things in motion, and push the hiring manager toward contacting you. This is best achieved by including a “call to action” (CTA).
In your CTA, inform the employer that you’d love to come in for an interview. Tell them that you’ll touch bases within a week if you don’t hear back. Thank them for taking the time to read your cover letter, and for the potential interview opportunity.
It’s important to not come off as too pushy, but you want to have conviction as well. A good cover letter sign-off will stick in the mind of the reader, so make sure yours has the tone you’re trying to convey.
If you’re worried about your background when writing your cover letter, understand that you aren’t the only one. Many job seekers have particular situations that may seemingly hurt their chances of landing work.
Thankfully, there are ways to downplay these situations with a good cover letter (although you might still need to address such issues during an interview). For example, if you want to transition to another industry, you’ll need a career change cover letter.
Here are several examples of scenarios that might cause a hiring manager to second guess your cover letter. If one applies to you, click on the corresponding link to learn more about ways you can handle it. Don’t let your particular situation become a roadblock in your efforts to secure a great job.
Tying the content (and look) of your resume into your cover letter is a great way to put a cherry on top of your application.
First, you can cover resume content in the body of your letter (a strategy that may have led to the misnomer ‘cover resume letter’).
To do this, elaborate on one of your more impressive work feats, or touch upon a relevant achievement that you had no space to explore on your resume. Just be sure to keep things consistent between your resume and cover letter, or it might get confusing for the hiring manager.
You can also make your resume match your cover letter in terms of aesthetics. Here’s an example of how it’s done:
Although the content of your application holds the most weight, it doesn’t hurt to catch the eye of whoever is vetting your resume cover letter combo. Visual elements can make your application more memorable, and end up being just the pushyou need to surpass an equally qualified candidate.
Other than the on-page content, your cover letter format plays the most important role in the success of your letter. Elements such as margins, font size and style, and alignment all factor into the hiring manager’s overall impression of you.
Here are a few quick tips when styling your own:
Many people aren’t sure how long a cover letter should be, and get caught up in minor details like word count and paragraph length. While these points are important, remember to prioritize the content and tone.
With that said, the purpose of your cover letter is to market yourself to a busy hiring manager. Too much text will most likely hurt your chances, and too little text will make you appear as if you don’t care much for the position.
So an effective cover letter length to go with (if you’re using a word counter) is 200-300 words. It should also be threeto four paragraphs, and NOT exceed one page. This gives you time to introduce yourself, hit upon your main selling points, and inform a hiring manager of your interest in the position.
Writing the best cover letter will be a much easier task if you look at some examples and templates first. Check out your industry-specific cover letter sample on our hub page, download it for free, and read up on writing tips to make your own cover letter stronger.
Then, download one (or several) of our free professional cover letter templates. They come in a variety of styles and colors, so be sure to find one that you feel most suits you as a job seeker.
In the gallery below are a few examples of our popular templates being used by actual applicants.
You’ve made it this far, which shows you’re dedicated to creating the most professional cover letter possible. More interviews and better jobs await you.
Resumes, cover letters, interviews — they’re all a small part of the bigger picture. The big part is getting paid. So get paid.
Did we miss anything? Leave a comment (or several) below, and our team of career experts will get back to you soon. In the meantime, you should check out our new and improved cover letter builder and see how it compares to other examples out there. We’re pretty sure you’ll be impressed!
Geoff Scott is a hiring manager at Resume Genius, where he enjoys sharing the freshest job hunting tips of the day with RG’s international audience. Equipped with a Master of Arts degree from the University of Nevada, he... more
Do you need to write a cover letter to apply for a job? In most cases, the answer is yes. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview or having your resume ignored, so it makes good sense to devote the necessary time and effort to writing effective cover letters.
Here's all the information you need to write a cover letter that will get your application noticed. Review these tips for what to include in a cover letter, how to format it, and examples of many different professionally written cover letters.
Before you start writing a cover letter, you should familiarize yourself with the document’s purpose. A cover letter is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information on your skills and experience.
The letter provides detailed information on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for. Don’t simply repeat what’s on your resume -- rather, include specific information on why you’re a strong match for the employer’s job requirements. Think of your cover letter as a sales pitch that will market your credentials and help you get the interview. As such, you want to make sure your cover letter makes the best impression on the person who is reviewing it.
A cover letter typically accompanies each resume you send out. Employers use cover letters as a way to screen applicants for available jobs and to determine which candidates they would like to interview. If an employer requires a cover letter, it will be listed in the job posting. Even if the company doesn’t ask for one, you may want to include one anyway.
It will show that you have put some extra effort into your application.
There are three general types of cover letters. Choose a type of letter that matches your reason for writing.
When you are applying for a job that has been posted by a company that’s hiring, you will be using the “application letter” style.
A cover letter should complement, not duplicate, your resume. Its purpose is to interpret the data-oriented, factual resume and add a personal touch to your application for employment. Find out more about the differences between a resume and a cover letter to make sure you start writing your cover letter with the correct approach.
A cover letter is often your earliest written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression. Something that might seem like a small error, like a typo, can get your application immediately knocked off the list. On the other hand, even if your cover letter is error-free and perfectly written, if it is generic (and makes no reference to the company, or to any specifics in the job description) it is also likely to be rejected by a hiring manager.
Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences. Determine relevance by carefully reading the job description, evaluating the skills required and matching them to your own skills.
Think of instances where you applied those skills, and how you would be effective in the position available.
Review a list of what to include in a cover letter for a job before you get started.
There are some things that you don’t need to include in the cover letters you write. The letter is about your qualifications for the job, not about you personally. There is no need to share any personal information about yourself or your family in it. If you don’t have all the qualifications the employer is seeking, don’t mention it. Instead, focus on the credentials you have that are a match. Don’t mention salary unless the company asks for your salary requirements. If you have questions about the job, the salary, the schedule, or the benefits, it’s not appropriate to mention them in the letter.
One thing that’s very important is to not write too much. Keep your letter focused, concise, and a few paragraphs in length. It’s important to convey just enough information to entice the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.
If you write too much, it’s probably not going to be read.
It is very important that your cover letter be tailored to each position you are applying to. This means more than just changing the name of the company in the body of the letter.
Each cover letter you write should be customized to include:
Which job you're applying for (include the job title in your opening paragraph)
How you learned about the job (and a referral if you have one)
Why you are qualified for the job (be specific)
What you have to offer the employer, and why you want to work at this specific company (match your skills to the job description, and read up on the organization’s mission, values and goals to mention in your letter)
Thank you for being considered for the job
Here’s more on how to personalize your cover letter.
Here's an outline of the items that should be included in every cover letter. Before you get started, it can be helpful to review some cover letter samples, just so you have a visual of how everything fits on the page.
These cover letter examples, both written and email, are designed for a variety of different types of job applications and employment inquiries. Do be sure to take the time to personalize your letter, so it’s a strong endorsement of your ability to do the job for which you’re applying.
A cover letter should begin with both your and the employer's contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.
Your contact information should include:
First and Last Name
City, State Zip
Begin your cover letter salutation with "Dr./Mr./Ms. Last Name." If you are unsure if your contact is male or female, you can write out their full name. If you do not know the employer's name, simply write, "Dear Hiring Manager." This is better than the generic and formal, “To Whom It May Concern.”
Review information on how to choose the right cover letter greeting to select one that works for the job and company you’re applying to.
Begin your introduction by stating what job you are applying for. Explain where you heard about the job, particularly if you heard about it from a contact associated with the company. Briefly mention how your skills and experience match the company and/or position; this will give the employer a preview of the rest of your letter. Your goal in the introduction is to get the reader's attention. To get started, see examples of engaging opening sentences for cover letters.
In a paragraph or two, explain why you are interested in the job and why you make an excellent candidate for the position. Mention specific qualifications listed in the job posting, and explain how you meet those qualifications. Do not simply restate your resume, but provide specific examples that demonstrate your abilities.
Remember, actions speak louder than words, so don’t just “tell” the reader that you are, for example, a great team player with strong communication skills and an excellent attention to detail. Instead, use tangible examples from your work experience to “show” these traits in action. Here’s more information on what to include in the body section of a cover letter.
In the closing section of your cover letter, restate how your skills make you a strong fit for the company and/or position. If you have room (remember, just like your resume, your cover letter should be no longer than one page - here's more information on how long a cover letter should be) you can also discuss why you would like to work at that specific company.
State that you would like the opportunity to interview or discuss employment opportunities. Explain what you will do to follow-up, and when you will do it. Thank the employer for his/her consideration.
Use a complimentary close, and then end your cover letter with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information, after the complimentary close.
Your cover letter should be formatted like a professional business letter. The font should match the font you used on your resume, and should be simple and easy to read. Basic fonts like Arial, Calibri, Georgia, Verdana, and Times New Roman work well. A font size of 10 or 12 points is easy to read. Standard margins are 1” on the top, bottom, and left and right sides of the page.
Add a space between the header, salutation, each paragraph, the closing, and your signature. You can reduce the font and margin sizes to keep your document on a single page, but do be sure to leave enough white space for your letter to be easy to read.
Follow these cover letter formatting guidelines to ensure your letters match the professional standards expected by the hiring managers who review applications. Follow these guidelines if you are sending your cover letter by email.
Remember to edit and proof your cover letter before sending it. It may sound silly, but make sure you include the correct employer and company names - when you write multiple cover letters at once, it is easy to make a mistake. Printing out and reading the letter aloud is a good way to catch small typos, such as missing words, or sentences that sound odd.
Always double-check the spelling of your contact's name, as well as the company name. Here are more tips for proofreading a cover letter. If possible, enlist a friend or a family member to help proofread your cover letter, as two pairs of eyes are better than one and even professional proofreaders don’t always catch their own mistakes.
A well-written cover letter will help get your application noticed and help you secure an interview. Take the time to personalize it so it shows the employer why you're a solid candidate for the job. Here's how to write a cover letter in five simple steps.
Create a professional cover letter in minutes using our free cover letter writer. Choose from professional cover letter templates, see samples and examples, and.
Do you need to write a letter to apply for a job? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Even in the rare cases when employers don’t require a job application letter, writing one will help you highlight your skills and achievements and get the hiring manager’s attention.
A job application letter, also known as a cover letter, should be sent or uploaded with your resume when applying for jobs. While your resume offers a history of your work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments, the job application letter you send to an employer explains why you are qualified for the position and should be selected for an interview.
Writing this letter can seem like a challenging task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing application letters to send with your resume.
Before you begin writing your job application letter, do some groundwork. Consider what information you want to include (keeping in mind that space is limited). Remember, this letter is making a case for your candidacy for the position. But you can do better than just regurgitating your resume — instead, highlight your most relevant skills, experiences, and abilities.
To include the most convincing, relevant details in your letter, you'll need to know what the employer wants. The biggest clues are within the job advertisement, so spend some time decoding the job ad. Next, match your qualifications with the employer's wants and needs. Make a list of your relevant experience and skills. For instance, if the job ad calls for a strong leader, think of examples of when you've successfully led a team. Once you've jotted down some notes, and have a sense of what you want to highlight in your letter, you're ready to get started writing.
Writing a job application letter is very different from a quick email to a friend or a thank-you note to a relative. Hiring managers and potential interviewers have certain expectations when it comes to the letter's presentation and appearance, from length (no more than a page) to font size and style to letter spacing:
Length: A letter of application should be no more than one page long.
Format and Page Margins: A letter of application should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1" margins and align your text to the left, which is the standard alignment for most documents.
Font: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points.
There are also set rules for the sections included in the letter, from salutation to sign-off, and how the letter is organized. Here's a quick lowdown on the main sections included in a job application letter:
Heading: A letter of application should begin with both your and the employer's contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.
Salutation: This is your polite greeting. The most common salutation is "Dear Mr./Ms." followed by the person's last name. Find out more about appropriate cover letter salutations, including what to do if you don't know the person's name, or are unsure of a contact's gender.
Body of the letter: Think of this section as being three distinct parts.
In the first paragraph, you'll want to mention the job you are applying for and where you saw the job listing.
The next paragraph(s) are the most important part of your letter. Remember how you gathered all that information about what employers were seeking, and how you could meet their needs? This is where you'll share those relevant details on your experience and accomplishments.
The third and last part of the body of the letter will be your thank you to the employer; you can also offer follow-up information.
Complimentary Close: Sign off your email with a polite close, such as "Best" or "Sincerely," followed by your name.
Signature: End with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.
Overwhelmed by all these formatting and organization requirements? One way to make the process of writing a job application easier is to use a job application letter template to create your own personalized job application letters for applying for a job. Having a template can help save you time if you are sending a lot of application letters.
This is a job application letter sample. Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.
Download the Word Template
12 Jones Street
Portland, Maine 04101
January 14, 2018
Human Resources Manager
Veggies to Go
238 Main Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Dear Mr. Smith,
I was so excited when my former coworker, Jay Lopez, told me about your opening for an administrative assistant in your Portland offices. A long-time Veggies to Go customer and an experienced admin, I would love to help the company achieve its mission of making healthy produce as available as takeout.
I’ve worked for small companies for my entire career, and I relish the opportunity to wear many hats and work with the team to succeed. In my latest role as an administrative assistant at Beauty Corp, I saved my employer thousands of dollars in temp workers by implementing a self-scheduling system for the customer service reps that cut down on canceled shifts. I also learned web design, time sheet coding, and perfected my Excel skills.
I’ve attached my resume for your consideration and hope to speak with you soon about your needs for the role.
Handwritten Signature (for a hard copy letter)
Be sure that each letter you send is personalized to the company and position; do not send the same letter to different companies.
Subject: Elizabeth Johnson – Administrative Assistant Position
12 Jones Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Hints, tips advice and guidance on how to write a job application cover letter - complete with job application letter format.