• Cover Letter Tips

Should You Combine Your Cover Letter and Resume into One Document?

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The internet has impacted virtually every area of life, including the job search process. Gone are the days when a job seeker would simply hand an employer a cover letter and resume in paper form. Today, more companies than ever accept digital copies of those job search documents.

In fact, many companies and employers now only accept emailed digital cover letters and resumes so they can make use of applicant tracking systems (ATS). Unfortunately, there’s been little effort to standardize submission processes, and that can make it a little confusing for the average job seeker.

For example, how should you submit your emailed resume and cover letter? Should you send them separately or combine them into one document? In this post, we’ll examine both options and offer the advice you need to make the best decision.

What’s the difference between a cover letter and resume?

Before you decide whether to combine your cover letter and resume into one document, it is helpful to make sure that you fully understand each of these important tools. The fact is that each of these documents has its own role to play in the job search process, and they have some major differences:

Each of these documents serves a distinct purpose in the job search process. Resumes are designed to provide an employer with an easy way to quickly assess your qualifications. The main purpose of a cover letter is to help the employer understand your motivations, goals, and personality. Both are important documents, but they are not interchangeable.

Your cover letter should be a targeted document that focuses on your qualifications for a specific job role. It should contain information about why you are the best candidate for the position and what you hope to achieve for the employer if you are hired. Your resume is more of a marketing tool that highlights your skills, relevant work experience , and educational qualifications in an easily digested summarized format.

Structure and format

These two documents also have dramatically different structures and formats . Your resume will be divided into specific sections for easier consumption and will include bullet point lists of relevant skills and achievements. Cover letters look more like any other written communication, conveying your message in full sentences and paragraphs.

Cover letter and resume: to combine or not to combine?

Let’s get right to the main question here: should you combine your cover letter and resume into one document? As a general rule, you should try to avoid it wherever possible. Since resumes and cover letters serve two very different roles in the job search process, they should be treated as separate documents. The only time you should even consider combining these two documents is when the company has instructed you to do so.

Review the instructions

Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to get the submission guidelines for the position straight from the source. That means asking the company’s hiring manager how your resume and cover letter should be sent. If there are clear instructions, it’s important to follow them to the letter to maximize your chances of receiving the right type of attention. On those rare occasions when a company wants a combined document, the job posting will usually include that instruction.

Why you should not combine these two documents

In most instances, however, you will discover that the instructions are vague. Perhaps the only instruction is that your resume must be emailed. If that’s the case, then you should always choose to leave these two documents as separate files. There are several very good reasons to do so:

If you include these two tools in one document, applicant tracking systems may reject it. That can happen if the ATS mistakes your cover letter for a resume and assesses it based on its rules for resume approval.

Hiring managers often want to go directly to your resume to review your qualifications. If your cover letter is part of that document, it could be a distraction that frustrates your reader.

Your cover letter and resume serve different purposes. Keeping them separate helps to ensure that each document receives the attention it deserves.

What if employers request that your cover letter and resume be combined?

As we noted above, there may be times when a specific employer requests that a resume and cover letter be sent as one document. Obviously, that request should be honored if you want to be considered for an interview. The important thing then is to ensure that you combine them properly. The following tips can help:

Decide which document you want the employer to see first

Since the cover letter serves as your introduction, there is a case to be made for putting it in the front of the resume. If you want to make sure that the ATS scores your resume properly, however, you may want to put the resume at the beginning of the document. That can also help hiring managers quickly access your qualifications.

Create a new document

Make sure that you create an entirely new document for your combined file. That will enable you to keep them separate for other companies and submissions. Then copy and paste your resume and cover letter into this new document. Be sure to save the file with an appropriate file name. For example: JohnSmithResumeCoverLetter.docx or JohnSmithResumeCoverLetter.pdf.

Use proper formatting

When you paste each document into your combined file, make sure that you retain the original formatting. Also, be sure to include a page break at the end of the first document so that the next document begins on a fresh page.

Submit the combined file

Once you have your new combined file, submit it to the company. If the online job posting includes submission instructions, follow them to the letter. Otherwise, simply send it to the appropriate email address.

How to email your cover letter and resume

When emailing your cover letter and resume, either include the cover letter as an attachment or copy and paste its text into the email message. Don’t do both. 

It is generally recommended that you submit both the resume and cover letter as file attachments rather than having any part of them in the body of your email message. What you can include in the email text is confirmation that you have attached the resume and cover letter files.

Of course, you also need to decide whether you want to submit a Word document or a PDF file. Once again, review the job board instructions to see what the company is requesting. If there is no specific option listed, then the best thing to do is to submit each document in a Word file. 

Sample cover letter and resume template

Below, you will find a resume and cover letter template that you can use to ensure that your job search documents contain the information that employers want to see. You can use these templates to guide you as you create your own cover letter and resume:

Resume template

[Your first and last name]

[Your Phone number]

[Your Email address]

Professional Summary

[No more than three sentences highlighting your qualifications, experience, and achievements.]

Core Competencies

[Bullet point list of your relevant skills. Use multiple columns to list 12-15 top skills ]

Employment History

[Company name], [city], [state] | [Employment dates]

[Job title]

Job responsibility and achievement

[Repeat employment history for additional jobs, in reverse chronological order]

[Name of school], [city], [state]

[Degree], [major]

[Date you graduated] It should be noted that you don’t have to include education dates if you graduated more than one year ago. 

Certifications/Licenses

[Name of certification or license, organization providing it, and relevant dates]

Awards and Achievements

[Award, honor, achievement]

Cover letter template

[Your city and state]

[Recipient's first and last name]

[Company name]

[Company address]

Dear [Recipient's name],

My name is [your name] and I am interested in discussing the open [position name] position at your company. I have [length of experience] experience as a [your profession] and am confident that I can provide a great deal of value for your company if hired.

I have recently been employed at [relevant employer name], where I was responsible for [cite job duties using keywords that match the skills needed in the open position]. Prior to that, I [provide examples of job duties that show your qualifications to fill the company’s open job]. I would love to have the opportunity to use these skills as part of your team.

I have included my resume with this letter so that you can evaluate my qualifications and experience at your leisure. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to having the opportunity to discuss the position with you in greater detail.

Respectfully,

[Your name]

You should choose to send your cover letter and resume as separate documents, unless the company has instructed you to combine them into a single file. More importantly, make sure that you get those critical job search tools into the right hands so that you can increase your chances of landing an interview!

Want to know whether your resume has what it takes to capture a hiring manager’s interest? Get a free resume review from our team of experts today!

Recommended Reading:

How to Tailor Your Resume to Different Positions (Examples)

How long should a resume be in 2023?

How to Get Your Resume Past the ATS Scans

Ken Chase, Freelance Writer

During Ken's two decades as a freelance writer, he has covered everything from banking and fintech to business management and the entertainment industry. His true passion, however, has always been focused on helping others achieve their career goals with timely job search and interview advice or the occasional resume consultation. When he's not working, Ken can usually be found adventuring with family and friends or playing fetch with his demanding German Shepherd. Read more resume advice from Ken on  ZipJob’s blog .

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  • Does A Cover Letter Go Before Resume Or After?

The Prepared Resume - Does a cover letter go before resume or after

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Does the cover letter go before the resume ? Employers read a resume first and then the cover letter. Your prospective employer will look at the resume to ensure you have the right skills and experience. If your resume has information relevant to the position, they will take the time to read your cover letter.

Employers often read cover letters for positions that require specific skills. For example, they read cover letters for IT, programming, computer, and engineering positions. Remember, your potential employer will read the cover letter after he/she likes your resume . Otherwise, the employer or recruiting manager will ignore reading it. Read on!

What do employers want?

Does a cover letter go before a resume ? No, it does not! Employers always look at the resume first and review the information. If they need more information, they will read the cover letter. It does not make sense to read all the details in your cover letter.

Employers receive hundreds of resumes and cover letters, which they lack time to go through all. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you have applied for journalism, copywriting, editing positions, or any other creative field, they may read the cover letter first to analyze your writing skills.

A cover letter is an application with a one-page length. It introduces your work history, skills, experience, and personal interest in applying for a specific job. Although many people think that cover letters are an obsolete concept currently, they are still an essential part of the job application.

Where should a cover letter go on a resume?

A cover letter usually goes in your job application with your resume . The employer or hiring manager will read your resume and determine whether you are a suitable candidate for the position. If you have an outstanding resume , your employer will read the cover letter and later schedule an interview.

It is crucial to write an effective cover letter to grab the employer's attention. Make sure you follow a consistent approach to ensure they read to the end.

An effective cover letter includes two main topics. The first one is about showcasing your skills and convincing your potential employer.

The second one is about showing your passion for and interest in the job. Make sure you write a cover letter that contains authentic information. Avoid general information and fluff. Employers have years of experience reviewing cover letters, meaning they know whether the information is fluff or factual.

Common Cover Letter Mistakes

cover letter before resume or after

Writing a good cover letter is equally as important as preparing your resume . Here are a few mistakes people make when writing a cover letter.

Writing “Dear Sir”

Avoid gender bias. at times, the hiring manager could be a lady. So, if you write “dear sir,” she may not like the salutation.

It is crucial to find out information about the person who will review your resume and cover letter. You can get this information from the company's HR department. If you don't want to write a person's name, you can write “Hiring manager” or “Human Resource Department.”

Not Proofreading

Avoid sending cover letters prior to editing and proofreading. Grammatical and typographical errors can impact your cover letter negatively. They create a bad impression. You can prevent this by reading cover letter templates or samples. If you don't know how to write an effective cover letter, make sure you consult your career counselor for a resume critique. Visit this link for products related to cover letters.

Writing a Generic Letter

Avoid writing a generic letter. Perform thorough research about the company and mention its name to make a better impression. Also, avoid too much flattering. You should learn what the company pride itself on, including its products, awards, achievements, etc. Visit the company's official website to get more information.

Does a cover letter go before a resume ? Your cover letter is an important one-page document that plays a crucial role in the hiring process. It is usually read after resumes by most hiring managers.

Related Posts

Want to read more? Check out a few of my other posts to learn more that can be helpful on your career journey:

  • Do Employers Check Education On Resumes?
  • Can Employers Find Out If You Were Fired?
  • Can A Resume Be Front And Back? Does it Matter? 
  • Do You Need A Resume For Your First Job?

Some Of My Favorite Tools

Thank you again for reading my article. Writing this blog takes a lot of time, attention, and effort so I take care in using a very standard set of tools to deliver my blog to you. Maybe you will find these helpful if you have any similar interests along your career path.

Web Hosting: To get started with a website I recommend SiteGround . Their prices are great and they have free backups for my specific plan. ( Here is a very good write-up about utilizing their hosting platform that explains a lot of the benefits and walks you through the very easy sign-up process.)

Outsourcing : I use Fiverr for many different tasks. My life is pretty busy and I try to use my time wisely. I utilize outsourcing services like Fiverr whenever possible to have people do various tasks that I'm just not good at – like graphic design. If interested, here is the person I specifically use to do graphical design for many of my images.

Online Privacy : I work hard and strive to keep confidential business details private. Therefore, I always want to keep my work viewable only by the correct people. One of the ways I protect myself online is by using a VPN and more specifically I personally use NordVPN . I use NordVPN specifically because it's fast, I can use it on any of my devices, and I can chose from any specific location. If you are looking to retain your privacy online, I highly recommend NordVPN to both my friends and family.

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60+ Cover Letter Examples in 2024 [For All Professions]

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No matter where you are in your career, or what job you’re applying for, submitting a cover letter with your resume is a must . 

Done right, a cover letter will effectively complement your resume and explain to the hiring manager in more detail why you’re the right person for the job.

Writing a cover letter, however, is easier said than done. 

You have to effectively demonstrate that you’ll be able to perform the responsibilities listed in the job description and that you’d be a better fit for the company compared to other candidates. 

And unless you’re a professional writer, this can be a very hard task.

Fortunately, we created these cover letter examples to inspire you and help you get started with your own cover letter!

Let’s dive in!

21 Cover Letter Examples 

#1. career change cover letter example .

cover letter example for career change

Here’s what this cover letter does right:

  • Has an ideal length. This cover letter includes all the relevant information for the hiring manager without getting into too much detail.
  • Relevant introduction. The candidate explains that they’re changing careers and why they want to work in this new field from the get-go.
  • Explains their related experience. The candidate explains how their previous experience in retail sales can help them succeed in PR.

Check out our guide video guide to learn how to write a Cover Letter that gets you HIRED!

#2. Recent Graduate Cover Letter Example 

cover letter example for a recent graduate

  • Personally greets the hiring manager. The candidate has taken the time to find the hiring manager’s name and address them by it, which makes the opening of the cover letter much more personal.
  • Wraps up with a call to action. The candidate wraps up the cover letter by suggesting a meeting with the hiring manager, which makes them more memorable.
  • Explains why the candidate is the right person for the internship. In this cover letter for an internship , the candidate explains how they’ve previously interned in a different firm, which gives them the experience to succeed in this role.

Have you just graduated from college? Make sure to check out our guide on writing an entry-level cover letter from start to finish! 

#3. Middle Management Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Middle Management

  • Use of bullet points. The candidate presents the information in a concise and reader-friendly way, making it easy for the hiring manager to find their key achievements. 
  • Formal closing. The candidate has used a formal and polite tone to conclude their cover letter, which combined with a call to action makes them look professional and passionate about getting the job. 
  • Explains how the company would benefit from hiring them. The candidate outlines exactly what they could do for the company, which not only highlights their skills but also shows they’ve done their research on the company’s needs. 

#4. Business Manager Cover Letter Example

cover letter example for business manager

  • Detailed header. In addition to the must-have contact details, this candidate has also included their professional Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, making it easy for the hiring manager to look more closely into their career. 
  • Concise and to the point. This candidate has used short paragraphs and bullet points to make the cover letter easy to skim through. 
  • Wraps up with a call to action. By letting the hiring manager know they’ll be contacting them soon, they’re more likely to make an impression.

Check out this article for a complete writing guide and an inspiring business manager resume sample. 

#5. Ph.D. Cover Letter Example

cover letter example for phd

Here’s what this cover letter does right: 

  • Attention-grabbing introduction. In the opening paragraph, this candidate explains why they’re passionate about pursuing a Ph.D. in great detail. 
  • Explains the candidate’s qualifications in detail. The candidate builds on their passion by explaining how they’re also qualified for the degree because of their education history and academic achievements. 

#6. Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

cover letter example for senior executive

  • Professional and minimalistic template. This senior executive has used a professional but minimalistic template that lets their work experience do the talking. 
  • Achievement-oriented opening paragraph. Right from the get-go, this candidate explains what makes them so good at their job, effectively grabbing the hiring manager’s attention.  
  • Wraps up with a call to action. By suggesting to have a meeting and discussing how they can help the company meet its goals, the candidate stands more chance to make a positive lasting impression. 

#7. Architect Cover Letter Example 

Cover Letter Example

  • Modern resume template. This architect has picked a template that perfectly matches his industry, as it is professional and modern at the same time. 
  • A personal greeting to the HR. They address the hiring manager by their first name, which helps make a better first impression. 
  • Measurable achievements. By quantifying their achievements, the candidate proves their achievements instead of just claiming them.

Struggling with your architect resume ? Check out our full guide!

#8. Business Analyst Cover Letter Example 

cover letter examples

  • Detailed contact information. The candidate has listed both their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, providing the HR manager an opportunity to learn more about the candidate.  
  • Mentions what the candidate can do for the company. This cover letter doesn’t just explain why the job would be great for the candidate, but also how the candidate would benefit the company. Win-win, right? 
  • Error-free and reader-friendly. It’s super important for the cover letter to have no spelling or grammatical errors and be reader-friendly. This candidate made sure they did both.

Need a resume alongside your cover letter? Check out our guide on how to write a business analyst resume . 

#9. Consultant Cover Letter Example 

best cover letter example

  • Professional cover letter template. Being an experienced consultant, this candidate has picked a professional template that doesn’t steal the spotlight from their achievements. 
  • Experience and achievement-oriented. The candidate has effectively elaborated on their top achievements relevant to the job. 
  • Highlights the candidate’s passion. To show they want the job, this candidate has also explained how passionate they are about their profession.

For more advice on landing a job as a consultant, check out our guide to writing a consultant resume .

#10. Digital Marketing Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Digital Marketing

  • Creative cover letter template. This digital marketer highlights their originality by picking a creative cover letter template. 
  • Lists the candidate’s awards. The candidate has taken advantage of the cover letter to list their most noteworthy awards in the industry. 
  • Concludes with a call to action. As they used a call to action to conclude their cover letter, the HR manager will be more likely to remember them.

Want to take your digital marketing resume to the next level? Check out our guide!

#11. Graphic Designer Cover Letter Example 

Cover Letter Example for Graphic Designer

  • Detailed contact information. The candidate has included additional contact information such as their website link, as well as their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.  
  • Ideal length. This cover letter is concise, which means that the HR manager is more likely to read it from start to finish.  
  • Draws attention to the candidate’s strong points. Although this candidate is a recent college graduate, they’ve managed to effectively show that they have enough knowledge and experience to do the job right.

Read this guide to write a graphic designer resume that’s just as good as your cover letter!

#12. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Administrative Assistant

  • Minimalistic cover letter template. The candidate picked a well-designed but minimalistic template for their cover letter. 
  • Focused on skills and achievements. This cover letter is packed with the candidate’s skills and achievements, proving he can be an excellent employee. 
  • Formal closing. Politeness can go a long way and the candidate has used this to their advantage to make an impression. 

Our article on how to write an administrative assistant resume can help you take your job application to the next level.

#13. Front Desk Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Front Desk

  • Modern cover letter template. This template incorporates memorable colors and clear lines, which make the cover letter very visually appealing. 
  • Attention-grabbing introduction. Using an attention-grabbing intro, the candidate is more likely to make an impression. 
  • Calls the HR to action. By including a call to action, the candidate is reminding the HR of their immediate availability. 

#14. Human Resources Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Human Resources

  • It is concise and to the point. The candidate doesn’t dwell on unimportant details the HR won’t be interested in. 
  • Uses a traditional cover letter template. The cover letter design is more on the conventional side, which fits the industry better. 
  • Highlights the candidate’s strong points. The candidate has rich work experience and they use the cover letter to elaborate on it. 

This HR resume guide can help you get your resume just right.

#15. Sales Agent Cover Letter Example 

Cover Letter Example  for Sales Agent

  • Attention-grabbing cover letter template. As a salesperson, this candidate knows how important first impressions are, so they’ve picked a catchy cover letter template. 
  • Has an ideal length. At the same time, they’ve also made sure to keep their cover letter at just the right length. 
  • Lists the candidate’s career highlights. The candidate has made perfect use of the space by mentioning their most impressive professional achievements. 

Check out this sales agent resume guide to create an attention-grabbing sales resume .

#16. Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Receptionist

  • Modern but minimalistic cover letter template. The template’s design hints the candidate is creative but professional at the same time. 
  • Uses a catchy introduction. The candidate has used an attention-grabbing opening paragraph to catch HR’s attention. 
  • Concludes the cover letter formally. The candidate proves that they’re polite and well-spoken, a quality very much important for the role they’re applying for. 

Take your receptionist resume to the next level with this receptionist resume guide .

#17. Information Technology Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Information Technology

  • Mentions measurable achievements. Numbers make an impact, which is why this candidate has included measurable achievements. 
  • Lists both soft and hard skills. The candidate has mentioned a great mix of soft and hard skills, showing how well-rounded they are. 
  • Contains relevant contact information. The candidate’s GitHub, website name, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles are all great additions to the resume. 

Looking for tips to help you write a great IT resume ? Check out our guide!

#18. Real Estate Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Real Estate Agent

  • Ideal length. Short and to the point, this cover letter is bound to get noticed by the HR manager. 
  • Wraps up with a call to action. This candidate reinforces the HR to call them back through a final call to action. 
  • Mentions the right skills. On top of their sales accomplishments, the candidate touch upon important soft skills such as customer service and communication . 

This real estate resume guide will help you take your resume from good to great.

#19. Teacher Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Teacher

  • Mentions relevant contact information details. This candidate has included optional (but relevant) contact information details, such as their LinkedIn, Quora, and Medium profiles. 
  • Achievement-oriented. The candidate has elaborated on their achievements in more detail throughout their cover letter. 
  • Highlights the candidate’s passion. For some jobs, being passionate is much more important than for others. Teaching is one of these jobs, which is why this candidate explains their passion for the job. 

Our guide on how to write a teacher resume has all the tips you need to land the job.

#20. Project Manager Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Project Manager

  • Leverages a catchy introduction. Through a catchy introductory paragraph, this candidate is sure to grab the HR’s attention and get them to read the rest of their cover letter.
  • Lists measurable accomplishments. This candidate explains exactly what they’ve achieved using numbers and hard data. 
  • Personally greets the HR. A personal greeting sounds much better than “Dear Sir/Madam,” and the candidate knows this. 

This guide on how to write a project manager resume can help you perfect your appication.

#21. Paralegal Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Paralegal

  • Minimalistic cover letter template. This cover letter design looks good but doesn’t steal the show from the candidate’s abilities.
  • Mentions the candidate’s academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Although the candidate is a recent graduate, they’ve used the cover letter to explain they have enough skills and achievements to do the job.
  • Lists measurable achievements. The candidate proves they did well in their internship by mentioning quantifiable achievements.

Check out this paralegal resume guide to perfect yours.

40+ More Cover Letter Examples and Guides 

Couldn’t find a cover letter example for your field? Do not worry.

Below you can find a number of other cover letter examples for different fields and industries:

  • Acting Cover Letter Examples
  • Accounting Cover Letter Examples
  • Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Architecture Cover Letter Examples
  • Attorney Cover Letter Examples
  • Barista Cover Letter Examples
  • Bartender Cover Letter Examples
  • Business Cover Letter Examples
  • Business Analyst Cover Letter Examples
  • College Student Cover Letter Examples
  • Computer Science Cover Letter Examples
  • Construction Cover Letter Examples
  • Consultant Cover Letter Examples
  • Customer Service Cover Letter Examples
  • Data Analyst Cover Letter Examples
  • Data Entry Cover Letter Examples
  • Dental Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Digital Marketing Cover Letter Examples
  • Elementary Teacher Cover Letter Examples
  • Engineering Cover Letter Examples
  • Executive Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Finance Cover Letter Examples
  • Graphic Design Cover Letter Examples
  • Healthcare Cover Letter Examples
  • Human Resources Cover Letter Examples
  • IT Cover Letter Examples
  • Law Cover Letter Examples
  • Management Cover Letter Examples
  • Marketing Cover Letter Examples
  • Mechanical Engineering Cover Letter Examples
  • Medical Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Nurse Practitioner Cover Letter Examples
  • Physician Cover Letter Examples
  • Project Manager Cover Letter Examples
  • Receptionist Cover Letter Examples
  • Retail Cover Letter Examples
  • Sales Cover Letter Examples
  • Social Work Cover Letter Examples
  • Software Engineer Cover Letter Examples
  • Substitute Teacher Cover Letter Examples
  • Teacher Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Team Leader Cover Letter Example

What is a Cover Letter? 

A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application, alongside your resume . 

Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .

A good cover letter can give the hiring manager more insight into what makes you a good candidate and help them make up their mind about whether they should invite you for an interview. A bad cover letter, though, will get ignored (at best) and lose you the job (at worst).

So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.

The first thing to remember is that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you shouldn’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume and call it a day. 

Optimally, you should use your cover letter to shed more light on your skills and qualifications, as well as explain anything you didn’t have space for in your resume (e.g. a career gap or why you’re changing careers).

If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, though, putting all this together might seem pretty tough. 

Fortunately, you can follow our tried-and-tested format to make the experience much easier:

  • Header - Input your contact information.
  • Greeting the hiring manager - Open the cover letter with a “Dear Sir or Madam,” or use the hiring manager’s name if you know what that is.
  • Opening paragraph - Grab the hiring manager’s attention by getting straight to the point. Mention what your professional experiences are, and what role you’re applying for.
  • The second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Mention your top 2-3 achievements, your top skills, why you want to work in that specific industry, and whatever else is relevant.
  • The third paragraph - End your cover letter with a call to action. E.g. “I would love to meet personally and discuss how I can help Company X.”
  • Formal closing - Something like this: “Thank you for your consideration. Best, John Doe.”

Here’s what this looks like in practice:

cover letter structure

9 Tips to Write a Cover Letter (the Right Way)

Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about cover letter tips . Below, we'll give you all the knowledge you need to take your cover letter from "OK" to "great."

#1. Pick the right template

A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.

And what’s a better way to leave a good impression than through a professional, well-formatted, and visual template?

You can simply pick one of our tried-and-tested cover letter templates and you’ll be all set!

cover letter examples templates

#2. Add your contact details on the header

The best way to start your cover letter is through a header. 

Here’s what you want to include there:

  • Phone Number
  • Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
  • Name of the company you’re applying to

Optionally, you can also include the following:

  • Social Media Profiles - Any type of profile that’s relevant to your field. Social Profiles on websites like LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
  • Personal Website - If you have a personal website that somehow adds value to your application, you can mention it. Let’s say you’re a professional writer. In that case, you’d want to link to your content portfolio site or blog.

#3. Greet the hiring manager the right way

Once you’ve listed all your relevant contact information, it’s time to address the hiring manager reading your cover letter. 

A good practice here is to find the hiring manager’s name and address them directly instead of using the traditional “dear sir or madam.” This shows that you’re really invested in the company and that you took your time to do some research about the job.

So, how can you find out the hiring manager’s name?

One way to do this is by looking up the head of the company’s relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Office.

Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of server at a restaurant. In that case, you’d be looking to find out who the restaurant manager is.

If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.

If you still can’t find out the hiring manager’s name, here are several other greetings you can use:

  • Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • To whom it may concern
  • Dear [Department] Team

#4. Create an attention-grabbing introduction

Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.

So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph.

The problem with most cover letter opening paragraphs, though, is that they’re usually extremely generic, often looking something like this: 

Hey, my name is Jonathan and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a sales manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.

As you can probably tell, this opening paragraph doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything other than that you’ve worked the job before - and that’s not really helpful in setting you apart from other candidates. 

What you want to do, instead, is start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position. 

For example:

My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed its sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as my excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the role of X at Company Y.

The second example shows how the candidate is a top performer. The first just shows that they’ve worked a sales job before.

Which one are YOU more likely to invite for an interview?

#5. Show you’re the perfect person for the job

One great thing about cover letters is that they allow you to expand more on the top achievements from your resume and really show the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job. 

A good way to do that is to first read the job ad and really understand what skills/experiences are required, and then to ensure that your cover letter touches upon the said skills or experiences.

In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+. As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation and management process end-to-end. This means I created the ad copy and images, as well as picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.

Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:

  • Google Search

#6. Explain why you’re a great company fit

The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.

After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary . 

To convince the hiring manager that you’re a great company fit, do some research on the company and find out what it is you like about them, or about working there. You want to know things like:

  • What’s the company’s business model?
  • What’s the company's product or service? Have you used it?
  • What’s the culture like? Will someone micro-manage your work, or will you have autonomy on how you get things done?

Then, turn your top reasons for liking to work there into text and add them to your cover letter! 

#7. Wrap up with a call to action

To make the end of your cover letter as memorable as possible, you want to:

  • Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Mention anything you’ve left out that you think could help the hiring manager make up your mind.
  • Thank the hiring manager for their time. After all, it never hurts to be polite. 
  • Finish the cover letter with a call to action. A call to action is a great way to make your cover letter ending as memorable as possible. 

#8. Write a formal closing

Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.

Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions in a cover letter:

  • Best Regards,
  • Kind Regards,

#9. Proofread your cover letter

Last but not least, make sure to always proofread each and every document that you’ll be including in your job application - cover letter included. 

The last thing you want is to be claiming you’re a great candidate for the job with a cover letter full of typos! 

For an even more comprehensive guide on how to write an impactful cover letter , check out our article ! 

Cover Letter Writing Checklist 

Cover Letter Writing Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have some questions about cover letters? Check out the answers below:

1. How do I write a simple cover letter? 

To write a cover letter that’s simple but also professional, make sure to include a header with your personal information, a formal greeting to the hiring manager, an attention-grabbing opening paragraph, a second paragraph explaining why you’re a good candidate for the job, and a formal closing (preferably with a call to action). 

2. What are the 3 parts of a cover letter? 

The three parts of a cover letter are: 

  • The introduction , namely the header, the greeting to the hiring manager, and the opening paragraph. 
  • The sales pitch is usually the body of the cover letter. 
  • The conclusion involves a formal closing and a signature line.

3. What makes a great cover letter?

A great cover letter should be personalized for each job you’re applying for, instead of being overly generic. It’s also preferable to address the hiring manager by their name and not use the overly-used “Dear Sir/Madam.”

To make a great first impression, you should mention 1-2 of your top achievements in your opening paragraph - the more job-specific they are, the better. Also, don’t stop at showing the hiring manager why you’re a great candidate for the job. Make sure to also talk about how you’re a good culture fit for the company.

Last but not least, wrap up your closing paragraph with a call to action to give the hiring manager a little extra something to remember you by. 

4. When is a cover letter necessary?

Unless the job ad specifically states otherwise, you should always include a cover letter with your job application .

Even if the hiring manager doesn’t read it, you will look more professional simply by including one.

And that’s a wrap! We hope our cover letter examples and writing tips will inspire you to write a cover letter that will land you your next job.

If you’re looking for more invaluable career advice and articles, make sure to check out our career blog , or any of these related articles: 

  • How to Write a Resume
  • Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
  • Cover Letter Format (w/ Examples & Free Templates)

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COMMENTS

  1. FAQ: Do Employers Review Your Resume or Cover Letter First?

    Matching the style between your resume and cover letter is important for cohesion and thoroughness. If you know the name of the person reviewing applications, address them specifically in your cover letter. You can also include your signature at the bottom of the page. Review all of your application documents together to check for discrepancies ...

  2. Should You Combine Your Cover Letter and Resume into One Document

    Create a new document. Make sure that you create an entirely new document for your combined file. That will enable you to keep them separate for other companies and submissions. Then copy and paste your resume and cover letter into this new document. Be sure to save the file with an appropriate file name.

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  4. Cover Letter vs. Resume: How Are They Different?

    The difference between a cover letter and a resume. There are four key differences between a cover letter and a resume: 1. Importance. Resumes are a requirement when you apply for work. On the other hand, cover letters are often necessary, but optional when a company specifically says to not include one.

  5. How to Write a Cover Letter [Full Guide & Examples for 2024]

    Correct Example. Dear Mr. Smith, My name's Michael, and I'd like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed its sales goals as a Sales Manager. I've worked as a Sales Representative with Company X, another fin-tech company, for 3+ years, where I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month and beat the KPIs by around 40%.

  6. Glassdoor Guide: How to Write a Cover Letter

    The cover letter is a tool to help introduce yourself in a memorable, personal way during a job application. A well-crafted cover letter goes over information on your resume and expands this information for the reader, taking them on a guided journey of some of your greatest career and life achievements.. Its purpose is to elaborate on the information contained in your resume while infusing ...

  7. How to Write a Standout Cover Letter in 2022

    Step 2: Add your contact info. At the top of your cover letter, you should list out your basic info. You can even copy the same heading from your resume if you'd like. Some contact info you might include (and the order you might include it in) is: Your name. Your pronouns (optional)

  8. How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job in 2024

    Respectfully, Kind regards, Best regards, Yours truly, Then, make two spaces below the salutation, and type your full name. For some professional (but optional) flair, sign your cover letter either with a scan of your signature or by using software like DocuSign. 8. Check your cover letter's content and formatting.

  9. How to Write a Cover Letter in 2024: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Here are 9 steps you can take to make sure you're headed in the right direction: Step 1. Do your research. Before writing your cover letter, thoroughly read the job description and the requirements for the job. Melanie Denny, award-winning resume expert, likens the job description to your cover letter cheat sheet.

  10. Cover Letter Vs Resume: Here Are The Key Differences

    1 - Structure of a resume vs cover letter. The most obvious difference is that the cover letter looks different than the resume. The cover letter is a business letter, or even if it's the ...

  11. The ultimate cover letter checklist

    1. Use the correct cover letter formatting. A cover letter is a formal business document, and it should look like one, says Aylward. In the upper left corner of your page, put the name, email ...

  12. How to Write a Cover Letter (Expert Tips & Examples)

    Place your name, city, state, ZIP code, phone number and email address in your cover letter heading. Your email address should be professional like "[email protected]," and not personal like "[email protected]." Include links to your LinkedIn profile or professional online portfolio if you have one.

  13. Do employers look at a resume or cover letter first?

    Employers look at a resume first, then they look at the cover letter. They typically look at the resume first to make sure you have the desired skills and experience before taking the time to read your cover letter. This is especially true in fields that require specific hard skills, such as IT and engineering. However, if you're applying for ...

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    Here's the before version. It reads like 95% of the cover letters out there. Like those other 95%, it basically says, "I know I need a cover letter, so here are some paragraphs of blah." You can imagine multiple candidates for this position submitting this letter; there's nothing especially personalized about it. Dear Hiring Manager:

  15. Does A Cover Letter Go Before Resume Or After?

    Does the cover letter go before the resume?Employers read a resume first and then the cover letter. Your prospective employer will look at the resume to ensure you have the right skills and experience. If your resume has information relevant to the position, they will take the time to read your cover letter.. Employers often read cover letters for positions that require specific skills.

  16. 12 Ways to Start a Cover Letter: Examples & Tips

    12 winning ways to start your cover letter. Our sample cover letter introductions will help you learn how to open a cover letter in a way that stands out and boosts your chances of landing an interview. 1. Mention a contact within the company. If you were referred by a former coworker, classmate, or friend who's highly regarded in their ...

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    Consultant Cover Letter Example #10. Digital Marketing Cover Letter Example #11. Graphic Designer Cover Letter Example #12. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Example #13. Front Desk Cover Letter Example #14. Human Resources Cover Letter Example #15. Sales Agent Cover Letter Example #16.

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    A great cover letter uses a logical progression of ideas to advertise your skills. There are seven sections that every cover letter should include to fit employer expectations and highlight your best qualities: 1. Header. All cover letters start with a header that includes your contact information. People often use the same header for their ...

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    Try our cover letter generator and make a cover letter fast. CV Maker Tool. CVs are often longer than resumes. With our CV maker, you can create a CV in the same amount of time. Monday to Friday, 8AM - 12AM (Midnight) and Saturdays and Sundays, 10AM - 6PM EDT (866) 215-9048. ... Before you send your resume off, ...