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How to write a great cover letter in 2024: tips and structure

young-woman-checking-her-cover-lette

A cover letter is a personalized letter that introduces you to a potential employer, highlights your qualifications, and explains why you're a strong fit for a specific job.

Hate or love them, these brief documents allow job seekers to make an impression and stand out from the pile of other applications. Penning a thoughtful cover letter shows the hiring team you care about earning the position.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to write a cover letter — and a great one, at that.

What is a cover letter and why does it matter?

A professional cover letter is a one-page document you submit alongside your CV or resume as part of a job application. Typically, they’re about half a page or around 150–300 words.

An effective cover letter doesn’t just rehash your CV; it’s your chance to highlight your proudest moments, explain why you want the job, and state plainly what you bring to the table.

Show the reviewer you’re likable, talented, and will add to the company’s culture . You can refer to previous jobs and other information from your CV, but only if it helps tell a story about you and your career choices .

What 3 things should you include in a cover letter?

A well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out to potential employers. To make your cover letter shine, here are three key elements to include:

1. Personalization

Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name whenever possible. If the job posting doesn't include a name, research to find out who will be reviewing applications. Personalizing your cover letter shows that you've taken the time to tailor your application to the specific company and role.

2. Highlight relevant achievements and skills

Emphasize your most relevant skills , experiences, and accomplishments that directly relate to the job you're applying for. Provide specific examples of how your skills have benefited previous employers and how they can contribute to the prospective employer's success. Use quantifiable achievements , such as improved efficiency, cost savings, or project success, to demonstrate your impact.

3. Show enthusiasm and fit

Express your enthusiasm for the company and the position you're applying for. Explain why you are interested in this role and believe you are a good fit for the organization. Mention how your values, goals, and skills align with the company's mission and culture. Demonstrating that you've done your research can make a significant impression.

What do hiring managers look for in a cover letter?

Employers look for several key elements in a cover letter. These include:

Employers want to see that your cover letter is specifically tailored to the position you are applying for. It should demonstrate how your skills, experiences, and qualifications align with the job requirements.

Clear and concise writing

A well-written cover letter is concise, easy to read, and error-free. Employers appreciate clear and effective communication skills , so make sure your cover letter showcases your ability to express yourself effectively.

Demonstrated knowledge of the company

Employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in their organization. Mention specific details about the company, such as recent achievements or projects, to show that you are enthusiastic about joining their team.

Achievements and accomplishments

Highlight your relevant achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your qualifications for the position. Use specific examples to showcase your skills and show how they can benefit the employer.

Enthusiasm and motivation

Employers want to hire candidates who are excited about the opportunity and motivated to contribute to the company's success. Express your enthusiasm and passion for the role and explain why you are interested in working for the company.

Professionalism

A cover letter should be professional in tone and presentation. Use formal language, address the hiring manager appropriately, and follow standard business letter formatting.

excited-woman-in-her-office-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

How do you structure a cover letter?

A well-structured cover letter follows a specific format that makes it easy for the reader to understand your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position. Here's a typical structure for a cover letter:

Contact information

Include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter. Place your contact information at the beginning so that it's easy for the employer to reach you.

Employer's contact information

Opening paragraph, middle paragraph(s), closing paragraph, complimentary close, additional contact information.

Repeat your contact information (name, phone number, and email) at the end of the letter, just in case the employer needs it for quick reference.

Remember to keep your cover letter concise and focused. It should typically be no more than one page in length. Proofread your letter carefully to ensure it is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Tailor each cover letter to the specific job application to make it as relevant and impactful as possible.

How to write a good cover letter (with examples)

The best letters are unique, tailored to the job description, and written in your voice — but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a job cover letter template.

Great cover letters contain the same basic elements and flow a certain way. Take a look at this cover letter structure for ref erence while you construct your own.

1. Add a header and contact information

While reading your cover letter, the recruiter shouldn’t have to look far to find who wrote it. Your document should include a basic heading with the following information:

  • Pronouns (optional)
  • Location (optional)
  • Email address
  • Phone number (optional)
  • Relevant links, such as your LinkedIn profile , portfolio, or personal website (optional)

You can pull this information directly from your CV. Put it together, and it will look something like this:

Christopher Pike

San Francisco, California

[email protected]

Alternatively, if the posting asks you to submit your cover letter in the body of an email, you can include this information in your signature. For example:

Warm regards,

Catherine Janeway

Bloomington, Indiana

[email protected]

(555) 999 - 2222

man-using-his-laptop-while-smiling-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

2. Include a personal greeting

Always begin your cover letter by addressing the hiring manager — preferably by name. You can use the person’s first and last name. Make sure to include a relevant title, like Dr., Mr., or Ms. For example, “Dear Mr. John Doe.”

Avoid generic openings like “To whom it may concern,” “Dear sir or madam,” or “Dear hiring manager.” These introductions sound impersonal — like you’re copy-pasting cover letters — and can work against you in the hiring process.

Be careful, though. When using someone’s name, you don’t want to use the wrong title or accidentally misgender someone. If in doubt, using only their name is enough. You could also opt for a gender-neutral title, like Mx.

Make sure you’re addressing the right person in your letter — ideally, the person who’s making the final hiring decision. This isn’t always specified in the job posting, so you may have to do some research to learn the name of the hiring manager.

3. Draw them in with an opening story

The opening paragraph of your cover letter should hook the reader. You want it to be memorable, conversational, and extremely relevant to the job you’re pursuing. 

There’s no need for a personal introduction — you’ve already included your name in the heading. But you should make reference to the job you’re applying for. A simple “Thank you for considering my application for the role of [job title] at [company],” will suffice.

Then you can get into the “Why” of your job application. Drive home what makes this specific job and this company so appealing to you. Perhaps you’re a fan of their products, you’re passionate about their mission, or you love their brand voice. Whatever the case, this section is where you share your enthusiasm for the role.

Here’s an example opening paragraph. In this scenario, you’re applying for a digital marketing role at a bicycle company:

“Dear Mr. John Doe,

Thank you for considering my application for the role of Marketing Coordinator at Bits n’ Bikes.

My parents bought my first bike at one of your stores. I’ll never forget the freedom I felt when I learned to ride it. My father removed my training wheels, and my mom sent me barrelling down the street. You provide joy to families across the country — and I want to be part of that.”

4. Emphasize why you’re best for the job

Your next paragraphs should be focused on the role you’re applying to. Highlight your skill set and why you’re a good fit for the needs and expectations associated with the position. Hiring managers want to know what you’ll bring to the job, not just any role.

Start by studying the job description for hints. What problem are they trying to solve with this hire? What skills and qualifications do they mention first or more than once? These are indicators of what’s important to the hiring manager.

Search for details that match your experience and interests. For example, if you’re excited about a fast-paced job in public relations, you might look for these elements in a posting:

  • They want someone who can write social media posts and blog content on tight deadlines
  • They value collaboration and input from every team member
  • They need a planner who can come up with strong PR strategies

Highlight how you fulfill these requirements:

“I’ve always been a strong writer. From blog posts to social media, my content pulls in readers and drives traffic to product pages. For example, when I worked at Bits n’ Bikes, I developed a strategic blog series about bike maintenance that increased our sales of spare parts and tools by 50% — we could see it in our web metrics.

Thanks to the input of all of our team members, including our bike mechanics, my content delivered results.”

5. End with a strong closing paragraph and sign off gracefully

Your closing paragraph is your final chance to hammer home your enthusiasm about the role and your unique ability to fill it. Reiterate the main points you explained in the body paragraphs and remind the reader of what you bring to the table.

You can also use the end of your letter to relay other important details, like whether you’re willing to relocate for the job.

When choosing a sign-off, opt for a phrase that sounds professional and genuine. Reliable options include “Sincerely” and “Kind regards.”

Here’s a strong closing statement for you to consider:

“I believe my enthusiasm, skills, and work experience as a PR professional will serve Bits n’ Bikes very well. I would love to meet to further discuss my value-add as your next Director of Public Relations. Thank you for your consideration. I hope we speak soon.

man-reading-carefully-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Tips to write a great cover letter that compliments your resume

When writing your own letter, try not to copy the example excerpts word-for-word. Instead, use this cover letter structure as a baseline to organize your ideas. Then, as you’re writing, use these extra cover letter tips to add your personal touch:

  • Keep your cover letter different from your resume : Your cover letter should not duplicate the information on your resume. Instead, it should provide context and explanations for key points in your resume, emphasizing how your qualifications match the specific job you're applying for.
  • Customize your cover letter . Tailor your cover letter for each job application. Address the specific needs of the company and the job posting, demonstrating that you've done your homework and understand their requirements.
  • Show enthusiasm and fit . Express your enthusiasm for the company and position in the cover letter. Explain why you are interested in working for this company and how your values, goals, and skills align with their mission and culture.
  • Use keywords . Incorporate keywords from the job description and industry terms in your cover letter. This can help your application pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and demonstrate that you're well-versed in the field.
  • Keep it concise . Your cover letter should be succinct and to the point, typically no more than one page. Focus on the most compelling qualifications and experiences that directly support your application.
  • Be professional . Maintain a professional tone and structure in your cover letter. Proofread it carefully to ensure there are no errors.
  • Address any gaps or concerns . If there are gaps or concerns in your resume, such as employment gaps or a change in career direction, briefly address them in your cover letter. Explain any relevant circumstances and how they have shaped your qualifications and determination.
  • Provide a call to action . Conclude your cover letter with a call to action, inviting the employer to contact you for further discussion. Mention that you've attached your resume for their reference.
  • Follow the correct format . Use a standard cover letter format like the one above, including your contact information, a formal salutation, introductory and closing paragraphs, and your signature. Ensure that it complements your resume without redundancy.
  • Pick the right voice and tone . Try to write like yourself, but adapt to the tone and voice of the company. Look at the job listing, company website, and social media posts. Do they sound fun and quirky, stoic and professional, or somewhere in-between? This guides your writing style.
  • Tell your story . You’re an individual with unique expertise, motivators, and years of experience. Tie the pieces together with a great story. Introduce how you arrived at this point in your career, where you hope to go , and how this prospective company fits in your journey. You can also explain any career changes in your resume.
  • Show, don’t tell . Anyone can say they’re a problem solver. Why should a recruiter take their word for it if they don’t back it up with examples? Instead of naming your skills, show them in action. Describe situations where you rose to the task, and quantify your success when you can.
  • Be honest . Avoid highlighting skills you don’t have. This will backfire if they ask you about them in an interview. Instead, shift focus to the ways in which you stand out.
  • Avoid clichés and bullet points . These are signs of lazy writing. Do your best to be original from the first paragraph to the final one. This highlights your individuality and demonstrates the care you put into the letter.
  • Proofread . Always spellcheck your cover letter. Look for typos, grammatical errors, and proper flow. We suggest reading it out loud. If it sounds natural rolling off the tongue, it will read naturally as well.

woman-writing-on-her-notebook-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Common cover letter writing FAQs

How long should a cover letter be.

A cover letter should generally be concise and to the point. It is recommended to keep it to one page or less, focusing on the most relevant information that highlights your qualifications and fits the job requirements.

Should I include personal information in a cover letter?

While it's important to introduce yourself and provide your contact information, avoid including personal details such as your age, marital status, or unrelated hobbies. Instead, focus on presenting your professional qualifications and aligning them with the job requirements.

Can I use the same cover letter for multiple job applications?

While it may be tempting to reuse a cover letter, it is best to tailor each cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. This allows you to highlight why you are a good fit for that particular role and show genuine interest in the company.

Do I need to address my cover letter to a specific person?

Whenever possible, it is advisable to address your cover letter to a specific person, such as the hiring manager or recruiter. If the job posting does not provide this information, try to research and find the appropriate contact. If all else fails, you can use a generic salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager."

Should I include references in my cover letter?

It is generally not necessary to include references in your cover letter. Save this information for when the employer explicitly requests it. Instead, focus on showcasing your qualifications and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the position.

It’s time to start writing your stand-out cover letter

The hardest part of writing is getting started. 

Hopefully, our tips gave you some jumping-off points and confidence . But if you’re really stuck, looking at cover letter examples and resume templates will help you decide where to get started. 

There are numerous sample cover letters available online. Just remember that you’re a unique, well-rounded person, and your cover letter should reflect that. Using our structure, you can tell your story while highlighting your passion for the role. 

Doing your research, including strong examples of your skills, and being courteous is how to write a strong cover letter. Take a breath , flex your fingers, and get typing. Before you know it, your job search will lead to a job interview.

If you want more personalized guidance, a specialized career coach can help review, edit, and guide you through creating a great cover letter that sticks.

Ace your job search

Explore effective job search techniques, interview strategies, and ways to overcome job-related challenges. Our coaches specialize in helping you land your dream job.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

3 cover letter examples to help you catch a hiring manager’s attention

Chatgpt cover letters: how to use this tool the right way, write thank you letters after interviews to stand out as job applicant, send a thank you email after an internship to boost your career, character references: 4 tips for a successful recommendation letter, use professional reference templates to make hiring smoother, how to ask for a letter of recommendation (with examples), how to write an impactful cover letter for a career change, how to create a resume with chatgpt, how to write a follow-up email 2 weeks after an interview, cv versus resume demystify the differences once and for all, how and when to write a functional resume (with examples), how to negotiate a job offer (5 actionable tips), how to cancel an interview but keep your job outlook bright, what are professional references and how to ask for one (examples), here's what to do when you’re overqualified for a job (but want it anyway), resume best practices: how far back should a resume go, how to politely decline a job offer (with examples), stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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

Background Image

After weeks of heavy job searching, you’re almost there!

You’ve perfected your resume.

You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.

You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.

But then, before you can send in your application and call it a day, you remember that you need to write a cover letter too.

So now, you’re stuck staring at a blank page, wondering where to start...

Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think. 

In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.

We're going to cover:

What Is a Cover Letter?

  • How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter, Step by Step
  • 15+ Job-Winning Cover Letter Examples

Let’s get started.

A cover letter is a document that you submit as part of your job application, alongside your resume or CV.

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, it should be around 250 to 400 words long .

A good cover letter is supposed to impress the hiring manager and convince them you’re worth interviewing as a candidate.

So, how can your cover letter achieve this?

First of all, it should complement your resume, not copy it. Your cover letter is your chance to elaborate on important achievements, skills, or anything else that your resume doesn’t give you the space to cover. 

For example, if you have an employment gap on your resume, the cover letter is a great place to explain why it happened and how it helped you grow as a person. 

If this is your first time writing a cover letter, writing about yourself might seem complicated. But don’t worry—you don’t need to be super creative or even a good writer .

All you have to do is follow this tried and tested cover letter structure:

structure of a cover letter

  • Header. Add all the necessary contact information at the top of your cover letter.
  • Formal greeting. Choose an appropriate way to greet your target audience.
  • Introduction. Introduce yourself in the opening paragraph and explain your interest in the role.
  • Body. Elaborate on why you’re the best candidate for the job and a good match for the company. Focus on “selling” your skills, achievements, and relevant professional experiences.
  • Conclusion. Summarize your key points and wrap it up professionally.

Now, let’s take a look at an example of a cover letter that follows our structure perfectly:

How to Write a Cover Letter

New to cover letter writing? Give our cover letter video a watch before diving into the article!

When Should You Write a Cover Letter?

You should always include a cover letter in your job application, even if the hiring manager never reads it. Submitting a cover letter is as important as submitting a resume if you want to look like a serious candidate.

If the employer requests a cover letter as part of the screening process, not sending one is a huge red flag and will probably get your application tossed into the “no” pile immediately.

On the other hand, if the job advertisement doesn’t require a cover letter from the candidates, adding one shows you went the extra mile.

Putting in the effort to write a cover letter can set you apart from other candidates with similar professional experience and skills, and it could even sway the hiring manager to call you for an interview if you do it right.

Need to write a letter to help get you into a good school or volunteer program? Check out our guide to learn how to write a motivation letter !

How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Now that you know what a cover letter is, it’s time to learn how to write one!

We’ll go through the process in detail, step by step.

#1. Choose the Right Cover Letter Template

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

So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, stylish template?

cover letter templates for 2024

Just choose one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in no time!

As a bonus, our intuitive AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter as you write it. You’ll have the perfect cover letter done in minutes!

cover letter templates

#2. Put Contact Information in the Header

As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with your contact details at the top. These should be in your cover letter’s header, separated neatly from the bulk of your text.

Contact Information on Cover Letter

Here, you want to include all the essential contact information , including:

  • Full Name. Your first and last name should stand out at the top.
  • Job Title. Match the professional title underneath your name to the exact job title of the position you’re applying for. Hiring managers often hire for several roles at once, so giving them this cue about what role you’re after helps things go smoother.
  • Email Address. Always use a professional and easy-to-spell email address. Ideally, it should combine your first and last names.
  • Phone Number. Add a number where the hiring manager can easily reach you.
  • Location. Add your city and state/country, no need for more details.
  • Relevant Links (optional). You can add links to websites or social media profiles that are relevant to your field. Examples include a LinkedIn profile , Github, or an online portfolio.

Then it’s time to add the recipient’s contact details, such as:

  • Hiring Manager's Name. If you can find the name of the hiring manager, add it.
  • Hiring Manager's Title. While there’s no harm in writing “hiring manager,” if they’re the head of the department, we recommend you use that title accordingly.
  • Company Name. Make sure to write the name of the company you're applying to.
  • Location. The city and state/country are usually enough information here, too.
  • Date of Writing (Optional). You can include the date you wrote your cover letter for an extra professional touch.

matching resume and cover letter

#3. Address the Hiring Manager

Once you’ve properly listed all the contact information, it’s time to start writing the content of the cover letter.

The first thing you need to do here is to address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager.

In fact, you want to address the hiring manager personally .

Forget the old “Dear Sir or Madam” or the impersonal “To Whom It May Concern.” You want to give your future boss a good impression and show them that you did your research before sending in your application.

No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes something sticks with their generic approach

So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager?

First, check the job ad. The hiring manager’s name might be listed somewhere in it.

If that doesn’t work, check the company’s LinkedIn page. You just need to look up the head of the relevant department you’re applying to, and you’re all set.

For example, if you’re applying for the position of Communication Specialist at Novorésumé. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Officer.

Here’s what you should look for on LinkedIn:

linkedin search cco

And there you go! You have your hiring manager.

But let’s say you’re applying for a position as a server . In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager” or “food and beverage manager.”

If the results don’t come up with anything, try checking out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.

Make sure to address them as Mr. or Ms., followed by their last name. If you’re not sure about their gender or marital status, you can just stick to their full name, like so:

  • Dear Mr. Kurtuy,
  • Dear Andrei Kurtuy,

But what if you still can’t find the hiring manager’s name, no matter where you look?

No worries. You can direct your cover letter to the company, department, or team as a whole, or just skip the hiring manager’s name.

  • Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear [Department] Team
  • Dear [Company Name]

Are you applying for a research position? Learn how to write an academic personal statement .

#4. Write an Eye-Catching Introduction

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.

Hiring managers 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 biggest problem with most opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Here’s an example:

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

See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.

And do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.

Instead, you want to start with some of your top achievements to grab the reader’s attention. And to get the point across, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.

Your opening paragraph should also show the hiring manager a bit about why you want this specific job. For example, mention how the job relates to your plans for the future or how it can help you grow professionally. This will show the hiring manager that you’re not just applying left and right—you’re actually enthusiastic about getting this particular role.

Now, let’s make our previous example shine:

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%. I believe that my previous industry experience, passion for finance , and excellence in sales make me the right candidate for the job.

The second candidate starts with what they can do for the company in the future and immediately lists an impressive and relevant achievement. Since they’re experienced in the same industry and interested in finance, the hiring manager can see they’re not just a random applicant.

From this introduction, it’s safe to say that the hiring manager would read the rest of this candidate’s cover letter.

#5. Use the Cover Letter Body for Details

The next part of your cover letter is where you can go into detail about what sets you apart as a qualified candidate for the job.

The main thing you need to remember here is that you shouldn’t make it all about yourself . Your cover letter is supposed to show the hiring manager how you relate to the job and the company you’re applying to.

No matter how cool you make yourself sound in your cover letter, if you don’t tailor it to match what the hiring manager is looking for, you’re not getting an interview.

To get this right, use the job ad as a reference when writing your cover letter. Make sure to highlight skills and achievements that match the job requirements, and you’re good to go.

Since this part of your cover letter is by far the longest, you should split it into at least two paragraphs.

Here’s what each paragraph should cover:

Explain Why You’re the Perfect Candidate for the Role

Before you can show the hiring manager that you’re exactly what they’ve been looking for, you need to know what it is they’re looking for.

Start by doing a bit of research. Learn what the most important skills and responsibilities of the role are according to the job ad, and focus on any relevant experience you have that matches them.

For example, if you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. The top requirements on the job ad are:

  • Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
  • Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
  • Excellent copywriting skills

So, in the body of your cover letter, you need to show how you meet these requirements. Here’s an example of what that can look like:

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 $40,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation and management process end-to-end. I created the ad copy and images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.

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

  • Google Search

Our example addresses all the necessary requirements and shows off the candidate’s relevant skills.

Are you a student applying for your first internship? Learn how to write an internship cover letter with our dedicated guide.

Explain Why You’re a Good Fit for the Company

As skilled and experienced as you may be, that’s not all the hiring manager is looking for.

They also want someone who’s a good fit for their company and who actually wants to work there.

Employees who don’t fit in with the company culture are likely to quit sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary , so hiring managers vet candidates very carefully to avoid this scenario.

So, you have to convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about working with them.

Start by doing some research about the company. 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 company’s culture like?

Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or on job-search websites like Jobscan or Glassdoor.

Then, pick your favorite thing about the company and talk about it in your cover letter.

But don’t just describe the company in its own words just to flatter them. Be super specific—the hiring manager can see through any fluff.

For example, if you’re passionate about their product and you like the company’s culture of innovation and independent work model, you can write something like:

I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features, such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2, were real game changers for the device.

I really admire how Company XYZ strives for excellence in all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone who thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I’ll be a great match for your Product Design team.

So, make sure to do your fair share of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying to that specific company.

Is the company you want to work for not hiring at the moment? Check out our guide to writing a letter of interest .

#6. Wrap It Up and Sign It

Finally, it’s time to conclude your cover letter.

In the final paragraph, you want to:

  • Wrap up any points you couldn't make in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? If there’s any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision, mention it here. If not, just recap your key selling points so far, such as key skills and expertise.
  • Express gratitude. Politely thanking the hiring manager for their time is always a good idea.
  • Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. This means you should ask the hiring manager to do something, like call you and discuss your application or arrange an interview.
  • Remember to sign your cover letter. Just add a formal closing line and sign your name at the bottom.

Here’s an example of how to end your cover letter :

I hope to help Company X make the most of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your Facebook marketing goals. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at the provided email address or phone number so that we may arrange an interview.

Thank you for your consideration,

Alice Richards

Feel free to use one of these other popular closing lines for your cover letter:

  • Best Regards,
  • Kind Regards,

Cover Letter Writing Checklist

Once you’re done with your cover letter, it’s time to check if it meets all industry requirements. 

Give our handy cover letter writing checklist a look to make sure:

Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?

  • Professional Email
  • Phone Number
  • Relevant Links

Do you address the right person? 

  • The hiring manager in the company
  • Your future direct supervisor
  • The company/department in general

Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?

  • Did you mention some of your top achievements?
  • Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
  • Did you convey enthusiasm for the specific role?

Do you show that you’re the right candidate for the job?

  • Did you identify the core requirements for the role?
  • Did you show how your experiences helped you fit the requirements perfectly?

Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?

  • Did you identify the top 3 things that you like about the company?
  • Did you avoid generic reasons for explaining your interest in the company?

Did you conclude your cover letter properly?

  • Did you recap your key selling points in the conclusion?
  • Did you end your cover letter with a call to action?
  • Did you use the right formal closing line and sign your name?

15 Cover Letter Tips

Now you’re all set to write your cover letter! 

Before you start typing, here are some cover letter tips to help take your cover letter to the next level:

  • Customize Your Cover Letter for Each Job. Make sure your cover letter is tailored to the job you're applying for. This shows you're not just sending generic applications left and right, and it tells the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.
  • Showcase Your Skills. Talk about how your skills meet the company’s needs. And while your hard skills should be front and center, you shouldn’t underestimate your soft skills in your cover letter either.
  • Avoid Fluff. Don’t make any generic statements you can’t back up. The hiring manager can tell when you’re just throwing words around, and it doesn’t make your cover letter look good.
  • Use Specific Examples. Instead of saying you're great at something, give an actual example to back up your claim. Any data you can provide makes you sound more credible, so quantify your achievements. For example, give numbers such as percentages related to your performance and the timeframe it took to accomplish certain achievements.
  • Research the Company. Always take time to learn about the company you're applying to. Make sure to mention something about them in your cover letter to show the hiring manager that you're interested.
  • Follow the Application Instructions. If the job posting asks for something specific in your cover letter or requires a certain format, make sure you include it. Not following instructions can come off as unattentive or signal to the hiring manager that you’re not taking the job seriously.
  • Use the Right Template and Format. Choose the right cover letter format and adapt your cover letter’s look to the industry you’re applying for. For example, if you’re aiming for a job in Law or Finance, you should go for a cleaner, more professional look. But if you’re applying for a field that values innovation, like IT or Design, you have more room for creativity.
  • Express Your Enthusiasm. Let the hiring manager know why you're excited about the job. Your passion for the specific role or the field in general can be a big selling point, and show them that you’re genuinely interested, not just applying left and right.
  • Address Any Gaps. If there are any employment gaps in your resume , your cover letter is a great place to mention why. Your resume doesn’t give you enough space to elaborate on an employment gap, so addressing it here can set hiring managers at ease—life happens, and employers understand.
  • Avoid Quirky Emails. Your email address should be presentable. It’s hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected].” Just use a [email protected] format.
  • Check Your Contact Information. Typos in your email address or phone number can mean a missed opportunity. Double-check these before sending your application.
  • Mention if You Want to Relocate. If you’re looking for a job that lets you move somewhere else, specify this in your cover letter.
  • Keep It Brief. You want to keep your cover letter short and sweet. Hiring managers don’t have time to read a novel, so if you go over one page, they simply won’t read it at all.
  • Use a Professional Tone. Even though a conversational tone isn’t a bad thing, remember that it's still a formal document. Show professionalism in your cover letter by keeping slang, jargon, and emojis out of it.
  • Proofread Carefully. Typos and grammar mistakes are a huge deal-breaker. Use a tool like Grammarly or QuillBot to double-check your spelling and grammar, or even get a friend to check it for you.

15+ Cover Letter Examples

Need some inspiration? Check out some perfect cover letter examples for different experience levels and various professions.

5+ Cover Letter Examples by Experience

#1. college student cover letter example.

college or student cover letter example

Check out our full guide to writing a college student cover letter here.

#2. Middle Management Cover Letter Example

Middle Management Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a project manager cover letter here.

#3. Team Leader Cover Letter Example

Team Leader Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a team leader cover letter here.

#4. Career Change Cover Letter Example

Career Change Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to a career change resume and cover letter here.

#5. Management Cover Letter Example

Management Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a management cover letter here.

#6. Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an executive resume here.

9+ Cover Letter Examples by Profession

#1. it cover letter example.

IT Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an IT cover letter here.

#2. Consultant Cover Letter Example

Consultant Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a consultant cover letter here.

#3. Human Resources Cover Letter

Human Resources Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a human resources cover letter here.

#4. Business Cover Letter Example

Business Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a business cover letter here.

#5. Sales Cover Letter Example

Sales Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a sales cover letter here.

#6. Social Worker Cover Letter

Social Worker Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a social worker cover letter here.

#7. Lawyer Cover Letter

Lawyer Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a lawyer cover letter here.

#8. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing an administrative assistant cover letter here.

#9. Engineering Cover Letter Example

Engineering Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an engineer cover letter here.

#10. Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a receptionist cover letter here.

Need more inspiration? Check out these cover letter examples to learn what makes them stand out.

Plug & Play Cover Letter Template

Not sure how to start your cover letter? Don’t worry!

Just copy and paste our free cover letter template into the cover letter builder, and swap out the blanks for your details.

[Your Full Name]

[Your Profession]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Email Address]

[Your Location]

[Your LinkedIn Profile URL (optional)]

[Your Personal Website URL (optional)]

[Recipient's Name, e.g., Jane Doe],

[Recipient's Position, e.g., Hiring Manager]

[Company Name, e.g., ABC Corporation]

[Company Address]

[City, State/Country]

Dear [Recipient's Name],

As a seasoned [Your Profession] with [Number of Years of Experience] years of industry experience, I am eager to express my interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. With my experience in [Your Industry/Sector] and the successes I've achieved throughout my education and career, I believe I can bring unique value and creativity to your team.

In my current role as [Your Current Job Title], I've taken the lead on more than [Number of Projects/Assignments] projects, some valued up to $[Highest Project Value]. I pride myself on consistently exceeding client expectations and have successfully [Mention a Key Achievement] in just a [Amount of Time] through [Skill] and [Skill].

I've collaborated with various professionals, such as [List Roles], ensuring that all [projects/tasks] meet [relevant standards or objectives]. This hands-on experience, coupled with my dedication to understanding each [client's/customer's] vision, has equipped me to navigate and deliver on complex projects.

My key strengths include:

  • Improving [Achievement] by [%] over [Amount of Time] which resulted in [Quantified Result].
  • Optimizing [Work Process/Responsibility] which saved [Previous Employer] [Amount of Time/Budget/Other Metric] over [Weeks/Months/Years]
  • Spearheading team of [Number of People] to [Task] and achieving [Quantified Result].

Alongside this letter, I've attached my resume. My educational background, a [Your Degree] with a concentration in [Your Specialization], complements the practical skills that I'm particularly eager to share with [Company Name].

I'm excited about the possibility of contributing to [Something Notable About the Company or Its Mission]. I'd be grateful for the chance to delve deeper into how my expertise aligns with your needs.

Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

The Heart of Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume

Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application falls through.

After all, your cover letter is meant to complement your resume. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression in your cover letter, only for the hiring manager to never read it because your resume was mediocre.

But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered here, too.

Check out our dedicated guide on how to make a resume and learn everything you need to know to land your dream job!

Just pick one of our resume templates and start writing your own job-winning resume.

resume examples for cover letters

Key Takeaways

Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:

  • A cover letter is a 250 - 400 word document that’s meant to convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the job.
  • Your job application should always include a cover letter alongside your resume.
  • To grab the hiring manager’s attention, write a strong opening paragraph. Mention who you are, why you’re applying, and a standout achievement to pique their interest.
  • Your cover letter should focus on why you’re the perfect candidate for the job and why you’re passionate about working in this specific company.
  • Use the body of your cover letter to provide details on your skills, achievements, and qualifications, as well as make sure to convey your enthusiasm throughout your whole cover letter.
  • Recap your key selling points towards the end of your cover letter, and end it with a formal closing line and your full name signed underneath.

At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve every step of the way! 

Follow our career blog for more valuable advice, or check out some of our top guides, such as:

  • How to Make a Resume in 2024 | Beginner's Guide
  • How to Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) in 2024 [31+ Examples]
  • 35+ Job Interview Questions and Answers [Full List]

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The 46 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

Amanda Zantal-Wiener

Published: May 22, 2024

I’ve sent plenty of cover letters throughout my career, so I know it isn’t usually fun to write one. Fortunately, the cover letter examples I painstakingly gathered below show that it’s possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process.

 person types of a cover letter

I was shocked upon learning 45% of job seekers don’t include a cover letter when applying for a job. I definitely don’t recommend following the crowd on this matter because your cover letter is a chance to tell the stories your resume only outlines.

It’s an opportunity for you to highlight your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process.

Are you ready to showcase your unique skills and experience? Or are you looking for more tips and cover letter inspiration?

Keep reading for 40+ cover letter examples, then check out tips for cover letter formatting and what makes a cover letter great.

→ Click here to access 5 free cover letter templates [Free Download]

Table of Contents

Customizable Cover Letter Examples

Best cover letter examples, short cover letter examples, creative cover letter examples, job cover letter examples, career cover letter examples, what is a good cover letter, what’s on a cover letter, what makes a great cover letter.

In a hurry for a cover letter example you can download and customize? Check out the ones below from HubSpot’s cover letter template kit .

1. Standard Cover Letter Example

good cover letter examples, standard

5 Free Cover Letter Templates

Five fill-in-the-blank cover letter templates to help you impress recruiters.

  • Standard Cover Letter Template
  • Entry-Level Cover Letter Template
  • Data-Driven Cover Letter Template

Download Free

All fields are required.

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

What does a good cover letter look like in practice, and how can you make yours stand out? I found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.

Note: Some of these cover letters include real company names and NSFW language that I've covered up.

4 . The Cover Letter That Explains ‘Why,’ Not Just ‘How’

You may already know how to talk about how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?

The Muse , a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story.

I advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.

good cover letter examples, explains why

good cover letter examples, short and sweet

In an increasingly digitized world, where customer-centric strategies are vital for business success, I am thrilled to apply for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Introduction:

"To Whom it May Concern,

I am applying for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot. I have some experience in marketing and can help your clients grow their businesses."

Relevant Professional Experience

It can be tempting to use the same cover letter for every job. After all, it‘s about your experience, isn’t it? But it's not enough to rephrase the work history in your resume.

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to fill a specific role, so you need to show how your experience translates to their unique needs.

So, the body of a great cover letter should showcase the specific professional experiences that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Emphasize your accomplishments and skills that directly relate to what the job needs.

To speed up this part of the cover letter writing process, start by creating a list of your transferable skills . Drafting this list can help you quickly focus on the skills to highlight in your cover letter.

Then, use AI tools to summarize job descriptions and narrow in on where your experience and the needs of the role you're applying for overlap. This post is full of useful AI assistant tools if you're new to AI.

Helpful Cover Letter Experience:

“At [Company Name], I had the opportunity to assist a global ecommerce retailer in enhancing their online customer experience. By conducting in-depth market research and customer journey mapping, I identified pain points and areas of improvement in their website navigation and user interface.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Experience:

“I also worked with an ecommerce retailer to improve the customer experience. We did some surveys and training, and they were happy with the results.”

Useful Examples

To make your cover letter stand out, add specific examples that show how you've solved problems or gotten results in past roles.

Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible, using data to give the reader a clear understanding of your impact.

Helpful Cover Letter Example:

“I lead a team of five content writers while increasing website traffic by 18% year-over-year.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Example:

“I have a great track record of leadership and achieving fantastic results.”

Research and Company Knowledge

Hiring teams aren‘t hiring anyone with the skills to do the job. They’re hiring a person they'll work alongside at their specific company.

So, to show that you‘re not just looking for any job anywhere, share your knowledge of the company’s industry, values, and culture in your cover letter.

Spend some time on the company website and take notes on what makes this business interesting to you and why you would want to work there.

Then, explain how your skills align with the company's mission and goals and explain how you could add to their chances of success. This will showcase your interest in the company and help them see if you are a good cultural fit.

Helpful Cover Letter Research:

“I was particularly drawn to HubSpot not only for its industry-leading solutions but also for its exceptional company culture. HubSpot's commitment to employee development and fostering a collaborative environment is evident in its recognition as a top workplace consistently. I strongly believe that my passion for continuous learning, self-motivation, and dedication to contributing to a team will make me a valuable asset to HubSpot.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Research:

“I have been inspired by HubSpot's commitment to inbound marketing and its comprehensive suite of solutions. HubSpot's dedication to providing valuable content and fostering meaningful relationships aligns with my own values and aspirations.”

Clear Writing

Your cover letter needs to pack in a lot of important information. But it's also important that your cover letter is clear and concise.

To accomplish this, use professional but easy-to-understand language. Be sure to remove any grammar or spelling errors and avoid lengthy paragraphs and avoid jargon or overly technical language.

You may also want to use bullet points to make your letter easier to skim. Then, proofread your cover letter for clarity or ask a friend to proofread it for you.

  • Guide to Becoming a Better Writer
  • Tips for Simplifying Your Writing

Helpful Cover Letter Writing:

"In addition to my academic accomplishments, I gained valuable practical experience through internships at respected law firms.

Working alongside experienced attorneys, I assisted in providing legal support to clients. This hands-on experience helped me develop a deep understanding of client needs and enhanced my ability to effectively communicate complex legal concepts in a straightforward manner."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Writing:

"Furthermore, as a complement to my academic accomplishments, I have garnered invaluable practical experience through internships at esteemed law firms.

Throughout these placements, I actively collaborated with seasoned attorneys to conduct due diligence and furnish clients with comprehensive legal support. Notably, these experiences fostered a profound comprehension of client necessities, whilst honing my legal acumen to articulately convey intricate legal principles within a lucid and concise framework, adhering to applicable precedents and statutes of limitations."

Genuine Interest and Enthusiasm

Find ways to convey your passion for the role and how excited you are to contribute to the company you're applying to. At the same time, make sure your interest feels authentic and outline how it aligns with your career goals.

Your ultimate goal is an enthusiastic letter that feels honest and leaves a lasting positive impression.

Showing excitement in writing doesn't come naturally for everyone. A few tips that can help you boost the genuine enthusiasm in your letter:

  • Record audio of yourself speaking about the role, then use voice-to-text technology to transcribe and add these sections to your letter.
  • Choose your words carefully .
  • Write in active voice.

Helpful Cover Letter Tone:

“I am genuinely enthusiastic about the prospect of joining [Company/Organization Name] as an accountant. My combination of technical proficiency, eagerness to learn, and strong attention to detail make me an ideal candidate for this role. I am confident that my dedication, reliability, and passion for accounting will contribute to the continued success of your organization.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Tone:

“Honestly, I can hardly contain my excitement when it comes to reconciliations, financial statement analysis, and tax regulations! Engaging in spirited discussions with professors and classmates has allowed me to foster an unbreakable bond with the fascinating world of accounting, and I'm positively bursting with enthusiasm at the prospect of applying my skills in a professional setting.”

Memorable Conclusion

End your cover letter on a strong note. Summarize your top qualifications, restate your interest in the position, and express your interest in future communication.

Then, thank your reader for their time and consideration and include your contact information for easy follow-up.

To make your conclusion memorable, think about what parts of your letter you‘d most like the hiring manager to keep top of mind. Then, consider your word choice and phrasing. If you’re feeling stuck, this list of ways to close an email can help.

Helpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

"Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the opportunity to further discuss how my qualifications align with the needs of Greenpeace. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.

Together, let's make a lasting impact on our planet.

[Your Name]"

Unhelpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

"Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing my qualifications further and how I can contribute to Greenpeace's mission. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.

I’d like to add another stage to the job search: experimentation.

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search.

But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data I’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.

I certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will.

So, get inspired by these examples and templates. Write an incredible cover letter that shows the hiring team at your dream job exactly who you are.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure to learn more about how we use AI.

Professional Cover Letter Templates

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How to Start a Cover Letter To Keep Recruiters Reading

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Customers Interviewed by:

amazon

Writing a good cover letter starts with the first word, so you need to know how to start a cover letter right.

Starting a cover letter on the right note is crucial to grab the recruiter’s attention. Whether you’re struggling with a blank document or have a solid foundation, a cover letter needs a punchy opening to make an impact on the hiring team.

What are the key ingredients to starting the perfect cover letter?

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • What to include in your cover letter header.
  • How to start a cover letter greeting.
  • How to write an impressive cover letter opening paragraph.
  • How to start a cover letter off strong.
  • Examples of how to start a cover letter.

Each puzzle piece of your cover letter opener creates a detailed picture of who you are as a candidate. It proves to the recruiter that you’re worth contacting for a job interview . Make a standout first impression with your cover letter by including:

  • A header with your contact information.
  • A personalized greeting.
  • A powerful opening statement.

successful resume cover letter

Create your cover letter with AI to customize it for the job description. Optimize your cover letter and resume with Jobscan to get more interviews.

What to include in a cover letter header

The top of your cover letter should include a header with your critical contact information, like:

  • Your name and professional title.
  • Your phone number.
  • Your email address.
  • Your LinkedIn profile link.

You can also include other relevant links. These could be to your portfolio website, GitHub, Medium profile, or other industry-specific resources. They will help the recruiter understand your skills.

Include the date, the recipient, the company name, and the address or location of the organization. (This will depend on whether it’s an in-person, hybrid, or remote environment.)

Below is an example of a cover letter including personal information in the header with the date and company information below. This example was created with the Jobscan Cover Letter Generator .

a screenshot of a cover letter header with personal information and contact details

Use our Cover Letter Generator to save yourself time writing your cover letter. The header section will auto-populate based on your resume, so all the details match perfectly.

How to write a cover letter greeting

If you usually start your cover letters with “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern,” it’s time to reinvent your greetings. Not only is this a boring way to start a cover letter, it can come across as lazy.

With a little investigation, it’s easier than ever to find the names of the recruiters or hiring teams. By taking a little time, you can personalize your greeting to boost your chances of a recruiter reading your cover letter from start to finish.

Beat out the 84% of job seekers who don’t find the hiring manager’s name to personalize their applications and go the extra mile.

How can you find the right person to address in your cover letter?

Turn to LinkedIn or the organization’s website.

On LinkedIn, you can either search for the company’s recruiter or talent acquisition team members. Or you can go to the “People” tab of their LinkedIn page to explore the current employees.

Suppose you’re looking for a job at PCL Construction and want to find the name of the recruiter who will likely be reading your cover letter. You can go to the search bar and find the recruiter managing that department by city.

With just a quick search, you’ll find the hiring team members in charge of the role you’re applying for!

A screenshot of a LinkedIn search for a recruiter

You can also go directly to a company’s website and look for the “Team” or “About Us” page for information.

Targeting a greeting to a specific person is easier to do in smaller organizations. If you’re applying for a role at a large company, you can still write an engaging but more general greeting on your cover letter, such as:

  • Dear [Department] Hiring Manager,
  • Dear [Department] Team,
  • Dear [Director of or Head of] Department,
  • Dear [Company Name] Hiring Manager,

How to write a powerful cover letter opening paragraph

Recruiters spend just seven seconds scanning a candidate’s application , so it’s critical to capture their attention in the first line.

Be concise in your cover letter and choose your words with the desired impact in mind. Avoid falling into the old traps of opening your cover letter by stating what role you’re applying for and how you found it. Remember, you have a precious few seconds to illustrate how you can help the organization fulfill its needs, so make every sentence count.

Read the examples below and ask which one will have a greater impact on employers.

“I am thrilled to apply for the Research Analyst position at YouGov, where my experience in leading market research projects that boosted client engagement by 25% and my expertise in data interpretation have consistently delivered actionable insights and strategic recommendations. Using my skills in analyzing primary research data, I’m looking forward to helping your organization make data-backed decisions to drive growth and profitability in your projects.”

“I am excited to apply for the Research Analyst position at YouGov, an esteemed global online research company well-known for its accurate data and market insights. With my background in managing market research projects, interpreting data, and delivering actionable recommendations, I believe I can contribute significantly to your team.”

The point of your cover letter isn’t just to restate your skills from your resume . You need to prove the impact of your skills and how you’ll bring that impact to the organization.

It’s not about you, it’s about the company’s needs.

a breakdown of a cover letter template

Tips for writing a strong cover letter opener

Now that you know what puzzle pieces you need to start a cover letter right, here are some tips to help wow the recruiter with its content.

1. Let your enthusiasm and passion shine through

Your resume illustrates your skills and qualifications , but your cover letter is the place to tell a story. Share what company qualities excite you, what draws you to the organization’s mission or values, and what direct experience you have with the company’s product or service.

Communicating your enthusiasm gives the recruiter an idea of how engaged and dedicated you’ll be to your performance.

With over five years of hands-on experience in property management, I am deeply passionate about creating exceptional living experiences for residents. Your industry-leading services and premium standards in property management systems make me excited about the opportunity to bring my dedication and expertise to your esteemed team.

2. Mention any mutual connections

If you have a professional connection in the company or were referred to a position, name-drop that connection at the top of your cover letter. A connection can help boost your chances of getting an interview, especially if that person can act as a reference.

Give your connection a heads-up if you discovered the opportunity on your own without a referral. That way, if they’re asked about you informally by the hiring team, they’ll know to expect questions.

If you want to give your cover letter a boost with a connection, you can reach out to someone in the company before you apply. Be genuine and try to connect with someone on the team you would be working with. Ask an authentic question or reach out to discuss their experience in the company. Tell them you want to apply for an opening. But don’t try to reach out to anyone just to get a name to plug in your cover letter. It can come across as disingenuous.

My interest in the Health Systems Analyst role was significantly piqued after speaking with Jane Doe, an eHealth Policy Analyst at your organization. Jane highlighted the cutting-edge technology initiatives and collaborative atmosphere within your IT department, which align perfectly with my 7 years of experience in healthcare IT, focusing on electronic health records (EHR) systems and data security.

3. Incorporate your company research

Writing a compelling cover letter requires that you do some research to show the recruiter that you’re aligned with the company’s values, mission, and culture. You need to express to the recruiter why you want to work at their specific organization .

Keep an eye on industry news and learn about the company’s latest projects. By incorporating details about what the organization is currently achieving, you position yourself as a better interview candidate over other applicants.

Your recognition as an industry leader, demonstrated by winning the Best Employer Award for three consecutive years and your successful launch of the community outreach initiative, highlights [Company Name]’s dedication to both employee well-being and social responsibility. I have a track record of increasing employee satisfaction by 20% through strategic wellness programs and look forward to contributing to your continued success.

4. Highlight your most impressive achievement

A well-written resume illustrates your achievements , but your cover letter is the best vehicle to add context and tell a compelling story to show off your impact. You can directly tie it into the role you’re applying for and help the recruiter forge connections between what you have accomplished in the past to what you can achieve for the future—particularly for their company.

In my previous role as a project manager at Apex Management Co, I spearheaded a comprehensive cost-reduction initiative that saved $500,000 annually by optimizing supply chain operations and renegotiating vendor contracts. This accomplishment directly relates to the efficiency and budget management skills required for the Operations Manager position at your organization, where I am eager to contribute to your mission of streamlining processes and enhancing operational efficiency.

5. Clearly state your unique value

In a sea of applicants, it can feel difficult to set yourself apart. But the truth is, no one has the same combination of experience or skills you do. The key to standing out is learning how to frame your unique value to solve a company’s problems. Expand on the key skills listed in the job description and draw on your research of the organization to explicitly spell out how you’ll benefit the team.

With a unique blend of creative and technical skills, I designed a user interface for the HealthCo App that increased user engagement by 40% through user-centered design principles and rigorous usability testing. I am looking forward to bringing this expertise to your organization as a UX Designer, addressing your need for more engaging and intuitive user experiences, particularly as you expand your digital offerings.

6. Keep your cover letter short

Remember that you want the recruiter to read your cover letter from start to finish, so make sure every sentence is meaningful and cut out the fluff. There should be plenty of white space to break up the text and not overwhelm the reader.

Reference our cover letter examples for inspiration on crafting the perfect cover letter.

Let AI write your cover letter for you

Jobscan’s premium Power Edit includes a cover letter generator that harnesses the power of AI to write a customized cover letter based on your tailored resume and the job description. With one click, you’ll generate a cover letter that follows best practices.

You can use it as a framework to defeat blank page syndrome and include anecdotes, details about your mutual connections, and bits of information from your research to impress the hiring team. You can make any alterations in Power Edit and download the PDF when it’s done and ready to be attached to your tailored resume.

A screenshot of the cover letter generator in power edit

Key takeaways

Your cover letter could be the key to landing the interview. By following these essential tips on how to start a cover letter, you’ll capture the attention of the hiring team from the first sentence.

Remember these cover letter rules as you start your writing.

  • Make a clear opening statement that shows passion, knowledge, and your unique value.
  • Keep your cover letter short—stick to a few concise paragraphs to make it readable.
  • Be specific and clear about what you’ll bring to the role.
  • Stay away from humor—the tone can be difficult to read.
  • Avoid reusing the same cover letter and write a custom cover letter for each job.
  • Don’t overinflate your accomplishments or lie about connections that don’t exist.

When including your contact information on a cover letter or resume, make sure to provide the following details: Full Name: Your first and last name. Phone Number: A number where you can be easily reached. Make sure your voicemail is professional. Email Address: Use a professional email address, preferably one that includes your name. Mailing Address: Include your current street address, city, state, and zip code. LinkedIn Profile: If you have a LinkedIn profile that is up-to-date and professional, include the URL. Professional Website or Portfolio: If applicable, include a link to your personal website or online portfolio showcasing your work. This ensures potential employers have multiple ways to reach you and can view your professional online presence.

A good opening sentence for a cover letter can grab the reader’s attention and introduce your purpose for writing. Here are a few examples: For a job application: “I am excited to apply for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name], as advertised on [where you found the job posting]. With my background in [your field or relevant experience ], I am eager to bring my skills and passion to your team.” For a career change: “With a strong foundation in [current field], I am thrilled to apply for the [Job Title] role at [Company Name] to leverage my skills in [new field].” For a specific achievement: “Having recently led a successful [project or achievement], I am enthusiastic about applying for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name] to bring my expertise in [specific skill or area] to your innovative team.” For expressing enthusiasm: “I have long admired [Company Name]’s commitment to [specific value or mission], and I am excited to apply for the [Job Title] position to contribute to your impactful work with my experience in [relevant experience or field].” For a networking referral: “After speaking with [Referrer’s Name], I am inspired to apply for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name] where I can utilize my skills in [specific skill or area] to further your goals.” These starters aim to make a strong first impression by highlighting your enthusiasm, relevant skills, and connection to the company.

Your cover letter opening should contain the following key elements: Your Enthusiasm for the Position: Show genuine excitement and interest in the role you are applying for. This sets a positive tone and captures the reader’s attention. Specific Mention of the Job Title and Company Name: Clearly state the position you are applying for and the name of the company. This ensures the reader knows exactly what role you are interested in. Brief Introduction of Yourself: Include a concise introduction that highlights who you are and what you bring to the table. This can include your current role, relevant experience, or a key achievement. Connection to the Company: Mention something specific about the company that resonates with you, such as their mission, values, recent achievements, or reputation in the industry. This demonstrates that you have researched the company and are genuinely interested in working there. A Hook or Key Strength: Highlight a key skill or accomplishment that makes you a strong candidate for the position. This can be a significant achievement, a unique skill set, or relevant experience that sets you apart from other applicants. Here is an example that incorporates all these elements: “I am excited to apply for the Marketing Manager position at XYZ Company, where I can combine my passion for innovative marketing strategies with my skills in digital advertising. With over five years of experience in driving successful campaigns that increased brand awareness and sales, I am eager to bring my expertise to your dynamic team. I have long admired XYZ Company’s commitment to sustainability and innovative product development, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to contribute to your impactful work. My recent achievement in boosting social media engagement by 40% through targeted campaigns is a testament to my ability to drive results and my dedication to excellence.”

To start a cover letter greeting effectively, follow these guidelines: Address the Hiring Manager by Name: Whenever possible, find out the name of the hiring manager or the person responsible for hiring. Addressing the letter to a specific person shows that you have done your research and adds a personal touch. Use a Professional Salutation: Use a formal greeting such as “Dear” followed by the person’s title (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.) and last name. Avoid using first names or informal greetings. When You Don’t Know the Name: If you cannot find the hiring manager’s name, use a general but professional greeting such as “ Dear Hiring Manager ” or “Dear [Department] Team.” Avoid Outdated Phrases: Refrain from using outdated or overly formal phrases like “To Whom It May Concern.” A modern, professional greeting is more effective. Examples: When you know the hiring manager’s name: “Dear Ms. Smith,” When you know the hiring manager’s title and department: “Dear Marketing Team Lead,” When you don’t know the hiring manager’s name: “Dear Hiring Manager,” When applying to a specific department: “Dear Marketing Team,” Starting your cover letter with a proper greeting sets a professional tone and demonstrates your attention to detail.

author image

Kelsey is a Content Writer with a background in content creation, bouncing between industries to educate readers everywhere.

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Dive Into Expert Guides to Enhance your Resume

The Ultimate Cover Letter Writing Guide

The complete guide to writing an effective cover letter.

Greg Faherty

Any of these sound familiar? The simple answer is yes, having an effective cover letter is completely necessary and highly recommended and we’ll tell you  why you need a cover letter as well as a resume!

When you’re applying for a job, whether it be for an  entry-level  position after graduating or for a high-level executive vacancy with a  professional resume , a  cover letter is essential to make your application stand out .

Without this extra introductory letter, a resume alone could easily be discarded by a hiring manager. CareerBuilder  estimates you’re  10% more likely to miss out on an opening  if you don’t include a cover letter.

Writing a good cover letter  it’s not a skill many many people master, but that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible feat!

With our complete  cover letter guide , you’ll learn  how to write a cover letter  that will attract the hiring manager and convince them to read your winning resume.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is an extension to your job application.  It is not obligatory but including a well-written cover letter is  strongly advised by all human resource experts . By definition, a cover letter is an accompanying, explanatory letter.

All  jobseekers need a sales pitch  of sorts, they need to hook the reader and demonstrate to the hiring manager why they are the right person for the vacancy on offer. This style of  self-marketing for a job application  must come in the form of a  winning resume and cover letter combination  that complement one another.

A simple cover letter is an introduction to the candidate  behind the qualifications and experience. The aim is to show a prospective employer how you can take on the role and  what you can offer the company  in question.

Cover letters generally  follow a basic structure  and can be in either hard or digital format, that is to say, either printed and sent via regular mail or as a document scanned and attached to send digitally, or written directly in an  email cover letter .

Why include a cover letter on a job application?

If you want to stand any chance at all of  catching the eye of a potential employer , it is  imperative to include a cover letter  with your job application.

Simple – even if you  create an effective, outstanding resume , using all the right keywords and qualifications etc. it’s possible there are candidates more qualified than you or with more experience so it’s necessary to  add a cover letter to back up your resume  and allow the hiring manager to see more of your personal side that is relevant to the vacancy.

  • The cover letter demonstrates your communication skills.
  • The cover letter serves as an introduction to the resume.
  • The cover letter can be used to emphasize certain skills, or mention skills that you couldn’t fit on the resume (it serves as an addendum).
  • The cover letter is what you customize for each position, to show why you are the right person for “That” role, as opposed to the resume which stays pretty much the same for all applications.

A cover letter is the added value  that you need in a job application to ensure the call-back you’ve been waiting for.

To  create a unique, tailor-made job application , each candidate should use a cover letter to highlight their strengths and  elaborate on relevant achievements  that demonstrate their ability to take on the new responsibilities.

Is it practically always sensible and  appropriate to write a cover letter to accompany a resume for a job application  that should be customized for the role you’re applying to including any explanations of information that might be missing from the resume, such as employment gaps, traveling, periods of study etc.

The only time it is acceptable to not include a cover letter in your job application is if the job listing specifically requests that you do not.

Advantages of Writing a Cover Letter

A cover letter directly adds to the likelihood that you are called in for an interview and  gives you a better chance of being hired .

If you’re successful in  writing an effective cover letter , it will offer you the following advantages:

  • Hiring managers will see your added effort
  • Demonstrates you put in the time to learn about the company
  • It will add a personal touch to your application
  • It shows your enthusiasm for the opening
  • Hiring managers will become acquainted with your best qualities

Knowing exactly what is in a cover letter will ensure that it gives you a  major advantage  over the other applicants.

What are the 3 Types of Cover Letters?

Adding a cover letter is almost always essential, but  choosing the appropriate letter  will also be key. Depending on the job post you are applying for, you will need to select the best type of letter to send along with your resume.

There are  3 types of cover letters  that you can send to a hiring manager. The 3 types are:

  • Application cover letters
  • Letters of Interest
  • Email Cover letters

The letter you write is influenced by  whether you are going to apply for a job directly , citing a referral, or asking about vacancies that are not advertised.

Whatever the case may be, ensure that the cover letter is  specific to the job vacancy . It’s always important to avoid making a generic cover letter for every single job you apply for.

So, what are the 3 types of cover letters you should consider sending to a job recruiter?

Application Cover Letter

This is your  classic cover letter  that you send to a hiring manager when you spot a company advertising a job opening. When you want to directly apply for a position, it is mandatory to send this, unless you are specifically asked not to.

Using this letter, you can mention why you want to work for a specific company and why you are the perfect candidate for the position.

Letter of Interest

Say you notice a company that you would really like to work for. It fits your sector, and you know it offers great benefits and good pay. However, you  can’t find any openings  that match your skill set.

If that’s the case, you don’t need to sit around and wait for the company to have a job vacancy. You can take action with a letter of interest. This type of cover letter  states your interest in being employed  by a company that isn’t currently advertising any vacancies.

This type of letter goes by a couple of other names, such as:

  • Letter of intent
  • Statement of interest

Of course, since there is no vacancy there is no role you can specifically mention, which is the major difference between a letter of intent and a traditional cover letter. Your objective will be to  advertise yourself well enough  that an employer will just have to interview you.

Email Cover Letters

Over the years, the job application process has shifted to a nearly  100% online hiring process . Due to this, it may be necessary to send your cover letter  in an email  as part of your job application.

While applying, there may not be an option to upload your cover letter. Or maybe you would just like to send it in the  body of your email along with your resume . You can send it in one of two ways, in the body of your email or as an attachment (in PDF).

How to write a cover letter

A cover letter, although  short in length  generally, can take time to elaborate as it is important to get it right. Sometimes, due to the scarce space for writing, candidates find it difficult to know  what to include in a cover letter  and  what to leave out .

However, knowing  how to do a cover letter  can make all the difference to your job application and be the just the thing to capture the attention of a hiring manager.

A  professional cover letter  should be well-formatted, following a structure with a header, an opening paragraph, a second main paragraph, a final closing paragraph and a closing with signature/electronic signature.

To  begin writing a cover letter for a job application , candidates should analyze their skills, qualifications, accomplishments and experience to  decide which are the most fundamental aspects to include  in their personalized cover letter.

Next, each jobseeker will have to  select the most job-relevant  of these elements to include by  comparing them with the required or desired qualifications and experience  in the job description.

Finally, the applicant should choose some  memorable examples which demonstrate evidence  of each element included in their cover letter, aiming to  tell a story  which shows their aptitude concerning each skill or qualification.

Jobseekers should also ensure to explore  how to make a cover letter  for their specific role or industry because, similarly to resumes, each cover letter should be  tailored for the vacancy  and company to which it will be sent.

It is vital for candidates to  consider several factors when it comes to writing their professional cover letter . A jobseeker must review their  resume work history section  as well as any skills and honors included to find the  most pertinent experiences  that can be explored further. Detailing examples of when a candidate demonstrated certain abilities or expertise is how a candidate can convince a hiring.

One way to create a winning cover letter is to use an  online cover letter creator  or take advantage of cover letter templates as a stepping stone as well as checking out cover letter examples that can serve as a great source of inspiration for you to make your own  unique cover letter .

Our  cover letter builder  forms part of our resume builder and allows jobseekers to create a more complete job application. Users can write their cover letter with pro tips and design help thanks to our pre-designed templates. Read our  cover letter writing guide  to get to grips with  cover letter writing techniques  and tips before using our online cover letter builder!

How to Structure a Cover Letter

The  structure and layout of a cover letter  is essential to make sure the letter displays each point that you wish to get across  clearly and concisely . This means it’s necessary, in general, to follow a commonly-accepted format for an effective cover letter.

Similarly to a  resume format , designing and  writing a cover letter has certain rules  which should be adhered to in order to convey the necessary information in a brief and to the point introductory letter.

Check out some of the  cover letter best practices  as advised by human resources experts below:

  • It’s imperative to  begin a cover letter with a header , including the candidate’s name and contact information as well as the date. This  primary cover letter section  can also include the job title, website and other relevant personal information.

Following this, the  letter should include the details of the company  and person to whom you are writing, with the full name, job title or team, company name and address.

  • The main body of a cover letter should be divided into  three sections : an introduction, a bullet list of accomplishments followed by a paragraph highlighting skills, and a closing paragraph inviting the hiring manager to contact you. By using bullet points when detailing your achievements and capabilities, you can make sure that recruiters will be able to quickly pick out key information. This is especially important as studies have found that recruiters spend very little time reading each individual application.
  • Finally, the letter should be electronically or physically signed with your full name in a formal manner.

The universally-accepted  cover letter length  is no longer than one letter page, which in total has about  250-300 words  for the main body of text.

Don’t  repeat information  or be too detailed because hiring managers simply do not have the time to read it all and will simply skip to the next one.  Resumes that run over 600 words  get rejected 43% faster and cover letters can easily fall into this trap too.

Keep your cover letter short and sweet and to the point!

Get more  cover letter formatting advice  in our guide on  how to format a cover letter  with tips and information about all aspects of a good cover letter structure.

Cover letter advice

The  importance of including a cover letter  with your job application is often overlooked by jobseekers of all categories, however this can seriously reduce your possibilities of getting an interview with a prospective employer.

Therefore you need not ask yourself  when to write a cover letter  because the answer is just that simple – it is  always appropriate to include a cover letter in your job application , unless the listing explicitly requests that you do not.

Check out the following  expert cover letter tips  to create a winning cover letter that will convince the hiring manager to give you a call:

  • We may be quite repetitive with this one but the sheer quantity of resumes and cover letters that are disregarded simply for forgetting this  vital and basic rule  is incredible:  USE A PROFESSIONAL EMAIL ADDRESS  for your contact details and that does not include your current work email but a personal, suitable email address.
  • It is essential to remember to  maintain your focus on the needs of the company  you’re applying to and the requirements and desired abilities of the ideal candidate for the role.  Do not focus on how you can benefit  by becoming a member of their team, but on how the team can make the most of your experience and knowledge.
  • Remember to  highlight your transferable skills , especially in cases where you may not meet all the required qualities in the job description such as in student resumes and cover letters.
  • Each  cover letter for a job application, cover letters for internships , for further study or even volunteer experience should be  tailored to their specific organization  and position with the pertinent keywords.
  • Use specific examples to demonstrate the candidate’s individual capacity to take on the role and  tell a story with your cover letter  to convey more of your personality and passion towards the sector or profession.
  • Towards the  end of a cover letter , each candidate should write a convincing finish to entice the hiring manager and in sales terminology “ seal the deal ”.
  • Finally when you have completed your polished cover letter, potentially  one of the most important steps  in the process is to  PROOFREAD . Candidates should request that a friend, mentor, teacher or peer takes a look at their cover letter for not only  grammatical and spelling errors  but also any  unwanted repetition or unrelated information .

Some jobseekers doubt  whether a cover letter is necessary or not , but as most human resource professionals agree without a well-written cover letter, candidates lose the  possibility to demonstrate different aspects of their profile  from those included in their resumes which could easily be the deciding factor in your application!

An easy and fast way to write an effective cover letter for a job application is to employ an  online cover letter creator  that will offer advice on  how to complete a cover letter with examples  and HR-approved templates.

Cover Letter FAQs

What do employers look for in a cover letter, can a cover letter be two pages, what is the difference between a cover letter and a resume, should you put a photo on a cover letter.

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Resume Worded

Proven cover letter samples, curated by recruiters [updated for 2024].

Most people write generic, weak cover letters and wonder why they don't get interviews. So to help you, we've handpicked thousands of effective cover letters that got people like you hired. Use them as inspiration to write your own.

Table of contents

Data & analytics roles.

  • Data Engineer Cover Letter
  • Business Analyst Cover Letter
  • Data Scientist Cover Letter
  • SQL Developer Cover Letter
  • Supply Chain Planner Cover Letter
  • Program Analyst Cover Letter
  • Intelligence Analyst Cover Letter
  • Director of Analytics Cover Letter
  • Reporting Analyst Cover Letter
  • Data Specialist Cover Letter

Manager Roles

  • Program Manager Cover Letter
  • Project Manager Cover Letter
  • Product Manager Cover Letter
  • Operations Manager Cover Letter
  • Social Media Manager Cover Letter
  • Creative Director Cover Letter
  • Product Owner Cover Letter
  • IT Manager Cover Letter
  • Office Manager Cover Letter
  • Production Manager Cover Letter
  • Project Coordinator Cover Letter
  • Brand Manager Cover Letter
  • Construction Manager Cover Letter
  • Chief of Staff Cover Letter
  • Vice President of Operations Cover Letter
  • Chief Digital Officer Cover Letter
  • Project Leader Cover Letter
  • Technology Director Cover Letter
  • Director of Information Technology Cover Letter
  • Director of Operations Cover Letter
  • Director of Engineering Cover Letter

Engineering Roles

  • Software Engineer Cover Letter
  • Software Developer Cover Letter
  • Web Developer Cover Letter
  • Programmer Cover Letter
  • Front End Developer Cover Letter
  • Full Stack Developer Cover Letter
  • Java Developer Cover Letter
  • Python Developer Cover Letter
  • Quality Assurance Tester Cover Letter
  • Quality Engineer Cover Letter
  • Electrical Engineer Cover Letter
  • System Administrator Cover Letter
  • Scrum Master Cover Letter
  • Civil Engineer Cover Letter
  • Network Administrator Cover Letter
  • Mechanical Engineer Cover Letter
  • Network Engineer Cover Letter
  • Data Integration Architect Cover Letter
  • Engineering Manager Cover Letter
  • Service Technician Cover Letter
  • Platform Engineer Cover Letter
  • Automation Engineer Cover Letter
  • Project Engineer Cover Letter
  • Electronic Technician Cover Letter
  • System Engineer Cover Letter
  • IT Specialist Cover Letter
  • Packaging Engineer Cover Letter
  • Cloud Developer Cover Letter
  • ETL Developer Cover Letter
  • Sharepoint Developer Cover Letter
  • Audio Engineer Cover Letter
  • Industrial Engineer Cover Letter
  • Maintenance Technician Cover Letter
  • Solutions Architect Cover Letter
  • Implementation Specialist Cover Letter
  • Software Architect Cover Letter
  • PHP Developer Cover Letter
  • Biomedical Engineer Cover Letter
  • Security Analyst Cover Letter
  • IT Auditor Cover Letter
  • Director of Software Engineering Cover Letter
  • Environmental Engineer Cover Letter
  • Materials Engineer Cover Letter
  • UAT Tester Cover Letter

Finance Roles

  • Bookkeeper Cover Letter
  • Financial Analyst Cover Letter
  • Accountant Cover Letter
  • Financial Advisor Cover Letter
  • Auditor Cover Letter
  • Financial Controller Cover Letter
  • Purchasing Manager Cover Letter
  • Loan Processor Cover Letter
  • Finance Director Cover Letter
  • Credit Analyst Cover Letter
  • Finance Executive Cover Letter
  • VP of Finance Cover Letter
  • Claims Adjuster Cover Letter
  • Payroll Specialist Cover Letter
  • Cost Analyst Cover Letter

Marketing Roles

  • Marketing Manager Cover Letter
  • Event Coordinator Cover Letter
  • Content Creator Cover Letter
  • Content Writer Cover Letter
  • Video Editor Cover Letter
  • Marketing Executive Cover Letter
  • Digital Strategist Cover Letter
  • Brand Ambassador Cover Letter
  • Technical Writer Cover Letter
  • Director of Marketing Cover Letter
  • Brand Strategist Cover Letter
  • Campaign Manager Cover Letter

Administrative Roles

  • Virtual Assistant Cover Letter
  • Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
  • Executive Assistant Cover Letter
  • Research Assistant Cover Letter
  • Inventory Manager Cover Letter
  • Warehouse Manager Cover Letter
  • Administrative Coordinator Cover Letter
  • Project Administrator Cover Letter

Sales Roles

  • Account Manager Cover Letter
  • Account Executive Cover Letter
  • Sales Manager Cover Letter
  • Sales Associate Cover Letter
  • Real Estate Agent Cover Letter
  • Sales Engineer Cover Letter
  • Inside Sales Representative Cover Letter
  • Copywriter Cover Letter
  • Buyer Cover Letter
  • Director of Sales Cover Letter
  • Hotel Manager Cover Letter
  • Sales Coordinator Cover Letter
  • Engagement Manager Cover Letter
  • Sales Executive Cover Letter
  • Sales Leader Cover Letter
  • Relationship Manager Cover Letter

Design Roles

  • UX Designer (User Experience Designer) Cover Letter
  • UX Researcher Cover Letter
  • Architect / Architecture Cover Letter
  • Graphic Designer Cover Letter
  • Game Design Cover Letter
  • Interior Designer Cover Letter
  • Production Assistant Cover Letter
  • Art Director Cover Letter
  • Design Director Cover Letter

Legal Roles

  • Attorney Cover Letter
  • Lawyer Cover Letter
  • Underwriter Cover Letter
  • Contract Specialist Cover Letter

Other Roles

  • Recruiter Cover Letter
  • Demand Planning Manager Cover Letter
  • Consultant Cover Letter
  • Correctional Officer Cover Letter
  • Production Planner Cover Letter
  • Teacher Cover Letter
  • Plant Manager Cover Letter
  • Recruiting Coordinator Cover Letter
  • Business Owner Cover Letter
  • Site Manager Cover Letter
  • Orientation Leader Cover Letter

Research & Science Roles

  • Environmental Scientist Cover Letter

Medical Roles

  • General Nurse Cover Letter
  • Dental Assistant Cover Letter
  • Case Manager Cover Letter
  • Respiratory Therapist Cover Letter
  • Therapist Cover Letter
  • Care Coordinator Cover Letter
  • Occupational Therapist Cover Letter
  • Radiologic Technologist Cover Letter
  • Pharmacy Technician Cover Letter
  • Medical Technologist Cover Letter
  • Microbiologist Cover Letter

successful resume cover letter

Thank you for the checklist! I realized I was making so many mistakes on my resume that I've now fixed. I'm much more confident in my resume now.

successful resume cover letter

4 Cover Letter Examples (Plus Tips on How to Write Yours)

Getty Images

We love having examples. It’s so much easier to decorate a cake, build a model, or yes, even write a cover letter when you know what the end product could look like. So that’s what we’re going to give you—all the cover letter examples and tips you need to make yours shine (unfortunately we’re not experts in cake decorating or model building). 

You'll see that writing a cover letter is all about highlighting your relevant skills, professional experience, and accomplishments, while emphasizing your interest for the role in an engaging manner.

Want to get right down to business? Skip ahead to:

1. The traditional cover letter example

2. the impact cover letter example, 3. the writing sample cover letter example, 4. the career change cover letter example, bonus cover letter examples, a few more cover letter tips, why bother with a cover letter at all.

We bet when you see a job listing that says “ cover letter optional ,” you breathe a sigh of relief, gleefully submit your resume, and move on. But you’re truly doing yourself a disservice by not including a cover letter (or by writing one that’s super generic or formulaic).

“When you’re writing a resume you’re oftentimes confined by space, by resume speak, by keywords—you’re up against a lot of technical requirements,” says Melody Godfred, a career coach and the founder of Write in Color who’s read thousands of cover letters over the course of her career. “In a cover letter you have an opportunity to craft a narrative that aligns you not only with the position you’re applying to but also the company you’re applying to.”

Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a data scientist or marketing manager position, an internship or a senior-level role, a startup or a Fortune 500 company, you’re going to want to tailor it to the role, company, and culture. A strong, customized cover letter will help you explain your value proposition and stand out from the stack of applicants. 

If there’s a gap in your resume , you have the opportunity to explain why it’s there. If you’re changing careers, you have the chance to describe why you’re making the switch. If your resume is pretty dull, a cover letter helps you show some personality . And yes, cover letters still get read.

Deep in the job search, or just browsing? These open jobs on The Muse could be your ideal next step »

What do I write in a cover letter? The 3 basic elements

You'll notice from our cover letter examples that the body of your text can vary a lot depending on factors like the position you're applying for, your career stage, and the type of cover letter requested by the hiring manager. For instance, a writing sample cover letter is different from a traditional professional cover letter (we'll get there soon.)

However, there is some information that you can't leave out. It's important to highlight your most relevant experience, skills, and qualifications for the role in any type of cover letter. Plus, make sure to write an engaging first paragraph to grab the reader's attention, and an effective final paragraph, ideally followed by a call to action, in order to leave a lasting positive impression.

You could say that cover letters are a little like puzzles. When you put each component in its proper place (and remove any parts that don’t fit), you create a complete picture. Even though that picture is always different, the types of pieces are basically the same. We've broken down these three key elements for you:

1. An engaging opener

How you start a cover letter is everything. Your opening lines influence whether someone keeps reading—and you want them to, right? “Starting with something that immediately connects you to the company is essential—something that tells the company that this is not a generic cover letter,” Godfred says. “You have to say something that tells the employer, ‘I wrote this just for you.’”

It can be a childhood memory tying you back to the company’s mission. It can be a story about the time you fell in love with the company’s product. It can be an anecdote from another job or experience showing how hard of a worker you are. Whatever you decide to open with, make it memorable.

2. A clear pitch

Use the next few paragraphs of your cover letter to “hit them with the strongest results you have that are aligned with the opportunity,” Godfred says. Ryan Kahn , Muse career coach and founder of The Hired Group , calls this your pitch. In other words, the part where you’re “selling yourself for the position and why you’re qualified for it.”

Additionally, Godfred says, “If you’re someone who’s transitioning careers, and you need to explain that transition, you do it there.”

This section should have a balance of soft and hard skills . Talk about your experience using Salesforce or doing SEO work, but also highlight your ability to lead teams and communicate effectively.

“Companies are embracing authenticity, they’re embracing humanity, they’re looking for people who are going to fit their culture,” says Godfred. “So what are your values? What do you stand for? These values should be as much a part of your cover letter as the super specialized hard skills.

3. A great closing line

Your closing line could include your next steps or a call to action, Kahn says, such as “ I welcome the opportunity to speak with you more about how I can contribute to the team ,” or, “ I would love to schedule a time for us to discuss this role and my experience. ” But more importantly, “You want to make sure that you’re gracious and thanking them,” he says. While seemingly cliché , it never hurts to end on a simple, “ Thank you for your consideration. ”

Does that sound a bit overwhelming? Don’t panic! We’ve got examples of four types of cover letters below: a traditional cover letter , an impact cover letter , a writing sample cover letter , and a career change cover letter . So let’s take a look at these examples, why they work, and how you can use them to craft your own.

A traditional cover letter is similar to what you’d come up with using position-based cover letter templates . It moves in reverse chronological order through your career history, highlighting parts of your past jobs that make you well suited for this position.

You might want to use this type of cover letter if:

  • You’re applying to a more formal company (like a law firm or major healthcare company ) or a more conventional role (like a lawyer or accountant).
  • You want to play it safe and conservative with your application materials.

What does the job description say?

Imagine you’re applying to a paralegal job opening at a law firm. The job description might include:

Responsibilities

  • Draft routine legal documents for review and use by attorneys
  • Coordinate and organize materials and presentations for legal proceedings
  • Research legal and related issues and report findings and conclusions to team
  • Provide overall legal administrative support to the legal team
  • Maintain calendars and ensure timely filings

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent of relevant education and work experience
  • Strong communication skills (oral and written)
  • Strong organizational , multitasking, and prioritization skills
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite and LexisNexis
  • Trustworthy, positive, energetic, and optimistic attitude with a willingness to roll up your sleeves

The cover letter example

Here’s an example of a traditional cover letter you could write for this role—keeping things strictly professional but without sounding too boring or jargon-y:

Dear Ms. Jessica Sanchez,

In my five-year career as a paralegal, I have honed my legal research and writing skills, and the attorneys I’ve worked with have complimented me on my command of case law and litigation support. Spiegel Law Firm’s 20 years in practice proves that the firm has strong values and excellent attorneys, and I’d be eager to join such a talented team.

I currently serve as a paralegal for Chandler, Chandler, and Greene, where I work closely with the partners on a number of high-priority cases. During my time here, I implemented a new calendar system that ensures timely filing of court papers. This system has prevented missed deadlines and allowed for better organization of internal and client meetings.

Previously, as a paralegal for the Neuerburg Law Firm, I received praise for my overall support of the legal team and my positive attitude. While working there, I came up with and implemented a plan for digitizing their old files while still ensuring security and privacy. This led to more efficiency when preparing for client meetings and legal proceedings.

My further qualifications include a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, a paralegal certificate, and training in LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Microsoft Office Suite.

I would love the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to your legal team. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Chase Broadstein [email protected] (222) 222-2222

Download this example

Why this works

This cover letter example is short, sweet, and to the point. It shows the candidate has a knack for getting things done in a thorough and timely manner and a track record for helping out wherever needed. The opening lines also express a genuine interest in this specific firm. Plus, there are some important keywords in there like “calendar system,” “bachelor’s degree,” “paralegal certificate,” and “LexisNexis.”

The impact cover letter puts your accomplishments front and center rather than organizing your paragraphs by past roles. You might use a cover letter like this if:

  • You’re applying for roles where you’re expected to deliver on certain goals or results (for example, if the jobs involve sales quotas or marketing metrics).
  • You haven’t followed a straightforward career path and your past job titles don’t show the extent of your qualifications.
  • You want your personality to stand out a bit more than it might in a traditional cover letter.

What does the job description say

Imagine you’ve come across an opening for an email marketing manager . Part of the job description states:

  • Manage email marketing strategy and calendar, including copywriting, optimization, monitoring, analyzing, and reporting on campaigns
  • Improve campaign success through conversion optimization, A/B testing, and other experiments
  • Collaborate with the design team to ensure brand guidelines are followed in emails
  • Partner and collaborate cross-functionally with sales, product, product marketing, and data teams
  • 3+ years in email marketing
  • Experience with Constant Contact, Google Analytics, HTML, CSS, Photoshop, and Microsoft Excel, a plus
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and an eye for copyediting
  • Strong interpersonal , relationship-building, and stakeholder management skills
  • Excellent project management, problem-solving , and time management skills, with the ability to multitask effectively

Here’s an example of an impact cover letter where the writer’s hard skills and successes stand out:

Dear Russ Roman,

I have a problem. See, my inbox currently (and embarrassingly) hosts 1,500 unread emails—including newsletters from at least 50 different brands.

But this problem only fuels my passion for creating emails that are worth opening. Because from my perspective, as someone who can barely get through their own stack of mail, that’s a true win.

I’ve been following Vitabe for years, and can proudly say that I open every single email you send to me. I’m a sucker for a good subject line—“Take a Vitamin-ute—We’ll A-B-C You Soon” being my favorite—and the way your email content feels both fun and expert-backed really speaks to me. This is why I’m thrilled to submit my application for a role as email marketing manager at your company.

I have over four years of experience working in the email marketing space. In my current role at Westside Bank, I was able to implement new email campaigns centered around reengaging churned clients. By analyzing data around the types of clients who churn and the engagement of our current email subscribers, as well as A/B testing headlines and newsletter layouts, we were able to increase email subscribers by 15% and convert 30% of those subscribers to purchase our product, a significant increase from the previous year. 

I also launched a “Your Credit Matters” newsletter focused on educating our clients on how they spend and manage their credit—which became our highest performing campaign in terms of open-rates and click-through to date.

Previously, as a member of the marketing team at Dream Diary Mattresses, I collaborated with the sales and product team to understand how I could best support them in hitting their quarterly goals. One specific project involving creating personalized emails for customers drew more people to come back to our site after 30 days than direct paid ad campaigns, leading to a 112% increase in revenue from the last quarter.

I take the content I write and the calendars I manage seriously, editing and refining beyond detail-oriented and into meticulous territory, and I feel my experience and drive would greatly help Vitabe further develop their email program for success.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Lad Miller [email protected] (987) 654-3210

This sample cover letter concisely highlights the applicant’s most significant, relevant achievements. By adding context to how their projects were created, monitored, and completed, they’re able to show just how results-driven they are and how they’ve successfully leveraged some of the skills the company is looking for.

One thing worth noting: This person didn’t include keywords such as Constant Contact, Google Analytics, HTML, CSS, Photoshop, or Microsoft Excel—all of which are listed in the job description. But those skills are most likely in their resume already, and leaving them out gives them the space to discuss specific projects and tell a story not visible on other parts of their job application.

For roles where written communication is key, such as PR, copywriting , or journalism jobs, your cover letter will likely be the first writing sample your future employer sees. So it’s just as important to show your skill set in action through eloquent writing.

  • Writing or editing is a key component of the role you’re applying to.
  • You want to show off your creativity.

Here’s part of a job description for a staff writer position:

  • Pitch and write articles, reporting on timely issues and trends
  • Collaborate with editorial and other teams to launch each digital issue and other special projects on schedule
  • Evaluate content performance and digital trends on a daily basis to constantly adjust pitches and packaging
  • Utilize CMS tools, strategically select photos and videos, and request original graphics to optimize all written content for maximum engagement
  • At least 2-3 years of experience creating content at a digital-first outlet
  • Strong writing and reporting skills, and the ability to write clearly and quickly
  • Familiarity working in a CMS and with analytics tools such as Google Analytics
  • Deadline-driven, strategic thinker with a knack for crafting click-y headlines
  • Strong collaborator who thrives in fast-paced environments

Have fun with this one, but triple-check for spelling and grammar mistakes, and make sure you’re showing off your best writing. Here's the cover letter sample:

Dear Tai Chen,

Since I could walk, I’ve been dancing. And since I could read, I’ve been glued to Arabesque Weekly. At one point, you featured one of my local heroes—a ballerina who struggled with an injury early in her career and went on to become a principal dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet—and I plastered the article above my childhood bed. It’s still there today.

That article—and so many others you’ve published—taught me that dancing was about more than just pirouettes and arabesques and that the right kind of writer can shed light on aspects of the art that make it surprising, impactful, and universal. I can be that writer.

As an editorial assistant at TheImprovGroup.com for the past two and a half years, my main responsibility was to get all of our content ready to go live on the site. This included fact-checking, proofreading, adding in HTML where necessary, and finding photos, videos, and GIFs that would complement the content and optimize audience engagement. 

As I tinkered with each post, I became intimately familiar with our internal CMS. Reviewing every single article we published and following reactions and engagement helped me gain a deep understanding of what makes a piece really land with our audience.

But by far my favorite aspect of this role has been writing. Each week, I pitch and write at least one article, from 250-word news items to 900-word advice pieces to even longer profiles, features, and personal essays. I love the challenge of developing pitches that align with the trends we see in the data, reflect with the company’s brand and mission, and allow me to flex my creative muscles.

Collaborating with my team to form the best content library we can has been a dream come true. I would be so excited to use my experience to help Arabesque Weekly achieve its goals. And I hope to one day write a story that another little dance lover tapes to their wall forever.

It would be an honor to be a part of your editorial team, and I look forward to the possibility of discussing the opportunity with you.

Hoping to be your next staff writer,

Marlee Wood [email protected] (555) 666-4433

This candidate is clearly passionate about this specific publication and leads with a unique personal anecdote tied to the company’s mission that demonstrates their ability to tell stories in a compelling way. There are relevant keywords and phrases, sure, but they’re not just thrown in there. Their voice comes through in every sentence, proving this person knows how to communicate effectively and creatively.

Cover letters can play a big part in helping career changers prove their qualifications—especially when it’s unclear how their skills transfer over to this new field.

You might write a career change cover letter if:

  • You want to highlight the transferable skills you have that relate to the job description.
  • You want to explain why you’re making the switch and what’s driving you toward this specific industry, company, or position.

Imagine you’re someone who has experience supporting a sales team as an administrative assistant , and you’re now looking to become a sales representative. You come across a job posting that includes:

  • Develop new sales techniques and strategies to build pipeline and hit team goals
  • Coordinate with other teams to increase lead-generation efforts
  • Assist in the processing of new business, including contacting customers to finalize sales and service transactions
  • 1-3 years of successful sales experience
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment
  • Ability to work independently to plan, set priorities, and effectively organize work
  • Proven ability to be persuasive, persistent, and confident in closing a sale

Typically, this type of cover letter should include a compelling narrative about your career change and how you can transfer your past experiences to this new role. Here’s how you might translate your past experience over to this new (and exciting) prospect:

Dear Maria Russo,

The head of sales at Sunshine Inc. was in a bind. She needed six client meetings scheduled, 18 service transactions processed, and a summary of the team’s new lead generation campaign drafted before getting on a flight to Austin—in three hours. So she turned to her cool-headed, sales-savvy administrative assistant for help. That assistant was me. Not only did I execute everything on her to-do list, I did it all before her plane left the ground.

For three years, I worked in lockstep with a busy, growth-oriented sales leader to support the business development team. As the sole administrative assistant in the department, I balanced a swath of competing priorities, ranging from coordinating meetings and inputting data to contacting customers, finalizing transactions, and creating promotional materials. This role helped me develop a comprehensive understanding of the sales cycle, sales strategy, and pipeline growth.

Like many others, my career path hasn’t been entirely straightforward. After leaving Crabapple Media, I enrolled in a local coding bootcamp. Six months later, I emerged with a certificate in computer programming and a certainty that I did not want to be a coder. But education is never wasted. I’m now an aspiring sales representative with experience supporting a thriving sales team and extensive knowledge of the tech space.

Here’s a little bit more about how my experience would translate into this role:

  • At Crabapple Media, I assisted in coordinating three annual sales strategy rollouts, yielding an average increase in pipeline of 26% YoY.
  • At Sunshine Inc., I supported 12 independent team members in their lead-generation efforts. I also assisted in processing an average of 300 sales transactions every quarter.
  • I thrive in busy, ever-changing environments that require me to communicate clearly and concisely. Supporting a high-volume team and a busy executive helped me to hone these skills—I typically sent more than 200 emails a day!

I would, of course, love to schedule a time for us to discuss this role and my experience, and I truly want to thank you for considering me.

All the best,

Olu Abiola [email protected] (123) 456-789

The opener draws you in and makes you want to learn more. It toots the person’s horn, but in a way that’s substantiated. Then, the next couple sections explain their experience in the sales space and other relevant qualifications, before eventually tying that back to why they’re applying to this specific job. 

Similar to the impact cover letter, the author lists some of the more important qualities they bring to the table, doing a bit of keyword inclusion and resume gap explaining along the way.

To further guide you, check out some more cover letter examples:

  • Pain point cover letter example
  • Internship cover letter example
  • Recent graduate cover letter example
  • (Another) career changer cover letter example
  • Stay-at-home parent returning to work cover letter example
  • Sales cover letter example
  • Email marketing manager cover letter example
  • No job description or position cover letter example (a.k.a., a letter of intent or interest)
  • Example cover letter with no experience

Let’s break down one of our example cover letters real quick

All three professional cover letter examples have some key elements that make them great and able to grab the hiring manager's attention. Check out this handy infographic that breaks down our impact cover letter:

infographic of impact cover letter example pointing out different elements of cover letter

Here are a few more tips to help the cover letter process:

Start with a “brain dump” 

If you’re staring at a blank page, Godfred always recommends that her clients start by getting all their ideas on the page without paying attention to length. Then “ask yourself how you can cut half of it,” she says. You’ll likely find that repeated information and very generic phrases are the first to go. (If it’s still too long, here are some tips for getting your cover letter down to one page .)

Don’t just repeat your resume

You only have so much space to get your point across, so focus on the information that isn’t stated elsewhere rather than simply regurgitating your resume. A good cover letter should complement your resume, so use the opportunity to elaborate your skills and qualifications further, as well as your accomplishments and why you're a good fit for that position.

Focus on quality over quantity 

Target the jobs you’re most closely drawn to and qualified for and give them all your energy, rather than trying to churn out hundreds of cover letters, Kahn says. You may not be able to apply to as many jobs, but you’ll have a better response rate.

Remember the ATS 

Much like your resume, an applicant tracking systems, or ATS , will be sifting through your cover letter. So you’ll want to scatter relevant keywords from the job description throughout your pitch where it makes sense.

Don’t stress over formatting 

You may see flashy cover letter examples across the internet, but for the most part, it just isn’t necessary. An ATS can’t read text that has been formatted beyond using bold, italics, underline, and color, so keep your font and layout simple—especially if you’re submitting your cover letter through an online portal.

Don't forget your contact information

Include your contact information on every page, including your name, phone number, and email. “Imagine you come across a cover letter and you print it out with a bunch of applications to review and it doesn’t have the person’s contact information on it,” Godfred says. “You never want to put yourself in a situation where you’re the right person and they can’t find you.”

Edit your cover letter before submitting

Never submit a cover letter right after you finish writing it—there could be critical errors that you didn't notice while typing. Take some time away from your text, then revisit it like you're reading someone else's letter. Be sure to double-check all the information you've included, paying special attention to:

  • The company's name
  • The hiring manager's name
  • The job title
  • Your contact information
  • Basic grammar and spelling

You're ready to go

If you've come this far, you're equipped with all the information you need to craft a great cover letter. Hopefully these cover letter examples help as you go to tackle your own. Remember: This is just one small step in the process! Take your time, but learn to move on when you’ve given it your all.

Amanda Cardoso contributed to the latest version of this article.

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The Only Cover Letter Guide You’ll Need in 2024 (+Examples)

  • Kaja Jurcisinova , 
  • Updated January 16, 2024 13 min read

Oh, the dreaded cover letter. Job seekers hate writing it and nobody knows if anybody even reads cover letters anymore. And yet, not attaching one to your application would be a terrible mistake. This cover letter guide will tell you not only why to write one, but also how to write a really good one.

But first , why does everyone hate writing cover letters so much?   After all, a cover letter gives you a unique opportunity to distinguish yourself from others.

In comparison with a resume, the cover letter allows you to provide details that didn’t fit in on your resume and demonstrate your passion.

All the negativity that surrounds the cover letter probably comes down to the fact that good cover letters require a bit of alchemy. They also take time to write.

This guide will help you avoid any mistakes and write a strong cover letter that will catch the recruiter’s attention. We also include cover letter examples.

Generally speaking, you want to make your cover letter:

  • easy to read for the recruiter;
  • well-structured;
  • max 4 paragraphs/1 page long;
  • professional in both tone and greetings;
  • tailored for the specific opening.

Let's get to it!

Table of Contents

Click on a section to skip

Why should you write a cover letter?

How do recruiters read cover letters, how to write a great cover letter in 9 simple steps.

  • What if you're told to NOT submit a cover letter? 

Final cover letter tips and hacks

Cover letter examples.

So, how exactly is the cover letter important for your job application? 

Some may argue that the cover letter in 2024 isn't really relevant anymore. In fact, one study stated that only 18 percent of hiring managers think cover letters are a key part of an application.

However, don’t get fooled by these statistics. While your resume may be considered more important during the hiring process, including a well-written cover letter can increase your chances of landing a job. 

For instance, 83% of hiring managers would be convinced by a really good cover letter — even if the resume wasn’t good enough, according to this study .

And there's more to it.

Some of the key advantages of the cover letter are:

  • It’s much less structured than the resume and lets you develop a story. 
  • It gives you space to get a little more creative. 
  • Your personality can shine through thanks to it.
  • You can elaborate on key achievements mentioned in your resume.
  • It helps explain a lack of experience, career change, or an employment gap.

In other words, the cover letter is a perfect chance to bridge the distance between you and a recruiter even before the actual job interview . 

Pro tip: Before writing a cover letter, make sure that you have a powerful resume that matches the job description. Because if your resume doesn’t fit a desired profile, your cover letter probably won’t get read at all. To learn more, you may want to check out our  Ultimate Resume Guide .

First, they read them to decide if you’re the right fit for a position. For this reason, avoid generic write-ups at all costs. What recruiters love to see is a short persuasive argument of why you fit the role and the company. Something like this: 

“I was happy to hear about this job opening from my former manager, Jane Anne. She and I have worked together on many projects throughout the years and she thought that I would be the perfect match for this position.“

Second, recruiters are looking for inconsistencies . For instance, if your resume shows attention to detail but your cover letter is addressed to the wrong person, wrong company, and is filled with typos, it's inconsistent. You want to ensure the number of inconsistencies is kept to a minimum.

Third, they're trying to get a hint of your personality . Cultural fit is important to many companies.

So, throughout the process of cover letter writing, it's essential to keep in mind the recruiter who's going to be the recipient of your letter. 

Because at the end of a day, a good cover letter shouldn't be solely about you — it's supposed to be written with the hiring manager in mind. 

So ask yourself:  

  • Is my cover letter easy to read?
  • Have I addressed the right person in the opening?  
  • Will it help them decide if I'm the right fit?
  • Did I use the right tone of voice that fits their company culture?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, our cover letter guide is exactly for you.

Writing a cover letter may seem like a challenging task at first but if you know a few key cover letter rules, the process can become much easier. 

Before you start writing your cover letter, find out more about the company you're applying for. Look at their website and LinkedIn . The research also includes looking at the job description very closely and identifying any recurring keywords. Also, search for specific cover letter examples for the role online.

Placed at the very beginning of your cover letter, the header is where you include your contact information (i.e. your full name, email address, phone number) and the company's contact information (i.e. the manager’s or recruiter’s name, job title, department, the name of the company, company’s address). 

When in doubt, try to use this formula: Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise.  The result can look something like this: 5 Ways I Can Help You Improve Your Company’s [insert a position-related keyword]

If the name of the hiring manager isn't written in the job posting, research their name and contact information online. For example, look at the company's page or LinkedIn. Then, greet them by saying "Dear [first name]" . If, however, the company culture is very formal, go for the classic "Dear Hiring Manager" .

The first paragraph is the perfect place to shortly explain why the job seems exciting to you and why you’re the right person for it .  You can also compliment the company or name a mutual acquaintance who referred you.

Try to answer these questions: 1. What did you do at a previous position that gave you relevant experience?  2. How could this experience help the new company grow? 3. Which of the projects you have worked on would benefit their business? 4. Which of your skills make you well-equipped for the position?  5. Do any of these skills give you an edge over other candidates?

The following questions should help you : What excites you about the idea of working at this company? How do the company goals align with your own? What do you hope to gain and learn from working there?

In the cover letter closing paragraph : reiterate that your experience and enthusiasm make you a great candidate, add a confident call to action, express gratitude, and always use a formal sign-off.

You can either attach the cover letter as a separate document in the email when sending your resume , or send it directly in the body of the email (that way they can't ignore it).

In the following chapters we look at each step more closely and include specific examples you can copy and paste.

Step 1: Prepare and do some research 

Knowledge is power. Before you begin writing:

  • Find out more about the company and the position you're applying for. Spend some time on the company’s website, its executives’ Twitter feeds, and employee profiles on LinkedIn. It will also help you decide on the tone of your cover letter. For example, if it’s a company like Kickresume , you can easily get away with more unusual approaches. But if it’s a conservative institution, like a bank or a lawyer's office, you should probably keep it formal.
  • Search for specific cover letter examples for your role online . Pick some examples that fit your role and use these for inspiration. (By the way, that link just now will take you to our database of successful cover letters from real people who got hired. Totally worth checking out.)
  • Look at the job descriptions of the roles you’re applying for . Identify major experience and hard skill keywords, so you can insert them in your letter in the relevant sections.

Once you've done this basic research, you can finally start thinking about the structure of your cover letter. 

This short infographic will show you that writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might have thought: 

Step 2: Include a header with basic info rmation

Placed at the very beginning of your cover letter, the header is the place where you should include your contact information and the contact information of the company. 

A cover letter is still a letter, after all. 

At the left side of the page include the information based on which you can be reached by the recruiter. 

Here, make sure to include: 

  • your full name
  • your email address
  • phone number

Optionally, you can also add:

  • your professional title
  • address (if it vaguely matches the location of the job offer)
  • current date
  • personal website/LinkedIn

The top right side of the page is reserved for company-related information. Here, you should put: 

  • the manager’s or recruiter’s name (if available)
  • job title 
  • the name of the company
  • company’s address

Not a fan of writing?

Our AI writer will write the first draft of your cover letter for you.

Step 3: Write a strong cover letter headline

When you’re browsing the web, what articles usually catch your attention? Those with great headlines, of course! 

The same applies to cover letter headlines.

Start by paying attention to the headlines around you — especially in tabloids and websites like Buzzfeed (Is Buzzfeed still a thing? How very 2010s of me). These are usually designed to stir up your interest and make it impossible to not click through. 

Notice how they use numbers, questions, and interesting adjectives to promise the reader to learn something valuable.

And you can do the same in your cover letter.

When in doubt, try to use this formula: Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise. 

The result can look something like this: 

  • 3 Reasons Why I’m An Excellent Fit For [Job Position]
  • Are You Still Looking To Fill The Position Of [Job Position]? This Is Why I Believe I’m Exactly Who You’re Looking For
  • 5 Ways I Can Help You Improve Your Company’s [insert a position-related keyword]

Finally, don’t forget to adjust your header to the company’s level of formality and put your headline in the subject of the email.

Step 4: Use the correct form of greeting

In this time and age, there’s no excuse for using “To Whom It May Concern.”  

If the name of the hiring manager isn't written in the job posting, you’re expected to research their name and contact information online. For example, look at the company's page or LinkedIn. 

Once you have their name, feel free to go for a personalized greeting: 

“Dear [first name]” or “Dear Mr./Mrs. [last name]” 

Honorifics (e.g. Mr., Mrs., Ms .) are more appropriate if the company’s culture is formal. 

And if you cannot find the recruiter’s name, it's okay to go for a generic: 

“Dear Hiring Manager”, or “Dear Recruitment Officer”

Alternatively, you can address the letter to the whole company team or the HR department. In this case, your greeting should look like this: 

“Dear [name of the company/department] Team” or “Dear Human Resources”

Step 5: First paragraph: Introduce yourself with a BANG!

The best way to start a cover letter is to open strong. The first impression matters the most and busy recruiters often have a chance to properly dive into only a few selected cover letters. 

So if you make your first paragraph captivating, chances are that your letter will be one of the lucky ones that actually end up being read. 

In fact, the first paragraph is the perfect place to shortly explain why the job seems exciting to you and why you’re the right person for it. 

While most people begin their letters with “I’m applying for the position X I saw in Y place,” it's a waste of space. 

Instead, open with a sentence like this:

“I’m a content marketing professional with more than 5 years of experience and I’d love to bring my ability and passion to your team.”

In the first paragraph, you can also:

  • Compliment the company. Show that you know details about the company and you’re approaching it for a reason. For example, demonstrate appreciation for what the company does. Not only will this flatter them, but it will also provide them with insight into who you are.
  • Name a mutual acquaintance if you can. This is sometimes called a “magic bullet,” as it’s the one thing that will assure the hiring manager reads your cover letter until the end. 

However, limit the introduction to 1-3 sentences. This isn’t the place to go into detail about what makes you ideal for the role — save that for the second and third paragraphs. 

Step 6: Second paragraph: Explain why you’re a great fit for the company

The second paragraph is the place where you should sell yourself and your experience.  

Here, write a short summary of your career, skills and accomplishments, tailored to fit what the company is looking for. 

You already did your research, so now it's time to ask yourself these questions and try to address them in your cover letter:

  • What did you do at a previous position that gave you relevant experience? 
  • How could this experience help the new company grow?
  • Which of the projects you have worked on would benefit their business?
  • Which of your skills make you well-equipped for the position? 
  • Do any of these skills give you an edge over other candidates?

After you’ve picked the most relevant accomplishments, put them at the start of your letter. 

However, when talking about them, avoid sounding like you’re bragging. The best way of doing this is to focus on your experiences rather than yourself . Ideally, support your claims with concrete examples.

Also, mention any other additional relevant hard skills or knowledge areas they’re looking for, as well as any qualifications.

Finally, the second paragraph is the perfect place for showing that you’ve done your research. Demonstrate that you’re familiar with some of the challenges that the company faces and present how you can help them.

Pro tip: Don’t simply repeat the same things you’ve already put on your resume. You want to go beyond that (this applies to every other section of your cover letter). 

Step 7: Third paragraph: Explain why the company is a great fit for you 

In this paragraph, you want to show that you’re serious about developing your career at this new company. And good companies want to know why they appeal to you and how will your professional relationship be mutually beneficial. 

Consider addressing the following questions:

  • What excites you about the idea of working at this company?
  • How do the company goals align with your own?
  • What do you hope to gain and learn from working there?

For example, you can say something like this: “I've seen on your website that you heavily focus on cryptocurrency projects. As a cryptocurrency enthusiast, I would love to join your team”.  

However, don’t go overboard with flattery and stay professional. 

Also, don’t say anything that isn't true or you don’t mean it, as it will probably come up again in the later stages of the application process.

Step 8: Closing paragraph: Finish strong and stay in touch

Now that you’ve nailed the main part of your cover letter, you also want to finish strong. This way, the recruiter will remember you in a good light. But how do you achieve that? 

  • Reiterate that your experience and enthusiasm make you a great candidate. This is to emphasize the two main points from the previous paragraphs. Do this in one or two sentences, not more. 
  • Add a confident call to action. In a sentence or two, you should suggest the next steps. Something like “ I would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the value I can bring to [company]."
  • Express gratitude. Simply thank them for their time and for considering your application.
  • Always use a formal sign-off. Something like “ Sincerely , Best wishes , or Respectfully” . Finish by typing out your full name. 

Step 9: How do you send a cover letter?

I can’t stress this enough — unless it's specifically required to attach the cover letter to the body of the email,  consider not sending your cover letter as a document attached to your email. 

Instead, put it inside the body of the email . The email itself is now your cover letter! This way the recruiter won't ignore it.

However, remember that hiring managers receive hundreds of emails a day. So if you want your email to get read, it's the subject line that's likely to play the most important part. 

As we've advised before, if you have a good resume headline, simply put it in the email subject. 

However, if you’re unhappy with the result, you have other options, too. 

For instance, if you have a reference, include it already in your email subject line: 

Referral from Jose Nachos: Pedro Tacos, candidate for a senior software analyst position

If you don't have a reference or a catchy headline, check out more tips on how to write the best subject line for your email .

Finished writing your cover letter?

Make it stand out with an eye-catching design.

What if you're told to NOT submit a cover letter? 

Today, many companies are using online application systems that discourage applicants from attaching a cover letter. 

Instead, they have their own application systems where in different sections you're required to fill in the information you would normally place in your cover letter.  

If this is the case, just work with the format they gave you.

In other words, include the same information that you'd normally have in your cover letter but place it in the correct sections. 

And don’t forget to follow the cover letter principles: 

  • explain why you're the right candidate;
  • make it clear that you've researched the company well;
  • indicate in what way you'd be an asset;
  • mention your biggest past achievements.

Because no matter the format, you're still expected to present your skills and convey enthusiasm about the job.

Alternatively, you can also try to find a relevant manager or a recruiter online (either on the company pages or LinkedIn) to whom you can send a brief follow-up email with an attached cover letter. 

Now that we've covered the basics, there are several other tips that you should keep in mind to elevate your cover letter to the next level: 

  • Keep it short. Limit your cover letter to three to four paragraphs and a maximum of one page. Hiring managers are busy people who often don't have time for reading long texts.
  • Keep it clean and easy on the eye. Take a look at how this article is written. It’s replete with short paragraphs, sentences typed in bold letters, bullet points, and numbers. All of these make reading and searching for specific information easier. So, never send a letter that looks like an unreadable wall of text. The easiest way to achieve a sleek cover letter design is to use a pre-formatted cover letter template . 
  • Don’t risk being funny if it ’ s a company with a formal work culture. Poorly executed humor will hurt your chances rather than help. Being direct and dynamic is a much surer way to catch the recruiter’s attention than a number of jokes. On the other, if the company is smaller or known for its creative products, being original may in fact help your chances! 
  • Show, don’t tell. Usually, there’s no point in saying you’re “a dependable hard worker” or “a creative thinker.” Why should anyone believe such generic statements? Instead, offer an example of how these qualities helped you achieve something in the past.
  • Never write the same letter twice. A cover letter should always be tailored to a specific job application. Remember the previous sections? You’ve made a great effort to research the company and its hiring managers, so you’ve written your cover letter accordingly. This is a process you need to repeat with every application (ugh, I know). 
  • Check for typos. This goes without saying but make 100% sure your cover letter is without typos. There’s no reason to believe you're competent if you can't even type without errors. Moreover, typos automatically reveal almost criminal carelessness on your part, since every text editor nowadays has a spellchecking feature. 
  • Don't use any buzzwords. Your cover letter needs to be authentic and persuasive — and buzzwords are neither. If anything, they simply give the impression of you being someone who's just trying to fit a skewed idea of what an ideal corporate employee should be. Instead, focus on using relevant keywords from job descriptions.

Now, if you have no experience yet because you're just starting out or you're changing careers, writing a cover letter can be scary. However, a well-written letter can actually be your best friend.

And this is how you write the perfect cover letter with no experience .

In the end, there are many different ways to write a great cover letter. And even if you follow the cover letter guide above, you’ll end up with a cover letter that's invariably your own. 

It all depends on your own personality, the position you’re applying for, and the hiring manager’s preferences. 

And that's good, actually! 

Still, there's a lot to learn from cover letters written by other people. That's why we've selected five cover letter samples that deserve your attention. 

Each of these helped real job seekers find real jobs in real companies. They'll teach you valuable lessons you can use in your own cover letter.

1. Norwegian — Cabin Crew Cover Letter Example

This cover letter sample was provided by a real person who got hired with Kickresume’s help.

2. Volvo — Machine Learning Intern Cover Letter Example

3. tory burch — account executive cover letter example, 4. lush — sales associate cover letter example, 5. romeo — social media officer cover letter example.

Do you still need some more inspiration? You can find more examples in our cover letter library

FAQ: How to write a cover letter

250 to 400 words is the standard cover letter length range. A cover letter should never exceed one page.

Yes! Show that you can go that extra mile and stand out from the crowd of applicants.

Ideally, use a pre-formatted cover letter template. Then use a simple and professional font, such as Times New Roman. The font size should be between 10-12.

If you have the name of the hiring manager, try to find their contact on the company page or LinkedIn. If you still can't find the right person, you can address it to the whole team or HR.

This article was recently updated. The original article was written by Martin Poduska in 201 7.

Kaja Jurcisinova is a junior copywriter at Kickresume. Kaja completed her undergraduate degree in Art History at the University of St Andrews in 2018 and graduated with a Master’s in Arts and Culture from the University of Groningen in 2021. She was an intern at multiple cultural institutions across Europe, including the Dutch Museum Association in Amsterdam, the Matter of Art Biennale in Prague, and the European Cultural Centre in Venice. At the moment, she resides in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland.

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How to Write a Cover Letter

successful resume cover letter

Advice for tackling one of the toughest parts of the job-hunting process.

Perhaps the most challenging part of the job application process is writing an effective cover letter. And yes, you should send one. Even if only one in two cover letters gets read, that’s still a 50% chance that including one could help you. Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. Next, catch the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter with a strong opening line. If you have a personal connection with the company or someone who works there, mention it in the first sentence or two, and try to address your letter to someone directly. Hiring managers are looking for people who can help them solve problems, so show that you know what the company does and some of the challenges it faces. Then explain how your experience has equipped you to meet those needs. If the online application doesn’t allow you to submit a cover letter, use the format you’re given to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role.

No one likes job hunting. Scouring through online job listings, spiffing up your résumé , prepping for grueling interviews  — none of it is fun. For many, the most challenging part of the process is writing an effective cover letter. There’s so much conflicting advice out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Do you even need one, especially if you’re applying through an online system?

  • Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast , and the author of two books: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict . She writes and speaks about workplace dynamics. Watch her TEDx talk on conflict and follow her on LinkedIn . amyegallo

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  • Cover Letter

Try these Google Docs cover letter templates

Anna Muckerman

1. Spearmint

3. geometric, 4. modern writer, 1. vancouver, 3. amsterdam, 5. santiago.

Google Docs is one of the most popular text editing software and with good reason—this cloud-based service is backed by the world’s leading tech company, meaning Google Docs is reliable, easy to use, and always at your fingertips. 

While you could create your cover letter in Google Docs from scratch, the platform also offers five cover letter templates that allow you to plug in your information and save precious time during your job search. In this blog, we’ll look at all five Google Docs cover letter templates, along with some alternatives if they don’t suit your style. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Does Google Docs offer cover letter templates?
  • The pros and cons of each template: Spearmint, Swiss, Geometric, Modern Writer, and Plum
  • Alternative templates to try

How to craft an effective cover letter

About half of hiring managers say a strong cover letter has convinced them to give an interview to a candidate they might have disregarded based on a resume alone. Writing a cover letter is always worth your time!

Source: LinkedIn

What templates does Google Docs offer?

Whether you’re new to Google Docs or have been using it for a while, you may not have noticed that the platform offers a wide variety of templates from reports and brochures to meeting notes and project proposals. For job seekers, the collection of five resume and cover letter templates is particularly useful.

The five cover letter templates currently offered by Google Docs are Spearmint, Swiss, Geometric, Modern Writer, and Plum. You can access them by clicking on “Template Gallery” found on the upper right side of the Docs homepage. Let’s look at the details of each style:

The Spearmint template is the first of the Google Docs cover letter template collection. This template gets its name from the bright green bar at the top of the page which adds a fun pop of color. Below are pre-created sections for your name, your contact information, and the hiring manager’s details. Don’t forget to include the date between the two. The rest of the template is straightforward, with space to address the reader, add several paragraphs of text, and end the cover letter with your name.

  • Pros of this template : A fun accent bar that can be adapted to your style preferences. Complements the matching Spearmint resume template.
  • Cons of this template : May be too simple for candidates in more creative fields.
  • Who we recommend this template for : First-time job seekers, students, hospitality, and customer service professionals.

The second Docs cover letter template is called Swiss and features significantly more creative flair than the first option. This template offers a bold space for your name with your job title in flashy orange below. There’s also space for your details in the left column while the hiring manager’s information goes on the right. The text sits squarely in the center of the page adding extra emphasis and creating a more attention-grabbing layout.

  • Pros of this template : Makes a bold statement and features a modern layout. Matches the Swiss Google Docs resume template.
  • Cons of this template : The center placement of the text is less reader-friendly and can also make your cover letter appear longer.
  • Who we recommend this template for : Creative professionals, artists, photographers, and anyone who needs a touch of design flair for their cover letter.

Geometric is, perhaps, the boldest of the Google Docs cover letter template collection. It features square patterns on both the upper right and the bottom of the page. This design features your name in a bold purple and your contact details in a more subdued gray. The date is listed in pink, followed by light gray text for the hiring manager’s information. There is room for three short paragraphs of text before your signature.

  • Pros of this template : A striking design with bold color choices and a unique pattern means your cover letter is sure to stand out.
  • Cons of this template : While the text color can be changed, the design colors at the bottom of the page cannot. This template also features less space for writing than others.
  • Who we recommend this template for : Sales and marketing professionals, architects, executives, and self-employed people.

Ironically, the fourth Docs cover letter template, named Modern Writer, is not as modern as the name might suggest. Your name is placed in all caps at the top of the page where it’s sure to grab attention. A thick line divides the page before offering room for your personal contact details. The date is set to pink by default, although the color can be changed. There is no space dedicated to the reader’s details. The body of the letter spans across the page and is set to a typewriter-esque font with 1.5-line spacing by default. Besides an all-caps, pink placeholder for your signature, there are no other design details on the page.

  • Pros of this template : Simple and draws attention to your name. 1.5-spaced text is easier to read.
  • Cons of this template : The two font styles feel mismatched, although they can be updated based on your preferences. There is no place for the reader’s information.
  • Who we recommend this template for : Administrative assistants, tech professionals, writers, teachers, academics, and social workers.

The final cover letter template available in Google Docs is called Plum. It’s described as a template for an “informal letter”. The placeholder for your name is a stylized italics font followed by the date. There is no space dedicated for your contact information or the addressee’s details, so you would need to add this information yourself. The greeting is in a larger-than-life font and there’s also a bolded introduction sentence, a feature not found on any of the other templates. This template features plenty of space to write.

  • Pros of this template : Offers enough space to contain longer cover letters. Emphasizes the greeting and introduction to capture the reader’s interest.
  • Cons of this template : There is no place dedicated to your contact details or the hiring manager’s information—a must for any complete cover letter. Could come across as too informal in certain situations.
  • Who we recommend this template for : Marketing, advertising, media, and social media professionals.

Alternative cover letter templates to try

While Google Docs provides a simple framework to begin crafting your cover letter, the template collection may feel limiting for some job seekers. If you’re looking for additional designs, you might want to consider one of the 27 professionally designed templates available in the Resume.io cover letter builder. Here are some of our favorites:

We love this template for many reasons, but one of them is that it’s completely free to use and download! It features a clear header that draws attention to your name and job title, plus space to include all of your contact information. Beneath the elegant dividing line, you can add the hiring manager’s information and find plenty of space to write a compelling cover letter.

How can I create a cover letter for free?

Create a cover letter for free by trying out the Vancouver template inside of Resume.io’s cover letter builder or by using one of the Google Docs templates listed above.

This template is professional and classy, while still making a statement thanks to its subtle left-hand bar that can be edited to a color of your choosing inside of the intuitive cover letter builder. Another strong point of this template is the modern and elegant font style and the ability to download it as either a PDF or DOCX file depending on the employer’s preference.

If you need to make a statement, but color is not an option, Amsterdam is the right template for you. Featuring a bold box for your name and job title along with two clean dividing lines, Amsterdam is sure to make the hiring manager take notice without being over the top.

With a collection of full-page backgrounds to choose from, Rio is almost five different templates in one. Whether you’re into autumn reds, ocean blues, geometric orange patterns, soothing greens, or playful purple, Rio boasts creativity with unique font styles and subtle dividing lines.

Traditional doesn’t need to be boring. As a classic cover letter template, Santiago features a stately font and ample room for your contact details at the top of the page. Below the clean dividing line, you’ll find plenty of room to let your expertise shine as the star of your cover letter.

Is it OK to use a cover letter template?

Cover letter templates are designed to save you time and guesswork when it comes to creating a professional application, so it’s definitely OK to use a cover letter template. However, it’s important to choose a style that reflects your industry and experience level. You should also modify your cover letter template for every job you apply to. A professional cover letter builder can make this easier to accomplish.

Choosing a template is an important first step in creating a professional and convincing cover letter for a job application. Whether you’ve decided to go with a Google Docs cover letter template or an alternate choice, the information on your cover letter should still follow the same basic structure. Here’s what to include:

  • Cover letter header . Start by neatly listing your contact details and the date. For an extra strong first impression, use matching cover letter and resume templates for a consistent header look.
  • Greeting . Create a personal connection and show that you’re serious about the position by addressing the hiring manager by name. At a larger company, this may not be possible, so make sure the greeting at least contains the company or department name.
  • Introduction . Grab the reader’s attention by introducing yourself and your most relevant experience and skills.
  • Body . Dive into your relevant experiences, skills, and achievements and show how they align with the employer’s needs based on the job description.
  • Conclusion . Wrap up your story by summarizing your qualifications and reiterating your interest in the role. Don’t forget a call to action.
  • Signature . End with a professional goodbye, including your name. For letters submitted online, your typed name can serve as your signature.

One easy way to get started writing your cover letter is to look at an example! Check out our collection of free, copyable and adaptable cover letter samples for 300+ job titles.

Key takeaways

Google Docs cover letter templates provide a simple way to get started crafting your cover letter with five different styles to choose from. Each style has pros and cons so make sure to choose the one that is most appropriate for your industry and experience level. If you’re looking for more options, check out Resume.io ’s ever-expanding collection of cover letter samples, with adaptable examples to help you get started. 

No matter which layout you choose, make sure to include your name, contact information, a customized greeting, and a strong body section to make a good first impression and increase your chances of landing the job.

Effective cover letter keywords to get you hired: with 350+ examples

  • Crimson Careers
  • For Employers
  • Harvard College
  • Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
  • Harvard Extension School
  • Premed / Pre-Health
  • Families & Supporters
  • Faculty & Staff
  • Prospective Students
  • First Generation / Low Income
  • International Students
  • Students of Color
  • Students with Disabilities
  • Undocumented Students
  • Explore Interests & Make Career Decisions
  • Create a Resume/CV or Cover Letter
  • Expand Your Network
  • Engage with Employers
  • Search for a Job
  • Find an Internship
  • January Experiences (College)
  • Find & Apply for Summer Opportunities Funding
  • Prepare for an Interview
  • Negotiate an Offer
  • Apply to Graduate or Professional School
  • Access Resources
  • AI for Professional Development and Exploration
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Climate, Sustainability, Environment, Energy
  • Government, Int’l Relations, Education, Law, Nonprofits
  • Life Sciences & Health
  • Technology & Engineering
  • Still Exploring
  • Talk to an Advisor

CREATE A STRONG RESUME

  • Share This: Share CREATE A STRONG RESUME on Facebook Share CREATE A STRONG RESUME on LinkedIn Share CREATE A STRONG RESUME on X

GETTING STARTED

  • ACTION VERBS

RESUME SAMPLE

Optional category examples.

  • RESUME TEMPLATE (BULLET POINTS)
  • RESUME TEMPLATE (PARAGRAPH FORMAT)
  • COVER LETTER TIPS
  • COVER LETTER SAMPLE

A resume is a concise, informative summary of your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and skills, and differentiate you from other candidates seeking similar positions. Although it alone won’t get you a job or internship, a good resume is an important factor in obtaining an interview. Tailor your resume to the type of position you’re seeking. This doesn’t mean that all of your experiences must relate directly, but your resume should reflect the types of skills the employer would value.

  • Draft a resume using one of the MCS templates .
  • Attend a Resume Workshop to learn the nuts and bolts of getting started. See the MCS events calendar for dates.
  • View the recorded MCS Resume Webinar .
  • Get advice via drop-ins, Monday-Friday, 1:00-4:00pm. Ask quick career-related questions and have an advisor review your resume.
  • Look for industry-specific resume review clinics, listed on our events calendar in employer events.

RESUME TIPS

Resume language should be:.

  • Specific rather than general
  • Active rather than passive
  • Written to express not impress
  • Articulate rather than “flowery”
  • Fact-based (quantify and qualify)
  • Written for people who scan quickly

TOP SIX RESUME MISTAKES:

  • Spelling and grammar errors
  • Missing email and phone information
  • Using passive language instead of “action” words
  • Not well organized, concise, or easy to skim
  • Not demonstrating results

DON’T:

  • Use personal pronouns (such as I)
  • Use a narrative style
  • Use slang or colloquialisms
  • Include a picture
  • Include age or gender
  • List references
  • Start each line with a date
  • Be consistent in format and content
  • Make it easy to read and follow, balancing white space
  • Use consistent spacing, underlining, italics, bold, and capitalization for emphasis
  • List headings (such as Experience) in order of importance
  • Within headings, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
  • Avoid information gaps such as a missing summer
  • Be sure that your formatting will translate properly if converted to a .pdf

PLAN TO WORK INTERNATIONALLY?

Resume guidelines can vary from country to country. See our international resources.

ACTION VERBS FOR YOUR RESUME

AccomplishedAchievedAdministeredAnalyzedAssignedAttainedChairedConsolidated
ContractedCoordinatedDelegatedDevelopedDirectedEarnedEvaluatedExecuted
HandledHeadedImpactedImprovedIncreasedLedMasteredOrchestrated
OrganizedOversawPlannedPredictedPrioritizedProducedProvedRecommended
RegulatedReorganizedReviewedScheduledSpearheadedStrengthenedSupervisedSurpassed
AddressedArbitratedArrangedAuthoredCollaboratedConvincedCorrespondedDelivered
DevelopedDirectedDocumentedDraftedEditedEnergizedEnlistedFormulated
InfluencedInterpretedLecturedLiaisedMediatedModeratedNegotiatedPersuaded
PresentedPromotedPublicizedReconciledRecruitedReportedRewroteSpoke
SuggestedSynthesizedTranslatedVerbalizedWrote
ClarifiedCollectedConcludedConductedConstructedCritiquedDerivedDetermined
DiagnosedDiscoveredEvaluatedExaminedExtractedFormedIdentifiedInspected
InterpretedInterviewedInvestigatedModeledOrganizedResolvedReviewedSummarized
SurveyedSystematizedTested
AssembledBuiltCalculatedComputedDesignedDevisedEngineeredFabricated
InstalledMaintainedOperatedOptimizedOverhauledProgrammedRemodeledRepaired
SolvedStandardizedStreamlinedUpgraded
AdaptedAdvisedClarifiedCoachedCommunicatedCoordinatedDemystifiedDeveloped
EnabledEncouragedEvaluatedExplainedFacilitatedGuidedInformedInstructed
PersuadedSet GoalsStimulatedStudiedTaughtTrained
AdministeredAllocatedAnalyzedAppraisedAuditedBalancedBudgetedCalculated
ComputedDevelopedForecastedManagedMarketedMaximizedMinimizedPlanned
ProjectedResearched
ActedComposedConceivedConceptualizedCreatedCustomizedDesignedDeveloped
DirectedEstablishedFashionedFoundedIllustratedInitiatedInstitutedIntegrated
IntroducedInventedOriginatedPerformedPlannedPublishedRedesignedRevised
RevitalizedShapedVisualized
AssessedAssistedClarifiedCoachedCounseledDemonstratedDiagnosedEducated
EnhancedExpeditedFacilitatedFamiliarizedGuidedMotivatedParticipatedProposed
ProvidedReferredRehabilitatedRepresentedServedSupported
ApprovedAcceleratedAddedArrangedBroadenedCatalogedCentralizedChanged
ClassifiedCollectedCompiledCompletedControlledDefinedDispatchedExecuted
ExpandedGainedGatheredGeneratedImplementedInspectedLaunchedMonitored
OperatedOrganizedPreparedProcessedPurchasedRecordedReducedReinforced
RetrievedScreenedSelectedSimplifiedSoldSpecifiedSteeredStructured
SystematizedTabulatedUnifiedUpdatedUtilizedValidatedVerified

(click on sample for pdf)

The document is a detailed resume sample for a student named Firstname Lastname. It includes contact information and various sections such as Education, Experience, Leadership, Skills & Interests. The Education section lists degrees from Harvard University and the University of London, including GPAs, relevant coursework, and extracurricular activities. The Experience section details roles such as Marketing Analyst Intern at Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages, Assistant Account Executive at Thomas Wilck Associates, and Technology Intern at Tech Hills, describing specific tasks and achievements. Leadership experience is demonstrated through roles in Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business and the Harvard College Marathon Challenge. The resume also lists technical skills in software like Stata and SQL, language proficiencies in French and Spanish, and personal interests such as ultimate frisbee and French films. The format includes clear headings, bullet points for easy reading, and consistent presentation of data.

RESUME TEMPLATE 1 (WITH BULLET POINTS)

The document is a resume template designed for a student from Harvard University. It includes sections for personal contact information, education details, experience, leadership and activities, and skills and interests. The education section allows for listing degrees, GPA, thesis, relevant coursework, study abroad experiences, and high school information. The experience section is structured to include job titles, organization names, locations, and dates, with bullet points to describe responsibilities and achievements using action verbs and quantifiable results. Leadership and activities follow a similar format, emphasizing roles and contributions. The skills and interests section is divided into technical skills, language proficiency, laboratory techniques, and personal interests. The template is formatted for clarity with headings, subheadings, and optional notes to guide customization.

RESUME TEMPLATE 2 (PARAGRAPH FORMAT)

successful resume cover letter

WRITE AN EFFECTIVE COVER LETTER

Your cover letter is a writing sample and a part of the screening process. By putting your best foot forward, you can increase your chances of being interviewed. A good way to create a response-producing cover letter is to highlight your skills or experiences that are most applicable to the job or industry and to tailor the letter to the specific organization to which you’re applying.

successful resume cover letter

Some general rules about letters:

  • Address your letters to a specific person if you can.
  • Tailor your letters to specific situations or organizations by doing research before writing your letters.
  • Keep letters concise and factual, no more than a single page. Avoid flowery language.
  • Give examples that support your skills and qualifications.
  • Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What can you write that will convince the reader that you are ready and able to do the job?
  • Don’t overuse the pronoun “I”.
  • Remember that this is a marketing tool. Use plenty of action words.
  • Have an MCS advisor provide feedback on your letter.
  • If converting to a .pdf, check that your formatting translates correctly.
  • Reference skills or experiences from the job description and draw connections to your credentials.
  • Make sure your resume and cover letter are prepared with the same font type and size.

SAMPLE COVER LETTER

September 1, 2024

Morgan Smith  Director of Communications Jumpstart  308 Congress Street, 6 th Floor Boston, MA 02110 

Dear Morgan Smith: 

I am a senior at Harvard College studying History and Literature. I am writing to apply for the Marketing and Communications position at Jumpstart posted in Harvard’s Crimson Careers database. I’m very excited about the field of education, and would welcome the opportunity to bring my strong communication skills, creativity, and marketing experience to your growing team. 

Jumpstart’s commitment to early education for every child is of particular interest to me because of my passion for youth development. This past summer, I worked as a senior counselor in the Summer Urban Program, which is dedicated to preventing summer learning loss for children in the Boston and Cambridge area. I designed and taught fun, interactive classes to a group of 10 fifth graders, and planned and led local field trips and workshops daily with a junior counselor. Throughout the summer, I consistently strived to create math, science, and reading lessons and activities that were engaging and tailored to my students’ needs. 

Additionally, in my role as the Director of Marketing for the Social Innovation Collaborative, I led our team in creating a social media strategy to drive our member recruitment efforts and promote our programs and events on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. With so many competing events on campus each day, I had to continually be creative in my approach to developing and delivering content that would be compelling and effective. As a result of my efforts, our group experienced a 20% increase in our membership base and a 15% increase in our social media engagement. I’m excited at the prospect of bringing the skills I developed through this experience to the Marketing and Communications role at Jumpstart. 

Thank you for your consideration. I very much look forward to the opportunity to speak with you in person about my interest in this position. 

Sincerely, 

Alex Crimson 

The difference between a cover letter and a resume

Understanding the difference between a cover letter and a resume is essential. While both cover letters and resumes play a crucial role in your job application, they serve distinct purposes and convey different information. So is a resume a cover letter? Learn everything you need to know in our cover letter vs. resume breakdown.

Is a resume a cover letter (and vice versa)?

A resume and a cover letter are two separate documents, each with a unique purpose. A resume details your professional and academic history. It includes information such as your: 

  • Work experience
  • Educational background
  • Certifications
  • Other achievements

A resume should provide a complete overview of your professional journey, making it easier for employers to assess your qualifications for a particular role. 

A cover letter complements your resume. It should be a one-page document that concisely provides personalized information about who you are as an applicant. Use it to share why you are interested in the position and how your skills and experiences make you a great fit. Tell your story and highlight your most relevant achievements. 

The biggest takeaway from the cover letter vs. resume comparison is that they should complement one another. Don’t just reiterate the same information in each document. Your resume should present “just the facts,” whereas your cover letter links your professional experience to the job you are applying for. 

Cultural contexts

Both resumes and cover letters are important when applying for jobs. However, the style and format of each can vary slightly depending on the specific cultural context and market. 

Some European countries, for instance, consider the cover letter to be one of the most important aspects of the application process. Employers expect you to share details about your personal life and experiences, as they understand that these experiences will impact how you work.

In contrast, some parts of Asia focus heavily on the resume itself. It’s not uncommon for the document to be several pages long. Applicants can use this additional space to detail internships, projects, and other unique experiences that make them stand out from other candidates. 

However, even if the employer you want to work for doesn’t require a cover letter, including one is always a good practice. It allows you to explain your motivations for applying and showcase why you’ll be a good fit. 

For example, suppose that you are transitioning to a new industry. In a situation like that, a cover letter can help you explain how your skills are transferable and why you are excited about the new field. 

Key differences between a cover letter and a resume

Here are the key differences between a cover letter vs. resume: 

While both your resume and cover letter should be concise, your resume can be up to two pages in length. The goal of your resume should be to give a comprehensive overview of your experience. 

In contrast, your cover letter should never exceed one page. It should be focused primarily on convincing a hiring manager that you’re a good fit for the position you are applying for.

Experiences and qualifications

A resume focuses on providing a thorough record of what you’ve achieved and what makes you a qualified candidate. It includes descriptions of your past job roles, educational accomplishments, skills, and certifications. Each section should showcase your abilities and demonstrate how your background makes you a suitable candidate.

A cover letter should be much more selective. Rather than listing everything you’ve done, highlight a few key achievements that are particularly relevant to the position you are applying for. This is not the time to be subtle. Instead, directly spell out your professional experience and how you intend to apply that knowledge to your new role. 

You’ll use a resume to provide a detailed overview of your professional history. The document makes it easy for employers to assess your qualifications. 

Resumes are often used as a reference throughout the hiring process. Hiring teams may even compose interview questions based on the information you provide on your resume. In other words, hiring managers may use this document as a starting point for a deeper dive into your background. 

In contrast, a cover letter gives you an opportunity to share more about who you are, not just what you’ve done. You can use it as an opportunity to express your enthusiasm for the role and explain why you want to work there. A cover letter is helpful because it allows you to put your experience in context.

Check out our resume examples to gain inspiration for creating your own job application documents.

Expert Tip:

Keep your paragraphs short, but use your cover letter to tell a story about how your experience or interests align with the company’s goals and the position you’re applying for.

Similarities and best practices

We can’t wrap up the cover letter vs. resume conversation without exploring the similarities between the two and sharing some best practices to help you land an interview. When you are composing these vital documents, you should: 

Choose appropriate formats and fonts

Always select a clean and professional format. Use a readable font like Arial or Times New Roman and keep the font size between 10 and 12 points. Additionally, it’s important that you give your document room to breathe by leaving enough white space between sections to make it skimmable and easy to read. 

Cover letter templates often feature preset fonts and formatting. Just make sure you use a resume template that matches your cover letter so that the two documents feature consistent fonts and layouts. 

Using a template can save you a lot of time and help you create an aesthetically pleasing set of application materials. Compare several options until you find a format and layout that aligns with your preferences.

Align your resume or cover letter to the job application

Your resume and cover letter should never feel generic. Ask yourself, “Could I submit these documents to virtually any company?” If so, they aren’t adequately tailored to the position you are applying for. 

Instead, make it your goal to subtly weave in information from the job description to showcase that you’ve studied the position. Mention skills that the hiring team is looking for and draw connections between your accomplishments and what the employer describes as their ideal candidate. 

Also, make sure that your resume and cover letter contain separate but supporting information. Check out our cover letter examples for more insights into what your documents should include. 

Experiences and education

Your qualifications and education are Central to both your resume and cover letter. In your resume, provide detailed descriptions of your education and work experience. Focus on the most relevant aspects of your background and explain how they make you a suitable candidate for the job. 

Explore our resume articles for examples of how to showcase your experiences and education in an easily digestible way. You’ll find numerous formats and layouts to choose from. Some of our examples prioritize education, whereas others showcase your professional expertise and capabilities by using quantifiable data. 

Where possible, use data to support your claims and demonstrate your achievements. Providing an employer with hard numbers can help prove your proficiency as a professional. 

Proofread and edit

Never turn in unpolished documents. To keep that from happening, thoroughly review both your resume and cover letter to ensure they convey the right information while maintaining a professional tone throughout. Look for any spelling or grammatical errors, and ensure that your content is clear, concise, and free of jargon. 

If possible, you might have a trusted friend or professional mentor review your document. They can provide objective insights and help you refine your resume and cover letter. Apply their insights and confirm that your documents are easy to read. 

“Your cover letter should always be concise and to the point. Don’t ramble or repeat the same information from your resume.”

Cover letter vs. resume: Which do you need? 

Most employers require both a cover letter and a resume. You’ll need to craft complementary documents that encapsulate your professional experience and showcase your fit for the job. 

For help with these crucial application materials, you can turn to Jobseeker. We offer an expansive library of examples, templates, and tools. 

Use our resume builder to make your application stand out and increase your odds of landing an interview. We also provide a cover letter generator so you can create the perfect complementary document for your resume. 

Get ahead of the competition

Make your job applications stand-out from other candidates.

 Strengths and Weaknesses in Cover Letters

Strengths and Weaknesses in Cover Letters

Who to address cover letter when recipient is unknown

Who to address cover letter when recipient is unknown

How to Write a Cover Letter With No Experience

How to Write a Cover Letter With No Experience

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