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How to write a great cover letter in 2024: tips and structure
Understand Yourself Better:
Big 5 Personality Test
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:
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.
A cover letter should be professional in tone and presentation. Use formal language, address the hiring manager appropriately, and follow standard business letter formatting.
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:
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:
San Francisco, California
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:
(555) 999 - 2222
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.
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.
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.
Content Marketing Manager, ACC
3 cover letter examples to help you catch a hiring manager’s attention
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21+ Cover Letter Examples in 2024 [For All Professions]
No matter where you are in your career, or what job you’re applying for, submitting a cover letter with your resume is a must .
Done right, a cover letter will effectively complement your resume and explain to the hiring manager in more detail why you’re the right person for the job.
Writing a cover letter, however, is easier said than done.
You have to effectively demonstrate that you’ll be able to perform the responsibilities listed in the job description and that you’d be a better fit for the company compared to other candidates.
And unless you’re a professional writer, this can be a very hard task.
Fortunately, we created these cover letter examples to inspire you and help you get started with your own cover letter!
Let’s dive in!
21 Cover Letter Examples
#1. career change cover letter example .
Here’s what this cover letter does right:
- Has an ideal length. This cover letter includes all the relevant information for the hiring manager without getting into too much detail.
- Relevant introduction. The candidate explains that they’re changing careers and why they want to work in this new field from the get-go.
- Explains their related experience. The candidate explains how their previous experience in retail sales can help them succeed in PR.
Check out our guide video guide to learn how to write a Cover Letter that gets you HIRED!
#2. Recent Graduate Cover Letter Example
- Personally greets the hiring manager. The candidate has taken the time to find the hiring manager’s name and address them by it, which makes the opening of the cover letter much more personal.
- Wraps up with a call to action. The candidate wraps up the cover letter by suggesting a meeting with the hiring manager, which makes them more memorable.
- Explains why the candidate is the right person for the internship. In this cover letter for an internship , the candidate explains how they’ve previously interned in a different firm, which gives them the experience to succeed in this role.
Have you just graduated from college? Make sure to check out our guide on writing an entry-level cover letter from start to finish!
#3. Middle Management Cover Letter Example
- Use of bullet points. The candidate presents the information in a concise and reader-friendly way, making it easy for the hiring manager to find their key achievements.
- Formal closing. The candidate has used a formal and polite tone to conclude their cover letter, which combined with a call to action makes them look professional and passionate about getting the job.
- Explains how the company would benefit from hiring them. The candidate outlines exactly what they could do for the company, which not only highlights their skills but also shows they’ve done their research on the company’s needs.
#4. Business Manager Cover Letter Example
- Detailed header. In addition to the must-have contact details, this candidate has also included their professional Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, making it easy for the hiring manager to look more closely into their career.
- Concise and to the point. This candidate has used short paragraphs and bullet points to make the cover letter easy to skim through.
- Wraps up with a call to action. By letting the hiring manager know they’ll be contacting them soon, they’re more likely to make an impression.
Check out this article for a complete writing guide and an inspiring business manager resume sample.
#5. Ph.D. Cover Letter Example
Here’s what this cover letter does right:
- Attention-grabbing introduction. In the opening paragraph, this candidate explains why they’re passionate about pursuing a Ph.D. in great detail.
- Explains the candidate’s qualifications in detail. The candidate builds on their passion by explaining how they’re also qualified for the degree because of their education history and academic achievements.
#6. Senior Executive Cover Letter Example
- Professional and minimalistic template. This senior executive has used a professional but minimalistic template that lets their work experience do the talking.
- Achievement-oriented opening paragraph. Right from the get-go, this candidate explains what makes them so good at their job, effectively grabbing the hiring manager’s attention.
- Wraps up with a call to action. By suggesting to have a meeting and discussing how they can help the company meet its goals, the candidate stands more chance to make a positive lasting impression.
#7. Architect Cover Letter Example
- Modern resume template. This architect has picked a template that perfectly matches his industry, as it is professional and modern at the same time.
- A personal greeting to the HR. They address the hiring manager by their first name, which helps make a better first impression.
- Measurable achievements. By quantifying their achievements, the candidate proves their achievements instead of just claiming them.
Struggling with your architect resume ? Check out our full guide!
#8. Business Analyst Cover Letter Example
- Detailed contact information. The candidate has listed both their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, providing the HR manager an opportunity to learn more about the candidate.
- Mentions what the candidate can do for the company. This cover letter doesn’t just explain why the job would be great for the candidate, but also how the candidate would benefit the company. Win-win, right?
- Error-free and reader-friendly. It’s super important for the cover letter to have no spelling or grammatical errors and be reader-friendly. This candidate made sure they did both.
Need a resume alongside your cover letter? Check out our guide on how to write a business analyst resume .
#9. Consultant Cover Letter Example
- Professional cover letter template. Being an experienced consultant, this candidate has picked a professional template that doesn’t steal the spotlight from their achievements.
- Experience and achievement-oriented. The candidate has effectively elaborated on their top achievements relevant to the job.
- Highlights the candidate’s passion. To show they want the job, this candidate has also explained how passionate they are about their profession.
For more advice on landing a job as a consultant, check out our guide to writing a consultant resume .
#10. Digital Marketing Cover Letter Example
- Creative cover letter template. This digital marketer highlights their originality by picking a creative cover letter template.
- Lists the candidate’s awards. The candidate has taken advantage of the cover letter to list their most noteworthy awards in the industry.
- Concludes with a call to action. As they used a call to action to conclude their cover letter, the HR manager will be more likely to remember them.
Want to take your digital marketing resume to the next level? Check out our guide!
#11. Graphic Designer Cover Letter Example
- Detailed contact information. The candidate has included additional contact information such as their website link, as well as their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.
- Ideal length. This cover letter is concise, which means that the HR manager is more likely to read it from start to finish.
- Draws attention to the candidate’s strong points. Although this candidate is a recent college graduate, they’ve managed to effectively show that they have enough knowledge and experience to do the job right.
Read this guide to write a graphic designer resume that’s just as good as your cover letter!
#12. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Example
- Minimalistic cover letter template. The candidate picked a well-designed but minimalistic template for their cover letter.
- Focused on skills and achievements. This cover letter is packed with the candidate’s skills and achievements, proving he can be an excellent employee.
- Formal closing. Politeness can go a long way and the candidate has used this to their advantage to make an impression.
Our article on how to write an administrative assistant resume can help you take your job application to the next level.
#13. Front Desk Cover Letter Example
- Modern cover letter template. This template incorporates memorable colors and clear lines, which make the cover letter very visually appealing.
- Attention-grabbing introduction. Using an attention-grabbing intro, the candidate is more likely to make an impression.
- Calls the HR to action. By including a call to action, the candidate is reminding the HR of their immediate availability.
#14. Human Resources Cover Letter Example
- It is concise and to the point. The candidate doesn’t dwell on unimportant details the HR won’t be interested in.
- Uses a traditional cover letter template. The cover letter design is more on the conventional side, which fits the industry better.
- Highlights the candidate’s strong points. The candidate has rich work experience and they use the cover letter to elaborate on it.
This HR resume guide can help you get your resume just right.
#15. Sales Agent Cover Letter Example
- Attention-grabbing cover letter template. As a salesperson, this candidate knows how important first impressions are, so they’ve picked a catchy cover letter template.
- Has an ideal length. At the same time, they’ve also made sure to keep their cover letter at just the right length.
- Lists the candidate’s career highlights. The candidate has made perfect use of the space by mentioning their most impressive professional achievements.
Check out this sales agent resume guide to create an attention-grabbing sales resume .
#16. Receptionist Cover Letter Example
- Modern but minimalistic cover letter template. The template’s design hints the candidate is creative but professional at the same time.
- Uses a catchy introduction. The candidate has used an attention-grabbing opening paragraph to catch HR’s attention.
- Concludes the cover letter formally. The candidate proves that they’re polite and well-spoken, a quality very much important for the role they’re applying for.
Take your receptionist resume to the next level with this receptionist resume guide .
#17. Information Technology Cover Letter Example
- Mentions measurable achievements. Numbers make an impact, which is why this candidate has included measurable achievements.
- Lists both soft and hard skills. The candidate has mentioned a great mix of soft and hard skills, showing how well-rounded they are.
- Contains relevant contact information. The candidate’s GitHub, website name, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles are all great additions to the resume.
Looking for tips to help you write a great IT resume ? Check out our guide!
#18. Real Estate Cover Letter Example
- Ideal length. Short and to the point, this cover letter is bound to get noticed by the HR manager.
- Wraps up with a call to action. This candidate reinforces the HR to call them back through a final call to action.
- Mentions the right skills. On top of their sales accomplishments, the candidate touch upon important soft skills such as customer service and communication .
This real estate resume guide will help you take your resume from good to great.
#19. Teacher Cover Letter Example
- Mentions relevant contact information details. This candidate has included optional (but relevant) contact information details, such as their LinkedIn, Quora, and Medium profiles.
- Achievement-oriented. The candidate has elaborated on their achievements in more detail throughout their cover letter.
- Highlights the candidate’s passion. For some jobs, being passionate is much more important than for others. Teaching is one of these jobs, which is why this candidate explains their passion for the job.
Our guide on how to write a teacher resume has all the tips you need to land the job.
#20. Project Manager Cover Letter Example
- Leverages a catchy introduction. Through a catchy introductory paragraph, this candidate is sure to grab the HR’s attention and get them to read the rest of their cover letter.
- Lists measurable accomplishments. This candidate explains exactly what they’ve achieved using numbers and hard data.
- Personally greets the HR. A personal greeting sounds much better than “Dear Sir/Madam,” and the candidate knows this.
This guide on how to write a project manager resume can help you perfect your appication.
#21. Paralegal Cover Letter Example
- Minimalistic cover letter template. This cover letter design looks good but doesn’t steal the show from the candidate’s abilities.
- Mentions the candidate’s academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Although the candidate is a recent graduate, they’ve used the cover letter to explain they have enough skills and achievements to do the job.
- Lists measurable achievements. The candidate proves they did well in their internship by mentioning quantifiable achievements.
Check out this paralegal resume guide to perfect yours.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application, alongside your resume .
Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .
A good cover letter can give the hiring manager more insight into what makes you a good candidate and help them make up their mind about whether they should invite you for an interview. A bad cover letter, though, will get ignored (at best) and lose you the job (at worst).
So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
The first thing to remember is that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you shouldn’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume and call it a day.
Optimally, you should use your cover letter to shed more light on your skills and qualifications, as well as explain anything you didn’t have space for in your resume (e.g. a career gap or why you’re changing careers).
If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, though, putting all this together might seem pretty tough.
Fortunately, you can follow our tried-and-tested format to make the experience much easier:
- Header - Input your contact information.
- Greeting the hiring manager - Open the cover letter with a “Dear Sir or Madam,” or use the hiring manager’s name if you know what that is.
- Opening paragraph - Grab the hiring manager’s attention by getting straight to the point. Mention what your professional experiences are, and what role you’re applying for.
- The second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Mention your top 2-3 achievements, your top skills, why you want to work in that specific industry, and whatever else is relevant.
- The third paragraph - End your cover letter with a call to action. E.g. “I would love to meet personally and discuss how I can help Company X.”
- Formal closing - Something like this: “Thank you for your consideration. Best, John Doe.”
Here’s what this looks like in practice:
9 Tips to Write a Cover Letter (the Right Way)
Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about cover letter tips . Below, we'll give you all the knowledge you need to take your cover letter from "OK" to "great."
#1. Pick the right template
A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.
And what’s a better way to leave a good impression than through a professional, well-formatted, and visual template?
You can simply pick one of our tried-and-tested cover letter templates and you’ll be all set!
#2. Add your contact details on the header
The best way to start your cover letter is through a header.
Here’s what you want to include there:
- Phone Number
- Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
- Name of the company you’re applying to
Optionally, you can also include the following:
- Social Media Profiles - Any type of profile that’s relevant to your field. Social Profiles on websites like LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
- Personal Website - If you have a personal website that somehow adds value to your application, you can mention it. Let’s say you’re a professional writer. In that case, you’d want to link to your content portfolio site or blog.
#3. Greet the hiring manager the right way
Once you’ve listed all your relevant contact information, it’s time to address the hiring manager reading your cover letter.
A good practice here is to find the hiring manager’s name and address them directly instead of using the traditional “dear sir or madam.” This shows that you’re really invested in the company and that you took your time to do some research about the job.
So, how can you find out the hiring manager’s name?
One way to do this is by looking up the head of the company’s relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Office.
Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of server at a restaurant. In that case, you’d be looking to find out who the restaurant manager is.
If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.
If you still can’t find out the hiring manager’s name, here are several other greetings you can use:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Team
#4. Create an attention-grabbing introduction
Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.
So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph.
The problem with most cover letter opening paragraphs, though, is that they’re usually extremely generic, often looking something like this:
Hey, my name is Jonathan and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a sales manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.
As you can probably tell, this opening paragraph doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything other than that you’ve worked the job before - and that’s not really helpful in setting you apart from other candidates.
What you want to do, instead, is start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.
My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed its sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as my excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the role of X at Company Y.
The second example shows how the candidate is a top performer. The first just shows that they’ve worked a sales job before.
Which one are YOU more likely to invite for an interview?
#5. Show you’re the perfect person for the job
One great thing about cover letters is that they allow you to expand more on the top achievements from your resume and really show the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job.
A good way to do that is to first read the job ad and really understand what skills/experiences are required, and then to ensure that your cover letter touches upon the said skills or experiences.
In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+. As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation and management process end-to-end. This means I created the ad copy and images, as well as picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.
Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:
- Google Search
#6. Explain why you’re a great company fit
The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.
After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary .
To convince the hiring manager that you’re a great company fit, do some research on the company and find out what it is you like about them, or about working there. You want to know things like:
- What’s the company’s business model?
- What’s the company's product or service? Have you used it?
- What’s the culture like? Will someone micro-manage your work, or will you have autonomy on how you get things done?
Then, turn your top reasons for liking to work there into text and add them to your cover letter!
#7. Wrap up with a call to action
To make the end of your cover letter as memorable as possible, you want to:
- Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Mention anything you’ve left out that you think could help the hiring manager make up your mind.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time. After all, it never hurts to be polite.
- Finish the cover letter with a call to action. A call to action is a great way to make your cover letter ending as memorable as possible.
#8. Write a formal closing
Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.
Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions in a cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
#9. Proofread your cover letter
Last but not least, make sure to always proofread each and every document that you’ll be including in your job application - cover letter included.
The last thing you want is to be claiming you’re a great candidate for the job with a cover letter full of typos!
For an even more comprehensive guide on how to write an impactful cover letter , check out our article !
Cover Letter Writing Checklist
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have some questions about cover letters? Check out the answers below:
1. How do I write a simple cover letter?
To write a cover letter that’s simple but also professional, make sure to include a header with your personal information, a formal greeting to the hiring manager, an attention-grabbing opening paragraph, a second paragraph explaining why you’re a good candidate for the job, and a formal closing (preferably with a call to action).
2. What are the 3 parts of a cover letter?
The three parts of a cover letter are:
- The introduction , namely the header, the greeting to the hiring manager, and the opening paragraph.
- The sales pitch is usually the body of the cover letter.
- The conclusion involves a formal closing and a signature line.
3. What makes a great cover letter?
A great cover letter should be personalized for each job you’re applying for, instead of being overly generic. It’s also preferable to address the hiring manager by their name and not use the overly-used “Dear Sir/Madam.”
To make a great first impression, you should mention 1-2 of your top achievements in your opening paragraph - the more job-specific they are, the better. Also, don’t stop at showing the hiring manager why you’re a great candidate for the job. Make sure to also talk about how you’re a good culture fit for the company.
Last but not least, wrap up your closing paragraph with a call to action to give the hiring manager a little extra something to remember you by.
4. When is a cover letter necessary?
Unless the job ad specifically states otherwise, you should always include a cover letter with your job application .
Even if the hiring manager doesn’t read it, you will look more professional simply by including one.
And that’s a wrap! We hope our cover letter examples and writing tips will inspire you to write a cover letter that will land you your next job.
If you’re looking for more invaluable career advice and articles, make sure to check out our career blog , or any of these related articles:
- How to Write a Resume
- Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
- Cover Letter Format (w/ Examples & Free Templates)
How to Write a Cover Letter That Will Get You a Job
I ’ve read thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of cover letters in my career. If you’re thinking that sounds like really boring reading, you’re right. What I can tell you from enduring that experience is that most cover letters are terrible — and not only that, but squandered opportunities. When a cover letter is done well, it can significantly increase your chances of getting an interview, but the vast majority fail that test.
So let’s talk about how to do cover letters right.
First, understand the point of a cover letter.
The whole idea of a cover letter is that it can help the employer see you as more than just your résumé. Managers generally aren’t hiring based solely on your work history; your experience is crucial, yes, but they’re also looking for someone who will be easy to work with, shows good judgment, communicates well, possesses strong critical thinking skills and a drive to get things done, complements their current team, and all the other things you yourself probably want from your co-workers. It’s tough to learn much about those things from job history alone, and that’s where your cover letter comes in.
Because of that …
Whatever you do, don’t just summarize your résumé.
The No. 1 mistake people make with cover letters is that they simply use them to summarize their résumé. This makes no sense — hiring managers don’t need a summary of your résumé! It’s on the very next page! They’re about to see it as soon as they scroll down. And if you think about it, your entire application is only a few pages (in most cases, a one- or two-page résumé and a one-page cover letter) — why would you squander one of those pages by repeating the content of the others? And yet, probably 95 percent of the cover letters I see don’t add anything new beyond the résumé itself (and that’s a conservative estimate).
Instead, your cover letter should go beyond your work history to talk about things that make you especially well-suited for the job. For example, if you’re applying for an assistant job that requires being highly organized and you neurotically track your household finances in a detailed, color-coded spreadsheet, most hiring managers would love to know that because it says something about the kind of attention to detail you’d bring to the job. That’s not something you could put on your résumé, but it can go in your cover letter.
Or maybe your last boss told you that you were the most accurate data processor she’d ever seen, or came to rely on you as her go-to person whenever a lightning-fast rewrite was needed. Maybe your co-workers called you “the client whisperer” because of your skill in calming upset clients. Maybe you’re regularly sought out by more senior staff to help problem-solve, or you find immense satisfaction in bringing order to chaos. Those sorts of details illustrate what you bring to the job in a different way than your résumé does, and they belong in your cover letter.
If you’re still stumped, pretend you’re writing an email to a friend about why you’d be great at the job. You probably wouldn’t do that by stiffly reciting your work history, right? You’d talk about what you’re good at and how you’d approach the work. That’s what you want here.
You don’t need a creative opening line.
If you think you need to open the letter with something creative or catchy, I am here to tell you that you don’t. Just be simple and straightforward:
• “I’m writing to apply for your X position.”
• “I’d love to be considered for your X position.”
• “I’m interested in your X position because …”
• “I’m excited to apply for your X position.”
That’s it! Straightforward is fine — better, even, if the alternative is sounding like an aggressive salesperson.
Show, don’t tell.
A lot of cover letters assert that the person who wrote it would excel at the job or announce that the applicant is a skillful engineer or a great communicator or all sorts of other subjective superlatives. That’s wasted space — the hiring manager has no reason to believe it, and so many candidates claim those things about themselves that most managers ignore that sort of self-assessment entirely. So instead of simply declaring that you’re great at X (whatever X is), your letter should demonstrate that. And the way you do that is by describing accomplishments and experiences that illustrate it.
Here’s a concrete example taken from one extraordinarily effective cover-letter makeover that I saw. The candidate had originally written, “I offer exceptional attention to detail, highly developed communication skills, and a talent for managing complex projects with a demonstrated ability to prioritize and multitask.” That’s pretty boring and not especially convincing, right? (This is also exactly how most people’s cover letters read.)
In her revised version, she wrote this instead:
“In addition to being flexible and responsive, I’m also a fanatic for details — particularly when it comes to presentation. One of my recent projects involved coordinating a 200-page grant proposal: I proofed and edited the narratives provided by the division head, formatted spreadsheets, and generally made sure that every line was letter-perfect and that the entire finished product conformed to the specific guidelines of the RFP. (The result? A five-year, $1.5 million grant award.) I believe in applying this same level of attention to detail to tasks as visible as prepping the materials for a top-level meeting and as mundane as making sure the copier never runs out of paper.”
That second version is so much more compelling and interesting — and makes me believe that she really is great with details.
If there’s anything unusual or confusing about your candidacy, address it in the letter.
Your cover letter is your chance to provide context for things that otherwise might seem confusing or less than ideal to a hiring manager. For example, if you’re overqualified for the position but are excited about it anyway, or if you’re a bit underqualified but have reason to think you could excel at the job, address that up front. Or if your background is in a different field but you’re actively working to move into this one, say so, talk about why, and explain how your experience will translate. Or if you’re applying for a job across the country from where you live because you’re hoping to relocate to be closer to your family, let them know that.
If you don’t provide that kind of context, it’s too easy for a hiring manager to decide you’re the wrong fit or applying to everything you see or don’t understand the job description and put you in the “no” pile. A cover letter gives you a chance to say, “No, wait — here’s why this could be a good match.”
Keep the tone warm and conversational.
While there are some industries that prize formal-sounding cover letters — like law — in most fields, yours will stand out if it’s warm and conversational. Aim for the tone you’d use if you were writing to a co-worker whom you liked a lot but didn’t know especially well. It’s okay to show some personality or even use humor; as long as you don’t go overboard, your letter will be stronger for it.
Don’t use a form letter.
You don’t need to write every cover letter completely from scratch, but if you’re not customizing it to each job, you’re doing it wrong. Form letters tend to read like form letters, and they waste the chance to speak to the specifics of what this employer is looking for and what it will take to thrive in this particular job.
If you’re applying for a lot of similar jobs, of course you’ll end up reusing language from one letter to the next. But you shouldn’t have a single cover letter that you wrote once and then use every time you apply; whatever you send should sound like you wrote it with the nuances of this one job in mind.
A good litmus test is this: Could you imagine other applicants for this job sending in the same letter? If so, that’s a sign that you haven’t made it individualized enough to you and are probably leaning too heavily on reciting your work history.
No, you don’t need to hunt down the hiring manager’s name.
If you read much job-search advice, at some point you’ll come across the idea that you need to do Woodward and Bernstein–level research to hunt down the hiring manager’s name in order to open your letter with “Dear Matilda Jones.” You don’t need to do this; no reasonable hiring manager will care. If the name is easily available, by all means, feel free to use it, but otherwise “Dear Hiring Manager” is absolutely fine. Take the hour you just freed up and do something more enjoyable with it.
Keep it under one page.
If your cover letters are longer than a page, you’re writing too much, and you risk annoying hiring managers who are likely sifting through hundreds of applications and don’t have time to read lengthy tomes. On the other hand, if you only write one paragraph, it’s unlikely that you’re making a compelling case for yourself as a candidate — not impossible, but unlikely. For most people, something close to a page is about right.
Don’t agonize over the small details.
What matters most about your cover letter is its content. You should of course ensure that it’s well-written and thoroughly proofread, but many job seekers agonize over elements of the letter that really don’t matter. I get tons of questions from job seekers about whether they should attach their cover letter or put it in the body of the email (answer: No one cares, but attaching it makes it easier to share and will preserve your formatting), or what to name the file (again, no one really cares as long as it’s reasonably professional, but when people are dealing with hundreds of files named “resume,” it’s courteous to name it with your full name).
Approaching your cover letter like this can make a huge difference in your job search. It can be the thing that moves your application from the “maybe” pile (or even the “no” pile) to the “yes” pile. Of course, writing cover letters like this will take more time than sending out the same templated letter summarizing your résumé — but 10 personalized, compelling cover letters are likely to get you more interview invitations than 50 generic ones will.
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