How to Write a Job Application Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is essential when applying for jobs. This is the perfect way to express how your specific skills are relevant to the open position. Wow your future employer with this simple cover letter example format.
Writing a first draft makes your letter concise and professional, states The Balance Careers. Organize your thoughts by making a list of what you’re trying to convey. Make sure you prioritize certain aspects like your previous job experience and why you would be a good fit for the position. Clearly state what position you’re interested in and why. Think about why you’re applying and what caught your eye about this specific position. Your cover letter will be easier to write after your thoughts are collected and organized.
Customize Your Salutation
When writing a salutation, make sure you know who you are writing to. Is this person the owner of the company or a Human Resources administrator? If you’re not sure, research the company to find out. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person shows initiative and attention to detail. After your salutation, start your letter with a short introduction of yourself. This gives future employers insight into who you are and the purpose of your cover letter.
Your cover letter should be no more than one page, so keep your points brief. Clearly state what position you are interested in and why. Explain why you are a good fit for the company because of your past job experience. If you have no similar job experience, let the employer know why you are changing career paths. Expand on your skills and give specific examples of how that skill set helped you at your last position. Name projects you’ve worked on and show results.
Close Your Letter
End your cover letter with a brief sentence and sign off. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest towards the job again. Let them know you’ll follow up with them if you do not hear back within a week and leave your contact information. Sign off with a professional farewell and leave room for a signature if sending a hard copy.
Edit and Proofread
As you finish writing your cover letter, make sure you take time to edit and proofread your document. Make sure it’s structured in a professional format with the company’s information, the salutation and introduction, the body of the letter, a brief closing sentence and farewell. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes to ensure a formal result. Make sure all names are spelled correctly, as well.
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The 23 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right
Published: September 21, 2023
Fun isn’t something typically associated with writing a cover letter. But the cover letter examples 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.
45% of job seekers don't include a cover letter when applying for a job. But this is a mistake, 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 20+ cover letter examples, then check out tips for cover letter formatting and what makes a cover letter great .
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
You're all set!
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Cover Letter Examples
- Standard Cover Letter Example
- Data-Driven Cover Letter Sample
- Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
- The Cover Letter That Explains 'Why,' Not Just 'How'
- The 'We're Meant for Each Other' Cover Letter
- The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.
- Short-and-Sweet Cover Letter Example
- The Short Story
- The Bare Bones Cover Letter
- The Breezy Follow-Up
- The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
- The Internship Cover Letter
- The Brutally Honest Cover Letter
- The Pivot Cover Letter
- The Graphic Design Cover Letter
- Consulting Internship Cover Letter Example
- Nonprofit Referral Cover Letter Example
- General Email Inquiry Cover Letter Example
- Post-Phone-Call Cover Letter Example
- Mission-Driven Graduate Cover Letter Example
- Short Recommendation Cover Letter Example
- Professor or Research Position Cover Letter Example
- Director Cover Letter Example
- Editorial Cover Letter Example
- Promotion Cover Letter Example
- Law Cover Letter Example
Customizable Cover Letter Examples
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
Download a Customizable Copy of This Cover Letter Example
This standard cover letter hits all the right notes: It includes a space to give a brief summary of your experience, as well as a space to delve in-depth into the specific responsibilities of your current role. You also have the chance to describe the challenges you’ve mastered in previous roles, showing that you’re capable of facing any problem that comes your way.
Why We Love It
We love this cover letter because it allows you to describe the high points of your career while still being professional, personalized, and succinct.
2. Data-Driven Cover Letter Sample
Numbers are worth a million words — or that’s how the saying should probably go (if only we could include pictures in cover letters). Citing data and statistics about your achievements at your current company is an assured way to capture a hiring manager’s attention. Most hiring managers don’t read the entire letter, so a bulleted summary of your achievements can be a powerful way to increase the effectiveness and scannability of your message.
We love this cover letter because it’s adaptable to any role. Even if you don’t work in a data-centric role, you can include any enumerable achievement. If you’re in a creative industry, for instance, you can include the number of creative assets you designed for your current company.
3. Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
Applying to your first job can be stress-inducing, to say the least. You can increase your chances of getting that first interview by including a cover letter that explains how your education can help you succeed in the role you applied for.
Look no further than this example from HubSpot. While other cover letter samples give experienced professionals the opportunity to share their experience at length, this one gives you the chance to describe your personal and professional attributes. You can then convey how you can use your knowledge to help your target company reach its goals.
We love this cover letter because it’s easy and simple to use for a student who has little experience in their target industry — including those who haven’t yet completed an internship.
Looking for more? Download the entire kit below.
5 Professional Cover Letter Templates
Fill out the form to access your templates., best cover letter examples.
What does a good cover letter look like in practice, and how can you make yours stand out? We 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 we've covered up.
1. 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. We 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.
Here’s another instance of the power of personalization. The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, that probably would eventually be revealed in an interview.
Make sure your story is nonfiction and relatable according to each job. While we love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company. But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, we’d find that fitting.
If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.
Why This Is A Great Cover Letter
This example shows how effective personalization can be. The writer is passionate about the employer, drawing from her own childhood experience to communicate her enthusiasm.
Further reading: Sales Cover Letter Tips
2. The 'We're Meant for Each Other' Cover Letter
This cover letter example is a special one because it was submitted to us here at HubSpot. What does the letter do well? It makes a connection with us before we've even met the letter's author.
"Content Marketing Certified" shows the applicant has taken the content marketing certification course in our HubSpot Academy (you can take the same course here ). Our "records" indicate he/she did indeed give an interview with us before — and was a HubSpot customer.
The cover letter sang references to a relationship we didn't even know we had with the candidate.
The letter ends with a charming pitch for why, despite him/her not getting hired previously, our interests complement each other this time around.
(Yes, the applicant was hired).
This cover letter example does an excellent job of building rapport with the employer. Despite not getting hired for previous roles they applied for at HubSpot, the writer conveys exactly why they are right for this role.
Read more: Customer Service Cover Letter Tips
3. The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.
HubSpot has a lot of H.E.A.R.T. — Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent. Our Culture Code is the foundation of the company's culture, the driving force behind our mission to help millions grow better , and serves as the scaffolding for our hiring practices. Recruiters at HubSpot look for applicants that demonstrate how they embody the Culture Code and job description, paying extra attention to cover letters that are super custom to HubSpot.
In another HubSpot submission, a HubSpot applicant writes about how she found out about HubSpot, why she likes the company, and how her professional experience aligns with H.E.A.R.T.
HubSpot's recruiting team was impressed with her dedication to the company and how she went beyond what was asked for by linking her portfolio in her closing paragraph.
Featured Resource: 5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Download our collection of 5 professional cover letter templates to help you summarize your professional journey and land your dream job – whether it's at your first or fifth company.
Short Cover Letter Examples
4. the short-and-sweet cover letter.
In 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, " The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received. " That letter has three complete sentences, as follows:
One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question. But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.
"The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me," writes Silverman. "Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on."
When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:
- Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under "reports to." Address your letter to that individual.
- Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.
The key to this standout cover letter is research — by looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you can create solutions for them.
Read here for more tips on how to land your dream job .
5. The Short Story
Basha Coleman began her cover letter with a short story. The goal of this short story is two-fold:
- Detail the experience she already has with the organization.
- Stand out to the hiring team.
You'll notice that her short story follows a typical narrative arc: It has a conflict/obstacle, a turning point, and a positive outcome, all created with a goal to emphasize a theme or point. In this case, Coleman is emphasizing her existing affinity with the brand and her triumphs within the program so that she can continue on her career path.
Like the second example in our list, this cover letter does an excellent job of conveying the applicant’s existing affinity for the brand. If you are applying to a company you love, don’t be shy about showing it and explaining why.
6. The Bare Bones Cover Letter
In today's job market, cover letters aren't always necessary. Even though many recruiters won't ask for or even read them, cover letters can still be effective and convey personality to a reader. Writing a strong cover letter can help you better convey your interest in the position and company.
This template from The Balance Careers puts together the essential components of a short cover letter: excitement about the position, your qualifications, and a call-to-action for the recruiter to follow up with you. Combining these central aspects in a well-written, compelling narrative will go a long way in convincing readers to hire you.
This letter is organized and concise. The inclusion of bullet points to highlight key skills and help the recruiter skim the document is a nice touch.
Check out this post for more useful cover letter tips .
7. The Breezy Follow-Up
In this cover letter, Amanda Edens is following the instructions the hiring manager gave by forwarding an email with resume and writing samples attached.
Not only does Amanda include links to relevant writing samples that are live on the web, but she also closes with a strong final paragraph that:
- Summarizes the expertise she has relevant to the posting
- Emphasizes that she doesn't want to simply get a job but rather help the organization accomplish their goals
- The reader gets everything they need in an organized and thoughtful manner.
8. The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
In this cover letter the candidate, Michelle, plays up her prior music industry experience to build a connection with Epic Music Group. If you have specific industry experience for the role you are applying for, be sure to highlight that.
It’s clear that she’s passionate about not only the music industry, but Epic as a whole. She’s done so much research on the company that she knows what software programs they use, and happens to be proficient in it to help convey value to the hiring manager.
This example further illustrates the importance of research. Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.
In just three short paragraphs, the applicant uses their company research to drive home why they are the perfect fit for the role — emphasizing industry experience as well as software knowledge specific to the company. All of this communicates that she’d be able to start with very few hiccups while getting up to speed.
Further reading: 15 Cover Letter Templates
9. The Internship Cover Letter
Maybe you’re just getting started in your career and looking to land the right internship to gain experience in your field. In this case, you’ll need to highlight more of your educational background and transferable skills since you won’t have as much professional experience to highlight.
The cover letter above is a great example of how to emphasize your skills and accomplishments when applying to internships or entry-level positions. A few things the applicant does well:
- Highlights relevant extracurriculars and affinity networks. In this case, the applicant is applying for a business analyst position, so mentioning their involvement in a FinTech group makes sense.
- Previous internships in relevant fields: Our applicant points out that they’ve interned as a Business Analyst at another firm. Pointing out that they’ve done the role before will help make their case for fit.
- Highlight other useful skills: This applicant is fluent in both English and German. If an international company or an organization needs bilingual support, knowing multiple languages is an asset.
This cover letter example illustrates how you can leverage your education and background to get the gig even when you don’t have much working experience. Highlighting previous internships or experience in related fields can go a long way in convincing hiring managers you’re the perfect candidate for the role.
Further reading for recent graduates:
- How to Find a Job After College
- Writing a Cover Letter for an Internship
Creative Cover Letter Examples
10. the brutally honest cover letter.
Then, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form. Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example " the best cover letter " (which he received while he was with Squarespace):
As Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company. But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.
"Remember that I'm reading these all day long," Hertzberg writes. "You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out."
The applicant did their research on the company’s culture and executed this cover letter flawlessly. It’s funny and shows off the applicant’s personality all while making it clear why they are a good fit for the role.
- How to Stand Out and Get Hired at Your Dream Company
- How to Find Your Dream Job
11. The Pivot Cover Letter
Making a career switch? Your cover letter can be an excellent opportunity for you to explain the reasoning behind your career change and how your transferable skills qualify you for the role.
Since the role she is applying for is more visual, it’s important to both show and tell why you’re a good fit.
This cover letter strikes the perfect balance between creativity and simplicity in design while putting the applicant's career change into context. The copy is clean, with a creative font choice that isn’t distracting from the content, but still demonstrates the applicant’s knack for design.
12. The Graphic Design Cover Letter
When applying for more creative roles, the design of your cover letter can say just as much as the words on the page. Take the graphic designer letter example below.
It’s got so much going for it:
- Pop of color
- Clean layout
- Interesting fonts
Besides the style elements, this example also doesn’t skimp on the key skills recruiters are looking for. Using metrics, the applicant proves their value and why they would be a great fit.
This cover letter thoroughly conveys the applicant’s skills and qualifications using a variety of visual elements and emphasizing their greatest achievements.
Pro tip: If you're applying for a graphic design job, share a link to your graphic design portfolio website , even if it's not an application requirement.
Job Cover Letter Examples
Next up, let’s go over some classic cover letter examples for jobs, especially if you’re applying to internships or only have a few years of experience. The below cover letters follow the golden rules and don’t deviate too much from the standard — which is ideal if you’re applying to positions in more traditional industries.
13. Consulting Internship Cover Letter Example
Many internship applicants are early on in their careers or are still in college. That means they’ve yet to gather enough experience to offer tangible proof of their ability to do the job. That means that a cover letter is the place where an internship applicant can shine.
This cover letter example highlights the applicant’s skills in a bullet-point format. That makes it easier for an overburdened hiring manager to get the essence of her points, quickly, if they’re only skimming cover letters. Not only that, but this applicant personalized the letter in every single sentence. She shares information about her prior conversations with some of the company’s employees and mentions the company’s name at every turn.
While she only has one prior consulting job, she deftly mentions the skills she developed in that role and ties them into her desired position at Quantcast Product Group.
This cover letter example does a fantastic job advertising the applicant’s soft skills in a highly scannable format — while still going heavy on the personalization. Don’t be shy to lightly play with formatting to get your point across and to imbue the letter with your passion for a company.
14. Nonprofit Referral Cover Letter Example
This cover letter example for a nonprofit job hits the ground running by right away inserting the name of one of the nonprofit’s Superintendents. That’s an excellent way to get a recruiter’s attention and make you stand out from the slush pile, even if you’re only just out of school, as is the case for this applicant.
If you’ve received an internal recommendation for a position, you’d be wise to open your letter with that information. Don’t worry about it feeling too stilted or strange — remember, hiring managers only skim letters. Your goal is to make sure they get information about you that they otherwise won’t get from your resume.
With only three full paragraphs, this cover letter example is short, sweet, and to the point. No time is wasted, and it also goes over the critical basics, such as skills and experience.
This nonprofit cover letter includes a recommendation from an internal employee at the target organization, making it more likely to stand out from the slush pile. We also love that it doesn’t skimp on the basics, such as skills, enthusiasm, and experience.
15. General Email Inquiry Cover Letter Example
Even if a job opportunity isn’t available at an organization yet, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be. You can always send a general inquiry cover letter, like the one in this example.
This email cover letter for a political campaign internship is short and sweet, but includes the critical information the campaign coordinator needs to consider the applicant for any new positions that may open up.
The best part about this cover letter is that it can be easily customized from one political campaign employer to the next. While it does include a level of personalization, it’s brief and can be easily changed to address the specific political candidate.
When sending general inquiries like this one, it’s essential to make the personalization aspect as pain-free as possible for yourself. That may mean including only one sentence or two, knowing that a general inquiry might not be replied to.
This email cover letter example hits all the right notes while keeping it brief and to-the-point. While we don’t recommend choosing this format for a formal cover letter, it works if you’re sending a general inquiry to an employer over email. It’s also a good example to follow if you’re still in college or have very little experience.
Read more: How to Write a Letter of Interest
16. Post-Phone-Call Cover Letter Example
If you get a phone call from a potential employer and they invite you to send your resume, pat yourself on the back — that is such a win. In your cover letter, be sure to mention that right away, like this example does.
A hiring manager or an executive at a company likely has a lot of tasks on their plate, which means that they may forget about your call from one week to the next. That is totally okay, which is why this example starts with a reminder that the applicant and the letter recipient spoke back on January 31st. It also has a few more details about why they started speaking in the first place.
Aside from leveraging the phone call that’s already occurred, this cover letter also does an excellent job explaining why the applicant is an ideal choice for the job. It goes into detail about skills and previous experience with a high level of enthusiasm, and includes a promise to follow up at the end.
This cover letter example includes two things that will immediately draw the recipient’s attention: A phone call they’ve already had, and a mutual contact at their organization. The job and internship search can be grueling; never be afraid to use everything you have at your disposal to improve your standing over other applicants.
Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter
17. Mission-Driven Graduate Cover Letter Example
This cover letter example from a recent B.A. graduate wowed us from the first sentence. The applicant right away explains her attained degree and her specific career interests, then dives into the aspects of her experience that make her such a great candidate.
It's so personalized to the employer’s own mission that it’s difficult to stop reading it. Even if the hiring manager isn’t a science or health professional, they would be able to effectively gauge the applicant’s suitability for the role by the expertise she shows in her cover letter alone. The applicant explains at length why she’s excited to work for that specific hospital. The organization serves Aboriginal populations, which aligns with her own values and research interests.
In the last paragraph, she summarizes what she knows about the employer in one sentence, then describes how each of her experiences supports the employer’s mission. That is an exceedingly clever and meaningful way to align yourself with an organization at a deeper level.
If you’re applying to a mission-driven organization, don’t be shy about showing your excitement and expertise. You don’t need a lot of experience to show that your values align with those of your target organization. This cover letter example is especially good inspiration if you’re making a career change, have only just a few internships under your belt, or are graduating from college.
18. Short Recommendation Cover Letter Example
Referral or recommendation cover letters don’t need to be too long, and this is a great example of that. It immediately leverages a mutual connection at the company. The mutual connection recommended that the applicant contact the hiring manager for a role, which is a piece of information we always recommend you frontload in your letter.
This specific cover letter comes from an applicant with little experience, making it a good example to follow if you’re switching careers or just out of college. Instead of talking about their experience, the applicant uses anecdotal evidence to convey their enthusiasm for working at that company.
The writer also goes over their most salient skills, such as being able to speak multiple languages. They also explain how their degree directly applies to the target role. We love that the candidate highlights their leadership abilities and makes that an effective selling point for being hired.
This cover letter doesn’t go on for too long, which we love. It’s simple and sweet and provides all the information the hiring manager needs to look more closely at the applicant’s resume and make an interviewing decision.
19. Professor or Research Position Cover Letter Example
Academic or research position cover letters might require a little more information than the typical cover letter — and this is one such example. Why is it okay to go a little longer? Because the letter is not only a way to supplement the PhD candidate’s academic CV, but to provide a writing sample for the search committee.
We love this cover letter because it expresses the candidate’s enthusiasm for teaching and explains her instructional ethos, such as providing out-of-the-classroom opportunities, championing communication, and encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone. The applicant also suggests courses she may be able to teach at the target institution, and expresses her interest in developing new courses as needed.
She also suggests how she can enhance the college’s extracurricular programming by offering study abroad courses, which shows not just an interest in teaching but adding to the school’s overall culture.
While this letter goes for a little longer than recommended, it serves as a fantastic writing sample and explains the applicant’s research background at length. If you’re applying to academic or research roles, don’t be afraid to go into detail about what most excites you in terms of research interests.
20. Director Cover Letter Example
This cover letter example — for a Director of Catering position at a university — doesn’t waste any time. The applicant right away says that they’re a strong candidate for the role, then jumps right into three salient qualifications that make him a great fit.
We love how the applicant uses bullet points and bold text to guide an overburdened hiring manager through the cover letter — and to give them permission to scan it, if needed. If the hiring manager would like more information or actual examples of the skills, they merely need to read the rest of the bullet point paragraph.
As mentioned, light formatting can be beneficial to your cover letter, as it draws the recruiter’s eyes and prevents them from having to fish for the information they’re looking for.
This short, sweet cover letter includes the critical information a hiring manager or high-level executive needs to make an interview decision. We love the use of formatting that doesn’t stray too much from regular cover letter conventions, and we like that the applicant kept all other paragraphs extremely brief.
21. Editorial Cover Letter Example
Applying for an editorial or journalistic position? Like a cover letter example we shared earlier, you can take a more storytelling approach to capture the hiring manager’s attention. This cover letter example does that effectively by telling an anecdote that directly mentions the newspaper where they’d like to work.
This immediately draws the reader in and tells them that this application isn’t random at all; the applicant would like to work at the newspaper because they’ve read it every morning. Not only that, but they have a favorite reporter on the newspaper’s staff. The applicant then jumps into the specific reason they want to take an editorial position at the Baltimore Sun.
The cover letter includes all pertinent information, such as how previous positions have equipped the applicant to take on this job. It closes with enthusiasm after keeping the reader rapt every step of the way.
The applicant uses storytelling to — you guessed it — apply for a position that needs storytelling skills. If you’re applying for a data-driven position or a graphic design position, why not showcase those skills in the cover letter itself? We like that this letter doesn’t diverge too much from cover letter conventions while still differentiating itself.
22. Promotion Cover Letter Example
In this cover letter example, the applicant already works for the employer and wishes to apply for the next position to move up in their career. We like that the letter cites the applicant’s extensive knowledge of the organization, which will no doubt give them an advantage over external applicants.
Not only that, but the applicant also references their experience before they started working at the employer and uses that information to make their candidacy even more desirable.
Lastly, this letter includes a healthy level of enthusiasm for the university and the position — something that is never extra in a cover letter.
This cover letter example does an excellent job showing the candidate’s knowledge of their current organization while stating why they’re a natural fit for the promotion. Plus, the letter includes information on the applicant’s relevant activities outside of work — if you’re involved in any organizations that might help you do your job better, be sure to include them.
23. Law Cover Letter Example
This law cover letter example jumps right into personalization, a bold move that will serve you well if you’re genuinely interested in a company and want to stand out. The applicant cites the recipient’s recent article on bond litigation, then ties that into the role they’d like to get at the law firm.
The applicant then goes into his skills and the feedback he’s received from past managers. This is an excellent way to introduce your skills without sounding dry — or even unfounded. By citing positive feedback you’ve received, you’ll imply that others have praised you for having those skills, and that you’re not only "tooting your own horn." (In cover letters, it’s absolutely okay to toot your own horn — that’s what they’re for. But if you can cite others’ remarks, that also helps.)
At just two and a half paragraphs, this letter is exceedingly short but no less effective. It’s an excellent example of how to personalize your letter quickly while still conveying the essentials of a cover letter.
This short cover letter example keeps it brief while still creating high impact. The applicant personalizes the letter immediately, cites external feedback, and conveys enthusiasm. This letter proves you don’t need to write a novel about an employer to sway the hiring manager into giving you an interview.
Now that we've shown you some excellent examples, let's talk about how you can create the best cover letter for your dream job.
What is a good cover letter?
A cover letter is used to show your interest in the role, passion for the company, and the impact you've had in previous positions. Good cover letters should include a standout opening, relevant skills and qualifications, and a strong finish with a call-to-action — all within one page and unique to each application.
What’s on a cover letter?
Before you start writing your cover letter, let's cover a few basic must-haves you'll want to include. If you’re looking for more detailed instructions, check out this guide to writing a cover letter .
Add a simple, but pleasant greeting to address the recruiter or hiring manager.
- Dear Sir or Madam Alternatives
- Cover Letter Greetings
Write a catchy introduction that explains why you’re interested in the role.
- How to Write an Introduction
- Tips for Writing a Good Introduction Sentence
This is the heart of your cover letter. It outlines your relevant experience and why you’d be a great fit for the role. You can highlight special skills, experiences, professional achievements, or education to help make your case.
- How to Write About Your Professional Background
- Professional Bio Examples
- LinkedIn Bio Examples
In this paragraph, add a call-to-action by expressing interest in an interview. Offer your contact information and sign off.
- Email Closing Line Examples
- Tips for Writing Conclusions
What does a cover letter look like?
Besides showing off your skills and qualifications, cover letters give you the opportunity to present a clear, concise, and compelling writing sample. It shows off your personality and your ability to convey ideas.
That's a lot of information to include on a single page, so it can help to have a clear structure to start with.
Check out our fillable cover letter templates to see how you should organize the content of your cover letter.
What makes a great cover letter?
A cover letter is personal, but it also needs to help you reach a goal and help the hiring team understand how you could perform that role with their company. This complexity can make cover letters really tough to write.
Because cover letters are difficult to write, many come off as boring, basic, or confusing for hiring managers to read. But the tips below about the qualities that make a cover letter great can help you take your cover letter from basic to bright.
Start with this quick video, then keep reading for more tips:
Begin with an introduction that's personal. It should capture the reader's attention and address your recipient by name. Then, add a compelling opening sentence that emphasizes your interest in the specific role.
Helpful Cover Letter Introduction:
"Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],
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."
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."
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."
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.
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.
We’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 we’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.
We 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.
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After weeks of heavy job search, 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 your application and call it a day, you remember that the job ad requires a cover letter.
Now you’re stuck wondering how to write a cover letter ...
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.
- What’s a cover letter & why it’s important for your job search
- How to write a convincing cover letter that gets you the job (step-by-step!)
- How to perfect your cover letter with the Novoresume free checklist
- What excellent cover letter examples look like
New to cover letter writing? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!
So, let’s get started with the basics!
What is a Cover Letter? (and Why It’s Important)
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or 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 spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume.
A bad cover letter, on the other hand, might mean that your application is going directly to the paper shredder. So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
How does a good cover letter look, you might ask. Well, here’s an example:
Keep in mind, though, that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you don’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume.
If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, writing all this might seem pretty tough. After all, you’re probably not a professional writer.
The thing is, though, you don’t need to be creative, or even any good at writing. All you have to do is follow a tried-and-tested format:
- Header - Input contact information
- Greeting the hiring manager
- Opening paragraph - Grab the reader’s attention with 2-3 of your top achievements
- Second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job
- Third paragraph - Explain why you’re a good match for the company
- Formal closing
Or, here’s what this looks like in practice:
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter (And Get Hired!)
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, we’re going to guide you through the process of writing a cover letter step by step.
Step #1 - Pick 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, visual template?
You can simply pick one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in a jiffy!
As a bonus, our AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter on the go.
Step #2 - Start the Cover Letter with a Header
As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with a Contact Information section:
Here, you want to include all essential information, including:
- Phone Number
- Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
- Name of the company you’re applying to
In certain cases, you might also consider adding:
- 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 blog.
And here’s what you shouldn’t mention in your header:
- Your Full Address
- Unprofessional Email - Make sure your email is presentable. It’s pretty hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected].” Whenever applying for jobs, stick to the “[first name] + [last name] @ email provider.com” format.
Step #3 - Greet the Hiring Manager
Once you’ve properly listed your contact information, you need to start writing the cover letter contents.
The first thing to do here is to address the cover letter to the hiring manager .
That’s right, the hiring manager! Not the overly popular “Dear Sir or Madam.” You want to show your future boss that you did your research and are really passionate about working with their team.
No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes to get hired in any of them.
So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager? There are several ways to do this.
The simplest option is to look up the head of the relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably Head of Communications or Chief Communications Office.
So, you do a quick lookup on LinkedIn:
And voila! You have your hiring manager.
Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of a server. In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager.”
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.
Here are several other greetings you could use:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Team
Step #4 - Write an Attention-Grabbing Introduction
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.
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 #1 problem we see with most cover letter opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Most of them look 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.
See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say pretty much anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.
Do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.
Instead, you want to 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.
So now, let’s make our previous example shine:
My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed their 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 excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the job.
See the difference between the two examples? If you were the hiring manager, which sales manager would you hire, Jonathan or Michael?
Now that we’ve covered the introduction, let’s talk about the body of your cover letter. This part is split into two paragraphs: the first is for explaining why you’re the perfect person for the job, and the latter is for proving that you’re a good fit for the company.
So, let’s get started...
Step #5 - Explain why you’re the perfect person for the job
This is where you show off your professional skills and convince the HR manager that you’re a better fit for the job than all the other applicants.
But first things first - before you even write anything, you need to learn what the most important requirements for the role are. So, open up the job ad and identify which of the responsibilities are the most critical.
For the sake of the example, let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. You scan the job ad and see that the top requirements are:
- Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
- Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
- Excellent copywriting skills
Now, in this section, you need to discuss how you fulfill these requirements. So, here’s how that would look for our example:
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 & management process end-to-end. Meaning, I created the ad copy , 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
Are you a student applying for your first internship? You probably don’t have a lot of work experience to show off in this section. Learn how to write an internship cover letter here.
Step #6 - Explain why you’re a good fit for the company
Once you’ve written the last paragraph, you might be thinking - I’m a shoo-in for the job! What else do I need to write? I’ll just wrap up the cover letter and hit that sweet SEND button.
Well, no. You’re not quite there yet.
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 .
Meaning, you also need to convince the HR manager that you’re really passionate about working with them.
How do you do this? Well, as a start, you want to do some research about the company. You want to know things like:
- What’s the company’s business model?
- What’s the company 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?
So, get to Googling. Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or somewhere around the web.
Then, you need to figure out what you like about the company and turn that into text.
Let’s say, for example, you’re passionate about their product and you like the culture of innovation / independent work in the organization.
You’d 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 thrives for excellence for all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone that thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I and Company XYZ will be a great match.
What you don’t want to do here is be super generic for the sake of having something to write. Most job seekers tend to mess this one up. Let’s take a look at a very common example we tend to see (way too often):
I’d love to work for Company XYZ because of its culture of innovation. I believe that since I’m super creative, I’d be a good fit for the company. The company values of integrity and transparency really vibe with me.
See what’s wrong here? The example doesn’t really say anything about the company. “Culture of Innovation” is something most companies claim to have.
The same goes for “values of integrity and transparency” - the writer just googled what the values for the organization are, and said that they like them.
Any hiring manager that reads this will see through the fluff.
So, make sure to do a lot of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying.
Step #7 - Wrap up with a call to action
Finally, it’s time to finish up your cover letter and write the conclusion.
In the final paragraph, you want to:
- Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? Any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision? Mention it here.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time. It never hurts to be courteous, as long as you don’t come off as too needy.
- Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. You should ask the hiring manager to take some sort of action.
And now, let’s turn this into a practical example:
So to wrap it all up, thanks for looking into my application. I hope I can help Company X make the most out 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.
Step #8 - Use the right 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 to a cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
And we’re finally done! Before sending off the cover letter, make sure to proofread it with software like Grammarly, or maybe even get a friend to review it for you.
Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?
- Professional email
- Relevant Social Media Profiles
Do you address the right person? I.e. hiring manager in the company / your future direct supervisor
Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?
- Did you mention 2-3 of your top achievements?
- Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
Do you successfully convey that you’re the right pro for the job?
- Did you identify the core requirements?
- Did you successfully convey how your experiences help 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 finalize the conclusion with a call to action?
Did you use the right formal closure for the cover letter?
5+ Cover Letter Examples
Need some inspiration? Read on to learn about some of the best cover letter examples we’ve seen (for different fields).
College Student Cover Letter Example
Middle Management Cover Letter Example
Career Change Cover Letter Example
Management Cover Letter Example
Senior Executive Cover Letter Example
Want to discover more examples AND learn what makes them stand out? Check out our guide to cover letter examples .
Next Steps in 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 is for naught.
After all, a cover letter is just an introduction. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression, but flopping at the end because of a mediocre resume.
...But don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered on that end, too.
If you want to learn more about Resumes & CVs, we have a dedicated FREE guide for that. Check out our complete guide on how to make a resume , as well as how to write a CV - our experts will teach you everything you need to know in order to land your dream job.
Or, if you’re already an expert, just pick one of our resume templates and get started.
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 convinces the hiring manager of your competence
- A cover letter goes in your job application alongside your resume
- Your introduction to the cover letter should grab the hiring manager’s attention and keep it all the way until the conclusion
- There are 2 main topics you need to include in your cover letter: why you’re the perfect candidate for the job & why you’re passionate about working in the company you’re applying to
- Most of the content of your cover letter should be factual , without any fluff or generalizations
At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve, every step of the way! Follow our blog to stay up to date with the industry-leading advice. Or, check out some of our top guides…
- How to Write a Motivational Letter
- How to Write a Resume with No Work Experience
- Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
How to write a Cover Letter – Guide with Examples
Not every job application requires a cover letter, but every job application can benefit from one.
Along with a customised CV , which should include a strong personal profile, the cover letter lets you add specific information that puts you right at the heart of the job you are applying for. That means it’s really important to get it right.
Writing a winning cover letter is a skill. If you’re unsure what to include, our guide will help you:
What is a cover letter and why is it still important?
How to research and plan your cover letter.
- The basic format of a good cover letter
How long should a cover letter be?
- Address the hiring manager
- Use the job description
- How to market yourself in your cover letter
- How to structure and write your cover letter, with examples
- Use a ‘cold’ cover letter to approach a company you’d like to work for
- How to send your cover letter
A cover or covering letter is a brief, single-page document that accompanies your CV when you apply for a job.
Its purpose is to introduce yourself and to highlight your key skills, particularly those that are relevant to the job you are applying for. It’s your chance to showcase both your personality and suitability.
It’s important to remember that the cover letter is independent of your CV – in other words, it shouldn’t be just the same information presented differently. It needs to position you as the right person for the job by highlighting skills that you have that are essential for the role. For this reason, your cover letter should be tailored to every application.
Some recruiters will receive hundreds or even thousands of applications for a role, so your cover letter is your chance to stand out from the crowd and it’s an essential component of the application process.
Download our cover letter template
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” is a saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and it’s true. Planning is key to the success of any endeavour, and it’s certainly true for your cover letter and your CV .
These are the important things you should research before you begin writing your cover letter:
- Who will be receiving and reading your cover letter? This will likely depend on the size of the company doing the hiring – if it’s a small organisation, it may well be the CEO or owner of the business. For a larger company, it will most likely be the hiring manager or the head of HR.
- What skills and experience are listed in the job description? What skills do you have that this role calls for? Do you have other skills that you believe will be of benefit to the company and position? Put those in your cover letter and then detail why you think they’re relevant and important.
- The company and its culture. Any reputable company will have some form of online presence where you can do this research. If they don’t have their own website (which is highly unlikely) then they will most certainly have some social presence: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are good places to check.
- The company’s competitors and market position. This information too can usually be found online. Some organisations have obvious competitors – Nike and Adidas, for example – but it won’t always be this obvious. There are free trials available with tools such as Semrush , Ahrefs that can help you identify a company’s competition.
- The sector and any recent news or trends. Which sector or industry do they operate in? Do some online searches for news, using Google or any other search engine with a ‘news’ results tab.
- The organisation’s aims for the coming year and beyond. This information can be trickier to find. You could start on LinkedIn and search for key employees; those with CxO roles may well share goals, roadmaps and more on their profiles.
Building up a good body of information about both the company and its industry will help you tailor your cover letter for each company you apply to. It also shows your passion for the job and sector.
The basic format of a cover letter
Every cover letter you write should be tailored to the specific job role or company you’re applying for, but there is a basic format to follow for every cover letter:
- Paragraph one – The introduction
- Paragraph two – The by-line
- Paragraph three – Show your knowledge
- Paragraph four – Conclusion
Brief, probably less than one side of A4 – 250-300 words maximum.
A cover letter is important but remember, it’s an accompaniment to your CV , not your actual CV.
Address the hiring manager or recruiter
Just like your CV, every cover letter you submit should be written to match the job role you are applying for, and it should be comprehensive and, if possible, personalised:
- Personalise it – find the name of the hiring manager or the person most likely to receive or read your application in the first instance. Addressing a named person shows that you’re thorough and thoughtful in your approach. Sign off with “Yours sincerely”.
- If you don’t have that information and can’t specify a name – then start the letter with “Dear Sir or Madam” – but remember your grammar and sign off your letter with “Yours faithfully”.
You should also avoid tired and clichéd buzzwords .
Use the job description to tailor your covering letter
This is possibly the most vital aspect of the cover letter. If you don’t take the opportunity to state that you have the necessary skills and experience, you may as well not bother!
Detail your skills and provide examples of how you have used them in the past to succeed in your own goals and those of the company you were working for. Mirror some of the phrases used in the job requirements list.
You will most likely need to use different skills and examples for each cover letter, as each job role will require different skills and abilities.
Market yourself in your cover letter
A bit like your Personal Profile, your cover letter is your chance to sell yourself to the people doing the hiring. There are several good ways to sell yourself, and having done your research, they should be easy to include:
- Demonstrate knowledge – of the role, the company, and the sector in which they operate
- Outline your skills, qualifications and goals – any that are relevant to the role and company
- Highlight your social and interpersonal skills – talk about the clubs and/or societies you are a member of, any volunteering you do – anything that shows your ideals and what you enjoy doing in your spare time
How to structure and write a cover letter
These days it’s unusual for cover letters or CVs to be sent as physical copies, but digital correspondence should still be written in formal business language.
There are several ways to format a business letter, but these are the elements you must include:
- Your address and contact details, including a telephone number (mobile or landline) and email address
- The company’s address
- The opening greeting: Dear xyz
Here’s how it might look:
[Date] [Your address line 1] [Address line 2] [Address line 3] [Your phone number and email] [Company name] [Company address line 1] [Company address line 2] Dear [Name or Sir or Madam ],
Cover letter paragraph 1: The introduction
The position you are interested in and why you are applying for it – a brief introductory passage that covers three things:
- Why you’re writing the letter
- What job role you are applying for
- How you found out about the job
“I am writing to apply for the role of [job title] in response to an advert I saw on [name of job site]. Please find my CV attached.”
Cover letter paragraph 2: The by-line
This paragraph should be all about you and detail the skills you possess that are relevant to the role, particularly those that have been identified in the job advert or description. Be careful not to reproduce your CV. Mirror phrases and skills that are mentioned in the job advert or description.
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- Try more general keywords
- Check your spelling
- Replace abbreviations with the entire word
Cover letter paragraph 3: Show your knowledge
This is where you can demonstrate the research that you did before applying. Show that you know what sector they operate in and what they do, and demonstrate why you wish to work there, how you could make a difference, and how you align with the company’s ideals, culture and core values.
In short: show that you’re the perfect candidate!
Cover letter paragraph 4: Conclusion
Your cover letter, the masterpiece that it now is, should end with a clear call to action. You want to secure an interview for this position, so mention that and let them know when you’re available for a callback or contact to arrange it. Don’t be demanding, just be confident and clear. If you plan to follow up with a phone call, then let them know. If you’re not comfortable doing this then end your letter with:
“I look forward to hearing from you.”
Thank them for taking the time to read your letter, and sign off with:
“Yours sincerely [ or faithfully if you don’t know their name ] , [Your Name]”
Use a covering letter as a speculative approach to a company you’d like to work for
Have you noticed a company that you’d really like to work for, but they’re not currently advertising any open positions? In this case, a ‘ cold-contact cover letter ‘ makes a great speculative application letter. Here’s what to include in that cover letter:
- Address the letter formally – Try to get hold of the name of the hiring manager; check their website or call the main number and ask. If not, then address it as “Dear Sir or Madam”. You could alternatively address it to the CEO or Managing Director – once they see it is a speculative application, they will probably pass it to the relevant person within the company.
- Your reason for writing – As there is no vacancy that you are aware of, you should explain why you are writing and what attracted you to the company.
- Mention any contacts – If a friend or acquaintance works at the company and has suggested or agreed that you should apply, then mention them by name and job title.
- Detail your skills and experience – The body of the speculative application should highlight your skills and experiences and provide examples of how you have used them in previous jobs. Then state once more why you’re interested in working for the company; talk about the sector or industry they operate in and show that you have done your research.
- Say what you would like – Which area or department of the company are you interested in? Where would you like to work – sales, marketing, front-of-house, for example?
- Conclusion – Close the cover letter by thanking them for their time and expressing your interest in hearing from them about any job vacancies that might arise.
Remember, each speculative cover letter should be unique.
Send your cover letter
Because you are almost always going to be sending your cover letter online, we recommend that you attach it to your email in a .pdf format. This way, any computer will be able to view the file, and all your formatting will be preserved.
If you need to send your cover letter as the actual body text of your email, your approach will need to be slightly different. First, make sure you format the subject line of your email like so:
Application for [Job Title] – [Your Name]
If you were given a reference number, include that in the subject line as well. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about the layout of your letter. The paragraphs can be the same as an original cover letter, but you can remove the addresses, date and signature.
If you’re applying for a job via a job board, you can sometimes afford to scale down your cover letter to its key components.
Check out this example cover letter:
Hi [Name], I am interested in applying for the current vacancy you have for a [job title]. In my current role as [role title] with [company name], I am responsible for [insert relevant experience relating to job advert] but am currently looking to make a step up into a more challenging role with a reputable company who can offer career growth. I am currently on a notice period of [notice period] and can interview immediately. Kind regards, [Name] [Phone number] [Email]
By following these covering letter guidelines and examples you’ll be ahead of many other applicants applying for roles, and one step nearer to securing an interview.
Try to have fun with it – we wish you the best of luck!
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How to Write a Cover Letter that Stands Out [Beginner's Guide]
How to Write a Cover Letter that Stands Out [Beginner’s Guide]
A secret ingredient for that perfect cover letter.
A Cover Letter is a secret ingredient to making that first good impression on a potential employer. Many candidates focus too much on creating an impactful Resume that they treat a Cover Letter as an afterthought, creating an imbalance in their job application.
A Cover Letter is an important element of a job application that the candidate submits along with the Resume. It introduces the candidate to the company and pitches why you’re that perfect candidate they’re looking for or, in other words, why they should hire you over other applicants. Unless the job advertisement explicitly mentions that a Cover Letter is not required, a candidate should always include a Cover Letter, along with a Resume, in their job application.
As per one of the surveys online, job applications with a job-specific Cover Letter included with the application had a 31 per cent higher call-back rate. So, it is clear that a job application must always include a Cover Letter and be tailored to the job/profile/position being applied. Why? Because job applications with tailored Cover Letters resulted in over 50 per cent more interviews than job applications that didn’t include Cover Letters.
Now that we’ve established how important Cover Letters are, let us delve deeper into understanding the specifics of a Cover Letter.
What is The Purpose Of A Cover Letter?
A Cover Letter fulfils many purposes, including:
- Introduces the applicant
- Mentions the profile and position you’re applying for or looking for
- Provides the applicant with an opportunity to pitch why he/she is fit for the specific role and what the applicant brings to the table in terms of skills, experience, and qualification
- Develop interest in the reader (employer or hiring manager) for the applicant
- Integrates call-to-action to enhance the chance of landing an interview/call-back/meeting
What Should Be The Ideal Length Of A Cover Letter?
Cover Letters should be kept short yet informative and impactful. You are not writing your biography, so follow the unwritten rule of writing an ideal Cover Letter and keep it around 200 words to 400 words.
The idea sweet spot lies somewhere between 200 to 300 words. It not only increases the readability but improves the chances of an employer reading it. Anything more than one page is a big NO-NO!
Cover Letter Must Be Tailored For The Job
As tempting as it might seem to copy-paste a generic Cover Letter to all the jobs you apply for, you should refrain from doing it. Ensure every Cover Letter is tailored to the job profile and the company you’re applying to. It should address the employer’s concerns, answer their specific queries about what you bring to the table, and help them to better understand why you’re a good fit for the job.
In the Cover Letter, you must be specific about your skills and qualities and how you can leverage your experience to get the results the employer is looking for.
Here are a few simple ways you can make your Cover Letter more objective-oriented and specific:
Research Who The Cover Letter Is Addressed To
Most Cover Letters start with the typical “To Whom It May Concern.” Don’t be that generic candidate. Take out time and do your research to find out who would be handling your job application. It needs some time and effort, but a little effort would go a long way in realising your dream of landing your dream job.
Most job advertisements ideally name the concerned person to whom the job applications must be sent. If the advertisement doesn’t mention that, it would be wise to call the employer and inquire about it. There are numerous ways you can find out, including by contacting the employer via phone, email, or even on social media.
Once you find the name of the hiring manager or the HR manager who would be handling the job application, it is recommended you either refer to the person as ‘Mr’ or ‘Ms’ followed by the surname. Ideally, it is suggested you refrain from using the first name as a mark of respect.
Why is this necessary? Well, when you’re referred to by your name rather than ‘To whom it may concern”, it adds a humane and personal feel to it that triggers interest automatically. And, the fact that you took out time to tailor the Cover Letter while putting in the effort to find out the hiring manager’s name also makes a huge difference. It helps you stand out from the crowd and showcases your commitment and eagerness towards getting the job.
Do An In-Depth Research About The Job Offer
When you’re looking for the hiring manager’s name or the concerned person to whom to address your job application, try to talk to the person to know more about the job. Ask questions to clarify the vacant profile to help tailor your Cover Letter and even Resume before submitting your job application.
Some of the questions you can ask include –
- If you land the job, who would you be reporting to?
- What are the main KPIs and goals of the role
- What are the qualities/skills you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
- If the required profile description is not mentioned in the job advertisement, inquire about the position description and your role/responsibilities once hired.
Note down the answers you get and use the information to tailor your Cover Letter and Resume.
Do Research About The Company Your Apply For
To personalise your Cover Letter specifically for the job, it is crucial to know more about the company you’re applying to. Here are a few helpful tips you can follow.
- Look for information available online about the company.
- Visit the company’s website, and go through the ‘About Us page. (It also helps during the interview)
- If the company’s name isn’t given, call the HR firm or recruitment agency to know who the employer is.
What Must You Include In Your Cover Letter
Every candidate has their unique approach to writing a Cover Letter, but the end goal is the same – to inform, impress and stand out. Here’s a list of things that your Cover Letter must include –
Name & Up To Date Contact Details
The Cover Letter must include your name, email address and phone number on the very top of the page. It doesn’t necessarily need to have your postal address.
The email address should look professional and must not look extraordinarily flamboyant or out-of-place. For example, it should not look like [email protected] . Such emails don’t look or sound professional and make a poor first impression, which is certainly something you don’t want when trying to land a job.
The thumb rule is to keep personal and professional email separate. If you don’t have a professional email yet, make a new one for free using just your first and last name.
Name & And Contact Details Of The Addressee
Your name, telephone number and email address go on the very top of the page, as mentioned earlier. Right below it should be –
- Name of the person you’re addressing the Cover Letter to.
- Name of the company you’re applying to or the position of the addressee in the company.
- Contact details of the hiring manager/company (If available)
If you don’t have any of these details, you can always get in touch with the company and get the concerned details.
In the absence of these details, you’re left with the option of addressing it as ‘To whom it may concern.’ But it must be used only as a last resort.
Name The Profile/Position/Job You’re Applying For
At the very beginning of your Cover Letter, it is important to mention which job you’re applying for.
You can add a line specifically for this purpose. (For example, ‘Regarding: Application For Digital Marketing Specialist Position’).
You can also choose to mention it on the very first line of your Cover Letter’s pitch. (For example, ‘I am writing to apply for the recently advertised Digital Marketing Specialist position’.
List Your Skills Relevant To The Job
It is crucial to include a brief summary of your skills, experiences, credentials, and qualification that aligns with the job description. If you want, you can also present it in a bullet list format.
A job description always mentions the essential skills and experience required in a potential candidate. It might also include a list of “desirable” skills, experiences, and qualification. Your aim is to address specifically all of these ‘essential requirements’ and to as many ‘desirable requirements’ mentioned as possible.
Remember, just saying you’ve got the skills and experience to do the required job won’t cut it. You need to show how you got the skills, how you’ve used your skills on the (previous/current) job(s) to get desired results, and any other past experiences that showcase you’ve got what the employer is looking for. You don’t necessarily have to be a show-off. However, mentioning specific details that help them picture your abilities and skills and know what you’re talking about can prove fruitful for the organisation.
A Brief Summary Describing Why You’re A Great Fit For The Job
Once you’ve listed your skills, qualification, and experience, it is time for you to elaborate on why it means you’re the right fit for the concerned position. (For example, ‘My ability to manage various mainstream SEO tools, perform deep competition/on-page analysis, experience in HTML, and working in an agency setting for over five years makes me an ideal fit for the job.
Use Industry Terminology – Speak In Their Language
Using standard industry terminology or in the language of the concerned field helps the employer get an idea about your skills/experience and the industry knowledge.
Find out what the employer is seeking in a potential candidate and answer these questions in the language they understand. The idea is to showcase your in-depth knowledge about the industry and bring to the table exactly what the employer is looking for.
Don’t go overboard with it, and make sure you don’t make mistakes here as it might end up doing just the opposite of what you desired to achieve.
Ask Them To Get In Touch With You
The Cover Letter must end with asking the hiring manager/employer to read the Resume and contact you to schedule an interview.
What You Mustn’t Include In Your Cover Letter
Now that we have discussed what should be in an ideal Cover Letter let us discuss what mustn’t be in a Cover Letter.
Typos & Mistakes
Spell-check your Cover Letter thoroughly for any errors, typos and grammatical mistakes. Read and re-read again and again to be completely sure. You can also take the help of your teacher, career/job counsellor, friends, and family members and get them to read the Cover Letter and Resume, pointing out any flaws or obvious mistakes. Typos, grammatical mistakes, and errors look unprofessional and can be off-putting to employers.
Don’t Copy-Paste Entire Resume In Your Cover Letter
Your Cover Letter is meant to be an informative introduction and a prequel to your Resume. Don’t just rewrite your resume in a Cover Letter. Cover Letter and Resume are two different components of a job application and have different purposes. The Cover Letter is used to introduce you, generate interest in you as a potential candidate, give an insight into your abilities, skills, and experience. Let the Resume tell the whole story.
Don’t Use ‘I’ Too Much
More often than not, the candidates end up making the Cover Letter about themselves rather than answering the real question – How can you be useful for the employer? Don’t overuse commonly used phrases in a Cover Letter like ‘I have, ‘I believe’, ‘I can,’ ‘I am, etc. Once you’ve written your Cover Letter, edit and proofread it to rewrite any specific sentences and phrases that use ‘I’ too much.
Never Mention Your Other Job Applications
The chances are that you’re applying for multiple jobs simultaneously, but the employers don’t need to know that. It is essential never to mention other job applications or companies you’re trying to land a job in. Your Cover Letter should be aimed towards the employer and portray your commitment, faith, and eagerness to get the job.
Employers are well aware that job applicants have applied for other jobs, but you must never mention it.
The approach to writing a Cover Letter differs depending upon the job requirements and your credentials as a candidate. The approach will be different if you’re a fresher with no work experience, if the job doesn’t require a resume, if the company hasn’t advertised their job requirements, and if you’re a highly experienced candidate with tons of experience backing you.
The significance of a Resume often overshadows the value of Cover Letters. But, surveys and interviews with employers and hiring managers over the years have clearly proved that Cover Letters do make a difference. It increases the chances of landing an interview and getting a call-back, and most of all, leaves a positive impression on the employer.
Make A Great First Impression With An Impressive Cover Letter
When you want to stand out in a sea of applicants, it’s worth investing time and effort into crafting an impressive Cover Letter. We’ve outlined the key things your Cover Letter should include above, but don’t forget that sometimes less is more. If you’re having trouble getting started or need help with polishing up what you already have written, we can provide assistance from our team of professional writers who are ready and waiting for new clients! Contact us today to get started on your Resume writing project – no matter how big or small – so that you’ll be prepared when opportunity knocks at your door!
As a job seeker, you must leave no holds barred to make a great first impression, and it starts with writing a Cover Letter that makes the hiring manager pick up that phone and give you a call.
Our Career Counsellors have helped more than 3000+ Job seekers to get their Dream Job in Australia.
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