Cover letters aren’t always required when applying to lớn a job, but many companies use them to lớn evaluate your skills, passion, & experience.
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To maximize your chances of getting an interview, you need a well-written cover letter that makes a strong positive first impression on employers.
But writing a great cover letter is easier said than done, especially if you lack work experience.
Regardless of where you’re at in your career, we’re here khổng lồ help you write the best cover letter possible. We concisely answer the question “what is a cover letter“, explain its purpose, provide some cover letter resources, và show you how khổng lồ write a good cover letter for a job in seven simple steps:
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit with your resume to lớn express your interest in a job opening. The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself khổng lồ an employer & provide a brief overview of your work history, professional skills, và an explanation why you’re the best fit for that job.
While your resume focuses on your qualifications & achievements, your cover letter expands on those achievements, showcases your personality, và explains why you’d be a good fit for the company.
Cover letter example
Here’s an example of a cover letter that includes all the necessary information:
How lớn write a cover letter that gets you the job
Here’s how to lớn make a great cover letter for a job application:
1. List your liên hệ information (and the employer’s details)
Underneath your name in your cover letter header, menu the following contact details:First và last nameEmail address (something professional, usually including your name)Phone numberMailing address (optional)Linkedin profile link (optional)Portfolio or website (optional)
After your header, include the date và following company contact information:First and last name of the person you’re writing to, or the relevant departmentCompany addressCompany phone numberHiring manager’s email address
Here’s an example of how contact details are formatted on a professional cover letter:
2. Address the hiring manager (ideally by their name)
Next, address your cover letter to the hiring manager by name if possible. A standard cover letter salutation includes the hiring manager’s first and last name, and begins with a “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or another relevant professional title.
Greetings lượt thích “To Whom It May Concern” & “Dear Sir or Madam” are old-fashioned, và make your cover letter feel generic.
If you don’t see the hiring manager’s name listed in the job ad, don’t worry. You can easily find out who to address your cover letter to lớn using the following methods:
3. Write an attention-getting opening paragraph
Start your cover letter with an informative, direct introduction by including the following details in the first one or two sentences:Job position: The title of the advertised positionCompany name: The name of the company you’re applying toHow you discovered the opening: Whether you saw the job on LinkedIn, a job board, or were recommended khổng lồ apply by a friendIntention to lớn apply: An enthusiastic announcement that you’re applying for the open role and why you’re interested in or qualified for itNotable accomplishments: If you have relevant work experience, highlight one or two of your most notable achievements in your introduction to lớn immediately grab the employer’s attention
Here’s an example of a cover letter opening paragraph that effectively introduces the applicant:
You can also make your introduction even more attention-grabbing by adding a bit of personality, passion, or by including a major career highlight. Don’t be afraid to lớn let some of who you are as a person shine through in your cover letter.
Just be sure lớn strike the right tone for your industry or field. For instance, if you’re applying for a job in law or finance, keep your writing formal.
If you received a referral lớn the job by a current employee, your cover letter introduction is also the ideal place to lớn mention their name và your connection to them. This is a great way to quickly win over any hiring manager.
4. Explain why you’re qualified for the job
Your second & third paragraphs should make a convincing argument you’re the right person for the job by discussing your relevant work experience, skills, and achievements.
Here are some things to include in your cover letter that highlight your value khổng lồ an employer:Professional achievements: Did you exceed targets for production, sales, revenue, profit, customer satisfaction, or any other business objectives?Professional praise: Have you received compliments from management or colleagues for your work?Professional awards: Have you received awards for your work, lượt thích “Employee of the Month”?
In the following example, we’ve color-coded the achievements, praise, và awards with underlining to show you how to lớn include each in your cover letter. Cảnh báo that including bullet points on your cover letter is one way to lớn quickly demonstrate your skills:
If you lack professional work experience and are writing an entry-level cover letter, you should instead highlight details lượt thích your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, or volunteer work.
5. Relate your experience to the company’s needs
Begin lớn close out your cover letter by restating your interest in the job and explaining how your experience fits into the needs of the company.
For example, if you’re applying lớn work at a company that’s seeking lớn break into a new market that you have experience in, you should highlight this experience in your writing.
If you’re not sure what the goals or needs of the company are, find out by doing some general research online. Take chú ý of what products or services they offer, what their work culture is like, or if they have any future goals.
Here’s an example of how to lớn write this part of your cover letter:
6. Finish with a concise closing paragraph
When writing your cover letter closing, be polite, confident, & continue to lớn market yourself as the best candidate for the job. Here’s how khổng lồ write a convincing final paragraph for your cover letter in three steps:Restate your excitement about the job opportunityPolitely ask the reader to lớn send you an invitation to interviewThank the hiring manager for reviewing your application
Here’s an excellent cover letter closing example:
6. Sign-off (“Sincerely,” and your name below)
Finally, wrap up your cover letter with a professional closing salutation:
2 professional cover letter examples
Use these two great cover letter examples as a reference when writing your own cover letter:
Entry-level cover letter example
Here’s a cover letter example from an entry-level candidate without much professional work experience:
download This Cover Letter Example
Experienced cover letter example
And this example is of a good cover letter from a candidate who already has built up some professional experience in their career:
download This Cover Letter Example
Reviewing your cover letter
Before you send off your newly written cover letter, you should đánh giá it. Here are a few extra things lớn consider khổng lồ make sure your application is perfect before you send it out:
Double-check your cover letter formatting
A professional cover letter is normally 200–350 words, single-spaced, and uses either US Letter (USA) or A4 (Europe and elsewhere) page size. It should be typed with a standard cover letter font lượt thích Arial or Calibri, và the font kích thước should be between 10.5 and 12 points (just make sure it’s readable).
Additionally, your cover letter margins should be between 1″ and .5″ on each side to ensure it’s easy khổng lồ read. & all of the content should be left-aligned except for your own tương tác details, which can be centered.
Your cover letter’s format won’t win you the job, but it can thất bại you the job if done haphazardly.
Adjust your writing tone (if necessary)
A classic cover letter writing mistake is to write long sentences with highly formal wording. Unless you’re applying for a job in a traditional industry (like law or politics), your cover letter shouldn’t be too stiff because people might get the wrong impression of your personality.
Ideally, your cover letter should be easy khổng lồ read, confident, và friendly.
To instantly improve your writing tone, try:Using contractions, lượt thích “don’t” instead of “do not”Choosing simple, unpretentious words lượt thích “helpful” instead of “advantageous”
Here’s a comparison between a personable writing style and an overly formal one:
No matter what industry you’re applying for work in, having typos or grammatical errors in your cover letter will leave a negative impression on employers.
Here are two quick tricks professional editors use khổng lồ catch sneaky mistakes and make good edits:Read your writing out loud: Doing this will force you khổng lồ consider every word, sentence, paragraph, và punctuation mark. Plus you’ll catch hard-to-read sentences, and can then adjust them as necessary.Change the font: A new phông forces your brain khổng lồ grapple with something that seems new. Switching your cover letter to lớn a different fonts can help you notice mistakes you’d otherwise skim over and miss.
After you’ve read your cover letter out loud, have someone else read it over. They can provide helpful feedback like whether your letter is clear và well-argued, or vague & filled with cliches. They’ll also (hopefully) notice small grammar & spelling errors you missed.
Cover letter resources
Cover letter templates
Over one million people have downloaded these three cover letter templates. Each one has a matching resume template.
Popular cover letter templates:Additional cover letter templates
Cover letter writing how-to guides
Looking for more help on how to make a cover letter’s different sections really shine? Try these four writing guides:
Types of cover letters
Cover letters are used in many situations. Create yours by getting ideas from examples that apply khổng lồ your specific background and career goals:
Cover letter examples from different industries
Here are our top 10 most popular cover letter samples as voted on by our users. Each sample has a corresponding resume example.
If none of these examples apply to lớn you, kiểm tra out these other industry-specific cover letter examples.
Cover Letter Writing FAQs
And finally, here are some of our most notable cover letter FAQs (in case you’re still looking for answers to lớn your cover letter-related questions):