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How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)
What is a Job Application Letter?
Tips for writing a job application letter, how to get started.
- Writing Guidelines
- What to Include in Each Section
Simple Formatting Using a Template
Tips for writing an effective letter, sample job application letter, sending an email application, review more letter examples.
Do you need to write a letter to apply for a job? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Even when employers don’t require a job application letter , writing one will help you highlight your skills and achievements and get the hiring manager’s attention. The only time not to send one is when the job listing says not to do so. It can help, and it definitely won't hurt to include an application letter with your resume.
A job application letter, also known as a cover letter , should be sent or uploaded with your resume when applying for jobs. While your resume offers a history of your work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments, the job application letter you send to an employer explains why you are qualified for the position and should be selected for an interview.
Writing this letter can seem like a challenging task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing application letters to send with your resume.
Melissa Ling / The Balance
Before you begin writing your job application letter, do some groundwork. Consider what information you want to include (keeping in mind that space is limited).
Remember, this letter is making a case for your candidacy for the position. But you can do better than just regurgitating your resume—instead, highlight your most relevant skills, experiences, and abilities.
Analyze the Job Posting
To include the most convincing, relevant details in your letter, you'll need to know what the employer wants.
The biggest clues are within the job advertisement, so spend some time decoding the job ad . Next, match your qualifications with the employer's wants and needs .
Include Your Most Relevant Qualifications
Make a list of your relevant experience and skills. For instance, if the job ad calls for a strong leader, think of examples of when you've successfully led a team. Once you've jotted down some notes, and have a sense of what you want to highlight in your letter, you're ready to get started writing.
Writing Guidelines for Job Application Letters
Writing a job application letter is very different from a quick email to a friend or a thank-you note to a relative. Hiring managers and potential interviewers have certain expectations when it comes to the letter's presentation and appearance, from length (no more than a page) to font size and style to letter spacing :
Length: A letter of application should be no more than one page long. Three to four paragraphs is typical.
Format and Page Margins: A letter of application should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1" margins and align your text to the left, which is the standard alignment for most documents.
Font: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points.
What To Include in Each Section of the Letter
There are also set rules for the sections included in the letter, from salutation to sign-off, and how the letter is organized. Here's a quick lowdown on the main sections included in a job application letter:
Heading: A letter of application should begin with both your and the employer's contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.
- Header Examples
Salutation: This is your polite greeting. The most common salutation is "Dear Mr./Ms." followed by the person's last name. Find out more about appropriate cover letter salutations , including what to do if you don't know the person's name, or are unsure of a contact's gender.
Body of the letter: Think of this section as being three distinct parts.
In the first paragraph , you'll want to mention the job you are applying for and where you saw the job listing.
The next paragraph(s) are the most important part of your letter. Remember how you gathered all that information about what employers were seeking, and how you could meet their needs? This is where you'll share those relevant details on your experience and accomplishments.
The third and last part of the body of the letter will be your thank you to the employer; you can also offer follow-up information.
Complimentary Close: Sign off your email with a polite close, such as "Best" or "Sincerely," followed by your name.
- Closing Examples
Signature: When you're sending or uploading a printed letter, end with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.
- Signature Examples
Overwhelmed by all these formatting and organization requirements? One way to make the process of writing a job application easier is to use a job application letter template to create your own personalized job application letters for applying for a job. Having a template can help save you time if you are sending a lot of application letters.
Be sure that each letter you send is personalized to the company and position; do not send the same letter to different companies.
- Always write one. Unless a job posting specifically says not to send a letter of application or cover letter, you should always send one. Even if the company does not request a letter of application, it never hurts to include one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow the directions exactly (for example, they might ask you to send the letter as an email attachment, or type it directly into their online application system).
- Use business letter format. Use a formal business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
- Sell yourself. Throughout the letter, focus on how you would benefit the company. Provide specific examples of times when you demonstrated skills or abilities that would be useful for the job, especially those listed in the job posting or description. If possible, include examples of times when you added value to a company.
Numerical values offer concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments.
- Use keywords. Reread the job listing, circling any keywords (such as skills or abilities that are emphasized in the listing). Try to include some of those words in your cover letter. This will help the employer see that you are a strong fit for the job.
- Keep it brief. Keep your letter under a page long, with no more than about four paragraphs. An employer is more likely to read a concise letter.
- Proofread and edit. Employers are likely to overlook an application with a lot of errors. Read through your cover letter, and if possible, ask a friend or career counselor to review the letter. Proofread for any grammar or spelling errors.
This is a job application letter sample. Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.
Sample Job Application Letter (Text Version)
Elizabeth Johnson 12 Jones Street Portland, Maine 04101 555-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.org
August 11, 2020
Mark Smith Human Resources Manager Veggies to Go 238 Main Street Portland, Maine 04101
Dear Mr. Smith,
I was so excited when my former coworker, Jay Lopez, told me about your opening for an administrative assistant in your Portland offices. A long-time Veggies to Go customer and an experienced admin, I would love to help the company achieve its mission of making healthy produce as available as takeout.
I’ve worked for small companies for my entire career, and I relish the opportunity to wear many hats and work with the team to succeed. In my latest role as an administrative assistant at Beauty Corp, I saved my employer thousands of dollars in temp workers by implementing a self-scheduling system for the customer service reps that cut down on canceled shifts. I also learned web design, time sheet coding, and perfected my Excel skills.
I’ve attached my resume for your consideration and hope to speak with you soon about your needs for the role.
Elizabeth Johnson (signature hard copy letter)
When you are sending your letter via email include the reason you are writing in the subject line of your message:
Subject Line Example
Subject: Elizabeth Johnson – Administrative Assistant Position
List your contact information in your signature, rather than in the body of the letter:
Email Signature Example
Elizabeth Johnson 555-555-5555 email@example.com
Review more examples of professionally written cover letters for a variety of circumstances, occupations, and types of jobs.
CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter ?" Accessed July 14, 2021.
University of Maryland Global Campus. " Frequently Asked Questions ." Accessed July 14, 2021.
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How to Write an Application Letter
How do you write an application letter that can get you the job you desire?
Many job seekers don’t always see the reason why they should write an application letter when they are applying for a job because they feel they can just send their CVs.
Your CV indeed contains all the necessary information that the recruiter needs to know about you, but sometimes your CV alone may not be able to do the job of helping you land the job of your dreams.
Your CV may do a great job of showing that you have the skills and education required to excel in a particular position, but it may not be great at telling your prospective employer that you are the best person for the job.
This is what an application letter does for you. An application letter expresses your interest in a job and shows the employer why you are the best person for the position. Writing an application letter is one of the hidden job search hacks that help you apply for fewer jobs, but land more interviews .
If you are tired of getting rejected every time you apply for a job vacancy , then you should consider writing an application letter that will help you express your sincere interest in the job of your dreams. In this article, we will be looking at:
- What is an application letter
- Importance of an application letter
- Difference between an application letter and a resume letter
- How to write an application letter
- Application letter examples
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What is an Application Letter?
A job application letter is a formal document that is sent to a prospective employer to express your interest in a position. An application letter is usually sent alone and not attached alongside another document.
Most times, an application letter is not sent after you must have seen an advertised position but sent whether or not a vacancy was advertised. The application letter serves a purpose that is similar to that of the CV.
Read: How to Write an Application Letter in Nigeria for a Teaching Job
When You Should Write an Application Letter.
Yes, it is true that you should write an application letter when you are interested in a job, but that is not all you consider before you decide to write an application letter.
When you see a job advert that you are interested in, you send your CV and cover letter, right? But this does not quite work for application letters. Employers will not replace the CV and cover letter with an application letter.
The approach of an application letter is different from the CV and the cover letter. You should write an application letter when the employer does not solicit your interest in the position. This simply means when there is no job advertisement or posting.
For example, if you are searching for a job and you have a list of top companies that you would love to work for, you don’t necessarily have to wait for a job posting to declare your interest in that particular job. You can simply email an application to different companies.
This is a way for you to extensively and formally introduce yourself to the prospective employer of the companies that you would love to work for.
Why You Should Write an Application Letter for a Job
Just like we have discussed earlier, there are many reasons why people write application letters. If you are actively searching for a job, then this is why you should consider writing an application letter:
- It serves as a formal introduction between you and your prospective employer.
- It can help you access hidden jobs.
- It can help you to be a step ahead of other job seekers.
- It puts you in a less competitive circle in comparison with what happens when jobs are advertised with thousands of applicants showing interest.
- It can help you boycott the process of applying for a job online, and writing a resume letter because most times application letters stand alone.
Difference between a Job Application Letter and a Cover Letter
Many people use the terms application letter and resume letter interchangeably because they think that they mean the same thing. Even though the application letter and the cover letter perform almost the same function, they are different.
- An application letter is intended to stand alone, while a cover letter is usually accompanied by a CV or resume.
- A resume/cover letter will contain a brief introduction that consists of three to four sentences about the job seekers' experience, education, accomplishment and why the job seeker feels he/she is the best candidate for the job. On the other hand, an application letter may have a more extensive introduction because it is meant to stand alone just like the CV.
- An application letter often can substitute for a resume and, therefore, requires that the job seeker include specific information about her work history and professional competencies. A cover letter, on the other hand, should not contain too much information about the job seekers because it is merely an introduction to the resume.
- A cover letter is like an elevator pitch. It is intended to capture the reader's attention enough to make the recruiter or hiring manager want to review the CV.
- A cover letter is usually used by a job seeker to show interest in a job vacancy after which the job seeker will attach a detailed document (which is usually a CV). An application letter is mostly used by a job seeker to show interest in an unsolicited job.
Learn how to write a stunning cover letter now.
How to Write An Application Letter in 10 Easy Steps
These tips will guide you on how you can write an application letter:
- Write an Outline
- Write your first draft
- Use a friendly tone
- Make it concise
- Tailor the job application letter to the job specification and company requirement
- Use typed and not handwritten documents
- Use quality paper
- Write a mind blowing ending
Are you applying for a security job, but don't know how to write an application letter? Read how to write an application letter for a security job in Nigeria
1. Write an Outline : Just like you write an outline when you want to write an essay, it is also important that you write an outline when you want to write your application letter. The outline is the structure of what you want to write in your actual application letter. It is good that you make clear what you want to achieve, and all the things that you want your prospective employer to know.
An outline of your application letter will make it easy for you to write your application letter because you have the structure planned out already.
2. Write a Draft : After you must have done a structure for your application letter, then it is good for you to do a rough draft of the application letter before writing the original one.
When you are drafting your application letter, you can make use of the outline that you did earlier to serve as a guide for your application letter. At this point, you may not worry about grammatical mistakes and punctuation errors. This is to help you develop a prototype application letter.
3. Salutation : Salutation is one aspect of the application letter that is obvious. Most times that is what the employer will likely see first as soon as they open the letter. Since this is an important aspect of the application letter, you need to be careful.
It is important for you to know some tips on salutation before you start writing your application letter:
- You should put a comma at the end of your salutation
- If you are addressing more than one recipient, you should address the recipient as ‘Dear Sirs/Madams’.
- If you don’t know the name of the recipient, you should address the person as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
- If the recipient's gender is not known, you should address the person with the full name. Like; ‘Dear David Houston’.
4. Tone : Employers can sense your tone from the way that you write. When you are writing your application letter, you must treat the recipient with respect. Be polite and use formal language when you are writing. Be careful not to use slang or ambiguous words.
5. Be Brief : As much as you need to give your prospective employers reasons why you think you are the best person for the job, it is equally important for you to as brief as possible.
Employers are very busy and may not be able to spend time reading your application letter. Mention the purpose of your letter in the first paragraph because this is where the employer will likely look at first.
6. Tailor the letter to the job and the company : Tailoring your application to the job that you are applying for and the company will give your prospective employer the mindset that you are passionate about the job and the company.
Employers look forward to hiring people that are passionate about the job. Tailoring your application letter may be all you need to land the job of your dreams.
7. Use typed and not handwritten documents : Unless a handwritten letter is requested, you should send a typed and computer-generated document. Typing your document will help you present a well-aligned, clear, and easy to read the document.
8. Use a high quality Paper: If you are sending a hard copy application letter, make sure you use a good and quality paper. Don’t tear out a sheet of paper from your notepad and use that paper to write your application letter. If you do that, your application letter will look scrappy and rough.
9. Proof-reading : proof-reading your application letter will help you see errors that you would need to fix before you send your application letter. You can read your application letter out loud to yourself to see some errors.
Check the spellings on your application letter and punctuation errors. You can use Grammarly.com to check your spellings and edit your errors.
10. Ending your application letter : When you are sending your application letter, you should make sure that your tone matches the tone of the letter. A formal letter closing is polite, courteous, and respectful.
These are common closing that you can use to end your application letter:
- ‘Sincerely’ or your ‘faithfully’
- ‘Your Truly’
- ‘Faithfully Yours’
Application Letter Example for Any Job Vacant Position
Writing an application letter can be easy and straight forward if you follow some rules. From salutation, closing, to the overall organization of your letter some rules makes your application letter appear good.
Your application letter should begin with the contact information. The contact information should include your contact and that of the employer.
The contact information should include; name, address, phone number, email, and date. If it is an email application letter, you can put your contact at the end of the letter after your signature.
The heading of your application letter includes the contact information and the salutation.
(Your contact information)
City, State Zip Code
(The employer’s contact information)
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
Salutation is the polite greeting that is usually at the beginning of the application after the contact information of the. The common salutation format is ‘Dear Mr./Ms’ followed by the person’s last name.
The body of the application letter
The body of your application letter lets your prospective employer know the position that you are applying for, why they should consider your application and how they would finally follow you up if they consider you for the position.
The body of your application letter is made up of different paragraphs leading up to the conclusion. Here we are going to look at the different paragraphs.
The first paragraph of your application letter will include information about why you are writing the letter in the first place. It is in this paragraph that you will mention the job that you are applying for and where you saw the job application.
It is in the first paragraph that you create a lasting impression on the employer. This is where you sell yourself to your prospective employer.
Second and third paragraph
The second and the third paragraph of your application letter should tell your prospective employer what you have to offer the company and what you have to offer performing the job.
These paragraphs are the most important in your application letter because this is where you have to prove to the employer that you meet the need of what the employer is looking for.
This is where you would have to share the experience, skills and accomplishments that suggest you as the best person for the job.
Remember to state how your qualification makes you the best person for the job.
Note : You should research the company and find out some information that will help you emphasize that you are the best person for the position. You can research the role that you would love to fill to find out the company’s expectation for the role, and then tailor your application in that regards.
You should also not forget to make use of specific example where possible. If you say that you are a skilled at marketing products, you should be able to give examples that would emphasize that.
The last paragraph of your application letter should summarize your application letter. You should also thank your employer in this part of your application letter. You should conclude this paragraph by thanking your employer for considering you for the position.
You can also include information on how the employer or the company will follow you up.
You should sign off your letter with a polite close. For example;
Signature (for a hard copy letter)
Job Application Letter Example for an Experienced Job Candidate
Writing an application letter for a job may not be an easy thing to do especially when you are writing one for the first time.
Looking at an application letter example will help write your own without much stress. This application letter example will guide you to write your application letter.
11 South Street
Ocean View Estate, Lekki,
November 13th, 2019.
Human Resources Director
Capital Solutions, Inc.
101 Admiralty Way
Dear Mr. Judith,
I was very happy when my friend, Daine James, told me that Capital Solutions are searching for a Human Resources Specialist with a minimum of two years experience.
From my research on the company, I learned that Capital Solutions see team work as an important aspect of performance that can help the company reach its goals, and how much the company needs a Human Resources specialist that would join the team and start performing at once. I believe that I am that ideal candidate for your team.
I am David Emmanuel, a graduate of Human Resources and Personnel Management from the University of Lagos. My 5 years of experience in Human Resources practices has made me become a Human Resources specialist.
In my current as the Human Resources Manager, I manage a team of 20 staff members, organize on-boarding program for new staff, and prepare pay role for the company. I also have experience in:
- Data entry and data reporting on HRM software
- Recruiting and hiring processes (which includes; creating job descriptions, posting job vacancies, creating candidate awareness on available job vacancies, screening CVs and scheduling interviews).
- Organizing company event. (Organizing end of the year party and team bonding events).
I would love to speak with you about my qualifications and what I can do for your team. Thank you for your consideration.
Job Application Letter Example for Job Candidates with No Experience
11 Ajayi Close,
Dear Mr Emmanuel,
I was extremely excited when a friend mentioned the opening for the role of a customer service intern. I recently graduated from the University of Lagos, where I studied Mass Communication. I am very passionate about customer service, which is why I am excited about this position.
As a first-class graduate of Mass Communication, and as a one-time public relations officer for the students’ Union. I have learned how to effectively communicate and manage relationships with diverse people.
Asides from my graduate program, I have also taken different certificate courses and training in customer service practices and public relations. I recently attended a 2-weeks customer service training where I learned: The ethics of customer services, telephone etiquette, and I improved my written communication skills.
From my education, training and experience, I have been able to build the following skills:
· Excellent communication skills
· Good listening skills
· Improve my writing skills
· People management skills
· Interpersonal skills
· MS Office
I believe that my education, experience, and training in Mass communication and customer service practices has prepared me for this internship role.
Considering the great milestone that ABC company has achieved over time, I am certain that this company will be a great environment for me to grow my career as well as contribute to the success of the organization.
I look forward to a scheduled time where we can discuss my qualification as regards the internship.
Thank you for your consideration .
Application Letter FAQ
1: should my cv be accompanied by an application letter .
The answer is yes, your CV or résumé should always be accompanied by an application letter. It's an important self-marketing tool which you shouldn't fail to utilize.
2: How Should I Format My Application Letter?
Your application letter should be formatted the following way: ● Heading (hard copy) or Subject (Email) ● Salutation Check this post for more infomration on how to format your application letter
3: What Should I Include In My Application Letter?
Your application letter should include relevant work history and skills, the significant role you played in your previous job which matches the job you are now applying for, why you would be a good fit for the role, achievements, and any industry certifications you possess
4: How Long Should My Application Letter Be?
Typical, a cover letter should be half a page, or one full page in length. Break it into paragraphs, so that the information can be easily and quickly absorbed by the recruiter.
Having a professional application letter can help you land the job of your dreams without having to wait for years. Companies receive loads of application letters daily, but learning how to write an effective application letter can help stand out from other job seekers.
Looking to land your dream job? See 100 interview questions and answers to get you prepared for the big day.
You explain it very well because your way of explanation is lovely. I am a social person, and I read many blogs from different websites. is one of them. He can also provide us with good information. I appreciate it. Keep it up.
Thank you very much Meave for your comment.
You have explained well. But what if the person doesn't have any working experience?
Thank you Ozuu for your comment. The post has been updated, so you can look at the application letter example for job seekers with no experience.
It is the section before the application letter FAQ.
thanks it has helped me
I love yr explanation but what if the person is not a graduate ,and have no experience, if the person is an ssce holder , how we the person write the application Letter
I appreciate your work,good explanation.It really helped me
I really appreciate your explanation,it was very helpful
You explained very well... Thanks so much
Thank you for your explanation but what about shs graduate
Thanks alots your explanation helps.
Thanks for your vivid insight on this subject. I actually benefited alot. Keep it up.
Best regards from;
Wow! Never knew that there's a difference between application letter and CV cover letter. Thanks for your explanation, was really helpful.
The lecture is very educative.
What if you are writing an application letter for a job that isn't related to your specialty.
Example, you studied banking and finance but wanting to write for a position of a human resource and you don't have any experience on that. How will you go about it?
I love this question, can someone answer this
This article is fantastic and I got some good information by reading this.
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How to Write a Cover Letter (Cover Letter Tips + Free Templates)
A well-written cover letter to accompany your resume can help you stand out to employers and significantly impact a hiring manager’s decision to call you for an interview .
David Grimes, director of people and talent operations at Taulia LLC, told us, “I sincerely appreciate cover letters, as they signal to me an amplification of interest and offer an additional opportunity to convey that [job candidates] have taken the time to truly review the position or organization and see an alignment.”
He notes that “when done well, a cover letter can provide a window into the candidate as they picture themselves at our organization.”
So, if you’re wondering if you need a cover letter for a job, or you’re asking, “what is a cover letter for a resume?” and you want to know how to create a cover letter effectively, look no further!
In this guide, we’ll address the following:
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page business document that should complement a CV or a resume in a job application. Its purpose is to:
- Introduce you to hiring managers.
- Provide details about your qualifications.
- Tell employers why you want to work for them.
- Illustrate why you’re the best match for the job.
- Explain circumstances like job hopping or gaps in employment.
Pro tip Did you know? 41% of job seekers replicate their resumes in their cover letters — a huge mistake. Your cover letter should complement your resume, not repeat it.
How to write a cover letter for a resume in 10 steps
Follow the simple steps below to make a cover letter that wows prospective employers.
STEP 1 Prepare to write your cover letter.
Preparation is key to writing a cover letter that stands out. Having your essential information ready will save you time and ensure you put your best foot forward.
First, review the job requirements and compare them to your relevant qualifications.
Then make a checklist of your:
- Notable accomplishments from previous jobs and volunteer work .
- Skills that match the required skills in the job ad. Include a mix of hard and soft skills .
- Educational qualifications, including certificates and licenses.
- Awards and honors.
Next, if you haven’t already, research the company to:
- Get an idea of the culture and their mission and values so you can tell the hiring manager how well you fit and why.
- Take note of the company’s news and press releases so you can highlight how you can help them reach their goals or congratulate them on a milestone.
- Learn the hiring manager’s name, so you can address your cover letter to them.
STEP 2 Choose a cover letter template
Want to know how to write the perfect cover letter? Use a cover letter template . Why? Because cover letter templates ensure your cover letter is in the correct cover letter format , they’re ATS-friendly and they are designed by professionals.
We have hundreds of templates to help you get started on the right track. Pick from modern, creative, or simple styles to match your CV or resume template and build a professional cover letter in minutes. Not sure if a template’s right for you? Try one for free!
STEP 3 Add your contact information.
Place your name, city, state, ZIP code, phone number and email address in your cover letter heading. Your email address should be professional like [email protected] and not personal like [email protected]. Include links to your LinkedIn profile or professional online portfolio if you have one.
STEP 4 Add the recipient’s address.
First, write the current date followed by a space. Then include the hiring manager’s name and title, company address and hiring manager’s email address (in that order).
It should look like this:
Pro tip Always follow instructions in the job ad. If an ad directs you to address your cover letter to a human resources team member or the HR department, use the information the prospective employer provides for the recipient’s address.
STEP 5 Address the hiring manager (by name).
Here’s a tip for how to address a cover letter correctly: Use the hiring manager’s name (unless the job ad specifies a department or HR team member), avoiding titles like “Mr.” or “Mrs.” unless you are certain of the person’s gender.
“Dear [hiring manager’s full name],” but if your research doesn’t turn up a name, then use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Hiring Team.” If you know their title, then write “Dear [Title].
Don’t use informal language like “Hello,” or “Hi,” or old-fashioned salutations like“Dear Sir or Madam,” or “To Whom it May Concern,” to greet the person reading your letter.
Pro tip Did you know? 45% of hiring managers read an applicant’s cover letter before their resume.
- Dear Lucy Garcia,
- Dear Ms. Lowe,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Vice President of Marketing,
- Hey Mr. Jones,
STEP 6 Grab the hiring manager’s attention with a powerful cover letter introduction
The opening sentences of a cover letter are like an elevator pitch . They should clearly and concisely tell hiring managers why you’re interested in the job and they’ve got to be compelling.
But how do you start a cover letter in a way that intrigues hiring managers and makes them want to read more?
The following tips and examples can help you write a cover letter opening that gets attention.
Exude confidence, passion and enthusiasm.
“I was excited to see that Tech Solutions — a company I respect for its innovation — has an opening for an experienced lead producer .”
Talk up your skills and experience.
“With seven years of experience in production for leading start-up companies in Silicon Valley, I have in-depth knowledge of cyber security and cloud computing and know my way around artificial intelligence .”
Show you’ve done some research.
Mention an interesting fact or statistic from an article, news story or the company’s website.
“When I saw that WILCO Services was touted in Business Magazine for being one of the most inclusive companies in the world, I knew I had to apply for the marketing associate position.”
- Highlight an impressive accomplishment, award or honor and use numbers when possible.
Tell a story about why you are applying.
“When I was a child, I spent my days in the city parks around my neighborhood, listening to birds sing and watching squirrels jump through trees. Those days instilled a passion in me for wildlife that has intensified over the years and, combined with admiration for the animal rehabilitation programs at Prospect Park Nature Conservancy, led me to apply for the Wildlife Technician position at the conservancy. ”
Mention a shared contact (if you’re sure it’s a positive connection).
“ Jayne Peck told me you had an opening on your graphics team, and I’m thrilled to apply for the role. You and I know Jayne from Volunteers for the Bay, where I volunteered on the cleanup crew in 2017.”
STEP 7 Explain why you’re the best candidate for the job in your cover letter body paragraphs.
The body of a cover letter should paint an in-depth picture of your professional life while providing insight into your personality. It’s your chance to show the potential employer what you’re made of.
Here’s what to write in a cover letter body paragraph, no matter your background:
- If you have work experience in your target role or industry, detail your work accomplishments and use numbers to quantify the results of your actions.
- If you’re applying for your first job , connect the new opportunity with a personal or school project, extracurricular activity or internship.
- Highlight your most relevant skills and explain clearly how you can apply them to the job.
- If you think you’re a shoe-in for the company’s culture, show it! For example, if you enjoy volunteering for social justice causes and you are applying to a nonprofit organization focused on social justice, then explain why the company’s mission is meaningful to you.
- If you’re changing careers, explain your motivation and emphasize your transferable skills to how you can contribute to the company’s success. Career change cover letters that emphasize transferable skills are more effective because they show prospectives that you can perform the work with little or no experience.
Pro tip Did you know? 83% of hiring managers surveyed said they would hire a candidate who sent a strong cover letter, even if their resume wasn’t up to par.
STEP 8 Write your closing paragraph.
When you write a cover letter closing statement, make it clear that you’re excited about the possibility of working for the employer and that you are confident you have the expertise to be successful at the job.
You must also thank your reader for their time and consideration, and perhaps most importantly, end with a call to action that encourages the reader to follow up with you.
Remember that you’re writing a cover letter to a specific person, so thank them for their time and consideration. You should also encourage the recipient to follow up (e.g., “I look forward to further discussing my qualifications with you.”).
Here are a few examples of how to create a cover letter closing paragraph.
Pro tip A “call to action” in your cover letter closing paragraph shows hiring managers that you’re serious about the job and confident in your qualifications.
STEP 9 Sign off.
What goes in a cover letter ending isn’t complicated, but you have to get it right if you want a chance at the job.
That means you must be respectful, polite, professional and formal.
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
STEP 10 Proofread your cover letter
Knowing how to write a cover letter for a job isn’t all there is to making a cover letter. You have to proofread it at least once before sending your job application letter to a potential employer. Typos and cover letter formatting mistakes can reduce your chances of getting hired. When you’ve finished proofreading, have someone else read it for you too, just to be sure it’s job application-ready.
And there you go! That’s how to write a good cover letter.
What should a cover letter look like?
All cover letters follow a basic business letter structure that looks like this.
What to include in a cover letter
A professional cover letter must contain:
Your contact information
The current date
The hiring manager’s name and title
The company’s address
The hiring manager’s email address
A salutation (greeting)
An opening paragraph
A closing paragraph
Cover letter writing checklist
- Did you choose a cover letter design that matches your resume?
- Are your name, location, phone number and email address up to date and displayed at the top of your cover letter?
- Did you add a link to your professional portfolio or website and your current LinkedIn profile (if you have them)?
- Did you add the current date at the top of your cover letter?
- Did you address your letter to the hiring manager by name and include their title, email address and the correct company address?
- Did you greet the hiring manager, recruiter or HR associate by name or title?
- Did you use a polite but formal greeting?
- Are the first few sentences of your cover letter clear and compelling?
- Do you convey enthusiasm for the job?
- Did you effectively express how you can apply your skills, experience and achievements to the target job to help the company achieve its goals?
- Did you highlight one or two things you like about the company, such as their values or culture, and why?
- Did you thank the reader for their time?
- Did you end your cover letter with a call to action?
- Did you use a proper, formal closure to end your letter?
How to make a cover letter fast
A professional cover letter template is the best place to start a cover letter . Download one for free to create a cover letter from scratch, or use one of our expertly designed templates with our Cover Letter Builder to make a cover letter in minutes.
Our templates frame your qualifications with the correct formatting , and they meet the latest applicant tracking system (ATS) requirements.
Our builder makes writing a cover letter a snap with:
- Job-specific phrases and skills: No matter the job you’re applying for, we give you the right words and relevant skills you can incorporate with just one click.
- Step-by-step guidance: Get expert advice at every step to help you present your best self and get the job.
- Easy customization: Write a cover letter for every job application and save as many versions of it as you need.
- Multiple download formats: Save and export your cover letter as a PDF, DOCX or plain text.
Pro tip Always match your cover letter template to your resume template for a polished job application. Use our resume builder to create a matching resume and cover letter!
Cover letter tips
We’ve given you almost all the advice for writing a good cover letter that you’ll need to start creating a cover letter, but we’ve saved a few pointers for last.
Here are our top five tips for how to make a cover letter effectively.
TIP #1 Follow instructions. This is probably the most important tip for writing a cover letter. Read the job description carefully and do what it says. If the job posting says to send your letter as a PDF, don’t send a Word document. If it tells you to send your cover letter as an email attachment, then do so. If the job posting says to write your cover letter in the body of an email, then do that. If you fail to follow all instructions in a job ad, you will likely not be considered for the position.
TIP #2 Tailor your cover letter to the job. Hiring managers know a generic cover letter when they see one — and they usually ignore them. That’s why it’s critical to customize your cover letter to show your enthusiasm for the specific job and company you’re applying to. To do this, use keywords from the job description when they apply to you. Doing so also ensures ATS software can find you and signals to hiring managers that you meet their requirements.
Our Cover Letter Builder makes it fast easy to customize a cover letter for every job you target.
TIP #3 Don’t apologize. Never point out the skills and experience you lack. If you are qualified for the job but don’t have much experience in the field, don’t apologize. Instead, focus on experiences like volunteering, school projects and community service you’ve done that make you a good fit and play up your transferable skills.
TIP #4 Don’t overshare. While writing a cover letter to explain a career change or job gap is a good idea, sharing every detail about your life or career is not. Keep away from the following topics every time you create a cover letter:
- Political views.
- Current or past salary or salary expectations for the target job.
- Exaggerations and lies (about anything).
- Personal details such as marital status, family background, financial situation, ethnicity or religious beliefs
- Negative thoughts about your former boss, company or coworkers.
- Irrelevant personal hobbies.
- Details about work from more than three years ago that doesn’t pertain to your target job.
TIP #5 It’s possible to be too enthusiastic. We stress the importance of conveying enthusiasm when you write a cover letter because you should. However, use caution when displaying your zeal. Keep your tone professional, be genuine and never present yourself as desperate.
Cover letter examples
Cover letter examples for top jobs.
Get inspired with our professionally crafted cover letter examples for top jobs and industries. You can use them with our builder to make a cover letter that’s as unique as you are.
- Executive assistant
- Customer service representative
- Educational assistant
- Case manager
- Payroll specialist
Cover letter examples by situation
Example of how to make a cover letter when you have no experience.
Use this example to help you write a career change cover letter.
Here’s what to include in a cover letter if you have employment gaps.
Example of how to write a “cold call” cover letter.
This example shows how to write a cover letter for a job that isn’t advertised.
Here’s how to write a cover letter for a temporary to a permanent position.
Example of a cover letter for a job with the same company.
Example of a job application letter when you’re seeking a promotion.
How to write a cover letter: important takeaways
Let’s recap the basics of what to include in a cover letter one more time:
- A cover letter is a one-page document that complements your resume without repeating it.
- Address the cover letter to the hiring manager. If you don’t know who to address the cover letter to or can’t find their name, then address them as “Hiring Manager,” by their title, or address the department.
- Write a cover letter introduction that immediately grabs the hiring manager’s attention and compels them to keep reading.
- It’s a good idea to use a professionally designed cover letter template to ensure your cover letter is formatted correctly.
- A good cover letter is a custom cover letter. Tailor yours to your target job and use keywords from the job description if they fit your abilities.
How to make a cover letter FAQ
How long should a cover letter be.
A cover letter should cover one half-a page minimum and it should never be more than one-page long. Aim to concisely express your points in about 250-500 words.
How do you write a cover letter for a job application?
To make a cover letter effectively, use a standard business letter format, include your contact details and the potential employers’ contact information, address the hiring manager if possible, and in 250-500 words, explain how your achievements, skills, and work experience make you the best fit for the job. Introduce yourself and show enthusiasm for the job in the first paragraph, then in one or two paragraphs, detail exactly why you’re the best fit for the position. Ensure you address situations such as job gaps, a career change, or a move to a new location, and wrap it up in a compelling closing paragraph that reiterates your interest in the job and invites the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.
How to address a cover letter without a name?
It’s always best practice to try to find the hiring manager’s name when writing a cover letter because it personalizes your letter and emphasizes your interest in the position by showing you’ve done your homework. It also creates a connection with the hiring manager and conveys that you’re willing to go the extra mile, which is a quality most hiring managers want to see in prospective employees. But if you don’t have a name, it’s acceptable to write “Dear hiring manager,” “Dear [Title],” or “Dear [Department Name] to address your cover letter.
Can I send an email cover letter for a resume?
Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a cover letter in an email message, unless the job description states to attach it. Be sure to attach your resume to the email and let the hiring manager know it’s attached.
Is a cover letter necessary?
Yes! Unless a job posting specifically states not to send one, writing a cover letter for a job application is a must if you want to stand out from the competition. Sending a cover letter along with your resume shows recruiters that you are a professional who is sincerely interested in the job and willing to go the extra mile for it — traits employers look for in job candidates.
What to write in a cover letter?
Generally, cover letters should tell employers why you’re the best fit for your target job. Write about your background and how it fits the job, show your personality, and explain precisely what you can do for the employer and how. It’s also a good idea to explain unique situations like job gaps and the reasons for a career change in a cover letter.
Of course, you should also include your name, contact information, links to professional profiles, the employer’s address, addressee’s name and title, a greeting, a job applicant’s contact information, the employer’s address, a compelling introduction, a strong closing inviting the hiring manager or recruiter to follow-up and a formal signoff.
What does a cover letter look like?
A good cover letter looks like a classic business letter. Some cover letter templates have splashes of color, like this one:
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How to Write a Cover Letter in 2024
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Kellie Hanna, CPRW
Career advice expert.
Kellie is a Certified Professional Resume Writer with 20+ years of experience in digital media and is passionate about helping job seekers navigate their careers. She earned a B.A. in English and writing from Temple University.
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How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023 + Examples
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
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How to Write a Cover Letter
Advice for tackling one of the toughest parts of the job-hunting process.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the job application process is writing an effective cover letter. And yes, you should send one. Even if only one in two cover letters gets read, that’s still a 50% chance that including one could help you. Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. Next, catch the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter with a strong opening line. If you have a personal connection with the company or someone who works there, mention it in the first sentence or two, and try to address your letter to someone directly. Hiring managers are looking for people who can help them solve problems, so show that you know what the company does and some of the challenges it faces. Then explain how your experience has equipped you to meet those needs. If the online application doesn’t allow you to submit a cover letter, use the format you’re given to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role.
No one likes job hunting. Scouring through online job listings, spiffing up your résumé , prepping for grueling interviews — none of it is fun. For many, the most challenging part of the process is writing an effective cover letter. There’s so much conflicting advice out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Do you even need one, especially if you’re applying through an online system?
- Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast , and the author of two books: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict . She writes and speaks about workplace dynamics. Watch her TEDx talk on conflict and follow her on LinkedIn . amyegallo
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How to Write a Job Application Letter (with Examples)
Last Updated: August 1, 2023 Fact Checked
Introduction, body paragraphs, closing your letter, expert q&a.
This article was written by Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM and by wikiHow staff writer, Aly Rusciano . Shannon O'Brien is the Founder and Principal Advisor of Whole U. (a career and life strategy consultancy based in Boston, MA). Through advising, workshops and e-learning Whole U. empowers people to pursue their life's work and live a balanced, purposeful life. Shannon has been ranked as the #1 Career Coach and #1 Life Coach in Boston, MA by Yelp reviewers. She has been featured on Boston.com, Boldfacers, and the UR Business Network. She received a Master's of Technology, Innovation, & Education from Harvard University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 10,606,546 times.
So, you’ve found your dream job and want to make sure you nail the job application process. You double- and triple-check the criteria—they’re asking for a cover letter. What does that mean, and how do you write it? A cover letter or letter of application is a single page that sums up why you want and deserve the job. Think of it as an extension of your resume; a sales pitch for why you’re the perfect candidate. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide full of examples and tips on how to write a letter of application for a job. With our help and a little finesse, you may soon be calling that dream job your own.
Things You Should Know
- Format your application letter single-spaced and in Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri font that’s 10- to 12-point in size.
- Open your letter with an engaging and confident first paragraph that briefly includes your qualifications, where you found the job, and your overall interest in the position.
- Show your personality in the body paragraphs by describing the passions that relate to the position in 1 or 2 sentences.
- Use keywords (like leadership, communication, and detail-oriented) from the job description throughout your letter to show that you’ve done your research.
- First and last name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Personal website and/or portfolio link (if you have one)
- If you don’t know the hiring manager's name, search the company’s website or refer to the name of the individual who originally posted the job opening.
- If you’re in doubt about who to address your letter to, use “[Department] Hiring Manager.”
- If you don’t have the employer or hiring manager’s name, use a general but professional opening, “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear [Department] Hiring Manager.”
- Be short and specific in this opening paragraph—save those details for later.
- Think of your first paragraph as a sales pitch. What can you say that’ll grab their attention immediately? Is there something you have that other candidates don’t that make you more qualified for the position?
- Show the employer that you’re familiar with the company and job application by noting keywords and characteristics valued by the company.
- For example: “I write to apply for the Office Manager position at Acme Investments, Inc. I am an excellent fit for this position, as demonstrated by my extensive background in management and proven success as a corporate administrator.”
- Companies appreciate when job candidates include this information because it lets them know where people are searching for jobs.
- Only include a company contact or friend’s name if you have their permission. This way, they’ll be ready to answer any questions about you and your character later.
- You may write something like: “John Smith recommended that I get in touch with you about the general manager position at EnviroRent,” or “I came across the available position on LinkedIn and believe I am a strong candidate.”
- For instance, if the company needs someone who can lead a team and handle multiple projects at once, note what team projects you’ve led in previous positions and how you improved overall productivity.
- If you have numerical data or stats to back up your accomplishments, include them! This is your time to brag about your achievements and show how you’ve excelled in the workplace.
- Scan the job application for keywords like leadership, communication, management, and detail-oriented. Then, highlight in your letter how you have these characteristics or skills.
- Avoid embellishing any of your qualifications. Remember, an employer can always double-check the facts.
- If you’re not sure what to write, refer to your resume or CV. What have you done that matches the job description best, and how can you elaborate on it?
- For example: “In my previous role, I successfully supported an office of 100 personnel and honed my management and interpersonal skills through customer service and clerical responsibilities.”
- For instance, you could express how the company has impacted you personally and why that’s driven you to apply for the position.
- Although you want to provide details, keep it short. Stick to a 1 to 2-sentence description rather than a full-length story. Your letter should stay under 3 paragraphs.
- Here’s an example: “My passion for teaching began the summer of my sophomore year of high school when I was a camp counselor. I was given the opportunity to teach a class focusing on local plant life, and the campers’ enthusiasm cultivated my love for teaching and conservation.
- For instance, you could write, “I am excited about the possibility of working for you and your company. I would be more than happy to discuss my qualifications and Acme’s future direction in person or via video conference.”
- Keep your call to action brief and open, or provide specific dates you’d be available to meet with the employer.
- For instance, sign off with, “Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you,” or “Thank you for considering me for this position. If you have any further questions or require additional documentation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”  X Research source
- If you’re sending your letter via email, import your signature into the document as an image or .png file.
- Always proofread and ask someone else to read over your application letter before you send it. This way, you can make sure it’s absolutely perfect and error-free.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Keep the overall tone of the company or employer in mind while writing your letter. For instance, if you’re applying to be a journalist for a prestigious news website, match their word choice and writing style. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Be sure to customize your application letter for every job you apply to, even if they have the same qualifications. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.ferrum.edu/downloads/careers/cover-letters.pdf
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/job_search_writing/job_search_letters/cover_letters_workshop/formatting_and_organization.html
- ↑ https://icc.ucdavis.edu/materials/cover-letters
- ↑ https://hbr.org/2016/05/learn-to-love-networking
- ↑ https://hbr.org/2014/02/how-to-write-a-cover-letter
- ↑ https://career.colostate.edu/resources/cover-letter-example-csu-career-center/
- ↑ https://www.astate.edu/dotAsset/54eb42cc-33a3-4237-a46e-3f4aaac79389.pdf
- ↑ https://career.gatech.edu/writing-effective-cover-letter
About This Article
The best way to start an application letter is to mention where you found the job opportunity and how your strengths can benefit the employer. Devote time in the body paragraphs to tell the employer more about your experience and qualifications. Explain why you’re the best candidate and finish by inviting the hiring manager to contact you. For suggestions on how to prepare your letter, and examples of what to write, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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- Cover Letter
- How to Write a Cover Letter? Examples & Tips
How to Write a Cover Letter? Examples & Tips
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A cover letter is your unique opportunity to showcase your personality and skills. And more than that—it can also demonstrate why you're the ideal candidate for the job. Knowing how to write a cover letter can significantly influence your career trajectory.
This comprehensive guide will demystify the process of cover letter writing, providing you with valuable insights and practical tips to help you craft a standout document with confidence and finesse.
If you experience writer’s block, let us write your cover letter for you. Tell us your name, job title, and years of experience to get an automatically generated cover letter. Pick from 18+ cover letter templates and match your resume!
Create your cover letter now
Sample cover letter for a resume—See more cover letter samples here.
Here’s what you’ll find in this article (jump right into the desired section):
Why Do You Need a Cover Letter?
- Prepare Yourself Beforehand
- Format the Cover Letter Template
- Create a Cover Letter Header
- Address the Reader
- Make a Proper Introduction
- Explain Why You’re the Perfect Fit
- Show Your Motivation to Join the Company
- Close With a Promise
- Stay Formal in the Closing Salutation
- Add a Postscript
Cover Letter Examples
- Frequently Asked Questions About Cover Letters
What Is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one-page job application document you should submit together with your resume or CV. Its purpose is to introduce you in a personal way as well as provide a broader context for your qualifications and achievements. A good cover letter can help the hiring manager see your worth.
This guide focuses on writing a cover letter for a job. However, you can also write an application letter if you haven't entered the job market yet. For example, writing a cover letter for a scholarship can increase your chances of getting a cash grant. In a similar way, an internship cover letter can help employers notice your skills instead of worry about your lack of work experience.
A good cover letter complements your resume. It shows the employer that your qualifications match their needs, and that you are a good fit for the position.
Plus, a well-written cover letter:
- Shows you did research and take the job seriously.
- Proves you understand the challenges of the company.
- Reflects that your vision aligns with their goals.
- Presents how your skills and experience are a solution .
Ultimately, a good cover letter should be all about “ why should we hire you ” and “what’s in it for us.” The winning tactic here is focusing on them , not just on you, which will ultimately make you stand out from other applicants
And that’s why it’s worth spending time writing a solid cover letter.
Let’s find out how to do it.
No work experience yet? Head to this guide: How to Write an Entry-Level Cover Letter
How to Write a Cover Letter
For many jobseekers, writing a cover letter is the worst step of applying for jobs. So, let me guide you through the process. You'll see that it's really not that hard!
Prefer the video format? Watch this video to uncover the simple truth of how to write a cover letter for a job application:
Worried you might miss something? We’ve got a checklist guide for you: What to Include in a Cover Letter
Here's how to make a cover letter: Use a business letter format and a professional cover letter template. Include your and the employer's contact details, and address the hiring manager by name. In 200–400 words, highlight your achievements, professional skills , and relevant experience that make you the best fit for the job.
A bit too tl;dr? Let’s now move on to detailed instructions on how to write a successful cover letter:
1. Prepare Yourself Beforehand
You may feel tempted to dive in straight away. But hold your horses for a few more minutes! Before writing a cover letter, it's worth knowing what to write, right? That's why you should spend some time on gathering info first.
Here are a few things to research before writing a cover letter:
- Job requirements: make sure you understand what they are because your letter will refer to them.
- Company website: that's the minimum. Check the company history, its goals, and try to learn about the company culture.
- Hiring manager: you want to address them by name, so do your best to find it!
- Your resume: make sure it clearly shows you're a good fit for the role, and keep it nearby so you can take a look at it whenever necessary.
Pro Tip: You can actually reach out to someone from the company you're applying to via LinkedIn. It's best to pick the hiring manager. Try to ask them a clever question about the position. Then, you will be able to refer to this exchange in your cover letter.
2. Format the Cover Letter Template
There's not much freedom when it comes to the cover letter format. Writing poetry when applying for a corporate job may not be the best idea. However, there is certain freedom in choosing a template, as soon as it includes the key parts of a cover letter . The image below shows them all:
By the way, you can upload your resume into our cover letter builder , and it will convert the info into the cover letter!
If you decide to go for a ready-made cover letter template, you'll save a lot of time. There's a large variety of styles and designs out there, including modern cover letter templates and cover letter templates for creative professions . But you can also make the template from scratch in Word or Google Docs. It's entirely up to you.
Here’s how to format your cover letter :
- Choose a legible cover letter font like Arial or Garamond, and keep it between 10 and 12 points in font size.
- Set even margins on all sides: 1-inch margins should be perfect.
- Left-align all your contents.
- Use double cover letter spacing between paragraphs and 1–1.15 between lines.
- Title your cover letter by JobTitle—CoverLetter—YourName .
- Let your cover letter layout stay intact en route to the recruiter by saving the file in PDF.
- Fit all the information included in the letter on one page. That's how long a cover letter should be .
Need inspo? Check here: This Is What the Best Cover Letter Looks Like
3. Create a Cover Letter Header
A professional cover letter opens with a header. Ideally, your cover letter header should be the same as in your resume (for consistency), so feel free to use the same template.
If you prefer to write the header of your cover letter from scratch, include the following contact information:
- Phone number
- Email address
Pro Tip: If you send your cover letter via email , don’t use your current work email address. It’s impolite to your current and potential employer.
4. Address the Reader
Once you’re done with the header, it’s time to mention the location and date of writing.
Then, address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager like so:
- Dear Katherine,
- Dear Ms. Smith,
- Dear Mr. McConnor,
According to studies , people respond actively to hearing/seeing their names—so use it in the cover letter salutation . Look for the hiring manager's name by:
- Checking the job description
- Going to the company’s LinkedIn page (to look for the person responsible for uploading the job offer)
If you can’t find the name by any means possible, opt for “ Dear Hiring Manager .” Avoid starting your cover letter with “ To Whom It May Concern ” like the plague. And if you’re not living in Victorian England, don’t start a cover letter with “ Dear Sir or Madam ,” either.
Follow this template to make sure you include everything:
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Name]
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Job Title]
Dear [Ms./Mr.] ...
Pro Tip: Wondering whether you should use the hiring manager’s first or last name? That depends on the company culture. Use the first name if you’re applying to a relaxed, casual company. For corporate cover letters, it’s safer to use the addressee's last name.
5. Make a Proper Introduction
Here’s the brutal truth: these few sentences at the beginning of your cover letter will determine whether the hiring manager will read on. So you need to write the cover letter's intro in a way that attracts and holds the reader’s interest.
Here are several proven strategies for starting your cover letter :
- Highlight your achievements.
- Display your passion and enthusiasm.
- Drop names.
- Do all the above.
Have a look at these two sample cover letter opening paragraphs:
Cover Letter Examples: Opening
Why is the wrong example not delivering? Because it provides no value and details. The bottom line is: “I’ve already done this job, so I think I’d fit in.” And it’s just not enough for someone with more than eight years of experience to get the job.
6. Explain Why You’re the Perfect Fit
The second paragraph (main body) of your cover letter has a couple of jobs to perform:
- Give the hiring manager what they’re looking for.
- Show that you’ll satisfy the company’s specific needs.
Job seekers impress employers by identifying transferable skills related to new positions. People often apply to new positions, so it’s likely you’ll not have the exact experience requested. But employers would rather know how your past experiences will inform future decisions. You were a hostess? Relate those management and organizational skills to the Executive Assistant position. Lauren Little Career Coach
Let’s look at another cover letter example to see how this could be done. Remember Jane, our digital marketing manager candidate? The XYZ company she applies to needs (based on the job ad):
- A savvy digital marketing manager (1)
- Someone who will supervise the development of their new online portal (2)
Let’s look at how Jane managed to show that she’s both:
Cover Letter Examples: Middle Part
Your go-to strategy on what your cover letter should say in the main body:
- In the first sentence, prove you’re an expert in your field (refrain from bragging too much).
- The remaining part should be all about how your previous experiences will help your future employer press ahead with their plans.
Pro Tip: A cover letter also is a great place to explain gaps in your employment , if you have any.
7. Show Your Motivation to Join the Company
Your future employers have needs . If they’re willing to hire you, it’s because they think you’ll satisfy those needs. But they also want you to enjoy working with them. That way, they know you’re more likely to stay with them for longer.
The key to writing a perfect third paragraph of your cover letter is showing the hiring manager why you want this job, not just any job. That’s particularly important for entry-level candidates—enthusiasm and passion help prove you'll hit the ground running.
Have a look at these cover letter examples:
Cover Letter Samples: Middle Paragraphs
Above all, you want to avoid writing too much of a general cover letter . Generic doesn't win jobs; targeted does. (We’re, of course, assuming you tailored your resume to every job description you’re after, too.)
Pro Tip: Make your cover letter more impressive by including relevant resume keywords from the job ad.
8. Close With a Promise
How to write a cover letter ending that gets people excited? By providing value.
The worst mistakes you can make in writing your cover letter's final paragraph are:
- Coming off needy
- Focusing on how much you want the job, not on what you have to offer
- Repeating the clichéd phrase, “Thank you for your consideration and your time”
Instead, tell the hiring manager that you’re looking forward to meeting in person and discussing how your experience and knowledge can help your future employer fulfill their goals. Like here:
Cover Letter Example: Ending With a Promise
Trying to find exciting ways to end your cover letter, but to no avail? See how to write a convincing final paragraph here: How to Successfully Close a Cover Letter
9. Stay Formal in the Closing Salutation
Once you’ve written the body of your cover letter, you just need to put a formal closing at the very end. Write “Sincerely” and follow it with your full name. Adding your handwritten signature is optional (recommended for more formal cover letters).
If you’re not a fan of the well-worn “Sincerely,” feel free to use any of the following:
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- Respectfully yours,
- With best regards,
Want to learn more? Check here: Examples of Professional Cover Letter Signatures
10. Add a Postscript
All of the above sections are must-haves in a good cover letter. But there’s one special trick you can use—the postscript. Why is it so important? Because it’s like a magnet for the hiring manager’s eyes that screams: “you cannot miss this information.”
Write a cover letter postscript to tell the hiring manager about something impressive about your career, even if it’s not strictly related to the job opening. And say you’d be happy to provide them with more details if they find it interesting.
Cover Letter Sample: Postscript
Pro Tip: Looking to work for a company, but there aren't any open positions? Try writing a letter of interest for a job . It's a great way of uncovering vacancies that aren't even advertised.
If you get stuck when writing your cover letter, taking a look at a professional cover letter example can be really helpful. Here's a selection of 10 great sample cover letters for job applications:
- General Cover Letter : you can quickly personalize it and adapt for any job you want
- Career-Change Cover Letter : great if you're planning to switch professions
- Manager Cover Letter : easy to customize for any management position
- Student Cover Letter : it will show you how to highlight educational achievements and skills
- Teacher Cover Letter : to inspire the headmaster before you can inspire your pupils
- IT Cover Letter : can help you prove you're more than your coding skills
- Federal Cover Letter : getting a government job ain't easy, but it's worth trying
- Academic Cover Letter : that tenure might be waiting for you!
- Cover Letter With No Experience : we've all been there at some point!
- Cover Letter for an Internal Position : in case you're moving within the same company
You can also browse our collection of pro cover letter samples here.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here . Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing .
Here's a reminder of how to write a great cover letter in 10 steps:
- Research the company and the job beforehand.
- Format the cover letter template according to standards.
- Ensure your contact info in the header is correct.
- Address your hiring manager or recruiter personally.
- Attract their attention in the introduction.
- Use your experience to prove you're the exact match to the company's needs.
- Explain your motivation and fit for the position.
- Finish with a call to action and ask for a meeting.
- Be formal in the closing sentiment.
- Include a postscript.
Or use our cover letter builder to remember it all for you!
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Do you have any questions about how to make a cover letter? Want to share an example of a cover letter? Give us a shout in the comments, and we’ll reply!
About Zety’s Editorial Process
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines . We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Write a Cover Letter
What is a cover letter.
A cover letter is a formal letter that accompanies a CV or a resume . It includes a candidate’s introduction and an overview of the candidate’s qualifications , skills, and accomplishments most relevant to the job they’re pursuing. The cover letter also serves to express the candidate’s interest in the position and the company, as well as eagerness to contribute to the company’s success. It can also help to explain employment gaps .
What are the four parts of a cover letter?
- Cover letter header with your contact information such as full name, phone number, and email address
- Cover letter introduction with your hiring manager’s address and a hook that hypes the reader up so much that they can’t stop reading
- Cover letter body with a description of your significant accomplishments and strengths that you’ll bring to the table. (Beware! It’s not a copy of your resume.)
- Cover letter closing with a call to action and your signature
What should a cover letter say?
That you’re the one. That you want them, but that they want you, too. That you’re the solution to their problems. That’s what your cover letter should say .
And you can achieve all of that by having a number of things in your cover letter :
- action verbs and power words
- accomplishment statements
- organized cover letter layout , and
- enthusiastic but determined tone of voice
How to write a simple cover letter?
To make cover letter writing simple, you need to know a couple of things first:
- Create proper cover letter formatting before putting down words. You’ll ensure a correct structure and that you’ll fit onto one page with your cover letter.
- Find your hiring manager’s or recruiter’s name. By personalizing your cover letter, you have a higher chance of landing the gig.
- Create a list of job keywords you need to target with your application. Have a look at the job ad and mark those words which speak of necessary qualifications and qualities. Then use them in your paragraphs.
- Never lie in your job application .
- And lastly, do as extensive research about the company as possible. The intricate details about their mission, values, and vision will help you find an angle to write your cover letter.
How to write a cover letter for an internship?
A cover letter to an internship resume is a fantastic way to shoo away your competition. So don't hesitate and write a cover letter for an internship you’ve dreamt of for too long.
First and foremost, prove to your potential employer that you’re worth hiring, and that they’re a great company to work for. Do your research and don’t be shy to show what you’ve learned. Later use that knowledge to give away your connection to the company and its values. Show your transferable skillset and achievements, and let your determination and motivation do their magic.
How to write a cover letter for 2023?
In 2023, write your cover letter with these simple steps:
- Create a consistent look by mirroring a resume header to your template.
- Make a clean cover letter layout to keep enough whitespace on the page.
- Find an angle to write your cover letter—motivation to advance, shared values or mission statement, recent developments in the industry. Doing thorough research always helps.
- Start your cover letter with a relevant accomplishment that makes the reader want to carry on.
- Create a smooth transition from the hook through your strengths to motivation in 3 to 4 paragraphs, tops.
- Call your recruiter to action in the cover letter closing and ask for a meeting with you.
Is a cover letter necessary?
Almost half of the recruiters reject applications without a cover letter. Cover letters are a treat for those who still care to hire dedicated professionals. (And that’s you, right?)
It’s no surprise, though, that you’re questioning whether a cover letter is necessary . The entire job application process can be exhausting, so cutting down on documents you have to produce always seems like a good idea. But not this time.
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