How to Write a Cover Letter

Complete guide on how to write a cover letter that gets you a job interview.

How to Write a Cover Letter

June 10th, 2020

A Cover Letter is a short document that accompanies a job applicant's Resume or CV. The Cover Letter provides a more detailed account of the candidate's experience, skills, and their interest in and overall suitability for the position. A Cover Letter should complement a Resume or CV, and a new one should be written for each job.

Cover Letter Template

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Cover Letter Template:

To Whom It May Concern,

I was thrilled when I saw the job opening at your company. My industry experience, growth mindset, and commitment to achieving results make me a perfect fit for the advertised position. I believe I would be a valuable addition to the team.

I’m able to complete tasks with minimal supervision and work well on my own, but also enjoy collaborating with others. I carry out my duties to the best of my ability, while always adhering to time constraints. I pride myself on not missing deadlines, and gladly work longer hours when required. My excellent communication skills, positive attitude, and willingness to assist colleagues wherever possible, make me an easy person to work with.

I’ve attached my resume that contains further details regarding my skills, experience, and qualifications. Please let me know if there’s anything else you require.

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this position in greater detail.

Thank you for your consideration.

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Persuasive Cover Letter Template in MS Word Format

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Persuasive Cover Letter Template:

Dear [insert hiring manager’s title and last name or their first name],

I found your advertisement for the [insert position title] and am very interested in the position. My experience in [insert the relevant field or sector] and ability to [insert #1 skill] and [insert #2 skill] make me the perfect candidate for the job. I know my skill set and industry knowledge will be invaluable to [insert name of the company/organization].

I am most impressed by [insert notable milestones or characteristics you appreciate about the company/institution] and have some great ideas of my own to contribute. When I worked on [mention a successful project/initiative you were involved in], we managed to [insert the result(s) of the project]. I believe your [insert a project or company initiative you are especially interested in] will make waves in the industry and I’d feel privileged to be a part of such an innovative team.

In my role as [insert position], I achieved [insert accomplishment(s) and strengthen it with a statistic, if possible], which improved [mention the effect this accomplishment had on the organization or company in question]. Most recently I attended [insert relevant workshops/courses/training you’ve completed] that helped me sharpen my [insert key skills or valuable attributes].

I have attached my resume and [mention any other documents that were requested, if applicable]. If you like my ideas, I have many more I’d like to discuss with you.

Sincerely,

[Insert full name]

Professional Cover Letter Template in MS Word Format

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Professional Cover Letter Template:

Dear [insert Hiring Manager’s title and last name or their first name],

I’ve worked as a [insert title] for [insert time period in years] and was thrilled to learn of the [insert position at the company/organization/institution]. My expert knowledge in [mention specific industry knowledge the role requires] and extensive practical experience will greatly benefit [insert name of company/organization/institution].

In my current position as [insert current job title], I’ve improved my [insert relevant skills] through [mention a few notable duties or projects you’ve been involved in]. I have a strong growth mindset and continued my training after leaving college. Recently I finished [mention relevant certifications/workshops/training], which has helped me [mention how the training has helped you benefit the company/organization/institution you currently work for].

Some of my achievements include [mention important milestones and accomplishments, backed up by statistics and percentages, if possible]. I was very impressed to hear of your [mention an important milestone or award the company/organization/institution has achieved]. [Name of company/organization/institution] is doing great work and I’d love nothing more than to help you achieve your goals. I already have some ideas I’d like to discuss with you.

My resume and [mention any other documents required] are attached for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Insert name]

Generic Cover Letter Template

Use this generic cover letter with prompts to quickly create a personalized letter.

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Generic Cover Letter Template:

[Full Name]

[Email Address]

[Contact Number]

[LinkedIn Profile/website link]

[Date]

[Name of the Company or Institution receiving your cover letter]

[Subject Line]

Dear [Hiring Manager/preferably the recipient’s first name],

[Introductory Paragraph: State why you’re the best person for the position. Use this paragraph to entice the Hiring Manager and to get them excited about you. Hook them with this first paragraph.]

[Body: 1-2 Paragraphs describing how your skillset and experience will be invaluable to the company. Use these paragraphs to showcase your industry knowledge and/or the knowledge you have about the company or institution. Explain how you can contribute to their ventures. Do not simply rehash everything in your resume or CV. This section should convince the Hiring Manager that you’re the best candidate for the position.]

[Closing Paragraph: Use this paragraph to make any final remarks or signal a call to action. Try to end on a high note. Convey your enthusiasm for the job post here or mention an excellent result you achieved in your last job, and how you could do the same for this company or institution. If possible, strengthen the achievement by adding a percentage to it. For example, I increased sales by over 40% at XYZ Company, and would love to discuss all the ideas I have for improving revenue at ABC Inc.]

Sincerely,

[Full Name]

What is the purpose of a Cover Letter?

A Cover Letter gives the hiring manager a better idea of who you are as a job applicant. It provides a platform where you can elaborate on the experience and accomplishments you've mentioned in your Resume, and it also gives you a chance to explain how your skillset would benefit the company.

Even if the hiring manager merely glances over your Cover Letter, it will still demonstrate your communication skills, attention to detail, work ethic, meticulousness, and your overall interest in the job and the company or institution.

Researching and planning your Cover Letter.

Your Cover Letter may be a page or less, but it still requires extensive research and planning. Before you tell the employer why you're the best person for the job, there are a few aspects of the job and the company or institution you need to understand.

A job posting will give you some idea of the type of work you'll be doing, but it's up to you to conduct further research in order to write a winning cover letter.

Questions to consider when doing company research:

  1. What is the purpose of this company or institution?
  2. What can I contribute to this company or institution?
  3. Will I be able to fit in with the company or institution's culture?
  4. What are the company or institution's core values and do they align with mine?
  5. What are the company or institution's goals and can I help them achieve these goals?
  6. What kind of opportunities can this company or institution offer me?
  7. Do I like this company or institution?
  8. Will I fit in with the current employees at this company or institution?
  9. Why is the advertised position appealing to me? Why do I want it?
  10. Will I be happy and fulfilled at this company or institution?

You'll find the answers to these questions once you start researching the company or institution. Use our questionnaire below to stay on track.

Cover Letter Research Questionnaire in PDF Format

Use our Cover Letter Research Questionnaire to craft a winning Cover Letter.

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FAQs:

How do I write a Cover Letter?

Before you write a Cover Letter, you need to analyze the job posting and conduct thorough research on the company or institution you would like to work for or gain acceptance to. Follow our guide to help you construct each section of your Cover Letter.

What should a Cover Letter include?

  • Your personal contact details.
  • A formal salutation.
  • An introductory paragraph.
  • 2 - 3 paragraphs in the body of the letter.
  • A conclusion with a call to action.
  • A formal closing.

What is a basic Cover Letter?

A basic Cover Letter is also known as an Application Letter. It contains details about a prospective employee and can be used to apply for jobs and internships.

How do you sell yourself in a Cover Letter?

You have to tailor your Cover Letter for each job or position you apply for. Do the following to craft a winning Cover Letter:

  • Perform company research.
  • Analyze the job posting.
  • Be honest and sincere.
  • Aim for flawless presentation.
  • Submit the correct documents alongside your Cover Letter.

What should not be included in a Cover Letter?

  • Slang.
  • Emojis.
  • Text abbreviations.
  • Jokes.
  • Overly personal details.
  • All capital letters or all lowercase letters.
  • Informal greetings or familiar language.

How long is a Cover Letter?

A Cover Letter should be between half a page and a page. Try to be as concise as possible.

What types of Cover Letters are there?

  • The Application Letter.
  • The Referral Cover Letter.
  • The Motivation Letter.
  • The Letter of Intent or the Prospecting Letter.

How do you describe yourself in a Cover Letter?

You'll want to focus on your strengths and positive attributes when you describe yourself in your Cover Letter. Do not highlight your shortcomings, but be as honest and as sincere as possible.

Do Cover Letters matter?

Some believe that Resume Objectives and Career Summary Statements have replaced the Cover Letter, but Hiring Managers can still request one from you. Those applying to jobs with CVs often require Cover Letters. Knowing how to write one is a coveted skill.

Why is a Cover Letter important?

Cover Letters are tools that help you provide Hiring Managers with valuable details about your career that you may not be able to include in your CV or resume. Take time to write your Cover Letter, as it adds a personal touch to your application.

How do I start a Cover Letter?

You begin your Cover Letter with a formal salutation to the Hiring Manager or Department Head, or by addressing the recipient by their first name.

Do recruiters read Cover Letters?

It varies. Some recruiters merely glance over your Cover Letter without reading it, but the presentation and layout alone speak volumes about the type of applicant they are dealing with. So be meticulous when writing your Cover Letter.

How do I shorten a Cover Letter?

Include your personal details in the header and highlight only your most important skills and experiences in the Cover Letter. Do not attempt to summarize your entire career in the Cover Letter.

How do I end a Cover Letter?

End your Cover Letter with a call to action. You can take a look at our templates for prompts on how to end each type of Cover Letter.

How important is a Cover Letter when applying online?

It varies. Some Hiring Managers still ask for a Cover Letter, while others don't. Be sure to read the job posting's guidelines carefully.

What is an effective Cover Letter?

An effective Cover Letter should be concise, well-written, and show evidence of your research, skills, and interest in the company or institution.

Does a Cover Letter increase your chances of employment?

A well-written Cover Letter could set you apart from other candidates, especially if you mention an industry professional who gave you a referral in the Cover Letter.

Should you always include a Cover Letter with an application?

If the job posting asks for a Cover Letter, always submit one along with your application. If they do not ask for a Cover Letter, but you feel that it can't hurt your chances to include one, then you can do so.

What do recruiters look for in a Cover Letter?

Recruiters try to get a sense of who you are from your Cover Letter, so it's important that it does not sound generic. They can also use your Cover Letter to gauge your attention to detail, so make sure it's error-free before submitting.

Are Cover Letters obsolete?

No. Some Hiring Managers still request them.

Is a page too long for a Cover Letter?

Try to limit your Cover Letter length to between half a page and a page.

Are you supposed to sign a Cover Letter?

It's not necessary that you sign a cover letter. It's fine to just type your name in the sign-off.

What is the appropriate tone for a Cover Letter?

The appropriate tone of the Cover Letter will be determined by the type of position and the type of company or institution you're applying to. Be sure to conduct thorough research and use our Company Research Questionnaire to help you.

What is the difference between an Application Letter and a Cover Letter?

A Cover Letter is another name for an Application Letter. It's the same document.

What is the difference between a Motivation Letter and a Cover Letter?

A Cover Letter is used by candidates applying for jobs or internships. A Motivation Letter is used by students applying to college or university, or by those applying to volunteer programs.

What is the difference between a Letter of Intent and a Cover Letter?

A Letter of Intent is sent out to companies or institutions to find out more about potential job openings, while a Cover Letter is sent to apply for existing job openings.

Should I include education in my Cover Letter?

You can, but only if it's relevant. Don't simply list your qualifications.

Should you attach your Cover Letter or put it in the body of an email?

Always attach your Cover Letter to the email. Follow our guide on How to Email the Hiring Manager to learn more.

How do I write a quick Cover Letter?

There are Cover Letter Builders that will have a Cover Letter ready in under a minute, but it will be a poorly-written one. You can use one of our Cover Letter Templates to help you craft a professional, personalized Cover Letter.

Are cover letters still important?

Sometimes the Resume Objective or Career Summary Statement that goes at the top of your resume is sufficient for the hiring manager. However, some job postings request a Cover Letter and those applying for positions with CVs typically submit one with their applications. Constructing the perfect Cover Letter isn't easy, but it remains a useful skill.