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How to write a great cover letter in 2024: tips and structure

young-woman-checking-her-cover-lette

A cover letter is a personalized letter that introduces you to a potential employer, highlights your qualifications, and explains why you're a strong fit for a specific job.

Hate or love them, these brief documents allow job seekers to make an impression and stand out from the pile of other applications. Penning a thoughtful cover letter shows the hiring team you care about earning the position.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to write a cover letter — and a great one, at that.

What is a cover letter and why does it matter?

A professional cover letter is a one-page document you submit alongside your CV or resume as part of a job application. Typically, they’re about half a page or around 150–300 words.

An effective cover letter doesn’t just rehash your CV; it’s your chance to highlight your proudest moments, explain why you want the job, and state plainly what you bring to the table.

Show the reviewer you’re likable, talented, and will add to the company’s culture . You can refer to previous jobs and other information from your CV, but only if it helps tell a story about you and your career choices .

What 3 things should you include in a cover letter?

A well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out to potential employers. To make your cover letter shine, here are three key elements to include:

1. Personalization

Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name whenever possible. If the job posting doesn't include a name, research to find out who will be reviewing applications. Personalizing your cover letter shows that you've taken the time to tailor your application to the specific company and role.

2. Highlight relevant achievements and skills

Emphasize your most relevant skills , experiences, and accomplishments that directly relate to the job you're applying for. Provide specific examples of how your skills have benefited previous employers and how they can contribute to the prospective employer's success. Use quantifiable achievements , such as improved efficiency, cost savings, or project success, to demonstrate your impact.

3. Show enthusiasm and fit

Express your enthusiasm for the company and the position you're applying for. Explain why you are interested in this role and believe you are a good fit for the organization. Mention how your values, goals, and skills align with the company's mission and culture. Demonstrating that you've done your research can make a significant impression.

What do hiring managers look for in a cover letter?

Employers look for several key elements in a cover letter. These include:

Employers want to see that your cover letter is specifically tailored to the position you are applying for. It should demonstrate how your skills, experiences, and qualifications align with the job requirements.

Clear and concise writing

A well-written cover letter is concise, easy to read, and error-free. Employers appreciate clear and effective communication skills , so make sure your cover letter showcases your ability to express yourself effectively.

Demonstrated knowledge of the company

Employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in their organization. Mention specific details about the company, such as recent achievements or projects, to show that you are enthusiastic about joining their team.

Achievements and accomplishments

Highlight your relevant achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your qualifications for the position. Use specific examples to showcase your skills and show how they can benefit the employer.

Enthusiasm and motivation

Employers want to hire candidates who are excited about the opportunity and motivated to contribute to the company's success. Express your enthusiasm and passion for the role and explain why you are interested in working for the company.

Professionalism

A cover letter should be professional in tone and presentation. Use formal language, address the hiring manager appropriately, and follow standard business letter formatting.

excited-woman-in-her-office-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

How do you structure a cover letter?

A well-structured cover letter follows a specific format that makes it easy for the reader to understand your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position. Here's a typical structure for a cover letter:

Contact information

Include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter. Place your contact information at the beginning so that it's easy for the employer to reach you.

Employer's contact information

Opening paragraph, middle paragraph(s), closing paragraph, complimentary close, additional contact information.

Repeat your contact information (name, phone number, and email) at the end of the letter, just in case the employer needs it for quick reference.

Remember to keep your cover letter concise and focused. It should typically be no more than one page in length. Proofread your letter carefully to ensure it is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Tailor each cover letter to the specific job application to make it as relevant and impactful as possible.

How to write a good cover letter (with examples)

The best letters are unique, tailored to the job description, and written in your voice — but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a job cover letter template.

Great cover letters contain the same basic elements and flow a certain way. Take a look at this cover letter structure for ref erence while you construct your own.

1. Add a header and contact information

While reading your cover letter, the recruiter shouldn’t have to look far to find who wrote it. Your document should include a basic heading with the following information:

  • Pronouns (optional)
  • Location (optional)
  • Email address
  • Phone number (optional)
  • Relevant links, such as your LinkedIn profile , portfolio, or personal website (optional)

You can pull this information directly from your CV. Put it together, and it will look something like this:

Christopher Pike

San Francisco, California

[email protected]

Alternatively, if the posting asks you to submit your cover letter in the body of an email, you can include this information in your signature. For example:

Warm regards,

Catherine Janeway

Bloomington, Indiana

[email protected]

(555) 999 - 2222

man-using-his-laptop-while-smiling-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

2. Include a personal greeting

Always begin your cover letter by addressing the hiring manager — preferably by name. You can use the person’s first and last name. Make sure to include a relevant title, like Dr., Mr., or Ms. For example, “Dear Mr. John Doe.”

Avoid generic openings like “To whom it may concern,” “Dear sir or madam,” or “Dear hiring manager.” These introductions sound impersonal — like you’re copy-pasting cover letters — and can work against you in the hiring process.

Be careful, though. When using someone’s name, you don’t want to use the wrong title or accidentally misgender someone. If in doubt, using only their name is enough. You could also opt for a gender-neutral title, like Mx.

Make sure you’re addressing the right person in your letter — ideally, the person who’s making the final hiring decision. This isn’t always specified in the job posting, so you may have to do some research to learn the name of the hiring manager.

3. Draw them in with an opening story

The opening paragraph of your cover letter should hook the reader. You want it to be memorable, conversational, and extremely relevant to the job you’re pursuing. 

There’s no need for a personal introduction — you’ve already included your name in the heading. But you should make reference to the job you’re applying for. A simple “Thank you for considering my application for the role of [job title] at [company],” will suffice.

Then you can get into the “Why” of your job application. Drive home what makes this specific job and this company so appealing to you. Perhaps you’re a fan of their products, you’re passionate about their mission, or you love their brand voice. Whatever the case, this section is where you share your enthusiasm for the role.

Here’s an example opening paragraph. In this scenario, you’re applying for a digital marketing role at a bicycle company:

“Dear Mr. John Doe,

Thank you for considering my application for the role of Marketing Coordinator at Bits n’ Bikes.

My parents bought my first bike at one of your stores. I’ll never forget the freedom I felt when I learned to ride it. My father removed my training wheels, and my mom sent me barrelling down the street. You provide joy to families across the country — and I want to be part of that.”

4. Emphasize why you’re best for the job

Your next paragraphs should be focused on the role you’re applying to. Highlight your skill set and why you’re a good fit for the needs and expectations associated with the position. Hiring managers want to know what you’ll bring to the job, not just any role.

Start by studying the job description for hints. What problem are they trying to solve with this hire? What skills and qualifications do they mention first or more than once? These are indicators of what’s important to the hiring manager.

Search for details that match your experience and interests. For example, if you’re excited about a fast-paced job in public relations, you might look for these elements in a posting:

  • They want someone who can write social media posts and blog content on tight deadlines
  • They value collaboration and input from every team member
  • They need a planner who can come up with strong PR strategies

Highlight how you fulfill these requirements:

“I’ve always been a strong writer. From blog posts to social media, my content pulls in readers and drives traffic to product pages. For example, when I worked at Bits n’ Bikes, I developed a strategic blog series about bike maintenance that increased our sales of spare parts and tools by 50% — we could see it in our web metrics.

Thanks to the input of all of our team members, including our bike mechanics, my content delivered results.”

5. End with a strong closing paragraph and sign off gracefully

Your closing paragraph is your final chance to hammer home your enthusiasm about the role and your unique ability to fill it. Reiterate the main points you explained in the body paragraphs and remind the reader of what you bring to the table.

You can also use the end of your letter to relay other important details, like whether you’re willing to relocate for the job.

When choosing a sign-off, opt for a phrase that sounds professional and genuine. Reliable options include “Sincerely” and “Kind regards.”

Here’s a strong closing statement for you to consider:

“I believe my enthusiasm, skills, and work experience as a PR professional will serve Bits n’ Bikes very well. I would love to meet to further discuss my value-add as your next Director of Public Relations. Thank you for your consideration. I hope we speak soon.

man-reading-carefully-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Tips to write a great cover letter that compliments your resume

When writing your own letter, try not to copy the example excerpts word-for-word. Instead, use this cover letter structure as a baseline to organize your ideas. Then, as you’re writing, use these extra cover letter tips to add your personal touch:

  • Keep your cover letter different from your resume : Your cover letter should not duplicate the information on your resume. Instead, it should provide context and explanations for key points in your resume, emphasizing how your qualifications match the specific job you're applying for.
  • Customize your cover letter . Tailor your cover letter for each job application. Address the specific needs of the company and the job posting, demonstrating that you've done your homework and understand their requirements.
  • Show enthusiasm and fit . Express your enthusiasm for the company and position in the cover letter. Explain why you are interested in working for this company and how your values, goals, and skills align with their mission and culture.
  • Use keywords . Incorporate keywords from the job description and industry terms in your cover letter. This can help your application pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and demonstrate that you're well-versed in the field.
  • Keep it concise . Your cover letter should be succinct and to the point, typically no more than one page. Focus on the most compelling qualifications and experiences that directly support your application.
  • Be professional . Maintain a professional tone and structure in your cover letter. Proofread it carefully to ensure there are no errors.
  • Address any gaps or concerns . If there are gaps or concerns in your resume, such as employment gaps or a change in career direction, briefly address them in your cover letter. Explain any relevant circumstances and how they have shaped your qualifications and determination.
  • Provide a call to action . Conclude your cover letter with a call to action, inviting the employer to contact you for further discussion. Mention that you've attached your resume for their reference.
  • Follow the correct format . Use a standard cover letter format like the one above, including your contact information, a formal salutation, introductory and closing paragraphs, and your signature. Ensure that it complements your resume without redundancy.
  • Pick the right voice and tone . Try to write like yourself, but adapt to the tone and voice of the company. Look at the job listing, company website, and social media posts. Do they sound fun and quirky, stoic and professional, or somewhere in-between? This guides your writing style.
  • Tell your story . You’re an individual with unique expertise, motivators, and years of experience. Tie the pieces together with a great story. Introduce how you arrived at this point in your career, where you hope to go , and how this prospective company fits in your journey. You can also explain any career changes in your resume.
  • Show, don’t tell . Anyone can say they’re a problem solver. Why should a recruiter take their word for it if they don’t back it up with examples? Instead of naming your skills, show them in action. Describe situations where you rose to the task, and quantify your success when you can.
  • Be honest . Avoid highlighting skills you don’t have. This will backfire if they ask you about them in an interview. Instead, shift focus to the ways in which you stand out.
  • Avoid clichés and bullet points . These are signs of lazy writing. Do your best to be original from the first paragraph to the final one. This highlights your individuality and demonstrates the care you put into the letter.
  • Proofread . Always spellcheck your cover letter. Look for typos, grammatical errors, and proper flow. We suggest reading it out loud. If it sounds natural rolling off the tongue, it will read naturally as well.

woman-writing-on-her-notebook-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Common cover letter writing FAQs

How long should a cover letter be.

A cover letter should generally be concise and to the point. It is recommended to keep it to one page or less, focusing on the most relevant information that highlights your qualifications and fits the job requirements.

Should I include personal information in a cover letter?

While it's important to introduce yourself and provide your contact information, avoid including personal details such as your age, marital status, or unrelated hobbies. Instead, focus on presenting your professional qualifications and aligning them with the job requirements.

Can I use the same cover letter for multiple job applications?

While it may be tempting to reuse a cover letter, it is best to tailor each cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. This allows you to highlight why you are a good fit for that particular role and show genuine interest in the company.

Do I need to address my cover letter to a specific person?

Whenever possible, it is advisable to address your cover letter to a specific person, such as the hiring manager or recruiter. If the job posting does not provide this information, try to research and find the appropriate contact. If all else fails, you can use a generic salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager."

Should I include references in my cover letter?

It is generally not necessary to include references in your cover letter. Save this information for when the employer explicitly requests it. Instead, focus on showcasing your qualifications and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the position.

It’s time to start writing your stand-out cover letter

The hardest part of writing is getting started. 

Hopefully, our tips gave you some jumping-off points and confidence . But if you’re really stuck, looking at cover letter examples and resume templates will help you decide where to get started. 

There are numerous sample cover letters available online. Just remember that you’re a unique, well-rounded person, and your cover letter should reflect that. Using our structure, you can tell your story while highlighting your passion for the role. 

Doing your research, including strong examples of your skills, and being courteous is how to write a strong cover letter. Take a breath , flex your fingers, and get typing. Before you know it, your job search will lead to a job interview.

If you want more personalized guidance, a specialized career coach can help review, edit, and guide you through creating a great cover letter that sticks.

Ace your job search

Explore effective job search techniques, interview strategies, and ways to overcome job-related challenges. Our coaches specialize in helping you land your dream job.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

3 cover letter examples to help you catch a hiring manager’s attention

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Jobscan > Cover Letter Writing Guide

How To Write A Cover Letter in 2024 (Expert Tips and Examples)

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to write a cover letter that will get you noticed by recruiters.

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A survey revealed that 77% of recruiters prefer candidates who send in a cover letter, even if submitting it is optional. Additionally, 90% of executives consider cover letters invaluable when assessing job candidates.

So, if you think cover letters are no longer important and necessary in 2024, think again.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you write a cover letter that effectively sells your skills and professional experience, increases your chances of getting interviews, and gets your foot in the door.

Table of Contents

What is a cover letter and do you still need one in 2024?

A cover letter is a letter of introduction accompanying your resume that paints why you are the best person for the job, what you bring to the table, and how you can help move the company forward.

Is the cover letter dead? No! In fact, a recent study by ResumeLab revealed that 64% of job vacancies still require that you include a cover letter in your application and 83% of HR pros said that cover letters are important for their hiring decision.

The bottom line is that a cover letter is still a valuable piece of your job search collateral. Nail your cover letter and you could end up getting that dream job.

So what exactly do you need to accomplish in your cover letter?

What is the purpose of a cover letter?

According to 49% of HR managers , your cover letter is the second best way to call attention to your resume and distinguish yourself from other applicants.

So the main purpose of your cover letter is to compel the recruiter to read more about you on your resume and move you to the next part of the hiring process.

Further, according to award-winning resume expert Melanie Denny , your cover letter is your value proposition letter. It proves why you are the best candidate to address the company’s needs with the professional skills and qualifications to succeed in the job.

Here’s an example of a great cover letter:

cover-letter-writing-guide

Now let’s get into the details of what your cover letter needs to include.

Cover Letter Structure Checklist

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to include in your cover letter.

  • Contact Details Name Address (or City, State with zip code) Phone number Email address
  • Greeting Whenever possible, address the hiring manager by name.
  • Opening Who are you? What are your relevant skills and accomplishments?
  • Body (1-2 paragraphs) What do you know about the company? Why are you applying for this job? What value can you bring to the company? Include measurable results when possible.
  • Closing Reiterate your interest. Add a Call to Action. Mention any attachments. Use a professional sign-off like “Best” or “Sincerely” before your full name.

Here’s an example for the visual learners out there:

cover-letter-writing-guide

Now that you know the basics of what to include in your cover letter, let’s go through the process from start to finish to see how you can write a cover letter that will make you stand out from the rest of the candidates.

How to write a cover letter in 9 steps

It can be intimidating to try to parse down all your best qualities into a few quick paragraphs for your cover letter.

Here are 9 steps you can take to make sure you’re headed in the right direction:

Step 1. Do your research

Before writing your cover letter, thoroughly read the job description and the requirements for the job.

Melanie Denny , award-winning resume expert, likens the job description to your cover letter cheat sheet. And when checking the job description, she says you need to consider the following:

  • What are the company’s priorities?
  • What are their goals for the role?
  • What outcomes and accomplishments in your previous roles match the goals?
  • What are the key phrases and verbiage the company uses?

This will help you customize your cover letter, angle yourself and your narrative to fit the role better, and impress the hiring manager.

Try reaching out to the recruiter, hiring manager, or someone working in the company if you want more in-depth information about the company and the position you are applying for.

Step 2. Customize your cover letter for every job

Make sure your cover letter matches the job you are applying for. Writing a generic cover letter is a missed opportunity as this will not appeal to the recruiter or hiring manager. According to research from ResumeGo , 81% of HR professionals value job-specific cover letters over generic ones. Jobseekers who had tailored cover letters received a 53% higher callback rate compared to those who had no cover letter.

Remember, your cover letter is your chance to prove that you are passionate about working for a given company, so take the time to write a tailored cover letter for each position . You can do this by mentioning your skills and experience that are directly related to what’s mentioned in the job description. If you’re applying for a data analyst role that requires expertise in Microsoft Power BI, cite an example of a Power BI dashboard you built and how it helped the company.

Read our full guide: How to Optimize Your Cover Letter

Step 3. Include all of your contact info

You should make it easy for the hiring manager to reach you. In your cover letter, list these three things:

  • Address (including zip code– for ATS purposes )
  • Phone number with area code
  • Email address
  • Name of the Hiring Manager
  • Name of the Company
  • Address of the Company

Traditionally, your contact information is included in the upper left corner of your cover letter if you’re writing in a document. If you’re writing an email, this can be included beneath your signature at the end of the message.

Cover Letter Header Example:

Jane Jobscan Seattle, WA 98101 (555) 555-5555 • [email protected] linkedin.com/in/jane-jobscan

February 25, 2024

Lavinia Smith Hiring Manager Media Raven, Inc. Plantersville, MS 38862

Step 4. Address your cover letter to a real person

According to Melanie Denny, resume expert and President of Resume-Evolution, addressing your cover letter to a real person and addressing them by their name feels more personal and shows recruiters and hiring managers that you took time and did the research.

You can usually find the hiring manager’s name by searching the company website or LinkedIn profile, or by calling the company and asking which hiring manager is assigned to the particular position.

Once you learn the name, a simple greeting of “John” or “Hello John” is all you need.

If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, you can use any of the following:

  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear (Department) Team
  • To whom it may concern

Read our full guide: How to Address a Cover Letter

Step 5. Write a strong opening statement

Melanie Denny suggests that you start your cover letter with a bang. This will hook the hiring manager’s interest and show them how you can be a valuable addition to the team.

Here are things you can do:

  • Open with a thought-provoking question
  • Make a big claim about what you can do for the company
  • Say something relevant and specific to the company

For example,

“I want to bring the marketing department of Media Raven Inc. to the next level and help the company exceed goals and reach more customers as Marketing Manager.”

Step 6. Prove how your professional background and skills help the company in the body of your cover letter

Take advantage of this real estate and prove to the prospective employer how your background, values, and professional experiences position you as the best fit for what the role requires.

This is especially important if you are switching careers. Highlight your relevant accomplishments in your cover letter, showcase your transferable skills, and explain how you can help the company address its challenges and succeed.

For example:

“As the Director of Marketing at ABC Company since 2018, I directed all phases of both the creative and technical elements of marketing initiatives, including data mining, brand creation, print/web collateral development, lead generation, channel partner cultivation, customer segmentation/profiling, as well as CRM and acquisition strategies.

Perhaps most importantly, I offer a history of proven results, as evidenced by the following marketing accomplishments for my current employer:

  • Captured a 28% expansion in customer base since 2018, achieved during a period of overall decline in the retail industry.
  • Led national marketing campaign (comprised of trade shows, media, and PR initiatives) for my company’s newly launched technology services division
  • Developed and executed SEO strategy that achieved and sustained top 3 rankings on Google (organic, nonpaid results) for key product search terms.
  • Oversaw the creation of a new company logo and rebranded 100+ products to cement a cohesive corporate identity and support new company direction.”

Just like when writing a resume, your cover letter should only include the most relevant and positive information about you. To home in on the right skills and qualifications to mention, try scanning your cover letter .

Read our full guide: What Do You Put in a Cover Letter?

Step 7. Write a strong closing statement and a call to action

Use the closing of your cover letter to:

  • Thank the hiring manager for their time
  • Mention any attachments (resume, portfolio, samples)
  • Invite to schedule an interview
  • Let the hiring manager know that you will follow up

Keep the closing professional and try not to sound too eager since that can come off as desperate. You must also keep in mind the tone and personality of the company you’re communicating with.

“Given the opportunity, I’m confident I can achieve similar groundbreaking marketing results for Media Raven, Inc.

Ms. Smith, I would welcome the chance to discuss your marketing objectives and how I can help you attain them. Feel free to call me at (555) 555-5555 or email me at [email protected] to arrange a meeting. I look forward to speaking with you.”

Read our full guide: How to End a Cover Letter With a Call to Action

Step 8. End with a professional closing salutation

To finish out the closing , use a formal signature. You can use “Sincerely,” “Best,” “Regards,” “Yours,” or any other professional signoff.

Use your first and last name as your signature. If you’re sending your cover letter in the body of an email, make sure it’s your personal email account that does not list your current work signature beneath the email. Your other option is to write the cover letter in a word document, save it as a PDF, and attach it to your email.

Step 9. Optimize your cover letter for the ATS

The Applicant Tracking System or the ATS is a software that companies use to screen applications and shrink their pool of applicants. Through the ATS database, a recruiter or hiring manager can just search for specific skills and keywords and the ATS will return a list of the top candidates who match the search criteria.

To optimize your cover letter for ATS, you need to:

  • Carefully read the job description
  • Take note of skills and resume keywords frequently mentioned
  • Incorporate these keywords into your cover letter

Read our full guide: How to Optimize Your Cover Letter to Beat the ATS

Does your cover letter pass the test?

Scan your cover letter to see how well it matches the job you're applying for. Optimize your cover letter and resume with Jobscan to get more interviews.

Computer with resume

How to Format Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is a letter, but that doesn’t mean you should just plop everything onto the page in a stream-of-consciousness flow. After all, cover letter formats determine the order in which the hiring manager learns about you, which can significantly influence their first impression. Use the format order below as a guideline for building the structure of your cover letter.

cover-letter-writing-guide

Notice how the topics flow like a conversation? When you first meet someone, you introduce yourself, tell them your name and a little about yourself, and then leave the conversation open for future meetings.

Your cover letter is just a like having a conversation with someone for the first time. Keeping that in mind will help you to keep things simple and focus on the right information.

Below are some examples of how to format your cover letter for different types of applications.

How to format your cover letter for a job

  • State your name
  • Explain your work history
  • Tell them what you can do for their company
  • Say goodbye

How to format your cover letter for an internship

  • Explain your coursework history and education
  • Explain what you can gain professionally

How to format your cover letter with no experience

  • Explain your skillset and character qualities that make you well-suited for the role
  • Outline entry-level achievements

You can also check out our cover letter templates to help you as you write your own cover letter.

Do you want to save time and receive instant feedback on your cover letter? Check out Jobscan’s cover letter tool .

Read more : How to Write a Resume for Today’s Job Market

Cover Letter Examples

Here are some examples to help you create a cover letter that will make you stand out and give a strong first impression.

1. Internship Cover Letter Example

cover-letter-writing-guide

2. Career Change Cover Letter Example

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3. Operations Manager Cover Letter Example

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4. Communications Professional Cover Letter Example

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5. Software Engineer Cover Letter Example

cover-letter-writing-guide

Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts

Aside from the basic steps of how to write a cover letter, there are some things you definitely need to make sure you avoid – and things you can’t skip! Follow these do’s and don’ts for writing a cover letter, and you’ll end up with a much better result.

  • Use a cover letter unless one was requested.
  • Attach a cover letter directly to your resume unless requested to do so.
  • Use the same boilerplate cover letter for multiple job applications.
  • Over-explain your work history, employment gaps, or qualifications – save it for the interview.
  • Badmouth any of your past employers.
  • Use the cover letter to complain or tell about your job search journey.
  • Use non-standard formatting like tables, columns, or graphics. (ATS can’t read those and your cover letter copy might not be scannable by the system.)
  • Use long paragraphs.
  • Customize a cover letter for every job application that asks for one.
  • Incorporate the top skills or keywords from the job description in your cover letter.
  • Include the company name and address, the job title, and point of contact’s name on your cover letter.
  • Incorporate relevant and compelling measurable results in your cover letter.
  • Explain, briefly, any dramatic shifts in a career (i.e. you are changing industries or job titles).
  • Use company information to relate your interest in the job.
  • Keep your cover letter concise.
  • Convey WHY you are right for the position.

More Cover Letter Tips

  • When emailing your cover letter, be strategic with your subject line. Never leave the subject line blank, and double-check for specific instructions in the job posting. If possible, use the email subject line to sell yourself. For example: “Experienced Software Engineer Seeks Senior Level Mobile Position.”
  • Keep your cover letter brief and to the point. The hiring manager will be reading many cover letters. By carefully selecting your words and experiences to include, you can stand out from the crowd of applicants.
  • Be confident. Let the hiring manager know the reasons why you deserve this position, and make yourself believe them too!
  • Your cover letter should not be simply a rephrasing of your resume. Let your personality show and go into further detail about your most valuable skills and experiences.
  • Do your research on the company and position before writing the cover letter. It should be customized to that specific company’s values and needs. Hiring managers can spot a generic resume from a mile away.
  • Use the job posting as your guide for what topics, skills, and experience to focus on.
  • The best cover letters include keywords from the job posting. Applicant tracking systems may scan your cover letter along with your resume and will be using these keywords to sort through the applicants.
  • Check for spelling and grammar errors.
  • Send your cover letter as a PDF to avoid readability issues and to present the most professional application package.
  • Scan Your Cover Letter with Jobscan to make sure you’re checking all the boxes.

Optimize Your Cover Letter with Jobscan’s Cover Letter Scanner

In addition to resume scans, Jobscan Premium users can also scan their cover letters against a job description.

This generates a report of the top hard skills and soft skills found in the job description that should be included in your cover letter, plus additional checks for optimal length, contact information, measurable results, and more.

Here’s how it works:

Key Takeaways

Your cover letter gives recruiters, hiring managers, and prospective employers an overview of your professional qualifications and relevant accomplishments that position you as the best candidate for the job.

So you have to make your cover letter powerful and interesting enough to make the recruiter or hiring manager read your resume and move you to the next step of the hiring process.

Here are key pointers when writing your cover letter.

  • Make sure you’ve read the job description and done your research about the company.
  • Get to know the name of the recruiter or hiring manager so you can address your cover letter properly.
  • Include relevant and measurable accomplishments in the body of your cover letter to prove to the hiring manager that you have what it takes to succeed in the job.
  • Keep your cover letter short and concise.
  • Your cover letter is not a substitute for your resume so don’t just copy and paste whatever is in your resume into your cover letter.

One last important reminder!

Having a strong cover letter is not enough. You also need to create a killer resume to make sure you stand out and land job interviews.

Learn more about writing a cover letter

How to Address a Cover Letter-block

How to Address a Cover Letter

10 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter-block

10 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

The Career Change Cover Letter: How to Get it Right-block

The Career Change Cover Letter: How to Get it Right

What Do You Put in a Cover Letter?-block

What Do You Put in a Cover Letter?

Is Your Cover Letter Robot-Approved?-block

Is Your Cover Letter Robot-Approved?

How to End a Cover Letter with a Call to Action-block

How to End a Cover Letter with a Call to Action

Frequently asked questions, what are the different types of cover letters.

There are four types of cover letters.

  • Application cover letter An application cover letter is what you send to the recruiter or hiring manager along with your resume.
  • Prospecting cover letter You send this when you want to inquire prospective employers about open positions in their company or put yourself top-of-mind when they do decide to hire.
  • Networking cover letter You will send this to professionals in your network in hopes of getting referrals, introductions, job search advice, and job opportunities.
  • Career change cover letter This is what you send when you are switching careers or industries.

What tense should I use when writing a cover letter?

It can be appropriate to change tenses throughout your cover letter.

For example, you can explain who you are in the present tense and explain important aspects of your work history in the past tense. You can switch to future perfect tense when discussing the ways you would perform if given the position.

Think of it like this, “I am ABC, I did XYZ previously, and I look forward to doing EFG in this position.”

What to include in a cover letter

Our cover letter guidelines above explain how to write a cover letter more deeply, but in summary, you should always include your name, relevant work experience, and reasons why you are right for the job in your cover letter.

When not to include a cover letter

  • When the job posting clearly states not to include a cover letter
  • When you don’t have the time and energy to customize your cover letter. It’s better not to send a cover letter than to send a half-baked and mediocre one.
  • When you are applying online and there is no field to upload your cover letter.
  • When your cover letter has a lot of typos and errors.

What should you send first: a cover letter or a resume?

Typically, your cover letter and resume will be sent as a pair, but your cover letter is meant to be an introduction to your resume. If it is an email, use the cover letter in the body and attach your resume, otherwise, attach both.

Pro Tip: Be sure to review all instructions in the job description to follow the hiring manager’s requests.

How long should a cover letter be?

According to 70% of recruiters, a cover letter should not exceed 250 to 300 words.

Although there is no hard and fast rule about this, the ideal cover letter length should be around half a page to one full page in length to keep your message concise, clear, and easy to digest.

Should a cover letter be sent as a file attachment?

If it is not specified in the job posting, a cover letter can be sent either as an attachment (PDF is best) or in the body of an application email with your resume attached.

How to share a cover letter with a potential employer

There are several methods of sharing a cover letter with potential employers, depending on their application process.

Cover letters can be written on a document and turned into a PDF to be uploaded to a job application website or attached to an email along with your resume.

In other cases, your cover letter can simply be written in the email message to a hiring manager, with your resume attached.

How to title and save your cover letter

The key in every aspect of job applications is to make yourself an easy “yes” for your potential employer. That means making it easy for the hiring manager to keep track of your application materials for later review. With this in mind, make sure your full name and the phrase “cover letter” are included in the file label. Other helpful details might include the job title you’re applying for or the year of your application.

Here are a few examples:

  • Your Name_Cover Letter_Job Title.pdf
  • Cover Letter_Your Name_Job Title.pdf
  • Job Title_Your Name_Cover Letter.pdf
  • Your Name_Cover Letter_2024.pdf
  • Cover Letter_Your Name_2024.pdf

Explore more cover letter resources

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Cover Letter Formats

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ATS-Optimized Cover Letter

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Cover Letter Templates

Generate a personalized cover letter in as little as 5 seconds

Say goodbye to the stress of writing a cover letter from scratch. Our AI-powered cover letter generator uses GPT-4 technology to create a personalized and ATS-friendly cover letter in one click. Stand out from the competition and land more job interviews.

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what is a cover letter good for

  • SUGGESTED TOPICS
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How to Write a Cover Letter That Sounds Like You (and Gets Noticed)

  • Elainy Mata

Do the research, start off strong, and emphasize your value.

  • EM Elainy Mata is a Multimedia Producer at Harvard Business Review. ElainyMata

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60+ Cover Letter Examples in 2024 [For All Professions]

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No matter where you are in your career, or what job you’re applying for, submitting a cover letter with your resume is a must . 

Done right, a cover letter will effectively complement your resume and explain to the hiring manager in more detail why you’re the right person for the job.

Writing a cover letter, however, is easier said than done. 

You have to effectively demonstrate that you’ll be able to perform the responsibilities listed in the job description and that you’d be a better fit for the company compared to other candidates. 

And unless you’re a professional writer, this can be a very hard task.

Fortunately, we created these cover letter examples to inspire you and help you get started with your own cover letter!

Let’s dive in!

21 Cover Letter Examples 

#1. career change cover letter example .

cover letter example for career change

Here’s what this cover letter does right:

  • Has an ideal length. This cover letter includes all the relevant information for the hiring manager without getting into too much detail.
  • Relevant introduction. The candidate explains that they’re changing careers and why they want to work in this new field from the get-go.
  • Explains their related experience. The candidate explains how their previous experience in retail sales can help them succeed in PR.

Check out our guide video guide to learn how to write a Cover Letter that gets you HIRED!

#2. Recent Graduate Cover Letter Example 

cover letter example for a recent graduate

  • Personally greets the hiring manager. The candidate has taken the time to find the hiring manager’s name and address them by it, which makes the opening of the cover letter much more personal.
  • Wraps up with a call to action. The candidate wraps up the cover letter by suggesting a meeting with the hiring manager, which makes them more memorable.
  • Explains why the candidate is the right person for the internship. In this cover letter for an internship , the candidate explains how they’ve previously interned in a different firm, which gives them the experience to succeed in this role.

Have you just graduated from college? Make sure to check out our guide on writing an entry-level cover letter from start to finish! 

#3. Middle Management Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Middle Management

  • Use of bullet points. The candidate presents the information in a concise and reader-friendly way, making it easy for the hiring manager to find their key achievements. 
  • Formal closing. The candidate has used a formal and polite tone to conclude their cover letter, which combined with a call to action makes them look professional and passionate about getting the job. 
  • Explains how the company would benefit from hiring them. The candidate outlines exactly what they could do for the company, which not only highlights their skills but also shows they’ve done their research on the company’s needs. 

#4. Business Manager Cover Letter Example

cover letter example for business manager

  • Detailed header. In addition to the must-have contact details, this candidate has also included their professional Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, making it easy for the hiring manager to look more closely into their career. 
  • Concise and to the point. This candidate has used short paragraphs and bullet points to make the cover letter easy to skim through. 
  • Wraps up with a call to action. By letting the hiring manager know they’ll be contacting them soon, they’re more likely to make an impression.

Check out this article for a complete writing guide and an inspiring business manager resume sample. 

#5. Ph.D. Cover Letter Example

cover letter example for phd

Here’s what this cover letter does right: 

  • Attention-grabbing introduction. In the opening paragraph, this candidate explains why they’re passionate about pursuing a Ph.D. in great detail. 
  • Explains the candidate’s qualifications in detail. The candidate builds on their passion by explaining how they’re also qualified for the degree because of their education history and academic achievements. 

#6. Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

cover letter example for senior executive

  • Professional and minimalistic template. This senior executive has used a professional but minimalistic template that lets their work experience do the talking. 
  • Achievement-oriented opening paragraph. Right from the get-go, this candidate explains what makes them so good at their job, effectively grabbing the hiring manager’s attention.  
  • Wraps up with a call to action. By suggesting to have a meeting and discussing how they can help the company meet its goals, the candidate stands more chance to make a positive lasting impression. 

#7. Architect Cover Letter Example 

Cover Letter Example

  • Modern resume template. This architect has picked a template that perfectly matches his industry, as it is professional and modern at the same time. 
  • A personal greeting to the HR. They address the hiring manager by their first name, which helps make a better first impression. 
  • Measurable achievements. By quantifying their achievements, the candidate proves their achievements instead of just claiming them.

Struggling with your architect resume ? Check out our full guide!

#8. Business Analyst Cover Letter Example 

cover letter examples

  • Detailed contact information. The candidate has listed both their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, providing the HR manager an opportunity to learn more about the candidate.  
  • Mentions what the candidate can do for the company. This cover letter doesn’t just explain why the job would be great for the candidate, but also how the candidate would benefit the company. Win-win, right? 
  • Error-free and reader-friendly. It’s super important for the cover letter to have no spelling or grammatical errors and be reader-friendly. This candidate made sure they did both.

Need a resume alongside your cover letter? Check out our guide on how to write a business analyst resume . 

#9. Consultant Cover Letter Example 

best cover letter example

  • Professional cover letter template. Being an experienced consultant, this candidate has picked a professional template that doesn’t steal the spotlight from their achievements. 
  • Experience and achievement-oriented. The candidate has effectively elaborated on their top achievements relevant to the job. 
  • Highlights the candidate’s passion. To show they want the job, this candidate has also explained how passionate they are about their profession.

For more advice on landing a job as a consultant, check out our guide to writing a consultant resume .

#10. Digital Marketing Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Digital Marketing

  • Creative cover letter template. This digital marketer highlights their originality by picking a creative cover letter template. 
  • Lists the candidate’s awards. The candidate has taken advantage of the cover letter to list their most noteworthy awards in the industry. 
  • Concludes with a call to action. As they used a call to action to conclude their cover letter, the HR manager will be more likely to remember them.

Want to take your digital marketing resume to the next level? Check out our guide!

#11. Graphic Designer Cover Letter Example 

Cover Letter Example for Graphic Designer

  • Detailed contact information. The candidate has included additional contact information such as their website link, as well as their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.  
  • Ideal length. This cover letter is concise, which means that the HR manager is more likely to read it from start to finish.  
  • Draws attention to the candidate’s strong points. Although this candidate is a recent college graduate, they’ve managed to effectively show that they have enough knowledge and experience to do the job right.

Read this guide to write a graphic designer resume that’s just as good as your cover letter!

#12. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Administrative Assistant

  • Minimalistic cover letter template. The candidate picked a well-designed but minimalistic template for their cover letter. 
  • Focused on skills and achievements. This cover letter is packed with the candidate’s skills and achievements, proving he can be an excellent employee. 
  • Formal closing. Politeness can go a long way and the candidate has used this to their advantage to make an impression. 

Our article on how to write an administrative assistant resume can help you take your job application to the next level.

#13. Front Desk Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Front Desk

  • Modern cover letter template. This template incorporates memorable colors and clear lines, which make the cover letter very visually appealing. 
  • Attention-grabbing introduction. Using an attention-grabbing intro, the candidate is more likely to make an impression. 
  • Calls the HR to action. By including a call to action, the candidate is reminding the HR of their immediate availability. 

#14. Human Resources Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Human Resources

  • It is concise and to the point. The candidate doesn’t dwell on unimportant details the HR won’t be interested in. 
  • Uses a traditional cover letter template. The cover letter design is more on the conventional side, which fits the industry better. 
  • Highlights the candidate’s strong points. The candidate has rich work experience and they use the cover letter to elaborate on it. 

This HR resume guide can help you get your resume just right.

#15. Sales Agent Cover Letter Example 

Cover Letter Example  for Sales Agent

  • Attention-grabbing cover letter template. As a salesperson, this candidate knows how important first impressions are, so they’ve picked a catchy cover letter template. 
  • Has an ideal length. At the same time, they’ve also made sure to keep their cover letter at just the right length. 
  • Lists the candidate’s career highlights. The candidate has made perfect use of the space by mentioning their most impressive professional achievements. 

Check out this sales agent resume guide to create an attention-grabbing sales resume .

#16. Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Receptionist

  • Modern but minimalistic cover letter template. The template’s design hints the candidate is creative but professional at the same time. 
  • Uses a catchy introduction. The candidate has used an attention-grabbing opening paragraph to catch HR’s attention. 
  • Concludes the cover letter formally. The candidate proves that they’re polite and well-spoken, a quality very much important for the role they’re applying for. 

Take your receptionist resume to the next level with this receptionist resume guide .

#17. Information Technology Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Information Technology

  • Mentions measurable achievements. Numbers make an impact, which is why this candidate has included measurable achievements. 
  • Lists both soft and hard skills. The candidate has mentioned a great mix of soft and hard skills, showing how well-rounded they are. 
  • Contains relevant contact information. The candidate’s GitHub, website name, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles are all great additions to the resume. 

Looking for tips to help you write a great IT resume ? Check out our guide!

#18. Real Estate Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Real Estate Agent

  • Ideal length. Short and to the point, this cover letter is bound to get noticed by the HR manager. 
  • Wraps up with a call to action. This candidate reinforces the HR to call them back through a final call to action. 
  • Mentions the right skills. On top of their sales accomplishments, the candidate touch upon important soft skills such as customer service and communication . 

This real estate resume guide will help you take your resume from good to great.

#19. Teacher Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Teacher

  • Mentions relevant contact information details. This candidate has included optional (but relevant) contact information details, such as their LinkedIn, Quora, and Medium profiles. 
  • Achievement-oriented. The candidate has elaborated on their achievements in more detail throughout their cover letter. 
  • Highlights the candidate’s passion. For some jobs, being passionate is much more important than for others. Teaching is one of these jobs, which is why this candidate explains their passion for the job. 

Our guide on how to write a teacher resume has all the tips you need to land the job.

#20. Project Manager Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Project Manager

  • Leverages a catchy introduction. Through a catchy introductory paragraph, this candidate is sure to grab the HR’s attention and get them to read the rest of their cover letter.
  • Lists measurable accomplishments. This candidate explains exactly what they’ve achieved using numbers and hard data. 
  • Personally greets the HR. A personal greeting sounds much better than “Dear Sir/Madam,” and the candidate knows this. 

This guide on how to write a project manager resume can help you perfect your appication.

#21. Paralegal Cover Letter Example

Cover Letter Example for Paralegal

  • Minimalistic cover letter template. This cover letter design looks good but doesn’t steal the show from the candidate’s abilities.
  • Mentions the candidate’s academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Although the candidate is a recent graduate, they’ve used the cover letter to explain they have enough skills and achievements to do the job.
  • Lists measurable achievements. The candidate proves they did well in their internship by mentioning quantifiable achievements.

Check out this paralegal resume guide to perfect yours.

40+ More Cover Letter Examples and Guides 

Couldn’t find a cover letter example for your field? Do not worry.

Below you can find a number of other cover letter examples for different fields and industries:

  • Acting Cover Letter Examples
  • Accounting Cover Letter Examples
  • Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Architecture Cover Letter Examples
  • Attorney Cover Letter Examples
  • Barista Cover Letter Examples
  • Bartender Cover Letter Examples
  • Business Cover Letter Examples
  • Business Analyst Cover Letter Examples
  • College Student Cover Letter Examples
  • Computer Science Cover Letter Examples
  • Construction Cover Letter Examples
  • Consultant Cover Letter Examples
  • Customer Service Cover Letter Examples
  • Data Analyst Cover Letter Examples
  • Data Entry Cover Letter Examples
  • Dental Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Digital Marketing Cover Letter Examples
  • Elementary Teacher Cover Letter Examples
  • Engineering Cover Letter Examples
  • Executive Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Finance Cover Letter Examples
  • Graphic Design Cover Letter Examples
  • Healthcare Cover Letter Examples
  • Human Resources Cover Letter Examples
  • IT Cover Letter Examples
  • Law Cover Letter Examples
  • Management Cover Letter Examples
  • Marketing Cover Letter Examples
  • Mechanical Engineering Cover Letter Examples
  • Medical Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Nurse Practitioner Cover Letter Examples
  • Physician Cover Letter Examples
  • Project Manager Cover Letter Examples
  • Receptionist Cover Letter Examples
  • Retail Cover Letter Examples
  • Sales Cover Letter Examples
  • Social Work Cover Letter Examples
  • Software Engineer Cover Letter Examples
  • Substitute Teacher Cover Letter Examples
  • Teacher Assistant Cover Letter Examples
  • Team Leader Cover Letter Example

What is a Cover Letter? 

A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application, alongside your resume . 

Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .

A good cover letter can give the hiring manager more insight into what makes you a good candidate and help them make up their mind about whether they should invite you for an interview. A bad cover letter, though, will get ignored (at best) and lose you the job (at worst).

So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.

The first thing to remember is that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you shouldn’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume and call it a day. 

Optimally, you should use your cover letter to shed more light on your skills and qualifications, as well as explain anything you didn’t have space for in your resume (e.g. a career gap or why you’re changing careers).

If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, though, putting all this together might seem pretty tough. 

Fortunately, you can follow our tried-and-tested format to make the experience much easier:

  • Header - Input your contact information.
  • Greeting the hiring manager - Open the cover letter with a “Dear Sir or Madam,” or use the hiring manager’s name if you know what that is.
  • Opening paragraph - Grab the hiring manager’s attention by getting straight to the point. Mention what your professional experiences are, and what role you’re applying for.
  • The second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Mention your top 2-3 achievements, your top skills, why you want to work in that specific industry, and whatever else is relevant.
  • The third paragraph - End your cover letter with a call to action. E.g. “I would love to meet personally and discuss how I can help Company X.”
  • Formal closing - Something like this: “Thank you for your consideration. Best, John Doe.”

Here’s what this looks like in practice:

cover letter structure

9 Tips to Write a Cover Letter (the Right Way)

Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about cover letter tips . Below, we'll give you all the knowledge you need to take your cover letter from "OK" to "great."

#1. Pick the right template

A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.

And what’s a better way to leave a good impression than through a professional, well-formatted, and visual template?

You can simply pick one of our tried-and-tested cover letter templates and you’ll be all set!

cover letter examples templates

#2. Add your contact details on the header

The best way to start your cover letter is through a header. 

Here’s what you want to include there:

  • Phone Number
  • Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
  • Name of the company you’re applying to

Optionally, you can also include the following:

  • Social Media Profiles - Any type of profile that’s relevant to your field. Social Profiles on websites like LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
  • Personal Website - If you have a personal website that somehow adds value to your application, you can mention it. Let’s say you’re a professional writer. In that case, you’d want to link to your content portfolio site or blog.

#3. Greet the hiring manager the right way

Once you’ve listed all your relevant contact information, it’s time to address the hiring manager reading your cover letter. 

A good practice here is to find the hiring manager’s name and address them directly instead of using the traditional “dear sir or madam.” This shows that you’re really invested in the company and that you took your time to do some research about the job.

So, how can you find out the hiring manager’s name?

One way to do this is by looking up the head of the company’s relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Office.

Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of server at a restaurant. In that case, you’d be looking to find out who the restaurant manager is.

If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.

If you still can’t find out the hiring manager’s name, here are several other greetings you can use:

  • Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • To whom it may concern
  • Dear [Department] Team

#4. Create an attention-grabbing introduction

Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.

So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph.

The problem with most cover letter opening paragraphs, though, is that they’re usually extremely generic, often looking something like this: 

Hey, my name is Jonathan and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a sales manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.

As you can probably tell, this opening paragraph doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything other than that you’ve worked the job before - and that’s not really helpful in setting you apart from other candidates. 

What you want to do, instead, is start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position. 

For example:

My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed its sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as my excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the role of X at Company Y.

The second example shows how the candidate is a top performer. The first just shows that they’ve worked a sales job before.

Which one are YOU more likely to invite for an interview?

#5. Show you’re the perfect person for the job

One great thing about cover letters is that they allow you to expand more on the top achievements from your resume and really show the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job. 

A good way to do that is to first read the job ad and really understand what skills/experiences are required, and then to ensure that your cover letter touches upon the said skills or experiences.

In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+. As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation and management process end-to-end. This means I created the ad copy and images, as well as picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.

Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:

  • Google Search

#6. Explain why you’re a great company fit

The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.

After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary . 

To convince the hiring manager that you’re a great company fit, do some research on the company and find out what it is you like about them, or about working there. You want to know things like:

  • What’s the company’s business model?
  • What’s the company's product or service? Have you used it?
  • What’s the culture like? Will someone micro-manage your work, or will you have autonomy on how you get things done?

Then, turn your top reasons for liking to work there into text and add them to your cover letter! 

#7. Wrap up with a call to action

To make the end of your cover letter as memorable as possible, you want to:

  • Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Mention anything you’ve left out that you think could help the hiring manager make up your mind.
  • Thank the hiring manager for their time. After all, it never hurts to be polite. 
  • Finish the cover letter with a call to action. A call to action is a great way to make your cover letter ending as memorable as possible. 

#8. Write a formal closing

Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.

Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions in a cover letter:

  • Best Regards,
  • Kind Regards,

#9. Proofread your cover letter

Last but not least, make sure to always proofread each and every document that you’ll be including in your job application - cover letter included. 

The last thing you want is to be claiming you’re a great candidate for the job with a cover letter full of typos! 

For an even more comprehensive guide on how to write an impactful cover letter , check out our article ! 

Cover Letter Writing Checklist 

Cover Letter Writing Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have some questions about cover letters? Check out the answers below:

1. How do I write a simple cover letter? 

To write a cover letter that’s simple but also professional, make sure to include a header with your personal information, a formal greeting to the hiring manager, an attention-grabbing opening paragraph, a second paragraph explaining why you’re a good candidate for the job, and a formal closing (preferably with a call to action). 

2. What are the 3 parts of a cover letter? 

The three parts of a cover letter are: 

  • The introduction , namely the header, the greeting to the hiring manager, and the opening paragraph. 
  • The sales pitch is usually the body of the cover letter. 
  • The conclusion involves a formal closing and a signature line.

3. What makes a great cover letter?

A great cover letter should be personalized for each job you’re applying for, instead of being overly generic. It’s also preferable to address the hiring manager by their name and not use the overly-used “Dear Sir/Madam.”

To make a great first impression, you should mention 1-2 of your top achievements in your opening paragraph - the more job-specific they are, the better. Also, don’t stop at showing the hiring manager why you’re a great candidate for the job. Make sure to also talk about how you’re a good culture fit for the company.

Last but not least, wrap up your closing paragraph with a call to action to give the hiring manager a little extra something to remember you by. 

4. When is a cover letter necessary?

Unless the job ad specifically states otherwise, you should always include a cover letter with your job application .

Even if the hiring manager doesn’t read it, you will look more professional simply by including one.

And that’s a wrap! We hope our cover letter examples and writing tips will inspire you to write a cover letter that will land you your next job.

If you’re looking for more invaluable career advice and articles, make sure to check out our career blog , or any of these related articles: 

  • How to Write a Resume
  • Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
  • Cover Letter Format (w/ Examples & Free Templates)

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The 46 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

Amanda Zantal-Wiener

Published: May 22, 2024

I’ve sent plenty of cover letters throughout my career, so I know it isn’t usually fun to write one. Fortunately, the cover letter examples I painstakingly gathered below show that it’s possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process.

 person types of a cover letter

I was shocked upon learning 45% of job seekers don’t include a cover letter when applying for a job. I definitely don’t recommend following the crowd on this matter because your cover letter is a chance to tell the stories your resume only outlines.

It’s an opportunity for you to highlight your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process.

Are you ready to showcase your unique skills and experience? Or are you looking for more tips and cover letter inspiration?

Keep reading for 40+ cover letter examples, then check out tips for cover letter formatting and what makes a cover letter great.

→ Click here to access 5 free cover letter templates [Free Download]

Table of Contents

Customizable Cover Letter Examples

Best cover letter examples, short cover letter examples, creative cover letter examples, job cover letter examples, career cover letter examples, what is a good cover letter, what’s on a cover letter, what makes a great cover letter.

In a hurry for a cover letter example you can download and customize? Check out the ones below from HubSpot’s cover letter template kit .

1. Standard Cover Letter Example

good cover letter examples, standard

5 Free Cover Letter Templates

Five fill-in-the-blank cover letter templates to help you impress recruiters.

  • Standard Cover Letter Template
  • Entry-Level Cover Letter Template
  • Data-Driven Cover Letter Template

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What does a good cover letter look like in practice, and how can you make yours stand out? I found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.

Note: Some of these cover letters include real company names and NSFW language that I've covered up.

4 . The Cover Letter That Explains ‘Why,’ Not Just ‘How’

You may already know how to talk about how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?

The Muse , a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story.

I advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.

good cover letter examples, explains why

good cover letter examples, short and sweet

19. Post-Phone-Call Cover Letter Example

good cover letter examples, post-phone-call

In an increasingly digitized world, where customer-centric strategies are vital for business success, I am thrilled to apply for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Introduction:

"To Whom it May Concern,

I am applying for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot. I have some experience in marketing and can help your clients grow their businesses."

Relevant Professional Experience

It can be tempting to use the same cover letter for every job. After all, it‘s about your experience, isn’t it? But it's not enough to rephrase the work history in your resume.

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to fill a specific role, so you need to show how your experience translates to their unique needs.

So, the body of a great cover letter should showcase the specific professional experiences that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Emphasize your accomplishments and skills that directly relate to what the job needs.

To speed up this part of the cover letter writing process, start by creating a list of your transferable skills . Drafting this list can help you quickly focus on the skills to highlight in your cover letter.

Then, use AI tools to summarize job descriptions and narrow in on where your experience and the needs of the role you're applying for overlap. This post is full of useful AI assistant tools if you're new to AI.

Helpful Cover Letter Experience:

“At [Company Name], I had the opportunity to assist a global ecommerce retailer in enhancing their online customer experience. By conducting in-depth market research and customer journey mapping, I identified pain points and areas of improvement in their website navigation and user interface.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Experience:

“I also worked with an ecommerce retailer to improve the customer experience. We did some surveys and training, and they were happy with the results.”

Useful Examples

To make your cover letter stand out, add specific examples that show how you've solved problems or gotten results in past roles.

Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible, using data to give the reader a clear understanding of your impact.

Helpful Cover Letter Example:

“I lead a team of five content writers while increasing website traffic by 18% year-over-year.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Example:

“I have a great track record of leadership and achieving fantastic results.”

Research and Company Knowledge

Hiring teams aren‘t hiring anyone with the skills to do the job. They’re hiring a person they'll work alongside at their specific company.

So, to show that you‘re not just looking for any job anywhere, share your knowledge of the company’s industry, values, and culture in your cover letter.

Spend some time on the company website and take notes on what makes this business interesting to you and why you would want to work there.

Then, explain how your skills align with the company's mission and goals and explain how you could add to their chances of success. This will showcase your interest in the company and help them see if you are a good cultural fit.

Helpful Cover Letter Research:

“I was particularly drawn to HubSpot not only for its industry-leading solutions but also for its exceptional company culture. HubSpot's commitment to employee development and fostering a collaborative environment is evident in its recognition as a top workplace consistently. I strongly believe that my passion for continuous learning, self-motivation, and dedication to contributing to a team will make me a valuable asset to HubSpot.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Research:

“I have been inspired by HubSpot's commitment to inbound marketing and its comprehensive suite of solutions. HubSpot's dedication to providing valuable content and fostering meaningful relationships aligns with my own values and aspirations.”

Clear Writing

Your cover letter needs to pack in a lot of important information. But it's also important that your cover letter is clear and concise.

To accomplish this, use professional but easy-to-understand language. Be sure to remove any grammar or spelling errors and avoid lengthy paragraphs and avoid jargon or overly technical language.

You may also want to use bullet points to make your letter easier to skim. Then, proofread your cover letter for clarity or ask a friend to proofread it for you.

  • Guide to Becoming a Better Writer
  • Tips for Simplifying Your Writing

Helpful Cover Letter Writing:

"In addition to my academic accomplishments, I gained valuable practical experience through internships at respected law firms.

Working alongside experienced attorneys, I assisted in providing legal support to clients. This hands-on experience helped me develop a deep understanding of client needs and enhanced my ability to effectively communicate complex legal concepts in a straightforward manner."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Writing:

"Furthermore, as a complement to my academic accomplishments, I have garnered invaluable practical experience through internships at esteemed law firms.

Throughout these placements, I actively collaborated with seasoned attorneys to conduct due diligence and furnish clients with comprehensive legal support. Notably, these experiences fostered a profound comprehension of client necessities, whilst honing my legal acumen to articulately convey intricate legal principles within a lucid and concise framework, adhering to applicable precedents and statutes of limitations."

Genuine Interest and Enthusiasm

Find ways to convey your passion for the role and how excited you are to contribute to the company you're applying to. At the same time, make sure your interest feels authentic and outline how it aligns with your career goals.

Your ultimate goal is an enthusiastic letter that feels honest and leaves a lasting positive impression.

Showing excitement in writing doesn't come naturally for everyone. A few tips that can help you boost the genuine enthusiasm in your letter:

  • Record audio of yourself speaking about the role, then use voice-to-text technology to transcribe and add these sections to your letter.
  • Choose your words carefully .
  • Write in active voice.

Helpful Cover Letter Tone:

“I am genuinely enthusiastic about the prospect of joining [Company/Organization Name] as an accountant. My combination of technical proficiency, eagerness to learn, and strong attention to detail make me an ideal candidate for this role. I am confident that my dedication, reliability, and passion for accounting will contribute to the continued success of your organization.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Tone:

“Honestly, I can hardly contain my excitement when it comes to reconciliations, financial statement analysis, and tax regulations! Engaging in spirited discussions with professors and classmates has allowed me to foster an unbreakable bond with the fascinating world of accounting, and I'm positively bursting with enthusiasm at the prospect of applying my skills in a professional setting.”

Memorable Conclusion

End your cover letter on a strong note. Summarize your top qualifications, restate your interest in the position, and express your interest in future communication.

Then, thank your reader for their time and consideration and include your contact information for easy follow-up.

To make your conclusion memorable, think about what parts of your letter you‘d most like the hiring manager to keep top of mind. Then, consider your word choice and phrasing. If you’re feeling stuck, this list of ways to close an email can help.

Helpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

"Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the opportunity to further discuss how my qualifications align with the needs of Greenpeace. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.

Together, let's make a lasting impact on our planet.

[Your Name]"

Unhelpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

"Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing my qualifications further and how I can contribute to Greenpeace's mission. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.

I’d like to add another stage to the job search: experimentation.

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search.

But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data I’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.

I certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will.

So, get inspired by these examples and templates. Write an incredible cover letter that shows the hiring team at your dream job exactly who you are.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure to learn more about how we use AI.

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  • Crafting Catchy Cover...

Crafting Catchy Cover Letters: A How-To Guide

10 min read · Updated on May 16, 2024

Marsha Hebert

Today, more than ever, having a catchy cover letter in your job-search toolkit is a must.

A lot of job seekers ask, “Do I really need a cover letter?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” More often than not, writing a catchy cover letter is something people simply don't do because the overwhelming thought is that employers don't read them. That couldn't be further from the truth. 

On top of that, adding a catchy cover letter to your application can enhance the skills, achievements, and qualifications you include on your resume. Most importantly, though, a great cover letter makes you more human, more real, to the hiring manager reading your application. 

What's most critical is that your cover letter be engaging. Avoid using the same old boring content that everyone else is using. Instead, craft a catchy cover letter that grabs their attention. This is your how-to guide for doing that!

Cookie-cutter isn't the way to go

Everyone has seen cover letters that start like this, 

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my interest in the [POSITION TITLE] that I saw advertised for [COMPANY NAME].

It's a complete yawn-fest. It's boring. It's overdone. 

Since your cover letter is the first chance you get to make a solid introduction to a new employer, spice it up a bit. Use some humor, indicate that you're passionate about the job you're pursuing, and inject some of your personality to entice hiring managers to actually read what you have to say. 

What is a good opening line for a cover letter?

The main idea behind a great, catchy cover letter is that you want to tell a story. This doesn't mean you should regurgitate what's contained in your resume – no one wants to read the same things twice. It all starts at the beginning. The way you start your cover letter can make or break you.

Do you want the hiring manager to have a “Bleh” moment and toss your cover letter to the side?

Wouldn't you rather they be caught off-guard by your creativity and keep reading?

The best way to shake things up is to go off-script and write something that actually catches their attention. Here are some examples:

Show your passion: “Not too long ago, I came to the realization that my life's goals included giving back to my community through story-telling. After a lot of research, I discovered that a great way to do that was to go into Public Relations and Marketing to help connect consumers with companies to meet needs.”

Show some love: “I recently read an article about how [COMPANY NAME] was involved in improving our community by engaging employees in outreach events that…”

Prove your worth: “When I read about the job opening for [POSITION TITLE] at [COMPANY NAME], I knew I had to apply because I'd already saved my current company over $100K in logistics costs and I knew that I could do that for you, too.”

Highlight your personality: “A few years ago, I was exploring the mountain roads outside of Denver, and a stranded chicken jumped in my car – it's a funny story, I even have pictures. From that moment, I knew working with rescue animals was where I wanted my future to go.”

Now that you have their attention – write the body of your catchy cover letter

One thing to remember is that the introduction of your cover letter isn't supposed to be a monologue – keep that old adage that less is more in mind. The first paragraph of your cover letter is only meant to be a couple of sentences – just enough to pique the hiring manager's interest so they keep reading. Let's face it; it's not every day that some random chicken jumps in your car. That may be just the thing that entices the interviewer to call you in – so they can hear the story. 

The second paragraph of your catchy cover letter

The next part of your catchy cover letter should be a paragraph that transitions into how your introduction will make you a great part of their team. Without repeating all the great things you've written in your cover letter, highlight some of the skills and achievements from your career thus far to prove to them you have what it takes to be a valuable part of their team. 

The third paragraph of your catchy cover letter

You can actually write this third part as a paragraph or use bulleted achievement statements (like you'll see in the template later in this article). The idea here is to showcase your most impressive career achievements and your primary strengths. 

It's a good call to opt for bullets for this part of your catchy cover letter because if the hiring manager is skimming through your cover letter, it'll be easy for them to see what you bring to the table. Don't go crazy, though, and add a bunch of bulleted achievement statements. Stick to between three and five because you don't want the cover letter to go over one page. 

The closing of your catchy cover letter

Your last paragraph should close out the cover letter by reiterating your passion for the job and requesting an interview; this is called a call to action. After all, the whole point of writing a catchy cover letter is to get them to call you for a face-to-face meeting so you can win the job. 

The end of your cover letter is also a great place to explain faux pas in your resume or give details about why you're changing careers . You can even use this part to detail your desire to travel for work or indicate that you're relocating for this job. 

Here's what a catchy cover letter looks like

We know, instructions on how to do something is one thing, but seeing it all come together in an example is something even better. So, with that, here is a catchy cover letter example:

Contact Information

[Name][Company][Address]

Dear [Name],

Would [COMPANY NAME] benefit from having someone on their team who has generated $30K in revenue, increased blog traffic by 14%, and tripled social media ROI – all in one year? Then, I'm your person. Given my background in [EXPERIENCE RELATED TO FIELD] and [EXPERIENCE RELATED TO FIELD], I know I can repeat those results for you and feel that I would make additional significant contributions to the [POSITION TITLE] you currently have available.

Throughout my entire career, I have demonstrated consistent success [SOMETHING YOU HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO] to achieve high-reaching standards and goals. During my time with [COMPANY YOU CURRENTLY WORK FOR], I've built a reputation for [MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT]. On top of that, people often come to me from different departments because I'm known as someone who can [PICK A SKILL FROM THE JOB DESCRIPTION TO INJECT HERE]. 

Additional career experience and achievements include:

Achievement/accomplishment

I think it's a great idea for us to get further acquainted, and would truly value a moment of your time to discuss how my background aligns with your needs. If you agree we may have the basis for a mutually beneficial partnership; please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience. I'd love to learn more about your team and the [POSITION TITLE] opening.  

I appreciate the time you're taking to review my application, and until we meet, I hope you have a great day!

[Your Name]

Related reading: You can find some career-specific cover letter examples here .

Why this template works

This catchy cover letter starts by discussing quantifiable achievements , which hiring managers drool over. Whenever you can deliver tangible results, the new employer will immediately know what you have to offer. 

Also, the fact that this letter indicates the results are repeatable shows that the applicant has done their research, understands the market, and is confident in their abilities. It helps the employer get the sense that the writer is genuinely passionate about their job. 

There isn't a hiring manager alive who wants to hire someone who is simply interested in earning a paycheck. Employers want employees who are dedicated and care about doing a good job. 

The closing of the cover letter template is proactive, inviting further discussion and reinforcing the applicant's desire to work for the company. 

Tailor your cover letter

You've probably heard about applicant tracking systems , also known as ATS, that companies use to weed out job seekers. Did you know that the ATS also scans cover letters? 

These systems are programmed to search for the right keywords – relevant phrases from the job description – to ensure that you are a good match. So, your catchy cover letter has to get past the ATS before it can impress the hiring manager. 

Did you notice the placeholders in the template? They're there for a reason.

As you read the job description for the position you want to apply to, you'll need to update your catchy cover letter with language that resonates with the new job. Let's say the new company wants someone who can work as a member of a cross-functional team. The last sentence of the second paragraph of the template would be a great place to include that phraseology. 

“On top of that, people often come to me from different departments because I'm known as someone who can bring harmony to processes by working as a member of a cross-functional team.”  

Just like that, you've tailored a bit of your cover letter . 

Catchy cover letter final tips and advice

Since the goal of your cover letter is to work with your resume to land your dream job – one of the most important aspects of anyone's life – it's critical to get it right. Let's talk about a few more things you need to know to craft a catchy cover letter that makes a strong impression and helps you win interviews. 

Use a professional letter format. You're not writing a letter to Grandma to thank her for the gift she got you, so make sure it's professional. Avoid using slang or overly casual expressions. Also, don't pack your cover letter with a lot of jargon that may or may not be understood outside of your current work circle. 

Keep it Short and Simple (K.I.S.S.). Remember the one-page rule. You're not trying to tell the hiring manager everything you've ever done in your career, instead, you're trying to pique their interest so they have a reason to call you to ask you more questions. 

Revise, edit, and do it again. Did you know that the average typed document has an average error rate of 8% ? Proofread your work, then get a friend to proofread it. After that, read it out loud to make sure it all sounds good. Cover letters, and resumes, too, for that matter, should have a 0% error rate.

Follow up. Prove that you're really interested in the position by following up with the employer if you don't hear back from them. 

Learn more: Read 10 of the Worst Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid to round out your knowledge about having a stand-out cover letter.

Stand out from the crowd, win the interview

It may take a bit of time, but writing a catchy cover letter that lands you an interview is definitely worth the effort. When you follow the tips and strategies in this how-to guide, you'll be able to effectively highlight your skills and achievements in a way that gets the attention of a hiring manager and intrigues them to the point of calling you for an interview.

If you feel like your cover letter is falling short, or you're sending it out and not hearing back from companies, let TopResume check it out for you. While we're at it, we can give your resume a once-over, too. Upload them both for a free review from a resume-writing expert. 

Recommended reading: 

8 Tips to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

Perfect Cover Letter Salutations: Start Strong

Resume vs Cover Letter: How They're Different

Related Articles:

How to Maximize Your Resume Action Words to Wow the Employer

Business Analyst Skills: Add to Improve Your Resume!

Cashier Skills: Add to Improve Your Resume!

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How to write a great cover letter

A cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to a potential employer and spark their interest in reading your resume.

When you’re prepping job applications, a cover letter might seem like an afterthought compared to your resume. But your cover letter is worth just as much attention . That doesn’t mean it needs to be overly detailed – in fact, a simple single page is best.

Here are the key points to know about cover letters, plus the steps to follow to write one.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a short letter that accompanies your resume when you apply for a role. It’s often the first point of contact you make with a potential employer, hiring manager or recruiter for a job application.

It’s a way to give the employer a sense of who you are, highlighting your skills and experience, before they read the information in your resume. Just as if you were meeting someone for the first time, you’d introduce yourself first before getting into the detail.

Sometimes, a short email can take the place of a cover letter, but the way you write it is much the same.

Take a look at this article comparing an average cover letter to a great one to help you see how to craft yours well.

How does a cover letter compare to your resume?

Your resume and cover letter complement each other but do slightly different things. Your resume summarises the key details of your skills, work experience and education. Resumes are best formatted with bullet points and broken into sections with subheadings, across about two pages.

A cover letter is shorter and sharper: a single page is best. It’s also more of a conversation opener – you’re speaking to the person responsible for the role you’re applying for, expressing your interest in the job and showing them why you’re a good fit for it.

The language in a cover letter is more personal. For example, a social worker’s resume might include, Redeveloped community youth program, increasing participation by 20 per cent. But in a cover letter you can write in the first person, which might read as, I’m a dedicated and driven social worker, with a strong commitment to supporting disadvantaged youth. It’s a chance to describe your skills and experiences in a way that also gives some insight into you and your career.

How to write your cover letter

  • Start with a brief introduction about yourself and why you’re writing. Mention the job you’re applying for and your interest in it.
  • Give a snapshot of the relevant skills, experience and qualifications you have that relate to the job. Think about the key two or three points in your resume and explaining these in a way that links them to why you’d be great for the role.
  • Give examples of your skills or mention how you’ve used them – you might need to do this in more detail if the job ad requests that you address selection criteria.
  • Note that your resume is attached. To finish, you can say that you’d welcome the opportunity to meet to discuss the role, or that you’re happy to provide more information, before signing off.

How to make your cover letter stand out

A cover letter should be engaging – you want to capture the interest of the person reading it so that they turn to your resume to find out more.

It’s also about showing the employer how your skills and experience are a good match for the role. That’s why you should always create a cover letter especially for the role you’re applying for – it shouldn’t be a generic letter. These tips can help you tailor your cover letter to the job.

A good cover letter can also demonstrate your written communication skills. Write for the environment you’re applying to: if it’s a more informal workplace or a creative type of work, don’t be afraid to inject some personal style into your writing to stand out.

Reading the 5 things employers wish they could say about cover letters and what recruiters look for in cover letters can also help you to write one that will impress.

Quick tips for improving your cover letter

  • Use clear, concise language. It’s best to avoid complicated or flowery wording.
  • Avoid overly long sentences. Try reading it aloud to see if there are any you struggle with.
  • Always tailor your cover letter to the job. An application is all about showing how you’re a good fit for the role on offer, and you don’t want your cover letter to seem reused.
  • Rather than writing ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, find out who to address your letter to; you could phone the company to ask. It’s more personal that way and shows you’ve taken initiative.
  • Triple check your spelling and grammar. Try printing your letter out then coming back to it fresh, or get someone with a keen eye to look over it for you.
  • Keep your letter to around 250-350 words on a single page.
  • Take a look at these examples of cover letters written by successful job seekers .

Writing your cover letter might feel intimidating at first when you’re facing a blank page. But by following these steps and tips, you can focus on crafting a cover letter that captures what you can bring to the role and makes a winning impression to the employer.

  • Why your personal brand is so important now – and how to build it
  • 4 tips for getting your application noticed
  • How to stand out in a crowded job market

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How to Start a Cover Letter: 30 Creative Opening Sentences Recruiters Will LOVE

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Wondering how to start a cover letter? Traditional cover letter wisdom might tell you to begin with something like, “Dear Hiring Manager, I am writing to apply for the marketing manager position with the Thomas Company.” But we say: A cookie cutter cover letter intro feels as outdated as a Hotmail address.

A cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to a hiring manager—who you are, what you have to offer, and why you want the job—but you have an extremely limited amount of space to do it. If you really want to get noticed, you’ve got to start right off the bat with something that grabs your reader’s attention.

What do we mean? Well, we won’t just tell you, we’ll show you. Keep reading to find tips on how to start a cover letter, along with 30 creative cover letter opening lines and sentence examples.

Still looking for that perfect next role? One of these open jobs on The Muse just might be the one »

5 tips on how to start off a cover letter

Here are a few pointers to guide you as you use our example cover letter openings—we’re getting there, we promise!—to craft your own:

1. Avoid boring or overused openers

Recruiters have read cover letters that start with lines like “I’m excited to apply for the front-end engineering position,” or “Your job posting on The Muse prompted me to…” so often they could wallpaper their homes with them. While those are OK and still acceptable, you'll have a better shot at impressing potential employers with a less cliché opening line.

2. Be lively and personable

People like reading interesting, engaging stuff—the kind that paints a picture, tells a story, and maybe even makes them smile. People like it when you’re human, genuine, and memorable. So figure out something about yourself and your background that relates to the company or position you're interested in, and use that to build a connection.

3. Show what you bring the company

You’ll get more into the details after your opening paragraph, of course. But your cover letter opener should still tell the reader, “This person can do something for us,” rather than, “This job would really help them.”

4. Stick to the point

Your opener, while creative, should still be relevant to the job. Don’t begin by highlighting an unrelated accomplishment or recounting an anecdote that never connects back to why you’re applying for the job. Part of writing an effective cover letter is curating key information that relates to that specific job opportunity and shows the reader that you're a good fit for the role.

5. Don't start with “To Whom It May Concern”

Find an alternative to “ To Whom It May Concern .” Seriously, banish those five words from your cover letter vocabulary forever. Nowadays, this phrase is seen as outdated, overused, and even rude—especially when better options exist.

30 cover letter opening sentence examples

We’ve come up with 30 creative cover letter opening sentence examples and separated them by the method they use to grab the reader’s attention. We don’t recommend copying and pasting because, well, your cover letter should be unique to your stories, background, and interests.

But you can most definitely use these examples to get inspired for your next application. (If you’re looking to see what an entire cover letter might look like, check out our article on the best cover letter examples for every type of job seeker .)

Start with passion

Employers want to hire people who care about what they’re doing. If you start your cover letter off talking about your passions and how they relate to the job, you’re telling the reader that you’ll be an engaged and motivated employee who’s likely to stick around. Plus, it’s a good way to tell the company a bit about who you are as a person right off the bat. Just be honest and realistic.

If truly loving data is wrong, I don’t want to be right. It seems like the rest of the folks at [Analytics Company] feel the same way—and that’s just one of the reasons why I think I’d be the perfect next hire for your sales team.

I’ve been giving my friends and family free style advice since I was 10, and recently decided it’s time I get paid for it. That’s why I couldn’t believe it when I found an open personal stylist position at [Company].

After about three years of trying out different roles at early-stage startups around San Francisco, watching more “ find your passion “ keynotes than I’d like to admit, and assuring my parents that, yes, I actually do have a real job, I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I’m happiest when I’m doing two things: writing great content and getting it out into the world.

The other day, I took a career assessment , which told me I should be a maritime merchant. I’m not quite sure what that is, but it did get me thinking: A role that combines my skills in business development with my lifelong passion for the ocean would be my absolute dream. Which is how I found this role at Royal Caribbean.

As a kid, I once gave up a day of a family vacation to transport an injured lizard I found by our hotel two hours each way to the nearest animal hospital (and talked my dad into driving me pre-GPS!). When I was a bit older, I found out I could care for animals every day for a living, and I’ve been working toward that goal ever since.

I am constantly checking my LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds—and not because of FOMO. Because I’m someone who wholeheartedly believes in the power of sharing ideas in online communal spaces, and I’m positive that I can help spark meaningful conversations as your next social media assistant.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be one of those people who pretend to be statues on the street. Thankfully, my career goals have become a little more aspirational over the years, but I still love to draw a crowd and entertain the masses—passions that make me the perfect community manager.

Start with admiration

Companies often want to hire people who already know, love, eat, and sleep their brand. What better to kick off your cover letter than a little flattery? Of course, remember when you’re telling a company why you love it to be specific and genuine. Because while everyone likes a compliment, no one likes obvious self-serving B.S.

I pretty much spent my childhood in the cheap seats at Cubs games, snacking on popcorn and cheering on the team with my grandfather. It’s that memory that’s shaped my career—from helping to establish the sports marketing major at my university to leading a college baseball team to an undefeated season as assistant coach—and what led me to apply for this position at the Chicago Cubs.

It was Rudy, my Golden Retriever, who first inspired me to apply to your operations assistant opening—not only have we used your app to find other dogs to play with in our neighborhood, he’s really excited about the prospect of coming to work with me every day. As I learned more about how [Company] is using modern tech to help pets thrive in cities, I couldn’t help but get excited to be part of it, too.

Example 10:

When I was seven, I wanted to be the GEICO gecko when I grew up. I eventually realized that wasn’t an option, but you can imagine my excitement when I came across your events manager position, which would have me working side by side with my favorite company mascot.

Example 11:

When I attended SXSW for the first time last month, I didn’t want to leave. So I decided I shouldn’t—and immediately went to check out job openings at the company.

Example 12:

If I could make the NYC apartment rental process better for just one person, I would feel like the horrors of my recent search would all be worth it. So a customer service role at [Apartment Search Company], where I could do it every day? I can’t think of anything more fulfilling.

Example 13:

[Vacation Rental Company] is synonymous with luxury and escape, known for spaces that inspire. I’ve felt this firsthand every time I’ve stayed at one of your properties—whether I was throwing a bachelorette party or working from home in a new locale—and I would love the chance to contribute to this reputation as your destination manager.

Example 14:

I was an hour out from hosting my first big dinner party when I realized I had forgotten to pick up the white wine. In a panic, I started Googling delivery services, and that’s when I first stumbled across [Delivery Service Company]. I’ve been hooked ever since, so I couldn’t help but get excited by the idea of bringing this amazingness to nervous hosts like me as your next social media and community manager.

Example 15:

Though I’m happily employed as a marketing manager, seeing the job description for your company’s PR director position stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been wearing your glasses for many years, and have always been impressed by the way the company treats its customers, employees, and the community at large.

Example 16:

A group of us IT folks were sitting around talking about our favorite Pacific Northwest companies this morning (coincidentally, over coffee). As you might figure, Starbucks was among the first names that came up. What makes you such a standout among Seattle-based corporations? Here’s the list we compiled:

Start with accomplishments

For any given job, you’re going to be competing with a lot of other job seekers—presumably, a lot of other similarly qualified people. A great way to stand out in your cover letter is to highlight something about yourself—a character trait, an accomplishment, a really impressive skill—that’ll quickly show how you stand out.

Example 17:

My last boss once told me that my phone manner could probably defuse an international hostage situation. I’ve always had a knack for communicating with people—the easygoing and the difficult alike—and I’d love to bring that skill to your open office manager position.

Example 18:

Among my colleagues, I’m known as the one who can pick up the pieces, no matter what amount of you-know-what hits the fan. Which is why I think there’s no one better to fill this customer service leader position.

Example 19:

Last December, I ousted our company’s top salesperson from his spot—and he hasn’t seen it since. Which means, I’m ready for my next big challenge, and the sales manager role at your company is exactly what I’m looking for.

Example 20:

After spending three years managing the internal communications for a 2,000-person company, I could plan a quarterly town hall or draft an interoffice memo in my sleep. What do I want to do next? Put that experience to work as a consultant for executives looking to level up their communications strategy.

Example 21:

While you won’t find the title “community manager” listed on my resume, I’ve actually been bringing people together online and off for three years while running my own blog and series of meetups.

Example 22:

If you’re looking for someone who can follow orders and doesn’t like to rock the boat, I’m probably not the right candidate. But if you need someone who can dig into data, see what’s working (and what’s not), and challenge the status quo, let’s talk.

Example 23:

I recently relocated my family to Texas. As we neared our new home, I noticed with intrigue the many wind turbines dotting the landscape. Suddenly, it hit me: “This is the career for me.” After unloading the moving van, I promptly researched companies in this sector that may benefit most from a skilled field engineer with expert electromechanical skills. And I discovered that [Company] is where I want to be.

Example 24:

You might be wondering what a 15-year veteran of the accounting world is doing applying to an operations role at a food startup. While I agree the shift is a little strange, I know you’re looking for someone who’s equal parts foodie and financial expert, and I think that means I’m your person.

Example 25:

Over the last 10 years, I’ve built my career on one simple principle: Work smarter. I’m the person who looks for inefficient procedures, finds ways to streamline them, and consistently strives to boost the productivity of everyone around me. It’s what’s earned me three promotions in the supply chain department at my current company, and it’s what I know I can do as the new operations analyst for [Company].

Start with humor and creativity

OK, before you read any of these, we have to stamp them with a big, blaring disclaimer: Do your homework before trying anything like this—learn everything you can about the company and the hiring manager to gauge whether or not they’d appreciate some comedic relief or a bit of snark. If it seems like they would, it’s a great way to make them smile (then call you). If they don’t? Try a different approach.

Example 26:

Have you ever had your mom call five times a day asking for a status update on how your job search is going, and then sound incredulous that you haven’t made more progress since the last phone call? That’s my life right now. But I’m hoping that soon my life will revolve around being your full-time social media manager. The good news is, I bring more to the table than just an overbearing mom. Let me tell you more.

Example 27:

Thank you so much for offering me the marketing manager position at [Company]! I wholeheartedly accept. OK, I know we’re not quite there yet. But if we were, here are just a few ideas for what I would do once in the role.

Example 28:

I considered submitting my latest credit card statement as proof of just how much I love online shopping, but I thought a safer approach might be writing this cover letter and describing all the reasons I’m the one who can take [E-Commerce Company]’s business to the next level.

Example 29:

I never thought that accidentally dropping my iPhone out of a second story window would change my life (it’s a funny story—ask me about it). But thanks to my misfortune, I discovered [Phone Repair Company]—and found my dream job as an expansion associate.

Example 30:

If we were playing “Two Truths and a Lie,” I’d say: I’ve exceeded my sales quotas by at least 20% every quarter this year, I once won an international pie-eating contest, and I have an amazing job at [Company]. The last, of course, is the lie. For now.

Frequently asked questions

How do you start off a cover letter.

When unsure how to open a cover letter, a good rule of thumb is to steer clear of clichés or overused opening lines. Instead, start by highlighting a passion or accomplishment relevant to the company or role you're applying for. You could also mention something about the company that caught your attention. Get creative, but keep it professional and make sure your narrative makes sense in that context.

How to start a cover letter greeting?

Try to find the hiring manager's name on LinkedIn or the company's website and address them directly, like “Dear Jane Doe”. If you can't find their name, “Dear Hiring Manager” is a good alternative. Avoid using “To Whom It May Concern” as it sounds outdated and impersonal.

How do I introduce myself in a cover letter?

Introducing yourself in a cover letter is straightforward: just share a bit about yourself. For example, “I'm a copywriter with seven years of experience in online content writing. At least officially. Since my first year of college I've been working on personal projects and keeping a track record of my accomplishments throughout the years.” No need to repeat your name since it's already in your contact information at the beginning of the letter.

How to start a cover letter without a name?

If you don't know the name of the person receiving your cover letter, start with “Dear Hiring Manager” or similar. Other possibilities include: “Dear Hiring Team”, “To the Hiring Team”, “To the Hiring Team”, “Dear Recruiter/Recruiting Team”, or “Dear Hiring Committee” if your industry evaluates cover letters and applications through a board.

Jenny Foss , Erica Breuer , Regina Borsellino , Amanda Cardoso also contributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.

what is a cover letter good for

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Top 5 Tips For Creating a Winning Cover Letter

Mastering the art of cover letters: expert tips to elevate your job application.

Cover letters can be a powerful way to add a compelling narrative about your skills to your job application, but like all things career-related, they need to be done effectively.

A cover letter should never be an afterthought. The goal is for your cover letter to enhance your chances of getting an interview, but when done incorrectly, they have the exact opposite effect! 

Here are the top 5 tips for creating a winning cover letter.

1) Tell Me Why You Are The Best Candidate: Cover Letters are written in 1st person, which provides the opportunity to really sell yourself to that company. Hiring managers want to hear that you are the best candidate and the perfect fit for that Company and position, so focus your cover letter on making that specific case, i.e. find the match between your education and past experience and the employer’s specific needs. I advise students to target their cover letters based on what the reader wants to hear. Dedicate a paragraph to a description of what makes that company unique or special, followed immediately by a paragraph that demonstrates that your interests, skills and abilities (just so) happen to be a perfect match for that environment! You can even paraphrase some of the language in the job description to highlight your own skills and experience.

2) Generic Templates: I cannot tell you how many times I have seen generic cover letters sent to multiple companies, where the writer has changed only the relevant contact information. Again, the goal of your cover letter is to describe why you are perfect fit for the specific position and that company. There is no way a generic format can accomplish that. Write an individually tailored cover letter for each job application that describes your qualifications and fit for that position.

3) To Whom It May Concern: One of the quickest ways to ensure that your cover letter and resume are ignored is by including the generic and impersonal “To Whom It May Concern” line. If you can, try to find the name of the hiring manager so you can address him or her specifically. Most companies are very good at hiding that information, so instead of “To Whom It May Concern (or its close cousin, “Dear Sir or Madam”) try to target your cover letter with something more specific and personable like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Human Resources Professional.” 

4) A Warm Lead: If you know someone at that company, reach out to him or her and ask if he would submit your resume and cover letter on your behalf, or at the very least, if you can use his or her name on your cover letter. Companies love internal referrals, so nothing beats a current employee submitting on your behalf. When that is not possible, being able to add a line (with permission) like “Chaim Shapiro, Assistant Director of Career Services at Touro recommended that I apply for this position,” lends credibility and can be a powerful way to get your application noticed and moved to the next level of review. 

5) Should I even bother? This may be a bit controversial, but I usually advise students to only include a cover letter when the application requires it specifically. Why? Cover Letters are a powerful tool that can enhance your chances at landing the job but, I have found that most applicants do not take their Cover Letters seriously. Most students do not have 2-3 hours to invest in a targeted cover letter for each of their applications, so they revert to a generic format that ends up doing a lot more harm than good. Do not make that mistake. Write a targeted cover letter for each job, or just let your resume do your talking!

By Chaim Shapiro, Touro's Director of the Office for Student Success

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More From Forbes

How to answer “why are you interested in this role” in 2024.

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The key to answer "Why do you want this job?" is to research the role and highlight unique angles ... [+] that are not typical of the job

You've been practicing for weeks.

You've (finally) figured out how to answer all the tough interview questions you know you're likely to be asked for your dream remote job.

But for some reason, you can never quite get past this question: "Why are you interested in this job/position/role?"

In theory, it's a ridiculously easy question to answer. Because why on earth would the hiring manager ask you that question when you are clearly motivated for the job? Surely, you wouldn't apply unless it was something you were interested in, right?

And at the end of the day, especially if you've been out of work for months or even years, why else would you want a job except to get back on your feet again? The answer to "Why are you interested in this role?" may seem fairly obvious—but you're wrong.

Applying for a job because you are in it mainly for the salary, because it's work-from-home, or applying because you like the idea of the prestige associated with the role itself or the employer, are not sufficient enough motivations to ensure wholehearted commitment to your job—and these will certainly not pass as good enough reasons for the hiring manager to take you seriously and hire you.

You need to provide the talent acquisition team and hiring manager with something more tangible and meaningful to persuade them that you are committed to the job as a career, a stepping stone, and not just something to make money and survive. Otherwise, any wise employer knows that without the right motivations, an employee will quickly lose interest and either job hop or prove unreliable and distracted when on the job.

Best High-Yield Savings Accounts Of 2024

Best 5% interest savings accounts of 2024, why does the hiring manager ask "why are you interested in this role".

Employers may ask the same thing in different ways. For instance, they may rephrase this question as, "What made you apply for this position?" or "What interests you most about this role?"

These are all fundamentally the same, and employers ask this to gauge several key insights about you, including:

  • Your motivation, passion, and enthusiasm for the role
  • Would your expectations align with the reality of the position and where the company is headed?
  • Do your skills and experience perfectly match with the role?
  • Are your personal and career goals aligned with the job? Do you even have any career goals, for that matter?
  • Are you committed to adding vale to the organization?
  • Do you understand the role you have applied for and what it entails? Have you read the job advert thoroughly?

Employers want to ascertain that you understand the role and its requirements, and have the right ... [+] expectations

How To Answer "Why Are You Interested In This Position?" Effectively

To satisfy each of the points above effectively, here are some steps you should consider that will help you formulate a compelling answer for your remote job interview:

1. Research The Role

This is the most obvious step you should take, but you should remember that this research extends beyond the role itself (as the job title might vary in meaning depending on the company you work for). You should research the company and the specific project, department, team, or program your role is being recruited to fill. This enables you to have a thorough grasp of the position and understand if it is what you initially expected.

2. Highlight Unique Angles Of The Role

The next step is to highlight unique aspects of the role that appeal to you the most. This demonstrates that you have undertaken due diligence to research the job, and shows them that you are keen and committed to the role. For example, if you were being hired to work as a program manager, you could talk about the specific program that you know you will be managing, and how excited you are about the program and its objectives, especially if it is something that resonates with you personally.

You should also make reference to how you are well positioned to contribute in the company within this role, based on your unique background and career achievements.

3. Align Answer With Yours And The Company's Goals

Finally, you need to ensure that your answer makes strong reference to how this particular position is part of your career plan and will help you achieve your long-term career goals. This is especially necessary if you are making a career pivot, as employers will likely be extremely curious as to why you are completely switching roles and applying for a job that has no relation to anything you've done previously.

You should also consider the company's vision and mission statement, and ensure your overall answer conveys the value you aim to provide to their organization in helping them achieve their business goals.

Sample Answer For "Why Are You Interested In This Position?"

So, a sample answer for a program manager at a healthcare organization would be:

"I am excited about this program manager role at [company name] because it aligns perfectly with skills and personal career goals to [career goal in X number of years]. Throughout my career so far, I have been deeply passionate about driving strategic initiatives and overseeing complex community health projects from inception to successful completion. This role as a [name of role and team name] provides the ideal platform for me to leverage my experience in project management, team leadership, and process optimization.

Your career goals, and their alignment with the company's goals and values, play a major role in ... [+] determining if the job is a right fit

"One of the aspects that drew me to [company name] is your commitment to innovation and excellence within the industry. [Go into further detail, briefly, about a specific project they completed recently that resonates with your personal values and professional aspirations].

"In my previous position at [previous company], [relate how your background is perfectly suited to the requirements of the role].

"I am also particularly interested in the opportunity to work at [company name] because of your strong emphasis on professional development and employee growth. I am eager to bring my expertise to your team and continue to grow as a program manager in such a supportive environment, while being a part of a company that is leading the way in [specific industry]."

Structuring your answer in this way perfectly highlights to the interviewer just why your motivations, skills, and experience, make you a strong fit for the position.

Rachel Wells

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7 Essential Tips on How to Format a Cover Letter

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7 Essential Tips on How to Format a Cover Letter was originally published on Resume.io .

what is a cover letter good for

When you come to writing one of the most important letters in your life, you may need a few ground rules to help you to get started with the format of your cover letter.

That blank page can look awfully daunting otherwise.

Here are some must-follow tips around the structure and content of your cover letter:

Well-designed header

The header section of the cover letter should be attractive and space efficient. Graduates might be tempted to select a header design that reduces the amount of space that they need to fill for their cover letter, but you will have more to say than you think.

The header should contain all essential contact details (in addition to those on your resume) – full name, email, and mobile. You don’t have to include your full address and you definitely don’t have to include the “inside address” of your employer.

Mouthwatering intro

The intro of a recent grad or early career cover letter should be far more than a “this is what I want out of my career.” The hiring manager understands that you want the job – applicants need to prove to them that they are worthy of it. Make a compelling case.

The cover letter introduction should lead with your most relevant accomplishment for the role in question, with a hint of personality around how you achieved it. Avoid a generic cover letter that you send to everyone – you might not have much experience, but you should still strive to be as selective as possible.

Only relevant career stories with context

The length and content of your cover letter should be dictated by the amount of relevant experience that you have to share. Do not feel that you need to fill a page by parroting the responsibilities of the role or long lists of skills and personality traits without evidence.

Empty space is better than empty words – employers will value quality over quantity for the early career professional. What they want to understand in the cover letter is that you understand the demands of the role and can justify why you think you will do a good job.

Conclusion with call-to-action

End the conclusion of the early-career cover letter with a final detail about your personality and motivation and share your interest in learning more about the role. Saying that you hope to have the opportunity of an interview to learn more about the role is a powerful call-to-action which demonstrates your belief in yourself. Remember to keep the tone hopeful.

After the raw content come the syntax and visual choices:

Powerful action verbs

When you only have a certain number of sentences to create a favorable impression, your choice of verb can have a surprising impact on how your messages are received. Insightful action verbs can add a new level of meaning. Did you “manage” or “orchestrate” a project?

A word of warning: sprinkle action verbs and other buzzwords liberally. The cover letter should read like a conversation starter, so ensure that it sounds natural enough.

Impactful fonts, sensible sizes, and shot paragraphs

Increasingly the font size to take up more space on the page will fool no one. Stick with a standard 10 or 12 size and choose a suitable professional font that is easy to read.

Use short 2-4-line non-indented paragraphs and leave a line between each one. Give the reader a natural break between each of your career stories and consider using bullet points for your greatest accomplishments (the ones that you can ideally quantify with numbers). The cover letter should be strictly no more than one page – ideally aim for 3/4 of a page.

Right choice of template

Finally, very few cover letters or resumes are send as a blank word document these days. There are a wide choice of resume and cover letter templates – it is a great idea to use the same visual look for both your cover letter and resume. When a hiring manager is viewing a large number of candidates, this association will stick in their minds.

There is a subtle art to writing a persuasive cover letter when you do not have experience.

Strike a balance between outlining hopes for the future and sharing the greatest hits from your past. Your future employer will want to understand both.

If you are curious to explore further (you should be), the following article from Resume.io provides substantial further food for thought: “ How to Format a Cover Letter in 2022: Examples and Tips ”

He is dangerous in word, deed and action

He puts self over country, he loathes the laws we live by, donald trump is unfit to lead.

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values . It is separate from the newsroom.

Next week, for the third time in eight years, Donald Trump will be nominated as the Republican Party’s candidate for president of the United States. A once great political party now serves the interests of one man, a man as demonstrably unsuited for the office of president as any to run in the long history of the Republic, a man whose values, temperament, ideas and language are directly opposed to so much of what has made this country great.

It is a chilling choice against this national moment. For more than two decades, large majorities of Americans have said they are dissatisfied with the direction of the country, and the post-Covid era of stubborn inflation, high interest rates, social division and political stagnation has left many voters even more frustrated and despondent.

what is a cover letter good for

The Republican Party once pursued electoral power in service to solutions for such problems, to building “the shining city on a hill,” as Ronald Reagan liked to say. Its vision of the United States — embodied in principled public servants like George H.W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney — was rooted in the values of freedom, sacrifice, individual responsibility and the common good. The party’s conception of those values was reflected in its longstanding conservative policy agenda, and today many Republicans set aside their concerns about Mr. Trump because of his positions on immigration, trade and taxes. But the stakes of this election are not fundamentally about policy disagreements. The stakes are more foundational: what qualities matter most in America’s president and commander in chief.

Mr. Trump has shown a character unworthy of the responsibilities of the presidency. He has demonstrated an utter lack of respect for the Constitution, the rule of law and the American people. Instead of a cogent vision for the country’s future, Mr. Trump is animated by a thirst for political power: to use the levers of government to advance his interests, satisfy his impulses and exact retribution against those who he thinks have wronged him.

He is, quite simply, unfit to lead.

The Democrats are rightly engaged in their own debate about whether President Biden is the right person to carry the party’s nomination into the election, given widespread concerns among voters about his age-related fitness. This debate is so intense because of legitimate concerns that Mr. Trump may present a danger to the country, its strength, security and national character — and that a compelling Democratic alternative is the only thing that would prevent his return to power. It is a national tragedy that the Republicans have failed to have a similar debate about the manifest moral and temperamental unfitness of their standard-bearer, instead setting aside their longstanding values, closing ranks and choosing to overlook what those who worked most closely with the former president have described as his systematic dishonesty, corruption, cruelty and incompetence.

That task now falls to the American people. We urge voters to see the dangers of a second Trump term clearly and to reject it. The stakes and significance of the presidency demand a person who has essential qualities and values to earn our trust, and on each one, Donald Trump fails.

Moral Fitness Matters

what is a cover letter good for

Presidents are confronted daily with challenges that require not just strength and conviction but also honesty, humility, selflessness, fortitude and the perspective that comes from sound moral judgment.

If Mr. Trump has these qualities, Americans have never seen them in action on behalf of the nation’s interests. His words and actions demonstrate a disregard for basic right and wrong and a clear lack of moral fitness for the responsibilities of the presidency.

He lies blatantly and maliciously, embraces racists , abuses women and has a schoolyard bully’s instinct to target society’s most vulnerable. He has delighted in coarsening and polarizing the town square with ever more divisive and incendiary language. Mr. Trump is a man who craves validation and vindication, so much that he would prefer a hostile leader’s lies to his own intelligence agencies’ truths and would shake down a vulnerable ally for short-term political advantage . His handling of everything from routine affairs to major crises was undermined by his blundering combination of impulsiveness, insecurity and unstudied certainty.

This record shows what can happen to a country led by such a person: America’s image, credibility and cohesion were relentlessly undermined by Mr. Trump during his term.

None of his wrongful actions are so obviously discrediting as his determined and systematic attempts to undermine the integrity of elections — the most basic element of any democracy — an effort that culminated in an insurrection at the Capitol to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power.

On Jan. 6, 2021, Mr. Trump incited a mob to violence with hateful lies, then stood by for hours as hundreds of his supporters took his word and stormed the Capitol with the aim of terrorizing members of Congress into keeping him in office. He praised these insurrectionists and called them patriots; today he gives them a starring role at campaign rallies, playing a rendition of the national anthem sung by inmates involved with Jan. 6., and he has promised to consider pardoning the rioters if re-elected. He continues to wrong the country and its voters by lying about the 2020 election, branding it stolen, despite the courts, the Justice Department and Republican state officials disputing him. No man fit for the presidency would flog such pernicious and destructive lies about democratic norms and values, but the Trumpian hunger for vindication and retribution has no moral center.

To vest such a person with the vast powers of the presidency is to endanger American interests and security at home as well as abroad. The nation’s commander in chief must uphold the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.” It is the closest thing that this secular nation has to a sacred trust. The president has several duties and powers that are his alone: He has the sole authority to launch a nuclear weapon. He has the authority to send American troops into harm’s way and to authorize the use of lethal force against individuals and other nations. Americans who serve in the military also take an oath to defend the Constitution, and they rely on their commander in chief to take that oath as seriously as they do.

Mr. Trump has shown, repeatedly, that he does not. On numerous occasions, he asked his defense secretary and commanders in the American armed forces to violate that oath. On other occasions, he demanded that members of the military violate norms that preserve the dignity of the armed services and protect the military from being used for political purposes. They largely refused these illegal and immoral orders, as the oath requires.

The lack of moral grounding undermines Mr. Trump even in areas where voters view him as stronger and trust him more than Mr. Biden, like immigration and crime. Veering into a kind of brutal excess that is, at best, immoral and, at worst, unconstitutional, he has said that undocumented immigrants were “ poisoning the blood of our country ,” and his advisers say he would aim to round them up in mass detention camps and end birthright citizenship . He has indicated that, if faced with episodes of rioting or crime surges, he would unilaterally send troops into American cities. He has asked aides if the United States could shoot migrants below the waist to slow them down, and he has said that he would use the Insurrection Act to deploy the military against protesters.

During his time in office, none of those things happened because there were enough people in military leadership with the moral fitness to say “no” to such illegal orders. But there are good reasons to worry about whether that would happen again, as Mr. Trump works harder to surround himself with people who enable rather than check his most insidious impulses.

The Supreme Court, with its ruling on July 1 granting presidents “absolute immunity” for official acts, has removed an obstacle to Mr. Trump’s worst impulses: the threat of legal consequences. What remains is his own sense of right and wrong. Our country’s future is too precious to rely on such a broken moral compass.

Principled Leadership Matters

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Republican presidents and presidential candidates have used their leadership at critical moments to set a tone for society to live up to. Mr. Reagan faced down totalitarianism in the 1980s, appointed the first woman to the Supreme Court and worked with Democrats on bipartisan tax and immigration reforms. George H.W. Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act and decisively defended an ally, Kuwait, against Iraqi aggression. George W. Bush, for all his failures after Sept. 11, did not stoke hate against or demonize Muslims or Islam.

As a candidate during the 2008 race, Mr. McCain spoke out when his fellow conservatives spread lies about his opponent, Barack Obama. Mr. Romney was willing to sacrifice his standing and influence in the party he once represented as a presidential nominee, by boldly calling out Mr. Trump’s failings and voting for his removal from office.

These acts of leadership are what it means to put country first, to think beyond oneself.

Mr. Trump has demonstrated contempt for these American ideals. He admires autocrats, from Viktor Orban to Vladimir Putin to Kim Jong-un. He believes in the strongman model of power — a leader who makes things happen by demanding it, compelling agreement through force of will or personality. In reality, a strongman rules through fear and the unprincipled use of political might for self-serving ends, imposing poorly conceived policies that smother innovation, entrepreneurship, ideas and hope.

During his four years in office, Mr. Trump tried to govern the United States as a strongman would, issuing orders or making decrees on Twitter. He announced sudden changes in policy — on who can serve in the military , on trade policy, on how the United States deals with North Korea or Russia — without consulting experts on his staff about how these changes would affect America. Indeed, nowhere did he put his political or personal interests above the national interest more tragically than during the pandemic , when he faked his way through a crisis by touting conspiracy theories and pseudoscience while ignoring the advice of his own experts and resisting basic safety measures that would have saved lives.

He took a similar approach to America’s strategic relationships abroad. Mr. Trump lost the trust of America’s longstanding allies, especially in NATO, leaving Europe less secure and emboldening the far right and authoritarian leaders in Europe, Latin America and Asia. He pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, leaving that country, already a threat to the world, more dangerous, thanks to a revived program that has achieved near-weapons-grade uranium.

In a second term, his willingness to appease Mr. Putin would leave Ukraine’s future as a democratic and independent country in doubt. Mr. Trump implies that he could single-handedly end the catastrophic war in Gaza but has no real plan. He has suggested that in a second term he’d increase tariffs on Chinese goods to 60 percent or higher and that he would put a 10 percent tariff on all imported goods, moves that would raise prices for American consumers and reduce innovation by allowing U.S. industries to rely on protectionism instead.

The worst of the Trump administration’s policies were often blocked by Congress, by court challenges and by the objections of honorable public servants who stepped in to thwart his demands when they were irresponsible or did not follow the law. When Mr. Trump wanted an end to Obamacare, a single Republican senator, Mr. McCain, saved it, preserving health care for millions of Americans. Mr. Trump demanded that James Comey, his F.B.I. director, pledge loyalty to him and end an investigation into a political ally; Mr. Comey refused. Scientists and public health officials called out and corrected his misinformation about climate science and Covid. The Supreme Court sided against the Trump administration more times than any other president since at least Franklin D. Roosevelt.

A second Trump administration would be different. He intends to fill his administration with sycophants, those who have shown themselves willing to obey Mr. Trump’s demands or those who lack the strength to stand up to him. He wants to remove those who would be obstacles to his agenda, by enacting an order to make it easier to fire civil servants and replace them with those more loyal to him.

This means not only that Americans would lose the benefit of their expertise but also that America would be governed in a climate of fear, in which government employees must serve the interests of the president rather than the public. All cabinet secretaries follow a president’s lead, but Mr. Trump envisions a nation in which public service as Americans understand it would cease to exist — where individual civil servants and departments could no longer make independent decisions and where research by scientists and public health experts and investigations by the Justice Department and others in federal law enforcement would be more malleable to the demands of the White House.

Another term under Mr. Trump’s leadership would risk doing permanent damage to our government. As Mr. Comey, a longtime Republican, wrote in a 2019 guest essay for Times Opinion, “Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from.” Very few who serve under him can avoid this fate “because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites,” Mr. Comey wrote. “Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values. And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.” America will get nowhere with a strongman. It needs a strong leader.

Character Matters

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Character is the quality that gives a leader credibility, authority and influence. During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump’s petty attacks on his opponents and their families led many Republicans to conclude that he lacked such character. Other Republicans, including those who supported the former president’s policies in office, say they can no longer in good conscience back him for the presidency. “It’s a job that requires the kind of character he just doesn’t have,” Paul Ryan, a former Republican House speaker, said of Mr. Trump in May .

Those who know Mr. Trump’s character best — the people he appointed to serve in the most important positions of his White House — have expressed grave doubts about his fitness for office.

His former chief of staff John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, described Mr. Trump as “a person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution and the rule of law.” Bill Barr, whom Mr. Trump appointed as attorney general, said of him , “He will always put his own interest and gratifying his own ego ahead of everything else, including the country’s interest.” James Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general who served as defense secretary, said , “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.”

Mike Pence, Mr. Trump’s vice president, has disavowed him. No other vice president in modern American history has done this. “I believe that anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States,” Mr. Pence has said . “And anyone who asked someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again.”

These are hardly exceptions. In any other American administration, a single cabinet-level defection is rare. But an unprecedented number of Mr. Trump’s appointees have publicly criticized his leadership, opposed his 2024 presidential candidacy or ducked questions about his fitness for a second term. More than a dozen of his most senior appointees — those he chose to work alongside him and who saw his performance most closely — have spoken out against him, serving as witnesses about the kind of leader he is.

There are many ways to judge leaders’ character; one is to see whether they accept responsibility for their actions. As a general rule, Mr. Trump abhors accountability. If he loses, the election is rigged. If he is convicted, it’s because the judges are out to get him. If he doesn’t get his way in a deal, as happened multiple times with Congress in his term, he shuts down the government or threatens to.

Americans do not expect their presidents to be perfect; many of them have exhibited hubris, self-regard, arrogance and other character flaws. But the American system of government is more than just the president: It is a system of checks and balances, and it relies on everyone in government to intervene when a president’s personal failings might threaten the common good.

Mr. Trump tested those limits as president, and little has changed about him in the four years since he lost re-election. He tries to intimidate anyone with the temerity to testify as a witness against him. He attacks the integrity of judges who are doing their duty to hold him accountable to the law. He mocks those he dislikes and lies about those who oppose him and targets Republicans for defeat if they fail to bend the knee.

It may be tempting for Americans to believe that a second Trump presidency would be much like the first, with the rest of government steeled to protect the country and resist his worst impulses. But the strongman needs others to be weak, and Mr. Trump is surrounding himself with yes men.

The American public has a right to demand more from their president and those who would serve under him.

A President’s Words Matter

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When America saw white nationalists and neo-Nazis march through the streets of Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 and activists were rallying against racism, Mr. Trump spoke of “very fine people on both sides.” When he was pressed about the white supremacist Proud Boys during a 2020 debate, Mr. Trump told them to “stand back and stand by,” a request that, records show, they took literally in deciding to storm Congress. This winter, the former president urged Iowans to vote for him and score a victory over their fellow Americans — “all of the liars, cheaters, thugs, perverts, frauds, crooks, freaks, creeps.” And in a Veterans Day speech in New Hampshire, he used the word “vermin,” a term he has deployed to describe both immigrants and political opponents.

What a president says reflects on the United States and the kind of society we aspire to be.

In 2022 this board raised an urgent alarm about the rising threat of political violence in the United States and what Americans could do to stop it. At the time, Mr. Trump was preparing to declare his intention to run for president again, and the Republican Party was in the middle of a fight for control, between Trumpists and those who were ready to move on from his destructive leadership. This struggle within the party has consequences for all Americans. “A healthy democracy requires both political parties to be fully committed to the rule of law and not to entertain or even tacitly encourage violence or violent speech,” we wrote.

A large faction of one party in our country fails that test, and that faction, Mr. Trump’s MAGA extremists, now control the party and its levers of power. There are many reasons his conquest of the Republican Party is bad for American democracy, but one of the most significant is that those extremists have often embraced violent speech or the belief in using violence to achieve their political goals. This belief led to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and it has resulted in a rising number of threats against judges, elected officials and prosecutors.

This threat cannot be separated from Mr. Trump’s use of language to encourage violence, to dehumanize groups of people and to spread lies. A study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, released in October 2022, came to the conclusion that MAGA Republicans (as opposed to those who identified themselves as traditional Republicans) “are more likely to hold extreme and racist beliefs, to endorse political violence, to see such violence as likely to occur and to predict that they will be armed under circumstances in which they consider political violence to be justified.”

The Republican Party had an opportunity to renounce Trumpism; it has submitted to it. Republican leaders have had many opportunities to repudiate his violent discourse and make clear that it should have no place in political life; they failed to. Sizable numbers of voters in Republican primaries abandoned Mr. Trump for other candidates, and independent and undecided voters have said that Mr. Trump’s language has alienated them from his candidacy.

But with his nomination by his party all but assured, Mr. Trump has become even more reckless in employing extreme and violent speech, such as his references to executing generals who raise questions about his actions. He has argued, before the Supreme Court, that he should have the right to assassinate a political rival and face no consequences.

The Rule of Law Matters

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The danger from these foundational failings — of morals and character, of principled leadership and rhetorical excess — is never clearer than in Mr. Trump’s disregard for rule of law, his willingness to do long-term damage to the integrity of America’s systems for short-term personal gain.

As we’ve noted, Mr. Trump’s disregard for democracy was most evident in his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and to encourage violence to stop the peaceful transfer of power. What stood in his way were the many patriotic Americans, at every level of government, who rejected his efforts to bully them into complying with his demands to change election results. Instead, they followed the rules and followed the law. This respect for the rule of law, not the rule of men, is what has allowed American democracy to survive for more than 200 years.

In the four years since losing the election, Mr. Trump has become only more determined to subvert the rule of law, because his whole theory of Trumpism boils down to doing whatever he wants without consequence. Americans are seeing this unfold as Mr. Trump attempts to fight off numerous criminal charges. Not content to work within the law to defend himself, he is instead turning to sympathetic judges — including two Supreme Court justices with apparent conflicts over the 2020 election and Jan. 6-related litigation. The playbook: delay federal prosecution until he can win election and end those legal cases. His vision of government is one that does what he wants, rather than a government that operates according to the rule of law as prescribed by the Constitution, the courts and Congress.

As divided as America is, people across the political spectrum generally recoil from rigged rules, favoritism, self-dealing and abuse of power. Our country has been so stable for so long in part because most Americans and most American leaders follow the rules or face the consequences.

So much in the past two decades has tested these norms in our society — the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, the failures that led to the 2008 financial crisis and the recession that followed, the pandemic and all the fractures and inequities that it revealed. We need a recommitment to the rule of law and the values of fair play. This election is a moment for Americans to decide whether we will keep striving for those ideals.

Mr. Trump rejects them. If he is re-elected, America will face a new and precarious future, one that it may not be prepared for. It is a future in which intelligence agencies would be judged not according to whether they preserved national security but by whether they served Mr. Trump’s political agenda. It means that prosecutors and law enforcement officials would be judged not according to whether they follow the law to keep Americans safe but by whether they obey his demands to “go after” political enemies. It means that public servants would be judged not according to their dedication or skill but by whether they show sufficient loyalty to him and his MAGA agenda.

Even if Mr. Trump’s vague policy agenda would not be fulfilled, he could rule by fear. The lesson of other countries shows that when a bureaucracy is politicized or pressured, the best public servants will run for the exits.

This is what has already happened in Mr. Trump’s Republican Party, with principled leaders and officials retiring, quitting or facing ouster. In a second term, he intends to do that to the whole of government.

Election Day is less than four months away. The case against Mr. Trump is extensive, and this board urges Americans to perform a simple act of civic duty in an election year: Listen to what Mr. Trump is saying, pay attention to what he did as president and allow yourself to truly inhabit what he has promised to do if returned to office.

Voters frustrated by inflation and immigration or attracted by the force of Mr. Trump’s personality should pause and take note of his words and promises. They have little to do with unity and healing and a lot to do with making the divisions and anger in our society wider and more intense than they already are.

The Republican Party is making its choice next week; soon all Americans will be able to make their own choice. What would Mr. Trump do in a second term? He has told Americans who he is and shown them what kind of leader he would be.

When someone fails so many foundational tests, you don’t give him the most important job in the world.

From top, photographs and video by Damon Winter/The New York Times (2) and Jay Turner Frey Seawell (5).

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