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How to write an effective cover letter (with samples)

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You will have to prepare a number of materials for employers while looking for a job. One type of document is the cover letter, which is included with your resume when requesting a job interview. An effective cover letter is directed towards a specific position or company, and describes examples from your experience that highlight your skills related to the role.

You want to convince the reader that your interest in the job and company are genuine and specific. You also want to demonstrate ways that your experience has prepared you for the role by sharing a few brief stories that highlight your qualifications. This takes time and research; use the job description and the company’s web site or LinkedIn page to identify traits and skills the company values.

Cover letter structure and format

A cover letter should be no longer than one page with a font size between 10-12 points. Be sure to include your contact information and address it directly to the hiring manager, using their name. If you are not sure who to address the letter to, write “Dear Hiring Manager.” If the role you are applying for has a reference number or code, be sure to include it in your letter so that human resources is able to accurately track your application. The reference code is usually included

Cover letters typically take the following structure:

Introduction (1st paragraph)

  • State clearly in your opening sentence the purpose for your letter and a brief professional introduction.
  • Specify why you are interested in that specific position and organization.
  • Provide an overview of the main strengths and skills you will bring to the role.

Example : I am a second year master’s student in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program (TPP) writing to apply for a consulting position in Navigant’s Emerging Technology & Business Strategy group. After speaking with John Smith at the MIT career fair, I realized that Navigant’s values of excellence, continuous development, entrepreneurial spirit, and integrity align with the principles that guide me every day and that have driven me throughout my career. Moreover, I believe that my knowledge of the energy sector, passion for data analysis, polished communication skills, and four years of consulting experience will enable me to deliver superior value for Navigant’s clients.

Body (2-3 paragraphs)

  • Cite a couple of examples from your experience that support your ability to be successful in the position or organization.
  • Try not to simply repeat your resume in paragraph form, complement your resume by offering a little more detail about key experiences.
  • Discuss what skills you have developed and connect these back to the target role.

Example : As a graduate student in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program, I spend every day at the cutting edge of the energy sector. In my capacity as an MIT Energy Initiative research assistant, I use statistical analysis to investigate trends in public acceptance and regulation related to emerging energy technologies. Graduate classes in data science, energy economics, energy ventures and strategy, and technology policy have prepared me to help Navigant offer the expert services that set it apart from competitors. Furthermore, I will bring Navigant the same leadership skills that I used as the student leader for the MIT Energy Conference’s Technology Commercialization round-table, and as the mentorship manager for the MIT Clean Energy Prize.

Even before MIT, my four years of work experience in consulting—first at LMN Research Group and then at XYZ Consulting—allowed me to develop the skillset that Navigant looks for in candidates. As a science writer and policy analyst at LMN Research Group, I developed superb technical writing and visual communication skills, as well as an ability to communicate and collaborate with clients at federal agencies such as EPA and DOE. As a research analyst at XYZ Consulting, I developed an in-depth understanding of data analysis, program evaluation, and policy design.

Closing (last paragraph)

  • Restate succinctly your interest in the role and why you are a good candidate.
  • Thank the reader for their time and consideration.

Example : I take pride in my skills and experience in several domains: critical thinking and analysis, communication, and leadership. I note that Navigant values these same ideals, and I very much hope to use my abilities in service of the firm and its clients. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to speaking with you further about my qualifications.

Additional cover letter tips

  • Be sure that each cover letter is specifically tailored to the company you are writing to. Research the company to help you determine your approach. Check the company’s website and other resources online. You can also use MIT’s extensive alumni network through the Alumni Advisors Hub to seek first-hand knowledge, advice, and insight about the company.
  • Are you seeking a position in a field or industry that does not have an obvious parallel or connection to your academic training? Be explicit about why you are interested in that particular field, organization or job, and what value you bring. For example, if you are an electrical engineer applying to a finance or consulting position, highlight your quantitative skills and ability to problem-solve.
  • If you are applying for a summer job or internship and do not yet have any experience that is directly related to the position, focus on transferable skills that will add value to the role – leadership, communication, problem-solving, project management, etc.
  • Lastly, cover letters are a chance to demonstrate the communication skills necessary to most jobs. Careful composing and revision are essential. To put your best foot forward and ensure your cover letter will be effective, schedule an appointment with a CAPD career advisor.

How to Write a Cover Letter [Full Guide & Examples for 2024]

Background Image

After weeks of heavy job searching, you’re almost there!

You’ve perfected your resume.

You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.

You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.

But then, before you can send in your application and call it a day, you remember that you need to write a cover letter too.

So now, you’re stuck staring at a blank page, wondering where to start...

Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think. 

In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.

We're going to cover:

What Is a Cover Letter?

  • How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter, Step by Step
  • 15+ Job-Winning Cover Letter Examples

Let’s get started.

A cover letter is a document that you submit as part of your job application, alongside your resume or CV.

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, it should be around 250 to 400 words long .

A good cover letter is supposed to impress the hiring manager and convince them you’re worth interviewing as a candidate.

So, how can your cover letter achieve this?

First of all, it should complement your resume, not copy it. Your cover letter is your chance to elaborate on important achievements, skills, or anything else that your resume doesn’t give you the space to cover. 

For example, if you have an employment gap on your resume, the cover letter is a great place to explain why it happened and how it helped you grow as a person. 

If this is your first time writing a cover letter, writing about yourself might seem complicated. But don’t worry—you don’t need to be super creative or even a good writer .

All you have to do is follow this tried and tested cover letter structure:

structure of a cover letter

  • Header. Add all the necessary contact information at the top of your cover letter.
  • Formal greeting. Choose an appropriate way to greet your target audience.
  • Introduction. Introduce yourself in the opening paragraph and explain your interest in the role.
  • Body. Elaborate on why you’re the best candidate for the job and a good match for the company. Focus on “selling” your skills, achievements, and relevant professional experiences.
  • Conclusion. Summarize your key points and wrap it up professionally.

Now, let’s take a look at an example of a cover letter that follows our structure perfectly:

How to Write a Cover Letter

New to cover letter writing? Give our cover letter video a watch before diving into the article!

When Should You Write a Cover Letter?

You should always include a cover letter in your job application, even if the hiring manager never reads it. Submitting a cover letter is as important as submitting a resume if you want to look like a serious candidate.

If the employer requests a cover letter as part of the screening process, not sending one is a huge red flag and will probably get your application tossed into the “no” pile immediately.

On the other hand, if the job advertisement doesn’t require a cover letter from the candidates, adding one shows you went the extra mile.

Putting in the effort to write a cover letter can set you apart from other candidates with similar professional experience and skills, and it could even sway the hiring manager to call you for an interview if you do it right.

Need to write a letter to help get you into a good school or volunteer program? Check out our guide to learn how to write a motivation letter !

How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Now that you know what a cover letter is, it’s time to learn how to write one!

We’ll go through the process in detail, step by step.

#1. Choose the Right Cover Letter Template

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

So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, stylish template?

cover letter templates for 2024

Just choose one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in no time!

As a bonus, our intuitive AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter as you write it. You’ll have the perfect cover letter done in minutes!

cover letter templates

#2. Put Contact Information in the Header

As with a resume, it’s important to 

start your cover letter

 with your contact details at the top. These should be in your cover letter’s header, separated neatly from the bulk of your text.

Contact Information on Cover Letter

Here, you want to include all the essential contact information , including:

  • Full Name. Your first and last name should stand out at the top.
  • Job Title. Match the professional title underneath your name to the exact job title of the position you’re applying for. Hiring managers often hire for several roles at once, so giving them this cue about what role you’re after helps things go smoother.
  • Email Address. Always use a professional and easy-to-spell email address. Ideally, it should combine your first and last names.
  • Phone Number. Add a number where the hiring manager can easily reach you.
  • Location. Add your city and state/country, no need for more details.
  • Relevant Links (optional). You can add links to websites or social media profiles that are relevant to your field. Examples include a LinkedIn profile , Github, or an online portfolio.

Then it’s time to add the recipient’s contact details, such as:

  • Hiring Manager's Name. If you can find the name of the hiring manager, add it.
  • Hiring Manager's Title. While there’s no harm in writing “hiring manager,” if they’re the head of the department, we recommend you use that title accordingly.
  • Company Name. Make sure to write the name of the company you're applying to.
  • Location. The city and state/country are usually enough information here, too.
  • Date of Writing (Optional). You can include the date you wrote your cover letter for an extra professional touch.

matching resume and cover letter

#3. Address the Hiring Manager

Once you’ve properly listed all the contact information, it’s time to start writing the content of the cover letter.

The first thing you need to do here is to address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager.

In fact, you want to address the hiring manager personally .

Forget the old “Dear Sir or Madam” or the impersonal “To Whom It May Concern.” You want to give your future boss a good impression and show them that you did your research before sending in your application.

No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes something sticks with their generic approach

So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager?

First, check the job ad. The hiring manager’s name might be listed somewhere in it.

If that doesn’t work, check the company’s LinkedIn page. You just need to look up the head of the relevant department you’re applying to, and you’re all set.

For example, if you’re applying for the position of Communication Specialist at Novorésumé. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Officer.

Here’s what you should look for on LinkedIn:

linkedin search cco

And there you go! You have your hiring manager.

But let’s say you’re applying for a position as a server . In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager” or “food and beverage manager.”

If the results don’t come up with anything, try checking out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.

Make sure to address them as Mr. or Ms., followed by their last name. If you’re not sure about their gender or marital status, you can just stick to their full name, like so:

  • Dear Mr. Kurtuy,
  • Dear Andrei Kurtuy,

But what if you still can’t find the hiring manager’s name, no matter where you look?

No worries. You can direct your cover letter to the company, department, or team as a whole, or just skip the hiring manager’s name.

  • Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear [Department] Team
  • Dear [Company Name]

Are you applying for a research position? Learn how to write an academic personal statement .

#4. Write an Eye-Catching Introduction

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.

Hiring managers 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 biggest problem with most opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Here’s an example:

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

See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.

And do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.

Instead, you want to start with some of your top achievements to grab the reader’s attention. And to get the point across, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.

Your opening paragraph should also show the hiring manager a bit about why you want this specific job. For example, mention how the job relates to your plans for the future or how it can help you grow professionally. This will show the hiring manager that you’re not just applying left and right—you’re actually enthusiastic about getting this particular role.

Now, let’s make our previous example shine:

Dear Mr. Smith,

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 as a Sales Representative with Company X, another fin-tech company , for 3+ years, where I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month and beat the KPIs by around 40%. I believe that my previous industry experience, passion for finance , and excellence in sales make me the right candidate for the job.

The second candidate starts with what they can do for the company in the future and immediately lists an impressive and relevant achievement. Since they’re experienced in the same industry and interested in finance, the hiring manager can see they’re not just a random applicant.

From this introduction, it’s safe to say that the hiring manager would read the rest of this candidate’s cover letter.

#5. Use the Cover Letter Body for Details

The next part of your cover letter is where you can go into detail about what sets you apart as a qualified candidate for the job.

The main thing you need to remember here is that you shouldn’t make it all about yourself . Your cover letter is supposed to show the hiring manager how you relate to the job and the company you’re applying to.

No matter how cool you make yourself sound in your cover letter, if you don’t tailor it to match what the hiring manager is looking for, you’re not getting an interview.

To get this right, use the job ad as a reference when writing your cover letter. Make sure to highlight skills and achievements that match the job requirements, and you’re good to go.

Since this part of your cover letter is by far the longest, you should split it into at least two paragraphs.

Here’s what each paragraph should cover:

Explain Why You’re the Perfect Candidate for the Role

Before you can show the hiring manager that you’re exactly what they’ve been looking for, you need to know what it is they’re looking for.

Start by doing a bit of research. Learn what the most important skills and responsibilities of the role are according to the job ad, and focus on any relevant experience you have that matches them.

For example, if you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. The top requirements on the job ad are:

  • Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
  • Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
  • Excellent copywriting skills

So, in the body of your cover letter, you need to show how you meet these requirements. Here’s an example of what that can look like:

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 $40,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation and management process end-to-end. I created the ad copy and images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.

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

  • Google Search

Our example addresses all the necessary requirements and shows off the candidate’s relevant skills.

Are you a student applying for your first internship? Learn how to write an internship cover letter with our dedicated guide.

Explain Why You’re a Good Fit for the Company

As skilled and experienced as you may be, that’s not all the hiring manager is looking for.

They also want someone who’s a good fit for their company and who actually wants to work there.

Employees who don’t fit in with the company culture are likely to quit sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary , so hiring managers vet candidates very carefully to avoid this scenario.

So, you have to convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about working with them.

Start by doing some research about the company. 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 company’s culture like?

Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or on job-search websites like Jobscan or Glassdoor.

Then, pick your favorite thing about the company and talk about it in your cover letter.

But don’t just describe the company in its own words just to flatter them. Be super specific—the hiring manager can see through any fluff.

For example, if you’re passionate about their product and you like the company’s culture of innovation and independent work model, you can write something like:

I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features, such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2, were real game changers for the device.

I really admire how Company XYZ strives for excellence in all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone who thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I’ll be a great match for your Product Design team.

So, make sure to do your fair share of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying to that specific company.

Is the company you want to work for not hiring at the moment? Check out our guide to writing a letter of interest .

#6. Wrap It Up and Sign It

Finally, it’s time to conclude your cover letter.

In the final paragraph, you want to:

  • Wrap up any points you couldn't make in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? If there’s any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision, mention it here. If not, just recap your key selling points so far, such as key skills and expertise.
  • Express gratitude. Politely thanking the hiring manager for their time is always a good idea.
  • Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. This means you should ask the hiring manager to do something, like call you and discuss your application or arrange an interview.
  • Remember to sign your cover letter. Just add a formal closing line and sign your name at the bottom.

Here’s an example of how to end your cover letter :

I hope to help Company X make the most of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your Facebook marketing goals. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at the provided email address or phone number so that we may arrange an interview.

Thank you for your consideration,

Alice Richards

Feel free to use one of these other popular closing lines for your cover letter:

  • Best Regards,
  • Kind Regards,

Cover Letter Writing Checklist

Once you’re done with your cover letter, it’s time to check if it meets all industry requirements. 

Give our handy cover letter writing checklist a look to make sure:

Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?

  • Professional Email
  • Phone Number
  • Relevant Links

Do you address the right person? 

  • The hiring manager in the company
  • Your future direct supervisor
  • The company/department in general

Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?

  • Did you mention some of your top achievements?
  • Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
  • Did you convey enthusiasm for the specific role?

Do you show that you’re the right candidate for the job?

  • Did you identify the core requirements for the role?
  • Did you show how your experiences helped you fit the requirements perfectly?

Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?

  • Did you identify the top 3 things that you like about the company?
  • Did you avoid generic reasons for explaining your interest in the company?

Did you conclude your cover letter properly?

  • Did you recap your key selling points in the conclusion?
  • Did you end your cover letter with a call to action?
  • Did you use the right formal closing line and sign your name?

15 Cover Letter Tips

Now you’re all set to write your cover letter! 

Before you start typing, here are some cover letter tips to help take your cover letter to the next level:

  • Customize Your Cover Letter for Each Job. Make sure your cover letter is tailored to the job you're applying for. This shows you're not just sending generic applications left and right, and it tells the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.
  • Showcase Your Skills. Talk about how your skills meet the company’s needs. And while your hard skills should be front and center, you shouldn’t underestimate your soft skills in your cover letter either.
  • Avoid Fluff. Don’t make any generic statements you can’t back up. The hiring manager can tell when you’re just throwing words around, and it doesn’t make your cover letter look good.
  • Use Specific Examples. Instead of saying you're great at something, give an actual example to back up your claim. Any data you can provide makes you sound more credible, so quantify your achievements. For example, give numbers such as percentages related to your performance and the timeframe it took to accomplish certain achievements.
  • Research the Company. Always take time to learn about the company you're applying to. Make sure to mention something about them in your cover letter to show the hiring manager that you're interested.
  • Follow the Application Instructions. If the job posting asks for something specific in your cover letter or requires a certain format, make sure you include it. Not following instructions can come off as unattentive or signal to the hiring manager that you’re not taking the job seriously.
  • Use the Right Template and Format. Choose the right cover letter format and adapt your cover letter’s look to the industry you’re applying for. For example, if you’re aiming for a job in Law or Finance, you should go for a cleaner, more professional look. But if you’re applying for a field that values innovation, like IT or Design, you have more room for creativity.
  • Express Your Enthusiasm. Let the hiring manager know why you're excited about the job. Your passion for the specific role or the field in general can be a big selling point, and show them that you’re genuinely interested, not just applying left and right.
  • Address Any Gaps. If there are any employment gaps in your resume , your cover letter is a great place to mention why. Your resume doesn’t give you enough space to elaborate on an employment gap, so addressing it here can set hiring managers at ease—life happens, and employers understand.
  • Avoid Quirky Emails. Your email address should be presentable. It’s hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected].” Just use a [email protected] format.
  • Check Your Contact Information. Typos in your email address or phone number can mean a missed opportunity. Double-check these before sending your application.
  • Mention if You Want to Relocate. If you’re looking for a job that lets you move somewhere else, specify this in your cover letter.
  • Keep It Brief. You want to keep your cover letter short and sweet. Hiring managers don’t have time to read a novel, so if you go over one page, they simply won’t read it at all.
  • Use a Professional Tone. Even though a conversational tone isn’t a bad thing, remember that it's still a formal document. Show professionalism in your cover letter by keeping slang, jargon, and emojis out of it.
  • Proofread Carefully. Typos and grammar mistakes are a huge deal-breaker. Use a tool like Grammarly or QuillBot to double-check your spelling and grammar, or even get a friend to check it for you.

15+ Cover Letter Examples

Need some inspiration? Check out some perfect cover letter examples for different experience levels and various professions.

5+ Cover Letter Examples by Experience

#1. college student cover letter example.

college or student cover letter example

Check out our full guide to writing a college student cover letter here.

#2. Middle Management Cover Letter Example

Middle Management Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a project manager cover letter here.

#3. Team Leader Cover Letter Example

Team Leader Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a team leader cover letter here.

#4. Career Change Cover Letter Example

Career Change Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to a career change resume and cover letter here.

#5. Management Cover Letter Example

Management Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a management cover letter here.

#6. Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an executive resume here.

9+ Cover Letter Examples by Profession

#1. it cover letter example.

IT Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an IT cover letter here.

#2. Consultant Cover Letter Example

Consultant Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a consultant cover letter here.

#3. Human Resources Cover Letter

Human Resources Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a human resources cover letter here.

#4. Business Cover Letter Example

Business Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a business cover letter here.

#5. Sales Cover Letter Example

Sales Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a sales cover letter here.

#6. Social Worker Cover Letter

Social Worker Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a social worker cover letter here.

#7. Lawyer Cover Letter

Lawyer Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a lawyer cover letter here.

#8. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing an administrative assistant cover letter here.

#9. Engineering Cover Letter Example

Engineering Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an engineer cover letter here.

#10. Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a receptionist cover letter here.

Need more inspiration? Check out these cover letter examples to learn what makes them stand out.

Plug & Play Cover Letter Template

Not sure how to start your cover letter? Don’t worry!

Just copy and paste our free cover letter template into the cover letter builder, and swap out the blanks for your details.

[Your Full Name]

[Your Profession]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Email Address]

[Your Location]

[Your LinkedIn Profile URL (optional)]

[Your Personal Website URL (optional)]

[Recipient's Name, e.g., Jane Doe],

[Recipient's Position, e.g., Hiring Manager]

[Company Name, e.g., ABC Corporation]

[Company Address]

[City, State/Country]

Dear [Recipient's Name],

As a seasoned [Your Profession] with [Number of Years of Experience] years of industry experience, I am eager to express my interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. With my experience in [Your Industry/Sector] and the successes I've achieved throughout my education and career, I believe I can bring unique value and creativity to your team.

In my current role as [Your Current Job Title], I've taken the lead on more than [Number of Projects/Assignments] projects, some valued up to $[Highest Project Value]. I pride myself on consistently exceeding client expectations and have successfully [Mention a Key Achievement] in just a [Amount of Time] through [Skill] and [Skill].

I've collaborated with various professionals, such as [List Roles], ensuring that all [projects/tasks] meet [relevant standards or objectives]. This hands-on experience, coupled with my dedication to understanding each [client's/customer's] vision, has equipped me to navigate and deliver on complex projects.

My key strengths include:

  • Improving [Achievement] by [%] over [Amount of Time] which resulted in [Quantified Result].
  • Optimizing [Work Process/Responsibility] which saved [Previous Employer] [Amount of Time/Budget/Other Metric] over [Weeks/Months/Years]
  • Spearheading team of [Number of People] to [Task] and achieving [Quantified Result].

Alongside this letter, I've attached my resume. My educational background, a [Your Degree] with a concentration in [Your Specialization], complements the practical skills that I'm particularly eager to share with [Company Name].

I'm excited about the possibility of contributing to [Something Notable About the Company or Its Mission]. I'd be grateful for the chance to delve deeper into how my expertise aligns with your needs.

Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

The Heart of Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume

Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application falls through.

After all, your cover letter is meant to complement your resume. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression in your cover letter, only for the hiring manager to never read it because your resume was mediocre.

But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered here, too.

Check out our dedicated guide on how to make a resume and learn everything you need to know to land your dream job!

Just pick one of our resume templates and start writing your own job-winning resume.

resume examples for cover letters

Key Takeaways

Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:

  • A cover letter is a 250 - 400 word document that’s meant to convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the job.
  • Your job application should always include a cover letter alongside your resume.
  • To grab the hiring manager’s attention, write a strong opening paragraph. Mention who you are, why you’re applying, and a standout achievement to pique their interest.
  • Your cover letter should focus on why you’re the perfect candidate for the job and why you’re passionate about working in this specific company.
  • Use the body of your cover letter to provide details on your skills, achievements, and qualifications, as well as make sure to convey your enthusiasm throughout your whole cover letter.
  • Recap your key selling points towards the end of your cover letter, and end it with a formal closing line and your full name signed underneath.

At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve every step of the way! 

Follow our career blog for more valuable advice, or check out some of our top guides, such as:

  • How to Make a Resume in 2024 | Beginner's Guide
  • How to Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) in 2024 [31+ Examples]
  • 35+ Job Interview Questions and Answers [Full List]

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  • Cover Letters

How to Show Your Personality in a Cover Letter

cover letter describing your skills

Write a Unique Cover Letter

Avoid clichés, try a creative first sentence, make a connection, think of unique examples.

  • Show You’ll Fit the Company Culture

Tailor Your Tone to Fit the Industry

  • Keep It Professional

Don’t Go Negative

More cover letter examples.

Hiring managers read dozens, if not hundreds, of applications for every job they post. If you want to get the job, you have to stand out. It’s important to show the hiring manager not only that you are qualified, but also that you are the best candidate for the position.

One way to get your application noticed is to write a unique, engaging cover letter that shows not only your qualifications but also your personality. Go beyond some of the clichéd, formulaic language found in many letters.

If you make your personality stand out in your letter, the hiring manager will more likely give your application a second look.

Of course, there is also such a thing as putting too much personality in your letter. You want to remain professional, and focus on what makes you an ideal candidate. Find the right balance between showing your personality and being professional in your cover letter, and you will be on your way to a job interview.

The best way to show who you are to the company is to avoid writing one generic cover letter for every job listing . Instead, tailor your letter to the specific job and company.

You can write a targeted cover letter in a number of ways:

  • Include keywords from the job listing in your letter.
  • You can also reference the company itself–for example, mention a particular success the company has had, or explain why you are interested in working for the company.
  • Perhaps most importantly, send your letter to a specific person , if possible.

If you have to, do some digging to find the name of the hiring manager, and address your letter to them.

Avoid the phrase “ To whom it may concern ” unless you can't find a contact. It's important to do your best to show a hiring manager that you have taken the time to write a unique cover letter for the specific job.

One of the best ways to avoid sounding like everyone else in your cover letter is to leave out some of the most overused phrases in cover letters. For example, don’t say you are a “hard worker” or that you “go above and beyond.” Try to find unique ways to explain who you are. One way to do this is to focus on particular examples —show them who you are, rather than tell them.

So many cover letters start with the sentence, “I am applying for X position.” While this is a fine way to start, the hiring manager has likely seen this sentence hundreds of times. Try starting with a more engaging first sentence (or first sentences) that shows who you are.

You might express why you are passionate about the job or the company. For example, you could start, “I have always been a storyteller. As a child, I would write countless stories about princes and princesses. Now, I have turned my passion for storytelling into a career in marketing.” Or, “When I first researched your company for a project in a business class over five years ago, I became inspired by your mission to provide low-cost tech solutions.”

A great “hook” will keep the hiring manager reading and will show him or her a bit about why you are a good fit for the job and company.

If you know anyone at the company, or if someone at the company referred you to the job , mention this early on in your cover letter (ideally in the first couple of sentences).

This humanizes you, and makes you seem more like you are already a part of the company culture . It also shows that someone in the company already thinks you are qualified for the job.

Remember that a cover letter should not simply restate your resume. While your resume lists your qualifications, your cover letter goes deeper, providing examples of times you demonstrated particular skills and abilities necessary for the job.

One way to show your personality is to include some unique, even surprising, examples that demonstrate your skills. For example, if you are applying for a job that requires organizational skills, you might mention how you accurately manage and process dozens of monthly shipments from your Etsy account. These kinds of examples are particularly useful if you do not have much relevant work experience.

Of course, only include examples that are relevant—they need to connect back to a skill or trait necessary for the job.

Show You’ll Fit in With the Company Culture

Hiring managers want to know not only that you are qualified, but also that you will fit in with the company culture. Before writing your letter, research the organization. Check out the company’s website, and talk to anyone you know who works there. Then you can mention ways that you might fit into the culture.

For example, if you know they do a lot of after-work team sports, you might briefly mention at the end of the letter that you would love to put your pitching skills to good use.

Some job listings also give you a peek into the company culture . For example, if the listing itself is very silly or funny, feel free to add a little humor to your letter, if that feels natural.

Similarly, you can tailor your letter to fit the personality of the industry. If you are applying for a corporate job, for example, you might want to write a more traditional cover letter. You can still include some personal examples, and maybe a catchy first sentence, but you should avoid too much humor or zaniness.

If you are applying for a job in an industry that is a bit more informal—say, a tech startup company—you can get a little bit more creative. Your tone can be more lighthearted, and you can include some creative examples.

If you’re applying for a job in a visual, creative field, consider showing your personality through the form of your letter. You might include bullet points , or even a visual (such as an infographic). You can include some of these nontraditional elements in your resume too.

Keep It Professional 

No matter how much of your personality you decide to put into your cover letter, keep the letter professional. It needs to be well written and error-free. It also needs to stay focused on the main topic: why you are a terrific fit for the job.

Some people try to add personality by using phrases like “I know you hate reading cover letters, but…” or “I know I am one of many candidates, but…” Avoid any phrases that sound negative.

Also, avoid phrases that imply you know how the hiring manager feels. You don’t actually know whether he or she hates reading cover letters, and you don’t know how many candidates applied for the job. Focus on the positive, and don’t make assumptions about the hiring manager, the job, or the company.

Sample Cover Letter Showing Personality

Sara Jones 7 Chestnut Street Anytown, Anystate Zip Code 555-555-5555 email@email.com

January 5, 2019

John Wilson Editorial Director XYZ Magazine 5 Main Street, Suite 1 Anytown, Anystate Zip Code

Dear Mr. Wilson,

I’m writing this cover letter to you at 11 pm. Why? Because I just finished speaking with my former coworker, Jane Smith, who tells me that you’re hiring for the position of editorial assistant, and I wanted to apply immediately.

Jane will tell you that I’ve been eager to apply for a role at XYZ Magazine since we worked together, first at our student magazine, where I was managing editor and she was editor in chief, and then at ABCmag.com as assistants. I’ve always valued XYZ’s showcase for diverse and emerging voices, as well as its commitment to fact-checking and copyediting.

In fact, my desire to work for your magazine informed my studies at Large Public University. I took several copyediting and multimedia graphic design courses in my last year and have continued taking classes after graduation.

In addition to my background in multimedia design and copyediting – and my passion for XYZ – I have:

  • Three years of experience brainstorming, pitching, and assigning stories
  • Excellent research and reporting skills
  • Extensive experience analyzing traffic trends with Google Analytics
  • Expert-level social media management skills
  • An intense love affair with the Oxford Comma (which I know you share)

I’ve also had a few bylines on XYZ over the years:

I’d love to speak with you about the role. Please feel free to contact me at 555-555-5555 or email@email.com to discuss it or to arrange an interview.

Thanks, and best regards,

Sara Jones [signature for hard copy]

Review cover letter examples for many different types of jobs and get templates you can use to write your own letters.

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What Are Transferable Skills? 10 Examples for your Resume

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cover letter describing your skills

What Are Transferable Skills? 10 Examples for your Resume was originally published on The Muse , a great place to research companies and careers. Click here to search for great jobs and companies near you.

Transferable skills, also known as portable skills, are those versatile abilities that you can bring to any role or industry—which is particularly helpful when changing careers . But you don’t need to be an expert to have them; these valuable skills can be acquired from all sorts of experiences, like past jobs, volunteering, internships, college, or personal projects. So, even if you’re an entry-level candidate , chances are you already have some transferable skills.

If you don’t, it’s time to start developing a few. They’re highly valued by recruiters and can definitely set your resume apart. Not sure where to start? Find out everything you need to know about transferable skills: meaning, examples for your resume, and why they’re so important.

What are transferable skills?

The transferable skills definition is straightforward: they are measurable abilities or knowledge that hold value in any role or industry. The term “transferable” comes from the fact that, regardless of changes in your job title or company, these skills can seamlessly transition to your new position.

“Think of them as your superpowers!” says Muse career coach and corporate recruiting specialist Yolanda M. Owens . “These superpowers can be used in any professional setting. For example, coding, languages, research, project coordination, administrative support, data entry, editing, training….”

Update that resume and check out open jobs on The Muse that are perfect for you »

Why are transferable skills important?

Think about how many jobs require strong writing skills , even if it isn’t the main focus of the role. Or consider how often you come across job postings listing “ leadership skills ” as a requirement. This is why transferable skills are important—they show what you have to offer beyond just completing daily tasks.

“Highlighting transferable skills on a resume is a quick way for employers to see what you bring to the table and how it aligns with the roles you’re applying to,” Owens says. “This is especially true if a company is using key search words when looking for candidates.”

They can also open doors for less experienced job seekers. “It can add some valuable subtext that may help you compensate for lack of direct experience and differentiate you from the competition. And in today’s competitive market, that subtext can make or break you landing an interview ,” Owens says.

Transferable skills: Examples

Not sure what skills to showcase? Here are 10 examples of transferable skills to include on your resume—feel free to incorporate them into your cover letter or job application as well. Just remember, while these are relevant and common skills, you shouldn’t feel restricted by them. Use this list as a guide to identify these and other valuable abilities you already have—or intend to develop.

1. Languages

Speaking a second or third language is a transferable skill that comes in handy across many professions, from customer service to data analysis . Workplaces are getting more diverse than ever, especially in large companies. And this diversity isn’t just about the employees they hire; it also includes the people they serve, thanks to the internet making international businesses more accessible.

Writing is one of the most common and useful transferable skills out there: Countless job postings require some form of writing on a daily basis. Whether it’s sending emails, interacting with customers on social media, or preparing presentations for clients—the possibilities are endless.

3. Research

Can you gather, understand, and use data effectively? The ability to research, often acquired in school, is another transferable skill with applications across several industries—from finance (i.e. financial analysis ) to marketing (i.e. user research and customer analysis ). Putting this skill on your resume is strategic because being a good researcher involves a diverse set of skills, such as data collection, documentation, and writing.

4. Excel proficiency

Some people have a love-hate relationship with spreadsheets. But the truth is, they’re an indispensable tool to many businesses—whether it’s keeping track of an inventory or managing employee shifts in a restaurant. That’s why Excel proficiency is considered a transferable skill, if it makes sense with the jobs you’re seeking, it’s definitely worth adding to your resume.

Read this next: These Excel Tips Are Really Simple, and Yet So, So, Helpful

5. Data entry

Data entry involves processing, filling up, and updating information, typically within a private system or spreadsheet (yep—Excel again!). Some professions and professional settings that typically require data entry include inventory management , e-commerce , transcription , accounting , and bookkeeping.

6. Management

Every company or organization needs someone with management skills and experience. Managers are typically the ones responsible for assigning tasks, ensuring that everything is carried out as intended, and providing guidance to employees who need assistance.

7. Leadership

Leadership skills are also highly valued by employers, particularly in professional environments where initiative and self-management are crucial. People with strong leadership abilities are generally good communicators, critical thinkers, and have an easy time delegating tasks and taking calculated risks.

8. Administrative support

Administrative skills encompass a range of abilities, including scheduling tasks, meetings and appointments, data collection and entry, answering emails, organizing employee paperwork, and managing office supplies. These skills are transferable across any type of industry or company. For instance, a secretary at a marketing company relies on these skills as much as a receptionist at a dental clinic does.

9. Project coordination

If you have experience planning, managing, and executing projects, then you have a transferable skill known as project coordination. While it’s similar to leadership skills, project coordination is slightly more focused. Instead of leading a group of people, it involves successfully bringing a project together and turning it into reality.

10. Training

Having training skills means that you can provide clear instructions to teach a process or procedure to others. If you’re applying for a managerial position, for instance, this is an important skill to have, as you’ll likely be tasked with training new staff members in entry-level positions or interns.

How do you write transferable skills on a CV?

The skills section of a resume can be your best friend. However, every transferable skill listed there should be somehow linked to your experiences.

“I always recommend adding a ‘Skills’ section using your transferable skills as a base,” Owens advises. “Just make sure to justify those transferable skills by tying them to ways you’ve added value to your jobs in your resume’s ‘Experience’ section .”

Meaning that if you mention leadership skills, at least one of your experiences should illustrate how and where this skill was used, as well as the outcome of your actions.

For example:

Professional Experience

Company for devs

Web Developer, January 2021—November 2023

  • Led the development of SEO strategies for two websites, achieving an increase of 15% in the lead conversion rate

Marketing Analyst, June 2019—December 2020

  • Led and executed Google Analytics tracking campaigns to maximize the effectiveness of the re-marketing initiative, achieving a 10% increase in total sales

Relevant skills

Data analysis

Project coordination

Transferable skills vs soft skills: what’s the difference?

Many people confuse transferable skills with soft skills —after all, they’re both useful in any profession setting. However, there’s a distinct difference between the two.

“Transferable skills are measurable strengths or areas of expertise,” Owens says. “On the other hand, soft skills are interpersonal attributes—generalities that don’t speak to your ability to do a job, but could determine how you interact with others, process information, and the kind of environment you feel productive in. For example, collaboration, problem solving skills, effective time management .”

Depending on your level of experience or the role you’re applying for, it’s wise to list both your transferable skills and soft skills. Candidates writing a resume with no experience could benefit from highlighting any set of abilities and interpersonal attributes learned and developed in college, personal, or community projects.

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    Here are 10 transferable skills you can include in your cover letter, with examples: Communication. Customer service. Teamwork. Leadership. Problem-solving. Time management. Adaptability. Dependability.

  2. 9 Skills To Include In A Cover Letter (With Examples)

    You can rely on me to complete urgent tasks. 7. Strong work ethics. A strong work ethic is an excellent skill to highlight in your cover letter. Including these skills on your cover letter show employers that you can complete quality work, foster healthy relationships with clients and contribute to valuable tasks.

  3. How To Write the Perfect Cover Letter (With Template and Example)

    A cover letter is a long-form document sent to the hiring manager describing why your education, experience and skills make you a great candidate for the open position. Applicants usually include a cover letter with a resume to catch the attention of the hiring manager and provide details about their past projects or positions that will benefit ...

  4. 2 Customizable Cover Templates for Any Job Seeker

    Cover letter template #2: Emphasize your skills. For many of us, tying together three tangentially related experiences, a side gig, and some outside-of-work interests or volunteer work to explain why we could do a job will be more useful than a straightforward career history.

  5. How to Write a Cover Letter: Guide + Examples

    Avoid addressing the recipient with "Dear Sir or Madam," which is outdated and impersonal. It's always best to address them by their title and name. For example: Good cover letter greeting examples: "Dear hiring manager,". "Dear [XYZ Company] team,". "Dear Customer Acquisition Hiring Manager,". Weak cover letter greeting examples:

  6. How to write an effective cover letter (with samples)

    This takes time and research; use the job description and the company's web site or LinkedIn page to identify traits and skills the company values. Cover letter structure and format. A cover letter should be no longer than one page with a font size between 10-12 points.

  7. How to list your skills on your CV and cover letter

    The first section is an opportunity for you to describe your key achievements, abilities, and qualities. The aim here is to include engaging, concise, and persuasive snippets about your professional profile. The second section can be thought of as your evidence to back up the statements made in the first section.

  8. How to Write the Best Cover Letter (With Template and Sample)

    A cover letter is a valuable tool that allows you to describe how your skills and experience can meet the needs of a potential employer. It also highlights your writing skills while demonstrating your enthusiasm for a job. Whether you're preparing one for a career change or specific job role, writing a great cover letter that is well ...

  9. 11 Skills to Include in Your Cover Letter

    Brainstorming. 2. Creativity. Creativity skills can help you establish innovative solutions to various challenges. Some of the creative skills that you can highlight in your cover letter include divergent thinking, inspiration, innovation, experimenting, design, and mind mapping.

  10. How to Write a Cover Letter [Full Guide & Examples for 2024]

    start your cover letter. with your contact details at the top. These should be in your cover letter's header, separated neatly from the bulk of your text. Here, you want to include all the essential contact information, including: Full Name. Your first and last name should stand out at the top. Job Title.

  11. How to Show Your Personality in a Cover Letter

    Try a Creative First Sentence. Make a Connection. Think of Unique Examples. Show You'll Fit the Company Culture. Tailor Your Tone to Fit the Industry. Keep It Professional. Don't Go Negative. More Cover Letter Examples. Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images.

  12. Showcase Your Soft Skills in a Cover Letter

    1. Showcase your verbal and written communication skills. It may seem fairly basic, but communication skills are at the top of any hiring manager's wish list. Don't overlook this important soft skill in your cover letter, according to a 2018 LiveCareer study. Share an accomplishment related to your verbal or written communication skills ...

  13. Transferable Skills Cover Letter Examples + Tips

    Interpersonal skills: Encompasses working in groups and collaborating with colleagues smoothly. Leadership: Capacity to motivate and guide others towards common goals. Adaptability: Flexibility to adjust to changing circumstances and environments. Time management: Skill in prioritizing tasks and meeting deadlines.

  14. How to Write a Cover Letter (Expert Tips & Examples)

    Place your name, city, state, ZIP code, phone number and email address in your cover letter heading. Your email address should be professional like "[email protected]," and not personal like "[email protected]." Include links to your LinkedIn profile or professional online portfolio if you have one.

  15. 4 Cover Letter Examples + Tips on How to Write Yours

    We've got examples of four types of cover letters below: a traditional cover letter, an impact cover letter, a writing sample cover letter, and a career change cover letter. So let's take a look at these examples, why they work, and how you can use them to craft your own. 1. The traditional cover letter example.

  16. 70+ Words to Use in a Cover Letter

    Cover letter words you can use. Below are examples of keywords you can use to boost your cover letter. We've divided them into four categories (using colored underlines for your reference): Cover letter action verbs. Recognition keywords. Skills keywords. Results-oriented keywords. 1. Cover letter action verbs.

  17. How to Highlight Transferable Skills in a Cover Letter

    And you can possess lots of great skills, but still be underqualified for a given position. To figure out if something's a transferable skill worth mentioning, use this formula: As a [prior role], I [explain a responsibility], which taught me [transferable skills]. That's a skill I would draw on from day one as a [new role].

  18. How To Write a Cover Letter (With Examples)

    Cover letter summary example: "Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to learning more about the customer service position and MaxGrowth. As someone passionate about helping people, I am excited to work with a local company whose products I appreciate." Sincerely, Sandy Shoal.

  19. 10+ Cover Letter Examples (+ Different Types & Formatting Guide)

    Hiring managers get turned off when noticing mistakes in your cover letter. It sends them the wrong message about your professionalism and attention to detail. 2. The maximum length of your printed cover letter should be one page. If an employer asks for a physical cover letter, make sure it's only one page long.

  20. Cover Letter Basics (With Helpful Tips)

    Cover letter tips. A well-crafted cover letter can increase your chances of getting an interview with potential employers. Use these tips to impress them and catch their attention: 1. Avoid copying your resume. You can gather inspiration from your resume, but a cover letter is your chance to go in-depth on elements of your work history.

  21. How to write an effective communication skills cover letter

    Here are some steps to help you write your communication skills cover letter: 1. Include contact information. One of the most crucial points to remember when writing your cover letter is to include your contact information. You can attach your cover letter to an application with a CV containing pertinent information.

  22. The Non-Boring Way to Show Off Your Soft Skills in Your ...

    This works for soft skills, too! Make sure each bullet point describes a skill the hiring manager is looking for, then use facts and figures to show—not tell—just what a "skilled manager" or "effective communicator" you are. Developed and independently initiated new mentorship program to alleviate high turnover of new staff members ...

  23. What Are Transferable Skills? 10 Examples for your Resume

    Here are 10 examples of transferable skills to include on your resume—feel free to incorporate them into your cover letter or job application as well. Just remember, while these are relevant and common skills, you shouldn't feel restricted by them. Use this list as a guide to identify these and other valuable abilities you already have—or ...

  24. Shift Manager Resume Example (With Tips)

    Include your job title, company name, employment period, and a bulleted list of your top responsibilities. Incorporate quantifiable outcomes of your efforts whenever possible. Read more: How to Describe Your Work Experience on a Resume (With Example) Skills This section lists your top skills and qualifications in bullet form.

  25. How To Write a Cover Letter Outline (With Template)

    3. Include the employer's contact information. If you know the hiring manager's name and the company's name, address and phone number, leave space to include it. Otherwise, this is one part of your outline that you may leave out. 4. Date your cover letter. Your cover letter outline should include room for the date.