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How and Why to Write a Great Cover Letter
A cover letter is a one-page business letter that you submit when applying to a job, along with your resume. As a piece of persuasive writing, your cover letter will aim to convey to the employer why you’re a great candidate for the role.
What is the purpose of a cover letter?
Your cover letter complements your resume by making it easy for the employer to see how your experience and interest connect to the position. Your goal is to convince the employer to interview you.
With your cover letter, you’ll aim to:
- Highlight your qualifications: You’ll show how your skills and experience relate to the employer’s needs for a specific position.
- Showcase your motivation: You’ll demonstrate your enthusiasm for the specific position and the organization.
- Reflect your voice and written communication skills: You’ll give the employer a sense of your personality and writing style.
When should I write a cover letter?
Not all jobs require cover letters. So, how do you decide whether to submit one?
Submit a Cover Letter when…
- The posting explicitly requests that you do so
- You’re applying to an opportunity at a mission-driven organization
- You think that doing so could provide important information to the employer that they wouldn’t get from your resume
Consider Submitting a Cover Letter when…
- It’s marked “optional” in an application, and you have the bandwidth to do so
- You have content that you can easily recycle or repurpose into a tailored cover letter
No Need to Submit a Cover Letter when…
- A posting specifically tells you not to submit one
- There’s no way to submit one in an application portal, and doing so would require a serious workaround
If you’re applying to several similar opportunities, creating a draft cover letter in advance, geared toward that type of opportunity, can be a helpful way to save time in your actual application process.
How do I write a cover letter?
Your cover letter should articulate your qualifications and motivation for the position. Read the job description closely and research the organization. As you craft your cover letter, use examples that demonstrate your relevant skills, knowledge, and interests. The cover letter should be concise, clear, and well-organized.
Research the employer.
Learn enough about the organization to articulate why you are a strong fit for that firm.
- Review the firm’s website and LinkedIn page.
- Speak with current or previous employees.
- Read articles and social media for current news.
Analyze the job description
Look for skills, duties, and qualifications of the job so you can design your letter to match these as much as possible.
Reflect on your experience and motivation
Identify skills and personal qualities you have developed which will be useful in this role. Ask yourself:
- What attracts you about this role/company/industry?
- What have you have done in your work experiences, classes, internships, activities, projects, volunteer work, travel, etc., that is similar to the duties required of the job?
Cover Letter Structure
As a business letter, the cover letter should include:
- Heading: Include your name and contact information in the same format as your resume
- Salutation: Address your letter to the specific individual who can hire you, if this is known. If the name is not included in the job description, address the letter to the Hiring Manager or title mentioned in the job description.
- Body Paragraphs: Discuss your experiences, interests, and skills to show the employer how you can add value to their team. See the section below for more guidance.
- Signature Line: Include a closing and your name.
The cover letter should be one page, about three or four paragraphs, and single spaced. Use 10-12 point font and one inch margins.
When applying online, upload your cover letter as a PDF file, unless another format is specified. When sending your resume and cover letter by email, you may write a short note or paste your cover letter in the body of your email (without the address header) and also attach the PDF file.
Cover Letter Content
Your cover letter should answer who, what, when, where and why you are applying for the opportunity.
State the position for which you are applying. If you have a referral or spoke with someone from the company, you can mention it in the introduction. Provide some basic information about yourself; this can include your class year and what you’re studying at Columbia. Briefly outline why you’re interested in the organization and what you bring in terms of relevant experience and skills.
These paragraphs will highlight your qualifications and strengths that are most relevant to the organization and position. Use the job posting and your research as clues to determine what the employer is seeking in a candidate. Have your resume beside you and reflect on what you want the employer to know about you. Are there experiences you want to expand upon that demonstrate your understanding of the role and ability to do the job requirements?
Structure the paragraphs based on relevance, not chronology. Lead with your most relevant skill or strongest experience.
Start each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence. This can highlight a key skill set, a transferable experience, or a core area of knowledge you’ve built through your studies. Walk the reader through a project or experience, integrating the relevant skills you used and qualities you demonstrated. Provide details about your accomplishments and impact. Connect how these experiences have prepared you for this role and why you are motivated to do this job. There is no need to apologize if you feel you lack experience; focus on the accomplishments that you have.
Recap what you would bring to the organization and your interest in the position. Thank the employer for their consideration. Keep your tone positive and enthusiastic.
Check out our example of how to structure your cover letter content .
Use our Cover Letter Checklist to make sure your format and content is in line with best practices.
- Ensure that the content reflects the requirements in the job description
- Keep the cover letter concise, at one page or less
- Correct any errors in grammar, sentence structure, and spelling
- Use the active voice
- Avoid beginning too many sentences with “I”
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How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job Application
Including a cover letter with you job application takes a little extra time, but it can mean the difference between getting an interview and your CV being discarded.
Learn how to write an effective cover letter as part of your job application to maximise your chances of getting an interview.
When applying for a job, more often than not, you will need to include a cover letter. Consider your cover letter your sales page, giving an introduction to yourself and an invitation to the recruiter to read your CV or application. It’s not always clear whether you need a cover letter or not when studying a job advert, so if you’re unsure, always include one. A good cover letter could be the difference between the hiring manager reading your CV, or discarding your application and moving on.
Get your facts together
Writing a cover letter for the first time can seem a daunting prospect. With so much that could be included, it’s hard to know where to start. The best place is by getting your facts together and deciding what you want to include.
Think of all your accomplishments to date that are relevant to the role and make a list. Try not to use anything that comes directly from your CV. Your cover letter is the place to elaborate on the points in your CV to provide more detail and to really highlight what you can do, rather than repeating points.
Also do some research on the company. Find out what its values are, its mission, and any defining features. This will help you tailor your experience and skills to the company culture and give you some background to explain why you are a good fit.
Address the criteria
It’s important that you don’t include anything and everything. Less is more with a job application cover letter. You will be scored on how well you meet the selection criteria, so use that as a guide for what to include. Link everything you write back to the criteria, and try to find relevant examples where possible.
If you don’t have an industry related example to hit a criterium, use something else, but make it very clear what it is demonstrating. There are many ways to demonstrate soft skills. For example, learning a language can demonstrate your communication skills, and being part of a sports team can show that you know how to work well with others.
When you know what you want to include, put a plan in place for the structure of the letter, and writing it will be much easier.
Start with a strong opening
If you want a recruiter to read the entirety of your cover letter and consequently move on to your CV, the opening is what you need to focus on. You want to draw the reader in and impress them enough to keep their attention. This means addressing the letter properly and giving a clear reason for writing.
In the case of a job application cover letter, you will need to state what you are applying for and what makes you the ideal candidate. This will be covered further in the bulk of the letter, but the first paragraph can be a summary of your experience, skills, and accomplishments, linked clearly to why this makes you the ideal candidate and giving a taste of what’s to come in the rest of the letter.
Your research on the company will be beneficial in helping you to tailor the cover letter for a job application. Generic cover letters don’t do well. Job application cover letters that have been tailored to the role perform best. Aside from ensuring you evidence how you meet the job criteria, you can also make it clear that you know the company you’re applying to and value what it does.
Mention something in your cover letter that particularly draws you to the position or company and aligns with your values, experience, or way of working to show that you have done your research and have picked this company specifically as a result.
Be confident about your achievements
The body of your cover letter is where you highlight your relevant achievements in relation to the role you’re applying for. Don’t be vague here. Clear, evidence-based examples do best when communicating your value, so be confident in citing what you’ve accomplished throughout your career and how that relates to what you can do in the role in question.
To back up your accomplishments, use numbers to really highlight your results. Rather than stating you increased a company’s ROI, how much did you increase it by? If you have a percentage value, this adds clout to your examples. Similarly, use figures when talking about how many people you manage or how many delegates you got through the door at an event you organised. Adding a measurable gives your achievements more weight.
To ensure that you're really tailoring your job application cover letter, it’s helpful to use the job description to pick out keywords. Using the exact wording used in the advert, job description, and person specification, will mean you have the best chance of passing ATS screening systems, which scan your application for keywords to determine whether you are a good match.
Be positive and enthusiastic
Give your cover letter for a job a positive, enthusiastic tone. Use future tense to show how you will use your skills and experience to benefit the company you’re applying to and show how keen you are to take on a new role and new challenges.
If you are lacking experience in some areas, don’t highlight it. Always find a way to compensate for it, without implying it is a negative factor. For example, if you don’t have experience in project management, but you have a qualification in Scrum, write about your qualification and all the benefits that brings, without pointing out your lack of experience.
Call to action
Your cover letter should always end with a clear call to action. In your last paragraph, sum up your skills and experience and make it apparent that you would welcome discussion around your application and the role. You can be bold and propose your availability or simply tell the reader that you will look forward to hearing from them regarding an interview.
Cover letter structure
Taking on board all of the advice above, you can consider the following structure for your cover letter for a job application. This can of course be varied to suit your needs but is a great outline. Look to write no more than a page, unless you are writing a cover letter that is a part of the application process and you need to address all of the essential criteria. In this case, take the space you need.
I’m writing in application of the role of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX which I saw advertised on XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. - Approx 10-20 words.
Opening paragraph: Cover why you are writing (what you are applying for), why you are interested in this company and role, and why you are a great fit (giving an overview of your relevant skills and experience). - Approx70-100 words
Middle paragraphs: Depending on what you need to cover, this could vary between one and three paragraphs. This is essentially the most important part of the cover letter, where you detail your skills, experience and accomplishments, in evidence of the selection criteria. Pick out the most important requirements from the person specification and evidence your ability to meet them. - 100 - 250 words in total.
Closing paragraph: Include a brief summary of why you are the ideal candidate for the role and include a strong call to action. - Approx 25- 50 words
Use this guide to write a cover letter for a job that can help you get you noticed and land an interview. For advice on how to write cover letters for specific roles, you can take a look at these articles. If you are looking for further support, you can take a look at cover letter courses on Coursera as a starting point.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023 + Examples
After weeks of heavy job search, you’re almost there!
You’ve perfected your resume.
You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.
You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.
But then, before you can send your application and call it a day, you remember that the job ad requires a cover letter.
Now you’re stuck wondering how to write a cover letter ...
Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think.
In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.
- What’s a cover letter & why it’s important for your job search
- How to write a convincing cover letter that gets you the job (step-by-step!)
- How to perfect your cover letter with the Novoresume free checklist
- What excellent cover letter examples look like
New to cover letter writing? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!
So, let’s get started with the basics!
What is a Cover Letter? (and Why It’s Important)
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or Resume).
Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .
A good cover letter can spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume.
A bad cover letter, on the other hand, might mean that your application is going directly to the paper shredder. So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
How does a good cover letter look, you might ask. Well, here’s an example:
Keep in mind, though, that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you don’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume.
If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, writing all this might seem pretty tough. After all, you’re probably not a professional writer.
The thing is, though, you don’t need to be creative, or even any good at writing. All you have to do is follow a tried-and-tested format:
- Header - Input contact information
- Greeting the hiring manager
- Opening paragraph - Grab the reader’s attention with 2-3 of your top achievements
- Second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job
- Third paragraph - Explain why you’re a good match for the company
- Formal closing
Or, here’s what this looks like in practice:
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter (And Get Hired!)
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, we’re going to guide you through the process of writing a cover letter step by step.
Step #1 - Pick the Right Cover Letter Template
A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.
So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, visual template?
You can simply pick one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in a jiffy!
As a bonus, our AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter on the go.
Step #2 - Start the Cover Letter with a Header
As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with a Contact Information section:
Here, you want to include all essential information, including:
- Phone Number
- Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
- Name of the company you’re applying to
In certain cases, you might also consider adding:
- Social Media Profiles - Any type of profile that’s relevant to your field. Social Profiles on websites like LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
- Personal Website - If you have a personal website that somehow adds value to your application, you can mention it. Let’s say you’re a professional writer. In that case, you’d want to link to your blog.
And here’s what you shouldn’t mention in your header:
- Your Full Address
- Unprofessional Email - Make sure your email is presentable. It’s pretty hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected].” Whenever applying for jobs, stick to the “[first name] + [last name] @ email provider.com” format.
Step #3 - Greet the Hiring Manager
Once you’ve properly listed your contact information, you need to start writing the cover letter contents.
The first thing to do here is to address the cover letter to the hiring manager .
That’s right, the hiring manager! Not the overly popular “Dear Sir or Madam.” You want to show your future boss that you did your research and are really passionate about working with their team.
No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes to get hired in any of them.
So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager? There are several ways to do this.
The simplest option is to look up the head of the relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably Head of Communications or Chief Communications Office.
So, you do a quick lookup on LinkedIn:
And voila! You have your hiring manager.
Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of a server. In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager.”
If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.
Here are several other greetings you could use:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Team
Step #4 - Write an Attention-Grabbing Introduction
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.
Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.
So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph .
The #1 problem we see with most cover letter opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Most of them look something like this..
- Hey, my name is Jonathan and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a sales manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.
See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say pretty much anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.
Do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.
Instead, you want to start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.
So now, let’s make our previous example shine:
My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed their sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the job.
See the difference between the two examples? If you were the hiring manager, which sales manager would you hire, Jonathan or Michael?
Now that we’ve covered the introduction, let’s talk about the body of your cover letter. This part is split into two paragraphs: the first is for explaining why you’re the perfect person for the job, and the latter is for proving that you’re a good fit for the company.
So, let’s get started...
Step #5 - Explain why you’re the perfect person for the job
This is where you show off your professional skills and convince the HR manager that you’re a better fit for the job than all the other applicants.
But first things first - before you even write anything, you need to learn what the most important requirements for the role are. So, open up the job ad and identify which of the responsibilities are the most critical.
For the sake of the example, let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. You scan the job ad and see that the top requirements are:
- Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
- Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
- Excellent copywriting skills
Now, in this section, you need to discuss how you fulfill these requirements. So, here’s how that would look for our example:
In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation & management process end-to-end. Meaning, I created the ad copy , images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.
Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:
- Google Search
Are you a student applying for your first internship? You probably don’t have a lot of work experience to show off in this section. Learn how to write an internship cover letter here.
Step #6 - Explain why you’re a good fit for the company
Once you’ve written the last paragraph, you might be thinking - I’m a shoo-in for the job! What else do I need to write? I’ll just wrap up the cover letter and hit that sweet SEND button.
Well, no. You’re not quite there yet.
The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.
After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary .
Meaning, you also need to convince the HR manager that you’re really passionate about working with them.
How do you do this? Well, as a start, you want to do some research about the company. You want to know things like:
- What’s the company’s business model?
- What’s the company product or service? Have you used it?
- What’s the culture like? Will someone micro-manage your work, or will you have autonomy on how you get things done?
So, get to Googling. Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or somewhere around the web.
Then, you need to figure out what you like about the company and turn that into text.
Let’s say, for example, you’re passionate about their product and you like the culture of innovation / independent work in the organization.
You’d write something like:
I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2 were real game changers for the device.
I really admire how Company XYZ thrives for excellence for all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone that thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I and Company XYZ will be a great match.
What you don’t want to do here is be super generic for the sake of having something to write. Most job seekers tend to mess this one up. Let’s take a look at a very common example we tend to see (way too often):
I’d love to work for Company XYZ because of its culture of innovation. I believe that since I’m super creative, I’d be a good fit for the company. The company values of integrity and transparency really vibe with me.
See what’s wrong here? The example doesn’t really say anything about the company. “Culture of Innovation” is something most companies claim to have.
The same goes for “values of integrity and transparency” - the writer just googled what the values for the organization are, and said that they like them.
Any hiring manager that reads this will see through the fluff.
So, make sure to do a lot of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying.
Step #7 - Wrap up with a call to action
Finally, it’s time to finish up your cover letter and write the conclusion.
In the final paragraph, you want to:
- Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? Any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision? Mention it here.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time. It never hurts to be courteous, as long as you don’t come off as too needy.
- Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. You should ask the hiring manager to take some sort of action.
And now, let’s turn this into a practical example:
So to wrap it all up, thanks for looking into my application. I hope I can help Company X make the most out of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your facebook marketing goals.
Step #8 - Use the right formal closing
Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.
Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions to a cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
And we’re finally done! Before sending off the cover letter, make sure to proofread it with software like Grammarly, or maybe even get a friend to review it for you.
Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?
- Professional email
- Relevant Social Media Profiles
Do you address the right person? I.e. hiring manager in the company / your future direct supervisor
Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?
- Did you mention 2-3 of your top achievements?
- Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
Do you successfully convey that you’re the right pro for the job?
- Did you identify the core requirements?
- Did you successfully convey how your experiences help you fit the requirements perfectly?
Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?
- Did you identify the top 3 things that you like about the company?
- Did you avoid generic reasons for explaining your interest in the company?
Did you finalize the conclusion with a call to action?
Did you use the right formal closure for the cover letter?
5+ Cover Letter Examples
Need some inspiration? Read on to learn about some of the best cover letter examples we’ve seen (for different fields).
College Student Cover Letter Example
Middle Management Cover Letter Example
Career Change Cover Letter Example
Management Cover Letter Example
Senior Executive Cover Letter Example
Want to discover more examples AND learn what makes them stand out? Check out our guide to cover letter examples .
Next Steps in Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume
Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application is for naught.
After all, a cover letter is just an introduction. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression, but flopping at the end because of a mediocre resume.
...But don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered on that end, too.
If you want to learn more about Resumes & CVs, we have a dedicated FREE guide for that. Check out our complete guide on how to make a resume , as well as how to write a CV - our experts will teach you everything you need to know in order to land your dream job.
Or, if you’re already an expert, just pick one of our resume templates and get started.
Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:
- A cover letter is a 250 - 400 word document that convinces the hiring manager of your competence
- A cover letter goes in your job application alongside your resume
- Your introduction to the cover letter should grab the hiring manager’s attention and keep it all the way until the conclusion
- There are 2 main topics you need to include in your cover letter: why you’re the perfect candidate for the job & why you’re passionate about working in the company you’re applying to
- Most of the content of your cover letter should be factual , without any fluff or generalizations
At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve, every step of the way! Follow our blog to stay up to date with the industry-leading advice. Or, check out some of our top guides…
- How to Write a Motivational Letter
- How to Write a Resume with No Work Experience
- Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
- Search Search Please fill out this field.
- Career Planning
- Finding a Job
- Cover Letters
How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)
What is a Job Application Letter?
Tips for writing a job application letter, how to get started.
- Writing Guidelines
- What to Include in Each Section
Simple Formatting Using a Template
Tips for writing an effective letter, sample job application letter, sending an email application, review more letter examples.
Do you need to write a letter to apply for a job? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Even when employers don’t require a job application letter , writing one will help you highlight your skills and achievements and get the hiring manager’s attention. The only time not to send one is when the job listing says not to do so. It can help, and it definitely won't hurt to include an application letter with your resume.
A job application letter, also known as a cover letter , should be sent or uploaded with your resume when applying for jobs. While your resume offers a history of your work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments, the job application letter you send to an employer explains why you are qualified for the position and should be selected for an interview.
Writing this letter can seem like a challenging task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing application letters to send with your resume.
Melissa Ling / The Balance
Before you begin writing your job application letter, do some groundwork. Consider what information you want to include (keeping in mind that space is limited).
Remember, this letter is making a case for your candidacy for the position. But you can do better than just regurgitating your resume—instead, highlight your most relevant skills, experiences, and abilities.
Analyze the Job Posting
To include the most convincing, relevant details in your letter, you'll need to know what the employer wants.
The biggest clues are within the job advertisement, so spend some time decoding the job ad . Next, match your qualifications with the employer's wants and needs .
Include Your Most Relevant Qualifications
Make a list of your relevant experience and skills. For instance, if the job ad calls for a strong leader, think of examples of when you've successfully led a team. Once you've jotted down some notes, and have a sense of what you want to highlight in your letter, you're ready to get started writing.
Writing Guidelines for Job Application Letters
Writing a job application letter is very different from a quick email to a friend or a thank-you note to a relative. Hiring managers and potential interviewers have certain expectations when it comes to the letter's presentation and appearance, from length (no more than a page) to font size and style to letter spacing :
Length: A letter of application should be no more than one page long. Three to four paragraphs is typical.
Format and Page Margins: A letter of application should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1" margins and align your text to the left, which is the standard alignment for most documents.
Font: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points.
What To Include in Each Section of the Letter
There are also set rules for the sections included in the letter, from salutation to sign-off, and how the letter is organized. Here's a quick lowdown on the main sections included in a job application letter:
Heading: A letter of application should begin with both your and the employer's contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.
- Header Examples
Salutation: This is your polite greeting. The most common salutation is "Dear Mr./Ms." followed by the person's last name. Find out more about appropriate cover letter salutations , including what to do if you don't know the person's name, or are unsure of a contact's gender.
Body of the letter: Think of this section as being three distinct parts.
In the first paragraph , you'll want to mention the job you are applying for and where you saw the job listing.
The next paragraph(s) are the most important part of your letter. Remember how you gathered all that information about what employers were seeking, and how you could meet their needs? This is where you'll share those relevant details on your experience and accomplishments.
The third and last part of the body of the letter will be your thank you to the employer; you can also offer follow-up information.
Complimentary Close: Sign off your email with a polite close, such as "Best" or "Sincerely," followed by your name.
- Closing Examples
Signature: When you're sending or uploading a printed letter, end with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.
- Signature Examples
Overwhelmed by all these formatting and organization requirements? One way to make the process of writing a job application easier is to use a job application letter template to create your own personalized job application letters for applying for a job. Having a template can help save you time if you are sending a lot of application letters.
Be sure that each letter you send is personalized to the company and position; do not send the same letter to different companies.
- Always write one. Unless a job posting specifically says not to send a letter of application or cover letter, you should always send one. Even if the company does not request a letter of application, it never hurts to include one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow the directions exactly (for example, they might ask you to send the letter as an email attachment, or type it directly into their online application system).
- Use business letter format. Use a formal business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
- Sell yourself. Throughout the letter, focus on how you would benefit the company. Provide specific examples of times when you demonstrated skills or abilities that would be useful for the job, especially those listed in the job posting or description. If possible, include examples of times when you added value to a company.
Numerical values offer concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments.
- Use keywords. Reread the job listing, circling any keywords (such as skills or abilities that are emphasized in the listing). Try to include some of those words in your cover letter. This will help the employer see that you are a strong fit for the job.
- Keep it brief. Keep your letter under a page long, with no more than about four paragraphs. An employer is more likely to read a concise letter.
- Proofread and edit. Employers are likely to overlook an application with a lot of errors. Read through your cover letter, and if possible, ask a friend or career counselor to review the letter. Proofread for any grammar or spelling errors.
This is a job application letter sample. Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.
Sample Job Application Letter (Text Version)
Elizabeth Johnson 12 Jones Street Portland, Maine 04101 555-555-5555 email@example.com
August 11, 2020
Mark Smith Human Resources Manager Veggies to Go 238 Main Street Portland, Maine 04101
Dear Mr. Smith,
I was so excited when my former coworker, Jay Lopez, told me about your opening for an administrative assistant in your Portland offices. A long-time Veggies to Go customer and an experienced admin, I would love to help the company achieve its mission of making healthy produce as available as takeout.
I’ve worked for small companies for my entire career, and I relish the opportunity to wear many hats and work with the team to succeed. In my latest role as an administrative assistant at Beauty Corp, I saved my employer thousands of dollars in temp workers by implementing a self-scheduling system for the customer service reps that cut down on canceled shifts. I also learned web design, time sheet coding, and perfected my Excel skills.
I’ve attached my resume for your consideration and hope to speak with you soon about your needs for the role.
Elizabeth Johnson (signature hard copy letter)
When you are sending your letter via email include the reason you are writing in the subject line of your message:
Subject Line Example
Subject: Elizabeth Johnson – Administrative Assistant Position
List your contact information in your signature, rather than in the body of the letter:
Email Signature Example
Elizabeth Johnson 555-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.org
Review more examples of professionally written cover letters for a variety of circumstances, occupations, and types of jobs.
CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter ?" Accessed July 14, 2021.
University of Maryland Global Campus. " Frequently Asked Questions ." Accessed July 14, 2021.
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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How to write a great cover letter for a job
How to write a great cover letter for a job
Job hunting can be tough—especially when it comes to your cover letter. Writing a unique, eye-catching cover letter for a job application is one of the toughest parts of the entire process.
To help you land your dream job, we’ve created this quick guide to writing a stand-out cover letter. Let’s dive in.
What is a cover letter?
Before you can write an outstanding cover letter for a job application, you’ve got to understand what it is.
Your resume lays down the facts about your professional history. Your cover letter puts all of that information in context. A good cover letter will contain:
- An explanation for why you are applying for a role
- A description of how your past work history makes you an outstanding candidate
- A hint of your soft skills and ability to adapt to a new work culture
Cover letter contents vary depending on your industry, work history, and the open job. There is no clear formula for writing one, though there are certain tips you can follow. Because there is no “right” way to craft a cover letter, templates will not be much help. While you can use a template to format your cover letter, you’ll want to write the bulk of it yourself.
The more unique and creative your cover letter is, the more likely a recruiter will contact you for an interview.
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Why is having a good cover letter important?
Cover letters are optional for some applications. In the current tight job market, employers try to make it easier for people to apply for their positions. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write one.
Over half of senior managers say that cover letters are worthwhile. If other applicants don’t include a cover letter for a job and you do, you have already set yourself apart from the pack. If your cover letter is well-written, your initial impression gets more of a boost. Even if a cover letter isn’t requested, it’s a good move to include one anyway. Be sure to go the extra mile.
For jobs that do require cover letters, a well-written cover letter can easily prove your professionalism to recruiters.
Ten tips for writing a stand-out cover letter for a job
Cover letters are important, but how do you write one that recruiters and hiring managers won’t stop talking about? Here are ten top tips for crafting a cover letter for a job:
- Address your recruiter or hiring manager by name. Using your recipient’s name quickly makes your cover letter stand out. Addressing your recipient by name shows them that you’re willing to put that extra work in.
- Link your history to the job description. Carefully review the job description before you write your cover letter. Pick out a few leading job requirements, and connect your work history examples to those requirements.
- Show, don’t tell. Don’t just tell your audience about your achievements. Show them. Give examples, and try to include results where you can. Add in numbers where you can, too. Quantified results will stand out.
- Create a story. In your cover letter, demonstrate how your past work history has raised you to your present level. Then, explain how you will be able to succeed at the specific role you’re applying for. Think of it as a story with a strong narrative arc.
- Use an appropriate, approachable tone. Formal cover letters can seem off-putting in this day and age. Write in a casual yet professional tone. If your industry skews conservative or otherwise, keep that in mind.
- Insert your personality. Hiring teams want to know if you’ll be a flexible co-worker. Try to make your cover letter reflect your personality—especially if you’re naturally energetic, positive, or kind.
- Be honest. Don’t stretch the truth in your cover letter. In fact, this is the place to address any potential issues, like an employment gap or botched project. Honesty can be impressive, showing hiring managers how you would resolve a mistake or problem in your new role.
- Leave out what you can. Mainly, you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with information. They can ask follow-up questions during the interview. Leave out any history that isn’t necessary or relevant.
- End with a call of action. Don’t tell the letter recipient that you’d like for him or her to reach out immediately. That’s overstepping boundaries. But you should feel free to let them know that you’re excited to talk with them soon.
- Coordinate your letter with your resume. Finally, you can coordinate your cover letter with your resume. Ensure both documents use similar language. You can even ensure the design matches for that extra touch with cover letter and resume templates .
Overview: what your cover letter is really about
At the end of the day, the best way to write a good cover letter for a job is to be yourself and show how much you want the job. Ultimately, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for enthusiastic team members who are willing to work hard for good results.
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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.
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Three excellent cover letter examples
Cover letters are the first chance you have to impress an employer – they’re not just a protective jacket for your CV. Here’s our guide on what to include and how to format them
- More CV and cover letter templates
- Looking for a job? Explore the range of vacancies on Guardian Jobs and find the perfect role for you
The first thing a potential employer sees in your job application is the cover letter. This doesn’t just support your CV – it’s an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and persuade the recruiter to put you through to the next round.
Be wary of spending hours on perfecting your CV at the expense of your cover letter. If you need some inspiration on what to include and what format to use, here are our helpful guides – just remember not to copy them as exact templates.
1. Standard, conservative style
This is ideal for sectors such as business, law, accountancy and retail. For more creative sectors, a letter like this might be less appealing, and could work against you.
Dear Mr Black, Please find enclosed my CV in application for the post advertised in the Guardian on 30 November. The nature of my degree course has prepared me for this position. It involved a great deal of independent research, requiring initiative, self-motivation and a wide range of skills. For one course, [insert course], an understanding of the [insert sector] industry was essential. I found this subject very stimulating. I am a fast and accurate writer, with a keen eye for detail and I should be very grateful for the opportunity to progress to market reporting. I am able to take on the responsibility of this position immediately, and have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of it. Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Yours sincerely
2. Standard speculative letter
This may vary according to the nature of the organisation and the industry you’re applying to.
Dear Mr Brown, I am writing to enquire if you have any vacancies in your company. I enclose my CV for your information. As you can see, I have had extensive vacation work experience in office environments, the retail sector and service industries, giving me varied skills and the ability to work with many different types of people. I believe I could fit easily into your team. I am a conscientious person who works hard and pays attention to detail. I’m flexible, quick to pick up new skills and eager to learn from others. I also have lots of ideas and enthusiasm. I’m keen to work for a company with a great reputation and high profile like [insert company name]. I have excellent references and would be delighted to discuss any possible vacancy with you at your convenience. In case you do not have any suitable openings at the moment, I would be grateful if you would keep my CV on file for any future possibilities. Yours sincerely
3. Letter for creative jobs
We’ve used the example of a copywriter but you can adapt it for your profession. The aim of a creative letter is to be original and show you have imagination, but understand what the job entails. Balance is essential: don’t be too wacky, or it will turn off the reader.
Dear Ms Green, · Confused by commas? · Puzzled by parenthesis? · Stumped by spelling? · Perturbed by punctuation? · Annoyed at the apostrophe? (And alliteration?) Well, you’re not alone. It seems that fewer and fewer people can write. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who can read. So they’ll spot a gaffe from a mile off. And that means it’s a false economy, unless you’re 100% sure of yourself, to write your own materials. (Or to let clients do it for themselves.) To have materials properly copywritten is, when one considers the whole process of publishing materials and the impact that the client wishes to make, a minor expense. Sloppiness loses clients, loses customers. There is an answer. Me. Firm quotes are free. You can see some of what I do on my multilingual website at [insert web address]. If you’d like, I can get some samples out to you within 24 hours. And, if you use me, you’ll have some sort of guarantee that you can sleep soundly as those tens of thousands of copies are rolling off the presses. Luck shouldn’t come into it! With kindest regards
Other helpful resources
How to write a perfect CV and cover letter
Applying for jobs without experience? How to build and sell your skills
Five steps to the perfect graduate CV
School-leavers and graduates: how to write your first CV
How to write a personal statement for your CV
CV templates to fit every stage of your career
Looking for a job? Browse Guardian Jobs for your next career step.
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- Covering letters
How to Write an Effective Application Letter (Examples)
By Status.net Editorial Team on November 15, 2023 — 9 minutes to read
Your application letter should be a clear reflection of you, your skills, and your aspirations. It’s essential to tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for and showcase how you meet the requirements. Stay with us as we walk you through the tips, tricks, and best practices to make your letter shine. By the end, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to navigate the job application process with ease.
Step 1. Introduction: Expressing Interest
The opening line.
Your opening line should grab the reader’s attention, briefly introduce yourself, and express your interest in the position. This is your opportunity to make an excellent first impression, so keep it clear and concise. For example, you could start with:
“As an experienced marketing professional, I was thrilled to see the opportunity for a Marketing Manager position at X Company.”
Revealing the Source of Information
Next, it’s important to mention where you found out about the job opening. This helps recruiters understand where their outreach efforts are effective and demonstrates that you’ve done your homework. Reference the specific platform, such as a job board or company website, or mention the person who referred you to the position. Here are a couple of examples:
“I came across this position on LinkedIn and believe my skillset aligns perfectly with the job requirements.” or
“Jane Brown, the Sales Director at your company, suggested I apply for this role, as she believes my experience in customer service is a great fit for the team.”
Step 2. Body: Detailing Qualifications
Pitching your skills.
When writing an application letter, it’s essential to showcase your skills. Start by listing the most relevant ones based on the job description. Be specific and mention how you’ve used these skills in previous projects or work settings. For example:
“As a project manager, I have successfully managed teams of up to 20 members, ensuring timely delivery of projects while maintaining a high level of quality.”
Use bullet points or bold text to make your skills stand out. This way, the reader gets a clear picture of your capabilities.
Referencing Your Experience
After listing your skills, provide details about your work experience. Start with the most recent position and include the name of the company, your job title, and the duration of employment. Focus on the responsibilities that match the job opening. For instance:
“During my tenure at X Corp as a marketing executive, I was responsible for coordinating marketing campaigns, managing social media channels, and conducting market research.”
Don’t forget to mention any relevant internships or volunteer work. This information will help paint a complete picture of your expertise.
Demonstrating Your Achievement
Lastly, highlight your accomplishments and show the potential employer why you’re a perfect fit. Use concrete examples and mention any quantifiable results you’ve achieved. For example:
“At ABC Inc., I initiated a cost-reduction program that saved the company $50,000 within six months.”
You can also mention any awards or recognitions you’ve received for outstanding work. This demonstrates that your contributions have been valued and recognized by others.
Step 3. Concluding Your Letter
Seeking further communication.
By the time you reach the end of your application letter, it’s important to express your desire for further communication with the potential employer. This shows that you’re genuinely interested in the opportunity and eager to continue the conversation. Example:
“I am excited about the prospect of contributing to your company’s goals, and I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this further with you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at your earliest convenience. Thank you for considering my application.”
After expressing your eagerness, close your letter with a polite and professional farewell, addressing the recipient by name where possible. This is not only courteous, but it also leaves a positive and lasting impression. Example:
“ I look forward to your response and the possibility of working together. Once again, thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, [Your Name]”
Proper Letter Ending
The complimentary close.
Start by choosing an appropriate complimentary close for your application letter. This part signifies the end of the main content and should leave a professional impression. Some common examples are “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” or “Yours faithfully.” Keep in mind that it’s best to stay formal, so avoid using casual phrases like “Cheers” or “Take care.”
After the complimentary close, press enter twice to leave a space for your signature. This space provides room for your actual signature if you’re submitting a physical letter. If you’re submitting electronically, this space can act as a visual cue that your letter has reached its end.
While signing an application letter, be sure to include your typed full name. Don’t forget to include your relevant contact information, such as your email address or phone number. This will make it easy for the recipient to get in touch with you if they have any questions or require additional information.
Here’s an example of a proper letter ending for your application letter:
[Space for physical signature, if applicable] Your Full Name [email protected] +1-234-567-8901
Post-Writing: Proofreading and Correcting
After writing your application letter, it’s essential to proofread and correct any errors or inconsistencies. This process will help ensure that you submit a polished and professional document that impresses potential employers.
Correcting Grammar and Punctuation
First, focus on your grammar and punctuation. A well-written letter that follows proper grammar rules is more likely to capture the reader’s attention and convey your message effectively.
- As you’re reading through your letter, keep an eye out for missing or misplaced commas, semicolons, and other punctuation marks.
- Check for sentence fragments or run-on sentences that make your message unclear.
- Look for subject-verb agreement issues, as well as any awkward phrasing or wordiness.
- Ensure consistency in tense and voice throughout the letter.
Checking for Spelling Mistakes
Your next step should be checking for spelling mistakes. Misspelled words can distract the reader and make your application appear less polished.
- Run your text through a spellchecker; most word processing programs have this feature built-in.
- Take the time to read through your letter carefully, word-by-word, to catch any errors the spellchecker may have missed.
- Double-check the spelling of names, addresses, and other specific information to make sure they’re correct.
Examples of Successful Application Letters
When writing an application letter, it’s essential to tailor it to the specific job posting . Check out these examples to help you create a winning letter for different scenarios.
Dear [Hiring Manager],
I’m excited to apply for the Sales Representative position at [Company Name]. With my proven sales record and strong interpersonal skills, I believe I would be a valuable asset to your team.
In my previous role at [Previous Company], I consistently exceeded sales targets and established strong relationships with clients. I’m confident that my experience and passion for sales will contribute to the ongoing success of [Company Name].
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to discussing my qualifications and how I can contribute to the growth of [Company Name].
Sincerely, [Your Name]
As a creative and skilled Graphic Designer, I am thrilled to apply for the position at [Company Name]. My expertise in Adobe Creative Suite and concept development aligns with the requirements laid out in the job posting.
In my previous role at [Previous Company], I created visually appealing and engaging content for various marketing campaigns. My designs helped increase brand recognition and lead to a 20% increase in social media engagement. I am eager to use my talents and contribute to the visual identity of [Company Name].
I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my skills and portfolio with you. Thank you for considering my application.
Best regards, [Your Name]
As an experienced Office Manager with a strong background in time management and organization, I am eager to apply for the position at [Company Name]. Your commitment to efficiency and supporting your employees is in line with my work values.
During my tenure at [Previous Company], I streamlined scheduling and developed procedures that led to a 30% reduction in office expenses. My proactive approach to problem-solving and ability to create a productive work environment contribute to my effectiveness as an Office Manager.
I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to the success of [Company Name] by enhancing office operations. Thank you for considering my application.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the key components of an application letter.
An application letter should include the following key components:
- Contact information: Start by writing your name, address, phone number, and email address.
- Salutation: Address the recipient professionally, using their name when possible.
- Opening paragraph: Introduce yourself and state the position you’re applying for.
- Body paragraphs: Highlight your relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments.
- Closing paragraph: Reiterate your interest in the position, provide your contact information, and thank the reader for considering your application.
- Sign-off: Use a polite closing, such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” followed by your name.
Can you provide a step-by-step guide on writing a cover letter?
- Review the job posting and research the company to understand their needs and values.
- Write your contact information at the top of the letter.
- Use a professional salutation and address the recipient by name, if possible.
- Craft an engaging opening paragraph that states the position you’re applying for and how you learned about it.
- Write body paragraphs that showcase your relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments, drawing connections to the requirements mentioned in the job posting.
- In the closing paragraph, restate your interest in the position and thank the reader for their time.
- Sign off with a polite closing and your name, followed by your phone number and email address.
What are some tips for writing an effective application letter?
To write an effective application letter:
- Tailor the content: Focus on the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the specific job posting.
- Use strong action words: Highlight your achievements using action verbs, such as “managed,” “achieved,” or “developed.”
- Proofread for errors: Thoroughly check your letter for spelling and grammatical errors before sending.
- Maintain a professional tone: Write your letter with a confident and respectful tone, avoiding slang or overly casual language.
How do you customize your cover letter for different job positions?
Make sure to modify your application letter to suit the specific job and company you’re applying to. Analyze the job posting to understand the key requirements and skills the employer is looking for. Emphasize how your experiences and abilities address these needs. Research the company to understand their values and culture, and incorporate that knowledge into your letter to show you would be a good fit for their organization.
What are some common cover letter mistakes to avoid?
Some common mistakes to avoid in cover letters include:
- Not customizing your letter for each job or company
- Focusing too much on yourself and not on the needs of the employer
- Including too much information or making the letter too long
- Repeating your resume verbatim without providing more context
- Failing to proofread for spelling and grammatical errors
How can I make my application letter stand out from the competition?
To make your application letter stand out:
- Use a compelling opening to grab the reader’s attention.
- Show enthusiasm for the position and the company.
- Make sure your letter is well-organized and visually appealing, with a professional font and layout.
- Tailor your letter to the specific job and company, focusing on the most relevant skills and experiences.
- Offer examples of your achievements to demonstrate your ability to succeed in the role.
- Proofread your letter to ensure it is error-free and polished.
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The Best Cover Letter Writing Tips: A to Z Guideline
A cover letter is just as important as your resume when it comes to your job application. It is an opportunity to briefly introduce yourself with the hiring manager, explain why you are interested in that job, and point out your unique expertise in that field of job. This blog will be an A to Z guideline for you to write a Cover Letter that will make the Hiring Manager say, “Wow!”
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter generally means a one-page document that is submitted with the resume when someone is applying for a job. It is designed to introduce yourself in a more personal way, expanding on relevant skills, and achievements, and highlighting a selection of your most prominent accomplishments.
Purpose of a Cover Letter
The main purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and to give an explanation for why you are interested in this job and why they should hire you. It is a spotlight on your skills and experience. It is an opportunity to go beyond your resume and display to the hiring manager why you are a nice candidate for that position.
A well-written cover letter allows you to:
- Stand out from other applicants
- Flaunt your passion for the job and the company
- Show that you did research and took the job seriously
- Prove you understand the challenges of the company
- Highlight your skills and experience that are most relevant to the job
- Reflect that your vision aligns with their goals
- Make a good first impression on the hiring manager, because your first impression may be your last impression
In short, a cover letter is your chance to promote yourself to the hiring manager and to show your personality and enthusiasm for the job. As it is an integral part of the job application, it should not be overlooked.
- ১৩৭টি ভিডিও ও ১২৪টি লেকচার শীট
- MS Word, Excel ও PowerPoint এর ব্যবহার
- মাইক্রোসফট অফিসের এর শর্টকাট নিয়ম শিখতে পারবেন
- দৈনন্দিন কাজে Microsoft Office ব্যবহার করে কাজের গতি বাড়ানো
How to write a Cover Letter?
An ideal cover letter should be 2-4 paragraphs long within one page. Now there may be a question in your mind regarding what you should include in the letter. Here is a step-by-step guideline for writing a cover letter for a CV:
01. Contact Information in Header
A professional cover letter starts with a header. The header should not only just carry your contact information, but also that of the company to which you are applying. The header of your cover letter must include the following contact information:
- Phone number
- Email address
02. Address the Hiring Manager
Once you’re done with the header, it’s time to mention the Hiring Manager. You can address the hiring manager by name. For example: “ Dear Katherine ”. If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, you can address the letter to “ Dear Hiring Manager .”
List of Salutations
03. Introductory Paragraph
In the introductory paragraph, state the position you are applying for and why you are interested in it. Here you need to start in a way that attracts and holds the reader’s interest. You can also mention something specific about the company that you admire or are excited about.
Here are several proven strategies for starting the introductory paragraph of your cover letter for the job:
- Highlight your achievements.
- Display your passion and enthusiasm.
- Drop names of people in the company who inspired you.
04. Second Paragraph
The second paragraph is the main body of a cover letter for a job, where you must highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Be specific and provide examples of your accomplishments.
05. Third Paragraph
In the third paragraph, explain why you are a good fit for the company. What can you offer them? How will you contribute to their success? You can also mention your values and how they align with the company’s mission and values.
06. Closing Paragraph
End with a call to action. Tell the hiring manager what you would like to happen next, such as scheduling an interview. You can also thank them for their time and consideration.
Formal Closing Salutation
After you have finished the main points of your cover letter, the last thing that remains is to include a professional ending. In this closing salutation, you can simply write “ Sincerely ” and follow it with your full name.
Instead of writing “ Sincerely” you can also use:
Last but not least, conclude the letter for your CV with a postscript. All of the elements that are listed above are required in an ideal cover letter. However, there is one specific method you can use: the postscript. It is very important because it attracts the hiring manager’s attention and says, “ You cannot miss this information .”
- ৩৪টি ভিডিও ও ২২টি লেকচার শীট
- যেকোনো ডকুমেন্ট প্রফেশনালি ফরম্যাট ও উপস্থাপন করতে পারবেন।
- মাইক্রোসফট ওয়ার্ড এর কিছু শর্টকাট নিয়ম শিখতে পারবেন
- মাইক্রোসফট ওয়ার্ড এর ফিচার ও টুলসের ব্যবহার জানতে পারবেন
Different Types of Cover Letter
There are different types of Cover Letters because each type is tailored to a specific purpose. Here is a brief overview of the different types of Cover Letters:
A cover letter used with a resume submission or with a job application is called an application cover letter. This is the most common type of cover letter. It is used to apply for a specific job opening. An application cover letter should highlight your skills and experience that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.
A prospecting Cover Letter for a job is used to inquire about job openings at a company that you are interested in working for, even if there are no current openings listed. A prospecting cover letter should explain why you are interested in working for the company and what you can offer them. The objective of a prospecting cover letter is to prospect for companies using a cover letter.
This type of letter is used to reach out to people in your professional network to ask for advice or job referrals. A networking cover letter should be brief and to the point. It should explain why you are reaching out to the person and what you are looking for.
A referral cover letter accommodates to identify yourself while also stating who referred you to the post. Referrals can be a valuable resource in the job market if they are reliable and have an enduring connection with the company you’re applying to. If you’re applying through a referral, including it in the letter may provide you an advantage by capturing the hiring manager’s attention.
An Email Cover Letter is sent in an email. It is similar to a traditional cover letter. These letters are typically brief and incorporate more white space.
This is used to apply for academic positions, such as teaching or research positions. An academic cover letter should highlight your academic qualifications and research experience.
Tips and Tricks to write a Cover Letter for a job application
Know the basics.
Before writing a cover letter for a job, make sure that you understand what an ideal letter looks like. In a nutshell, a cover letter is made up of the following sections:
- A header including your contact details
- Addressing the hiring manager
- The introductory paragraph, in which you begin with an attention grabber and lists your most notable accomplishments
- The second paragraph should describe why you are the best candidate for the job
- The third paragraph is where you explain why you’re a good fit for the company, its culture, and its ambitions
- The ending remarks
- Lastly, a postscript
A Strong Introduction
Start the cover letter with a strong introduction. In the opening paragraph mention the position you are applying for, and then briefly explain why you are interested in the job and why you are the best candidate for that post.
Address the hiring manager by name
According to the opinion of HR experts, people respond actively to reading their names in a cover letter for a job. So addressing the hiring manager by name can be an advantage for you. You can look for the hiring manager’s name by checking the job description or visiting the company’s LinkedIn page. It will show the hiring manager that you have researched for this position.
Customize your cover letter for the job
You might feel pressured to compose a single, unique cover letter and send it with your application for every job. Different positions have different requirements and responsibilities. If you can convince the hiring manager of your eligibility for one particular position rather than your overall professionalism, you have a better chance of getting hired. For this reason, a one-letter-fits-all strategy is ineffective. So, write a new cover letter for each application.
Follow the guidelines
Sometimes companies specify in the job description the format that must be followed. To avoid facing consequences early in the recruiting process, make sure that you comply with any format and content guidelines that may be provided. A requirement-focused cover letter indicates your ability to follow directions, which is an essential skill for most professions.
Highlight your unique skills and abilities
While the letter should highlight your abilities that are relevant to the position you are applying for, your letter should highlight all of your skills that are suitable for your chances of getting hired.
Let’s have a look at a sample format for the position of content writer in 10 Minute School :
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Answers
After reading this blog, you may have various questions and concerns. In this section, we provide answers to frequently asked questions to help you navigate the job-seeking journey with confidence:
Q: What is a cover letter?
A formal letter written to a potential employer that explains why you are interested in a particular job and why you are qualified for it.
Q: What is the main purpose of writing a cover letter?
The main purpose of writing a cover letter is to convince a potential employer that you are a qualified candidate for the position you are applying for.
Q: How long should it be?
It should be one page long, single-spaced, with a 12-point font.
Q: What are the essentials of a cover letter?
- Addressing the Hiring Manager
- The introductory paragraph
- Ending remarks
Q: What are the common mistakes to avoid in cover letters?
- Not tailoring your cover letter to the specific job you are applying for
- Not providing specific examples of your work
- Using uncommon vocabulary
- Making grammatical or spelling errors
- Not proofreading carefully
Writing a cover letter is an important step in the job application process. It is your chance to introduce yourself to the hiring manager, it also explains why you are interested in the position and why you are the best candidate for the job. No matter what you choose to write, make sure that it is clear, concise, and professional. Your goal is to leave the hiring manager with a positive impression and to encourage them to contact you for an interview.
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Why do cover letters still exist?
Job applications are not fun, but most parts of the process seem to be a necessary evil. Proofread your CV, prepare for a marathon of interviews , send a thank-you email after each one. Yet, one step of the employment application process seems curiously outdated: composing a cover letter.
Not only do many of us hate writing cover letters , but they often seem pointless . One 2017 survey showed only 26% of US recruiters consider cover letters important in the hiring process. If nothing else, cover letters feel as outdated as a faxed CV – and especially now, in a market favouring workers, should job applicants really have to waste time on the step they hate so much?
Yes, some recruiters still say. Ultimately, your cover letter is “your one opportunity” to stand out – to show off what specifically you bring to the position in a way that you can’t fully describe in your CV or with an online profile. And perhaps surprisingly, cover letters may be more important than ever.
The labour of letters
Traditionally, we’re told cover letters build on your resume. They showcase your personality; they explain why a specific role excites you. But that’s precisely why job hunters loathe writing them – it takes a long time to craft one, and then tweaking it or writing a new one from scratch for every single job application takes even longer.
Cranking out a cover letter can feel especially daunting if writing isn’t your forte. It’s easier to understand why candidates in creative industries might need a good cover letter. But for others, a sharp cover letter may seem an excessive ask for a job requiring specific technical skills (and maybe no writing at all).
I look at it as kind of wearing make-up to an interview. It’s showing that you’re taking it seriously – Kristie Loescher
Spending hours on a draft can feel even more tedious when contrasted with simpler application processes such as LinkedIn’s Easy Apply, which requires a single click. It’s often unclear why a particular company requires more from candidates at the initial application stage. And, when some recruiters openly acknowledge they don’t read cover letters – at least not as soon as an application crosses their desk – it’s difficult to know how much effort you should put into a cover letter at all.
It’s well known, after all, that many companies use online portals that don’t send your application to a human right away; AI and algorithms scan your CV for keywords, and throw it out if those targeted terms aren’t on it. In that case, why write a cover letter for an application that may get rejected before it even reaches a person?
More relevant than ever?
Yet, experts argue there’s never been a more important time to include a solid cover letter with your application.
First, writing a decent, detailed letter is indicative that you’ll put some work in to secure the role. “I look at it as kind of wearing make-up to an interview. It’s showing that you’re taking it seriously – you’re willing to put in some effort,” says Kristie Loescher, senior lecturer of management at the University of Texas, Austin, who teaches business communications.
Companies may ask for cover letters – over simpler application processes like Easy Apply – because it influences the quality of applicants. With simple processes, recruiters may get a lot of resumes that don’t match the job description, or people who are “just out there fishing”, says Loescher. But a cover letter immediately adds to your application, and proves you care about this particular role. Loescher, for example, says when she reads cover letters, she’s looking for passion and enthusiasm; she wants to find “people who are really excited about wearing [the University of Texas’s] burnt orange”.
Even if it's tedious, it's worth putting the effort into cover letters, say recruiters, because you never know who's reading it and why (Credit: Getty Images)
Cover letters also matter because you can use them to explain any gaps – something relevant to many people who’ve been made redundant or dropped out of the workforce during the pandemic, says Kimberly McNeil, HR knowledge advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). McNeil says even though it’s a job-seeker’s market, many people are acting on epiphanies they’ve had during the pandemic to seek out work that is more meaningful to them or gives them more flexibility. That means that for many roles, the cover letter remains “pivotal” to setting yourself apart.
Explaining your motivation is also particularly important if you’re trying to change careers. If you’re applying for a creative job, but have been in a corporate environment your whole career, how can you convince them you’re actually creative? In your cover letter, experts say, using persuasive language and concrete examples will do the trick. “It’s addressing concerns without naming concerns,” says Loescher. Your cover letter can help pre-emptively answer questions a hiring manager may have when they read your CV, and help increase your chances of securing an interview.
Act like it’s ‘going to come into play’
Importantly, not every company, sector or position is going to treat a cover letter equally. Some will give them more weight than others, to identify a certain skill or passion; some simply want to see one attached, as a signal that the candidate didn’t apply just because they could do it in one click.
Your cover letter may come into play further on in the application process – and could potentially be read by multiple people
For instance, especially at big corporations, McNeil says your cover letter may very well may go unread, at least at first. But it may come into play further on in the application process – and could potentially be read by multiple people. At smaller companies, especially start-ups, it may come into play a lot sooner. Tinier companies may not have the kind of AI-monitored application portals that big firms do, “so it is possible that the cover letter may be the applicant’s introduction to the employer”, says McNeil.
The writing process is still onerous, however. Loescher recommends keeping a cover letter template handy, and simply filling in the blanks with bits relevant to that role or company. You do want to be specific and original, and don’t want to sound scripted, but efficiency is key to staying sane. You need to balance the effort of writing one, says Loescher, “with the possible chance that it may make a difference”.
You can never know for sure when in the process a recruiter will read your cover letter. “I think a lot of times, we get bogged down with thinking ‘will it or won’t it [be read]’,” says McNeil. “Just assume that it’s going to come into play at some point.”
This means as a candidate, you have to respond accordingly – however pointless it may feel.