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Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Tips

Advice for Writing a Top Notch Cover Letter for a Job

best cover letter tricks

Maddy Price / The Balance

Are you working on a cover letter to send with your resume? It's important that your cover letter makes the best impression, because it's what can help you secure a job interview.

When you need to write a cover letter to apply for a job, it's sometimes the small things that can make a big difference. The closer to perfect your letter is, the better your chances are of impressing the hiring manager.

Follow these tips and techniques for sending a top-notch cover letter, and you will increase your chances of getting an interview.

Select the Right Type of Cover Letter

 Fizkes /  iStock / Getty Images Plus

There are  several types of cover letters  that can be sent to employers and contacts. For example, there are traditional cover letters (also known as application letters ), which are written to apply for specific job openings. If you know some who can refer you for a job, you'll want to write a referral cover letter .

There are also letters of interest (also known as prospecting letters), in which you ask about possible job openings at a company. Cold contact cover letters are written to companies that haven't advertised job openings.

Be sure to choose a type of cover letter that reflects what you are applying for, why you are writing, and what you are requesting.

Go Beyond Your Resume

Chris Ryan / OJO Images / Getty Images

Your cover letter should not be just another version of your resume. Instead, this letter should provide specific evidence of what you will bring to the company .

For your letter, pick two to three skills or abilities you want to highlight. Then offer examples of times you demonstrated those traits.

For example, if you want to highlight your experience and skill tutoring children, provide an example of how you successfully tutored a student. You can include a particular teaching moment when you were particularly successful.

These examples are what will make your cover letter different from your resume.

Whenever possible, include numbers to show how you have added value to previous companies you worked for. In the example mentioned above, you might provide data on how your previous students’ grades improved while working with you.

If you are a recent graduate or otherwise do not have a lot of work experience, you can highlight some of your transferable skills in your resume. Provide evidence from projects, classes, volunteer work, etc. that demonstrates that you have these skills.

Write a Custom Cover Letter for Every Job

A hiring manager can quickly tell if you have written a generic cover letter that you use for every job. That is a quick way to get your application thrown out. Instead, take the time to customize your cover letter so it reflects your interest in the specific position and company you're applying to.

Target each letter to fit the specific job. The best way to do this is to  match your qualifications to the job :

  • First, look carefully at the job listing.
  • Second, select two or three skills, abilities, or experiences that the job requires that you know you have.
  • In your letter, provide examples of times that you demonstrated each of those skills.

Include  keywords  from the job listing in your cover letter as well. For example, if the listing says the ideal candidate has experience with “data-driven decision making,” you might include an example of a time you used data to make a decision or solve a problem.

Take the time to showcase your personality  and explain how you'd be a terrific fit for the position and the company.

It can be ​time-consuming to write a custom cover letter for each job you apply for, but it's important to take the time and effort. A custom letter will help the reader to see, at a glance, that you are a good match for the job.

Don't Point Out What You're Missing

Generally, don’t apologize for anything in your cover letter. There are some things you don't need to include in a cover letter . If you lack a required skill or degree, don’t mention it. That will only highlight what you don’t have. Instead, focus on highlighting the skills and experiences you do have, and explain how they make you a great fit for the job.

However, when you have recent gaps in your work history (within the past year or so), whether from being laid-off and out of work, taking time out from the workplace to spend with your family, traveling, going back to school, or for any reason, your cover letter gives you an opportunity to  explain an employment gap .

If you decide to mention this employment gap in your cover letter, do so very briefly, then quickly return to highlighting your skills and abilities.

Try to Find a Contact Person

It's not always easy to find a contact person to address your cover letter to, but it's worth spending some time trying. When it comes to cover letters, taking the time to get personal is really important. Find out as much as you can about the company and the  hiring manager .

Be sure to address your cover letter to the specific hiring manager who will be reading your letter. If you don’t know who that person is, check out the company website, or even call the company and ask.

If you can’t figure out who will be reading the letter, address your letter with the greeting, “Dear Hiring Manager.”

If you have any contacts at the company who referred you to the job or are willing to put in a good word for you, mention their names in the first paragraph of your letter. This is a great way to gain an employer’s interest. However, make sure you have checked with your contacts in advance and asked if they are willing to give you a referral .

Format Your Cover Letter Properly

It's essential for your first impression to be a good one, because that's a step towards getting an interview. You will want your cover letter to not only to include the proper information, but also to look polished and professional. Therefore, be sure to format your cover letter properly. If you are sending a physical letter, use business letter format. Include your contact information, the date, and the contact information of the employer at the top of the letter.

If you are sending your cover letter as an email , your format will be a bit different. You will also need to include a subject line that mentions your name and the job title.

A  cover letter should not be longer than a page (three to four paragraphs at most).

If your cover letter is a bit too long, you can adjust the margins to give yourself more space.

However, you want to have plenty of white space in your cover letter, so don’t make the margins too small.

Also include a space between your greeting, between each paragraph, and after your closing. This will add white space as well. No matter how you send your cover letter, be sure to pick a simple, readable font . 

Be Yourself and Show Your Personality

You want your cover letter to be professional, but you also should be clear about what you have to offer the employer—and that's you and your credentials. Professional doesn't mean that you have to use awkwardly formal language. Avoid phrases that don’t feel natural, like “Dear Sir or Madam,” or “I wish to convey my sincere interest in a position at your exquisite institution.” Instead, use clear, straightforward language.

Also avoid clichéd, overused phrases that hiring managers are sick of reading (“go-getter,” “team player,” etc.). Replace those phrases with power words like “initiated” and “collaborated.”

You want to come across as polite and professional, but not fake. Don’t use language that feels uncomfortable or corny. Read more about how to show your personality in a cover letter .

Use Cover Letter Examples and Templates

Take the time to review cover letter examples before you start writing your own letter to apply for a job. Examples can give you an idea of how to structure your letter, and what information to include.

Also check out some cover letter templates , which can help you format your letter. A template also gives you the framework you can personalize for your own letters.

While it is useful to look at templates and examples, be sure to change any letter sample to fit your own skills and abilities, and the position you are applying for.

Proofread and Edit Your Letter

Because hiring managers look at hundreds of applicants, a small typo can make or break your chances of getting an interview. Therefore, be sure to thoroughly proofread your cover letter(and all of your application materials, for that matter).

Read through your letter, looking for any spelling or grammar errors. Make sure you have the correct company name, hiring manager’s name, date, etc. in your heading.

Reading your letter out loud is a useful way to check for mistakes.

Consider asking a friend or family member to read your letter as well. Ask them to check for errors, but you can also ask for more general feedback. Ask whether or not your friend is convinced that you are a great fit for the job after reading your letter.

Follow the Instructions in the Job Posting

The most important part of sending a cover letter is to follow the employer's instructions. If the job posting says to include your cover letter and resume as an email attachment , attach Microsoft Word or PDF files to your email message. If the hiring manager says they want you to submit your materials using an online application system , don’t email or mail a physical application.

If you need to email your cover letter , be sure to include your name and the job title of the position in your message.

It's important to send your cover letter and resume attachments correctly, to include all the information requested so your message is read, and to let the receiver know how they can contact you to schedule an interview.

CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter ."

Top 10 Cover Letter Tips (+ Mistakes To Avoid)

Mike Simpson 0 Comments

best cover letter tricks

By Mike Simpson

Ah, the cover letter. While it seems like writing a cover letter would be so incredibly simple, it’s often one of the most intimidating parts of the application process. Why? Well, there are quite a few reasons.

With a cover letter, you have to showcase your capabilities differently than you would in a resume. If you’re new to cover letters, that alone could be enough to set you on edge.

Plus, cover letters can feel a lot like bragging. It’s a one-sided conversation, where you tout your abilities to an audience that isn’t answering. That, too, can be a bit uncomfortable.

But that doesn’t mean you should shy away from creating one. With the right cover letter tips, you can create an effective cover letter that boosts your job search prospect. Ready to make the most of this little document? Then, come with us as we explore how to do just that.

What Is a Cover Letter? What Are They Used For?

Before we dig into any cover letter tips, let’s take a step back and answer a couple of basic questions.

First, what is a cover letter?

Well, a cover letter is a critical document that takes the form of a traditional letter. It lets you introduce yourself to the hiring manager in a way that isn’t possible with a resume alone. In many ways, it allows you to extend a more meaningful digital handshake.

Generally speaking, resumes are fact-based documents. You list your achievements, using a bullet point approach. It’s succinct, targeted, and straightforward.

Cover letters have more flow. You can use “I” statements and describe yourself. You can showcase your personality, both in the way you write and the points you choose to cover. While it needs to be relevant to the position you want to land, a cover letter is more conversational.

A second question that frequently crosses job seekers’ minds is, what are cover letters used for? After all, your resume highlights your skills, traits, and achievements. Do you really need anything more than that? Well, yes, you do.

Your resume has to be incredibly focused and concise , and the presentation of your abilities often feels a bit rigid. It’s hard to showcase your personality in a resume. Plus, you don’t have a lot of room to explain various details. Sometimes, that works against you.

With a cover letter, you give yourself that room. You can cultivate a narrative, sharing aspects of your story that have no place on a resume. Got a gap in your work history? You can discuss why in your cover letter. Switching careers? You can explain your choice and tap on how your skills are transferable in a cover letter.

Now, that doesn’t mean you want to get too personal – we’ll dig into that more in a bit – a cover letter does give you some freedom of expression. When used well, it can make a world of difference, helping you stand out from the pack and land an interview.

Characteristics of a Good Cover Letter

What to put in a cover letter? That’s likely a question running through your mind. Luckily, the answer isn’t challenging.

Now, we’ve covered the various structural aspects of an effective cover letter before, so we’ll just tap on them briefly here.

Just like resumes, cover letters need the right components and structure. You want to address a cover letter the right way and choose the correct cover letter format .

If you aren’t sure where to begin, your best bet is to start with a cover letter template . You can also review some cover letter examples to get moving in the right direction.

Just remember, if you’re using examples, don’t copy them verbatim even if they are a good match for your capabilities. There’s always a chance that a hiring manager is going to check your cover letter for plagiarism and, if they discover you pulled yours straight from another website, you can kiss that job goodbye.

At the opening of your cover letter – after you’ve covered your and the hiring manager’s contact information along with a greeting – you need to introduce yourself. Also, in the first paragraph, mention the job title and department of the position you’re going after. If you’re applying to a recruiter that fills openings at multiple businesses, list the company name, too. That way, there’s no doubt as to why you’re writing.

After that, when you are deciding what to put in a cover letter, drawing the hiring manager in needs to be your goal. How do you do that? By targeting the content.

You already know that tailoring your resume is important; the same is true of your cover letter. You don’t want to send out a generic form letter. That won’t pack a punch.

Instead, you want your cover letter to showcase why you’re the best fit for this specific job. When you’re writing a cover letter, it’s all about creating a standout value proposition. You need to highlight how your capabilities will help the company thrive. You can’t do that without tailoring the content.

Luckily, the process isn’t unlike targeting a resume. If you get to know the STAR Method and the Tailoring Method , you can use many of those techniques in your cover letter, too.

Awesome, right?

Usually, you’ll extol your virtues and present a standout value proposition in two or three body paragraphs. Then, it’s time for an amazing closing.

Express your appreciation. Reaffirm your interest. Say, “thank you.” Let them know you’re looking forward to hearing back and how you intend to follow up. Then, sign off, listing your LinkedIn page or personal branding website after your signature.

Keep the overall length of your cover letter reasonable. Usually, you are aiming for about one page, with one opening paragraph, two or three body paragraphs, and a closing paragraph.

Common Cover Letter Mistakes

Alright, we are getting closer to the amazing cover letter tips that will help you stand out from the masses. But before we start on those, let’s take a minute to cover something else important: what not to do.

Cover letter mistakes can turn a great cover letter into a terrible one. That’s why avoiding missteps is essential. So, without further ado, here are three things you don’t want to do.

1. Not Writing a Cover Letter

In reality, the biggest cover letter mistake you can make is not writing one. Even if the application doesn’t make one mandatory, skipping it will usually hurt you.

After all, 26 percent of recruiters view cover letters as important when they are trying to make hiring decisions. Why? Think about it. Cover letters help them learn more about candidates. If they really want to find the cream of the crop, reviewing job seeker cover letters can help them do it.

Plus, 52 percent of hiring managers would give more attention to a resume with a cover letter. When you add a good cover letter to your resume, you’re going the extra mile. It takes effort to create one of the best cover letters around, and hiring managers will notice that you gave it your all.

In nearly all cases, creating an effective cover letter works in your favor. That’s why skipping it is generally a bad move.

There is one situation where you don’t want to submit a cover letter: when the instructions specifically say not to. If you send one in anyway, you’re not following the directions. Even if you literally wrote the most spectacular cover letter ever created, you failed to do what the instructions said, and that usually means a one-way trip to the discard pile.

2. Making It All About You

Alright, we admit this mistake is a bit counter intuitive. After all, aren’t you supposed to tell the hiring manager why you’re amazing? Well, yeah, you are.

The trick is how you approach it. It shouldn’t be “me, me, me.” Instead, it needs to explore what you can do for the company.

You’re creating a value proposition. You need to position yourself as a solution to specific company challenges. How do you do that? Start by scouring the job description .

As you look at the vacancy announcement, look for insights about how this role functions based on the bigger picture. What critical duties will the new hire handle? How does this employee push the company towards its goals and broader success?

Once you figure that out, showcase how you can do that for the company.

Now, this doesn’t mean you rehash what’s on your resume. No, no, no. Redundancy is never good. Instead, you want to cover points that don’t work in your application elsewhere, or add context about your capabilities that didn’t fit on your resume. That’s how you make your value proposition stronger.

3. Being Too Personal

Showcasing your personality is a good idea, but that doesn’t mean you need to give the hiring manager intimate details about your life. The focus needs to be on your professional capabilities, not your strange hobby, your recent back surgery, or that you’re relocating because your ex was a nightmare.

If you cross the line, there’s a good chance that the hiring manager is going to have immediate doubts about you as a candidate. They may figure that you don’t know what is or isn’t appropriate to discuss in a professional environment, at a minimum.

Oversharing doesn’t help you stand out, at least, not in a good way. So, resist the urge to tell them about any aspect of your life that isn’t highly relevant to the job.

Remember, cover letters are short. Don’t waste real estate on something that isn’t making your value proposition stronger.

Top 10 Cover Letter Tips

Now it’s time for what you’ve been waiting for. Here are 10 cover letter tips that can help you make yours as awesome as possible.

1. Make It a Document, Not Just an Email

Alright, this piece of cover letter advice might seem a bit weird in the digital age. After all, if you’re applying via email, why shouldn’t you just put your cover letter in the body of the message?

Well, the thing is, many hiring managers still print out the attachments. A surprising number of companies rely heavily on paper files. If your cover letter isn’t in a separate document, it might not get printed. That means it gets detached from the rest of your application.

Make sure your cover letter is printable, and not just as an email. That way, if this hiring manager prefers to review paper documents, you’re covered.

2. Use Keywords

If the company you want to work for uses an ATS, there’s a chance your cover letter and resume will go through a keyword screening. That can work in your favor, giving you another place to get some valuable keywords in.

Now, you don’t want to just regurgitate what’s in your resume. Instead, if you didn’t get a chance to tap on a keyword in your resume (or could only fit it in once), you can use your cover letter to cover it.

3. Watch Your Sentence Structure

Since you’re writing about yourself, you may have a tendency to start every sentence with “I.” While you can do that on occasion, if every sentence starts “I,” one after another, the tone of your cover letter is going to be a miss.

Similarly, if every sentence is the same length, you’ll run into trouble. It makes your cover letter sound monotonous and, monotonous often equals boring. You’re trying to catch the hiring manager’s attention, so mix things up a bit.

Make sure you use different starting words and vary your sentence length. It’ll make your cover letter more interesting, and that’s ridiculously important.

4. Talk About Them

Creating a value proposition means showing how your skills will make life easier for them. Discuss yourself but only in the context of applying your capabilities to solve their problems. That makes you look like a solution, and that’s what you really want.

One of the simplest ways to pull this off is to identify a pain point. Then, you can mention it briefly and follow that up with how you can make it easier to overcome. Easy peasy.

5. Match Tone

Hiring managers need to find candidates that are also great culture fits. If you want to highlight yourself as a potential match, use the company’s tone as a guide.

See what language they use in social media posts, mission and values statements, website, and job ad. Then, convey a similar tone, while keeping things professional. It’ll make you seem like a better fit, and that’s a great thing.

6. Use Numbers

Quantifying your cover letter is just as important as quantifying your resume. Numbers stand out visually and provide valuable context. So add in some digits whenever it’s appropriate.

7. Make the Most of Your Opening Line

While your first paragraph needs to serve as an introduction, that doesn’t mean you have to start with, “My name is…” In fact, you shouldn’t. Your name is at the top of the page, so you don’t need to repeat yourself.

Similarly, starting with, “I’m applying to [position]…” won’t help you stand out. While you do need to cover that information, consider making your first sentence something different.

Use a relevant quote. Highlight your professional motto. Lead with a brief anecdote. Any of those options are fairly unique, and may increase your odds of standing out.

8. Go Image-Free

Pictures, graphics, emojis… they don’t usually have a place in a cover letter. Plus, if your cover letter is screened by an ATS, anything other than text can confuse the system, and that could hurt you. So, leave the images out.

9. Skip Cliches

If you want to be unmemorable, rely on cliches. Phrases like “go-getter” and “team player” won’t help you. You’re better off using your achievements to showcase those traits than telling the hiring manager you have them.

10. Follow the Directions

If there are any directions regarding the cover letter, follow them to the letter, period. Failing to follow the instructions won’t result in anything but a rejection.

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, all of the cover letter tips above can help you stand out from the crowd. Make use of every single one. That way, you can stand out from the crowd for all of the right reasons.

Remember, you’re an exceptional candidate. Let that shine through in your cover letter.

best cover letter tricks

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.

His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others.

Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .

About The Author

Mike simpson.

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Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .

Copyright © 2024 · TheInterviewguys.com · All Rights Reserved

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

young-woman-checking-her-cover-lette

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

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

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

What is a cover letter and why does it matter?

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

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

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

What 3 things should you include in a cover letter?

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

1. Personalization

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

2. Highlight relevant achievements and skills

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

3. Show enthusiasm and fit

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

What do hiring managers look for in a cover letter?

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

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

Clear and concise writing

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

Demonstrated knowledge of the company

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

Achievements and accomplishments

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

Enthusiasm and motivation

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

Professionalism

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

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

How do you structure a cover letter?

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

Contact information

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

Employer's contact information

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

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

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

How to write a good cover letter (with examples)

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

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

1. Add a header and contact information

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

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

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

Christopher Pike

San Francisco, California

[email protected]

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

Warm regards,

Catherine Janeway

Bloomington, Indiana

[email protected]

(555) 999 - 2222

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

2. Include a personal greeting

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

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

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

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

3. Draw them in with an opening story

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

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

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

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

“Dear Mr. John Doe,

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

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

4. Emphasize why you’re best for the job

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

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

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

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

Highlight how you fulfill these requirements:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips to write a great cover letter that compliments your resume

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

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

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

Common cover letter writing FAQs

How long should a cover letter be.

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

Should I include personal information in a cover letter?

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

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

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

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

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

Should I include references in my cover letter?

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

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

The hardest part of writing is getting started. 

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

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

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

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

Ace your job search

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

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

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

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

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best cover letter tricks

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter That Will Stand Out

A woman works at crafting a cover letter on a laptop in her home.

First tip on how to write a cover letter

Use fewer words to say more, tailor your cover letter to a specific job, be proud of your past accomplishments, address the hiring manager personally, use keywords from the job description, throw in numbers and examples, more ‘don’ts’ when writing a cover letter, last cover letter tip: proofread your work.

In this age of digital recruiting, do you really need to write something to accompany your resume or job application? Is writing a cover letter really important? Here’s a tip for you: The short answer is yes!

Yet, far too often, job seekers treat the process of writing a cover letter as an afterthought to submitting a resume. Or they don’t bother to write one at all.

Your cover letter is your introduction to a prospective employer. It’s also an opportunity to make a great first impression and to showcase why you’d make a great hire. So don’t squander it.

These days, it’s unlikely a cover letter, like your resume , would be something you’d print and mail to a hiring manager. In fact, it may not be a letter at all. The savviest job seekers will include the modern equivalent of a targeted cover letter in the body of an email message or an online job application.

Take a look at these tips for writing a cover letter that will convince hiring managers and HR professionals to call you for an interview.

Don’t rehash your resume. Your words should do more than restate salient details from what’s already in your resume. The cover letter is where you should promote yourself, describe your ambition and express your enthusiasm for a new role and company in a way that is distinct from your resume.

Check out this brief checklist of important functions of a targeted cover letter:

  • A cover letter specifically relates your skills and experience to the job description and requested qualifications.
  • It explains why you would love to have the job in question.
  • It shows you’ve done research on the company, by commenting on its mission or key leadership.
  • It finishes with a call to action that invites the hiring manager to follow up with you regarding the job opportunity.

The barrage of information coming at all of us today has created attention spans that are shorter than ever before. Cover letters are no exception. Managers are often inundated with applications, so economy of words matters.

In fact, keep it brief with a three-paragraph format, using each paragraph to focus on an aspect of your application.

  • Start with an attention-grabbing introduction that expresses your enthusiasm about the position and the company. If you have a referral, drop their name here.
  • This is your sales pitch where you address your top skills, accomplishments and attributes, and explain why your qualifications relate to this particular role or company.
  • Finally, restate briefly how you can add value, thank the hiring manager for their consideration and initiate the next step by saying you’d like to follow up with a call or an interview.

For more tips related to that last paragraph, read about how to write a cover letter closing .

Don’t use a one-size-fits-all cover letter template for all the positions you apply for. If you do, you’re missing the point: Only a letter that’s targeted to the job at hand will make a positive impression.

Write a cover letter employers can’t ignore by tying it to the elements of the job that match your unique skills and experience. What are they asking for that you’re especially good at? What would make your contribution unique? Those are the points to stress when writing a cover letter.

Just as important, gather facts and figures that support your claims with details. For example, if you’re applying for a managerial role, mention the size of teams and budgets you’ve managed. If it’s a sales role, describe specific sales goals you’ve achieved.

In addition to highlighting your talents, you can further personalize your cover letter by demonstrating your familiarity with the specific industry, employer and type of position.    

Companies want confident employees who love their work. They know these are the people who tend to perform better, serve as stronger team members and have greater potential to grow along with the business.

Draw attention to specific examples of projects you’ve worked on that make you an ideal candidate, and don’t hesitate to brag a little about your most pertinent achievements. Consider adding a sentence or two — or even a bullet list, as long as you’re not duplicating your resume — of key achievements backed up with quantitative data. Did you increase revenue by identifying tax savings worth $50,000 a year, win six design awards, quadruple the company’s social media following? Here’s the place to mention it.

SUBMIT YOUR RESUME

How would you feel if you got an email addressed, To Whom It May Concern? Just as you personalize your resume to the role, you should also address the cover letter to the person actually hiring for the position, as opposed to Dear Employer. If it’s not spelled out in the job posting and you can’t find it on LinkedIn, be proactive and call the organization’s main phone number and ask for the name and title of the hiring manager.

If you’re still in school or just out, your career services office may be able to help you identify the right contact at a company.

Many employers use resume-filtering software that scans for keywords and evaluates how closely resumes and cover letters match the preferred skills and experience. That means your cover letter should incorporate key phrases you’ve identified in the job description — if they honestly match with your background and strengths.

During the writing process, carefully review the job ad for the type of degree required, the number of years’ experience needed, and desired software skills, organization and communication abilities, and project management background.

If you want to know how to write a cover letter that stands out, show how you’ve had a measurable impact on an organization. Did you bring in new clients, make a process more efficient, spearhead some campaigns? Provide specific numbers, percentages to show growth, or a range or estimate to quantify results.

Offering examples can also help you illustrate what you’ve achieved or elaborate on the specifics. Show, don’t tell, whenever possible when you describe what you’ve done and what you can bring to your next position.

  • Don’t overshare — Showing some personality is generally fine, but keep the focus on your career. Stick to pertinent facts and omit personal details unrelated to your ability to perform the job.
  • Don’t go overboard with self-celebration — Employers expect job candidates to use the cover letter to toot their own horn. (That’s the whole point, right?) Instead of bragging about being the “world’s best UX designer” or a “marketing superhero,” job seekers should provide concrete information that conveys value and impact. Bold statements are OK, as long as you back them up with facts.
  • Don’t make demands — Zero in on what you can do for the employer, not what you hope to gain from the company. It’s both presumptuous and off-putting to cite salary demands before you’ve even landed a phone or video interview . The same goes for bringing up the perks and benefits you expect.
  • Don’t fail to follow directions — Employers often provide specific instructions in the job ad, such as submitting your resume and cover letter in a certain file format or referencing the job title or requisition number. Before you upload your letter or hit the send button, reread the job posting to make sure you’ve done everything the employer asked so you don’t raise red flags.

Last, but decidedly not least in these suggestions and tips for how to write a cover letter, proofread your work. After you’ve made a strong argument for your candidacy and given your letter a final polish, ask a friend or family member with a strong eye for typos and good grammar, punctuation and spelling skills to review it. Include a copy of the job posting to make sure you’ve hit all the right points.

Then do it. Press send!

best cover letter tricks

Top 21 Cover Letter Tips [to Land the Job!]

Background Image

You’ve narrowed in on the perfect job and you’ve got your resume down.

There’s one more step before you send out that application: the cover letter.

The cover letter is ESSENTIAL in the job application process. It complements your resume by giving the hiring manager a taste of your personality and enthusiasm for the position.

If you’re wondering whether you’re doing it right, stop worrying. We’ve got you covered!

In this article, we’ll give you all the cover letter tips you’ll ever need!

We’ve divided  our cover letter tips into three main parts, in order of importance:

  • Essential Tips - These tips are fundamental to writing a killer cover letter.
  • Important Tips - These cover letter tips are also important, but not as essential.
  • Nice-to-have Tips - Not super important, but these tips can still be a nice addition to your cover letter.

9 Essential Cover Letter Tips

Tip #1 - get the basics right.

Before we get into any of the other tips, we want to make sure you know what a great cover letter looks like .

In a nutshell, a cover letter consists of six main parts:

  • A header , which contains your contact information
  • A greeting for the hiring manager
  • The opening paragraph , where you open with an attention grabber and list your top achievements
  • The second paragraph , where you explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job
  • The third paragraph , where you explain why you’re compatible with the company, its work culture, and its goals
  • The closing remarks

best tips for cover letter structure

Tip #2 - Tailor your cover letter to the position

You might be tempted to write one awesome cover letter and use it for every position you apply to.

After all, if it’s so good, it should work everywhere, right?

The thing is, the whole point of a cover letter is to show your achievements and enthusiasm about the particular company and position you are applying to.

Different positions have different requirements and responsibilities. You can convince a recruiter to hire you if you make a case for why you’re great for that particular position , not why you’re great in general. 

This is why a one-letter-fits-all approach does not work.

To personalize your cover letter to the exact position you are applying for, you should:

  • Identify the position’s key responsibilities and get a sense of what kind of person they are looking for.
  • Write a cover letter that demonstrates how you can handle those responsibilities and how you’re the right person for the job.

Both candidates are applying for the position of brand development manager in company XYZ.

I am responsible and creative. I have also done well in all my previous positions. I enjoy the work culture in your company and I believe I would be a great fit here.

A brand development management position in XYZ is key to successfully launching XYZ’s brands into e-commerce. In my previous positions, I have led 14 projects and have developed four separate brand launch plans, all of which have raised awareness of the brands within 6 months of the launch plan application.

Rose obviously sends the same cover letter to all job applications because there is nothing position-specific about the way she describes her skills. 

Candance, on the other hand, has identified the position’s requirements and key roles and demonstrates how she’s a great fit for it.

Now, which one would you hire based on what you read?

Tip #3 - Use your professional email

This might sound obvious, but it’s something important that might easily slip your attention.

If you use that [email protected] email you made in the fourth grade in your cover letter, the hiring manager immediately X-s you out.

No silly puns and no pop culture references: use a professional email that has your first name and last name.

Tip #4 - Don’t repeat your resume

The hiring manager already has your resume. If you simply repeat the information you’ve provided there, what’s the point in writing a cover letter at all?

So what exactly can you say besides what they already know?

Think of the cover letter as the “story” behind your resume. Write about what makes you passionate to do what you do and why you’re a good fit for the position.

Let’s say that in your resume you mention that you worked as a tech assistant and highlighted your key responsibilities. 

In your cover letter, you want to highlight how working as a tech assistant prepared you for the position you are applying for and why you’re passionate about joining the team. 

This way, the hiring manager can also see part of your personality and motivation.

Tip #5 - Make it easy to read

You might be tempted to use long, convoluted sentences and SAT words to show how you’re a professional, sophisticated person.

You don’t want the hiring manager to spend five minutes on one sentence wondering just what the heck you are trying to say.

Keep your language simple and your sentences short and straightforward.

Tip #6 - Keep it short

This one’s pretty simple: don’t drag out your cover letter. One page is more than enough.

The golden rule is to keep it between 250-400 words long in 3-6 paragraphs .

You don’t want to risk the hiring manager getting tired and stopping halfway through reading it.

Tip #7 - Follow submission instructions

The company usually specifies the format you should use when submitting your application.

Look out for specifications about:

  • File format (Word, PDF)
  • Font & margins
  • Content specifics, like which sections or contact information to include

Follow those instructions to a T or the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) might end up not reading your file at all .

If there is nothing specific in the job posting, your best bet is to submit your cover letter in PDF format . Use the same font and design as your resume to enhance your personal brand .

You can pick one of our custom Novorésumé cover letter templates and start writing. 

cover letter tips and templates

Once you’re done creating your resume, it automatically downloads as a PDF.

Tip #8 - Proofread your cover letter

Once you’re done writing, make sure your cover letter doesn’t have any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. They’re absolute turn-offs for recruiters.

Use a spelling checker or the online writing app Grammarly to make sure your letter is flawless.

Tip #9 - Match your cover letter with your resume

Want your application to stand out from the rest?

Match your cover letter style & formatting to your resume.

CIt will make you more memorable as a candidate and show that you care to put in the extra effort by presenting a unified application package.

And you know what's the best part? Creating a matching resume and cover letter doesn’t have to be hard!

At Novorésumé, each of our resume templates comes with a matching cover letter design, so all you have to do is pick a style you like, and half the work is already done for you. 

cover letter resume matching tips

9 Important Cover Letter Tips

Tip #1 - address the letter to the hiring manager.

The days when you used “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam” to address your cover letter are long gone.

The best practice is to address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager , as “Dear Mr. Doe”.

That’s usually the head of the department you are applying for or the HR manager.

How can you find his or her name??

  • Check the job posting for any contact details.
  • Check the company’s LinkedIn and website for the job title.
  • Ask any contacts you might know inside the company.

If you still don’t have any clue who to address your cover letter to, here’s what you can use:

  • Dear [Department] Team,
  • Dear [Department] Hiring Manager,
  • Dear Hiring Manager

Tip #2 - Open up with your achievements

The first impression you make is vital because you only get one chance, and it can make or break your application.

The opening paragraph of your cover letter serves as the first impression to the hiring manager. He or she has countless cover letters to read so yours should pop out from the start.

Thus, you must start outlining why you’re a great candidate for the position in the introduction .

Let’s demonstrate how to do it correctly by looking at the two examples below.

What’s the difference between these two cover letter introductions :

“My name is Justin Brown and I would like to contribute towards ABC’s goal to create an outstanding visual experience for end customers throughout the world. Previously, I’ve worked for XYZ, a renowned graphic design company, for 5 years, where I helped create high-quality visual designs from concept to specs to final product. I believe my updated industry experience, along with my ability to adjust between the bigger picture and concrete problems, as well as my attention to detail, makes me the right candidate for the position.”

“Hi, my name is Josh and I really want to work for your company. I heard about the job opening from LinkedIn and decided to apply. I used to work as a graphic designer for XYZ for 5 years, and this is the perfect opportunity for me.”

If there’s one obvious thing, it is that the second one is a WINNING introduction. 

Why? Well, unlike Josh, Justin’s introduction:

  • Opens with an attention-grabbing sentence , highlighting how Justin can contribute directly towards the company’s goals.
  • Outlines his responsibilities and achievements in his previous position.
  • Describes what makes him the perfect candidate .

Meanwhile, Josh’s introduction doesn’t say much about him as a candidate except that he used to be employed for five years. 

Granted, Josh could be better qualified than Justin, but you could never tell from his cover letter. The hiring manager probably stopped reading and added Josh to the “Rejected” pile.

That’s why you should go beyond the basics in your cover letter’s introduction. Make your intent, contribution, and skills known upfront.

Tip #3 - Use bullet points for your qualifications

There’s a good reason why we use bullet points so much:

  • They help us list things effectively 
  • They get the point across
  • They break up the paragraphs into smaller chunks and overall makes the cover letter easier to skim or read
  • They summarize a lot of information in a digestible manner

See what we did there?

That’s what you should do when you list your qualifications in your cover letter as well. 

Instead of writing everything out, use bullet points to sum up all your successes. The hiring manager will be immediately drawn to them and WON’T just skim through your cover letter mindlessly. 

Tip #4 - Use numbers and facts

Whenever you describe your successful experiences, you want to enrich them with actual percentages, numbers, and tangible facts.

When achievements are backed up by real performance metrics, they boost your credibility.

So, instead of simply describing your achievements:

“I have previous experience with transfusion therapies and taking care of people with rare diseases. I also speak three languages, which can come in handy with patients from different nationalities.”

Use the power of numbers (and bullet points) to convince the hiring manager.

My 10 years of experience in the medical field have contributed towards my excellence in:

  • Managing the medical care of 75+ patients with rare diseases.
  • Assisting 25+ patients attending transfusion therapy. 
  • Taking care of 50+ patients from different nationalities, made easy by my fluency in English, German, and Spanish.

Tip #5 - Avoid cliches

Cliches are so overused, they risk making you look as if you have no original thoughts.

Any of the following can be a cliche (but not only):

  • I am a great team player.
  • I am a multi-tasker.
  • I have great attention to detail.
  • I am a good communicator.

After all the insights we’ve shared with you so  far, you might guess why cliches are a NO:

They add nothing of substance to your content. And you want to use the valuable space in your cover letter to showcase why you’re a great fit for the job. 

Whenever you are tempted to write a cliche, twist it by providing facts to back up your experience.

So, instead of saying : 

“I am a great team player”.

Show them why you are one by describing your experience: 

“In my previous position, I worked with five other colleagues from three different departments to arrive at a marketable digital solution for our customers. Working with individuals with diverse opinions taught me the value of effective teamwork, a lesson I am happy to utilize in this position.”

Tip #6 - Use acronyms correctly

Acronyms are great. They save up space and show the hiring manager that you speak the industry lingo, especially if you’re applying for a technical position.

And yes, chances are the recruiter understands all the acronyms you might use in your cover letter. 

Nonetheless, you should never use acronyms thinking the recruiter understands them. Instead,  write the word the first time around and put the acronym into brackets, and then you can go ahead and use just the acronym if it repeats throughout the text. 

Here’s what we mean:

I have two years of experience with Amazon Web Services (AWS). I have specifically worked with Amazon Elasticsearch (AES) in my previous position. I believe the cloud computing service model provided by AWS can be successfully applied to your business model. 

I have two years of experience with AWS. I have specifically worked with AES and AMI in my previous positions.

Tip #7- Don’t include your address

By all means, you should include your contact information in your cover letter.

However, your address or area of work goes into your resume , not the cover letter.

Tip #8 - Don’t apologize

There comes a time when you have to account for possible red flags in your work experience.

These can include:

  • Getting fired or being laid off
  • Having too many short-lived jobs
  • A gap in your resume
  • Lack of experience

You might want to rush and explain these red flags in your cover letter, just to let the hiring manager know there’s nothing to worry about.

We’re here to say NO.

Do not apologize or explain anything you think is “negative”. The hiring manager will bring up any concerns he or she might have in your interview. You’ll have an opportunity to answer there.

Tip #9 - Don’t be arrogant

Just as being apologetic is not a good look, being over-confident is equally damning.

Nobody likes someone cocky, so avoid talking in superlatives or praising your abilities. 

Let your work experience and achievements speak on your behalf.

In my previous position, I surpassed my yearly conversion targets by 34%.

I am a great employee. All my previous managers loved having me around because I was the best at my job.

4 Nice-to-Have Cover Letter Tips

Tip #1 - insert your social media and personal website.

Including your professional social media or personal website adds an extra touch to your cover letter.

Hint: We’re not talking about your Facebook or VSCO. You probably take great pictures of your food, but that will not get you hired.

If you have a LinkedIn, Github, Behance, or Dribble account, however, it can give the hiring manager something extra to look at.

If you have a personal website with your showcased work or portfolio, even better!

Make sure to add a link to those under your contact information

Tip #2 - End with a call to action

Ending a cover letter is usually the hardest part. You’ve described all your achievements, thanked the manager for their time, now what?

We recommend concluding your letter with a “call to action”, inviting your hiring manager to take further steps.

For example, you could write something like: 

“I look forward to further discussing how my legal skills and experience can help ABC with corporate and commercial transactions for its international operations.”

Tip #3 - Use power words and action verbs

Power words and action verbs are selected words you can use throughout your cover letter to make your achievements *pop* more .

So, instead of saying “I was responsible for” fifteen different times, you can use some action verbs to make your language more diverse, like:

  • I managed a team of five people.
  • I facilitated the communication and task allocation of five people.
  • I coordinated a team of five people.

They make your text flow smoothly, enhance the power of your actions, AND make your language more versatile.

If you want to sprinkle some of these magical words in your resume, check out our complete list of 340+ action verbs and power words .

Tip #4 - Get a second opinion

Sometimes when we’re writing we get so lost trying to put our thoughts into words, we lose sight of the bigger picture.

If you have a capable friend, recruiter, or career advisor, it doesn’t hurt to ask them to take a look at your cover letter. 

Have them check it for spelling and grammatical mistakes (just in case you missed any) and whether they think your cover letter does your skills and qualifications justice.

Got the green light?

Ready to go!

And that’s it!

The road to writing your cover letter is filled with Dos, Don’ts, and lots of caffeine. 

We hope you enjoyed the guide and have a good sense of what’s expected of you.

Now stop procrastinating and get to writing!

Or, check out some of our other top articles:

  • How to Write a Resume | Professional Guide w/ 41+ Examples
  • Top Cover Letter Examples in 2024 [For All Professions]
  • How to Write a Motivational Letter (and Get Accepted Anywhere in 2024)

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CVs & Résumés

  • Oct 27, 2023
  • 14 min read

How to Write a Cover Letter: 20 Essential Tips (+3 Examples)

The document that gets you noticed by employers.

Chris Leitch

Chris Leitch

Editor-in-Chief & Résumé Expert

Reviewed by Electra Michaelidou

Cover letter writing

Cover letters are the bane of every jobseeker’s existence. But they’re a necessary evil.

Indeed, most hiring managers will use your cover letter to evaluate your candidacy and decide on whether reading your résumé is worth their time , never mind inviting you to an interview.

That’s why it’s so important to spend time and careful thought in writing the least generic and most compelling cover letter you can.

Not sure how to write a letter that grabs the hiring manager’s attention?

In this article, you’ll find a curated collection of 20 tips that will walk you through the entire process, from start to finish — plus examples to inspire you and a free template to ensure job search success in 2024 .

Getting started

Before you put pen to paper (or hand to keyboard), you’ll first need to do some prep work for your cover letter:

1. Understand the purpose of a cover letter

Writing a cover letter is so much more than simply a way to express your interest in an open position. It’s a way to effectively market yourself as the ideal candidate for said position.

Essentially, your letter should do four things:

  • Relate your skills, experience and qualifications to the target job.
  • Explain why you want the job in question.
  • Demonstrate your interest in the company.
  • Invite the reader to follow up with you regarding the job opportunity.

Keeping all this in the back of your mind as you set out to write your letter can help you write a better one.

2. Review the job description

It’s time to go back to the job description of the position you want to apply for, and carefully read it — and read it again — to really understand what the employer is looking for in the ideal candidate.

As you read through the description, make note of any important keywords and phrases , as well as any special instructions. All this will come in handy during the writing stage, which we’ll get to shortly.

3. Research the company

Find out as much as you can about the company you’re applying to. Check out their website (paying special attention to their mission, values and culture), read up on company news and announcements, and go over employee reviews.

The more you know about your potential employer, the better you can personalize your letter to them. For example, if they’re planning to expand operations to Asia, you could highlight your fluency in Mandarin or Hindi , or how you previously worked in Japan for five years and have an extensive list of useful industry contacts.

4. Identify your unique selling point

Everyone has a unique selling point. It could be being fluent in seven languages, having a knack for turning failing companies around, or being the winner of a highly prestigious industry award.

Take the time to identify your own USP — essentially what makes you unique among your competition — by assessing your skills , experiences, qualifications and accomplishments. This should then be the focus of your letter.

Writing your cover letter

Now it’s time for the actual writing part. Just keep the following tips in mind:

5. Focus on what you bring to the table

One of the biggest cover letter mistakes that you can make is making it all about you — think: “I am applying for this job, as I believe it will help me develop my skill set and expand my knowledge.”

Employers don’t want to feel like they’re a steppingstone onto something bigger and better. They want to know what you can do for them , not what they can do for you . So, focus your letter around how your past experiences and achievements can help you contribute to their company’s success.

6. Incorporate keywords

Consulting the list of keywords and phrases that you identified when reviewing the job description, figure out how you can naturally incorporate them into your letter .

For example, if “in-depth knowledge of SEO” is listed among the position’s requirements, you could work the exact phrase into your letter, like so: “With 8 years of experience in copyediting for leading digital publications, I have in-depth knowledge of SEO and social media marketing .”

That said, don’t go overboard. Only do this for the most relevant and important keywords, and only where it makes sense to do so.

7. Don’t apologize for skills you don’t have

While you should, ideally, be applying for jobs that you’re qualified for, you (or anyone else) will never meet 100% of the position’s requirements — and that’s okay. What’s not okay is apologizing for your shortfalls.

When you bring attention to the skills or qualifications that you lack, you’re setting yourself up for failure, as your lack of confidence will rub off on the hiring manager . Instead, direct their attention to your strengths.

8. Use numbers and metrics

Don’t just tell the hiring manager that you’re good at something — show them, too. A simple trick to achieve this is to quantify your achievements with numbers and metrics, as doing so provides concrete evidence of your impact and results in past jobs.

For example, instead of simply saying that you have a “track record of increasing revenue”, mention how much revenue increased by because of your efforts — like so:

As the Vice President of Sales at Company ABC, I increased annual revenue by 45% in just one year, doubling our client base and establishing strong relationships with key stakeholders.

9. Don’t rehash your résumé

Your cover letter is meant to complement — not replicate — your résumé.

While it should touch upon the content of your résumé (that is: your experiences, skills and accomplishments), your letter should “zoom in” on the most salient points of your résumé and talk about your experiences in a way that you otherwise couldn’t highlight there, given the limited space you have.

Still, make sure that the information you’re touching upon in your letter has already been included in your résumé — don’t introduce brand-new skills, achievements and experiences.

10. Be concise

At the heart of impactful writing is conciseness. This helps improve clarity, keep your reader engaged and even enhance your credibility.

Keep your cover letter to one full page at most — and half a page at least — and aim for a total of 250–400 words. Also, use short sentences (no more than 25 words), limit paragraphs to 3–5 lines, and consider using bullet points to break down longer paragraphs into easily digestible chunks.

11. Use active voice

The active voice (eg: “Zombies ate Karen”) is far more direct, impactful and compelling than the passive voice (eg: “Karen was eaten by zombies”). It also makes you sound more confident and professional.

Of course, the passive voice sometimes works better than the active voice (such as when you want to emphasize the action over the subject), but try to steer clear of it as much as you can. You can do this by watching out for “by” phrases and “to be” verbs (“be”, “is”, “being”, “been”, etc).

12. Get the tone right

It’s not just about what you say in your cover letter; it’s also about how you say it.

It’s a good idea to match your writing style to that of the company . If their website’s tone of voice is formal, then adopt the same tone in your letter. If they’re quite laidback, though, then use a more upbeat and friendly tone.

As a general rule of thumb, keep it professional — but try to work in a bit of your own personality (without going overboard).

13. Use positive language

In your cover letter, positive language can increase optimism in the reader of you and portray you as a credible and respectable applicant .

Where possible, use “I am” and “I have” phrases (which demonstrate confidence), as opposed to “I feel” and “I believe” phrases (which are subjective and imply uncertainty in your own abilities). Likewise, eliminate weak words and phrases like “some knowledge” and “fairly experienced”, and generally try to use language that shows agreement, flexibility or incentive.

14. Follow any special instructions

Some job descriptions include special requests for cover letters, such as answering specific questions, listing salary requirements (which is rare but not unheard of) or using a particular file type. It is beyond imperative that you follow any such instructions precisely .

If you don’t, the hiring manager will inevitably assume that you’re either a) lazy or b) unable to follow basic instructions — either way, it will land your job application in the rejection pile .

15. Don’t overuse “I”

While your letter should use a first-person perspective, you need to be careful that it doesn’t end up sounding like your autobiography and creating the perception that you’re self-centered .

As such, it’s a good idea to minimize the use of personal pronouns like “I” and “my” where possible. If you can, rework sentences that contain instances of “I”, especially at the beginning — without, of course, sacrificing proper grammar.

16. Speak to the reader

When you speak to the reader, and not about them, you can better connect with them . As a result, they’ll be more inclined to shortlist you, as you’ve already got some rapport going.

Do this by addressing the hiring manager by name in your letter’s greeting, highlighting the common ground you found during your research, and incorporating personal pronouns like “you” and “your” (where it makes sense to do so).

As a lifelong fan of Company ABC, I was excited to learn that you’re currently looking for a Junior Accountant to join your San Francisco-based team.

17. Use plain English

You may be applying for a highly technical job, but your application will likely (at least at first) be read by a recruiter or HR manager who isn’t at all familiar with terminology frequently used in your field.

As such, it’s best to use plain English that everyone can understand — regardless their job title or even language proficiency — and to keep industry jargon to an absolute minimum .

Testing your cover letter

You’ve finished writing your cover letter and you’re ready to submit it, but wait — don’t hit the “Apply” button just yet:

18. Proofread

Always make the time to proofread your cover letter ( and résumé! ) before sending it off.

Ideally, you should take a couple of hours away from your letter , allowing yourself to recharge your batteries and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes.

Try different proofreading techniques , like reading your letter backwards, reading it aloud, and focusing on one issue at a time (capitalization, verb tenses, spelling, punctuation, and so on).

19. Ask for feedback

As you’re the one writing your cover letter, it’s sometimes difficult to be unbiased when reviewing your own work . After all, you know what you’re trying to say — which makes it easier to miss mistakes in terms of structure, flow and grammar.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to ask friends, relatives, teachers or, even better, a professional résumé writer for their feedback. Email them a copy of your letter, including a link to the job you’re applying for and a list of things you particularly want their input on.

20. Email your letter to yourself

Finally, it’s important to make sure your document works properly when opened . You can do this by sending a test email (with your letter attached) to yourself and opening it on a different computer.

This is a great way to check your letter’s formatting, and fonts especially — indeed, the font you’ve chosen may not be supported by the hiring manager’s operating system. This will result in a replacement font being displayed, which could potentially impact your cover letter’s overall look and feel for the worse.

Check out our video with our best cover letter tips:

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Cover letter template

Our free, ATS-optimized cover letter template is both editable and easy to use, and comes complete with helpful suggestions and practical tips to guide you in crafting your own job-winning letter.

Free Cover Letter Template

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Cover letter examples

Need some writing inspiration? We’ve crafted three cover letter samples, each tailored to a specific situation, to help you get started — all based on our collection of professionally designed premium templates.

1. Changing jobs (and employers)

If you’ve decided it’s time to move on to greener pastures , your cover letter should highlight what you can do (and that you do it well) and how your past success and results can benefit the company you’re applying to. Consider this cover letter example:

Cover Letter Example

Get the Active template

2. Applying for an internal position

If you’re eyeing an internal position that has recently opened, you’re at an advantage as you know more about the company’s internal structure, culture and priorities than you would if you were applying to a different company. For internal position cover letters, it’s always a good idea to name-drop a recommendation or referral, like in this sample:

Internal Position Cover Letter Example

Get the ATS-Friendly Template

3. Applying for a scholarship

Cover letters aren’t strictly reserved for applying for a job or an internship. They can also be used for scholarship, grant and even college applications, where you should highlight your dedication, passion and goals. Consider this sample scholarship cover letter:

Scholarship Cover Letter Example

Get the Savvy template

Cover letter FAQs

If you still have questions about cover letters, fret not: we’ve got the answers.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your résumé). It’s, essentially, a piece of persuasive writing that introduces yourself to potential employers and conveys why you’re a great candidate for the position.

Do I even need one?

Yes! Hiring managers expect you to include a cover letter in your job application , and if they can’t find one attached, they’ll likely assume that you don’t really care about the job — which could mean instant rejection. The only time you should ever skip the cover letter is when the job description specifically requests you to (which is rarely the case).

How should I structure my letter?

Your cover letter should consist of three main parts: an opening paragraph (introducing yourself and why you’re applying), the middle paragraphs (highlighting why you’re a great fit for the job) and a closing paragraph (expressing gratitude and highlighting a call to action). Make sure to also include a professional greeting and a complimentary close.

How should I design my letter?

Your cover letter should complement your résumé’s design and overall look . This means using the same fonts and colors, and adopting the same formatting across both documents (and any other supplemental documents, for that matter). This will effectively help you create a consistent personal brand .

How should I submit it?

This depends on the employer’s preferred method. You’ll typically find this information at the end of the job description, where you’ll be asked to either complete an online form or send an email. In the case of the latter, make sure to write a short, descriptive subject line like “John Smith — Application for Junior Accountant Position”.

Key takeaways

While your résumé is what gets you the interview , it’s your cover letter that opens the door in the first place. But a cover letter takes careful thought and effort — get it wrong, and that door is swiftly closed in your face.

Using the tips and examples we explored in this article, you’ll hopefully be able craft a cover letter that not only keeps said door open, but that also gets you through it .

To sum up, here’s what we learned about writing a strong cover letter:

  • Do some prep work. This includes reviewing the job description and identifying your USP, which will be helpful when you get round to writing your cover letter.
  • Be strategic. Focus on how you can contribute to the company’s success, incorporate relevant keywords, use numbers and examples, and follow any special instructions.
  • Review examples for inspiration . But don’t copy/paste content you find online; use your own words to tell your story and make your letter yours .
  • Add the finishing touches. Proofread your cover letter before sending it out, and ask a trusted friend to look over it too.

Got a question? Let us know in the comments section below!

Originally published on June 28, 2017.

Job Applications

Finding a Job

Cover Letters

best cover letter tricks

The 46 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

Amanda Zantal-Wiener

Published: May 22, 2024

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

 person types of a cover letter

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

Customizable Cover Letter Examples

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

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

1. Standard Cover Letter Example

good cover letter examples, standard

5 Free Cover Letter Templates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

good cover letter examples, explains why

good cover letter examples, short and sweet

16. Consulting Internship Cover Letter Example

good cover letter examples, consulting internship

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

Unhelpful Cover Letter Introduction:

"To Whom it May Concern,

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

Relevant Professional Experience

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

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

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

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

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

Helpful Cover Letter Experience:

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

Unhelpful Cover Letter Experience:

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

Useful Examples

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

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

Helpful Cover Letter Example:

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

Unhelpful Cover Letter Example:

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

Research and Company Knowledge

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

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

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

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

Helpful Cover Letter Research:

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

Unhelpful Cover Letter Research:

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

Clear Writing

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

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

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

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

Helpful Cover Letter Writing:

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

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

Unhelpful Cover Letter Writing:

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

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

Genuine Interest and Enthusiasm

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

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

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

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

Helpful Cover Letter Tone:

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

Unhelpful Cover Letter Tone:

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

Memorable Conclusion

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

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

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

Helpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

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

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

[Your Name]"

Unhelpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10 Best Cover Letter Tips & Tricks Sure to Score Job Interviews in 2022

Writing a cover letter with our cover letter tips and writing hacks, you’re sure to write one that impresses and lands you an interview.

Christian Eilers

Ready to get started writing your cover letter?

A cover letter, at first glance, may seem like a daunting task, harder to complete than the responsibilities at the job you’re applying for.

However, with our cover letter tips, tricks, and writing hacks, you’re sure to find it’s way easier than you’d thought.

So, let’s get to it!

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Here are our top cover letter tips to help you score an interview:

1. Tailor Each Cover Letter for One Particular Job

This is one of our most important resume tips , but it’s also one of the most crucial cover letter tips, as well.

What does tailoring a cover letter mean, exactly?

To tailor a cover letter means that you write one cover letter specifically for each job you apply to. It mentions the company and job position by name, and it covers exactly why you are a great fit for this organization, job title, department, and the company culture overall.

Hiring managers look at dozens, if not hundreds, of cover letters every day; to get invited to the interview, you need to stand out from the crowd. Writing a generic cover letter does the exact opposite while also showing the recruiter or HR representative that you couldn’t care less about actually getting a response.

While it may sound time-consuming, it pays off in the long run. Actually, not tailoring your cover letter is the actual waste of time, because you’ll just be applying to more and more jobs without getting that phone call back.

2. Research the Company Before You Begin

Before you start writing your cover letter, it’s important to research the company. Not only will this help you write a tailored cover letter, but it will advise you on what to write in the body to tickle their fancy.

Begin first by researching the position you’re applying for at your company so you’ll be able to understand and speak to exactly what they’re looking for as an employee. A graphic designer or administrative assistant or junior accountant at Company A will have different job responsibilities, necessary skills, and cultural fit than the same exact position at Company B.

Next, research the team you’re applying to be a part of. This may be easier for larger companies, but it can definitely prepare you for success. Are you applying to join their marketing team? Learn about their past campaigns, their marketing “voice,” and any other information so you can detail how you envision yourself helping the team grow and accomplish their goals.

Finally, research the company itself. From their founders and history to the company culture and future plans, knowing the company on a more intimate level will help you write a can’t-be-beat cover letter, as well as impress them at the interview to follow!

Related Read : 10+ Job Search Tips & Tricks to Up Your Chances of Landing an Interview

3. Find the Hiring Manager’s Name

This probably belongs with researching the company, but I figured I’d give it its own entry because it’s important.

If you can avoid it—and you usually can—you don’t want to start your cover letter with “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir or madam.” 

Do you know that famous quote by Dale Carnegie, author of How To Win Friends and Influence People , one of the best business books to read ? He says, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

So, open your cover letter with a salutation that uses this sweet, most important sound! Search on LinkedIn, the company’s website, or even call up the receptionist to learn what the name of the hiring manager, recruiter, HR representative, or department manager is, and you’ll go a long way towards winning them over before you even get to the content of your cover letter!

4. Don’t Repeat Your Resume

Some people just use their cover letter to basically repeat everything they already mentioned on their cover letter, perhaps just in more complete sentences.

Don’t do this.

A cover letter should be complementary to your resume. Use it to go more in-depth on certain skills you have and how they relate to the job you’re applying for. Or, explain why there’s an employment gap on your resume, for instance, as that’s usually something they’ll want to clear up.

Reiterating your resume on your cover letter only gives them the same document twice, only in different formats; it’s like sending them your resume as a PDF and also as a Word document. Instead, your cover letter should add value to your resume if you want it to add value to your chances as a prospective job candidate!

Related Read : What to Bring to an Interview? 10+ Things to Take for Your Big Meeting

5. Always Send a Cover Letter When Applying for a Job

These are all great cover letter tips and all, but do you even need a cover letter in the first place?

Absolutely!

Cover letters are just as important—if not more—as the resume it accompanies. Worse case scenario is they don’t read it at all and focus on your resume, but this is highly unlikely. And, as they say, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it .  

However, read the job description just to be sure. If it specifically demands you not to apply with a cover letter, then don’t, of course. Also, if you’re applying through a proprietary application system, you might fill out all your information there and have no place to upload or paste your cover letter, and that’s fine—unfortunate, but fine.

But, in every other case, include a cover letter! 

6. Format Your Cover Letter Right

As we discussed earlier, a cover letter should follow formal letter protocol and rules, even if the content you write in the body is more on the informal side.

Here’s how a cover letter should be formatted:

Your First & Last Name Your Address Date of Writing Name of Company Representative Their Department Company Name Company Address Salutation Opening Paragraph to Introduce Yourself Cover Letter Body Paragraphs Ending Paragraph Closing Sentiment Your Name

If you follow this cover letter format, you’ll at least have the structure right. Feel free to copy and paste this onto your blank cover letter document and use it as a guide when writing yours!

Related Read : Internships 101: Everything You Should Know About Internship Programs

7. Don’t Mention the EXACT Role You’re Applying For

This is one of the very specific cover letter tips, but it can be quite handy and only for the best.

In your cover letter opening statement, when you mention your formal application for such-and-such position, leave off any qualifying seniority levels if they’re on the low end.

For example, say you’re applying for the junior sales representative opening Company A has. On your cover letter, write that you’re applying for the open sales representative position (leaving off the “junior”). 

If the company only has the junior position to fill, then fine, they’ll know you meant that. But, if they also had a mid-level sales rep role to hire for, they could weigh your experience and fitfulness for that higher-level position, as well. You never know—you could have earned yourself a promotion before you even arrived at the interview!

8. Stay Professional While Also Showing Your Personality

Cover letters are business documents, so you should keep them formally formatted (which we’ll talk about shortly). However, let your personality shine through, as well.

When you hand in the job application package consisting of your resume and cover letter, your resume is the all-business document. It’s monotonous in nature, with curt sentences, bullet points, and lists of skills.

With that being the case, use your job cover letter to show some personality. Like I mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t write “Dear sir or madam,” because it’s not personal and seems rather generic. The same goes with the actual content within the cover letter body. Let your excitement for the opportunity of being hired to work for this company shine through. Show your enthusiasm for the role you’re asking to take on. Display passion for your past work, and they’ll easily imagine you working for them, soon enough!

Related Read : How to Use Goodwall’s Web Profile to Land a Job or Internship Opportunity

9. Proofread Your Cover Letter Thoroughly

Before you even think about sending your cover letter, proofread!

One of the biggest cover letter mistakes, and one of the biggest turn-offs for hiring managers, is to receive a resume or cover letter with a misspelled word or a grammatical error. Most typos are easily announced by your word processor software, whether it’s Google Docs, Microsoft Office, or another program, but they can make mistakes, too, particularly when a word you misspelled is a correctly-spelled different word. 

Also, beware of cover letter errors involving dates you worked, goals you achieved, or responsibilities you had. To make sure everything reads correctly and well, hand your cover letter (and job resume) to a friend, relative, or, better yet, the career counselor at your high school or college, if you’re lucky enough to have one. They may just spot something you had missed, even after several reads!

10. Don’t Lie in Your Cover Letter

Lying on a cover letter is a sure way to get your application tossed out. And, if for some reason you lie and make it all the way to getting hired, you’ll just have a longer way to fall when they do finally learn the truth—and they almost always do!

Be humbly honest in your cover letter when talking about an employment gap or other incident you may be embarrassed about. Recruiters and HR managers know that candidates will have patches of time without work—it would be almost a miracle if you didn’t have a career gap sooner or later! So, stay truthful on your cover letter, and you’ll be just fine. 

Better yet, don’t lie at any point in your employment process!

Related Read : Work From Home Jobs: 13 Best Remote & Online Jobs for 2021 & Beyond

Well, that’s all our cover letter tips for now, but we’ll keep it updated by adding more. We hope you found this guide helpful! If you have any questions, feedback, or other tips for writing cover letters to add to our list, let us know below in the comments, and thanks for reading!

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16 Secrets for Writing Cover Letters That Get You Hired

I can write a solid resume, interview well, and make sure that my online presence is on point.

The one thing that’s always been a struggle? The dreaded cover letter.

Cover letters can be absolute torture, and it feels like there are a million ways to screw them up. Is yours too formal or informal? Too long or short? Too much information or too vague?

There’s an upside, though: Making your cover letter awesome doesn’t have to be a long, difficult process. In fact, as I’ve written more and more cover letters over time (and started helping dozens of other people write theirs), they’ve actually become (gasp!) fun.

Below, I’ve listed the 16 most important tips I’ve learned to make crafting a cover letter into an easy and pain-free process. Half of the tips are related to what you write, and the other half are tiny things that’ll make sure your cover letter is better than the rest. By the end of the list, there’s no way a hiring manager will be able to shuffle you to the bottom of the pile. Or you know…delete your email…

8 Tips for Cover Letters That Grab Hiring Managers’ Attention

1. Describe a pain point

Here’s the most important question any cover letter should answer: What problem would hiring you solve?

Notice that this question is about the company’s problem, not your desire to land the job! Tricky, I know.

But think about it: If a company has put up a job description, it means they have a pain point and need a solution. For example, if a company is hiring a web designer, it means they don’t think their current layout is up to snuff and they’re looking for someone who can get them there. That’s the problem they need solved, and that’s what your cover letter should make clear in first few sentences.

2. Don’t regurgitate your resume

This is a tip that you’ve probably heard before, but it happens all the time : Don’t use your cover letter to simply restate your resume!

Your cover letter is the perfect place to expand on things that your resume doesn’t detail, illustrate the more intangible reasons why you’re perfect for the job, and explain any particular circumstances that warrant discussion (for example, if you’re making a sudden or drastic career change).

Skillcrush: 22 Things to Remove From Your Resume Immediately

3. The tone should match the company

Cover letters are great for companies not only because they can see if you can solve the problem at hand, but also because they give hiring managers a sense of whether or not you understand the company culture.

How do they figure this out? Tone.

Take a look at a company’s website, how its social media is phrased, and how its employees talk about it online. Is this company a little more informal and fun? Is it buttoned-up and corporate? Your cover letter should be written in a tone similar to that of the company’s copy. Obviously put a professional spin on it, but keep the company’s culture in mind.

4. Keep the focus on the company

Hiring managers assume that if you’re applying to a particular job, that must mean you really want that job. Thus, you don’t need to spend your entire cover letter reiterating how badly you want the job and how great the experience would be for you .

It’s okay to spend one or two sentences tops explaining your love for the company, but then it’s time to turn the tables.

The majority of your cover letter should be illustrating to a potential employer what hiring you would do for their company. Again, focus on the pain point: What talents and skills do you have that would help this organization tremendously?

5. Use your numbers

A big problem I’ve seen in lots of cover letters is that they tend to be very vague in describing any notable accomplishments or achievements.

For example, instead of saying that you have had “a great deal of success as an email marketer,” use your numbers: “I spearheaded an entire newsletter redesign that resulted in a 500% increase in our open rate, which proves…”

Numbers also add intrigue and leave hiring managers wanting to hear more!

Psst! This tip holds true for resumes! ( More here .) Adding numbers and statistics is a solid way to stand out!

6. Make your anecdotes short

While examples can make your cover letter super effective, many people make the mistake of including unnecessary or irrelevant information when using anecdotes that make them drag on and lose their umph .

My personal rule is to make any example or story no longer than three sentences so that you can avoid going overboard and wasting valuable space. Here’s how to break it down:

  • Sentence 1: Introduce the skill you’re highlighting.
  • Sentences 2: Explain the situation where you showed off this skill.
  • Sentence 3: What was the end result? Explain what it did for the company and what it proves about your character.

7. Make your opening line memorable

If the big opener to your cover letter is “I’m applying for Position X at Company Y” or “My name is…” it’s time to press the backspace button. There are two things wrong with both of these phrases:

  • They’re redundant, so you’re taking up precious space! A hiring manager is already going to know your name from your application as well as which position you’re applying for. No need to repeat it.
  • They’re generic and unmemorable. Give your hiring manager something to get excited about or be intrigued by.

So, how can you start a cover letter with something that has a little more pizzazz? Try opening with a favorite short anecdote, a quote that best describes you as a professional, or your personal tagline.

8. Everything should relate to the job description

As you write (and then read through) every line of your cover letter, ask yourself: How does this sentence relate to the job description? If you find yourself going on tangents or including facts that don’t prove your ability to excel at the job or understand the company culture, take it out.

And if you need some help making sense of exactly what will prove you are qualified for the job at hand, check out these 10 Tips for Deciphering Tech Job Listings .

8 Tips for Putting the Finishing Touches on Your Cover Letter

1. Research whom to address your letter to

Scrap the “To Whom It May Concern” greeting and do some research to find out who will be reading your cover letter.

In some cases, employers will be super helpful and straight up tell you whom to address that cover letter to. If you aren’t so lucky, a quick Google search can help, or if you have a connection to a potential employer, have a professional contact ask around to see if they can get a name.

If all else fails and you really want to avoid the dreaded “To Whom It May Concern” line, feel free to shoot the company an email. I did this before when I was applying to a company that had a plethora of people on its editorial and HR teams and I had no idea who’d be hiring me.

Here’s the quick template I used:

I’m applying to [name of company]’s [name of job title] position, and I was having some trouble figuring out whom specifically to address the cover letter to. Is there a particular person or department I should direct it to?

Thanks so much for your time!

[Your name]

2. Be smart with hyperlinks

If you’re going to use hyperlinks in your cover letter, there are two important things to keep in mind. First, try not to include more than two or three links tops in a cover letter (like an online portfolio or personal website). All links should be relevant, and your cover letter shouldn’t be used as a dumping ground for everything you’ve ever created!

Second, make sure you add context to a hyperlink to both draw attention to it and to make the hiring manager understand that it’s worth his or her time to click on. For example, if you’re referencing a recent design project you did, add that said project can be found “in my online portfolio” and add a hyperlink.

3. Delete extra images, clipart, emoticons and emojis

This is a no-brainer: Regardless of how “chill” the company says it is, keep clipart, emoticons, emojis, cute pictures of your puppy, and any other images OUT of your cover letter!

Squeeze an emoji into a cover email if you’re SUPER confident it’s appropriate. Otherwise, steer clear.

4. Keep it short (like, really short)

I’ve seen dozens of cover letters in the past month, and the biggest issue across the board is that people make their cover letters way too long.

Here’s the general rule of thumb to follow: Your cover letter should be a single page (no more!) and around 300-350 words. If you’re writing a cover email, three to five sentences works (since you usually have attachments or links for a hiring manager to click on).

5. Keep your font professional (and normal)

True story: I once received a cover letter from a friend where he’d had kept his writing to one page—but it was in eight-point font. Yikes.

Your cover letter font size should be normal (aim for between 10-point and 12-point), and your font should be straightforward and professional. Favorites include Arial, Times New Roman, and Georgia. Just say no to Curly Q or Comic Sans.

Skillcrush: 8 Free Font Pairings You Have to See

6. Break up your paragraphs

Nothing provokes fear in people faster than a wall of text. Hiring managers get a visual of your physical cover letter before they ever read it, and if their first reaction is, “Oh god, it’s all one paragraph!” that’s not a good sign.

Instead, break up your cover letter into smaller paragraphs of three or four sentences each. It’s so much more aesthetically pleasing, and the person reading your cover letter will thank you.

7. Cut the vague professional jargon

As with in a resume, using phrases like “team player,” “self-motivated,” or “results driven” only makes your cover letter generic and unmemorable. Use more lively language, or better yet, use specific examples to prove your point.

8. Re-read your cover letter over (and over and over)

Editing is the most tedious but also the most necessary part of any cover letter writing you do. Start by printing your cover letter out and reading it aloud. I also recommend reading the cover letter starting with the last sentence and working your way up.

Another pro tip: Definitely get someone else to read your cover letter. In many cases, you might think your writing is pristine, but a friend will find at least a couple typos and point out some places where your wording is a little clunky.

Getting that perfect cover letter doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. Use these tips and you’ll be snagging the job (and impressing potential employers with your savvy) in no time!

Skillcrush: The Ultimate Guide the Perfect Email Cover Letter

Lily is a writer, editor, and social media manager, as well as co-founder of The Prospect , the world’s largest student-run college access organization. She also serves in editorial capacities at The Muse, HelloFlo, and Her Campus. Recently, she was named one of Glamour’s Top 10 College Women for her work helping underserved youth get into college. You can follow Lily on Twitter at @lkherman

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

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

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

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

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

5 tips on how to start off a cover letter

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

1. Avoid boring or overused openers

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

2. Be lively and personable

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

3. Show what you bring the company

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

4. Stick to the point

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

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

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

30 cover letter opening sentence examples

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

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

Start with passion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start with admiration

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

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

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

Example 10:

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

Example 11:

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

Example 12:

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

Example 13:

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

Example 14:

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

Example 15:

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

Example 16:

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

Start with accomplishments

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

Example 17:

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

Example 18:

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

Example 19:

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

Example 20:

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

Example 21:

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

Example 22:

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

Example 23:

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

Example 24:

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

Example 25:

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

Start with humor and creativity

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

Example 26:

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

Example 27:

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

Example 28:

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

Example 29:

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

Example 30:

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

Frequently asked questions

How do you start off a cover letter.

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

How to start a cover letter greeting?

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

How do I introduce myself in a cover letter?

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

How to start a cover letter without a name?

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

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

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The 19 Best Cover Letter Formatting Tips

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In This Guide:

19 proven tips for formatting your cover letter, cover letter tips by type of company you’re applying to..

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Writing an enticing cover letter means you won’t end up in the “REJECTED” pile. In this article, we’ll give you tips on how to write a cover letter that gets noticed, read, and remembered. We gathered our career counselling experts and they prepared 27 tips that will make your application letter shine and save you the trouble of starting on the wrong foot.

Down the page we’ll cover the following things:

  • What font to use for your cover letter;
  • How to match the design of your resume and cover letter;
  • Tricks to make a beautiful header;
  • How to keep the length to a single page.
  • How to write a good cover letter salutation;
  • The secrets of writing a solid introduction sentence;
  • What to put in the body of your letter;
  • The difference between a letter of introduction for a start-up and a corporation;
  • Cover letters examples for your level of experience.

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Formatting a polished cover letter isn't exactly an easy feat. Although the writing style is essential, the cover letter template you choose determines if you get to keep the hiring manager's attention. So, please do not ignore this aspect, as it's part of the holistic impression.

You can generally think of your application document design as the clothes you'd wear for an interview. Of course, you can't rely entirely on them to do the whole job, but they can certainly help you!

Here's how you can make the most of it!

Cover Letter Design Tips

From formatting your cover letter to choosing the right font – every little detail in your application letter plays a huge role into how the hiring manager perceives you.

Choose The Right Font

You would be surprised to hear how often HRs share applicants use the wrong font – like Cursive, Serif, or too a font that’s too small. Inappropriate formatting significantly downgrades your text's readability.

What is the best standard?

Opt for sans-serif, simple font styles like Times New Roman, Calibri, Rubik or Arial with a recommended size of 10-12 points. Clean fonts allow for a good reading speed and focus on the essence of what you've got to offer.

Further reading:

  • How to Choose The Right Font for Your Cover Letter
  • Which Resume Font to Use for Making an Outstanding Resume

Craft a Beautiful Cover Letter Header

Your cover letter header has only one purpose – give the most vital information upfront. That means in order to make a good header, you have to include:

  • Your name and surname;
  • A professional headshot (or skip it if you’re applying to a US company);
  • Contact details - email, address, and an up-to-date phone number;
  • Portfolio link or your LinkedIn profile;

You can also find how a cover letter should look like for your particular industry, by exploring our cover letter examples or dive deeper intro the topic of how to build a good cover letter header .

Use Colors Tastefully

Although cover letters are a form of official business communication, you can get away by adding a bit of color to yours. It’s best if you can match the colors of your cover letter to the ones you use on your resume.

Ideally, stick to more neutral colors – beige, blue, or grey for example. Going with more bold colors can be okay for some more creative industries, but overall you should decide based on the company you’re applying at.

To learn more about designing a good application, check our guide on cover letter design .

Match The Design of Your Cover Letter to Your Resume.

Make reading your application a cohesive experience for the recruitment manager by having a matching resume and cover letter.

The easiest way to make a matching application is by using our resume builder and cover letter builder . You can use our pre-designed templates and focus only on the most important part of your application – the content.

Select The Highlights of Your Career

It’s true that recruiters will thank you if you skip the rambling and simply focus your cover letter on one single accomplishment that is directly related to the job position you’re applying for.

Keep things to just a single page in length. You should be able to tell your story in no more than 350 words. For more information, check our guide on cover letter length .

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter Introduction That Grabs The Reader

The first sentence on your cover letter will be the one that should grab the attention of the hiring manager. Yet, a lot of applicants have no idea how they should start their application letter. Here are some tips:

Establish Rapport From The Start

It boils down to opening with the right salutation. Some general rules for your consideration. “Dear Mr./ Mrs. (last name)” is the ideal format you would need to follow in case you have the recruiter's name.

If you don't know their name, try to find it by researching the company online or calling the HR department directly. If you still hit a wall, opt for salutations that address the whole team, like “Dear Hiring team” or “Dear Hiring Manager.”

However, stay away from the outdated impersonal forms like "To whom it may concern." They’re vague and impersonal, suggesting that you used a templated cover letter for every job you apply for. You can learn more about how to address a cover letter in our in-depth guide.

Start Your Cover Letter With a Strong Introduction

Like a coffee lover who adores the taste of espresso Intenso, any recruiter is craving to finally read an original and savvy cover letter after months of browsing through lukewarm applications.

So, here is what, according to me as a recruiter, makes a cover letter that I’ll remember and would make me pick up the phone and do that pre-screen phone call.

Explain courteously how did you hear about the job. HRs keep track of the most working candidate sourcing channels, so they will be grateful if you share whether you came across the position on Linkedin, Monster Board, Glassdoor, the company website, or maybe it was featured in Enhancv’s dashboard.

Moreover, if a current employee referred you for the role, highlight it in the first couple of sentences. Research shows that HRs are much more inclined to hire people recommended by employees. They know workers are the best organizational culture ambassadors in pre-selecting well-suited candidates.

Professional presentation of your top skills. “Aces” position you as a precious expert with all it takes to "wear" the role like a second skin. An outstanding presentation gives you more power, hence confidence, and ultimately better potential to get hired. Your professional summary is the sparkly crown of your cover letter! Everything in it transmits value.

Shoot your selling point first – your blaze of glory. Answer the following questions:

  • WHO are you?
  • WHAT skills make you a great hire?
  • HOW will you make a difference in the organization?

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter Body

The body section of your cover letter is the one that requires the most substance. You have to communicate your accomplishment, show your personality, and entice the reader all in a single page. This leaves just a few sentences for your body paragraph. Here’s how to make the most out of it.

Don’t Repeat the Same Things From Your Resume

A cover letter should expand on your resume without repeating what the recruiter has already learned by reading your resume.

Instead, focus your cover letter on a single achievement from a previous job that is highly relevant to the position you’re applying for. Then give concrete examples of how you made it happen and what the results were.

The Power of Knowing the Industry as You Know Yourself

Alternatively, if you can't gather enough relative info, use your other aces – training, awards, competitions, featured publications, and impressive portfolio. You can also refer to actual issues from the business sector.

Moreover, have you solved challenges like the ones the company you’re applying at may have at the moment? "Pack" it as added value and sell it.

Tips for writing a good cover letter ending.

Knowing how to end a cover letter is just as important as how you start it. You don’t want to leave the reader (aka the hiring manager) standing, thinking wether they should call you or not. You should make them want to call you just as they’re reading your closing words.

Stay Grounded

Looking for a job can sometimes be more nerve-wracking than we wish. Rejections would sometimes fly your way like bombs, which can temporarily deem the blue horizon of your future career perspectives.

That is why it is necessary to make the best effort to stay grounded through the job search process. Job coaching or interview mock preparation are fantastic tools to stay more connected to your value than your perceived limitations.

However, there is one more trick to it. That brings us to the next point.

  • ### Say NO to needy, predictable, safe, and boring writing!

Say “no” to predictable, safe, and boring writing! Did you know that on what note you will end your cover letter can also create a strong impression and predisposition towards you?

The key is to show proactiveness, enthusiasm, inspiration, and self-esteem without sounding needy.

You don't want to appear pushy, indecisive, or uninterested.

Compare, for example:

I am excited to bring to the table my set of Creative Artist skills to the B-Architecten multidisciplinary team. It is invigorating to see your always self-renewing, exploratory and reflective mode of co-working and capacity building, which is the entry pass to the imaginative world for any aspiring and committed design artist and architect.

I am happy to discuss B-Architecten's projects and our mutual collaboration.

I would be happy to have the opportunity to show you how, through my lead in CEZ Electrics, I saved 2 000 000 families in San Francisco from meeting the New 2020 without electricity.

I am eager to learn more about this role and share why my clients say I am the absolute "Goddess of Copywriting.”

I would love to speak with you about the role in person. I will schedule a call to discuss matters the following week.

Which one makes you curious and puts a smile on your face? If you were an HR, which copy would convince you to pick up the phone and call? When done right, the end of the cover letter not just excites your reader and lights a spark in them! The proper cover letter final is a promise of something great coming up!

Keep the closure formal as much as possible. Good examples for you to consider are any of those:

  • Respectfully
  • Thank you for your consideration
  • Best Regards

Don't introduce the more informal closures like:

  • Warmest regards
  • Yours faithfully
  • Take it easy

Just as important as making a unique cover letter for each job position you apply, you should tailor the application latter to the type of company you’re applying at. More creative fields will give you more freedom as to the tone of voice you can use, whilst a more traditional industry might call for a more professional application.

You Can Be a Bit More Casual When Applying at a Startup or a Tech Company

Who wouldn't want to work fully remote for a cool ultra-modern start-up, especially after the COVID-19 Pandemic and the consequent "big resignation"? Walking in flip-flops or (even) a pajama on a rooftop work terrace - once a month or whenever you like is enticing. If you aspire to join such a work environment, introduce a friendlier tone! Typically start-ups have a very flat structure - almost no hierarchy and they are more open to letting diversity permeate and renovate them!

So do you have quirks or rare talents that make you unique - intertwine them in your answer.

Convince HR you're not a 9-to-5-kind-of-person and why your experience, combined with your love for start-up life, makes you the best fit!

When Applying to a Corporation

Does the word "Corporate" strike an association with suits and business-y blue for you? Your Cover letter to a Corporate should also reflect this formal flavor. To present yourself as HR`s TOP candidate, keep these rules in mind:

  • Use a proper Business format for your Cover letter;
  • Include a professional header with your name and details;
  • Don't get too experimentative with design;
  • Keep storytelling well-balanced;
  • Accentuate skills like consistency and organization;
  • Sell your extensive Corporate experience.

Cover Letter Tips Depending on How Many Years of Experience You Have

Depending on how long you’ve been apart of the working force, there are some things that you can do to boost your chances of getting a callback.

As an Intern It’s Best to Be Smart About the Tone of Voice You Use

If you are a beginner, you don't have the professional base to establish yourself in the so-called managerial tone. Instead, you should adhere to an enthusiasm-infused tone. On the contrary, if you are a Senior expert, it matches your profile to speak, act and write from a respectful yet managerial (e.g., professional) tone. Be aware of mixing the two tones, as that may not be perceived well. For example, you would puzzle more than just 1 HR if you're a seasoned expert, yet your Cover letter sounds overly excited like from a rookie. The opposite would not work out either - newbie positioning him- or herself in the Pros league.

If You’re a More Experienced Worker, Assertiveness Is Gold

The TOP experts communicate value with years of experience and command respect from a position of authority and scarcity. For example, the Senior experienced ICT, Cybersecurity, and AI developers do not compete for jobs. Instead, the companies fight to get them!

Although you may not be a Senior expert in the highly sought-after ICT sector, assertiveness if your best friend! And that applies to any age range from sophomore students to Senior applicants.

If you are a Senior Experienced worker, here is how you can raise your stakes:

  • Bring focus on the vast network you built through your career;
  • Hand in a polished Cover letter that compliments your technical skills;
  • Don't go too wild with salary expectations, but don't fall below a certain self-respectful minimum.

Lastly, keep in mind that some countries, like The Netherlands, have a unique national policy that guarantees by law the provision of higher salaries for Senior experienced workers, increasing more and more with the years of experience. So do your preliminary research.

Cover Letter Tips for Executives

As you can imagine, writing a cover letter for a CEO , VP , or CFO role is a different ball game.

Check our cheat sheet below to be an absolute rock star.

Executive cover letter cheat sheet

  • Make your accomplishments visible
  • Demonstrate leadership and decision-power with suitable examples
  • Use active verbiage – chaired, managed, authorized, approved, founded
  • Quote stats in your favor
  • Don't fall into the bragging trap
  • People skills, people skills, people skills

To differentiate from the other TOP level VPs and ensure you don't appear like a self-centered or toxic leader, translate your expertise into storytelling for EQ leadership.

Keep the focus on the human processes` improvements you help solidify for your team or the whole organization.

Cover Letter Tips for Career Changers

Own your story.

If you transition from another career path, you cannot write the type of Cover letter a Senior level expert would. However, that is not necessarily bad if you own your story and impress HR with your dedication.

For example, are you an Accountant who has always dreamed of working in Childcare? Sell that!

Have transferable skills? Bring that on!

Brag about any of those - volunteer experience, broad research of the company, previous experience with the organization.

Not running away from, but moving forward to

One of the best driving forces for a career change is the impulse for growth and personal development! Be clear, stay positive, and speak respectfully about your current and past jobs.

Make sure your whole Cover letter transmits the message that you don't either flee from a toxic boss or intend to do job-hopping, but instead that this is a well-thought-of, planned, and sincerely wanted career move.

Why will you make it a success?

What's your recipe for success in this new challenge? Analyze and promote your strengths, demonstrate a clear plan to mitigate your weaknesses, and propel yourself forward.

There you have it - 27 invaluable tips from Enhancv on how to write a memorable Cover letter in any possible job hunt scenario.

In short, you take home the following "goodies": choose readable formats, match your Cover letter and Resume design without repeating them, present your TOP match skills in a strong introduction and sell your value proposition promise to the company, regardless of your level of expertise or age.

Do you want to elevate your candidature today, regardless of your level of expertise?

Then, give our FREE cover letter builder a try.

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Guest Essay

George Clooney: I Love Joe Biden. But We Need a New Nominee.

best cover letter tricks

By George Clooney

Mr. Clooney is an actor, director and film producer.

I’m a lifelong Democrat; I make no apologies for that. I’m proud of what my party represents and what it stands for. As part of my participation in the democratic process and in support of my chosen candidate, I have led some of the biggest fund-raisers in my party’s history. Barack Obama in 2012 . Hillary Clinton in 2016 . Joe Biden in 2020 . Last month I co-hosted the single largest fund-raiser supporting any Democratic candidate ever, for President Biden’s re-election. I say all of this only to express how much I believe in this process and how profound I think this moment is.

I love Joe Biden. As a senator. As a vice president and as president. I consider him a friend, and I believe in him. Believe in his character. Believe in his morals. In the last four years, he’s won many of the battles he’s faced.

But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can. It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe “ big F-ing deal ” Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.

Was he tired? Yes. A cold? Maybe. But our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw. We’re all so terrified by the prospect of a second Trump term that we’ve opted to ignore every warning sign. The George Stephanopoulos interview only reinforced what we saw the week before. As Democrats, we collectively hold our breath or turn down the volume whenever we see the president, whom we respect, walk off Air Force One or walk back to a mic to answer an unscripted question.

Is it fair to point these things out? It has to be. This is about age. Nothing more. But also nothing that can be reversed. We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and Congress member and governor who I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.

We love to talk about how the Republican Party has ceded all power, and all of the traits that made it so formidable with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, to a single person who seeks to hold on to the presidency, and yet most of our members of Congress are opting to wait and see if the dam breaks. But the dam has broken. We can put our heads in the sand and pray for a miracle in November, or we can speak the truth.

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