Do I need a cover letter? Is it important? What if the job offer doesn’t require a cover letter? Read this guide to find out all you need to know.
You search for a job ad that interests you, hit apply, and then come to a screeching halt.
They require a cover letter.
There’s no way around it, cover letters are important. And they require work.
There is a way to make the work easier, though—
By following the right cover letter outline.
Below you’ll find the perfect cover letter blueprint, suitable for all types of jobs from internship to managerial positions to career changes.
Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.
Sample Cover Letter for a Resume—See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here.
Pressed for time? Check out a cover letter that will work in any situation: A General Cover Letter Sample for Any Position
Cover Letter Outline—Basic Template
Cover Letter Header with Your Contact Details
City, State Zip Code
Date and the Addressee's Details
Hiring Manager’s/Recruiter’s Name
Hiring Manager’s/Recruiter’s Title
City, State Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. [Hiring Manager’s/Recruiter’s Last Name]:
First Paragraph (Your Career Purpose and Intro)
Explain why you are writing. Name the job that you are applying for or your general interest if there is no specific position open. Briefly mention what you know about the company and why you want to further your career there.
Open strong. Be direct and grab the employer’s attention; don’t just “express interest”. Tell them you’re a great fit and want to be considered for the job. Remember to address your cover letter the right way. Plus, match your cover letter heading to the header on your resume.
Second Paragraph (Qualifications and Experience)
Don’t just copy your resume word for word. That never works. Elaborate on your career experience and be as specific as you can. Tell the recruiter a story that will prove your professional skills and knowledge. Focus on your key qualifications and relate these to the employer’s needs.
Show them your relevant hard and soft skills and how they fit the role and company. Give examples of how you used them in your current job. Use strong, action words to underline the value of your career experience. Really demonstrate to the employer that you’re the perfect person for the job.
Third Paragraph (Call to Action)
Restate your interest in the position and thank the reader for their time. Refer the recruiter to your resume. Remind them about the professional contributions you can bring to the employer. End your cover letter with a call to action and ask them to contact you for an interview or further discussion.
Complimentary Closing and Sign-Off
Your Full Name
Letter of Reference
Does your cover letter need more work? Check out these helpful guides: How to Write a Cover Letter: Examples and Tips and 35+ Successful Cover Letter Tips, Advice & Guidelines
Pro Tip: Always proofread before sending. Typos can change your status from reviewing to rejected in seconds. Use Grammarly or ask a friend to proofread your cover letter.
There you have it!
If you have any questions on the topic of cover letter outlines, drop me a line in the comments, I’ll get back to you in a jiffy.