"Say not what the company can do for you, say what you can do for the company." It's simple as that. We'll show you exactly how to say it.
After looking through job offer after neverending job offer, you’ve finally found your dream position.
They offer amazing compensation and benefits. You’ll be surrounded by great coworkers. Perhaps they even have free snacks and great coffee in the breakroom.
Before you can show them how well-suited you are at the interview, you need to write a cover letter that convinces them to give you a shot.
It’s not as hard as you think.
Table of Contents
How to write a cover letter:
- Format the cover letter template for perfection
- Construct a cover letter header with addresses & dates
- Open with a formal salutation using their name
- Introduce yourself & the position to which you’re applying
- Explain how they benefit from hiring you
- Show enthusiasm & inform them why they’re the ideal workplace for you
- Make them an offer they can’t refuse
- Sign off using a closing sentiment & your name
- Add a postscript for one last shot at winning them over
Pressed for time? Switch over to our collection of 100+ Cover Letter Examples
3 Awesome Cover Letter Examples to Get the Gears Turning
Before we get to our guide on how to write a cover letter for a job, let’s get things started with three great sample cover letters.
One is for an experienced candidate, and another is for an entry-level applicant. The third one is a fill-in-the-blanks cover letter template for you to copy, paste, and use for yourself.
1. Experienced Cover Letter Example (Mid-Level Job)
In this first cover letter sample, we have a seasoned professional applying for a job she’s got experience in.
Annabel is an office assistant in New Jersey. For the unfortunate reason that her last office was shut down, she’s applying for a similar position at a new company.
Let’s look at how Annabel wins the office manager’s heart over with this cover letter example:
Sample cover letter created with our builder: See more templates and create your cover letter now.
What’d you think?
In less than 300 words, Annabel has definitely created an attention-grabbing cover letter. She shows passion, plenty of experience, and accomplishments to all but secure her a desk and a filing cabinet.
2. Entry-Level Cover Letter Example (First-Time Job)
In this next example, we’re now going to see how to write a cover letter for a job with no experience in that field.
Here we have Thomas.
Thomas just graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. He has no professional working experience in IT, but he is positive he would be a great fit nonetheless.
Let’s watch how he pulls this off:
Sample cover letter created with our builder: See more templates and create your cover letter now.
How about that?
Thomas has had real-world working experience in the past, but his time employed as a barista was to help him get through college. Though he learned some great skills as a barista, they don’t help him much in getting the job as a software engineer.
However, he makes up for his lack of paid IT experience by showing he has the skills, knowledge, and passion for software engineering.
Use this style also when thinking of how to write a cover letter for an internship.
3. General Cover Letter Example (Fill-in-the-Blanks Template)
Below is a sample cover letter template you can copy and paste and use for yourself. Simply replace the bold items in brackets with your information, and you’ll have a great, personalized cover letter written in under 15 minutes!
Here is our cover letter sample template:
[Your Full Name]
[Your Professional Title] (Optional)
[Your Phone Number]
[Your Email Address]
[Your LinkedIn Profile URL]
[Date of Writing]
[Employer’s Full Name]
[Employer’s Professional Title]
[Company Address Line 2]
Dear [Employer’s Name]:
I was thrilled to locate the [Job Title] at [New Company Name]. With my [## of Years] years working as a [Previous or Current Job Title], I’ve become quite experienced with [Give Example of Most Relevant Skills or Competencies]. I am sure that I possess the necessary skills, background, and experience to be a perfect candidate for this position.
In the employment ad’s job responsibilities section, it says you require a [Job Title] with expertise in [List Competencies You Have Which Are Mentioned in the Job Advertisement]. As a [Previous or Current Job Title] with [Previous or Current Company], I successfully managed [Give One or Two Responsibilities Relevant to the New Job Title]. On top of that, I had a few wins which I am quite proud of, including:
- [Add an Achievement With Numbers to Prove You’re Talented]
- [Another Accomplishment With Numbers to Drive the Point Home]
Working at [New Company Name] would be an amazing opportunity for me, but not solely because I fit the requirements. Your company also [Mention Something About the Company You Admire, e.g., Values, Projects, Contributions, Ethics, etc.]. Because of that, it would be an honor for me to work for [New Company Name] as the next [Job Title].
Do you have time for a brief chat in the next few days? I’d love to talk about how I can help [New Company Name] achieve its upcoming [Plans , Goals, KPIs, Targets, etc.].
[Digital Signature] (optional)
[Your First & Last Name]
P.S. [Add a Postscript, Optionally, to Remind Them of Your Value, Throw in One More Fact, or to Add a Creative Touch].
Not so bad, right?
This one follows our standard guidelines on what to include in a cover letter. To make sure you don’t neglect any important cover letter sections, see this article: What to Include in a Cover Letter (15+ Examples of What Goes Where)
Also, show your resume the same love and attention—it’s just as important if you want that interview. Read our guide here: How to Write a Resume for a Job
Otherwise, let’s continue—
Here is our step-by-step guide on….
How to Write a Cover Letter
1. Format the Cover Letter Before You Begin Writing
Most employers prefer to read a resume if a cover letter comes attached.
And guess what?
Those same employers favor a cover letter which is arranged correctly.
Here’s how to format a cover letter effectively:
- Align everything to the left side (block formatting), from beginning to end. Don’t use text justification.
- Single line space all text (or use 1.15 line spacing).
- Use a double space between each cover letter section and paragraph.
- Include a 1-inch margin on all sides of the cover letter.
- Choose a great cover letter font. Select the font by how legible it is over how pretty it looks.
- When in doubt, a cover letter is a business document, so follow formal letter formatting rules.
- Pick a cover letter template that matches your resume template to give the employer one unified job application package.
- Unless otherwise instructed, send them a cover letter PDF rather than Microsoft Word doc or another format. PDFs look better on more devices than Word cover letters.
Never let your cover letter spill over onto a second page. One page is plenty. In general, the best cover letters are relevant, concise, and have a word count which doesn’t exceed 300 words.
A cover letter should be relatively simple: why you are interested in the position, why the company should be interested in you, and how you fit the job posting. A resume tells the reader where you've been while the cover letter tells them where you hope to go. Be authentic, keep that one thing in mind, and don't overcomplicate it.
Pro Tip: If you choose a creative cover letter template with your personal details enlarged and styled to the center or right, don’t worry. Just make sure it matches your resume, and left-align the remainder of your job application letter.
Want more ideas and tips for formatting a cover letter properly? Read our guide: Cover Letter Format: Templates, Ready-to-Use Layouts, & 20+ Samples
2. Construct a Proper Header Including Your Info and Theirs
The header of a cover letter is quite simple—it’s basically like addressing a postcard. Just your deets, a date, and their info.
Here’s how to write an effective cover letter heading area:
- On any formal letter, such as when writing a good cover letter, the sender’s information goes first. Include your name and address, to follow standard letter formatting rules. Add relevant contact information, such as your phone number, email address, or LinkedIn URL.
- Leave a line break, then add the date of writing.
- Finally, add the recipient’s information, including the name and job title of the person reviewing your application, followed by the company’s name and address.
This is what it looks like in practice:
[Your Full Name]
[Your Job Title] (Optional)
[Your Phone Number]
[Your Email Address]
[Your LinkedIn Profile URL]
[Date of Writing]
[Hiring Manager’s Full Name]
[Hiring Manager’s Title]
[Company Address Line 2]
Like I said, piece of cake, right?
Pro Tip: Don’t worry about adding other contact details of the hiring manager or company; their name and address will do.
Want to go into more detail on your cover letter heading? We’ve got a detailed writeup right this way: Cover Letter Heading: Templates, Rules, and 4+ Sample Headers
3. Open Using a Simple Salutation as a Greeting
The cover letter salutation sounds even easier than the heading, doesn’t it?
Not so fast.
There are a lot of nuances to be considered here.
Who to address a cover letter to?
- Find the name of the hiring manager or recruiter, because science says people are more receptive to the sound of their own names.
- Locate their names by searching LinkedIn, checking the job ad, or looking at the company’s about page online.
- If those fail, give them a call!
First name or last?
If applying to a more traditional role, such as at a law firm or at a university, go with their title (e.g., Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr.) and their last name to be on the safe side. Otherwise, using their first name is a great way to grab the reader’s attention.
How to address a cover letter with no name?
If you tried everything and can’t find the hiring manager’s name, go with “Dear hiring manager.” Replace “hiring manager” with a job title (e.g., “IT director,” “HR manager”) if you at least have that information.
If you aren’t happy with these options, go ahead and skip the salutation, jumping straight to the first paragraph. That’s much better than the universally despised “Dear sir or madam.”
Comma, semicolon, or colon?
Finally, use a colon (:) rather than a comma after your cover letter greeting. Save the commas for less-formal letters to your grandparents.
Pro Tip: How to address a cover letter to two or more people? Separate each name as you would any comma-separated list (e.g., “Dear Jessica, John, and Jill:”). However, go in descending order by job title, listing the person who is highest in company rank first.
Got further questions on addressing a cover letter correctly? Have a look at our cover letter guidelines here: How to Address a Cover Letter: Sample & Guide [20+ Examples]
4. Start by Introducing Yourself and Stating the Position You’re Applying For
The opening of a cover letter sets the tone for what follows.
Bore them at your own peril.
Intrigue them, and they’ll be dying to read more.
How to write a cover letter opening paragraph that’ll keep you in the running?
Here’s how to make a cover letter intro:
- It must introduce you to them as a candidate.
- It needs to officially identify the position to which you’re applying.
- It should give a quick overview of your professional background, skills, and experience.
- It has to be relevant to the company and the particular position.
Let’s look at a sample customer service representative cover letter introduction:
I just happened across the opening for the customer service representative position at Swerve Media Group, and I’m excited at the chance to apply for the position. As a CSR for The Bright Agency for over two years, I’ve become well-versed in resolving conflict, assisting clients, and promoting upsells. I’m certain I have the patience, attentiveness, and personable nature needed to be a stellar customer service rep at Swerve.
As you can see, writing a cover letter is not rocket science.
This cover letter beginning is basic but it will deliver—it ticks all the boxes I mentioned above.
Pro Tip: Cut any unnecessary or irrelevant sentences from your cover letter, whether it’s in your intro or later on. A cover letter should be brief and to the point. Save the hiring manager time while saving yourself time, and save some space while you’re at it.
Need more ideas for how to write a good cover letter introduction paragraph? There are a few effective hacks and strategies. You can get a bit creative, use enthusiasm, or name drop someone who referred you to this job. Check out our complete “beginners” tutorial here: How to Start a Cover Letter: 25+ Introduction Examples & Ways to Open
5. Explain How the Company Benefits by Adding You to the Team
You’re applying for a job, and the hiring manager’s job is to assess how well you’d fit.
In the second paragraph, it’s time to show them you’re the best candidate they could possibly consider.
Refer to the job description.
The employment offer’s job requirements section tells you exactly the applicant they’re looking for.
Let them know their search is over.
Here’s a sample cover letter second paragraph continuing with our CSR job:
According to the job description I found on Indeed, you’re searching for a customer service representative with knowledge of the Salesforce customer relationship management software and who is able to resolve disputes and inquiries professionally. As a customer service representative at The Bright Agency, I used Salesforce on a daily basis, going even further to help train new colleagues on the CRM software. Furthermore, I had the highest client satisfaction rating (97.9%) based on closed cases. I am confident I could bring the same level of attentiveness and initiative to Swerve Media Group as the new CSR.
See how effective that is?
In this middle paragraph, we reiterate a few of the key qualifications they’re looking for according to the job ad. Then, we show them how we meet and exceed their expectations.
Let’s check out one more, this time using a slightly different format:
According to the job ad for the marketing position from LinkedIn, you’re searching for a digital marketer with a wide breadth of expertise in managing campaigns, social media marketing, content strategy, and SEO. At my last position at Smart Marketing Ventures, I had quite a few wins I’m proud of, including:
- Increased website traffic on last 10 client websites by an average of 125% through combination of social media strategy and content marketing initiatives.
- Improved year-over-year revenue for 5 online retailers by 30% on average, accounting for more than $57,000 in increased profit overall.
- Boosted returning readers and customers by 23% through new marketing campaigns.
As you can see, I take my work seriously and care completely about the results I deliver on behalf of my company. Were you to hire me at The Jonas Agency, I would bring that same drive and commitment with me each and every day.
That one’s a bit longer, but it’s super impressive.
Use this bullet point style when you have multiple achievements with numbers to allow them to stand out and be readily seen. Great for jobs like sales, IT, or teaching, for example.
Write a cover letter like you would a marketing email. So instead of starting with, 'I'm writing this letter to show my interest for the marketing job you have advertised,’ start it with something like this - 'Looking for more leads? In my role at Google, I helped generate over 327 leads this year with an ROI of 217%.' By giving a benefit of having you in the company with a concrete example of your success, you'll captivate the reader and increase your likelihood of a response.
Pro Tip: Don’t echo your resume. A great cover letter should complement your resume rather than repeat its contents. A great use of a cover letter is also to explain any employment gaps which may be blatantly obvious on your resume.
Are you writing a cover letter in an email? Slightly different rules apply. Make sure you play by these: Email Cover Letter: Sample, Proper Email Format, 20+ Tips
6. Show You’re Interested in Them Rather Than Any General Company
Don’t simply tell them how you’ll make their lives better.
Explain to them that they’re perfect for you, as well.
Of course the company needs to know that you have the job skills, work experience, and professional background they’re seeking. However, they also want to hire someone who’ll enjoy coming to work for them and who’ll be a great fit on the team.
There are several ways to go about this:
Show love for the company, its products, or its history:
I’ve been a fan of Samsung products from my very first flip phone back when I was a teenager. Admittedly, part of that fond hindsight may be due to the fact that it helped me contact my high school crush on the weekends. However, I have been a Samsung devotee ever since, and I’m currently married to the Note 10 and engaged to that same high school crush (so thanks, Samsung!). I would be incredibly fortunate to be considered for the position at a company I’ve admired for more than a decade.
Display enthusiasm for the work you’ll be involved in:
My grandmother immigrated to New York from Bologna almost 50 years ago, and I used to enjoy helping her prepare dishes from her native Emilia-Romagna region when I was a little boy. The love of Italian food, particularly the flavors of this area, hasn’t left me. I’d be thrilled to be considered for the chef position at such a fabulous restaurant, especially one that keeps the tastes and smells of my grandmother’s kitchen alive as authentically as you do.
Demonstrate your willingness and readiness to take on their challenges:
Given the recent investment into your company by Angel Partners—congratulations, by the way!—your company has now allocated a large portion of it to your content marketing efforts. I happen to thrive under pressure and with tight deadlines, and I always make sure the quality of my work is never sacrificed for quantity. If you consider me for the copywriting position, I’m certain I would bring the same balance of high-quality writing and quick turnaround time you’re looking for.
What did you think of these three cover letter examples?
As you can see, there’s no one right way to go about it. Use creativity, bits of humor, even exclamation marks to believably highlight your enthusiasm.
The key thing here is to show them you’re interested in more than the money they’re offering, and you’ll be fine.
7. Make Your Offer by Crafting a Powerful Closing Statement
You’re almost there—
Time to wrap it up with a powerful and compelling cover letter closing paragraph.
How to end a cover letter effectively?
In the last paragraph of a cover letter, invite them to discuss further, request a meeting, and promise them all this greatness you’ve exemplified is just the tip of the iceberg.
Here is a simple cover letter closing example:
Would you have time for a quick phone call or meeting? I’d love to demonstrate how I could bring similar results (the 35% decrease in overhead) to your company.
That’s what you call “ending on a high note!”
Pro Tip: There are two important things to keep in mind when ending a cover letter. Don’t come off needy (no begging!), and skip that tired phrase “thanks for your time and consideration” or any variation like it.
The cover letter ending paragraph is just a sentence or two, but it can make or break your job application. Don’t let that happen: How to End a Cover Letter [20+ Examples of Great Closing Paragraphs]
8. Sign Off With a Complimentary Close and Your Name
Signing off on a cover letter is super straightforward and simple.
Here’s what it looks like:
“Sincerely” is the most standard complimentary close (also known as a valediction), but feel free to use other formal or semi-formal options, as well. “Regards,” “Yours Truly,” or “Thank You” work just fine, too.
Avoid anything too informal, such as “Peace,” “Cheers,” or “TTYL.” Just as you start a cover letter formally, end the cover letter formally, also.
Pro Tip: If you’re handing in a physical copy of your cover letter, leave a few extra spaces between the complimentary closing and your name. Then, add a handwritten signature between for a stylish and professional flourish. If you know how, you can also include your digital signature for some bonus points.
9. Add a Postscript for One More Shot at Calling Their Attention to Your Offer
Thought you were done?
Not so fast.
While you could end a cover letter here, there’s one nifty little trick that works wonders.
A postscript is meant to be used as a sort of written afterthought. However, you can use the P.S. statement on a cover letter to get one more word in edgewise.
You could use it to reiterate your value statement, like this:
P.S. I was instrumental in raising NPS scores by 30%, and I’d be happy to give you my plan for how I’d implement a similar overhaul at your company, as well.
Or, you could use it to show some early company spirit:
P.S. I know it’s early and I don’t want to be presumptuous. However, I found myself already trying on some black and gold outfits in anticipation!
Or, get them excited about meeting you:
P.S. By the way, I saw on the company’s about page that you enjoy pastries and good coffee. What would you think about meeting at Daily Provisions? They’ve got amazing donuts and the best espresso to wash it all down!
The sky’s the limit!
7+ Cover Letter Tips & How NOT to Write a Cover Letter
Here are cover letter tips and advice to smooth down the edges:
1. Don’t Write a Generic Cover Letter
If there’s only one thing you’ll remember from this guide, it should be this—
Always tailor your cover letter to one specific company and one particular job position.
Hiring managers can tell immediately if you created one generic cover letter and sent it all over the tri-state area. They throw those out.
If you want to save time, consider making a “master” cover letter. Using this, you can just do a few minor modifications prior to sending each cover letter and resume out.
Saves time while still feeling targeted!
If you want to learn how to write an all-purpose cover letter and get a few more master cover letter examples, check out this guide: General Cover Letter that Isn't Generic
2. Be Professional in Your Contact Details
When adding an email address, don’t use your old high school handle (str8ballin69@...). Use a respected email service such as Gmail, rather than one that makes you look ancient (sorry, AOL). Also, it’s disrespectful to use your current company’s email address as your contact email, so just don’t.
Finally, fix your LinkedIn URL. Many people keep the one that’s given to them, such as linkedin.com/in/john-smith-58914z7b. Take 30 seconds, go into your settings, and adjust the URL to just your name or something that represents you professionally.
3. Don’t Make the Cover Letter All About You
The application letter is meant to inform them just how well you match the company’s needs.
However, don’t make it all “I’m looking for such-and-such” or “I have this skill and that ability.”
Rather, say those things while bringing each around to the company’s point of view. If you have communication skills, explain to them how your ability to communicate effectively would benefit them.
4. Show Personality
The resume you wrote probably included fragmented sentences and nothing but fact after monotonous fact.
Let loose a bit on your cover letter to exhibit your human side. Don’t be afraid to tell an (appropriate) joke or let your passion shine through.
The cover letter is where you have the opportunity to showcase your personality a bit. Take a look at the company’s webpage and social media and mimic their style and culture. Always be authentic and yourself, but if you feel that there is a synergy to your personality and the organization’s philosophy or ethos, then the cover letter is where you can begin to illustrate that!
5. Use Keywords
Many organizations, particularly larger ones, use an ATS (applicant tracking system) to help them sort through and manage all the resumes and cover letters they get each day.
The ATS also has the added role of locating particular keywords and phrases the HR manager or recruiter searches for. The ATS then scores each resume and cover letter based on how well they match the job description.
If you’re a poor match, no interview.
So, look through the job description to identify the particular skills and experience they want. Work those keywords into your cover letter and resume for a job application sure to get a callback.
6. Refrain from Buzzwords and Jargon
You might know what it means.
And your potential future supervisor may understand it.
However, industry buzzwords and jargon often get lost in translation somewhere in the middle. Hiring managers often know just the basics about your particular role, since they recruit for multiple positions. Specific lingo from your niche will confuse them or mean nothing, at the very least.
It sounds obvious, but this doesn’t stop a sizable portion of cover letters and resumes from having typos, dating errors, and other mistakes.
Use a spell checker and grammar checker such as Grammarly to be safe. Then, give it to a friend or family member for another once-over just in case.
It would be a shame to be super qualified but dismissed from the running for such a stupid oversight!
8. Prepare for the Interview!
By now, you know how to write a cover letter for a job application sure to get a reply and an interview offer.
There’s no time to waste—
There are plenty more cover letter tips and advice to heed and to help ensure you get that job offer or interview. Take a gander at this one: 35+ Successful Cover Letter Tips, Advice & Guidelines
Specific Cover Letter Examples: Guides on Writing Cover Letters for Particular Jobs
This was a general guide on how to make a cover letter for any job.
One of the most important rules is to tailor your cover letter to one particular job. With that in mind, here are cover letter guides for specific trades and occupations:
Accounting & Finance
Creative & Cultural Fields
Education & Learning
Engineering & Scientific
Food Service & Hospitality
Information Technology (IT)
Legal, Law Enforcement & Emergency Services
Management & Leadership
Medicine, Healthcare & Wellbeing
Office & Administrative
Real Estate & Construction
Retail & Customer Service
Sales & Marketing
Is the specific job title you’re looking for not listed above? We are constantly adding more cover letter examples and guides. Learn how to write a good cover letter for a specific industry here: Cover Letter Examples for Every Profession
Writing a cover letter always sounds like a bore and a pain.
Hopefully you now see that it’s not so difficult to write a cover letter that’ll score you an interview after all.
Let’s go over the general rules once again.
Here’s how to write a cover letter:
- Format the cover letter template first.
- Create a cover letter heading in a formal style.
- Use the hiring manager’s name in the cover letter greeting.
- Introduce yourself with a captivating opening statement.
- Identify how the company benefits by taking you on board.
- Show them you’re interested in more than the money.
- End the cover letter with a powerful call to action.
- Sign off professionally with a complimentary close and signature.
- Consider an optional postscript to grab their attention once more.
There you have it! If you’ve got any additional questions on how to write a cover letter for a resume, we’d be happy to answer them below in the comment area. Thanks for reading!