So, your cover letter:
Your chance to introduce yourself to the hiring manager in a more personal way.
Seems like an amazing opportunity to impress them, right?
But not just any cover letter can do this. In order to actually boost your chances of getting hired, your cover letter has to be perfect.
Sounds challenging (if not impossible), doesn’t it?
But don’t worry:
In just 10 minutes, you'll learn how to write a cover letter that’ll make the employer want to call you in the middle of the night!
This guide will show you:
- How to write a cover letter better than 9 out of 10 others.
- A sample cover letter that will get you more interviews (and why).
- Cover letter writing tips and hacks to boost your chances of landing a job.
- Actionable ideas on how to start and end a cover letter, plus how to address it.
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.
How to Write a Cover Letter: Example
18, Rimi Chowk, Pune - 309934
+91 40 00564786
Pune, 10 November 2021
78, Yerwada, Pune - 212383
Dear Mrs Mathai,
As a lifelong enthusiast of XYZ’s marketing initiatives, I was thrilled to see your posting for the position of Digital Marketing Manager. I am positive I can help with XYZ’s upcoming challenges. I have experience in leading successful national online campaigns with budgets over ₹2,20,00,000. What is more, I have succeeded at expanding ABC’s client base by 18% since 2015.
In my current position at ABC, I have supervised all phases of our online marketing initiatives, both technical and creative. Last year, my key challenge was to design and optimize nine product websites for ABC’s most strategic products and improve our SEO results, as well as enhancing the UX. Here we are a year later:
- Eight of the nine websites I optimized have achieved and secured their spot in the top 3 results on Google. These are organic, non-paid results for 10+ key search terms;
- The incoming search engine traffic to all nine websites comprises 47% of the total organic traffic for key terms and phrases.
I know that XYZ’s current plans involve developing a comprehensive online portal focused on healthcare-related issues. This project is a perfect match for my personal and professional interests and an exciting opportunity to create a unique online base of knowledge for patients and healthcare professionals. I would love to leverage my knowledge of SEO marketing and online growth marketing to achieve groundbreaking results with this initiative.
I would welcome the chance to discuss your digital marketing objectives and show you how my success at ABC can translate into digital and online marketing growth for XYZ.
+91 40 00564786
P.S. — I would also value the opportunity to show you how my e-detailing solutions grew the combined sales of three ABC flagship products by a record-breaking 13% in one year.
Here’s how to write a cover letter for a job application:
1. Start with a Professional Cover Letter Header
Let’s start with the basics: your contact information and that of the hiring manager. Cover letters follow the business letter format, which means that those details need to go in the top left corner of the page.
Every professional cover letter for a job application includes these elements in the header, in this order:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- The date
- The name of the hiring manager and their professional title
- The name and address of the company to which you’re applying
Also, you may want to include these optional sections:
- Your professional title after your name
- Your home address
- Link to your professional website or online portfolio
- Your social media accounts (only LinkedIn and/or Twitter)
- Your city of residence (it’s not obligatory, but adds a professional touch—include it if your cover letter is highly official)
Here are some tips to make your cover letter more professional:
- Use an email address from a respected provider—that means either Gmail or your personal domain (if you have one.)
- Your email address should only include your first and last name—firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com will be deal-breakers.
- Don’t use your current work address to send your email cover letter. It’s disrespectful to both your current and potential future employer.
- Make sure your contact information is consistent across your resume, cover letter, and social media profiles.
Name and job title of the hiring manager not available? Solution: In the addressee section, add only the name of the department: for example, “XYZ Sales Department.”
2. Use a Proper Greeting to Open Your Cover Letter
Who should you address a cover letter to?
Most likely, the greeting of your cover letter is the very first thing the hiring manager will see. That makes it one of the most important parts of your cover letter. There’s one great, never-failing strategy to make your greeting catch their attention:
Use their name in the salutation.
Studies show that when we hear or see our name, we react positively and focus on what comes next. Seeing their name in your cover letter makes the recruiter feel as if they’ve found something tailored just for them.
With that in mind, here are some good examples of professional cover letter greetings.
- Dear Varaza,
- Dear Miss Preeti,
- Dear Ms Bumb,
- Dear Mrs Mahal,
- Dear Mr Kuruvilla,
These sample cover letter greetings are safe options for addressing the hiring manager.
How do you find out the hiring manager’s name?
There are a few different ways to find information about your hiring manager. Consider the following ideas:
- Double-check the job posting. Make absolutely sure the name's not in it. If it is, and you miss it, you'll end up looking unprofessional and uninterested.
- Examine the email address in the job description. If it's firstname.lastname@example.org, do a Google search for "t balakrishnan" and "amible.com." You’ll have a high chance to find your manager's full name.
- Check LinkedIn. Job offers on LinkedIn often identify the one who did the posting. Also, look at the company page or do a LinkedIn company search.
- Check the company website. Try to find the head of the department on the company's staff page.
- Ask friends. You can use LinkedIn to check if you've got contacts at the company. A Facebook shout-out may work too.
- Call. If all else fails, call the company’s reception and ask who the contact person is for that job posting.
If you’re unable to find the name by any of these ways, opt for "Dear Hiring Manager". Avoid starting your cover letter with "to whom it may concern" or “Dear Sir/Madam”—no one likes to be addressed in this way.
You can also use one of the following phrases:
- Dear Sales Team Hiring Manager,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear [ABC Company] Team,
Now that you are done with the header and greeting, it’s time for the central paragraphs of your cover letter.
How to get them right?
Use this three-paragraph cover letter outline:
- The first paragraph to grab the hiring manager’s attention
- The second to present what you’ve got to offer
- The third to prove that you’ll fit in
Pro Tip: Using the hiring manager’s name or surname depends on the company culture. If you’re applying for a position with a company with a relaxed, casual culture, use their first name. For corporate cover letters, going with the addressee's last name is the safer option.
3. Write a Catchy Opening Paragraph
Here’s the merciless truth:
Whether the hiring manager will read the rest of your application depends on these few sentences at the beginning of your cover letter.
It’s crucial to make sure your cover letter introduction attracts and holds the hiring manager’s interest.
Have a look at these two sample cover letter opening paragraphs:
|As a lifelong enthusiast of XYZ’s marketing initiatives, I was thrilled to see your posting for the position of Digital Marketing Manager. I am positive I can help with XYZ’s upcoming challenges. I have experience with leading successful national online campaigns with budgets over ₹2,20,00,000. What is more, I have succeeded at expanding ABC’s client base by 18% since 2015.|
This is a well-written cover letter opening example.
Now check this one:
|In response to your posting for the Digital Marketing Manager position, I would like to express my intention to take part in the recruitment process. As a digital marketing manager with more than 10 years of experience, I am positive that I would be successful in this role.|
Why is it so wrong?
Because it provides no value and no details. The bottom line is basically, “I’ve already done this job, so I think I’d fit in.” That’s not what the hiring manager is looking for.
What they are looking for are measurable achievements that prove your skills and expertise, and that’s exactly what the correct example above shows.
Alongside highlighting your achievements, you can also show how well you know the company’s needs. If you’re a fresher, base the intro on your enthusiasm and transferable skills.
When making a resume and a cover letter in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
4. Explain Why You’re The Perfect Candidate
You find a job opening from your dream employer. The job position is the same as your current position. So far, you have been a very successful professional.
This means that you just need to highlight your best assets in your cover letter, right?
Sorry to break it to you, but you’re wrong!
I mean, your cover letter is not a trophy case.
What to write in your cover letter’s second paragraph to boost your chances?
Your goal is to give the hiring manager exactly what they’re looking for. You have to show not just that you have the right skills, but that you’re going to use them to satisfy the company’s specific needs.
Remember Krishna, our digital marketing manager candidate? The XYZ company to which she’s applying needs:
- First of all, an intelligent digital marketing manager (1).
- And, on top of that, someone who will supervise the development of their new online portal (2).
Let’s have a look at how Krishna successfully shows that she has both (1) and (2).
How to Write a Cover Letter: Second Paragraph
In my current position at ABC, I have supervised all phases of our online marketing initiatives, both technical and creative (1). Last year, my key challenge was to design and optimize eight product websites for ABC’s most strategic products and improve our SEO results as well as enhance the UX (2). Here we are a year later:
- Seven of the eight websites I optimized have achieved and secured their spot in the top 5 results on Google (2). These are organic, non-paid results for 10+ key search terms;
- The incoming search engine traffic to all nine websites comprises 47% of the total organic traffic (2) for key terms and phrases.
Can you see how it’s done?
In the first sentence, point out that you’re an expert in your field. But don’t just keep on bragging: the remaining part of your cover letter’s second paragraph should be all about how your previous experiences will help your future employer proceed with their plans.
Pro tip: If you're looking to work for a company, but there aren't any positions currently open, try writing a letter of interest for a job. It's a great way of uncovering vacancies that aren't even advertised.
5. Show Them Why You’re Eager to Join
Your future employers have needs. They are willing to hire you if they think you’ll help them fulfil those needs.
But at the same time, they want you to truly enjoy working with them. They want your future job to be rewarding for you—this way, they know you’re more likely to stay with them for longer.
In the third paragraph of your cover letter, the key is expressing to the hiring manager why you chose to apply for this particular job, not just any job. This is especially important when writing an entry-level cover letter. Enthusiasm and passion help to show you'll hit the ground running.
More importantly, you want to avoid writing too much of a general cover letter. Generic doesn't win jobs, tailored and targeted does.
Here’s the easiest and most practical way to do it:
- Start with a company fact - for instance, an upcoming project (1)
- Say what makes it interesting for you (2)
- Restate that your experience and knowledge will help you succeed with the project (3)
Check this cover letter example:
How to Write a Cover Letter for Job Applications: Third Paragraph
I know that XYZ’s current plans involve developing a comprehensive online portal focused on healthcare-related issues (1). This project is a perfect match for my personal and professional interests and an exciting opportunity to create a unique online base of knowledge for patients and healthcare professionals (2). I would love to leverage my knowledge of SEO marketing and online growth marketing to achieve innovative results with this initiative (3).
Pro Tip: How long should a cover letter be? In general, a relevant and short cover letter is best. Three paragraphs tops. Your go-to word count shouldn’t exceed 300 words.
6. Put Your Offer in the Closing Paragraph
So far so good:
Your cover letter explains that you have relevant skills. You’ve shown your motivation. What could possibly go wrong?
Indeed, a lot.
You still have a cover letter ending to write. And I tell you that it is the determining part.
It should augment the general impression you’ve made with the previous paragraphs. It has to make the hiring manager excited, so they start reading your resume.
If you want to know how to make the best cover letter ending, here’s the long and short of it:
Focus on providing value.
Let the hiring manager know that you’re looking forward to meeting in person and discussing how your experience and knowledge can help your future employer reach their goals.
For instance, check this cover letter example:
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Resume: Sample Closing Paragraph
I would appreciate the chance to discuss your digital marketing objectives and show you how my success at ABC can translate into online marketing growth for XYZ.
There are two common mistakes to avoid while writing the last paragraph of your cover letter:
- Coming off needy - focusing on how much you want the job, not on what you have to offer.
- Repeating the clichéd phrase, “Thank you for your consideration and your time.”
Luckily, there are some easy tricks that can help you to make an amazing and effective closing paragraph for your cover letter. Consider this strategy:
- Put yourself in the manager's shoes, then offer value that they can't resist.
- Finish strong. Promise something of real value, offering to solve a problem for the company or to help achieve a specific goal.
- End your cover letter on a call to action, suggesting you have more information to share.
7. Use the Right Formal Closing
Once you’ve written the main part of your cover letter, you just have to put a formal closing at the very end.
Write “sincerely” and follow it with your full name.
Adding your handwritten signature is optional, but it’s recommended for more formal cover letters.
If you prefer not to use the well-worn “sincerely”, you have plenty of other choices:
Sample cover letter sign-offs:
- Thank you,
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- With best regards.
The above list shows the safest bets for you. If you still are not satisfied with these, here are some more examples:
- Thank you for your consideration,
- Sincerely yours,
- Yours truly,
- Respectfully yours.
Pro Tip: Repeating your basic contact information below your sign-off is a good idea. The contact information can include your LinkedIn profile, email address, and/or telephone number.
A great cover letter that matches your CV will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
8. Add a Postscript
The above sections are must-haves for a perfect cover letter.
But there’s one more special trick you can use:
What makes the “P.S.” so important?
Well, it acts as a magnet for the hiring manager’s eyes. It screams: “you should not miss this information.”
The best way to go about it is to tell the hiring manager about something impressive from your career (1) in the postscript, even if it’s not directly related to the job opening.
And mention that if they find it interesting,you’d be thrilled to provide them with more details (2).
Like in Krisha’s cover letter example:
How to Write a Cover Letter: Template—Postscript
P.S. — I would also appreciate the opportunity to show you (2) how my e-detailing solutions grew the combined sales of three ABC flagship products by a record-breaking 15% in one year (1).
Thanks for reading. Do you have any questions about how to write a cover letter that leads you to your dream job? Still not sure how to write a cover letter for a resume? Give us a shout in the comments, we’ll be happy to reply!