A cover letter is a one-page business document that should complement a CV or a resume in a job application. Its purpose is to:
1. Introduce you to hiring managers
2. Provide details about your qualifications
3. Tell employers why you want to work for them
4. Illustrate why you're the best match for the job
5. Explain circumstances like job hopping or gaps in employment
Note: Do not replicate your resume in your cover letters. Your cover letter should complement your resume, not repeat it.
Prepare to write your cover letter.
First, review the job requirements and compare them to your relevant qualifications.
Make a checklist of your:
Notable accomplishments from previous jobs and volunteer work.
Skills that match the required skills in the job ad. Include a mix of hard and soft skills.
Educational qualifications, including certificates and licenses.
Awards and honors.
Next, research the company to:
1. Get an idea of the culture and their mission and values so you can tell the hiring manager how well you fit and why.
2. Take note of the company's news and press releases so you can highlight how you can help them reach their goals or congratulate them on a milestone.
3. Learn the hiring manager's name, so you can address your cover letter to them.
Add your contact information.
Place your name, city, state, ZIP code, phone number and email address in your cover letter heading. Your email address should be professional like firstname.lastname@example.org and not personal like email@example.com. Include links to your LinkedIn profile or professional online portfolio if you have one.
The third step is to add the recipient’s address.
First, write the current date followed by a space. Then include the hiring manager's name and title, company address and hiring manager's email address (in that order).
Address the hiring manager (by name).
Use the hiring manager's name (unless the job ad specifies a department or HR team member), avoiding titles like "Mr." or "Mrs." unless you are certain of the person's gender.
"Dear [hiring manager's full name]," but if your research doesn't turn up a name, then use "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear Hiring Team." If you know their title, then write "Dear [Title]".
Don't use informal language like "Hello," or "Hi," or old-fashioned salutations like "Dear Sir or Madam," or "Dear Sir/Madam," or "To Whom it May Concern," to greet the person reading your letter.
Grab the hiring manager's attention with a powerful cover letter introduction.
The opening sentences of a cover letter should clearly and concisely tell hiring managers why you're interested in the job and they've got to be compelling.
Below are some introductory examples:
1. Exude confidence, passion and enthusiasm.
I was excited to see that Itech — a company I respect for its innovation — has an opening for an experienced lead producer.
2. Talk about your skills and experience.
With seven years of experience in production for leading start-up companies, I have in-depth knowledge of cyber security and cloud computing and know my way around artificial intelligence.
3. Show you’ve done some research.
Mention an interesting fact or statistic from an article, news story or the company’s website.
When I saw that Itech was touted in Business Magazine for being one of the most inclusive companies in the world, I knew I had to apply for the marketing associate position.
4. Highlight an impressive accomplishment, award or honor and use numbers when possible.
As director of travelPal, I created tourism programs that resulted in a 20% increase in international tourists to Asia in 2022.
5. Mention a shared contact (if you are sure it's a positive connection).
McDavid Doe told me you had an opening on your I.T team, and I'm thrilled to apply for the role. You and I know McDavid from Volunteers for the Bay, where I volunteered on the cleanup crew in 2021.
Explain why you're the best candidate for the job in your cover letter body paragraphs.
You can include any of the following:
1. If you have work experience in your target role or industry, detail your work accomplishments and use numbers to quantify the results of your actions
2. If you’re applying for your first job, connect the new opportunity with a personal or school project, extracurricular activity or internship
3. Highlight your most relevant skills and explain clearly how you can apply them to the job.
4. Explain why the company’s mission is meaningful to you
5. If you’re changing careers, explain your motivation and emphasize your transferable skills to how you can contribute to the company’s success. Career change cover letters that emphasize transferable skills are more effective because they show prospectives that you can perform the work with little or no experience
Write your closing paragraph.
When you write a cover letter closing statement, make it clear that you’re excited about the possibility of working for the employer and that you are confident you have the expertise to be successful at the job.
You must also thank your reader for their time and consideration, and perhaps most importantly, end with a call to action that encourages the reader to follow up with you.
I have attached my resume and creative portfolio to my application for further review of my credentials. I am eager to speak with you about this role and greatly appreciate your consideration. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss my background in more detail.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I’m excited about the prospect of working for the Museum of Ancient History. I look forward to discussing what I learned in my year abroad as an English teacher and how I can apply those lessons to the docent role. Feel free to contact me any time during the week.
I’m confident that a review of my resume and portfolio will convince you that I have the technical skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the lead designer role at Itech. I’m excited about the opportunity and would be thrilled to meet with you and your team next week to discuss my ideas for your next campaign. Please contact me this week to schedule a convenient date and time.
Note: A "call to action" in your cover letter closing paragraph shows hiring managers that you’re serious about the job and confident in your qualifications.
What goes in a cover letter ending isn’t complicated, but you have to get it right if you want a chance at the job.
That means you must be respectful, polite, professional and formal.
You can use any of the following to sign off:
2. Best regards,
3. Kind regards,
4. Thank you,
Proofread your cover letter
Knowing how to write a cover letter for a job isn’t all there is to making a cover letter. You have to proofread it at least once before sending your job application letter to a potential employer.
Typos and cover letter formatting mistakes can reduce your chances of getting hired. When you’ve finished proofreading, have someone else read it for you too, just to be sure it’s job application-ready.