How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023 + Examples
After weeks of heavy job search, you’re almost there!
You’ve perfected your resume.
You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.
You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.
But then, before you can send your application and call it a day, you remember that the job ad requires a cover letter.
Now you’re stuck wondering how to write a cover letter ...
Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think.
In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.
- What’s a cover letter & why it’s important for your job search
- How to write a convincing cover letter that gets you the job (step-by-step!)
- How to perfect your cover letter with the Novoresume free checklist
- What excellent cover letter examples look like
New to cover letter writing? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!
So, let’s get started with the basics!
What is a Cover Letter? (and Why It’s Important)
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or Resume).
Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .
A good cover letter can spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume.
A bad cover letter, on the other hand, might mean that your application is going directly to the paper shredder. So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
How does a good cover letter look, you might ask. Well, here’s an example:
Keep in mind, though, that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you don’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume.
If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, writing all this might seem pretty tough. After all, you’re probably not a professional writer.
The thing is, though, you don’t need to be creative, or even any good at writing. All you have to do is follow a tried-and-tested format:
- Header - Input contact information
- Greeting the hiring manager
- Opening paragraph - Grab the reader’s attention with 2-3 of your top achievements
- Second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job
- Third paragraph - Explain why you’re a good match for the company
- Formal closing
Or, here’s what this looks like in practice:
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter (And Get Hired!)
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, we’re going to guide you through the process of writing a cover letter step by step.
Step #1 - Pick the Right Cover Letter Template
A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.
So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, visual template?
You can simply pick one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in a jiffy!
As a bonus, our AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter on the go.
Step #2 - Start the Cover Letter with a Header
As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with a Contact Information section:
Here, you want to include all essential information, including:
- Phone Number
- Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
- Name of the company you’re applying to
In certain cases, you might also consider adding:
- Social Media Profiles - Any type of profile that’s relevant to your field. Social Profiles on websites like LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
- Personal Website - If you have a personal website that somehow adds value to your application, you can mention it. Let’s say you’re a professional writer. In that case, you’d want to link to your blog.
And here’s what you shouldn’t mention in your header:
- Your Full Address
- Unprofessional Email - Make sure your email is presentable. It’s pretty hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected].” Whenever applying for jobs, stick to the “[first name] + [last name] @ email provider.com” format.
Step #3 - Greet the Hiring Manager
Once you’ve properly listed your contact information, you need to start writing the cover letter contents.
The first thing to do here is to address the cover letter to the hiring manager .
That’s right, the hiring manager! Not the overly popular “Dear Sir or Madam.” You want to show your future boss that you did your research and are really passionate about working with their team.
No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes to get hired in any of them.
So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager? There are several ways to do this.
The simplest option is to look up the head of the relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably Head of Communications or Chief Communications Office.
So, you do a quick lookup on LinkedIn:
And voila! You have your hiring manager.
Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of a server. In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager.”
If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.
Here are several other greetings you could use:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Team
Step #4 - Write an Attention-Grabbing Introduction
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.
Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.
So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph .
The #1 problem we see with most cover letter opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Most of them look something like this..
- Hey, my name is Jonathan and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a sales manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.
See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say pretty much anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.
Do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.
Instead, you want to start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.
So now, let’s make our previous example shine:
My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed their sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the job.
See the difference between the two examples? If you were the hiring manager, which sales manager would you hire, Jonathan or Michael?
Now that we’ve covered the introduction, let’s talk about the body of your cover letter. This part is split into two paragraphs: the first is for explaining why you’re the perfect person for the job, and the latter is for proving that you’re a good fit for the company.
So, let’s get started...
Step #5 - Explain why you’re the perfect person for the job
This is where you show off your professional skills and convince the HR manager that you’re a better fit for the job than all the other applicants.
But first things first - before you even write anything, you need to learn what the most important requirements for the role are. So, open up the job ad and identify which of the responsibilities are the most critical.
For the sake of the example, let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. You scan the job ad and see that the top requirements are:
- Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
- Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
- Excellent copywriting skills
Now, in this section, you need to discuss how you fulfill these requirements. So, here’s how that would look for our example:
In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation & management process end-to-end. Meaning, I created the ad copy , images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.
Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:
- Google Search
Are you a student applying for your first internship? You probably don’t have a lot of work experience to show off in this section. Learn how to write an internship cover letter here.
Step #6 - Explain why you’re a good fit for the company
Once you’ve written the last paragraph, you might be thinking - I’m a shoo-in for the job! What else do I need to write? I’ll just wrap up the cover letter and hit that sweet SEND button.
Well, no. You’re not quite there yet.
The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.
After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary .
Meaning, you also need to convince the HR manager that you’re really passionate about working with them.
How do you do this? Well, as a start, you want to do some research about the company. You want to know things like:
- What’s the company’s business model?
- What’s the company product or service? Have you used it?
- What’s the culture like? Will someone micro-manage your work, or will you have autonomy on how you get things done?
So, get to Googling. Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or somewhere around the web.
Then, you need to figure out what you like about the company and turn that into text.
Let’s say, for example, you’re passionate about their product and you like the culture of innovation / independent work in the organization.
You’d write something like:
I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2 were real game changers for the device.
I really admire how Company XYZ thrives for excellence for all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone that thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I and Company XYZ will be a great match.
What you don’t want to do here is be super generic for the sake of having something to write. Most job seekers tend to mess this one up. Let’s take a look at a very common example we tend to see (way too often):
I’d love to work for Company XYZ because of its culture of innovation. I believe that since I’m super creative, I’d be a good fit for the company. The company values of integrity and transparency really vibe with me.
See what’s wrong here? The example doesn’t really say anything about the company. “Culture of Innovation” is something most companies claim to have.
The same goes for “values of integrity and transparency” - the writer just googled what the values for the organization are, and said that they like them.
Any hiring manager that reads this will see through the fluff.
So, make sure to do a lot of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying.
Step #7 - Wrap up with a call to action
Finally, it’s time to finish up your cover letter and write the conclusion.
In the final paragraph, you want to:
- Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? Any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision? Mention it here.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time. It never hurts to be courteous, as long as you don’t come off as too needy.
- Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. You should ask the hiring manager to take some sort of action.
And now, let’s turn this into a practical example:
So to wrap it all up, thanks for looking into my application. I hope I can help Company X make the most out of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your facebook marketing goals.
Step #8 - Use the right formal closing
Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.
Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions to a cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
And we’re finally done! Before sending off the cover letter, make sure to proofread it with software like Grammarly, or maybe even get a friend to review it for you.
Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?
- Professional email
- Relevant Social Media Profiles
Do you address the right person? I.e. hiring manager in the company / your future direct supervisor
Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?
- Did you mention 2-3 of your top achievements?
- Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
Do you successfully convey that you’re the right pro for the job?
- Did you identify the core requirements?
- Did you successfully convey how your experiences help you fit the requirements perfectly?
Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?
- Did you identify the top 3 things that you like about the company?
- Did you avoid generic reasons for explaining your interest in the company?
Did you finalize the conclusion with a call to action?
Did you use the right formal closure for the cover letter?
5+ Cover Letter Examples
Need some inspiration? Read on to learn about some of the best cover letter examples we’ve seen (for different fields).
College Student Cover Letter Example
Middle Management Cover Letter Example
Career Change Cover Letter Example
Management Cover Letter Example
Senior Executive Cover Letter Example
Want to discover more examples AND learn what makes them stand out? Check out our guide to cover letter examples .
Next Steps in Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume
Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application is for naught.
After all, a cover letter is just an introduction. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression, but flopping at the end because of a mediocre resume.
...But don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered on that end, too.
If you want to learn more about Resumes & CVs, we have a dedicated FREE guide for that. Check out our complete guide on how to make a resume , as well as how to write a CV - our experts will teach you everything you need to know in order to land your dream job.
Or, if you’re already an expert, just pick one of our resume templates and get started.
Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:
- A cover letter is a 250 - 400 word document that convinces the hiring manager of your competence
- A cover letter goes in your job application alongside your resume
- Your introduction to the cover letter should grab the hiring manager’s attention and keep it all the way until the conclusion
- There are 2 main topics you need to include in your cover letter: why you’re the perfect candidate for the job & why you’re passionate about working in the company you’re applying to
- Most of the content of your cover letter should be factual , without any fluff or generalizations
At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve, every step of the way! Follow our blog to stay up to date with the industry-leading advice. Or, check out some of our top guides…
- How to Write a Motivational Letter
- How to Write a Resume with No Work Experience
- Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
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- The Big Idea
- Data & Visuals
- Reading Lists
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- Account Settings
- Email Preferences
How to Write a Cover Letter
Advice for tackling one of the toughest parts of the job-hunting process.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the job application process is writing an effective cover letter. And yes, you should send one. Even if only one in two cover letters gets read, that’s still a 50% chance that including one could help you. Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. Next, catch the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter with a strong opening line. If you have a personal connection with the company or someone who works there, mention it in the first sentence or two, and try to address your letter to someone directly. Hiring managers are looking for people who can help them solve problems, so show that you know what the company does and some of the challenges it faces. Then explain how your experience has equipped you to meet those needs. If the online application doesn’t allow you to submit a cover letter, use the format you’re given to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role.
No one likes job hunting. Scouring through online job listings, spiffing up your résumé , prepping for grueling interviews — none of it is fun. For many, the most challenging part of the process is writing an effective cover letter. There’s so much conflicting advice out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Do you even need one, especially if you’re applying through an online system?
- Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast , and the author of two books: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict . She writes and speaks about workplace dynamics. Watch her TEDx talk on conflict and follow her on LinkedIn . amyegallo
How to Write a Cover Letter (Cover Letter Tips + Free Templates)
A well-written cover letter to accompany your resume can help you stand out to employers and significantly impact a hiring manager’s decision to call you for an interview .
David Grimes, director of people and talent operations at Taulia LLC, told us, “I sincerely appreciate cover letters, as they signal to me an amplification of interest and offer an additional opportunity to convey that [job candidates] have taken the time to truly review the position or organization and see an alignment.”
He notes that “when done well, a cover letter can provide a window into the candidate as they picture themselves at our organization.”
So, if you’re wondering if you need a cover letter for a job, or you’re asking, “what is a cover letter for a resume?” and you want to know how to create a cover letter effectively, look no further!
In this guide, we’ll address the following:
What is a cover letter?
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:
- Introduce you to hiring managers.
- Provide details about your qualifications.
- Tell employers why you want to work for them.
- Illustrate why you’re the best match for the job.
- Explain circumstances like job hopping or gaps in employment.
Pro tip Did you know? 41% of job seekers replicate their resumes in their cover letters — a huge mistake. Your cover letter should complement your resume, not repeat it.
How to write a cover letter for a resume in 10 steps
Follow the simple steps below to make a cover letter that wows prospective employers.
STEP 1 Prepare to write your cover letter.
Preparation is key to writing a cover letter that stands out. Having your essential information ready will save you time and ensure you put your best foot forward.
First, review the job requirements and compare them to your relevant qualifications.
Then 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, if you haven’t already, research the company to:
- Get an idea of the culture and their mission and values so you can tell the hiring manager how well you fit and why.
- 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.
- Learn the hiring manager’s name, so you can address your cover letter to them.
STEP 2 Choose a cover letter template
Want to know how to write the perfect cover letter? Use a cover letter template . Why? Because cover letter templates ensure your cover letter is in the correct cover letter format , they’re ATS-friendly and they are designed by professionals.
We have hundreds of templates to help you get started on the right track. Pick from modern, creative, or simple styles to match your CV or resume template and build a professional cover letter in minutes. Not sure if a template’s right for you? Try one for free!
STEP 3 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 [email protected] and not personal like [email protected]. Include links to your LinkedIn profile or professional online portfolio if you have one.
STEP 4 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).
It should look like this:
Pro tip Always follow instructions in the job ad. If an ad directs you to address your cover letter to a human resources team member or the HR department, use the information the prospective employer provides for the recipient’s address.
STEP 5 Address the hiring manager (by name).
Here’s a tip for how to address a cover letter correctly: 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 “To Whom it May Concern,” to greet the person reading your letter.
Pro tip Did you know? 45% of hiring managers read an applicant’s cover letter before their resume.
- Dear Lucy Garcia,
- Dear Ms. Lowe,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Vice President of Marketing,
- Hey Mr. Jones,
STEP 6 Grab the hiring manager’s attention with a powerful cover letter introduction
The opening sentences of a cover letter are like an elevator pitch . They should clearly and concisely tell hiring managers why you’re interested in the job and they’ve got to be compelling.
But how do you start a cover letter in a way that intrigues hiring managers and makes them want to read more?
The following tips and examples can help you write a cover letter opening that gets attention.
Exude confidence, passion and enthusiasm.
“I was excited to see that Tech Solutions — a company I respect for its innovation — has an opening for an experienced lead producer .”
Talk up your skills and experience.
“With seven years of experience in production for leading start-up companies in Silicon Valley, I have in-depth knowledge of cyber security and cloud computing and know my way around artificial intelligence .”
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 WILCO Services 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.”
- Highlight an impressive accomplishment, award or honor and use numbers when possible.
Tell a story about why you are applying.
“When I was a child, I spent my days in the city parks around my neighborhood, listening to birds sing and watching squirrels jump through trees. Those days instilled a passion in me for wildlife that has intensified over the years and, combined with admiration for the animal rehabilitation programs at Prospect Park Nature Conservancy, led me to apply for the Wildlife Technician position at the conservancy. ”
Mention a shared contact (if you’re sure it’s a positive connection).
“ Jayne Peck told me you had an opening on your graphics team, and I’m thrilled to apply for the role. You and I know Jayne from Volunteers for the Bay, where I volunteered on the cleanup crew in 2017.”
STEP 7 Explain why you’re the best candidate for the job in your cover letter body paragraphs.
The body of a cover letter should paint an in-depth picture of your professional life while providing insight into your personality. It’s your chance to show the potential employer what you’re made of.
Here’s what to write in a cover letter body paragraph, no matter your background:
- 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.
- If you’re applying for your first job , connect the new opportunity with a personal or school project, extracurricular activity or internship.
- Highlight your most relevant skills and explain clearly how you can apply them to the job.
- If you think you’re a shoe-in for the company’s culture, show it! For example, if you enjoy volunteering for social justice causes and you are applying to a nonprofit organization focused on social justice, then explain why the company’s mission is meaningful to you.
- 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.
Pro tip Did you know? 83% of hiring managers surveyed said they would hire a candidate who sent a strong cover letter, even if their resume wasn’t up to par.
STEP 8 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.
Remember that you’re writing a cover letter to a specific person, so thank them for their time and consideration. You should also encourage the recipient to follow up (e.g., “I look forward to further discussing my qualifications with you.”).
Here are a few examples of how to create a cover letter closing paragraph.
Pro tip 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.
STEP 9 Sign off.
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.
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
STEP 10 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.
And there you go! That’s how to write a good cover letter.
What should a cover letter look like?
All cover letters follow a basic business letter structure that looks like this.
What to include in a cover letter
A professional cover letter must contain:
Your contact information
The current date
The hiring manager’s name and title
The company’s address
The hiring manager’s email address
A salutation (greeting)
An opening paragraph
A closing paragraph
Cover letter writing checklist
- Did you choose a cover letter design that matches your resume?
- Are your name, location, phone number and email address up to date and displayed at the top of your cover letter?
- Did you add a link to your professional portfolio or website and your current LinkedIn profile (if you have them)?
- Did you add the current date at the top of your cover letter?
- Did you address your letter to the hiring manager by name and include their title, email address and the correct company address?
- Did you greet the hiring manager, recruiter or HR associate by name or title?
- Did you use a polite but formal greeting?
- Are the first few sentences of your cover letter clear and compelling?
- Do you convey enthusiasm for the job?
- Did you effectively express how you can apply your skills, experience and achievements to the target job to help the company achieve its goals?
- Did you highlight one or two things you like about the company, such as their values or culture, and why?
- Did you thank the reader for their time?
- Did you end your cover letter with a call to action?
- Did you use a proper, formal closure to end your letter?
How to make a cover letter fast
A professional cover letter template is the best place to start a cover letter . Download one for free to create a cover letter from scratch, or use one of our expertly designed templates with our Cover Letter Builder to make a cover letter in minutes.
Our templates frame your qualifications with the correct formatting , and they meet the latest applicant tracking system (ATS) requirements.
Our builder makes writing a cover letter a snap with:
- Job-specific phrases and skills: No matter the job you’re applying for, we give you the right words and relevant skills you can incorporate with just one click.
- Step-by-step guidance: Get expert advice at every step to help you present your best self and get the job.
- Easy customization: Write a cover letter for every job application and save as many versions of it as you need.
- Multiple download formats: Save and export your cover letter as a PDF, DOCX or plain text.
Pro tip Always match your cover letter template to your resume template for a polished job application. Use our resume builder to create a matching resume and cover letter!
Cover letter tips
We’ve given you almost all the advice for writing a good cover letter that you’ll need to start creating a cover letter, but we’ve saved a few pointers for last.
Here are our top five tips for how to make a cover letter effectively.
TIP #1 Follow instructions. This is probably the most important tip for writing a cover letter. Read the job description carefully and do what it says. If the job posting says to send your letter as a PDF, don’t send a Word document. If it tells you to send your cover letter as an email attachment, then do so. If the job posting says to write your cover letter in the body of an email, then do that. If you fail to follow all instructions in a job ad, you will likely not be considered for the position.
TIP #2 Tailor your cover letter to the job. Hiring managers know a generic cover letter when they see one — and they usually ignore them. That’s why it’s critical to customize your cover letter to show your enthusiasm for the specific job and company you’re applying to. To do this, use keywords from the job description when they apply to you. Doing so also ensures ATS software can find you and signals to hiring managers that you meet their requirements.
Our Cover Letter Builder makes it fast easy to customize a cover letter for every job you target.
TIP #3 Don’t apologize. Never point out the skills and experience you lack. If you are qualified for the job but don’t have much experience in the field, don’t apologize. Instead, focus on experiences like volunteering, school projects and community service you’ve done that make you a good fit and play up your transferable skills.
TIP #4 Don’t overshare. While writing a cover letter to explain a career change or job gap is a good idea, sharing every detail about your life or career is not. Keep away from the following topics every time you create a cover letter:
- Political views.
- Current or past salary or salary expectations for the target job.
- Exaggerations and lies (about anything).
- Personal details such as marital status, family background, financial situation, ethnicity or religious beliefs
- Negative thoughts about your former boss, company or coworkers.
- Irrelevant personal hobbies.
- Details about work from more than three years ago that doesn’t pertain to your target job.
TIP #5 It’s possible to be too enthusiastic. We stress the importance of conveying enthusiasm when you write a cover letter because you should. However, use caution when displaying your zeal. Keep your tone professional, be genuine and never present yourself as desperate.
Cover letter examples
Cover letter examples for top jobs.
Get inspired with our professionally crafted cover letter examples for top jobs and industries. You can use them with our builder to make a cover letter that’s as unique as you are.
- Executive assistant
- Customer service representative
- Educational assistant
- Case manager
- Payroll specialist
Cover letter examples by situation
Example of how to make a cover letter when you have no experience.
Use this example to help you write a career change cover letter.
Here’s what to include in a cover letter if you have employment gaps.
Example of how to write a “cold call” cover letter.
This example shows how to write a cover letter for a job that isn’t advertised.
Here’s how to write a cover letter for a temporary to a permanent position.
Example of a cover letter for a job with the same company.
Example of a job application letter when you’re seeking a promotion.
How to write a cover letter: important takeaways
Let’s recap the basics of what to include in a cover letter one more time:
- A cover letter is a one-page document that complements your resume without repeating it.
- Address the cover letter to the hiring manager. If you don’t know who to address the cover letter to or can’t find their name, then address them as “Hiring Manager,” by their title, or address the department.
- Write a cover letter introduction that immediately grabs the hiring manager’s attention and compels them to keep reading.
- It’s a good idea to use a professionally designed cover letter template to ensure your cover letter is formatted correctly.
- A good cover letter is a custom cover letter. Tailor yours to your target job and use keywords from the job description if they fit your abilities.
How to make a cover letter FAQ
How long should a cover letter be.
A cover letter should cover one half-a page minimum and it should never be more than one-page long. Aim to concisely express your points in about 250-500 words.
How do you write a cover letter for a job application?
To make a cover letter effectively, use a standard business letter format, include your contact details and the potential employers’ contact information, address the hiring manager if possible, and in 250-500 words, explain how your achievements, skills, and work experience make you the best fit for the job. Introduce yourself and show enthusiasm for the job in the first paragraph, then in one or two paragraphs, detail exactly why you’re the best fit for the position. Ensure you address situations such as job gaps, a career change, or a move to a new location, and wrap it up in a compelling closing paragraph that reiterates your interest in the job and invites the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.
How to address a cover letter without a name?
It’s always best practice to try to find the hiring manager’s name when writing a cover letter because it personalizes your letter and emphasizes your interest in the position by showing you’ve done your homework. It also creates a connection with the hiring manager and conveys that you’re willing to go the extra mile, which is a quality most hiring managers want to see in prospective employees. But if you don’t have a name, it’s acceptable to write “Dear hiring manager,” “Dear [Title],” or “Dear [Department Name] to address your cover letter.
Can I send an email cover letter for a resume?
Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a cover letter in an email message, unless the job description states to attach it. Be sure to attach your resume to the email and let the hiring manager know it’s attached.
Is a cover letter necessary?
Yes! Unless a job posting specifically states not to send one, writing a cover letter for a job application is a must if you want to stand out from the competition. Sending a cover letter along with your resume shows recruiters that you are a professional who is sincerely interested in the job and willing to go the extra mile for it — traits employers look for in job candidates.
What to write in a cover letter?
Generally, cover letters should tell employers why you’re the best fit for your target job. Write about your background and how it fits the job, show your personality, and explain precisely what you can do for the employer and how. It’s also a good idea to explain unique situations like job gaps and the reasons for a career change in a cover letter.
Of course, you should also include your name, contact information, links to professional profiles, the employer’s address, addressee’s name and title, a greeting, a job applicant’s contact information, the employer’s address, a compelling introduction, a strong closing inviting the hiring manager or recruiter to follow-up and a formal signoff.
What does a cover letter look like?
A good cover letter looks like a classic business letter. Some cover letter templates have splashes of color, like this one:
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How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023
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Kellie Hanna, CPRW
Career advice expert.
Kellie is a Certified Professional Resume Writer with 20+ years of experience in digital media and is passionate about helping job seekers navigate their careers. She earned a B.A. in English and writing from Temple University.
More help writing a cover letter
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter After Maternity Leave
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
February 17, 2023
5 Qualities That are Part of Every Successful Cover Letter
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW
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How to write a cover letter.
A cover letter introduces you to an employer and asks them to think about your application.
It’s a short letter, usually 3 to 5 paragraphs long.
When to include a cover letter
You should always include a cover letter when you apply for a job using a CV.
You can write it as an email if you’re applying online or print a copy to go with a paper application.
When writing a cover letter, let the employer know you’re keen by showing that you’ve researched the company. Learn more about what they do through:
- their website
- recent news articles
- talking to people you know who work there
Send it to the right person
It's important to try to address your cover letter to someone by name. Check you have the details of the person you need to send it to.
You'll need their name and preferred title. For example, ‘Dr’, ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Ms’, and their job title. You should also make sure you have the right company name and address, including postcode.
If you do not know their name
If the job advert does not include a name you can check the company website. Try to find details of the head of the department, head of human resources or a recruitment manager.
If you still cannot find a name, you can start your letter with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.
Introduce yourself and explain how you found the advertised job. You can mention the job title, and reference number if there is one.
If you’re asking about any job openings and not applying to a vacancy, tell them what sort of job you’re looking for. Let the employer see how keen you are to work for them.
Show you're right for the job
Highlight the skills and experience you have that match what the employer is looking for.
Convince them that you're enthusiastic about working for them. Let them know you share their work values, culture and style.
Give extra information
If you have gaps in your employment history, you could talk about the skills you gained while you were out of work.
If you’ve mentioned on your CV that you have a disability, you might want to talk more about this in your cover letter. Organisations like Disability UK can give you advice on how to do this. You do not have to mention your disability at this stage if you prefer not to.
You can get more help with specialist advice on finding work if you have a disability.
Ending your cover letter
Thank the employer for considering your application. Let them know that they can get more details from your CV, and tell them you're looking forward to hearing from them.
Let them know how they can best contact you. Make sure your contact details are correct on both your cover letter and CV.
Yours sincerely or yours faithfully
If you know the name of the person you’re writing to, you should end the letter with ‘Yours sincerely’.
If you’ve addressed the letter ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, you should end the letter with ‘Yours faithfully’.
Tips for writing a cover letter
When writing your cover letter, remember to:
- write a new one for every job you apply for and make sure it’s tailored to the company and the specific role
- use the same font and size as you do for your CV, so it looks consistent
- make sure the company name and recruiter’s details are correct
- use the right language and tone: keep it professional and match the keywords used by the employer in their job advert
- show you’ve done your research into the job and the company
- highlight your most relevant skills and experience to stand out from other applicants
- back up any statements you make with facts and use the STAR method
- double check spelling and grammar before you send it
- keep a copy of your cover letter as they may ask you about it in an interview
How to write a CV
Completing application forms
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- Cover Letter
- How to Write a Cover Letter? Examples & Tips
How to Write a Cover Letter? Examples & Tips
Good cover letters are very much in demand. And that’s why learning how to write a cover letter is worth your time. Especially if the knowledge is right in front of your eyes!
As seen in:
A cover letter is your unique opportunity to showcase your personality and skills. And more than that—it can also demonstrate why you're the ideal candidate for the job. Knowing how to write a cover letter can significantly influence your career trajectory.
This comprehensive guide will demystify the process of cover letter writing, providing you with valuable insights and practical tips to help you craft a standout document with confidence and finesse.
If you experience writer’s block, let us write your cover letter for you. Tell us your name, job title, and years of experience to get an automatically generated cover letter. Pick from 18+ cover letter templates and match your resume!
Create your cover letter now
Sample cover letter for a resume—See more cover letter samples here.
Here’s what you’ll find in this article (jump right into the desired section):
Why Do You Need a Cover Letter?
- Prepare Yourself Beforehand
- Format the Cover Letter Template
- Create a Cover Letter Header
- Address the Reader
- Make a Proper Introduction
- Explain Why You’re the Perfect Fit
- Show Your Motivation to Join the Company
- Close With a Promise
- Stay Formal in the Closing Salutation
- Add a Postscript
Cover Letter Examples
- Frequently Asked Questions About Cover Letters
What Is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one-page job application document you should submit together with your resume or CV. Its purpose is to introduce you in a personal way as well as provide a broader context for your qualifications and achievements. A good cover letter can help the hiring manager see your worth.
This guide focuses on writing a cover letter for a job. However, you can also write an application letter if you haven't entered the job market yet. For example, writing a cover letter for a scholarship can increase your chances of getting a cash grant. In a similar way, an internship cover letter can help employers notice your skills instead of worry about your lack of work experience.
A good cover letter complements your resume. It shows the employer that your qualifications match their needs, and that you are a good fit for the position.
Plus, a well-written cover letter:
- Shows you did research and take the job seriously.
- Proves you understand the challenges of the company.
- Reflects that your vision aligns with their goals.
- Presents how your skills and experience are a solution .
Ultimately, a good cover letter should be all about “ why should we hire you ” and “what’s in it for us.” The winning tactic here is focusing on them , not just on you, which will ultimately make you stand out from other applicants
And that’s why it’s worth spending time writing a solid cover letter.
Let’s find out how to do it.
No work experience yet? Head to this guide: How to Write an Entry-Level Cover Letter
How to Write a Cover Letter
For many jobseekers, writing a cover letter is the worst step of applying for jobs. So, let me guide you through the process. You'll see that it's really not that hard!
Prefer the video format? Watch this video to uncover the simple truth of how to write a cover letter for a job application:
Worried you might miss something? We’ve got a checklist guide for you: What to Include in a Cover Letter
Here's how to make a cover letter: Use a business letter format and a professional cover letter template. Include your and the employer's contact details, and address the hiring manager by name. In 200–400 words, highlight your achievements, professional skills , and relevant experience that make you the best fit for the job.
A bit too tl;dr? Let’s now move on to detailed instructions on how to write a successful cover letter:
1. Prepare Yourself Beforehand
You may feel tempted to dive in straight away. But hold your horses for a few more minutes! Before writing a cover letter, it's worth knowing what to write, right? That's why you should spend some time on gathering info first.
Here are a few things to research before writing a cover letter:
- Job requirements: make sure you understand what they are because your letter will refer to them.
- Company website: that's the minimum. Check the company history, its goals, and try to learn about the company culture.
- Hiring manager: you want to address them by name, so do your best to find it!
- Your resume: make sure it clearly shows you're a good fit for the role, and keep it nearby so you can take a look at it whenever necessary.
Pro Tip: You can actually reach out to someone from the company you're applying to via LinkedIn. It's best to pick the hiring manager. Try to ask them a clever question about the position. Then, you will be able to refer to this exchange in your cover letter.
2. Format the Cover Letter Template
There's not much freedom when it comes to the cover letter format. Writing poetry when applying for a corporate job may not be the best idea. However, there is certain freedom in choosing a template, as soon as it includes the key parts of a cover letter . The image below shows them all:
By the way, you can upload your resume into our cover letter builder , and it will convert the info into the cover letter!
If you decide to go for a ready-made cover letter template, you'll save a lot of time. There's a large variety of styles and designs out there, including modern cover letter templates and cover letter templates for creative professions . But you can also make the template from scratch in Word or Google Docs. It's entirely up to you.
Here’s how to format your cover letter :
- Choose a legible cover letter font like Arial or Garamond, and keep it between 10 and 12 points in font size.
- Set even margins on all sides: 1-inch margins should be perfect.
- Left-align all your contents.
- Use double cover letter spacing between paragraphs and 1–1.15 between lines.
- Title your cover letter by JobTitle—CoverLetter—YourName .
- Let your cover letter layout stay intact en route to the recruiter by saving the file in PDF.
- Fit all the information included in the letter on one page. That's how long a cover letter should be .
Need inspo? Check here: This Is What the Best Cover Letter Looks Like
3. Create a Cover Letter Header
A professional cover letter opens with a header. Ideally, your cover letter header should be the same as in your resume (for consistency), so feel free to use the same template.
If you prefer to write the header of your cover letter from scratch, include the following contact information:
- Phone number
- Email address
Pro Tip: If you send your cover letter via email , don’t use your current work email address. It’s impolite to your current and potential employer.
4. Address the Reader
Once you’re done with the header, it’s time to mention the location and date of writing.
Then, address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager like so:
- Dear Katherine,
- Dear Ms. Smith,
- Dear Mr. McConnor,
According to studies , people respond actively to hearing/seeing their names—so use it in the cover letter salutation . Look for the hiring manager's name by:
- Checking the job description
- Going to the company’s LinkedIn page (to look for the person responsible for uploading the job offer)
If you can’t find the name by any means possible, opt for “ Dear Hiring Manager .” Avoid starting your cover letter with “ To Whom It May Concern ” like the plague. And if you’re not living in Victorian England, don’t start a cover letter with “ Dear Sir or Madam ,” either.
Follow this template to make sure you include everything:
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Name]
[Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Job Title]
Dear [Ms./Mr.] ...
Pro Tip: Wondering whether you should use the hiring manager’s first or last name? That depends on the company culture. Use the first name if you’re applying to a relaxed, casual company. For corporate cover letters, it’s safer to use the addressee's last name.
5. Make a Proper Introduction
Here’s the brutal truth: these few sentences at the beginning of your cover letter will determine whether the hiring manager will read on. So you need to write the cover letter's intro in a way that attracts and holds the reader’s interest.
Here are several proven strategies for starting your cover letter :
- Highlight your achievements.
- Display your passion and enthusiasm.
- Drop names.
- Do all the above.
Have a look at these two sample cover letter opening paragraphs:
Cover Letter Examples: Opening
Why is the wrong example not delivering? Because it provides no value and details. The bottom line is: “I’ve already done this job, so I think I’d fit in.” And it’s just not enough for someone with more than eight years of experience to get the job.
6. Explain Why You’re the Perfect Fit
The second paragraph (main body) of your cover letter has a couple of jobs to perform:
- Give the hiring manager what they’re looking for.
- Show that you’ll satisfy the company’s specific needs.
Job seekers impress employers by identifying transferable skills related to new positions. People often apply to new positions, so it’s likely you’ll not have the exact experience requested. But employers would rather know how your past experiences will inform future decisions. You were a hostess? Relate those management and organizational skills to the Executive Assistant position. Lauren Little Career Coach
Let’s look at another cover letter example to see how this could be done. Remember Jane, our digital marketing manager candidate? The XYZ company she applies to needs (based on the job ad):
- A savvy digital marketing manager (1)
- Someone who will supervise the development of their new online portal (2)
Let’s look at how Jane managed to show that she’s both:
Cover Letter Examples: Middle Part
Your go-to strategy on what your cover letter should say in the main body:
- In the first sentence, prove you’re an expert in your field (refrain from bragging too much).
- The remaining part should be all about how your previous experiences will help your future employer press ahead with their plans.
Pro Tip: A cover letter also is a great place to explain gaps in your employment , if you have any.
7. Show Your Motivation to Join the Company
Your future employers have needs . If they’re willing to hire you, it’s because they think you’ll satisfy those needs. But they also want you to enjoy working with them. That way, they know you’re more likely to stay with them for longer.
The key to writing a perfect third paragraph of your cover letter is showing the hiring manager why you want this job, not just any job. That’s particularly important for entry-level candidates—enthusiasm and passion help prove you'll hit the ground running.
Have a look at these cover letter examples:
Cover Letter Samples: Middle Paragraphs
Above all, you want to avoid writing too much of a general cover letter . Generic doesn't win jobs; targeted does. (We’re, of course, assuming you tailored your resume to every job description you’re after, too.)
Pro Tip: Make your cover letter more impressive by including relevant resume keywords from the job ad.
8. Close With a Promise
How to write a cover letter ending that gets people excited? By providing value.
The worst mistakes you can make in writing your cover letter's final paragraph are:
- 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”
Instead, tell the hiring manager that you’re looking forward to meeting in person and discussing how your experience and knowledge can help your future employer fulfill their goals. Like here:
Cover Letter Example: Ending With a Promise
Trying to find exciting ways to end your cover letter, but to no avail? See how to write a convincing final paragraph here: How to Successfully Close a Cover Letter
9. Stay Formal in the Closing Salutation
Once you’ve written the body of your cover letter, you just need to put a formal closing at the very end. Write “Sincerely” and follow it with your full name. Adding your handwritten signature is optional (recommended for more formal cover letters).
If you’re not a fan of the well-worn “Sincerely,” feel free to use any of the following:
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- Respectfully yours,
- With best regards,
Want to learn more? Check here: Examples of Professional Cover Letter Signatures
10. Add a Postscript
All of the above sections are must-haves in a good cover letter. But there’s one special trick you can use—the postscript. Why is it so important? Because it’s like a magnet for the hiring manager’s eyes that screams: “you cannot miss this information.”
Write a cover letter postscript to tell the hiring manager about something impressive about your career, even if it’s not strictly related to the job opening. And say you’d be happy to provide them with more details if they find it interesting.
Cover Letter Sample: Postscript
Pro Tip: Looking to work for a company, but there aren't any open positions? Try writing a letter of interest for a job . It's a great way of uncovering vacancies that aren't even advertised.
If you get stuck when writing your cover letter, taking a look at a professional cover letter example can be really helpful. Here's a selection of 10 great sample cover letters for job applications:
- General Cover Letter : you can quickly personalize it and adapt for any job you want
- Career-Change Cover Letter : great if you're planning to switch professions
- Manager Cover Letter : easy to customize for any management position
- Student Cover Letter : it will show you how to highlight educational achievements and skills
- Teacher Cover Letter : to inspire the headmaster before you can inspire your pupils
- IT Cover Letter : can help you prove you're more than your coding skills
- Federal Cover Letter : getting a government job ain't easy, but it's worth trying
- Academic Cover Letter : that tenure might be waiting for you!
- Cover Letter With No Experience : we've all been there at some point!
- Cover Letter for an Internal Position : in case you're moving within the same company
You can also browse our collection of pro cover letter samples here.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume 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:
See more cover letter templates and start writing .
Here's a reminder of how to write a great cover letter in 10 steps:
- Research the company and the job beforehand.
- Format the cover letter template according to standards.
- Ensure your contact info in the header is correct.
- Address your hiring manager or recruiter personally.
- Attract their attention in the introduction.
- Use your experience to prove you're the exact match to the company's needs.
- Explain your motivation and fit for the position.
- Finish with a call to action and ask for a meeting.
- Be formal in the closing sentiment.
- Include a postscript.
Or use our cover letter builder to remember it all for you!
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Do you have any questions about how to make a cover letter? Want to share an example of a cover letter? Give us a shout in the comments, and we’ll reply!
About Zety’s Editorial Process
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines . We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Write a Cover Letter
What is a cover letter.
A cover letter is a formal letter that accompanies a CV or a resume . It includes a candidate’s introduction and an overview of the candidate’s qualifications , skills, and accomplishments most relevant to the job they’re pursuing. The cover letter also serves to express the candidate’s interest in the position and the company, as well as eagerness to contribute to the company’s success. It can also help to explain employment gaps .
What are the four parts of a cover letter?
- Cover letter header with your contact information such as full name, phone number, and email address
- Cover letter introduction with your hiring manager’s address and a hook that hypes the reader up so much that they can’t stop reading
- Cover letter body with a description of your significant accomplishments and strengths that you’ll bring to the table. (Beware! It’s not a copy of your resume.)
- Cover letter closing with a call to action and your signature
What should a cover letter say?
That you’re the one. That you want them, but that they want you, too. That you’re the solution to their problems. That’s what your cover letter should say .
And you can achieve all of that by having a number of things in your cover letter :
- action verbs and power words
- accomplishment statements
- organized cover letter layout , and
- enthusiastic but determined tone of voice
How to write a simple cover letter?
To make cover letter writing simple, you need to know a couple of things first:
- Create proper cover letter formatting before putting down words. You’ll ensure a correct structure and that you’ll fit onto one page with your cover letter.
- Find your hiring manager’s or recruiter’s name. By personalizing your cover letter, you have a higher chance of landing the gig.
- Create a list of job keywords you need to target with your application. Have a look at the job ad and mark those words which speak of necessary qualifications and qualities. Then use them in your paragraphs.
- Never lie in your job application .
- And lastly, do as extensive research about the company as possible. The intricate details about their mission, values, and vision will help you find an angle to write your cover letter.
How to write a cover letter for an internship?
A cover letter to an internship resume is a fantastic way to shoo away your competition. So don't hesitate and write a cover letter for an internship you’ve dreamt of for too long.
First and foremost, prove to your potential employer that you’re worth hiring, and that they’re a great company to work for. Do your research and don’t be shy to show what you’ve learned. Later use that knowledge to give away your connection to the company and its values. Show your transferable skillset and achievements, and let your determination and motivation do their magic.
How to write a cover letter for 2023?
In 2023, write your cover letter with these simple steps:
- Create a consistent look by mirroring a resume header to your template.
- Make a clean cover letter layout to keep enough whitespace on the page.
- Find an angle to write your cover letter—motivation to advance, shared values or mission statement, recent developments in the industry. Doing thorough research always helps.
- Start your cover letter with a relevant accomplishment that makes the reader want to carry on.
- Create a smooth transition from the hook through your strengths to motivation in 3 to 4 paragraphs, tops.
- Call your recruiter to action in the cover letter closing and ask for a meeting with you.
Is a cover letter necessary?
Almost half of the recruiters reject applications without a cover letter. Cover letters are a treat for those who still care to hire dedicated professionals. (And that’s you, right?)
It’s no surprise, though, that you’re questioning whether a cover letter is necessary . The entire job application process can be exhausting, so cutting down on documents you have to produce always seems like a good idea. But not this time.
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IT Cover Letter Examples (Information Technology Jobs)
Excited about applying for that lucrative tech job? Before sending in your application, you need a cover letter. Here’s how to write the best IT cover letter the CTO has ever seen.
What Does the Best Cover Letter Look Like in 2023
Not sure what a cover should look like? Confused by all the contrasting guidelines? Here’s an article that will straighten out all your queries once and for all.
10 Short Cover Letter Samples (+ Writing Guide)
Today’s hiring process is fast and furious. Don’t waste the recruiter’s time—see our 10 short cover letter examples and learn how to make every word count.
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It's important to get your cover letter right. It's your one opportunity to sell your skills and experience to potential employers. Find out how to write and format a cover letter and take ideas and inspiration from our cover letter templates
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. It acts as a personal introduction and helps to sell your application.
Cover letters are necessary as they give you the chance to explain to an employer why you're the best candidate for the job. You do this by highlighting relevant skills and experience; therefore, you should always write your cover letter with the position you're applying for in mind.
Not to be confused with personal statements for your CV , cover letters should complement your CV but not duplicate it. The consensus among recruiters when it comes to the length of these documents is the shorter the better. Typically, three to five short paragraphs, cover letters should not exceed one A4 page.
If sending electronically, put the text in the body of the email rather than as an attachment, to avoid it being detected by spam filters.
Applications should always include a cover letter unless the job advert instructs you differently.
How do I write a good cover letter?
Before writing your cover letter it's important that you do your research. While reading the job description thoroughly is essential, it's not enough on its own. To help you craft a successful cover letter you’ll need to find out more about:
- who will be reading your cover letter
- the organisation and its culture
- the industry it operates in and any relevant news
- company competitors and market position.
- the organisations goals over the next five years.
When writing your cover letter keep it brief, while making sure it emphasises your suitability for the job. Cover letters can be broken down into the following sections:
- First paragraph - The opening statement should set out why you're writing the letter. Begin by stating the position you're applying for, where you saw it advertised and when you are available to start.
- Second paragraph - Highlight relevant experience and demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description. Summarise any additional strengths and explain how these could benefit the company.
- Third paragraph - Cover why you're suitable for the job, what attracted you to this type of work, why you're interested in working for the company and what you can offer the organisation. This is a good opportunity to show off your knowledge of the company.
- Last paragraph - Use the closing paragraph to round up your letter. Reiterate your interest in the role and indicate your desire for an interview. Now is the time to mention any unavailable dates.
Once finished read through the document and cut out any unnecessary words and sentences. Don't fill up space by repeating what's already covered in your CV. As a rule, only mention your current salary or salary expectations if the employer has specifically asked you to. If you're asked to include this information, put it between the third and last paragraphs.
Unless the job advert states differently (for example, it may ask you to provide your CV and cover letter as a Word document) save with a .PDF file extension to make sure it can be opened and read on any machine. Windows PCs and Macs don't always work in harmony - Windows use a .docx file extension and Macs .pages but if the recruiter uses the opposite system, they may not be able to open your file. Using a .PDF file extension should solve this.
If you need help with your CV take a look at how to write a CV .
How should I address a cover letter?
Always try and address your cover letter directly to the person who will be reading it. Bear in mind that you're more likely to receive a reply if you send it to the right person.
If you're struggling to find a named contact, you can use a general greeting such as:
- Dear Sir/Madam
- Dear Hiring manager
- Dear Human resources director.
However, general greetings should only be used once you have exhausted methods of finding a named contact.
How do I sign off?
How you sign off your cover letter depends on how you addressed it. If you include a named contact, sign off 'Yours sincerely'. If you use a general greeting, finish with 'Yours faithfully'.
Example cover letters
- Sample cover letter - Used to highlight your skills and experience and to express your suitability and passion for the job, cover letters are used to encourage recruiters to look at your CV. Attention to detail is crucial and spelling, grammar and formatting needs to be spot on. Take a look at our sample cover letter for inspiration.
- Speculative cover letter - These can sometimes be an effective method of creating an opportunity. To ensure that speculative cover letters are successful you'll need to do your research on the company you're applying to. Using our cover letter template, discover what to include in speculative applications.
- Cover letter by a Masters graduate - You probably embarked on a Masters to expand your subject knowledge, gain industry contacts and improve your job prospects but to really make it work you need to know how to sell your postgraduate qualification to employers.
- Cover letter for a jobseeker with no experience - It can be tough applying for a job with no experience, but our example cover letter shows you how to promote yourself to an employer if you haven't got any directly related work experience.
- Explaining a gap in your CV - Knowing how to navigate around gaps in your CV can be tricky but it's a mistake to try and gloss over them. Your cover letter is the perfect place to explain these gaps in your employment history to potential employers. Take a look at our sample cover letter to find out how to go about it.
- Cover letter for changing career - Find out how to explain a change of direction in our example cover letter for career changers. You'll need to briefly cover why you want to change career and relate your past experience and wealth of skills to the industry/job you’re applying to.
- Cover letter by an international graduate - If you'd like to expand your horizons by working abroad, take a look at our cover letter of an international student applying for a job in the UK. You’ll need to do your research if you apply for a job in another country, as application rules may differ.
- Disclosing a disability - Just like your gender, marital status and dependants your disability doesn't affect your ability to do a job and you're not legally required to disclose it on your CV or in your cover letter. However, if you would like to disclose a disability to outline any adjustments you may need, this sample cover letter will show you how.
- Internship cover letter - To set yourself above the competition you need to successfully sell your relevant skills and experience while conveying your passion for the role. As well as explaining to employers what the opportunity could do for you, you'll need to communicate what you could do for the company. Discover how to craft the perfect application for a formal internship with our internship cover letter template.
- Apprenticeship cover letter - Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular route into work, as well as a great alternative to university. Find out how to apply for these roles with our apprenticeship cover letter example.
For inspiration and guidance on crafting a CV see example CVs .
When should I follow up my application?
It's always a good idea to follow up on a job application if you don't hear back. If two weeks have passed and you've had no response, send an email to the hiring manager to check that your application has been received. Use this opportunity to reiterate your interest in the role and why you think you'd be an asset to the company.
Keep this email brief. It shouldn't act as a second cover letter or attempt to replace or repeat the original.
What are some top tips for writing a cover letter?
With employers often receiving lots of applications for each vacancy, you need to ensure that your cover letter makes a lasting impression for the right reasons. These tips will increase your chances of success:
- Tailor to the organisation - You should rewrite your cover letter every time you apply for a position in order to target the company. Sending out a generic letter for all applications rarely yields positive results and recruiters can spot your lack of time and effort from a mile away.
- Format - Presentation is important so you'll need to format your cover letter properly. Make sure the document is as uncluttered as possible, use the same font and size as you use in your CV and if you're sending it through the post or handing it in use good quality plain white paper to print it on.
- Use keywords that appear in the job advert - This lets the employer know that you’ve read and understood the job description. It also demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to tailor your application to the job.
- Identify your USPs - They're your unique selling points. Be positive about what you have to offer and clearly outline how your skills and experience meet those requested in the job description. Demonstrate why you're the perfect candidate.
- Include examples - Back up the claims in your cover letter with real evidence or examples that show how and when you've used your skills and experience.
- Save a copy - If you’re invited to interview you might need to refer back to it.
If you're a student or recent graduate, you can make an appointment with your university's careers and employability service to access further help when writing your cover letter. You'll be able to talk with specially-trained advisers, get advice on what to include and have a professional eye look over your application before sending.
To make sure you don’t trip up read about the 5 things to avoid when writing a cover letter .
Find out more
- Learn more about applying for jobs .
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The Ultimate Guide to CV Templates & Cover Letter Writing
How to write a cover letter, how to write a cv, download cv templates.
- More CV Articles
If you aren’t sure how to write a cv and what to include in your cover letter, then our Ultimate Guide To CV and Cover Letter Writing will answer all your questions, providing you with a helpful CV template and Cover Letter Sample .
Every successful job hunt starts with a good cover letter and a great CV.
What is a Cover Letter
A cover letter is a document you include with your CV when applying to job ads. It helps you sell your application and enables you to explain why you’re the best person for the role.
What to include in your Cover Letter?
Here is a quick overview of what you need to add to your cover letter:
- A heading with personal information such as your name, phone number, email address, date, name of the hiring manager, their professional title, and the hiring company’s name and address
- A professional greeting; preferably, you will know the name of the likely reader
- An eye-catching opening paragraph that outlines your skills, experience, and suitability for the job
- A second paragraph showcasing the fact you’re the best fit for the organization
- A third paragraph highlighting your desire to join while reiterating your suitability
- A closing paragraph outlining how you can help the company fulfil its goals
- A formal closing
- A postscript adding one of your most impressive achievements
Don’t forget to send a follow-up email a few days after applying.
What is the purpose of a Cover Letter for a CV?
A lot of people don’t bother sending a cover letter because they believe a CV is sufficient. Others regurgitate their CV, rendering the letter redundant. A well-written cover letter highlights your skills and experience and expands on your CV rather than duplicating it. In general, 3-5 paragraphs on a single A4 page is long enough for a cover letter.
Now, let’s look at two cover letter samples; one is for a typical job, the other is for an internship.
You should always include a cover letter with your application even if the employer doesn’t ask you for one. Why? Well, it’s a fantastic way to add information that doesn’t fit into a CV. It will also help to give your application a bit more ‘personality’.
When it comes to cover letters, most employers look for the following:
- Tailored skills from the job description
- Well written and formatted content
- Further details from information in your CV (but NOT a direct copy)
- The ‘value’ you would bring to the organisation. In other words, why should we hire you?
- Perfect spelling & grammar
- A reflection of your personality
Top Cover Letter Tips
Get the balance right.
There is a fine line between being confident and being arrogant. At the same time, you have to showcase your skill and experience. For example, saying “Although I don’t have vast experience as a leader, I have led teams in the absence of supervisors”, won’t impress anyone. It is better to say “I have led teams for 10 years in various phases in my organisation and gained [skill X] during each occasion.”
Pick at least 3 of the qualities mentioned in the job application and briefly refer to them in your cover letter.
Stick to the facts surrounding your achievements. Don’t’ be tempted to show off in your cover letter but this can come across as arrogant which is a real turn-off for employers.
Show Evidence of your Abilities
Pick at least 3 of the qualities mentioned in the job application and briefly refer to them in your cover letter; they should already be listed in your CV. It’s always best to use hard data in terms of facts and figures when necessary. For example, “During my financial executive role in Cork, I was involved in banking contracts ranging from €40 million to €150 million” is better than “I was a financial executive in Australia.”
Discuss the Company
Research the company then mention the aspects of what it does that impresses you the most. If you love its innovation, give an example of how it is leading the field in this department.
Keep it Short
There is no need to go beyond a single A4 page because unless the application is for a managerial/executive position, the recruiter won’t go past page one anyway. Your cover letter should consist of the highlights of your career to date and should be brief. You shouldn’t have more than three paragraphs and each one should get straight to the point.
Send as a PDF
Every computer can open a PDF file without the need for conversion. The last thing you want is to send your cover letter in a file that needs to be converted as the recruiter might just move onto the next person instead.
Personalise (If Possible)
If you’re savvy you’ll perform the necessary research to find out who you’re sending the application to. “Hello Mr. Johnson” is much better than “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam.” However, there may be occasions when you simply don’t know who will be reading the letter. In this case, it’s better not to address anyone. The only thing worse than a generic opening is addressing the person by the wrong name!
You would be astonished at the number of spelling and grammatical errors contained in the average cover letter. The reader will assume you were too lazy or haphazard to check your own work which almost guarantees rejection. Get a friend or family member to read over it after you’ve proofread it yourself.
Stick to the Point
Hiring managers read dozens of cover letters and the last thing they want is to sift through irrelevant information on a page. Rather than focus on activities and tell the company about your love of bowling, look for ways to align the company’s values with your own.
Cover Letter Template
A classic cover letter should contain 3-4 paragraphs. Try to address a specific person if necessary and then do the following:
- Opening Paragraph: Outline what you have to offer that is directly relevant to the role. If you begin rambling you will immediately lose the reader. You can also state the position you are applying for and the reasons why you applied. While this is seen as a complete waste of time by some, there’s a chance that the company will be advertising more than one job.
- Middle Paragraphs: This section should include details on how the skills, experience and education you possess make you an ideal fit for the specific requirements of the job. This is where your research comes in handy; you can include details on the company itself (and why you specifically want to work for them) to show that you have done your homework.
- Final Paragraph: Conclude by thanking the reader for their consideration and state that you would welcome the opportunity for an interview.
Cover Letter Example
Dear Mr. Jones,
I am applying for the available marketing assistant role advertised at www.jobs.ie.
As well as having experience in the marketing field, I graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) with a BA in Marketing. I am now looking to use the knowledge gained so far in my career to further help clients achieve their sales targets and the opening at Acme Business presents me with the ideal opportunity to achieve this goal.
I believe I meet all the criteria needed for the role. In the course of my studies, I learned a great deal about the financial side of running a business including details on setting a budget. I worked as part of a group for a number of projects and feel comfortable as part of a team due to my interpersonal and communication skills.
At Johnson Marketing, I worked for a variety of major international firms and helped them learn crucial details about customer behaviour. As a result, we were able to streamline the marketing campaigns of these clients to reduce costs while increasing ROI. I worked with five different clients during my tenure at Johnson Marketing and all five enjoyed a sales increase of at least 10%.
In addition to this extensive marketing campaign experience, I also have strong administrative, communication, problem solving and time management skills. This broad background makes me an ideal candidate for this position and I believe I will bring flexibility, efficiency, reliability and innovation to your company. Please read the accompanying CV which will provide you with further details of my skill set and academic qualifications.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my application and I look forward to hearing from you.
Cover Letter Dont’s
Beginning with your name.
This is unnecessary since your name is already on your CV and other parts of your application. It is a weak opening and you’re already on the back foot. A better way to start your cover letter is to open by stating that you have a qualification relevant to the job opening.
Beginning with “I’m a marketing professional with 15+ years of healthcare industry experience” is far better than “My name is Jane Doe.”
Cover Letter for a Job Application Template
Cover letter for an internship template, repeating your cv.
It is a total waste of time and paper to turn your cover letter into another version of your CV. Remember it actually attached your CV!
Your cover letter is your opportunity to show an interest in the field, curiosity and your personality.
Always Google the hiring company and don’t be afraid to throw in a historical fact or two related to the company’s past. For example, tech professionals could talk about how thrilling it is to be part of the industry’s transformation and perhaps mention a recent change that altered the field.
This should be an obvious point and it also applies to your CV. You may think it can improve your chances of landing the role but in reality, it’s very likely your deception will be uncovered. These days, companies take no chances and are extremely thorough when performing background checks.
These days, companies take no chances and are extremely thorough when performing background checks.
All it takes is one ‘white lie’ to be uncovered and your chances of being employed are finished. Worse still, word might get around and other companies will be reluctant to hire you also.
References are irrelevant when it comes to cover letters and are a waste of valuable space. From the hiring manager’s point of view, all you’re doing is including the names of people that mean nothing to them.
Trying to Justify Quitting or a Redundancy
The reader of your cover letter is only interested in current information and isn’t too concerned about why you were laid off or even why you quit your last job. In fact, bringing these issues up in your cover letter could set off alarm bells in the mind of the hiring manager. They may believe that you still have unresolved issues and are unable to move forward. The interview is the time and place to discuss these matters.
As you probably know, CV stands for Curriculum Vitae. Bear in mind it is not the story of your life. Instead, think of it as a sales brochure which is a summary of your experience, skills and education written to convince employers that you are the best choice for their vacancy.
How long should a CV be?
The best CVs are concise and contain nothing but information that will get you an interview. A general rule of thumb is to keep your CV to two pages and ensure it is well spaced out with subheadings.
However, individuals with little experience or education may find that a single page is sufficient for entry-level jobs. On the flip side, a manager with decades of experience could conceivably write a CV that’s three pages long.
There are different types of CVs. The conventional version is best used if you have reasonable experience and a decent educational background. However, a different approach is required if you have little experience. Below, we provide two CV samples for job applicants with a shortage of real-world work experience.
Top CV Tips
Keep it to 2 a4 pages.
There is no reason to ever go beyond two A4 pages when writing a CV. Remember, hiring managers tend to ‘skim’ the content and have to read a host of applications. If he/she is confronted by a CV spanning several pages, it will end up in the bin.
Your CV is an opportunity to show a company that you tick all the right boxes and the goal is to get an interview. As a result, you have to keep things relatively short and sweet. You can let your personality shine through in your cover letter.
Think of your CV as a sales brochure. The product you are selling is you!
Ensure it is Error Free
A staggering number of CVs sent to employers have at least one spelling and/or grammatical error. This is cause for immediate rejection.
In other words, meticulous proofreading will immediately increase your chances of being called in for an interview!
Other potential errors to watch out for include providing the wrong contact information (phone numbers and email addresses) and getting the dates in your education and employment history wrong. Double check everything!
Show that you Understand the Job Description
You wouldn’t believe how many people apparently skim the job description only to create a completely unsuitable CV. Always read the job description from start to finish and highlight keywords. Try to find out the aspects of the job you can satisfy and those you can’t.
You don’t need to be a 100% perfect fit in order to have a good chance of getting an interview for the role.
If you find there are a few areas where you’re not strong, compensate by adapting your existing skills. This process will be a lot easier if you have a number of ‘transferable’ skills. By carefully reading the job description, you can avoid wasting time by applying for jobs you have little chance of getting.
Show Your Value
The person reading your CV wants to know if you can do the job and if you are a good fit for the company’s corporate culture. A good CV should answer both these questions conclusively. and involves making the most of the Skills and Interests sections. Include key skills relevant to the role; they may include Teamworking, Problem Solving and Communication skills.
To do that make the mo st of the Skills and Interests sections. Include key skills relevant to the role; they may include Teamworking, Problem Solving and Communication skills.
Take a moment to consider how you’ve grown your skills. You don’t necessarily need to have gained them in a working capacity. You may have gained Leadership skills by running a volunteer scheme for example.
When it comes to your Interests, avoid being generic and adding things such as ‘watching TV’. Such hobbies may make you seem unsociable and the reader may even perceive you to be lacking people skills if your interests are all solo endeavours. Add examples where you worked as part of a team. For instance, you may have worked for your college’s newspaper or been involved in a local GAA team.
Make the Most of Your Experience
You should focus on your most recent 2-3 positions unless you have older jobs relevant to the position you’re applying for. When describing your employment history, try and be as specific as possible when listing responsibilities, duties, skills and achievements.
It is always best to include details of how you managed to help your employer. For example, in your role as manager you could outline how you increased productivity by 20% or saved the company money by eliminating inefficient processes. When talking about your experience, you need to forget about showing how amazing you are and concentrate on how you can be a fantastic acquisition for the company.
Keep Your CV Updated
You need to keep your CV updated on a regular basis and add new experience or skills as you achieve them. For example, don’t neglect to add details of a new project you’ve just worked on. Employers are always seeking people who are constantly looking to improve their existing capabilities.
This is a tricky one. In a lot of cases, you could get away with adding ‘references available upon request’ but in some instances, employers will specifically ask for them.
Try to get your references from past employers as they can back you up when it comes to skills and experience. This is why you should always look to leave your current workplace on good terms.
If you haven’t worked before, use a teacher or a tutor as your reference. Most employers want two references.
Create Your CV for the Search Engines Too
An increasing number of people are applying for jobs through online sites. In this instance, you need to include keywords specific to the industry and the role you’re applying for in order to ensure the search engine picks you out from the crowd.
For example, if you’re applying for a marketing position, you could include terms such as digital marketing and SEO. Go online to find out the keywords best associated with the job title.
Mind that Gap
If there are clear gaps in your CV, employers immediately become suspicious. First of all, don’t try and change the dates of past jobs to make everything ‘fit’ as employers can just ring up past employers and uncover your deception.
A better tactic is to try to ‘reframe’ your absence from the workforce as a positive. An example would be to mention any volunteer work you did and mention that it helped you develop soft skills such as project management and teamwork.
Use Professional Fonts
Good font choices include Times New Roman, Arial or Garamond and size 11 or 12 lettering is ideal. You should also use bold font when starting a new section to separate it from the rest and make it easier to ‘skim’.
A typical CV should have the following layout:
- Contact Information: Include your full name, address, mobile phone number and email address. Don’t include your full home address if you are posting the CV online.
- Personal Profile: This is a great way to begin a CV as it immediately provides the reader with an outline of why you would be a great fit for the role. A surprising number of CVs don’t have a personal profile so adding one immediately gives you an edge. Include a few skills and achievements relevant to the role and use them to highlight your experience in the field. Keep this section to 200 words or less.
- Education: Include details of college and secondary school information with the most recent first. Be sure to add any professional qualifications you’ve achieved to date.
- Skills: Pick at least 5 skills and show how they relate to the job in question.
- Work Experience: The most recent jobs should be listed first and then you work your way backwards. Don’t include more than 3 or jobs and only include older roles if they are relevant to the job opening. You can also include volunteer work and internships if relevant.
Is There Anything Else?
If you are asked to provide references, include two from past employers. Make sure these people will give you positive feedback!
You can include hobbies if you wish but please ensure they are in some way related to the job opening. While learning a spare language in your free time may be seen as useful by an employer, spending hours watching the latest TV shows does little for your chances of getting an interview!
You should also leave the following information out of your CV:
- Date of Birth: Legally employers can’t discriminate on age so you don’t need to include your date of birth on your CV
- Place of Birth: There is no need to provide this unnecessary information .
- A Photo: CVs with photos are more common in the US but less so in Europe so there is no need to include one.
There are different CV types but the sample below relates to a ‘traditional’ CV.
14 Lighthouse Lane, Lucan, Dublin
Mobile: xxx xxxxxx [email protected]
A Marketing graduate from University College Dublin (UCD). Possesses the skills and knowledge essential for managing an organisation’s key areas along with the problem solving skills necessary in the field. Looking for a post in marketing where I can use my communication and sales skills.
2010 – 2013: Dublin City University
BA (Hons) Marketing 2:1
- Accounting & Finance
- Human Resource Management
Completed two dissertations in the final year including one on the immediate impact of the global financial crisis on marketing strategies.
2006-2010: St William’s Secondary School, Dublin
Leaving Certificate Honours: Mathematics, English, History, Physics, Business Studies, Irish and Accounting.
Feb 2014 – Aug 2016: Market Researcher, Johnson Marketing, Dublin
This role involved helping clients make effective decisions about their products by researching and analysing customer opinion data. Worked as part of a team that determined what our clients’ target audience wanted, why people chose the brand and why they purchase certain products.
Also worked in a number of high profile projects for clients such as Tyrell, Jones and Mitchells. Was a member of teams that identified the needs of clients’ target audiences and increased sales revenue. Jones saw an 20% increase in profits in first 6 months after we gave them our findings.
June 2012 – Jan 2014: Retail Assistant, Marks & Spencer, Dublin
This role involved working the tills and taking deliveries. Worked as part of a team that was entrusted with reducing queuing times and increasing customer satisfaction levels. Was chosen to count the till receipts and open and close the shop on a regular basis.
Oct 2010 – May 2012: Ladieswear Advisor, Primark, Dublin
Supported the store in delivering outstanding customer service, successfully promoted products and helped customers choose purchases by offering 1-on-1 advice in a friendly manner. Helped customers to further understand the features and benefits of the clothing on offer.
- Interpersonal: Ability to develop good working relationships with people of all backgrounds while encouraging development of colleagues in order to achieve specified team goals.
- Innovation : Uses a methodical and detailed thought process to resolve in-depth queries with the aim of finding efficient, safe and appropriate resolutions.
- Initiative: Resourceful, energetic and results-driven. Keen self-starter who enjoys taking ownership of her work to ensure the expectations of colleagues and customers are managed.
- Communication: Experience dealing with internal and external customers via telephone and email and has the ability to actively listen and ask probing questions to discover a solution.
- Flexibility: Versatile, adaptable, and multi-skilled. Has a penchant for forward planning with long-term targets in mind.
Additional Achievements & Interests
- Proficient in Microsoft Office packages including Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
- Experienced in social media content marketing.
- Volunteered at Johnston’s Conservation Club 2012-2015
- Enjoys reading business articles in a bid to learn more about marketing techniques and increasing customer satisfaction.
Mr. Paul O’Shea Mrs. Kate Brady
Manager Assistant Manager
Johnson Marketing Marks & Spencer, Dublin
Tel: 086543210 Tel: 0876543221
New Job CV Template
If you are thinking of looking for a new job then this is the CV sample for you.
This CV focuses on your achievements and work history so this is the best CV to use if you are going for a job in a new company or looking for a promotion with your current employer.
First Job / Graduate CV Template
If you have just left school or have graduated from college then this is the CV sample for you.
In this CV you need to focus on your skills, training and enthusiasm. Remember, if you are applying for a junior or graduate role most employers won’t expect a huge amount of work experience.
CV with no Experience Template
Skills based cv template.
There are several different types of CV and you’ll need to create the one that bests suits your skills, education and situation.
This is also known as a chronological CV and it is designed to match your work experience and qualifications with the job’s requirements. It should be written in reverse chronological order with your most recent education and work experience added first.
With this CV you can offer clear details of your work history, responsibilities and qualifications which match the job description criteria.
This is sometimes called a ‘functional’ CV and is a good choice if you wish to cover some gaps in your employment history. It’s also useful if your degree doesn’t match the job opening or if you don’t have much experience.
With this CV type, you can show employers your ‘transferable’ skills. These are skills which work in a variety of settings. When creating a Skills Based CV, be sure to match the skills with the job opening and show evidence of how you’ve used these skills in a real world situation.
This type of CV is primarily for IT jobs such as IT consultant, applications developer or web developer. You should open with a paragraph that outlines your technical skills and experience and add in a Key Skills section which enables you to go into more detail.
Make sure you highlight relevant skills and remember, the document will be read by non-technical people so keep jargon to a minimum. Focus on your problem solving abilities, communication skills and ability to maintain software applications while designing new ones.
Lying on your CV may seem like a good idea at the time but it will only end badly. Even a minor lie will torpedo your chances of landing a job and it will probably kill your chances of landing a job in the industry if word gets out. If you were to lie and claim you achieved a higher grade with your university degree, it could be seen as ‘fraud’ and you could be classified as a criminal in extreme cases!
You may think you’ll get away with it but the past has a habit of catching up with you. For instance, you might get the job despite your lie only for it to be discovered later on. Then you face the prospect of being fired! A more likely scenario is that you get asked questions you can’t answer at the interview.
Use Lengthy Sentences
Sentences and paragraphs in your CV must be kept short and to the point. Even if you have the ability to write like Shakespeare, your CV is NOT the place to showcase your talent for flowery prose.
A better method is to write almost in a news headline style. An ‘action-result’ format usually works well in a CV. For instance, you could say something like “Cut 20% off company’s budget plan by eliminating inefficiencies.”
Employers hire people who get things done. Don’t tell them your responsibilities, tell them what you achieved.
Not Minding Your Language
Make sure your CV isn’t bogged down by dull language. If you want to send a HR manager to sleep include phrases such as “my duties included” and “I am applying for.” You need to use action verbs at the start of your sentences such as “transformed.”
However, you must avoid going too far in the other direction by filling your CV with vague phrases. You might think you’re an “innovative problem solver” but can you prove it? Don’t include things you can’t back up with concrete examples.
Many interviewers use a candidate’s CV as a jumping off point for their interview questions so only include examples and statements in your CV that you are happy and confident to talk about.
Since recruiters spend approximately 8 seconds skimming every CV they receive, you need to ensure yours is easy to read. Your CV should be concise and well-formatted so it can be absorbed quickly. A typical mistake is to use too many fonts or font sizes rather than sticking to the tried and trusted fonts we outlined above.
Not Selling Achievements
Always look to highlight relevant successes as this shows employers that you’re someone who gets results. A lot of people tend to shy away from this process as they think it makes them come across as arrogant. In reality, selling your achievements in the right way will likely send you hurtling to the top of the queue.
Of course, you have to understand what is important to the business you want to join. For businesses, the best achievements to mention are decreasing costs, increasing revenue and streamlining processes.
Although you have to trim down your experience, leaving out relevant information from more humble roles can be a mistake. For example, you might not mention that you were the leader of a club in college. If the club achieved something under your leadership, it is well worth mentioning. Even working part time in a bar in university can show your ability to effectively balance work and study.
Too much detail
Day-to-day details of previous jobs are unnecessary and often dull. For example, don’t include details of your duties in a bar during summer as they are fairly easy to guess. Instead, concentrate on whether you were trusted to take payments and how many customers you had to serve per shift.
It isn’t enough to say ‘Profits increased’. You have to specify the level of profit and make sure it is accurate! This means saying something like “Profits increased by 15% over a 9 month period once we implemented the changes.”
Tailoring Your CV & Cover Letter For Each Application
Hiring managers can receive up to 100 applications for a job so they’re well-versed in the art of uncovering generic cover letters and CVs. Do this and your application will end up in the nearest bin.
Use a template to make sure your format and layout is correct but tailor the content so it meets the criteria for every single position you apply for even if the basics are the same.
Tailor Made CVs
When it comes to tailoring your CV to suit a specific role, here are a few things to consider:
- Reading the Job Description: Think about what the words in the description actually mean when it comes to your day-to-day role and look at ways to make your CV ‘fit’. This can help you show that you have what it takes to handle these responsibilities.
- Terminology: It is okay to add a technical term or two in your CV when appropriate but don’t get bogged down with jargon. For the most part, use ‘everyday’ language and throw in an applicable term just to show that you understand the industry.
- Company Culture: Your research into the company should help uncover its culture. For example, if it is a ‘work hard, play hard’ type environment, you can tailor your Interests section to show how you would fit into such a culture.
- Skills: In your Skills section, use adjectives similar to those you see in the job description. Obviously, you have to be a little creative or else it will be obvious that you blatantly copied the company.
Tailor Made Cover Letter
Since a good cover letter involves thinking deeply about the role you’re applying for, it takes a lot of time and effort. If you don’t bother writing one or come up with a generic version, the reader will assume you’re simply too lazy to make the effort and are clearly not worth considering. Here are a few quick tips on tailored cover letters:
- Make it Memorable: The reader should be able to remember key things about you by the end of the letter.
- Personalise: Take the time to find out who will read the letter and address it to that individual specifically.
- Show Your Interest: Outline why you’re interested in the job and the company. Reference some of the company’s recent projects to show that you’ve done your homework.
- Provide Evidence of your Skills: Explain why you’re the best candidate without repeating the CV’s content. Use examples to demonstrate why you’re the right choice for that particular firm.
- End Strongly: Reiterate your enthusiasm for the job and the company and say that you’ll provide any further information they need.
If you adopt a common sense approach and tailor your CV and cover letter to the specific needs of the employer, you have an excellent chance of being called in for an interview. Read our interview tips section to prepare for this stage.
Remember, companies aren’t that interested in how good you say you are, they want to know why you are the best pick for them .
Show the company that you’re the ideal choice and they’ll have no choice but to interview you to find out for themselves.