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For Business

How to write a great cover letter in 2024: tips and structure

young-woman-checking-her-cover-lette

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A cover letter is a personalized letter that introduces you to a potential employer, highlights your qualifications, and explains why you're a strong fit for a specific job.

Hate or love them, these brief documents allow job seekers to make an impression and stand out from the pile of other applications. Penning a thoughtful cover letter shows the hiring team you care about earning the position.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to write a cover letter — and a great one, at that.

What is a cover letter and why does it matter?

A professional cover letter is a one-page document you submit alongside your CV or resume as part of a job application. Typically, they’re about half a page or around 150–300 words.

An effective cover letter doesn’t just rehash your CV; it’s your chance to highlight your proudest moments, explain why you want the job, and state plainly what you bring to the table.

Show the reviewer you’re likable, talented, and will add to the company’s culture . You can refer to previous jobs and other information from your CV, but only if it helps tell a story about you and your career choices .

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What 3 things should you include in a cover letter?

A well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out to potential employers. To make your cover letter shine, here are three key elements to include:

1. Personalization

Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name whenever possible. If the job posting doesn't include a name, research to find out who will be reviewing applications. Personalizing your cover letter shows that you've taken the time to tailor your application to the specific company and role.

2. Highlight relevant achievements and skills

Emphasize your most relevant skills , experiences, and accomplishments that directly relate to the job you're applying for. Provide specific examples of how your skills have benefited previous employers and how they can contribute to the prospective employer's success. Use quantifiable achievements , such as improved efficiency, cost savings, or project success, to demonstrate your impact.

3. Show enthusiasm and fit

Express your enthusiasm for the company and the position you're applying for. Explain why you are interested in this role and believe you are a good fit for the organization. Mention how your values, goals, and skills align with the company's mission and culture. Demonstrating that you've done your research can make a significant impression.

What do hiring managers look for in a cover letter?

Employers look for several key elements in a cover letter. These include:

Employers want to see that your cover letter is specifically tailored to the position you are applying for. It should demonstrate how your skills, experiences, and qualifications align with the job requirements.

Clear and concise writing

A well-written cover letter is concise, easy to read, and error-free. Employers appreciate clear and effective communication skills , so make sure your cover letter showcases your ability to express yourself effectively.

Demonstrated knowledge of the company

Employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in their organization. Mention specific details about the company, such as recent achievements or projects, to show that you are enthusiastic about joining their team.

Achievements and accomplishments

Highlight your relevant achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your qualifications for the position. Use specific examples to showcase your skills and show how they can benefit the employer.

Enthusiasm and motivation

Employers want to hire candidates who are excited about the opportunity and motivated to contribute to the company's success. Express your enthusiasm and passion for the role and explain why you are interested in working for the company.

Professionalism

A cover letter should be professional in tone and presentation. Use formal language, address the hiring manager appropriately, and follow standard business letter formatting.

excited-woman-in-her-office-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

How do you structure a cover letter?

A well-structured cover letter follows a specific format that makes it easy for the reader to understand your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position. Here's a typical structure for a cover letter:

Contact information

Include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter. Place your contact information at the beginning so that it's easy for the employer to reach you.

Employer's contact information

Opening paragraph, middle paragraph(s), closing paragraph, complimentary close, additional contact information.

Repeat your contact information (name, phone number, and email) at the end of the letter, just in case the employer needs it for quick reference.

Remember to keep your cover letter concise and focused. It should typically be no more than one page in length. Proofread your letter carefully to ensure it is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Tailor each cover letter to the specific job application to make it as relevant and impactful as possible.

How to write a good cover letter (with examples)

The best letters are unique, tailored to the job description, and written in your voice — but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a job cover letter template.

Great cover letters contain the same basic elements and flow a certain way. Take a look at this cover letter structure for ref erence while you construct your own.

1. Add a header and contact information

While reading your cover letter, the recruiter shouldn’t have to look far to find who wrote it. Your document should include a basic heading with the following information:

  • Pronouns (optional)
  • Location (optional)
  • Email address
  • Phone number (optional)
  • Relevant links, such as your LinkedIn profile , portfolio, or personal website (optional)

You can pull this information directly from your CV. Put it together, and it will look something like this:

Christopher Pike

San Francisco, California

[email protected]

Alternatively, if the posting asks you to submit your cover letter in the body of an email, you can include this information in your signature. For example:

Warm regards,

Catherine Janeway

Bloomington, Indiana

[email protected]

(555) 999 - 2222

man-using-his-laptop-while-smiling-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

2. Include a personal greeting

Always begin your cover letter by addressing the hiring manager — preferably by name. You can use the person’s first and last name. Make sure to include a relevant title, like Dr., Mr., or Ms. For example, “Dear Mr. John Doe.”

Avoid generic openings like “To whom it may concern,” “Dear sir or madam,” or “Dear hiring manager.” These introductions sound impersonal — like you’re copy-pasting cover letters — and can work against you in the hiring process.

Be careful, though. When using someone’s name, you don’t want to use the wrong title or accidentally misgender someone. If in doubt, using only their name is enough. You could also opt for a gender-neutral title, like Mx.

Make sure you’re addressing the right person in your letter — ideally, the person who’s making the final hiring decision. This isn’t always specified in the job posting, so you may have to do some research to learn the name of the hiring manager.

3. Draw them in with an opening story

The opening paragraph of your cover letter should hook the reader. You want it to be memorable, conversational, and extremely relevant to the job you’re pursuing. 

There’s no need for a personal introduction — you’ve already included your name in the heading. But you should make reference to the job you’re applying for. A simple “Thank you for considering my application for the role of [job title] at [company],” will suffice.

Then you can get into the “Why” of your job application. Drive home what makes this specific job and this company so appealing to you. Perhaps you’re a fan of their products, you’re passionate about their mission, or you love their brand voice. Whatever the case, this section is where you share your enthusiasm for the role.

Here’s an example opening paragraph. In this scenario, you’re applying for a digital marketing role at a bicycle company:

“Dear Mr. John Doe,

Thank you for considering my application for the role of Marketing Coordinator at Bits n’ Bikes.

My parents bought my first bike at one of your stores. I’ll never forget the freedom I felt when I learned to ride it. My father removed my training wheels, and my mom sent me barrelling down the street. You provide joy to families across the country — and I want to be part of that.”

4. Emphasize why you’re best for the job

Your next paragraphs should be focused on the role you’re applying to. Highlight your skill set and why you’re a good fit for the needs and expectations associated with the position. Hiring managers want to know what you’ll bring to the job, not just any role.

Start by studying the job description for hints. What problem are they trying to solve with this hire? What skills and qualifications do they mention first or more than once? These are indicators of what’s important to the hiring manager.

Search for details that match your experience and interests. For example, if you’re excited about a fast-paced job in public relations, you might look for these elements in a posting:

  • They want someone who can write social media posts and blog content on tight deadlines
  • They value collaboration and input from every team member
  • They need a planner who can come up with strong PR strategies

Highlight how you fulfill these requirements:

“I’ve always been a strong writer. From blog posts to social media, my content pulls in readers and drives traffic to product pages. For example, when I worked at Bits n’ Bikes, I developed a strategic blog series about bike maintenance that increased our sales of spare parts and tools by 50% — we could see it in our web metrics.

Thanks to the input of all of our team members, including our bike mechanics, my content delivered results.”

5. End with a strong closing paragraph and sign off gracefully

Your closing paragraph is your final chance to hammer home your enthusiasm about the role and your unique ability to fill it. Reiterate the main points you explained in the body paragraphs and remind the reader of what you bring to the table.

You can also use the end of your letter to relay other important details, like whether you’re willing to relocate for the job.

When choosing a sign-off, opt for a phrase that sounds professional and genuine. Reliable options include “Sincerely” and “Kind regards.”

Here’s a strong closing statement for you to consider:

“I believe my enthusiasm, skills, and work experience as a PR professional will serve Bits n’ Bikes very well. I would love to meet to further discuss my value-add as your next Director of Public Relations. Thank you for your consideration. I hope we speak soon.

man-reading-carefully-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Tips to write a great cover letter that compliments your resume

When writing your own letter, try not to copy the example excerpts word-for-word. Instead, use this cover letter structure as a baseline to organize your ideas. Then, as you’re writing, use these extra cover letter tips to add your personal touch:

  • Keep your cover letter different from your resume : Your cover letter should not duplicate the information on your resume. Instead, it should provide context and explanations for key points in your resume, emphasizing how your qualifications match the specific job you're applying for.
  • Customize your cover letter . Tailor your cover letter for each job application. Address the specific needs of the company and the job posting, demonstrating that you've done your homework and understand their requirements.
  • Show enthusiasm and fit . Express your enthusiasm for the company and position in the cover letter. Explain why you are interested in working for this company and how your values, goals, and skills align with their mission and culture.
  • Use keywords . Incorporate keywords from the job description and industry terms in your cover letter. This can help your application pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and demonstrate that you're well-versed in the field.
  • Keep it concise . Your cover letter should be succinct and to the point, typically no more than one page. Focus on the most compelling qualifications and experiences that directly support your application.
  • Be professional . Maintain a professional tone and structure in your cover letter. Proofread it carefully to ensure there are no errors.
  • Address any gaps or concerns . If there are gaps or concerns in your resume, such as employment gaps or a change in career direction, briefly address them in your cover letter. Explain any relevant circumstances and how they have shaped your qualifications and determination.
  • Provide a call to action . Conclude your cover letter with a call to action, inviting the employer to contact you for further discussion. Mention that you've attached your resume for their reference.
  • Follow the correct format . Use a standard cover letter format like the one above, including your contact information, a formal salutation, introductory and closing paragraphs, and your signature. Ensure that it complements your resume without redundancy.
  • Pick the right voice and tone . Try to write like yourself, but adapt to the tone and voice of the company. Look at the job listing, company website, and social media posts. Do they sound fun and quirky, stoic and professional, or somewhere in-between? This guides your writing style.
  • Tell your story . You’re an individual with unique expertise, motivators, and years of experience. Tie the pieces together with a great story. Introduce how you arrived at this point in your career, where you hope to go , and how this prospective company fits in your journey. You can also explain any career changes in your resume.
  • Show, don’t tell . Anyone can say they’re a problem solver. Why should a recruiter take their word for it if they don’t back it up with examples? Instead of naming your skills, show them in action. Describe situations where you rose to the task, and quantify your success when you can.
  • Be honest . Avoid highlighting skills you don’t have. This will backfire if they ask you about them in an interview. Instead, shift focus to the ways in which you stand out.
  • Avoid clichés and bullet points . These are signs of lazy writing. Do your best to be original from the first paragraph to the final one. This highlights your individuality and demonstrates the care you put into the letter.
  • Proofread . Always spellcheck your cover letter. Look for typos, grammatical errors, and proper flow. We suggest reading it out loud. If it sounds natural rolling off the tongue, it will read naturally as well.

woman-writing-on-her-notebook-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Common cover letter writing FAQs

How long should a cover letter be.

A cover letter should generally be concise and to the point. It is recommended to keep it to one page or less, focusing on the most relevant information that highlights your qualifications and fits the job requirements.

Should I include personal information in a cover letter?

While it's important to introduce yourself and provide your contact information, avoid including personal details such as your age, marital status, or unrelated hobbies. Instead, focus on presenting your professional qualifications and aligning them with the job requirements.

Can I use the same cover letter for multiple job applications?

While it may be tempting to reuse a cover letter, it is best to tailor each cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. This allows you to highlight why you are a good fit for that particular role and show genuine interest in the company.

Do I need to address my cover letter to a specific person?

Whenever possible, it is advisable to address your cover letter to a specific person, such as the hiring manager or recruiter. If the job posting does not provide this information, try to research and find the appropriate contact. If all else fails, you can use a generic salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager."

Should I include references in my cover letter?

It is generally not necessary to include references in your cover letter. Save this information for when the employer explicitly requests it. Instead, focus on showcasing your qualifications and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the position.

It’s time to start writing your stand-out cover letter

The hardest part of writing is getting started. 

Hopefully, our tips gave you some jumping-off points and confidence . But if you’re really stuck, looking at cover letter examples and resume templates will help you decide where to get started. 

There are numerous sample cover letters available online. Just remember that you’re a unique, well-rounded person, and your cover letter should reflect that. Using our structure, you can tell your story while highlighting your passion for the role. 

Doing your research, including strong examples of your skills, and being courteous is how to write a strong cover letter. Take a breath , flex your fingers, and get typing. Before you know it, your job search will lead to a job interview.

If you want more personalized guidance, a specialized career coach can help review, edit, and guide you through creating a great cover letter that sticks.

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Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

3 cover letter examples to help you catch a hiring manager’s attention

Chatgpt cover letters: how to use this tool the right way, what is a letter of intent examples on how to write one, tips and tricks for writing a letter of interest (with examples), how to write a letter of recommendation (with examples), write thank you letters after interviews to stand out as job applicant, how to write an impactful cover letter for a career change, writing a resignation letter that’s effective and professional, send a thank you email after an internship to boost your career, similar articles, how to ask for a letter of recommendation (with examples), how to write a linkedin summary that impresses recruiters, learn to sweat the small stuff: how to improve attention to detail, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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Soft Skills

10 minute read

The Cover Letter Template That Will Impress Any Employer

Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

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Please submit a resume and cover letter to be considered for this position.

Groan, right? Needing to put together a polished and professional resume is tough enough (by the way, we have some great resume templates right here ).

But, a cover letter? Well, that’s often enough to inspire job seekers to give up on their job searches altogether.

We get it—drafting a cover letter that’s concise, impactful, and proves that you’re worthy of an interview is challenging. However, it’s also one of those necessary evils you’re going to need to address if you truly want to land a new gig.

So, before you stare at that menacing, blinking text cursor on a blank page for a half hour, take the time to read through everything we’ve pulled together right here. We have all of the tips you need—plus a cover letter template that’s sure to take so much pain out of the process.

Get your free cover letter template

Download and customize this template for a winning cover letter

Do cover letters still matter?

In the age of LinkedIn and social media, it’s tempting to think that a cover letter is no longer a staple of your job search. And, when you’ve heard the terrifying statistics that 55% of hiring managers don’t actually read cover letters, it’s easy to write them off as a colossal waste of time.

Sure, that can be discouraging. But, think of it this way: That statistic also means that 45% of hiring managers are actually reading through that carefully crafted letter of yours.

Do you really want to take the chance and be the candidate who doesn’t submit a cover letter—when the employer was actually expecting that document? Here’s the short answer: no.

Plus, there’s another benefit to cover letters: It can be tough to tell your story and share all of your amazing skills and qualifications within the confines of your resume. Your cover letter is your chance to fill in the gaps and go beyond the bullets to share the details of why you’re a seamless fit for that position you’re eager to land.

So, make this your golden rule: When in doubt, it’s smart to submit a cover letter.

cover letter sample to employer name

Writing a cover letter: 5 must-know tips

Now that you know that you’ll likely need a cover letter to ace your job search, it’s time to cover the basics of what makes for an impactful one.

1. Pay attention to your greeting

If you’re looking for a surefire way to get your cover letter tossed into the recycling bin, start with a generic opening like “To Whom it May Concern.”

Employers want to see that you’ve invested time into researching the company—including the key decision makers in charge of the hiring process for the job you want.

Roll up your sleeves and do some digging to figure out which name you should put at the top of that letter, whether that’s:

The department head for the role you’re applying for

The HR manager

The CEO of the company

Remember, you want a real name at the beginning of your letter to immediately demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. Skip the generic salutations.

2. Use a strong opening

You can bet that the vast majority of cover letters that hiring managers receive begin with something like, “I’m writing to express my interest in the position of…”

Sure, that opening gets to the point. But, when employers are seeing that over and over again, it certainly doesn’t make an impact or help you stand out from the sea of competition who are also vying for that role.

That’s why it’s better to start with something a little more attention-grabbing. Maybe that’s a quick anecdote about how you knew you were built for sales when you started your very first neighborhood lemonade stand. Or, maybe it’s a glimpse at the history of what inspired you to change careers.

Don’t be afraid to get a little creative—that’ll help you make a far more memorable impression.

3. Don’t regurgitate your resume

You’ve invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that resume of yours. So, nobody can blame you for wanting to repurpose it in as many ways as possible.

But, know this: Your cover letter should not repeat everything that’s already on your resume. This is your chance to expand on the qualifications that make you a qualified candidate—and not just repeat them.

So, make sure that your cover letter adds some additional context or value aside from what’s already included on your resume. Otherwise, there’s really no point in sending both.

4. Highlight your key skills

You want to shine a spotlight on all of the things that make you a no-brainer fit for that position—and, your cover letter is a great place to do that. You can call attention and add more detail to those things you really want the hiring manager to know.

The best way to do that is through a few carefully selected sections you include in the body of your cover letter. Don’t worry—we’ll talk more about that when we dive into the template!

5. Tailor and tweak

Much like your resume, you can’t just create one general cover letter document and assume that you can swap out the company name and make a killer impression on every employer.

No, you need to tweak your career documents for each specific job you apply to. When your goal is to appear as relevant as possible, one blanket document just won’t work.

So, what types of things should you be tweaking? Things like your overall tone (you’d use a different voice when applying to a laid-back startup than you would a more rigid corporation) and the skills you highlight will vary depending on the details of each role and company.

It’s tempting to skip this step, particularly when you’ve already invested so much time into your starting cover letter. But, heed this warning: Tailoring your documents is super important.

If you need some more inspiration, you can take a look at these  cover letter examples  to help you get started.  

cover letter sample to employer name

The cover letter template you need

You’re armed with everything you need to know to piece together a solid cover letter. But, uhh… now what?

Actually pulling it all together can be the tough part. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Take a look at the below template, add in details and make any necessary changes so it fits your own situation, and prepare to land at the top of that “to be interviewed” pile.

Dear [Company Contact’s Name], Ever since I [attention-grabbing anecdote about what got you to this point in your career]. My passion and enthusiasm for [career field] has only grown stronger since that point, and that’s why I was so excited to see the opening for the [Job Title] position with [Company Name]. I’m actively seeking a company where I can leverage my skills and [number of years] of experience to make a measurable impact and assist in achieving organization-wide goals. Here are a few of the many ways that I know I can add value for [Company Name]: [Skill #1]: I’m committed to using [skills] to [result], and have used this competency in my previous role as [previous job], where I [quantifiable achievement]. [Skill #2]: With my background in [skill or field], I know I can utilize my experience to help [Company Name] achieve [goal]. [Key Accomplishment or Honor]: I was recognized by [organization or person] for my [skill or achievement]. I’m confident that my work ethic, knowledge, and enthusiasm for this position make me a qualified fit for your organization. I’m looking forward to hearing from you so that we can further discuss all of the great work that [Company Name] is doing—as well as how I could contribute to your continued success. All the best, [Your Name]

See the template in action

Eager to see what this template looks like when you actually fill in the necessary details? Here’s a sample of how this could play out:

Dear Ms. Hansen, Ever since kindergarten, I’ve had a passion for the written word. I even went so far as to start a newspaper for my classroom—and then vehemently demand that each of my classmates read it in its entirety each and every week. My passion and enthusiasm for content creation has only grown stronger since that point, and that’s why I was so excited to see the opening for the Staff Writer position with The Writing Company. I’m actively seeking a company where I can leverage my skills and five years of experience to make a measurable impact and assist in achieving organization-wide goals. Here are a few of the many ways that I know I can add value for The Writing Company: Data Analysis: I’m committed to using my keen eye for data to craft content that actually resonates, and have used this competency in my previous role as Managing Editor, where I decreased our overall site bounce rate by 17%. News Journalism: With my background in news journalism, I know I can utilize my experience to help The Writing Company achieve written content that’s timely, trending, and appeals to its audience of busy young professionals. Awarded 2017’s Top Content Creator of the Midwest Award: I was recognized by the American Association of Awesome Content Creators for my contribution in overhauling CompanyXYZ’s content strategy and more than doubling the site’s readership. I’m confident that my work ethic, knowledge, and enthusiasm for this opportunity make me a qualified fit for your organization. I’m looking forward to hearing from you so that we can further discuss all of the great work that The Writing Company is doing—as well as how I could contribute to your continued success. All the best, Kat Boogaard

Ready to get your foot in the door?

There you have it—a template for a cover letter that’s sure to impress even the most discerning of hiring managers.

Download your free cover letter template below—it's quick and easy to customize with your own details.

Want to learn more about crafting an effective cover letter and strong resume? Check out the GoSkills Business Writing course for more helpful tips and tricks.

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Kat Boogaard

Kat is a writer specializing in career, self-development, and productivity topics. When she escapes her computer, she enjoys reading, hiking, golfing, and dishing out tips for prospective freelancers on her website.

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The 23 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

Amanda Zantal-Wiener

Published: December 14, 2023

I've sent plenty of cover letters throughout my career, so I know it isn't usually fun to write one. Fortunately, the cover letter examples I painstakingly gathered below show that it’s possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process.

 person types of a cover letter

I was shocked upon learning 45% of job seekers don't include a cover letter when applying for a job. I definitely don't recommend following the crowd on this matter because your cover letter is a chance to tell the stories your resume only outlines.

It's an opportunity for you to highlight your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process.

→ Click here to access 5 free cover letter templates [Free Download]

Are you ready to showcase your unique skills and experience? Or are you looking for more tips and cover letter inspiration?

Keep reading for 20+ cover letter examples, then check out tips for cover letter formatting and what makes a cover letter great .

cover letter sample to employer name

5 Free Cover Letter Templates

Five fill-in-the-blank cover letter templates to help you impress recruiters.

  • Standard Cover Letter Template
  • Entry-Level Cover Letter Template
  • Data-Driven Cover Letter Template

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Cover Letter Examples

  • Standard Cover Letter Example
  • Data-Driven Cover Letter Sample
  • Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
  • The Cover Letter That Explains 'Why,' Not Just 'How'
  • The 'We're Meant for Each Other' Cover Letter
  • The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.
  • Short-and-Sweet Cover Letter Example
  • The Short Story
  • The Bare Bones Cover Letter
  • The Breezy Follow-Up
  • The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
  • The Internship Cover Letter
  • The Brutally Honest Cover Letter
  • The Pivot Cover Letter
  • The Graphic Design Cover Letter
  • Consulting Internship Cover Letter Example
  • Nonprofit Referral Cover Letter Example
  • General Email Inquiry Cover Letter Example
  • Post-Phone-Call Cover Letter Example
  • Mission-Driven Graduate Cover Letter Example
  • Short Recommendation Cover Letter Example
  • Professor or Research Position Cover Letter Example
  • Director Cover Letter Example
  • Editorial Cover Letter Example
  • Promotion Cover Letter Example
  • Law Cover Letter Example

Customizable Cover Letter Examples

In a hurry for a cover letter example you can download and customize? Check out the ones below from HubSpot’s cover letter template kit .

1. Standard Cover Letter Example

cover letter examples: standard cover letter

Download a Customizable Copy of This Cover Letter Example

This standard cover letter is among my favorite approaches because it hits all the right notes: It includes a space to give a brief summary of your experience, as well as a space to delve in-depth into the specific responsibilities of your current role.

You also have the chance to describe the challenges you’ve mastered in previous roles, showing that you’re capable of facing any problem that comes your way.

Why I Love It

I love this cover letter because it allows you to describe the high points of your career while still being professional, personalized, and succinct.

2. Data-Driven Cover Letter Sample

cover letter examples: data driven cover letter

Numbers are worth a million words — or that’s how I think the saying should go (if only we could include pictures in cover letters).

Citing data and statistics about your achievements at your current company is an assured way to capture a hiring manager’s attention.

Over the years, I've learned most hiring managers don’t read the entire letter, so a bulleted summary of your achievements can be a powerful way to increase the effectiveness and scannability of your message.

I love this cover letter because it’s adaptable to any role. Even if you don’t work in a data-centric role, you can include any enumerable achievement.

If I worked in a creative industry, for instance, I could include the number of creative assets you designed for your current company.

3. Entry-Level Cover Letter Example

cover letter examples: entry-level cover letter

Many of us have had "first job jitters" (that's what I'm calling it) when applying for our first career opportunity.

However, my experience taught me to increase my chances of getting that first interview by including a cover letter that explains how my education can help me succeed in the role I applied for.

In fact, HubSpot staff writer Erica Santiago says highlighting her education was key to snagging her first role out of college.

"When I graduated from journalism school, I only had a couple of internships under my belt and maybe some writing clips — not enough to compete with most young professionals with more experience," she recalls.

"So, I highlighted the classes I took such as 'News Reporting and Writing' or 'Electronic News Gathering," she says, "And I explained the assignments I did and how they gave me real-world experience in interviewing and reporting."

She says that's how she got her first job as a digital journalist for WSVN in Miami.

If you need help understanding how to highlight your education in a cover letter, look no further than this example from HubSpot.

While other cover letter samples give experienced professionals the opportunity to share their experience at length, this one gives you the chance to describe your personal and professional attributes.

You can then convey how you can use your knowledge to help your target company reach its goals.

I love this cover letter because it’s easy and simple to use for a student who has little experience in their target industry — including those who haven’t yet completed an internship.

Looking for more? Download the entire kit below.

5 Professional Cover Letter Templates

Fill out the form to access your templates., best cover letter examples.

What does a good cover letter look like in practice, and how can you make yours stand out? I  found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.

Note: Some of these cover letters include real company names and NSFW language that I've covered up.

1. The Cover Letter That Explains 'Why,' Not Just 'How'

You may already know how to talk about how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?

The Muse , a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story.

I advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.

cover letter that explains "why" with a story about a childhood experience with the chicago cubs

Image Source

Here’s another instance of the power of personalization.

The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, I'm sure that would eventually be revealed in an interview.

Make sure your story is nonfiction and relatable according to each job. While I love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company.

But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, I’d find that fitting.

If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

This example shows how effective personalization can be. The writer is passionate about the employer, drawing from her own childhood experience to communicate her enthusiasm.

Further reading: Sales Cover Letter Tips

2. The 'We're Meant for Each Other' Cover Letter

This cover letter example is a special one because it was submitted to us here at HubSpot. What does the letter do well? It makes a connection with us before we've even met the letter's author.

We're meant for each other cover letter submitted to HubSpot

"Content Marketing Certified" shows the applicant has taken the content marketing certification course in our HubSpot Academy (you can take the same course here ).

Our "records" indicate he/she did indeed give an interview with us before — and was a HubSpot customer.

The cover letter sang references to a relationship we didn't even know we had with the candidate.

The letter ends with a charming pitch for why, despite him/her not getting hired previously, our interests complement each other this time around.

(Yes, the applicant was hired).

This cover letter example does an excellent job of building rapport with the employer. Despite not getting hired for previous roles they applied for at HubSpot, the writer conveys exactly why they are right for this role.

Read more: Customer Service Cover Letter Tips

3. The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.

HubSpot has a lot of H.E.A.R.T. — Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent.

Our Culture Code is the foundation of the company's culture, the driving force behind our mission to help millions grow better , and serves as the scaffolding for our hiring practices.

Recruiters at HubSpot look for applicants that demonstrate how they embody the Culture Code and job description, paying extra attention to cover letters that are super custom to HubSpot.

In another HubSpot submission, a HubSpot applicant writes about how she found out about HubSpot, why she likes the company, and how her professional experience aligns with H.E.A.R.T.

cover letter that details experience according to hubspot values: humble, empathy, adaptability, remarkable, and transparent.

HubSpot's recruiting team was impressed with her dedication to the company and how she went beyond what was asked for by linking her portfolio in her closing paragraph.

Featured Resource: 5 Free Cover Letter Templates

Cover-Letter-Templates

Download our collection of 5 professional cover letter templates to help you summarize your professional journey and land your dream job – whether it's at your first or fifth company.

Short Cover Letter Examples

4. the short-and-sweet cover letter.

In 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, " The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received. " That letter has three complete sentences, as follows:

Short and sweet cover letter example with only three sentences

One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding, and I'll also admit it's an older example.

It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question.

But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.

"The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me," writes Silverman. "Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on."

When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:

  • Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under "reports to." Address your letter to that individual.
  • Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.

The key to this standout cover letter is research.

By looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you can create solutions for them.

Read here for more tips on how to land your dream job .

5. The Short Story

Basha Coleman began her cover letter with a short story. The goal of this short story is two-fold:

  • Detail the experience she already has with the organization.
  • Stand out to the hiring team.

short cover letter example from basha coleman that starts with a short story about her existing experience with pepsi

I notice her short story follows a typical narrative arc: It has a conflict/obstacle, a turning point, and a positive outcome, all created with a goal to emphasize a theme or point.

In this case, Coleman is emphasizing her existing affinity with the brand and her triumphs within the program so that she can continue on her career path.

Like the second example in our list, this cover letter does an excellent job of conveying the applicant’s existing affinity for the brand. If you are applying to a company you love, don’t be shy about showing it and explaining why.

6. The Bare Bones Cover Letter

In today's job market, cover letters aren't always necessary. Even though many recruiters won't ask for or even read them, cover letters can still be effective and convey personality to a reader.

Writing a strong cover letter can help you better convey your interest in the position and company.

This template from The Balance Careers puts together the essential components of a short cover letter: excitement about the position, your qualifications, and a call-to-action for the recruiter to follow up with you.

Combining these central aspects in a well-written, compelling narrative will go a long way in convincing readers to hire you.

short cover letter example with summarized bullet points

This letter is organized and concise. The inclusion of bullet points to highlight key skills and help the recruiter skim the document is a nice touch.

Check out this post for more useful cover letter tips .

7. The Breezy Follow-Up

In this cover letter, Amanda Edens is following the instructions the hiring manager gave by forwarding an email with resume and writing samples attached.

short cover letter example from Amanda Edens with bullet points and breezy language

This short cover letter is the result. I especially admire how she uses casual and breezy language to convey personality and enthusiasm, and she keeps her paragraphs succinct.

Not only does Amanda include links to relevant writing samples that are live on the web, but she also closes with a strong final paragraph that:

  • Summarizes the expertise she has relevant to the posting
  • Emphasizes that she doesn't want to simply get a job but rather help the organization accomplish their goals
  • The reader gets everything they need in an organized and thoughtful manner.

8. The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

In this cover letter the candidate, Michelle, plays up her prior music industry experience to build a connection with Epic Music Group. If you have specific industry experience for the role you are applying for, be sure to highlight that.

Cover Letter Example: Admin Cover Letter

It’s clear that she’s passionate about not only the music industry, but Epic as a whole.

She’s done so much research on the company that she knows what software programs they use, and happens to be proficient in it to help convey value to the hiring manager.

This example further illustrates the importance of research.

Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.

In just three short paragraphs, the applicant uses their company research to drive home why they are the perfect fit for the role — emphasizing industry experience as well as software knowledge specific to the company.

All of this communicates that she’d be able to start with very few hiccups while getting up to speed.

Further reading: 15 Cover Letter Templates

9. The Internship Cover Letter

Maybe you’re just getting started in your career and looking to land the right internship to gain experience in your field.

In this case, you’ll need to highlight more of your educational background and transferable skills since you won’t have as much professional experience to highlight.

Cover Letter Examples: Internship Cover Letter

The cover letter above is a great example of how to emphasize your skills and accomplishments when applying to internships or entry-level positions. A few things the applicant does well:

  • Highlights relevant extracurriculars and affinity networks. In this case, the applicant is applying for a business analyst position, so mentioning their involvement in a FinTech group makes sense.
  • Previous internships in relevant fields: Our applicant points out that they’ve interned as a Business Analyst at another firm. Pointing out that they’ve done the role before will help make their case for fit.
  • Highlight other useful skills: This applicant is fluent in both English and German. If an international company or an organization needs bilingual support, knowing multiple languages is an asset.

This cover letter example illustrates how you can leverage your education and background to get the gig even when you don’t have much working experience. Highlighting previous internships or experience in related fields can go a long way in convincing hiring managers you’re the perfect candidate for the role.

Further reading for recent graduates:

  • How to Find a Job After College
  • Writing a Cover Letter for an Internship

Creative Cover Letter Examples

10. the brutally honest cover letter.

Then, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form.

Former Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example " the best cover letter " (which he received while he was with Squarespace):

Brutally honest cover letter example

As Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company.

But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.

"Remember that I'm reading these all day long," Hertzberg writes. "You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out."

The applicant did their research on the company’s culture and executed this cover letter flawlessly. It’s funny and shows off the applicant’s personality all while making it clear why they are a good fit for the role.

Further reading:

  • How to Stand Out and Get Hired at Your Dream Company
  • How to Find Your Dream Job

11. The Pivot Cover Letter

Making a career switch? Your cover letter can be an excellent opportunity for you to explain the reasoning behind your career change and how your transferable skills qualify you for the role.

Cover Letter Example: Creative Pivot Cover Letter

It’s clean but effective.

Since the role she is applying for is more visual, it’s important to both show and tell why you’re a good fit.

This cover letter strikes the perfect balance between creativity and simplicity in design while putting the applicant's career change into context.

The copy is clean, with a creative font choice that isn’t distracting from the content, but still demonstrates the applicant’s knack for design.

12. The Graphic Design Cover Letter

When applying for more creative roles, the design of your cover letter can say just as much as the words on the page. Take the graphic designer letter example below.

sandra barnes cover letter

It’s got so much going for it:

  • Pop of color
  • Clean layout
  • Interesting fonts

Besides the style elements, this example also doesn’t skimp on the key skills recruiters are looking for. Using metrics, the applicant proves their value and why they would be a great fit.

This cover letter thoroughly conveys the applicant’s skills and qualifications using a variety of visual elements and emphasizing their greatest achievements.

Pro tip: If you're applying for a graphic design job, share a link to your graphic design portfolio website , even if it's not an application requirement.

Job Cover Letter Examples

Next up, let’s go over some classic cover letter examples for jobs, especially if you’re applying to internships or only have a few years of experience.

The below cover letters follow the golden rules and don’t deviate too much from the standard — which is ideal if you’re applying to positions in more traditional industries.

13. Consulting Internship Cover Letter Example

consulting cover letter

Many internship applicants are early on in their careers or are still in college. That means they’ve yet to gather enough experience to offer tangible proof of their ability to do the job.

That means that a cover letter is the place where an internship applicant can shine.

This cover letter example highlights the applicant’s skills in a bullet-point format. That makes it easier for an overburdened hiring manager to get the essence of her points, quickly, if they’re only skimming cover letters.

Not only that, but this applicant personalized the letter in every single sentence. She shares information about her prior conversations with some of the company’s employees and mentions the company’s name at every turn.

While she only has one prior consulting job, she deftly mentions the skills she developed in that role and ties them into her desired position at Quantcast Product Group.

This cover letter example does a fantastic job advertising the applicant’s soft skills in a highly scannable format — while still going heavy on the personalization.

Don’t be shy to lightly play with formatting to get your point across and to imbue the letter with your passion for a company.

14. Nonprofit Referral Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: nonprofit referral

This cover letter example for a nonprofit job hits the ground running by right away inserting the name of one of the nonprofit’s Superintendents.

That’s an excellent way to get a recruiter’s attention and make you stand out from the slush pile, even if you’re only just out of school, as is the case for this applicant.

If you’ve received an internal recommendation for a position, you’d be wise to open your letter with that information. Don’t worry about it feeling too stilted or strange — remember, hiring managers only skim letters.

Your goal is to make sure they get information about you that they otherwise won’t get from your resume.

With only three full paragraphs, this cover letter example is short, sweet, and to the point. No time is wasted, and it also goes over the critical basics, such as skills and experience.

This nonprofit cover letter includes a recommendation from an internal employee at the target organization, making it more likely to stand out from the slush pile.

I  also love that it doesn’t skimp on the basics, such as skills, enthusiasm, and experience.

15. General Email Inquiry Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: general internship inquiry

Even if a job opportunity isn’t available at an organization yet, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be. You can always send a general inquiry cover letter, like the one in this example.

This email cover letter for a political campaign internship is short and sweet, but includes the critical information the campaign coordinator needs to consider the applicant for any new positions that may open up.

The best part about this cover letter is that it can be easily customized from one political campaign employer to the next.

While it does include a level of personalization, it’s brief and can be easily changed to address the specific political candidate.

When sending general inquiries like this one, it’s essential to make the personalization aspect as pain-free as possible for yourself. That may mean including only one sentence or two, knowing that a general inquiry might not be replied to.

This email cover letter example hits all the right notes while keeping it brief and to-the-point. While we don’t recommend choosing this format for a formal cover letter, it works if you’re sending a general inquiry to an employer over email.

It’s also a good example to follow if you’re still in college or have very little experience.

Read more: How to Write a Letter of Interest

16. Post-Phone-Call Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: post phone call

If you get a phone call from a potential employer and they invite you to send your resume, pat yourself on the back — that is such a win. In your cover letter, be sure to mention that right away, like this example does.

A hiring manager or an executive at a company likely has a lot of tasks on their plate, which means that they may forget about your call from one week to the next.

That is totally okay, which is why this example starts with a reminder that the applicant and the letter recipient spoke back on January 31st. It also has a few more details about why they started speaking in the first place.

Aside from leveraging the phone call that’s already occurred, this cover letter also does an excellent job explaining why the applicant is an ideal choice for the job.

It goes into detail about skills and previous experience with a high level of enthusiasm, and includes a promise to follow up at the end.

This cover letter example includes two things that will immediately draw my attention: A phone call they’ve already had, and a mutual contact at their organization.

The job and internship search can be grueling; never be afraid to use everything you have at your disposal to improve your standing over other applicants.

Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter

17. Mission-Driven Graduate Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: mission driven

This cover letter example from a recent B.A. graduate wowed me from the first sentence.

The applicant right away explains her attained degree and her specific career interests, then dives into the aspects of her experience that make her such a great candidate.

It's so personalized to the employer’s own mission that it’s difficult to stop reading it.

Even if the hiring manager isn’t a science or health professional, they would be able to effectively gauge the applicant’s suitability for the role by the expertise she shows in her cover letter alone.

The applicant explains at length why she’s excited to work for that specific hospital. The organization serves Aboriginal populations, which aligns with her own values and research interests.

In the last paragraph, she summarizes what she knows about the employer in one sentence, then describes how each of her experiences supports the employer’s mission.

That is an exceedingly clever and meaningful way to align yourself with an organization at a deeper level.

If you’re applying to a mission-driven organization, don’t be shy about showing your excitement and expertise. You don’t need a lot of experience to show that your values align with those of your target organization.

This cover letter example is especially good inspiration if you’re making a career change, have only just a few internships under your belt, or are graduating from college.

18. Short Recommendation Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: short recommendation

Referral or recommendation cover letters don’t need to be too long, and this is a great example of that. It immediately leverages a mutual connection at the company.

The mutual connection recommended that the applicant contact the hiring manager for a role, which is a piece of information I  always recommend you frontload in your letter.

This specific cover letter comes from an applicant with little experience, making it a good example to follow if you’re switching careers or just out of college.

Instead of talking about their experience, the applicant uses anecdotal evidence to convey their enthusiasm for working at that company.

The writer also goes over their most salient skills, such as being able to speak multiple languages. They also explain how their degree directly applies to the target role.

I  love that the candidate highlights their leadership abilities and makes that an effective selling point for being hired.

This cover letter doesn’t go on for too long, which we love. It’s simple and sweet and provides all the information the hiring manager needs to look more closely at the applicant’s resume and make an interviewing decision.

19. Professor or Research Position Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: professor or research

Academic or research position cover letters might require a little more information than the typical cover letter — and this is one such example. Why is it okay to go a little longer?

Because the letter is not only a way to supplement the PhD candidate’s academic CV, but to provide a writing sample for the search committee.

I love this cover letter because it expresses the candidate’s enthusiasm for teaching and explains her instructional ethos, such as providing out-of-the-classroom opportunities, championing communication, and encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone.

The applicant also suggests courses she may be able to teach at the target institution, and expresses her interest in developing new courses as needed.

She also suggests how she can enhance the college’s extracurricular programming by offering study abroad courses, which shows not just an interest in teaching but adding to the school’s overall culture.

While this letter goes for a little longer than recommended, it serves as a fantastic writing sample and explains the applicant’s research background at length.

If you’re applying to academic or research roles, don’t be afraid to go into detail about what most excites you in terms of research interests.

20. Director Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: director

This cover letter example — for a Director of Catering position at a university — doesn’t waste any time.

The applicant right away says that they’re a strong candidate for the role, then jumps right into three salient qualifications that make him a great fit.

I love how the applicant uses bullet points and bold text to guide an overburdened hiring manager through the cover letter — and to give them permission to scan it, if needed.

If the hiring manager would like more information or actual examples of the skills, they merely need to read the rest of the bullet point paragraph.

As mentioned, light formatting can be beneficial to your cover letter, as it draws the recruiter’s eyes and prevents them from having to fish for the information they’re looking for.

This short, sweet cover letter includes the critical information a hiring manager or high-level executive needs to make an interview decision.

I  love the use of formatting that doesn’t stray too much from regular cover letter conventions, and I  like that the applicant kept all other paragraphs extremely brief.

21. Editorial Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: editorial

Applying for an editorial or journalistic position? Like a cover letter example I  shared earlier, you can take a more storytelling approach to capture the hiring manager’s attention.

This cover letter example does that effectively by telling an anecdote that directly mentions the newspaper where they’d like to work.

This immediately draws the reader in and tells them that this application isn’t random at all; the applicant would like to work at the newspaper because they’ve read it every morning.

Not only that, but they have a favorite reporter on the newspaper’s staff. The applicant then jumps into the specific reason they want to take an editorial position at the Baltimore Sun.

The cover letter includes all pertinent information, such as how previous positions have equipped the applicant to take on this job. It closes with enthusiasm after keeping the reader rapt every step of the way.

The applicant uses storytelling to — you guessed it — apply for a position that needs storytelling skills. If you’re applying for a data-driven position or a graphic design position, why not showcase those skills in the cover letter itself?

I  like that this letter doesn’t diverge too much from cover letter conventions while still differentiating itself.

22. Promotion Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: promotion

In this cover letter example, the applicant already works for the employer and wishes to apply for the next position to move up in their career.

I  like that the letter cites the applicant’s extensive knowledge of the organization, which will no doubt give them an advantage over external applicants.

Not only that, but the applicant also references their experience before they started working at the employer and uses that information to make their candidacy even more desirable.

Lastly, this letter includes a healthy level of enthusiasm for the university and the position — something that is never extra in a cover letter.

This cover letter example does an excellent job showing the candidate’s knowledge of their current organization while stating why they’re a natural fit for the promotion.

Plus, the letter includes information on the applicant’s relevant activities outside of work — if you’re involved in any organizations that might help you do your job better, be sure to include them.

23. Law Cover Letter Example

job cover letter examples: law

This law cover letter example jumps right into personalization, a bold move that will serve you well if you’re genuinely interested in a company and want to stand out.

The applicant cites the recipient’s recent article on bond litigation, then ties that into the role they’d like to get at the law firm.

The applicant then goes into his skills and the feedback he’s received from past managers. This is an excellent way to introduce your skills without sounding dry — or even unfounded.

By citing positive feedback you’ve received, you’ll imply that others have praised you for having those skills, and that you’re not only "tooting your own horn."

Pro-Tip: In cover letters, it’s absolutely okay to toot your own horn — that’s what they’re for. But if you can cite others’ remarks, that also helps.)

At just two and a half paragraphs, this letter is exceedingly short but no less effective. It’s an excellent example of how to personalize your letter quickly while still conveying the essentials of a cover letter.

This short cover letter example keeps it brief while still creating high impact. The applicant personalizes the letter immediately, cites external feedback, and conveys enthusiasm.

This letter proves you don’t need to write a novel about an employer to sway the hiring manager into giving you an interview.

Now that I've shown you some excellent examples, let's talk about how you can create the best cover letter for your dream job.

What is a good cover letter?

A cover letter is used to show your interest in the role, passion for the company, and the impact you've had in previous positions. Good cover letters should include a standout opening, relevant skills and qualifications, and a strong finish with a call-to-action — all within one page and unique to each application.

What’s on a cover letter?

Before you start writing your cover letter, let's cover a few basic must-haves you'll want to include. If you’re looking for more detailed instructions, check out this guide to writing a cover letter .

Add a simple, but pleasant greeting to address the recruiter or hiring manager.

Learn more:

  • Dear Sir or Madam Alternatives
  • Cover Letter Greetings

Write a catchy introduction that explains why you’re interested in the role.

  • How to Write an Introduction
  • Tips for Writing a Good Introduction Sentence

Work Experience

This is the heart of your cover letter. It outlines your relevant experience and why you’d be a great fit for the role. You can highlight special skills, experiences, professional achievements, or education to help make your case.

  • How to Write About Your Professional Background
  • Professional Bio Examples
  • LinkedIn Bio Examples

In this paragraph, add a call-to-action by expressing interest in an interview. Offer your contact information and sign off.

  • Email Closing Line Examples
  • Tips for Writing Conclusions

What does a cover letter look like?

Besides showing off your skills and qualifications, cover letters give you the opportunity to present a clear, concise, and compelling writing sample. It shows off your personality and your ability to convey ideas.

That's a lot of information to include on a single page, so it can help to have a clear structure to start with.

Check out our fillable cover letter templates to see how you should organize the content of your cover letter.

HubSpot Cover Letter Template

What makes a great cover letter?

A cover letter is personal, but it also needs to help you reach a goal and help the hiring team understand how you could perform that role with their company. This complexity can make cover letters really tough to write.

Because cover letters are difficult to write, many come off as boring, basic, or confusing for hiring managers to read. But the tips below about the qualities that make a cover letter great can help you take your cover letter from basic to bright.

Start with this quick video, then keep reading for more tips:

Personalized Introduction

Begin with an introduction that's personal. It should capture the reader's attention and address your recipient by name. Then, add a compelling opening sentence that emphasizes your interest in the specific role.

Helpful Cover Letter Introduction:

"Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

In an increasingly digitized world, where customer-centric strategies are vital for business success, I am thrilled to apply for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Introduction:

"To Whom it May Concern,

I am applying for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot. I have some experience in marketing and can help your clients grow their businesses."

Relevant Professional Experience

It can be tempting to use the same cover letter for every job. After all, it's about your experience, isn't it? But it's not enough to rephrase the work history in your resume.

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to fill a specific role, so you need to show how your experience translates to their unique needs.

So, the body of a great cover letter should showcase the specific professional experiences that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Emphasize your accomplishments and skills that directly relate to what the job needs.

To speed up this part of the cover letter writing process, start by creating a list of your transferable skills . Drafting this list can help you quickly focus on the skills to highlight in your cover letter.

Then, use AI tools to summarize job descriptions and narrow in on where your experience and the needs of the role you're applying for overlap. This post is full of useful AI assistant tools if you're new to AI.

Helpful Cover Letter Experience:

"At [Company Name], I had the opportunity to assist a global ecommerce retailer in enhancing their online customer experience. By conducting in-depth market research and customer journey mapping, I identified pain points and areas of improvement in their website navigation and user interface."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Experience:

"I also worked with an ecommerce retailer to improve the customer experience. We did some surveys and training, and they were happy with the results."

Useful Examples

To make your cover letter stand out, add specific examples that show how you've solved problems or gotten results in past roles.

Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible, using data to give the reader a clear understanding of your impact.

Helpful Cover Letter Example:

"I lead a team of five content writers while increasing website traffic by 18% year-over-year."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Example:

"I have a great track record of leadership and achieving fantastic results."

Research and Company Knowledge

Hiring teams aren't hiring anyone with the skills to do the job. They're hiring a person they'll work alongside at their specific company.

So, to show that you're not just looking for any job anywhere, share your knowledge of the company's industry, values, and culture in your cover letter.

Spend some time on the company website and take notes on what makes this business interesting to you and why you would want to work there.

Then, explain how your skills align with the company's mission and goals and explain how you could add to their chances of success. This will showcase your interest in the company and help them see if you are a good cultural fit.

Helpful Cover Letter Research:

"I was particularly drawn to HubSpot not only for its industry-leading solutions but also for its exceptional company culture. HubSpot's commitment to employee development and fostering a collaborative environment is evident in its recognition as a top workplace consistently. I strongly believe that my passion for continuous learning, self-motivation, and dedication to contributing to a team will make me a valuable asset to HubSpot."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Research:

"I have been inspired by HubSpot's commitment to inbound marketing and its comprehensive suite of solutions. HubSpot's dedication to providing valuable content and fostering meaningful relationships aligns with my own values and aspirations."

Clear Writing

Your cover letter needs to pack in a lot of important information. But it's also important that your cover letter is clear and concise.

To accomplish this, use professional but easy-to-understand language. Be sure to remove any grammar or spelling errors and avoid lengthy paragraphs and avoid jargon or overly technical language.

You may also want to use bullet points to make your letter easier to skim. Then, proofread your cover letter for clarity or ask a friend to proofread it for you.

  • Guide to Becoming a Better Writer
  • Tips for Simplifying Your Writing

Helpful Cover Letter Writing:

"In addition to my academic accomplishments, I gained valuable practical experience through internships at respected law firms.

Working alongside experienced attorneys, I assisted in providing legal support to clients. This hands-on experience helped me develop a deep understanding of client needs and enhanced my ability to effectively communicate complex legal concepts in a straightforward manner."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Writing:

"Furthermore, as a complement to my academic accomplishments, I have garnered invaluable practical experience through internships at esteemed law firms.

Throughout these placements, I actively collaborated with seasoned attorneys to conduct due diligence and furnish clients with comprehensive legal support. Notably, these experiences fostered a profound comprehension of client necessities, whilst honing my legal acumen to articulately convey intricate legal principles within a lucid and concise framework, adhering to applicable precedents and statutes of limitations."

Genuine Interest and Enthusiasm

Find ways to convey your passion for the role and how excited you are to contribute to the company you're applying to. At the same time, make sure your interest feels authentic and outline how it aligns with your career goals.

Your ultimate goal is an enthusiastic letter that feels honest and leaves a lasting positive impression.

Showing excitement in writing doesn't come naturally for everyone. A few tips that can help you boost the genuine enthusiasm in your letter:

  • Record audio of yourself speaking about the role, then use voice-to-text technology to transcribe and add these sections to your letter.
  • Choose your words carefully .
  • Write in active voice.

Helpful Cover Letter Tone:

"I am genuinely enthusiastic about the prospect of joining [Company/Organization Name] as an accountant. My combination of technical proficiency, eagerness to learn, and strong attention to detail make me an ideal candidate for this role. I am confident that my dedication, reliability, and passion for accounting will contribute to the continued success of your organization."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Tone:

"Honestly, I can hardly contain my excitement when it comes to reconciliations, financial statement analysis, and tax regulations! Engaging in spirited discussions with professors and classmates has allowed me to foster an unbreakable bond with the fascinating world of accounting, and I'm positively bursting with enthusiasm at the prospect of applying my skills in a professional setting."

Memorable Conclusion

End your cover letter on a strong note. Summarize your top qualifications, restate your interest in the position, and express your interest in future communication.

Then, thank your reader for their time and consideration and include your contact information for easy follow-up.

To make your conclusion memorable, think about what parts of your letter you'd most like the hiring manager to keep top of mind. Then, consider your word choice and phrasing. If you're feeling stuck, this list of ways to close an email can help.

Helpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

"Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the opportunity to further discuss how my qualifications align with the needs of Greenpeace. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.

Together, let's make a lasting impact on our planet.

[Your Name]"

Unhelpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

"Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing my qualifications further and how I can contribute to Greenpeace's mission. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.

I’d like to add another stage to the job search: experimentation.

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search.

But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data I’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.

I certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will.

So, get inspired by these examples and templates. Write an incredible cover letter that shows the hiring team at your dream job exactly who you are.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure to learn more about how we use AI.

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Home » Job Tips » Resume Writing Tips » Cover Letter Formats – The 2023 Guide with Examples

Cover Letter Formats – The 2023 Guide with Examples

Beginners Guide to Cover Letter Formats

Writing an effective cover letter is key when looking for a job. Recent research revealed that 83% of hiring managers said that a great cover letter format affects their decisions, making it very important to get right. Whether you’re experienced or just starting in the job market, having solid writing skills and understanding how best to structure your application can be highly beneficial in landing that dream position.

In this blog, we share some top tips on formatting and crafting the perfect cover letter so don’t miss these golden opportunities. Investing some time into mastering the art of creating compelling yet concise applications could just lead you toward securing your ideal role.

Table of Contents

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a brief, one-page document that you send along with your resume to provide employers with your introduction. It also offers any pertinent information about you related to the job for which you are applying. The cover letter format for jobs and other applications includes three paragraphs: 

  • An opening paragraph introducing why you’re interested in the position. 
  • A second body paragraph providing summary details about your professional background relevant to this role.
  • Finally, a closing statement outlining what makes you uniquely qualified for the specific opportunity being pursued.

Depending on individual employer practices some will require applicants to submit their materials including both a resume and accompanying cover letter while others might make it optional or not even necessary at all.

Sample Cover Letter Format

Here’s a professional cover letter format sample to provide you with useful guidance on how to structure your letter effectively and highlight your qualifications, enabling you to make a positive impression on prospective employers.

Sample Cover Letter with No Experience 

This is one of the best cover letter examples for freshers or a person with no experience.

To learn more about how to land your dream internship & job, you can take this internship and job preparation course .

Elements That Make Up a Cover Letter

Employing the right cover letter format can significantly enhance your chances of acing that first impression with prospective employers. Check out these guidelines on how to format a compelling cover letter:

1. Contact Details

In a proper job application cover letter format , include the following information in your cover letter header to make sure it is effective: 

  • Name- Make it stand out by using large font sizes and bold text.
  • Phone number- Include area/country code if you’re applying for a job outside of your current location.
  • Email address- Use an appropriate email such as [email protected]
  • Online profile (optional)- Enhance the application further with relevant online profiles, eg website or LinkedIn page, etc.

Next thing, to format your cover letter, include the current date and employer’s contact information. Leave a space between the date and the hiring manager’s name to make it easy for them to read.

  • Today’s date
  • Hiring manager’s name 
  • Company name 
  • Company street address 
  • Company state, city, and ZIP code

2. Salutation

It’s important to make sure your cover letter is addressed correctly. Check the job description or check out the company website for the hiring manager’s name, but if you can’t find it that way don’t fret; just give them a call and ask who it should be sent to.

If that doesn’t work out, instead of using something generic like “To Whom It May Concern”, customize your salutation for who/what team /department you’re applying to. Try saying ”Dear Accounting Team,” or “Dear Hiring Manager”.

3. Starting Paragraph

This is your opportunity to grab the hiring manager’s attention and tell them who you are and why you’re applying for the job. Show enthusiasm by expressing how excited you are about this role as it relates to your career goals. Make it stand out by using keywords from the ad that relate directly back to what they’ve asked for, also mentioning if anyone referred you or knows someone at the company already if applicable.

In the initial section of your cover letter, strive to capture the hiring manager’s attention and present yourself. Additionally, indicate what position you’re applying for as well as where the job listing was discovered.

  • Grab the hiring manager’s attention 
  • Provide a self-introduction  
  • List the position you’re applying for  
  • Describe where you found the job posting

4. Middle Body Paragraph

Now that you have established your interest and enthusiasm for the role, it is time to discuss what qualifications make you an ideal fit. In one or two paragraphs, explain how relevant experiences and skills can transfer directly into the new job’s requirements. Here, focus on specific accomplishments that demonstrate why you are perfect for this position; repeating bullet points from a resume isn’t necessary at this point since employers may already be familiar with them. Details here should further illustrate those highlights to present yourself as the best possible match required for the role.

Do research on the company you are applying to. Learn about their industry, how they currently stand in it, and if possible what their plans for the future look like. Write a paragraph explaining why your skills can help them reach these goals. You may want to include some career highlights as bullets between paragraphs; focus on accomplishments with quantifiable numbers so that readers remember more easily.

5. End Paragraph

End your letter by thanking the employer for their time and letting them know you are interested in progressing to further stages of the hiring process. You can also use this as an opportunity to explain any gaps in employment history or highlight why you would be a great fit for the role.

6. Complimentary Close and Signature

When writing a professional cover letter, choose an appropriate complimentary closing that is friendly yet formal. Examples of suitable closings include “Sincerely”, “Regards”, or “Best” followed by your first name and last name. Alternatively, you can use more specific phrases such as “Thank You” or ‘Thank You for Your Consideration”.

Refrain from using overly casual expressions like cheers, warm regards, thanks a ton, etc., which could be too informal in the context of business correspondence . If sending out hard copies make sure to sign off with a handwritten signature along with your full name at the bottom portion below the closure sentence.

Extra Tips for a   Professional Cover Letter Format :

If you want potential employers to take the time to read your cover letter, you must have a flawless format. To ensure proper formatting for an effective job application cover letter, consider these additional tips:

  • Font style- Use a conventional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Verdana. Avoid fancy fonts to ensure the letter is picked up by applicant tracking systems.
  • Font size- No larger than 12-point font and no smaller than 10.5-point 
  • Margins- Between 1” and .5”; if running out of space adjust margins but not too drastically so that it looks thin/full.
  • Spacing- Leave spacing between each part (date, address, etc). 
  • File format & naming- Submit document files in either PDF/DOCX formats only; name them with your full name plus job title i.e JohnDoeJobTitleCoverLetter 
  • Length- Every cover letter should be around 250-400 words maximum length and one page long

Conclusion 

A successful cover letter format can help you stand out from the competition and demonstrate why your qualifications make you an ideal candidate for a particular job. Be sure to include contact details, craft an engaging introduction, highlight relevant skills in the body of your text, and finish with a succinct closing statement. Customizing each application package shows employers that you put thought into submitting it.

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Sandipta Banerjee has completed her Master's in English Literature and Language. She has been working in the field of editing and writing for the past five years. She started her writing journey at a very young age with her poems which have now evolved into a poetry blog. She was working as Editorial Head in a US-based publishing house before joining Internshala.

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Kitsap Sun (Bremerton)

What does a cover letter really show a prospective employer?

My phone rang.  “Ms. Blackwood?” the person asked. 

“This is she.” 

“Hi!  This is Shelly.  I’ve just read the most incredible cover letter, submitted by you, for our marketing position.  Did you actually write it yourself?”

My mind whirled.  Most beautiful cover letter?  Why was she asking if I wrote it?  Of course I did!  I had spent the last 4 years earning my degree in marketing, spending countless hours writing, rewriting and tweaking individual sentences and picking the perfect words to convey the messages I wanted to portray.

“Yes, I did.”

“Wonderful!  I’d love to have you come in for an interview and talk with us about our job.  And while you’re here, I’d like you to do a writing sample to see if you really can write.”

This was just over 20 years ago, but I remember the phone call.  It was a high compliment on my cover letter and followed by a bit of a blow by asking me to “prove myself”.  The impact of that is a conversation for another day (especially when tools like ChatGPT weren’t around).  For now, let’s focus on the highlight!

There will forever be a hot debate on whether cover letters are needed, important, wanted or warranted.  My answer:  it depends.  There are some positions where I can get behind the idea that they aren’t worth it.  For the vast majority, however, even if a letter isn’t required, I argue that it’s your chance to really show and tell the screener why you’d be the best candidate for the position.

To dig deeper into this answer:  cover letters show initiative.  A well written letter takes some effort, even when writing may be a honed skill already.  There’s some research involved, so you’d need to see what you can learn about the position.  Yes, the job ad and job description are primary sources of that and can allow you to write about your qualities which match criteria; but there’s also a chance for you to explain why you’re so interested in the position.  There may be some additional info you can glean into the open job through the company’s social media; talking to someone you may know who has that position (maybe within that company even); or doing a search on the web for videos of what the job entails.  When you have this understanding, you can better explain why you’re so interested and how it fits your wants as well as your skills. Trust me, the extra effort in writing a cover letter does not go unnoticed by HR and hiring managers.

Cover letters also allow you to get personal, in a professional way.  In your resume, where space is tight, aspects of your skills and experience are very sterile, showing facts and data.  The cover letter is an opportunity to put some context around what you’ve done to get you to this place now.  You’re able to share, through your writing style and the words chosen, a little bit of your personality and the way you approached various occasions. Demonstrate positive qualities about yourself, like leadership or self-motivation, among others.  Elaborate on previous roles, where you have had successes and challenges, and reasons for seeking new challenges.

In a time where many employers are willing to teach skill, and therefore hire for “soft skill,” writing a cover letter shows that you can be effective in communicating.  And we know communication is one of the top soft skills sought after! Regardless of the position you seek, employers value the ability to articulate thoughts and ideas, collectively pull them together in proper flow, and make them easy to understand in writing.

A solid cover letter accompanying your resume becomes a first step in building a relationship with HR and the hiring manager reviewing your submission. When providing context for the data in your resume, reviewers begin to see you as a whole and gain insight into your accomplishments and motivations. Reviewers see how your career goals align with the role to fill, and even more, with the company’s interests. Reading about your experiences and what you choose to highlight about your journey provides character to the information, helping to visualize you as part of the team early on. 

Ready to write? Here are some quick tips on things to include in your letter:

  • Make it personal – this time not about you, but about the reviewer. If you know who the hiring manager is, address the letter specifically to that person, or to the team! It shows that you took that extra little step to know a bit more about the job than what was posted on the job board.
  • Grab attention! Open the letter with a powerful sentence that will have the reader wanting to know more.  Immediately emphasize your best-selling points and the traits which make you the best fit as an example of what can catch their eye quickly.
  • Concise is key. You’ll have a lot you want to say, but keeping things straightforward and brief is important. The letter is intended to put a little bit of color into the information on your resume, but make sure to save some content for your interview!
  • Incorporate proper lingo. Use job specific language, such as key words from the job description. This will be helpful should the company be using an ATS system on the front end of their screening and shows that you understand a bit about the position.
  • Use action verbs where you can. Instead of writing about your responsibility for a task, tell what you did to accomplish it. An example: “I was responsible for the marketing department” could be “I spearheaded a team of three highly creative team members in the marketing department.”
  • Close with a promise. Make sure to tell them you are looking forward to talking with them throughout this process to help them understand how your experience and knowledge can further the company’s goals as a team member.
  • Keep the closing salutation formal, but you can be creative. I personally try to avoid using “sincerely” (although there’s nothing wrong with using it) and choose to use words or phrases like “kindly” or “best regards” before I sign off.
  • Most importantly, don’t forget your contact information!

Whether you love writing or despise it, making the effort to craft a cover letter is a step worth taking, regardless of the position for which you’re applying. It can, really, be the deciding factor between you and another applicant at any point in the hiring process.

Monica Blackwood is CEO of Westsound Workforce, a staffing agency with offices in Gig Harbor and Poulsbo. She writes a regular column for the Kitsap Sun on human resource issues in the workplace.

This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: What does a cover letter really show a prospective employer?

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