Here’s What People Are Saying About Us
How to write the sections of a cover letter
Place your header in the top left, top right or in the top center of the page, depending on which cover letter design you choose. To write your header, follow these steps:
- Start with your contact information. It should be identical to the contact information you use for your resume and contain: your name, city and state, phone number, a professional email address, and links to your LinkedIn profile and your professional website if you have one. Add one space below your contact information.
- Hit return twice then write the date.
- Hit return twice then write the name of the hiring manager (you might have to do some research) and the full address of the company you’re applying to.
- Add a space under the employer’s contact information.
1234 Street Name
City Name, State, ZIP Code
March 16, 2021
Hiring Manager’s Name
Hiring Manager’s Title
Company City, State, ZIP Code
SalutationThe salutation is how you greet the hiring manager, so it’s critical to get it right. Follow these rules of thumb to ensure you start off on the right foot:
- Make your greeting professional but personal. Your cover letter is your chance to connect to the hiring manager and the salutation is the best place to start. Dig deep online, call the company, and use LinkedIn if you have to, to learn the hiring manager’s name. Address them directly by writing “Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],”
- If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, you should address the salutation in general terms, like “Pharmacy Technician Hiring Manager” to ensure your job application is sent to the correct person. Never use a generic greeting such as “To Whom it May Concern,” because no one will know who your cover letter is for.
The body of a cover letter includes an introductory paragraph and up to three additional paragraphs that describe your qualifications. It explains why you’re interested in the position and the company, states what you hope to accomplish for the company, and provides examples of your past achievements.
To write the body of a cover letter:
Start with a strong introduction. Some good ways to do this include:
Communicate your interest in the position and the organization enthusiastically.
EXAMPLE“I have long admired [Company Name]’s excellence in consumer product marketing and its dedication to social causes. As a customer service agent with five years of experience in the nonprofit sector and a lifelong human rights advocate, I would very much like to discuss the customer service manager opportunity with you.”
Add a specific connection or a referral if you have one, but only if you are confident it will have a positive impact. It’s possible the hiring manager might not know or like the person.
EXAMPLE“Our mutual friend Sarah Rose suggested that I contact you about the retail merchandising assistant opening on your team.”
Show you’ve researched the job and the company by mentioning a recent product launch, business expansion or some other newsworthy event.
EXAMPLE“I’m inspired by [Company Name]’s commitment to sustainability. The company’s groundbreaking goal of powering all of its plants with renewable energy by 2023 is particularly impressive.”
Tell a creative story that highlights a relevant and recent job-centric accomplishment.
EXAMPLE“In my sales associate role, I streamlined the closing process, improving my team’s productivity by 43% in under one year.”
Demonstrate your personality. Cover letters give employers a glimpse of the person behind the letter. Show them what makes you unique.
EXAMPLE“I see myself as a positive person with a lot of energy. My friends sometimes ask me how I manage to balance work as a server while pursuing a degree in nutrition science.”
Describe specific aspects of your related experience. Part of this is calling out your most admirable and relevant achievements and briefly telling the stories behind them.
EXAMPLE“I realized the potential for viral videos to increase market reach early in my career. Over time, my portfolio of successful productions grew to include video marketing campaigns for [company names], interactive social media advertisements, and paid marketing strategies that increased brand awareness as much as 35% across the fashion industry.”
Talk about atypical aspects of your resume if you have them. These may include employment gaps, a string of short-term jobs, or a job or industry that is much different than the one you’re applying to. This gives you the chance to explain why those experiences add to your qualifications.
EXAMPLE“Two years ago, I became my mother’s primary caregiver when she became seriously ill. During this difficult period, I was inspired to change my focus to health care. I enrolled in an online associate degree program and got certified as a home health aide. I am available to work full time now, and I’m eager to apply my new skills to your open home care assistant position.”
The closing is where you reiterate your interest, thank the hiring manager for their time, and invite them to contact you or state that you’ll follow up with them.
EXAMPLE“I look forward to speaking with you about how I can apply my specialized skills and passion for nursing to the lead nurse position in your department. You can reach me at [phone number and email] Monday through Friday. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
SignatureThe signature is where you respectfully sign off. To do so, add a line break after the closing, then write a professional sign-off — conventions include “Sincerely,” “Thank you,” and “Best wishes,” — followed by several line breaks, and then your typed name. If you are uploading your cover letter and resume to an employer site or sending them by email to a hiring manager, you can skip the signature as your typed name is sufficient. If you are sending a hard copy of your documents, you should sign your cover letter. Note: Avoid informal sign-offs, such as “Cheers,” “Love,” “Take care,” or “Warmly,” unless you know the hiring manager very well.
Tips for writing an interview-winning cover letter
Cover Letter Writing Checklist
- Research the company.
- Customize it for the employer.
- Consider your audience.
- Demonstrate your value.
- Be specific.
- Show your excitement for the job and the company.
- Use the proper format.
Eager to start writing your cover letter? We’ve compiled a list of the best tips to help you get started.
Research is crucial when writing your cover letter. You must learn about the prospective employer so you can speak to how you’re a possible match. Career consultants agree that someone who makes an effort to find out more about a company and shows this in their cover letter is preferred because they show commitment.
Our certified resume writers advise you to review every part of a company’s website, including its blog, check out its LinkedIn page for relevant recent business information, and Google any news articles or press releases that help you contextualize your candidacy for their business needs.
While conducting your research, look for the following:
- What product(s) or service(s) do they provide? Learn about the company’s current products and services and what they intend to launch, and think about how you can assist with their plans.
- What is the company culture? Do you feel you’re a good match for their culture? Find out if the culture is more on the creative and innovative side or more conventional and conservative.
- What are the company’s values, challenges, mission and goals? Find out if you share common interests and values. Do you feel you could support them in achieving their mission and goals?
- Who are their competitors? Learn about the organization’s current or emerging competitors. If you’re familiar with their competitors, this will be helpful to share in your cover letter.
Customize your letter for the employer.
Once you’ve done your research, you’re ready to customize your cover letter for your target company. One way to do this is to tailor your skills to the job requirements.
Consider your audience.
In order to make an impact, you’ve got to think about who will be reading your cover letter. Chances are, your audience will include the following:
- Applicant tracking systems (ATS)
Many hiring managers and recruiters often make use of ATS software, which scans and sorts cover letters and resumes to weed out those that don’t match a job’s required skills and experience. To get past them, use keywords that best describe the company, job description and the position in your cover letter.
Recruiters rate and rank candidates for interviews. They look for the “best of the best,” scanning cover letters for achievements, awards and unique skill sets. When writing your cover letter, be sure to emphasize your most relevant successes and how you can apply them to the job.
- Hiring managers
Busy hiring managers want to see a well-thought-out cover letter that shows you understand the role, you took the time to learn about the company, and that you have the qualifications necessary to perform the job.
- Applicant tracking systems (ATS)
Demonstrate your value by providing answers to such questions as:
- How would you help to meet the company’s goals? For instance, if a retail business or manufacturer wants to expand their sales operations, share examples of your related achievements.
- How would you help to further their mission? If you want to work for a company because you know their purpose is to sell only sustainable products, then mention your passion for environmental causes. If you volunteered for a green organization, then weave that experience into your narrative.
- How would you help to support their ethics, business or values? For example, If you’ve learned that the company wants to expand its charitable outreach to nonprofit organizations and you’ve worked for nonprofits, definitely highlight this experience.
- How can you help them solve a problem? Demonstrate how you can provide a solution to a problem you may have discovered through your research.
Employers want to know precisely what you bring to the table. This could mean including facts and figures about past accomplishments. Career consultant Jodi Glickman recommends candidates convince an employer that a role is a perfect fit for them by providing related stories and anecdotes. For example, how many managers have you supported and how many sales have you made? Did you create a new process that helped the team or the company be more efficient?
Show your excitement for the job or company.
A great way to stand out from the competition is to show enthusiasm (but don’t go overboard!). Doing so helps employers envision you in the role and helps to create a sense of connection between you and the hiring manager. While researching the company conveys interest, sprinkling powerful and dynamic words, such as “motivated,” and “thrilled,” for instance, emphasizes your desire to work for the company. The Houston Chronicle recommends describing this feeling in the first sentence to grab the hiring manager’s attention. So if you’re thrilled at the idea of working at a start-up, let the company know right away.
Use the Right Format.
Hiring managers expect to see cover letters in the correct format, meaning with the proper margins, fonts and spacing. Your cover letter may be swiftly rejected if it’s misaligned or the typeface is illegible. And keep it short — no more than one page for quick reading. One way to think about it is if you only had 15 seconds to tell the prospective employer what they needed to know about you, what would you say?
Cover letter variations
Special circumstances call for variations of the standard cover letter. For instance, you might want to apply for an unadvertised position you heard about through word of mouth, or maybe you want a permanent role with a company you’ve been contracting with. While the standard rules of a business letter apply to these variants, your focus will be different depending on your goals. We have examples of each type to guide you.
Common cover letter mistakes to avoid
If you’re taking the time to write a thoughtful cover letter to place yourself at the front of the pack, you’ve got to market yourself in the best way possible. Don’t ruin your chances by making the following common mistakes:
Rehashing your resume
The point of writing a cover letter is to make a connection with employers by showing them who you are and telling them why you want to work for them. Your cover letter should dive deep into key pieces of your resume, fill in gaps, and tie your qualifications to their specific needs.
Writing a generic letter
One of the worst things you can do when applying for a job is write a generic cover letter for every employer. Trust us, it will be obvious. If you want to impress an employer, then it’s critical to tailor your messaging to the company and the position. Take the time to learn about the company’s history, its goals and culture, what the job means for the company’s success, and how you fit in the picture.
Focusing on what you want over the employer’s needs
The company is looking for the best candidate to help them solve a particular problem, so your letter should focus on them and what you can do to help with their needs. Present your qualifications in a way that shows you are the answer to their problem.
Being too wordy
No one, busy hiring managers especially, likes to read awkward and wordy sentences. Keep your cover letter crisp, concise and to the point.
Having misspellings, grammatical errors and typos
Proper grammar, good spelling, and typo-free sentences convey to employers that you are detail-oriented, care about how you present yourself, respect them, and want the job. Always proofread your cover letter, and then proofread it again.
Why do we write cover letters?
We write cover letters because they expand on our resumes and provide details about our backgrounds that we can’t include in a resume. Plus cover letters allow us to create a sharp narrative around why we are the best choice for the position. When we learn how to write a good cover letter, we significantly increase our chances of landing an interview.
How do I write a cover letter if I’m underqualified for the job?
If you are underqualified for the job you’re applying to, then focus on your transferable skills and enthusiasm for the job. After all, the strongest letters don’t simply list qualifications. They paint a picture of a passionate applicant who will bring value to the team.
How do I write a good cover letter for my first job?
Applying for your first job can be nerve-wracking. Fortunately, you don’t always need a lot of experience to get hired; passion and determination can go a long way. You can also play up your skill set, class projects and testimonials to build a compelling case for yourself. Show whatever relevant experience you have, even if it isn’t from prior jobs.
Where can I make a cover letter?
The best place to create a cover letter is Resume Now’s cover letter builder. Use the powerful editor, pre-written suggestions and beautiful, professional templates to create an immediate cover letter now.