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What Is a Cover Letter?
Understanding cover letters, types of cover letters, how to write a cover letter, tips for writing a cover letter.
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What Is a Cover Letter? Types and How To Write One
A cover letter is a written document commonly submitted with a job application outlining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. Since a cover letter is often one of only two documents sent to a potential employer, a well- or poorly-written letter can impact whether the applicant is called for an interview .
- A cover letter is commonly submitted with a job application explaining the applicant's credentials and interest in the position.
- A good cover letter complements the resume and explains why the candidate is the ideal person for the job.
- Common cover letter mistakes can sink a job applicant.
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Most job postings are done online and no longer require a physical application. Instead, applicants send companies a copy of their resume along with a cover letter either by email or with a hard copy through the mail. A resume offers a glimpse into the professional and academic experience of a potential employee. The cover letter, on the other hand, acts as an introduction written by the candidate to express their interest in the position and what makes them the best fit for the job.
A good cover letter complements a resume by expanding on items relevant to the job. In essence, it's a sales pitch that describes why the applicant is the best person for the position. Career experts advise job seekers to spend time customizing each cover letter for the particular position, rather than using a generic missive. Although this requires extra effort, it can be very helpful in allowing an applicant to stand out above the competition.
The cover letter provides information to the employer about who the candidate is as a professional and as a person. This includes their areas of interest, professional goals, knowledge, skills they've gained over the years, achievements, passions, and aspirations. The cover letter should be a one-page document that provides a clear and concise idea about why the candidate is the best person for the job . It should also highlight the cultural fit.
While there is no set template for a cover letter, the type of letter that you write will depend on the requirements of each individual company or employer. The information that is included in a cover letter will vary depending on the goals and purpose of your application.
- An application cover letter is the most familiar type of cover letter. This is generally written in response to a vacancy that is posted on a company's website or a job board. In addition to answering any specific questions posted in the job ad, it may also highlight any experience or skills that are suitable for the position.
- A referral cover letter is similar to an application letter, but it includes the name of a colleague or employee who recommended the applicant for the open position. A strong referral can help you stand out against other applicants.
- A prospecting cover letter , also known as a letter of interest, is written by a job seeker and addressed to a company where they would like to work. However, it is not aimed at a specific role or vacancy. Instead, this type of letter inquires about open positions in general and may highlight any special skills that make the writer suitable for the company.
When employers post a job ad that requires a cover letter, they may specify certain requirements for the cover letter to address. For example, they may require applicants to answer certain questions, or to respect a certain word limit. It is important to follow these requirements, as they reflect on the applicant's ability to understand and follow directions.
If the employer does not set any expectations, a typical cover letter should be about a page or less, and may include a formal greeting, contact information, and links to the applicant's portfolio or work. It should highlight any special skills, and explain why you would be a good fit for the position. This is your chance to impress the employer: Even if your resume does not have everything an employer wants, a well-written cover letter can make the applicant stand out from the crowd.
However, it is possible to include too much information. Most employers will simply glance at the majority of their cover letters, and a long-winded essay might end up at the bottom of the pile. A few short paragraphs explaining your skills, and why you chose that specific employer, should be enough to put your best foot forward.
Writing a cover letter doesn't have to be tedious—even though it may seem like it's a chore. Here are a few simple tips you may want to consider when composing your cover letter:
- Personalize your letter for each role. Never use a generic cover letter. This means you have to write a new one for each position. Be sure to include your strengths and skills, and explain why you’re the perfect candidate.
- Include contact information. If the posting doesn't include the hiring manager's name, call the company , or check its website. Including this person's name gives your letter a proper greeting and also shows you have initiative. And don't forget to add your contact information, too. This is important if your resume gets separated from your cover letter.
- Simplify your letter. Communicate clearly and concisely. Using complex words and sentences would most certainly fail to convey your intentions with the company and the person reading the letter probably won't bother with the rest of your application.
- Be specific when needed. Don't rehash your resume, so be sure to quantify your accomplishments. For instance, expand on your marketing experience in your cover letter by saying you brought in 200 additional clients each month and increased revenue to $10,000. This can set you apart from candidates with vague personal details.
- Proofread. After you’ve written the letter, go over it a few times to ensure there are no errors. Then ask someone else to do a once-over and recommend any changes you may need to make.
A simple, focused cover letter without any typos or grammatical errors will get you noticed by potential employers.
A perfect resume can often be sabotaged by a poorly thought-out cover letter or one that is laden with mistakes. Whether you include the letter as per required submission guidelines, or you simply want to emphasize your interest in the job, make sure you avoid making these blunders.
- Names matter. This includes the name of the hiring manager, the company, and yes, even yours. Make sure you have the right names and the correct spelling. And don't forget to change the names if you're using the same cover letter for multiple jobs.
- Restating your resume. Since the cover letter is used to identify your skills and explain how your previous experience is applicable to the desired position, don't restate the stuff on your resume. Remember, the cover letter should complement your resume, not just summarize it.
- Keep your letter tight. Recruiters often go through hundreds of applications and don't have time to read through a three-page missive. The absolute maximum length for a cover letter should be one page, with a few concise paragraphs.
- Omit unnecessary details. Stay on topic. There's no need to mention your graphic-design skills if you're applying for an accounting position. It's a good idea to leave out personal things like your IQ, recreational accomplishments, interests, and hobbies. That is unless they relate to the job or company.
- Avoid sounding arrogant. Ensure your cover letter does not make you appear arrogant . While the cover letter is about you and your accomplishments, find a way of saying "I'm the best" without actually saying it. Avoid overusing words like "I," "me," or "my."
- Remember that spelling counts. Typos and grammatical errors can show you didn't bother to proofread your own letter. And make sure to be consistent—don't convey a dash with "--" in one place and "—" in another.
- Design matters : with the proliferation of publishing, design trends, and software, candidates have become creative in making their cover letter stand out from a design perspective. Make sure your cover letter projects your personality in terms of design while remaining professional. That is personal signature and branding.
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
According to Indeed , a leading job-seeking site, a typical cover letter should be about three or four paragraphs long and highlight any special experience or achievements that make the applicant exceptionally well-suited to the position.
How Do You Start a Cover Letter?
A cover letter should start with a formal greeting, preferably addressed to the hiring manager. If you do not know who will be reading your cover letter, a generic "to whom it may concern" is an acceptable, albeit old-fashioned, way to address a cover letter. It is also acceptable to address the letter to a title, such as "Dear Hiring Manager," or "Dear Talent Acquisition Team."
What Should a Cover Letter Contain?
An effective cover letter should highlight the applicant's skills, experience, and any achievements that make them a good fit for their prospective employer. It is also a good chance to mention anything that is not included in the resume: For example, if an applicant is drawn to a certain employer because they love a certain product, the cover letter is a great place to mention it. Make sure your cover letter also includes your name and contact information.
In a competitive jobs market, an effective cover letter is one way to make a job application stand out. This is a chance for an applicant to demonstrate why they think they would be a good fit. However, a poorly-written or meandering cover letter can hurt an application more than it helps.
Harvard Extension School. " Resources and Cover Letters: An Extension School Resource ," Pages 3 and 5.
Harvard Extension School. " Resources and Cover Letters: An Extension School Resource ," Page 5.
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Indeed. " How to Address a Cover Letter (With Examples). "
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What Is a Cover Letter for a Job? Definition and Examples
A cover letter is a personalized document submitted alongside your resume or CV when applying for a job. It is designed to introduce yourself to the employer, showcase your qualifications, and establish a connection with the hiring manager.
Cover letters are crucial in the job application process, as they are the first impression you give to a potential employer. They demonstrate your communication skills, highlight your unique strengths that align with the job requirements, and show the employer that you have put in the effort to tailor your application specifically to them.
In this article, we will cover the essential elements of a cover letter, including the structure, content, and format. We’ll also provide you with tips on how to make your cover letter stand out and share specific examples that you can use as inspiration.
Specifically, we will discuss:
- The purpose of a cover letter
- The different types of cover letters
- The structure and format of a cover letter
- How to tailor your cover letter to the job and company
- Tips on how to write an effective cover letter
- Examples of successful cover letters
Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, this article will provide you with the knowledge you need to create a compelling cover letter that will impress any employer. So, let’s get started!
The Definition of a Cover Letter
Defining what a cover letter is.
A cover letter is a one-page document that accompanies your resume when applying for a job. It provides a personalized introduction to the employer and serves as a sales pitch highlighting your qualifications, skills, and experience.
Explaining the Purpose of a Cover Letter
The purpose of a cover letter is to showcase your interest in the job and the company while presenting yourself as the best candidate for the position. It should not duplicate the content of your resume but rather expand on it by providing specific examples of how your skills match the job requirements.
A cover letter is also an opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills and personality. It should be carefully crafted and tailored to the employer’s needs to make a positive impression and stand out from other applicants.
Differentiating a Cover Letter from a Resume
While a resume provides a comprehensive summary of your work history, education, and achievements, a cover letter is more focused on your motivation and fit for the specific job.
A resume is typically structured in a chronological or functional format, whereas a cover letter follows a specific format with a heading, introduction, body paragraphs, and a closing.
A cover letter is an essential job application tool that complements your resume and allows you to shine as a candidate. By personalizing your application and demonstrating your fit for the job, you can increase your chances of landing an interview and securing the job you want.
The Purpose of a Cover Letter
One of the most critical components of a job application is a cover letter. It provides the candidate with an opportunity to introduce themselves and explain why they are an excellent fit for the position. The following section explores why a cover letter is essential for job seekers and highlights the benefits of including it in a job application.
Demonstrating Why a Cover Letter is Important for Job Seekers
A cover letter is the first part of your job application that a recruiter or employer will see. Therefore, it is essential to make a positive first impression. The cover letter should highlight your strengths, experiences, and qualifications that are relevant to the job description. It should be well-structured, error-free, and customized for the specific job you are applying for.
Cover letters provide the candidate with an opportunity to explain their motivation for applying for the job. They can also showcase their personality, communication skills, and writing style. A well-crafted cover letter can set the tone for the entire application and make the candidate stand out from other applicants.
Exploring the Benefits of Including a Cover Letter with a Job Application
Including a cover letter with a job application has several benefits. Firstly, it shows initiative and effort, indicating that the candidate is genuinely interested in the job. It also demonstrates attention to detail and professionalism.
A cover letter can also provide valuable insights that may not be apparent from the resume alone. It allows the candidate to elaborate on their skills and experiences, as well as to address any gaps or challenges in their career history. Additionally, a cover letter provides an opportunity to express enthusiasm for the company and the position.
Furthermore, a cover letter can help job seekers overcome potential obstacles or barriers. For instance, if the candidate is transitioning into a new career, lacks relevant experience or has gaps in employment history or has faced any limitations such as disabilities, a cover letter can be a valuable tool to address these concerns sensitively.
A cover letter is a crucial component of job seeking. It can make the difference between landing an interview and getting passed over. By demonstrating motivation, professionalism, and enthusiasm for the position, a well-crafted cover letter can set the applicant apart from the competition. Therefore, job seekers should take the time to create an outstanding cover letter that highlights their strengths and illustrates why they are the best fit for the job.
The Basic Cover Letter Format
When it comes to formatting your cover letter, it’s important to stick to a standard structure that potential employers expect to see. Here is a breakdown of the basic cover letter format:
Heading and contact information
At the very top of your cover letter, include your name, address, phone number, and email address. Next, include the date you are sending the letter and the contact information for the employer, including their name, title, company, and address.
Begin your cover letter with a salutation, such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear [employer’s name]”. It’s important to address the letter specifically to the person who will be reviewing your application.
In the opening paragraph, introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in the position. If someone referred you to the job, mention their name and connection to the employer.
The body of your cover letter should highlight your qualifications and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. Use specific examples from your work experience or education to demonstrate your skills and achievements.
In the closing paragraph, thank the employer for considering your application and express your enthusiasm for the opportunity to interview. Include your contact information again and invite the employer to contact you with any further questions.
End the letter with a professional closing, such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards”, and sign your name.
Tone and style of writing
When it comes to the tone and style of your cover letter, it’s important to strike a balance between professionalism and personality. You want to sound knowledgeable and competent, but also friendly and engaging. Here are some tips for writing an effective cover letter:
- Use a conversational tone, but avoid slang or casual language.
- Tailor your language to the specific job and company you are applying to. Use keywords from the job description and research the company culture to get a sense of the appropriate tone.
- Show enthusiasm and passion for the job, but avoid going overboard or sounding desperate.
- Be confident and assertive, but also humble and gracious.
- Use examples and anecdotes to demonstrate your skills and qualifications, but avoid rambling or repeating information from your resume.
By following the basic cover letter format and using an appropriate tone and style, you can create a compelling letter that stands out to potential employers and increases your chances of landing the job.
How to Write a Cover Letter
In this section, we will provide a step-by-step guide to creating a successful cover letter.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
The first paragraph is your chance to introduce yourself to the employer and explain why you’re interested in the position. Start off with a clear and concise statement of the job you’re applying for and where you saw the opening. You can also include a sentence or two about your qualifications and why you’d be a good fit for the role. Remember to keep it brief and to the point.
Paragraph 2: Your Qualifications
In the second paragraph, highlight your qualifications and experiences that match the job description. Be specific and use examples to demonstrate your skills and achievements. This is your chance to prove that you have what it takes to succeed in the role. Make sure to use keywords from the job description to show that you understand the requirements of the position.
Paragraph 3: Your Value Proposition
The third paragraph is where you can really sell yourself. Explain what sets you apart from other applicants and why the employer should hire you. This is your opportunity to showcase your strengths and explain how you can bring value to the company. You can also use this paragraph to express your enthusiasm for the company or industry.
Paragraph 4: Call to Action
In the final paragraph, thank the employer for considering your application and reiterate your interest in the position. End with a strong call to action, such as expressing your availability for an interview or follow-up call. Remember to include your contact information, such as your phone number and email address, so the employer can easily reach you.
By following this step-by-step guide, you can create a strong and effective cover letter that will help you stand out from the competition. Keep in mind that every cover letter should be tailored to the specific job and company you’re applying to. Good luck!
Specific Details to Include in a Cover Letter
When it comes to writing a cover letter, including specific details can greatly enhance your chances of landing your dream job. Here are some examples of information that should be included in your cover letter:
- Contact information: Your full name, phone number, email address, and home address. This info helps the hiring manager contact you quickly and easily.
- Job reference number or title: If the job you are applying for has a reference number, include it in your cover letter. If not, it’s essential to mention the job title in your introduction.
- Dates of availability: Let the hiring manager know when you’re available to start the job. This detail helps the employer to determine your readiness and to plan accordingly.
Crafting a perfect cover letter for a job isn’t just about including the necessary details. It is also essential to tailor the cover letter to the job posting and company. Here are some tips to do so.
Tips for Tailoring the Cover Letter to the Company and Job Posting
- Research the company: Before writing a cover letter, research the company to understand how they operate and their values. Use this information to personalize the cover letter.
- Match your skills to the job: The job posting lists the required skills and qualifications. Make sure to mention them and link them to your experience and skills.
- Use the right tone of voice: The tone of the cover letter should align with the company’s values and culture. If the company is serious and formal, use a professional tone. If it’s more relaxed, your tone can be conversational.
- Address the hiring manager by name: Addressing the hiring manager by name shows professionalism and interest in the job.
- Highlight your achievements: In the main paragraphs of your cover letter, highlight your significant achievements that relate to the job posting.
It is essential to follow these tips to create a compelling and personalized cover letter that catches the hiring manager’s attention. By focusing on the specific information and tailoring the letter to the company, you increase your chances of standing out among the other candidates.
How to Customize a Cover Letter
When applying for a job, it’s important to customize your cover letter to the specific job posting. This helps to show your potential employer that you have a genuine interest in the position and that you understand what they’re looking for. Here are some tips on how to effectively customize your cover letter for different job postings.
1. Research the Company
Before you start writing your cover letter, it’s important to research the company you’re applying to. Look for information on their mission statement, values, and any recent news or events. This will give you a better understanding of what they’re looking for in a candidate and help you tailor your letter accordingly.
2. Use the Job Description
The job description is your guide to what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Read it carefully and make note of the qualifications, skills, and experience they’re seeking. In your cover letter, use this information to highlight your relevant experience and qualifications.
3. Show Your Enthusiasm
When customizing your cover letter, it’s important to show enthusiasm for the job and company. Use specific examples from your research and experiences to demonstrate why you’re excited about the opportunity. This can help to set you apart from other applicants and show that you’re genuinely interested in the job.
4. Address Specific Concerns
If there are any specific concerns or requirements mentioned in the job posting, make sure to address them in your cover letter. For example, if the employer is looking for someone with experience working with a certain software program, mention your experience with that program specifically.
5. Keep it Professional
While you want to customize your cover letter, it’s also important to keep it professional. Avoid using slang or overly casual language, and make sure to proofread carefully for any spelling or grammar errors.
Customizing your cover letter may take some extra time and effort, but it can make a big difference in your job search. By showing the employer that you understand their needs and are enthusiastic about the job, you’ll be more likely to stand out from other applicants and land your dream job.
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Cover Letters
In order to create an effective cover letter, it is important to understand the common mistakes that many applicants make. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
1. Repeating Information from Your Resume
It is important to remember that your cover letter is not simply a summary of your resume. One of the biggest mistakes that applicants make is repeating information from their resume in their cover letter. Instead, use your cover letter to highlight specific achievements and experiences that demonstrate your qualifications for the position.
2. Writing a Generic Letter
Another mistake that many applicants make is writing a generic cover letter. This means that they use the same cover letter for every job application. Instead, tailor your cover letter to the specific position you are applying for. Research the company and the job requirements, and use this information to customize your letter.
3. Focusing Too Much on Yourself
While your cover letter is a chance to sell yourself, it is important to remember that the letter should focus on how you can benefit the company, not just on your own achievements. Make sure that you highlight how your skills and experience can help the company succeed.
4. Making Grammar and Spelling Mistakes
It may seem obvious, but it is important to make sure that your cover letter is free from grammar and spelling mistakes. A poorly written letter can create a negative impression and may even result in your application being rejected. Proofread your letter carefully before submitting it.
5. Failing to Follow Instructions
Many job postings include specific instructions for submitting a cover letter. Failing to follow these instructions can make a bad impression on the hiring manager. Make sure that you carefully read the job posting and follow all instructions for submitting your cover letter.
Suggestions for Avoiding These Mistakes
To avoid making these common mistakes, take the time to carefully craft your cover letter. Research the company and the position, and use this information to personalize your letter. Highlight specific achievements and experiences that demonstrate your qualifications for the job. And always proofread your letter carefully to avoid embarrassing mistakes. By putting in the effort to create a strong, tailored cover letter, you can increase your chances of standing out to potential employers.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter
A cover letter is a crucial part of the job application process. It’s a chance to introduce yourself to the hiring manager, highlight your qualifications for the job, and express your interest in the position. To make a great first impression, it’s essential to write an exceptional cover letter.
Here are some helpful tips for writing a standout cover letter:
Do your research: Before writing your cover letter, research the company and the job you’re applying for. This will help you tailor your letter to the specific position and show the employer that you’ve done your homework.
Include a strong opening: A strong opening sentence can grab the employer’s attention and make them want to keep reading. Use an attention-grabbing phrase or statistic to start your letter.
Highlight your qualifications: Your cover letter should highlight your most relevant skills and experience for the job. Use specific examples that show how your past experience can be applied to the position you’re applying for.
Use active voice: To make your letter more engaging, use active voice rather than passive voice. This will make the letter more dynamic and show the employer that you’re confident and assertive.
Avoid clichés: Clichés like “I’m a team player” or “I’m a self-starter” are overused and don’t add anything to your letter. Instead, use specific examples to demonstrate these traits.
Be concise and to the point: Your cover letter should be one page or less and easy to read. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to break up the text and make it easy to scan.
Show enthusiasm: Your cover letter should express your interest and excitement for the job. Show the employer that you’re passionate about the position and eager to contribute to the company.
By following these best practices, you can write an outstanding cover letter that sets you apart from other applicants and impresses the employer. Remember to proofread your letter carefully and tailor it to each job you apply for. Good luck with your job search!
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What is a Cover Letter? Definition, Structure, Purpose, Types & Meaning
What is a cover letter?
What is the purpose of a cover letter in a job application, what to include in a cover letter, cover letter format and layout, should you use a cover letter template or example, what is a cover letter - takeaways.
Asking yourself, “What is a cover letter?”
In this article, we break down for you the basics about cover letters, their purpose, and what to include in yours.
When you’re applying for a job, a cover letter is just as important as your resume in a lot of ways. You always want to include a cover letter when you’re submitting your resume, to personalize the facts about your work history and to tailor your application to the job.
But if you haven’t written a cover letter before, it can be intimidating to figure out what to include. Don’t worry, this expert guide boils it all down into a quick read that gives you an overview and points you in the right direction to find everything you need to know about them.
In this post, we’re going to cover:
- What is a Cover Letter?
- What is the Purpose of a Cover Letter in a Job Application?
- What to Include in A Cover Letter
We also describe how you can lay out your cover letter to amp its impact, and we’ve even made it dead simple for you by including some perfect cover letter examples for you to check out.
A cover letter is a one-page document that you include with your resume as part of your application for a job. A good cover letter grabs a Hiring Manager’s attention and gets you to the next step of the hiring process.
While every job you apply for will have either a specific application form or will ask for a resume, not every one will ask for a cover letter. But you should always include one – it’s a game changer.
The upshot is that a resume is a summary of your work and education experience, while your cover letter adds relevant context to that experience for the specific job.
A cover letter is tailored to a specific job you’re applying for, and it highlights what your qualifications are and how they relate to that role and company. You can use it to give examples of how your experiences relate to the role and show how you’re the best person for the job.
Just as its name implies, a cover letter is written in a letter format, including a greeting, three or four body paragraphs, and a closing. Unlike a resume, your cover letter should be written in full sentences, and you want to use the first-person – “I’m writing to you today to…”.
You don’t want to just rhyme off the same things that are in your resume, though. Use your cover letter to give real life examples of how your experience, skills, or interests make you perfect for the job.
Head to our full article on the differences between a resume and a cover letter to learn more on this.
Put simply, it’s your chance to make a great first impression. It’s a tool you use to grab a hiring manager’s attention long enough that they look over your resume a bit closer and call you in for an interview.
A cover letter may not be something a job posting asks you to include, but don’t think that means you shouldn’t. A good cover letter is always a good idea, here’s why:
- You can tell a story in a cover letter that dives deeper into your qualifications,
- experience, and interests to show why you’re the best candidate for the job.
- A lot of candidates skip writing a cover letter, so by including one you immediately put yourself ahead of the competition!
- You can introduce yourself in a more personalized way and tailor your application specifically for the job.
- You can add a bit of flair or personality that gets a hiring manager to ask you in for an interview
- It shows that you put effort into your application, which again, puts you ahead of most of the competition.
This is just a snapshot of how a cover letter can help you. We’ve got a great article for you to look over if you want to know more about the purpose of a cover letter .
Should you send a cover letter for a job?
There is no question, yes, you should absolutely include a cover letter with your application.
We’ve done our homework on this and can tell you: a majority of hiring managers need or expect a cover letter, even if it’s not specified in the job posting.
Not only are they expected, but they’re a great tool for you too:
- Explain the reasons for any work gaps
- Clarify how the experience you have from other jobs applies
- Show how you fit their company culture
- Let them know why you’re changing jobs or fields
So, while a cover letter may not absolutely be necessary, they’re extremely useful, and always something you should take the time to write and include with your application.
Cover letters should usually include some of the same basic elements. We’ve put together a quick list below, but head over to our complete guide on what to include in your cover letter for a full explanation.
- A header – This is where you’re going to include all the contact info the hiring manager is going to expect to see. You want to be sure to give them what theyère looking for.
- Opening statement – You can get right to it here and make sure this is an attention grabber. Summarize your skills or experience and give them one good reason why it’s important for the job you’re applying to.
- Body – This paragraph should give some more details about you personally. Employers often hire someone for who they are, not what they know; this is your time to show them you’d be a great fit on their team.
- Closing and Call to Action – You want to close your cover letter with a thanks for the time they’ve taken and a professional sign-off. You should also let them know you’re eager to hear from them, and let them know to contact you to follow up.
Try to end with a great impression. It’s key that you know how to close your cover letter well to hit all the right notes.
A hiring manager takes about 7.4 seconds to look at each resume that comes across their desk, and there may be hundreds of those. A strong cover letter design can grab their attention long enough for them to set you into the callback pile instead of in the recycling bin.
We’ve put together the details on how you can really grab a recruiter’s attention with your cover letter design , but here’s the basics:
- Font - Always use a standard, easy-to-read font like Times New Roman or Arial. It should be 12pt or slightly bigger.
- Heading – Always use a professional format of heading, which includes your name and contact info, the date of writing, and the contact info for the person you’re writing to.
- Spacing – You want to single space the body of your cover letter, but leave spaces between the heading, the greeting, each paragraph, and your sign-off.
- Length – We know that it’s tempting to try to fit in as much as possible in the cover letter, but this is definitely a case of less is more. You want the content to be about half a page, so shoot for between 250-400 words.
Keeping your cover letter lean can be hard the first few times you write one. Check out our article on ideal cover letter length to get more tips on how to hit the sweet spot.
If you’re already a pro, maybe you can go it on your own and write a killer cover letter. But if this is your first cover letter, or you have any doubts, use our Cover Letter Examples to get some great ideas on how to write and format yours – we’ve got a few samples below.
Our examples cover different industries and positions, so you can fine tune the fit of your letter for exactly the job you’re applying to without trying to reinvent the wheel! Plus, these are cover letters that work to get interviews, so you can be sure you’ve got a great start.
If you want a real head start, we’ve even got a Cover Letter Templates page where you can head to get all the basics covered for you. Head there, input your specifics, and you’ll have a winning cover letter, easy-peasy.
- A cover letter is a one-pager you include with a job application to dive deeper into exactly why you are the best fit for the job.
- You always want to include a cover letter, even if it’s not specified in the job posting.
- Hiring managers get hundreds of resumes, and they fly through them - your cover letter can and should be designed to grab their attention.
- Personalize your cover letter and tailor it to the specific job you’re sending it in to, this includes relating specific skills, letting your personality shine, and getting the hiring manager’s name.
- Make sure it’s in perfect shape to get great results. Use our Cover Letter Checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the bases and haven’t overlooked any little mistakes that could cost you the job.
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This lifelong green bay packers fan applied for the team’s defensive coordinator job. he never expected this response.
As a 23-year fantasy football veteran, lifelong Green Bay Packers fan Bill Port knows his way around an NFL roster.
Which is why when the Packers’ defensive coordinator job opened up recently, Port decided he should apply for the position. After all, three regular season titles and three playoff championships in 23 seasons are returns most NFL teams wouldn’t turn their noses up at.
In addition to his fantasy football successes, Port also listed his – albeit limited – experience playing varsity football as a junior in high school.
“I put a little note at the bottom, too, that said: ‘I hope you get a good chuckle out of this,’” Port tells CNN Sport .
“And then my cover letter was really straightforward and simple. It was something like: ‘I heard your organization has a job opening and I figured I’d try this defensive coordinator thing. Please note, I’d prefer weekends off. And then I said: ‘Go Pack Go.’”
Port did not get the job.
What he did get, however, was a hilarious hand-written reply from Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy.
“Bill, Thanks so much for your cover letter and resume regarding our Defensive Coordinator position,” Murphy wrote.
“While your fantasy football experience is impressive, I regret to inform you that we have decided to go in a different direction. I hear the Bears have an opening — you look to be a perfect fit for them. Thanks again. Sincerely — Mark.”
The note went viral after his wife’s cousin posted it on X, formerly known as Twitter, gaining more than 1,000 reposts and more than 5,000 likes.
Port says he was “really surprised” when he realized what he had received.
“I was surprised that it was handwritten, it was on his cardstock and everything like that,” he adds. “I sent the resume and cover letter obviously as a joke and I was telling people if he has someone to open it, you know, his secretary opens it for him, gets a laugh and shows it to him and he gets a laugh, then that’s great.
“But I was like, it’d be really cool to get some sort of rejection letter back, like Packers letterhead or something like that. So when he sent this back, I was like: ‘Wow, that’s kind of above and beyond that. This is pretty cool.’”
And it’s not the first time that Port has applied for an opening at his beloved Packers.
Back in 2019, Port also threw his hat in the ring for the head coach job but was only narrowly (presumably) beaten to it by Matt LaFleur.
Port wrote regularly to sports teams and athletes growing up and says he still keeps a box of the notes and memorabilia he received in response.
Among his most treasured items are a signed photograph of former Packers head coach Mike Holmgren and a letter from Desmond Howard before he was named Super Bowl MVP for the 1996 season.
“ I wrote him a letter and it took a while, you know, I wasn’t really getting a response – and that happens,” Port recalls.
“But then I finally got a response and it was clearly a very personal, typed note that said: ‘Bill, sorry for my delayed response. As you might be aware, I’m actually going to the Raiders now, so I’ve been moving. Sorry for the delayed response.’
“Then he sent me an autographed card, which was really cool.”
Port comes from a long line of hardcore Packers fans.
His paternal grandparents got season tickets to Lambeau Field, the Packers’ home stadium, back when it opened as City Stadium in 1957.
“Those were passed down to my dad and so we still sit in those same seats when we go to home games, which is pretty cool,” he says.
Port says he attended games with his wife, Alix, her father, Mike, and stepmother, Lori – a group they called “The Crew” – until Mike passed away a few years ago.
Now, it won’t be long before Port is introducing the next generation of Packers fans.
“Soon our two daughters will be the ‘Crew’ we go with once they get a little older,” he says.
So, given his deep-rooted allegiances to the Packers, would Port take up a job with the rival Chicago Bears, as Murphy suggested?
“I’m not sure that I could do that, given my Packers background,” he says without even a moment’s hesitation.
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