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How to Write a Job Application Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is essential when applying for jobs. This is the perfect way to express how your specific skills are relevant to the open position. Wow your future employer with this simple cover letter example format.
Write a First Draft
Writing a first draft makes your letter concise and professional, states The Balance Careers. Organize your thoughts by making a list of what you’re trying to convey. Make sure you prioritize certain aspects like your previous job experience and why you would be a good fit for the position. Clearly state what position you’re interested in and why. Think about why you’re applying and what caught your eye about this specific position. Your cover letter will be easier to write after your thoughts are collected and organized.
Customize Your Salutation
When writing a salutation, make sure you know who you are writing to. Is this person the owner of the company or a Human Resources administrator? If you’re not sure, research the company to find out. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person shows initiative and attention to detail. After your salutation, start your letter with a short introduction of yourself. This gives future employers insight into who you are and the purpose of your cover letter.
Your cover letter should be no more than one page, so keep your points brief. Clearly state what position you are interested in and why. Explain why you are a good fit for the company because of your past job experience. If you have no similar job experience, let the employer know why you are changing career paths. Expand on your skills and give specific examples of how that skill set helped you at your last position. Name projects you’ve worked on and show results.
Close Your Letter
End your cover letter with a brief sentence and sign off. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest towards the job again. Let them know you’ll follow up with them if you do not hear back within a week and leave your contact information. Sign off with a professional farewell and leave room for a signature if sending a hard copy.
Edit and Proofread
As you finish writing your cover letter, make sure you take time to edit and proofread your document. Make sure it’s structured in a professional format with the company’s information, the salutation and introduction, the body of the letter, a brief closing sentence and farewell. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes to ensure a formal result. Make sure all names are spelled correctly, as well.
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10 Short but Impactful Cover Letter Examples and Templates
In today's fast-paced digital world, attention spans are short. Because of this, it’s crucial for job seekers to learn how to write compelling and concise cover letters.
A short, customized cover letter makes a great first impression, even when the hiring manager has limited time.
And for job postings that you're genuinely interested in, taking the time to craft a thoughtful cover letter is well worth it. It allows your unique voice and enthusiasm for the work to shine through.
The article below explains how to create a brief cover letter that gets results and showcases some samples you can use as inspiration throughout your job search.
Let’s get to it!
3 key takeaways
- Step-by-step guide for writing the perfect short cover letter
- 10 example short cover letters for you to use
- How to use Teal’s AI Resume Builder to quickly and easily generate unique cover letters
How to write a short cover letter in 7 steps
Writing a cover letter can sometimes seem daunting, especially when you're applying to multiple positions and want each one to speak to a unique job description.
But don't worry—below, you'll find a step-by-step guide on how to craft a short, impactful cover letter that can grab a hiring manager's attention.
1. Understand the purpose of your cover letter
First, you need to understand the goal of your cover letter. It isn't to regurgitate your resume. Rather, your cover letter is your chance to tell a compelling story about who you are, your unique skills, and how you could be a perfect fit for the role.
2. Do your homework
Research the company and the job opening you're applying for. Understand their mission, values, and recent news or initiatives.
These details will help you make your cover letter more personalized, which can set you apart from other candidates. If you can find the hiring manager’s name, address them directly use it in your cover letter salutation. This shows potential employers that you care about the details.
3. Start with a strong opening
Your first paragraph should grab the reader's attention.
Try to avoid cliches and, instead, start with why you're excited about the role, how you can contribute, or a mutual connection (if you have one).
4. Highlight relevant skills and experiences
Next, choose two to three key experiences, certifications, or skills directly relevant to the job. Explain these briefly but with enough detail to illustrate your competence and how these experiences make you a great fit for the role.
5. Show your passion and fit
Let your enthusiasm for the role shine through.
Explain why you're not just qualified for the role but also why you're passionate about it. Discuss how your values align with the company's and why you see a future there.
While it’s easy to get carried away in this section, do your best to use short paragraphs and stick to your strongest value-adds to avoid ending up with a long cover letter that recruiters may not reach the end of.
6. Conclude strongly
In your closing paragraph, wrap up your letter by expressing your eagerness for the potential of working with the team and your willingness to discuss your qualifications further. It's a great idea to indicate that you'll follow up, showing initiative and interest.
7. Proofread and edit
Lastly, ensure your cover letter is free of errors. Proofread it, and then proofread it again, or use a tool like Teal's AI Resume Builder and spell checker cover letter builder, which can help identify typos or grammar issues.
Teal's AI can also help you draft a concise, impactful cover letter. Just pair an existing job description from your Teal Job Application Tracker to pull relevant information from the JD and your resume. Then, with one click, the AI technology will generate a personalized cover letter in seconds.
Not only does Teal guide you through the process step by step, it also provides expert recommendations tailored to your unique skills and the job you're applying for.
It's a game-changer in the job application process.
So, why not give it a try ?
Remember, your cover letter is your chance to make a first impression. Take the time to make it count. With the right approach, the use of a cover letter checklist , and a little help from AI , you can create a cover letter that stands out for all the right reasons.
How long should a short cover letter be?
When it comes to the length of a short cover letter, less is more.
Aim for brevity and clarity above all else. As a general guideline, a short cover letter should be between 100 and 200 words, or about half a page, single-spaced.
This length is just enough to express your interest in the job, showcase your relevant skills, and leave the hiring manager eager to learn more about you from your resume. Remember, the goal is to be concise and impactful. You want to grab their attention and make a strong impression without overwhelming them with too much information.
10 great short cover letter examples
Every person has different experiences and job stages, which means no cover letters are built the same.
A cover letter for an internship or for someone with no experience will be much different than a cover letter for someone at the senior or executive level.
Below are some short cover letter samples for various job stages. Use one of these short cover letter examples as a template and customize it based on your own experience.
1. Internship cover letter example
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am writing to express my interest in being a summer intern at your nonprofit organization. As a college student majoring in Communications, I have developed a keen interest in the work that your organization does, and I am excited about the prospect of contributing to your mission. During my time at the university, I have gained valuable experience working in the Communications Department, where I have developed a range of skills, including writing, social media management, and event planning. I am confident that my skills and experience make me an excellent candidate for this internship. I am passionate about making a positive impact in the world, and I believe that your organization is the perfect place for me to start. I am eager to learn from your team and contribute my skills to your cause. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further. Sincerely, [Your Name]
2. Entry-level professional cover letter example
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to apply for the teller position at your bank. As a recent graduate with a degree in finance, I am eager to apply my skills and knowledge in a professional setting. While in college, I focused my studies on financial analysis, investment, and accounting. I also gained hands-on experience in the accounting department of my parents' small business, where I assisted with bookkeeping, payroll, and tax preparation. I am confident that my academic background and work experience make me a strong candidate for this position. I am detail-oriented, analytical, and possess strong problem-solving skills. I am also committed to delivering excellent customer service and am comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. I am excited about the opportunity to work at your bank and contribute to your team. Thank you for considering my application. Sincerely, [Your Name]
3. Mid-level professional cover letter example
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to apply for the floor manager position at your production facility. With five years of experience in the operations industry and a bachelor's degree in business, I am confident that I have the necessary skills and qualifications to make an immediate contribution to your team. As a manager in my previous roles, I have overseen the operations of various teams of over 10 employees, ensuring efficient and effective productivity while maintaining high standards of safety and quality. I am comfortable with all aspects of production management, including scheduling, resource allocation, and performance management. My degree in business has equipped me with the necessary knowledge to manage budgets and financial plans, as well as develop strategies to increase productivity and reduce costs. I am excited about the opportunity to bring my skills and experience to your production facility and contribute to the success of your organization. Thank you for considering my application. Sincerely, [Your Name]
4. Senior-level professional cover letter example
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to apply for the vice president position at your company. With 20 years of experience in the retail industry, including eight years in e-commerce, I am confident in my ability to contribute to the success of your company. In my previous roles, I have consistently increased profits by 5% year over year through a combination of strategic planning, effective team management, and a deep understanding of customer needs. I am passionate about leveraging data and analytics to inform decision-making and identify opportunities for growth. As a senior-level candidate, I am eager to bring my leadership skills and expertise to a dynamic and innovative team. I am committed to fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous learning, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your company's growth and success. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further and learn more about the exciting opportunities at your company. Sincerely, [Your Name]
5. Employment gaps cover letter template
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to submit my application for the [Position] role at [Company Name]. As an experienced professional with [Number of Years] of experience in [Industry/Field], I am confident that I have the skills and qualifications necessary to excel in this position. I understand my resume may show a few employment gaps, and I wanted to address this directly. During these periods, I took the opportunity to focus on personal development and enhancing my skills through [Relevant Experience, education, or training]. While I did not have traditional employment during this time, I am confident that these experiences have made me a stronger and more well-rounded candidate for this position. I am eager to bring my passion and expertise to your team at [Company Name]. I am committed to contributing my best work and collaborating with others to achieve common goals. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further. Sincerely, [Your Name]
6. Career pivot cover letter template
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to submit my application for the [Position] role at [Company Name]. As someone with a diverse background in [previous industry/field], I am eager to pivot my career toward [New Industry/Field], and I believe that this position is the perfect opportunity to do so. Through my [Number of Years] of experience in [Previous Industry/Field], I have gained valuable transferable skills such as [Relevant Skills] that I believe will be an asset to your team. I am confident that I can quickly adapt to the demands of this new role and make a significant contribution to your organization. I am excited about the prospect of joining a company that values innovation and growth, and I am eager to bring my unique perspective and skill set to your team. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further. Sincerely, [Your Name]
7. Accounting and finance professional cover letter template
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to apply for the [Position] role at [Company Name]. As an ambitious and detail-oriented accounting and finance professional with [Number] years of experience, I am confident that my skills and expertise align with the requirements of this position. Throughout my career, I have gained valuable experience in a variety of accounting and finance tasks, including [Skill 1], [Skill 2], and [Skill 3]. My strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to work collaboratively have allowed me to consistently deliver accurate and timely financial reports and analyses. In my current role at [Current Company], I have been responsible for [Key Responsibility/Project], which has helped [Result/Impact]. Additionally, I have experience in [Other Relevant Experience], which has given me a diverse set of skills and knowledge in the accounting and finance field. I am eager to take on new challenges and advance my career in the accounting and finance field. I am confident that the skills and experience I bring to the table will make me a valuable asset to the team at [Company Name]. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to discussing my qualifications further. Sincerely, [Your Name]
8. Customer service cover letter template
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to apply for the [Position] role at [Company Name]. As a dedicated and experienced customer service representative with [Number] years of experience, I am confident that my skills and expertise align with the requirements of this position. Throughout my career, I have developed a deep understanding of customer service principles and have gained experience in a variety of customer service tasks, including [Skill 1], [Skill 2], and [Skill 3]. My ability to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and work collaboratively has allowed me to consistently provide exceptional customer service to clients and build positive relationships with them. In my current role at [Current Company], I have been responsible for [Key Responsibility/Project], which has helped [Result/Impact]. Additionally, I have experience in [Other Relevant Experience], which has given me a diverse set of skills and knowledge in the customer service field. I am eager to take on new challenges and advance my career in the customer service field. I am confident that my leadership skills, strategic thinking, and ability to motivate a team will make me a valuable asset to the management team at [Company Name]. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to discussing my qualifications further. Sincerely, [Your Name]
9. Hospitality cover letter template
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to apply for the [Position] role at [Company Name]. As a dedicated and experienced customer service professional with [Number] years of experience, I am excited to take my career to the next level and apply for a management position. Throughout my career, I have developed a deep passion for customer service and have gained experience in a variety of customer service tasks, including [Skill 1], [Skill 2], and [Skill 3]. I believe that my experience and expertise in customer service will be an asset to your company and will allow me to lead a team of professionals to success. In my current role at [Current Company], I have been responsible for [Key Responsibility/Project], which has helped [Result/Impact]. Additionally, I have experience in [Other Relevant Experience], which has given me a diverse set of skills and knowledge in the customer service field. I am confident that my experience and management skills will make me a valuable asset to the management team at [Company Name]. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to discussing my qualifications further. Sincerely, [Your Name]
10. Human resources cover letter template
Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to apply for the position of [Position] at [Company Name]. As an experienced HR professional with a track record of success in supporting and engaging employees, I am confident that I am the ideal candidate for this position. Over the course of my career in human resources, I have developed a passion for employee engagement and have actively sought opportunities to contribute to this area. I believe that a company's success is driven by the engagement and well-being of its employees, and I am committed to using my skills and expertise to create a positive and productive work environment. I am eager to bring my experience in [Relevant Skills and accomplishments] to your team at [Company Name]. I am confident that my enthusiasm for employee engagement, along with my experience in human resources, make me an ideal candidate for this role. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further and to contribute to the success of your organization. Sincerely, [Your Name]
When should I use a short cover letter?
Short cover letters are ideal in scenarios where you know the hiring process is fast-paced or the recruiter is dealing with a high volume of applications.
Instances such as applying for a popular role or during peak hiring periods, like graduation season, are perfect examples.
In these cases, a succinct and focused cover letter quickly highlights your key qualifications and showcases you as a candidate worthy of further exploration. A well-crafted, concise cover letter not only respects the hiring manager's time but also piques their interest in your potential fit for the role.
When shouldn’t I use a short cover letter?
While short cover letters can be highly effective, there are situations where a more comprehensive cover letter may be better.
Positions that demand extensive experience, specific certifications, advanced educational qualifications, or complex skill sets often require a more detailed approach.
In these cases, you'll want to devote enough space to discussing how your unique combination of skills, qualifications, and experiences makes you the ideal candidate.
If the job description asks for a deep dive into certain competencies or a lengthy history of achievements, a longer cover letter can help you paint a comprehensive picture of your professional journey and precisely align your skills with the job requirements.
Need a short cover letter? Teal can help!
Crafting a memorable cover letter boils down to personalization, relevance, and clear, engaging writing. And while this might seem like a tall order, it’s much easier with the right tools in your belt, like Teal.
Teal is your personalized career growth platform, ready to help you navigate the job search from start to finish. With Teal, you can leverage AI technology to create a short, standout cover letter tailored just for you— and the specific jobs you’re applying to.
Ready to take the next step in your career? Let Teal be your co-pilot, helping you build strong resumes and cover letters that land your dream job. Get started with Teal for free today !
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15 Cover Letter Templates to Perfect Your Next Job Application
Published: August 10, 2022
Are cover letters necessary? I'm not in HR, but I've been approached by applicants who wondered whether their cover letter would actually be read. My answer is one not many of them wanted to hear: "sometimes." Sometimes it will be read. Other times, you can get away with just sending in your resume — like when you network your way into applying for a position.
The truth is, you can't really predict on a case-by-case basis — and you're better safe than sorry. For the most part, having a cover letter will give you an upper hand in ways your resume doesn't. It allows you to show off your writing skills, provide details that you couldn't fit on your resume, demonstrate your passion, and show your willingness to put in as much time and effort as possible.
If you’ve ever rolled your eyes or balked at an application that required a cover letter, this guide is for you. We’ll go over how to write a cover letter and provide cover letter templates to help you perfect your own.
An application letter is a written document addressed to an employer by a job applicant, explaining why they're interested in and qualified for an open position. More commonly known as a cover letter, this document can come in the form of an email, MS Word document, or similar application template offered by the employer.
Seems fairly basic, right? Cover letters can hold different levels of importance to an employer depending on the industry you're in and the job you're applying for. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 49% of recruiters say sendign a cover letter along with your resume boosts your chance of landing the role.
If you do plan to write a cover letter, keep in mind there are certain qualities it should have that are not included in the definition above.
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.
What to Include in a Cover Letter
So, what should you include? We'll let the 11 templates below this list do most of the talking. No matter which one you download, pay attention to the following elements — all of which should shine through in the letter you send to your future manager.
Fill out this form to access your templates.
1. contact information.
Cover letters shouldn't just carry your contact information, but also that of the company to which you're applying. Contact info includes your phone number, email address, and any social media accounts you're willing to share and receive connections to.
Home addresses aren't required, but they can be a helpful reassurance to the employer that you already live nearby and would have no trouble coming into the office.
Avoid offering phone numbers, email addresses, or actual addresses that belong to your current employer. Using your personal Gmail address over your work email, for example, ensures your correspondence with recruiters remains separate from all of your current work communication.
2. A Personal Address Line
For as often as you see "to whom it may concern" at the top of cover letters today, do your best to avoid writing this exhausted line.
Address lines that specify a person or company grab your reader's attention much more quickly, and show the employer that you've taken the time to tailor your application letter to them. Don't have the name of the hiring manager? "Employers at [company name]" will do just fine.
A "hook" is a clever introduction that "hooks" your reader into wanting to learn more. Think about yourself as a job candidate — what makes you unique? What about your career might a recruiter be intrigued by that you can package into an interesting first sentence?
4. Why You're Qualified
It's a no-brainer that you should summarize your professional experience in your cover letter. However, today's best applications describe why this experience qualifies the applicant for the job they're applying for. For example, don't just state that you spent three years writing for a company blog. Explain that this type of work lends itself to managing your new potential employer's content calendar every week.
5. General Knowledge of the Business
Grammatical errors could mean your application is thrown in the trash, but that's not the only thing that could get your letter tossed aside. Using a generic "one-size-fits-all" cover letter — especially if you forget to change the name of the company — will also hurt your chances of landing an interview.
So, if you take the time to write a cover letter, take the time to comment on the business itself. Why are you applying to this company? What about their business stuck out to you as a professional?
Now, let's take a look at an example cover letter , what makes it effective, along with 11 templates you can download or draw inspiration from.
Cover Letter Example
The example above illustrates how to write a marketing cover letter using the elements we listed.
Besides the contact information and the address line, the first few paragraphs explain why the candidate is qualified for the position. This example uses specific data to show why they would be a good fit.
Additionally, in the second to last paragraph, the candidate discusses why they're interested in the specific company, demonstrating general knowledge of the business.
By combining all the elements to a cover letter, this is a great example to use for inspiration.
Featured Resource: 5 Professional Cover Letter Templates
14 Free Cover Letter Templates for Your Next Job Application
Template 1: basic.
The example above is a basic (but great) cover letter. The numbered sections are explained in more detail below.
The level of formality your header has will depend on the company to which you apply. If you're applying to a formal business, it's important to use a formal header to open your cover letter, like in the sample above. Put your address, the date, and the company's address. But if you're applying to a company that isn't as formal, you don't need to include yours and the company's addresses. You can still include the date, though.
Using "To Whom It May Concern" is okay, but you may want to take the time to research the name of the recruiter or hiring manager online. If you do your research and aren't confident you found the right name, then you should definitely use the generic greeting — but if you are sure, then it shows you put in the effort to find their name and it will catch the recruiter's eye.
If you have the recruiter's name, do you greet them by their full name, or by their courtesy title (i.e. Mr., Ms., or Mrs.)? Similar to the header, it depends on the company's level of formality. If you're applying to a corporate business, you may want to consider using "Mr. Snaper" instead of "Jon Snaper." If you're applying to a start-up or a business with a more casual culture, you can use "Jon Snaper," as shown in the example.
Your opening paragraph should, in 1-3 sentences, state why you're excited to apply and what makes you the perfect candidate. Get right to the point, and don't worry about explaining where you found the posting or who you know at the company. This isn't a place to go into detail about why you're a great candidate — that's for the second paragraph. Here, simply list a few key reasons in one sentence to set up the rest of your letter. Keep in mind that the recruiter may cross-reference your cover letter with your resume, so make sure the two sync up.
4. Paragraph 2: Why You're a Great Fit for the Job
Next, sell yourself and your experience by choosing one or two concrete examples that show why you're a great fit for the position. What did you do at a previous company that gave you relevant experience? Which projects have you worked on that would benefit the new company? How will your prior experience help this company grow? Stay humble in your explanation of credentials while still showing that you would be an asset to the team. Use this paragraph to show you're genuinely excited and interested in the position.
5. Third Paragraph: Why the Company Is a Great Fit for You
While it's certainly important you're a good fit for the job, it's also important that the company is a good fit for you. "A cover letter typically describes why you're great for a company — but how will you benefit from getting hired?" asks former HubSpot Team Development Manager Emily MacIntyre . "We want to know why our company appeals to you, and how it will be a mutually beneficial working relationship."
In the third paragraph, show you're serious about growing and developing your career at this new company. What impresses and excites you about the company? Is there something that you feel strongly about that aligns with the company's goals? For example, the candidate in the sample letter used this space to show his personal commitment to environmental causes aligns with the company's green initiatives.
6. Strong Closer and Signature
Don't get lazy in the final few sentences of your cover letter — it's important to finish strong. Be straightforward about your interest and enthusiasm about the new position, and tell them you're available to talk about the opportunity at any time. Be sure to include your phone number and email address. At this point, the ball is (rightly) in the recruiter's court to decide how to follow up.
Last but certainly not least, thank them for their time and consideration. Use a formal sign-off like "Best," "All the best," or "Sincerely," and finish by typing out your full name. You don't need to sign it with a pen.
Template 2: Data-Driven Marketing Cover Letter
Get it here..
When applying to a data-driven position, it might be tempting to inject your cover letter with, well, the data to describe what you've done for other employers. But in an application letter — particularly for the marketing industry — how you convey this data is just as important as the data itself.
The cover letter template above, which we created here at HubSpot, can help you present the data that's most important to you as a candidate such that it'll matter to your future employer.
Notice the three bullet points near the center of the letter above, preceded by the statement: "... I've developed a strategy that has helped the company achieve ..." This setup is important, because while you can add as many statistics as you want to this template, your data points should describe how your current/former business benefited from your work, rather than how you, yourself, benefited.
Template 3: Straight-to-the-Point Cover Letter
Harvard Business Review contributor David Silverman hailed the above cover letter example as "The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received." For context, Silverman believes there are only a handful of times when writing a cover letter is actually necessary:
- When you know the name of the hiring manager.
- When you know something about what the job requires.
- When you've been referred to the job personally.
Under those three circumstances, a straight-to-the-point cover letter like the one above could be your best bet. Because it's so concise, however, make a point to add your own letterhead above the message itself. It might be easy for a recruiter to sift through a short and sweet cover letter like the one above, but it's just as easy for it to get lost in the shuffle of their application list without a unique design or format.
Template 4: Referral Cover Letter
Just because a friend or colleague recommended you for a job doesn't mean the company is all set to hire you. Therefore, the cover letter template above is written specifically for referrals. We made this one here at HubSpot. Download it here (it comes with four other cover letter templates , too).
As you can see in the picture above, the first paragraph of the cover letter is dedicated entirely to acknowledging the circumstances of your applying: You know someone who works there — no harm in that. But there might be harm in not mentioning it to the hiring manager. Telling the reader about your connection at the company shows you're aware and confident of the actions you take to get the opportunities you're interested in.
Ultimately, it's better than the recruiter hearing about your employee connection from somebody else.
As for the rest of the cover letter, treat your message the same way you would if you had applied with no connection from within. Your skills and successes are no less important because of your internal referral.
Template 5: Photo Letterhead Cover Letter
The cover letter template above was designed by Microsoft Office, and as comprehensive as it looks, it's completely free to download and modify.
As it looks right now, this cover letter contains about half photo, half text. Feel free to shrink (and change) the image to give yourself more room to tell your story. Of course, a nice washed-out image that expresses who you are can be part of that story ...
Template 6: Digital Creative Cover Letter
This sixth template is perfect for the applicant who wants to emphasize the many different digital channels they areon. This template goes well with a resume of the same format.
As you personalize this letter with your own experience, make note of the social networks and industry software included in this template. You'll see there’s additional space along the top to add your LinkedIn and personal website to fill with your own information.
You can improve upon this template by formatting your most important highlights and accomplishments with bullet points. This will make the document easier to read for the hiring manager and emphasizes the value you provide.
Template 7: Marketing Manager Cover Letter
Our seventh cover letter comes from Monster.com. This cover letter, shown above, is focused specifically on a marketing role.
Notice how the writer includes references to important marketing metrics and terminology. If you're applying to a data-driven role, you might not want to fill the page with a story of your experience in paragraph form, like Template 1 does at the beginning of this article. Instead, consider highlighting three (or four, or five) of your successes that you believe the hiring manager would resonate most with, in bulleted form.
As a marketing professional, breaking up your letter with bulleted details like the ones above shows a respect for the hiring manager's limited time — a mentality that all marketers must understand when communicating with a brand's audience.
Template 8: Career Day Follow-Up Cover Letter
This is a unique kind of cover letter from Princeton University.
LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Monster, and Indeed might take the lion's share of your job searches online, but still some employment opportunities come out of a trade show, job fair, or similar networking event. For those occurrences, you have the follow-up cover letter template above.
This cover letter has everything you need to help an employer recall a conversation you had with him/her at a career fair. As you can see in the second paragraph, the letter is particularly useful to people who are about to graduate college.
Template 9: Logo and Watermarked Cover Letter
Here's another cover letter template from Microsoft Office. This one has a light touch of color in the design just above the letterhead, but make no mistake — the template caters to any professional looking to make a good first impression on their future employer.
Don't let the logo space on the top-right of the page confuse you. This can be the logo of the company to which you're applying — to quickly get the attention of the recruiter — or your own logo. Perhaps you freelance on the side or simply like branding yourself. This cover letter template is meant for customization.
Template 10: Data Scientist Cover Letter
This is our second template from Princeton University. While this is focused on a data scientist role, it is an excellent template to use for students applying to jobs prior to graduation.
The text emphasizes how the applicant’s academic research and projects makes them an ideal candidate for the position. The format is also simple enough to submit as a pdf, as text in an email message or an application text box.
Template 11: Business Cover Letter
The cover letter template above is perfect for entry- and mid-level marketers who want to show a little extra professionalism in their opening note to a potential employer.
The multi-colored header (you can change the color if you wish) shows just the right amount of creativity and can go quite well with a resume of the same style. If you don't have enough experience to fill the entire page, don't worry. Feel free to write to a length you think is representative of who you are and what the hiring manager wants to see.
No matter how long your final cover letter is, the above template is your opportunity to show your attention to detail — from your contact information in the top header, to the personalized address line where you can include the name of the hiring manager. Like we said, "to whom it may concern" is pretty outdated, anyway.
Template 12: Entry-Level Cover Letter
The cover letter template above, written by HubSpot, is specifically designed for entry-level applicants.
When you only have a few years experience, it's important to display how you gained your skills and what you learned from your education or internships. Additionally, it's important to mention why you want to work at the company you're applying to.
No matter your experience, the template above will help you decide what skills you want to highlight and flesh out in your cover letter.
You can download it here (it comes with four other cover letter templates , too).
Template 13: Healthcare Cover Letter
Additionally, phrases like "I'd love to put my skills to work for your clinic" and "Please contact me at your convenience and let me know how I can help you" focus on what the business will gain as a result of hiring the applicant, rather than what the applicant is looking to gain.
Template 14: Freelance Cover Letter
If you're looking for freelance work, your biggest goal is to get your strengths across quickly, so busy clients won't pass by your cover letter entirely. Additionally, if you're sending out multiple cover letters to different clients, you'll want to target each one to that client's unique goals.
For instance, if one client is looking for SEO-optimized content related to marketing, you'll want to highlight past experience writing marketing content; this will change if, for instance, the client is looking for fitness content.
For this reason, it's a good idea to structure your cover letter so you start with a) past credentials or references, and b) bullet-point information related to the client's goal, as shown in the cover letter above.
Template 15: Director Cover Letter
In the cover letter above, the candidate does a good job outlining how she succeeded in a leadership role previously: "For the past five years, I have successfully developed and maintained all data systems, including schedules and records for a business employing more than 100 people."
You'll want to demonstrate how your skills align with a Director position — both through organization and leadership — and, when possible, where you received recognition for your hard work (i.e. "I earned an award for Most Valuable Administrative Staff Member").
Write a Winning Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is easier said than done. Don't hesitate to spend a lot of time writing and editing it. Or, ask a friend or family member to read it over and give you feedback. If the recruiter does end up reading it, you'll be thankful you did.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Don't forget to share this post!
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Short Cover Letter Examples: How to Write a Powerful Cover Letter That Stands Out
5 short cover letter examples for different industries
When to use a short cover letter, how long is too long, how to become the master of call to actions.
- What's the ideal structure of a short cover letter
Do you recall finding out you need to write a Cover letter for a job application and your whole body shivers with resistance?! We feel you. “I love crafting Cover letters,” - said no one ever. However, Enhancv PROs will let you in on the secrets to writing short and efficient Cover letters, which work even better than long ones.
Over the years, we have noticed that not only candidates are resistant to writing Cover letters - especially long ones - but the time-starved HRs too have developed a super low threshold of tolerance to reading them.
Solution? The short Cover letter. In recent years, more and more HRs and Career coaches speak of the value of the 3-sentence Cover letter.
In this blog post, we will go over:
- A to-the-point, sealing-the-deal examples;
- When to use a short Cover letter;
- How long is too long;
- How to become the master of CTAs;
- What's the ideal structure of a short Cover letter;
First things first! Sit down, relax and let Enhancv guide you through a few killer-good short cover letters. Then, ready, steady, GO!
Upload & Check Your Resume
Drop your resume here or choose a file . PDF & DOCX only. Max 2MB file size.
#1 Art & Creative Sector
As you can see from my enclosed Resume for the position of Architect, amongst my multiple career highlights, one of the most astonishing to date is winning the Public Award at the prestigious World Architecture Biennale in Canne. This achievement was the crowning moment of 5+ years of mastering contemporary design solutions, which invigorate all my project work.
As a Lead Architect at Ya Designs, under my guidance, the team rolled out a five-year governmental residences project in Vienna worth $2, 000,000 with a 10% cost saving thanks to the high operationality of using cutting-edge design programs. Leading the Interior Designers team at Beautiful Home will give me an outstanding opportunity to do what I am best at - drive agile teams which create modern, eye-catching architecture while ensuring exceptional ROI.
We can arrange a call at your convenience so I can share my core 10+% cost-saving and Design team-building insights.
Sincerely, Tanita Villanueva
P.S. I’m also excited to discuss how my workshop “Innovation incubator” led to a 40% creativity boost in my team and doubled client conversions compared to 2021.
#2 ICT Sector
In the attached Resume, you can get an overview of my career highlights and the most recent one - developing an AI tool for tackling Digital Recruitment bias for CorTexter. It is currently used across 4 EU countries (and growing!) and has skyrocketed my knack for designing cutting-edge, socially meaningful applications.
Becoming part of IBM is precisely where I envision my career. Joining forces with the other mega-talented team experts, I would wake up every day, translating my know-how into disrupting technologies. Supporting IBM to keep its leading position is a challenge I am bulletproof for.
Could we schedule a chat to discuss how my dedication, paired with a rare AI Design skillset, could benefit IBM in the war for AI talent with the right future skills?
Sincerely, Kamen Stoianov
P.S. I’d also be happy to introduce to you how my AI Digital Recruitment bias tool has enabled 5 international corporations to secure cost savings of $1 000,000 for 2020 thanks to preventing unsuitable or biased hiring decisions.
#3 Corporate Sector
Please, find my resume for the position of Business analyst. Among my TOP achievements is cost saving $2M per year by research, choice, and implementation of a brand new CRM solution. Furthermore, it has helped Verizon stop the negative trail of clients, discontinuing contracts, thanks to improved customer care. This consistent approach was the first of its kind in the company.
Getting on board with SiSoft during its rapid growth and international expansion is an inspiring opportunity for me to do what I am best at - completing organizational changes from scratch to end via my superior negotiation skills, stakeholder management, and cost-saving strategizing.
Let’s arrange a quick chat to discuss how my ability to form lasting business relationships with a view to goal achievement can help SiSoft.
Sincerely, Kylie Peterson
Attached you’ll find my resume for the position of summer IT intern. My dedication to programming dates back to my 13th year, culminating last month in winning the student Spring Cybersecurity challenge at Santa Monica College. I have succeeded in a fierce competition between 5000 fellow students, ranging from freshman, sophomore, and final year of their studies. In contrast, I was only admitted to the college last autumn.
Hewlett-Packard`s continual commitment to Corporate Responsibility and Young Developers talents programs is a 100% fit for my studies and my proven engineering and geeky skills.
I am excited about the opportunity to put my skills to work for you. So let`s have a quick chat to outline how I intend to support your organization with fresh programming approaches.
Sincerely, Stephen Alejandre
P.S. I’d also love to discuss how my volunteer work with a local high school in Philadelphia brings me enormous satisfaction by having the chance to teach programming skills to the broader community.
#5 Social work sector
My resume is attached for the position of Elderly House Director. After 20+ years in the Social care sector and successfully completing numerous EU projects for transforming elderly houses across the USA, I can say Nursing is far more than my profession. It is a significant part of my life. As a Managing Director at Lotus Care Housing, I minimized by 30% the rate of depression and anxiety of the inhabitants by implementing Wellness programs that rely on the latest methodologies for treating psychological disorders.
Leading the expert team of Home is a fantastic opportunity I am fully prepared to take to heart and make a pure success.
Can we arrange a call so I can also discuss how I implemented a center-wide improvement program at Lotus Care that benefited not only our elderly clients but the social workers as well?
Sincerely, Lara Samuel
The common thing between all the above short Cover letters is not only that they skillfully play with words, but they possess all the needed success elements:
- Personal salutation - Dear (Hiring manager name)
1st Paragraph: Straight-to-point intro and your biggest job-fit win
- 2nd Paragraph: What will you ACHIEVE FOR THEM
3rd Paragraph: Your fierce call to action
- P.S. All-in with your 2nd value refueling CTA
More in detail on that you will find at the end of this post! But let`s first dive deeper into the other specs to turn you into an epic short Cover letter PRO.
Despite the heated debates that Cover letters are dead, and no one needs them, let alone - read them in 2022. In reality, as a FORBES article states, ”83% of HR professionals think cover letters are essential when making hiring decisions ”. Moreover, “7 in 10 recruiters expect to receive a cover letter even if they mark them as “optional” in job ads” . So, do send a Cover letter, even if it's not required - you'll gear yourself up for success.
Of course, that doesn't mean writing a Cover letter should be tiresome. We are so conditioned to overdeliver in our compulsive doers' society that we may often be compelled to crowd our Cover letters with any insignificant job we did or unrelated skills. Thinking this is a winning strategy, we shoot ourselves in the foot, as the opposite is true.
You will not disappoint HRs with a short Cover letter - they will LOVE you, as long as it is well-targeted, and we will teach you exactly how to do that!
Less is more when turning HR into your biggest raving fan. You can do just that with a short Cover letter that contains:
- A carefully curated list of skills and achievements;
- A powerful call to action.
So let's get one thing out the way, which not every advice out there tells you. Candidates are not only allowed but encouraged to send short Cover letters.
Using a short Cover letter definitely applies to entry positions where you don't necessarily have a long track record. Then you will need to choose 1 job-related skill or achievement and 1 inspiring call to action and spread that over 2-3 paragraphs maximum.
High-level executives often have decades of experience in one or several sectors. In that case, it would be way too tedious and totally unnecessary to describe every single job-related success. So a juicy, glory-packed short Cover letter is applicable, where you can cherry-pick the top 3 mind-blowing work wins to boast with. This will surely be your pass to the organization.
When a Cover letter is not required
99% of candidates will tell themselves, “Thank God!” when they read a Cover letter is unnecessary and will drop just their Resume and go about their day. However, only 1% will put effort into writing a Cover letter that introduces them in a meaningful and powerful way. And Enhancv wants you to be one of these 1 % winners. So, once you've read all the PRO knowledge from this article, you can head directly to our FREE Cover letter builder .
As we already highlighted, it shouldn't be a novel-size letter. As a matter of fact, when it is not mandatory, you can embed your short (and sweet!) Cover letter right in the body of your email with the CV attached. That way, you make it easier for the Recruiter to see your TOP strengths right away.
Glad you asked! The general standard for Cover letter length is a maximum of 1-page. By all means, never go over 1 page.
What’s more, check whether your cover letter offers enough “breathing” space for your reader.
If you cram everything in a single block of text, your story would disengage the recruiter. Wouldn't you do it too? It's like being with a friend who never stops talking, and you have no chance to take the word.
Now, when we speak of short Cover letters, the recommended sweet spot length is around 150 words. Fascinating, isn't it? If you wonder how the heck you are to pack all the glory you've got to offer in that tight word count, bear with us! We are getting there soon! Meanwhile, you can take a look at our cover letter examples .
The knack for writing a killer short Cover letter is making just the proper use of calls to action that are motivating enough for the Recruiter to pick up the phone and schedule an interview to get the info you promised.
In order to make engaging CTAs, you need to take care of a few things first:
- Find out the organization's needs;
- Research the job description;
- Ponder on your expertise and achievements and identify how you are the missing piece;
- TAKE YOUR TIME! Short cover letters are 90% strategy and 10% writing;
- Make a proposition statement that powerfully connects you and the organization;
- Indirectly suggest a follow-up contact with a promise to reveal some of your know-how;
Just take a quick look at these cleverly “served” CTAs from the above short cover letters template are:
We can arrange a call at your convenience, so I can share my core %10+ cost-saving and Design team-building insights.
PS: I’d also be happy to introduce to you how my AI Digital Recruitment bias tool has enabled 5 international corporations to secure cost savings of $1,000,000 for 2020 thanks to preventing unsuitable or biased hiring decisions.
What's the ideal structure of a short cover letter
We are sure we have already poked at your curiosity about how exactly to write your own short Cover letter. Here are the secret sauce ingredients that never fail:
Remember that to make your Cover letter even more compact, you can limit all the 3 paragraphs to one sentence each.
Whether you write a short or a traditional Cover letter, and whether you enclose it in an email or send it as an attachment, one element should always be present - the personal salutation. It sets you up for success from Hello! You should always address it to the Recruiter's name; if you don't know it, try to dig it out. You can read more tips and tricks on how to do that in the Enhancv post Cover Letter Salutation That Entices the Recruiter to Learn More About You .
The second building block to your success is cutting all unnecessary details and, without further ado, going straight to the point. A short Cover letter consists only of high-value, high-vibe job-fitting achievements of you that keep the momentum up throughout the whole time. Hence, you can be sure it will keep the Recruiter wide awake like they have just drank two cups of the most robust Italian espresso.
It showcases only THE BEST OF THE BEST of your professional persona concerning the position you apply for.
It should be invigorating and lead them to invite you to an interview invitation and, ultimately, a job offer.
Hence, you need to make quite an appearance. So instead of entering the stage with the boring, overused and predictable “ I'm writing to express my interest in the position of Key account manager that you advertised on LinkedIn ”, you perform a short, adrenaline-infused demo of your best job-fitting achievement and/or skill.
Starting strong and to the point in combination with the short volume guarantees skillfully attracting the HR attention and waking their curiosity to learn more about you.
2nd Paragraph: What will your fit achieve for them
Once you've made a powerful entry from the first second, showing them in numbers and achievements you are the person they are looking for, it's crucial to keep the ball high in the second paragraph. That means you need to cut all trendy buzz-words like “detail-oriented,” “hard-worker,” and “stress-resilient.” Actions speak louder than words. So in this section, you will need to pick at least one of your relevant successes and assure them what exactly you will be able to do for them, thanks to your proven expertise.
Here is what, you reap what you sow. In other words, you invite the Recruiter to further contact you for the goodies you've got to offer.
Nonetheless, we do feel obliged to make an important disclaimer. Even if you are the most qualified candidate for the role in the world, grounded humility is still a nice-to-have. Moreover, you might lose some integrity if you opt for the overly aggressive Call to action, stating you will contact HR within a specific time to schedule an interview. You can proceed with such an approach only if you are 100% sure it is in line with the organizational culture, and the position you apply for requires you to model or even master such a behavior. Otherwise, overly intense CTA can seriously hurt your application.
The good news is that you can indirectly inspire HR to take your desired action without appearing overly pushy or cocky.
One more bonus insider secret: resist the urge to use larger-than-life statements like: “I am certain I am the best candidate for the role!” Usually, those backfire, as they sound unprofessional and very self-centered. So instead of telling this, the trick is to lead HR to draw the same conclusion based on the achievements and skills present.
Your actions should make it evident that you are the best!
A short cover letter closing should be just that - "formal." Your best bet here is always an official close-off salutation like "Best regards," accompanied by your name. We can't stress enough the need to befriend your eagerness and anxiety to get the role. Neediness repels; confidence attracts. Hence, your short Cover letter closing should carry a self-poised air of quiet but stable esteem. In other words, cut off any cheesy phrases like " I would be excited to get an opportunity to interview with you! ", " Looking forward to hearing back from you " and "Thank you very much for the time to review my application." A simple "Thank you!" is a lot more powerful instead.
P.S. Go all-in with your second value refueling CTA
The short Cover letter, with its hype structure, offers the opportunity to add one more final adrenaline boost.
Your last secret weapon - the Post-script, has the same standing ovation effect a grand finale has on its audience in the ballet hall. You should definitely use the PS if you have a job-related achievement that would benefit the organization, which you can present to them at a meeting or an interview. By sharing a vital piece of information, you set positive expectations, which skyrockets you to the top of the Recruiter` shortlist.
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Sample Cover Letter for a Job Application
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.
What is an Application Letter?
What to include in your application letter, tips for writing a cover letter, cover letter sample and template, email cover letter sample.
- How to Send an Email Application
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Alex Dos Diaz / The Balance
What's the best way to write a letter to apply for a job? Your letter should detail your specific qualifications for the position and the skills you would bring to the employer. What’s most important is to show the employer that you’re a perfect match for the job.
Your job application letter is an opportunity to highlight your most relevant qualifications and experience. An effective cover letter will enhance your application, showcase your achievements, and increase your chances of landing an interview.
Review what to include in a job application letter, tips for writing a letter that will get your application notice, and examples of letters and email messages sent to apply for a job.
- An application letter accompanies a resume and may be uploaded to a job portal, sent via email, or even sent by postal mail, depending on the employer’s requirements.
- Application letters are an ideal way to show your interest in a job and highlight your most relevant skills.
- It’s important to match your letter to the job description and show the employer that you have the qualifications they are seeking.
A letter of application, also known as a cover letter , is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information about your skills and experience to an employer. Your letter of application is intended to provide detailed information on why you are an ideal candidate for the job.
Your application letter should let the employer know what position you are applying for, what makes you a strong candidate, why they should select you for an interview, and how you will follow up.
Effective application letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify the most relevant skills that qualify you for the job.
Your application letter should let the employer know what position you are applying for, explain your qualifications for the job, why you should be selected for an interview, and how you will follow up.
Unless an employer specifically requests a job application letter sent by postal mail, today most cover letters are sent by email or attached as a file in an online application tracking system.
As with all cover letters, a job application letter is divided into sections:
- The heading includes your name and contact information.
- A greeting addressed to a specific person, if possible.
- The introduction includes why the applicant is writing.
- The body discusses your relevant qualifications and what you have to offer the employer.
- The close thanks the reader and provides contact information and follow-up details.
- Your signature to end the letter .
Here’s how to ensure that your application supports your resume, highlights your most relevant qualifications, and impresses the hiring manager.
Get off to a direct start. In your first paragraph, explain why you are writing. Mention the job title and company name, and where you found the job listing. While you can also briefly mention why you are a strong candidate, this section should be short and to the point.
Offer something different than what's in your resume. You can make your language a bit more personal than in your resume bullet points, and you can tell a narrative about your work experience and career.
Application letters typically accompany resumes, so your letter should showcase information that your resume doesn't.
Make a good case. Your first goal with this letter is to progress to the next step: an interview. Your overarching goal, of course, is to get a job offer. Use your application letter to further both causes. Offer details about your experience and background that show why you are a good candidate. How have other jobs prepared you for the position? What would you bring to the position, and to the company? Use this space to emphasize your strengths .
Close with all the important details. Include a thank you at the end of your letter. You can also share your contact information and mention how you will follow up.
This is a sample cover letter. Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for an email sample.
John Donaldson 8 Sue Circle Smithtown, CA 08067 909-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.org
September 6, 2022
George Gilhooley LTC Company 87 Delaware Road Hatfield, CA 08065
Dear Mr. Gilhooley,
I am writing to apply for the programmer position advertised in the Times Union. As requested, I enclose my certification, resume, and references.
The role is very appealing to me, and I believe that my strong technical experience and education make me a highly competitive candidate for this position. My key strengths that would support my success in this position include:
- I have successfully designed, developed, and supported live-use applications.
- I strive continually for excellence.
- I provide exceptional contributions to customer service for all customers.
With a BS degree in computer programming, I have a comprehensive understanding of the full lifecycle of software development projects. I also have experience in learning and applying new technologies as appropriate. Please see my resume for additional information on my experience.
I can be reached anytime via email at email@example.com or by phone at 909-555-5555.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you about this employment opportunity.
Signature (hard copy letter)
The following is a sample email cover letter to send as part of a job application.
Email Application Letter Example
Subject: Colleen Warren - Web Content Manager Position
Dear Hiring Manager,
I'm writing to express my interest in the Web Content Manager position listed on Monster.com. I have experience building large, consumer-focused, health-based content sites. While much of my experience has been in the business world, I understand the social value of this sector, and I am confident that my business experience will be an asset to your organization.
My responsibilities have included the development and management of website editorial voice and style, editorial calendars, and the daily content programming and production for various websites.
I have worked closely with health care professionals and medical editors to provide the best possible information to a consumer audience of patients. I have also helped physicians to use their medical content to write user-friendly and easily comprehensible text.
Experience has taught me how to build strong relationships with all departments in an organization. I have the ability to work within a team, as well as cross-team. I can work with web engineers to resolve technical issues and implement technical enhancements.
I am confident working with development departments to implement design and functional enhancements, monitor site statistics, and conduct search engine optimization.
Thank you for your consideration.
Colleen Warren firstname.lastname@example.org 555-123-1234 www.linked.com/colleenwarren
How to Send an Email Application Letter
If sending your cover letter via email, list your name and the job title you are applying for in the subject line of the email:
Colleen Warren - Web Content Manager Position
Include your contact information in your email signature but don't list the employer's contact information.
Do you have to write a cover letter when you apply for a job?
Some employers require cover letters. If they do, it will be mentioned in the job posting. Otherwise, it’s optional but it can help your chances of securing an interview. A cover letter gives you a chance to sell yourself to the employer, showcase your qualifications, and explain why you are a perfect candidate for the job.
How can you use a cover letter to show you’re a qualified candidate?
One of the easiest ways to show an employer how you’re qualified for a job is to make a list of the requirements listed in the job posting and match them to your resume. Mention your most relevant qualifications in your cover letter, so the hiring manager can see, at a glance, that you have the credentials they are looking for.
CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter ?"
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How to write a Cover Letter – Guide with Examples
Not every job application requires a cover letter, but every job application can benefit from one.
Along with a customised CV , which should include a strong personal profile, the cover letter lets you add specific information that puts you right at the heart of the job you are applying for. That means it’s really important to get it right.
Writing a winning cover letter is a skill. If you’re unsure what to include, our guide will help you:
What is a cover letter and why is it still important?
How to research and plan your cover letter.
- The basic format of a good cover letter
How long should a cover letter be?
- Address the hiring manager
- Use the job description
- How to market yourself in your cover letter
- How to structure and write your cover letter, with examples
- Use a ‘cold’ cover letter to approach a company you’d like to work for
- How to send your cover letter
A cover or covering letter is a brief, single-page document that accompanies your CV when you apply for a job.
Its purpose is to introduce yourself and to highlight your key skills, particularly those that are relevant to the job you are applying for. It’s your chance to showcase both your personality and suitability.
It’s important to remember that the cover letter is independent of your CV – in other words, it shouldn’t be just the same information presented differently. It needs to position you as the right person for the job by highlighting skills that you have that are essential for the role. For this reason, your cover letter should be tailored to every application.
Some recruiters will receive hundreds or even thousands of applications for a role, so your cover letter is your chance to stand out from the crowd and it’s an essential component of the application process.
Download our cover letter template
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” is a saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and it’s true. Planning is key to the success of any endeavour, and it’s certainly true for your cover letter and your CV .
These are the important things you should research before you begin writing your cover letter:
- Who will be receiving and reading your cover letter? This will likely depend on the size of the company doing the hiring – if it’s a small organisation, it may well be the CEO or owner of the business. For a larger company, it will most likely be the hiring manager or the head of HR.
- What skills and experience are listed in the job description? What skills do you have that this role calls for? Do you have other skills that you believe will be of benefit to the company and position? Put those in your cover letter and then detail why you think they’re relevant and important.
- The company and its culture. Any reputable company will have some form of online presence where you can do this research. If they don’t have their own website (which is highly unlikely) then they will most certainly have some social presence: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are good places to check.
- The company’s competitors and market position. This information too can usually be found online. Some organisations have obvious competitors – Nike and Adidas, for example – but it won’t always be this obvious. There are free trials available with tools such as Semrush , Ahrefs that can help you identify a company’s competition.
- The sector and any recent news or trends. Which sector or industry do they operate in? Do some online searches for news, using Google or any other search engine with a ‘news’ results tab.
- The organisation’s aims for the coming year and beyond. This information can be trickier to find. You could start on LinkedIn and search for key employees; those with CxO roles may well share goals, roadmaps and more on their profiles.
Building up a good body of information about both the company and its industry will help you tailor your cover letter for each company you apply to. It also shows your passion for the job and sector.
The basic format of a cover letter
Every cover letter you write should be tailored to the specific job role or company you’re applying for, but there is a basic format to follow for every cover letter:
- Paragraph one – The introduction
- Paragraph two – The by-line
- Paragraph three – Show your knowledge
- Paragraph four – Conclusion
Brief, probably less than one side of A4 – 250-300 words maximum.
A cover letter is important but remember, it’s an accompaniment to your CV , not your actual CV.
Address the hiring manager or recruiter
Just like your CV, every cover letter you submit should be written to match the job role you are applying for, and it should be comprehensive and, if possible, personalised:
- Personalise it – find the name of the hiring manager or the person most likely to receive or read your application in the first instance. Addressing a named person shows that you’re thorough and thoughtful in your approach. Sign off with “Yours sincerely”.
- If you don’t have that information and can’t specify a name – then start the letter with “Dear Sir or Madam” – but remember your grammar and sign off your letter with “Yours faithfully”.
You should also avoid tired and clichéd buzzwords .
Use the job description to tailor your covering letter
This is possibly the most vital aspect of the cover letter. If you don’t take the opportunity to state that you have the necessary skills and experience, you may as well not bother!
Detail your skills and provide examples of how you have used them in the past to succeed in your own goals and those of the company you were working for. Mirror some of the phrases used in the job requirements list.
You will most likely need to use different skills and examples for each cover letter, as each job role will require different skills and abilities.
Market yourself in your cover letter
A bit like your Personal Profile, your cover letter is your chance to sell yourself to the people doing the hiring. There are several good ways to sell yourself, and having done your research, they should be easy to include:
- Demonstrate knowledge – of the role, the company, and the sector in which they operate
- Outline your skills, qualifications and goals – any that are relevant to the role and company
- Highlight your social and interpersonal skills – talk about the clubs and/or societies you are a member of, any volunteering you do – anything that shows your ideals and what you enjoy doing in your spare time
How to structure and write a cover letter
These days it’s unusual for cover letters or CVs to be sent as physical copies, but digital correspondence should still be written in formal business language.
There are several ways to format a business letter, but these are the elements you must include:
- Your address and contact details, including a telephone number (mobile or landline) and email address
- The company’s address
- The opening greeting: Dear xyz
Here’s how it might look:
[Date] [Your address line 1] [Address line 2] [Address line 3] [Your phone number and email] [Company name] [Company address line 1] [Company address line 2] Dear [Name or Sir or Madam ],
Cover letter paragraph 1: The introduction
The position you are interested in and why you are applying for it – a brief introductory passage that covers three things:
- Why you’re writing the letter
- What job role you are applying for
- How you found out about the job
“I am writing to apply for the role of [job title] in response to an advert I saw on [name of job site]. Please find my CV attached.”
Cover letter paragraph 2: The by-line
This paragraph should be all about you and detail the skills you possess that are relevant to the role, particularly those that have been identified in the job advert or description. Be careful not to reproduce your CV. Mirror phrases and skills that are mentioned in the job advert or description.
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- Replace abbreviations with the entire word
Cover letter paragraph 3: Show your knowledge
This is where you can demonstrate the research that you did before applying. Show that you know what sector they operate in and what they do, and demonstrate why you wish to work there, how you could make a difference, and how you align with the company’s ideals, culture and core values.
In short: show that you’re the perfect candidate!
Cover letter paragraph 4: Conclusion
Your cover letter, the masterpiece that it now is, should end with a clear call to action. You want to secure an interview for this position, so mention that and let them know when you’re available for a callback or contact to arrange it. Don’t be demanding, just be confident and clear. If you plan to follow up with a phone call, then let them know. If you’re not comfortable doing this then end your letter with:
“I look forward to hearing from you.”
Thank them for taking the time to read your letter, and sign off with:
“Yours sincerely [ or faithfully if you don’t know their name ] , [Your Name]”
Use a covering letter as a speculative approach to a company you’d like to work for
Have you noticed a company that you’d really like to work for, but they’re not currently advertising any open positions? In this case, a ‘ cold-contact cover letter ‘ makes a great speculative application letter. Here’s what to include in that cover letter:
- Address the letter formally – Try to get hold of the name of the hiring manager; check their website or call the main number and ask. If not, then address it as “Dear Sir or Madam”. You could alternatively address it to the CEO or Managing Director – once they see it is a speculative application, they will probably pass it to the relevant person within the company.
- Your reason for writing – As there is no vacancy that you are aware of, you should explain why you are writing and what attracted you to the company.
- Mention any contacts – If a friend or acquaintance works at the company and has suggested or agreed that you should apply, then mention them by name and job title.
- Detail your skills and experience – The body of the speculative application should highlight your skills and experiences and provide examples of how you have used them in previous jobs. Then state once more why you’re interested in working for the company; talk about the sector or industry they operate in and show that you have done your research.
- Say what you would like – Which area or department of the company are you interested in? Where would you like to work – sales, marketing, front-of-house, for example?
- Conclusion – Close the cover letter by thanking them for their time and expressing your interest in hearing from them about any job vacancies that might arise.
Remember, each speculative cover letter should be unique.
Send your cover letter
Because you are almost always going to be sending your cover letter online, we recommend that you attach it to your email in a .pdf format. This way, any computer will be able to view the file, and all your formatting will be preserved.
If you need to send your cover letter as the actual body text of your email, your approach will need to be slightly different. First, make sure you format the subject line of your email like so:
Application for [Job Title] – [Your Name]
If you were given a reference number, include that in the subject line as well. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about the layout of your letter. The paragraphs can be the same as an original cover letter, but you can remove the addresses, date and signature.
If you’re applying for a job via a job board, you can sometimes afford to scale down your cover letter to its key components.
Check out this example cover letter:
Hi [Name], I am interested in applying for the current vacancy you have for a [job title]. In my current role as [role title] with [company name], I am responsible for [insert relevant experience relating to job advert] but am currently looking to make a step up into a more challenging role with a reputable company who can offer career growth. I am currently on a notice period of [notice period] and can interview immediately. Kind regards, [Name] [Phone number] [Email]
By following these covering letter guidelines and examples you’ll be ahead of many other applicants applying for roles, and one step nearer to securing an interview.
Try to have fun with it – we wish you the best of luck!
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