What's Your Question?
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.
MORE FROM QUESTIONSANSWERED.NET
8 September 2023
Writing a Placement & Work Experience Cover Letter
When you apply for a placement, you’ll need to send a cover letter along with your CV. A placement cover letter supports your application by explaining who you are and why you’re interested in the role.
The aim of your cover letter is to persuade an employer to read your CV, (over the fifty others they received), and eventually invite you for an interview.
Want to write the perfect one? Read on for the how…
- What goes into a work experience cover letter?
How to write a cover letter for a placement
Placement cover letter example.
- Things to remember
What goes into a work experience cover letter
Although you should always tailor your cover letter for each job you apply for, there are a couple of things that all cover letters must include.
On top of the usual letter niceties, these are…
- Your name and contact details
- The role you’re applying for
- Why you’re interested in the role
- Your skills and previous experience
- What you’ll bring to the company
- Your career goals
Step 1: Dear Sir / Madam?
The first three words of your cover letter are crucial. Make no mistake!
Recruiters and employers get itchy eyes when they read a work placement cover letter addressed to [Dear Sir/Madam]. And they really lose their minds when they see [To whom it may concern]. It’s best to address your letter to the reader directly. So…
Dear Full Name , e.g. Dear David Attenborough – this is ideal as it’s gender-inclusive and doesn’t rely on the use of ‘Mr’ or ‘Ms’
Dear Mr Surname , e.g. Dear Mr Attenborough
Dear Ms Surname , e.g. Dear Ms Attenborough – never presume marital status. Write Ms instead of Miss / Mrs.
Don’t know who to address your cover letter to? There’s a few things you can do.
1. Browse LinkedIn – Lots of companies have a profile that lists their employees
2. Contact the employer – Ask for the name of the person who is tasked with reading placement cover letters. You can do this by phone or email
3. Address your cover letter to the department manager
4. If you can’t locate the person who handles recruitment, address your placement cover letter to someone who works in HR .
Step 2: Swift intro
Next, you need to disclose what placement you’re applying for.
A company might be hiring placement students in a number of different departments. Be specific to make sure you’re being considered for the right role.
Write something like this –
“ I am writing regarding the vacancy for the marketing placement with IBM, as advertised on RateMyPlacement. Please find my attached CV. “
Let the recruiter know where you found the vacancy for the placement. Employers are always keen to know what channels students use to find jobs. It makes a good impression.
Step 3: Why are you interested?
Now you’ve introduced yourself, it’s time to explain why you’re interested in the chosen placement or work experience scheme.
It’s important to do some research about the company you’re applying to and the content of the programme. Use it to give convincing reasons for your interest in the placement.
Step 4: What can YOU bring?
In this section, you want to explain what you’ll bring to the company as a placement student. There’s no need to mention everything.
Be specific and keep it relevant to the role. What unique skills will you bring to the organisation?
It’s also a chance to talk a little bit about your hobbies and interests – keeping them relevant to the role you’ve applied to.
“ I am halfway through a Marketing degree, and on course to achieve a 2:1. So far, I have focussed on digital marketing modules, which have imparted strong analytical and problem-solving skills. I am also now proficient in basic coding. My three years at Mecca Bingo have provided experience with customer service practices and other useful soft skills. “
Step 5: Final flourish
Aptly named the final flourish, you will end your placement cover letter in this section. Thank the recruiter for considering your application, and register your interest in attending an interview.
“Thank you for considering my application, I’m looking forward to the prospect of discussing the placement in greater detail in an interview. “
Step 6: Farewell
If you found the name of the recruiter/employer, end your placement cover letter with ‘Yours Sincerely’. If you rebelled and wrote “to whom it may concern”, put ‘ Yours Faithfully’.
Want to set yourself up for success with your work experience application? Sign up to our FREE Career Coaching Course, a four-day virtual programme in October, to upskill yourself on CVs, applications and interviews.
Here is an example of a placement cover letter. This is the structure and general length you should be aiming for (approx 250 words) …
Dear Mr Attenborough,
I am writing regarding the vacancy for the marketing placement with IBM, as advertised on RateMyPlacement. Please find my attached CV.
I am particularly interested in this placement at IBM because of the focus on different areas of digital marketing. IBM is at the forefront of the digital marketing industry, and I am fascinated by the cloud-based software IBM provides for companies on email, web and social media.
I have been reading about IBM’s most recent project, which aimed to improve customer experience across the buyer journey. It links closely to a project I completed in the first year of my Marketing degree, which centred around optimising the user experience for online retail.
I am halfway through a Marketing degree, and on course to achieve a 2:1. So far, I have focussed on digital marketing modules, which have imparted strong analytical and problem-solving skills. I am also now proficient in basic coding. My three years at Mecca Bingo have provided experience with customer service practices and other useful soft skills.
Thank you for considering my application, I’m looking forward to the prospect of discussing the placement in greater detail in an interview.
Things to remember…
Now you have the tools needed to craft a superb piece of career prose, there are a few things to keep in mind…
Online Placement Applications
1 . If you’re applying for a placement online, you’ll need to write your cover letter in a text box. Write it in Microsoft Word or Pages first, then copy and paste it into the text box. That way you can check your grammar and spelling beforehand.
2. If you’re sending your cover letter via email or attaching it to an online application, save it as a .pdf rather than a Word/Pages file. All computers can read PDFs, so there’ll be no problem when an employer opens the file.
3 . Always save your cover letter as ‘[Your Name] Cover Letter ‘. It looks clean, and employers will be able to find you easier.
Share this post:
Written by Conor
More posts by Conor
Jump to navigation
- Applying for an apprenticeship or traineeship
- Benefits of apprenticeship or traineeship
- Financial assistance for apprentices and trainees
- Find an apprenticeship or traineeship opportunity
- Options for an apprenticeship or traineeship
- Solving problems with your apprenticeship or traineeship
- Victorian Government Traineeships
- What are apprenticeships and traineeships?
- Student counselling
- Getting a tutor
- Top 10 exam tips
- Top 10 study tips
- Student concessions and discounts
- Study help for care leavers
- Youth Allowance, Austudy and other allowances
- 6 tips for surviving Year 12
- International Baccalaureate
- Leaving school early
- School-based apprenticeships
- VCAL - The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning
- VCE - The Victorian Certificate of Education
- VET - Vocational Education and Training
- VTAC Offers
- International students in Australia
- Deferring your studies
- Learn Local Education and Training
- Mature age study
- Taking a gap year
- Applying for courses
- Changing course preferences
- Transferring to another course
- Choosing a course
- Doing university overseas
- Paying for study
- 1st days at university or TAFE
- Orientation (O Week)
- Student accommodation
- Student clubs & societies
- TAFE & Training
- How to write a resume
- Resume template: Year10/earlier + no work experience
- Resume template: Year10/earlier + work experience
- Resume template: VCE + no work experience
- Resume template: VCE + work experience
- Resume template: Uni or TAFE + no work experience
- Resume template: Uni or TAFE + work experience
- How to apply for jobs online
- How to choose a referee
- How to stand out without work experience
- Sample resumes and cover letters
- Sending job applications
- What employers want
- How to write a cover letter
- Cover letter when no job is advertised
- Cover letter when no resume is needed
- Cover letter: No work experience
Cover letter: Some work experience
- Job scams and dodgy ads
- 6 ways to find jobs online
- Employment agencies
- Find a job by networking
- How to find government jobs
- Manage your online image
- Tips for successful cold calling
- What is cold calling?
- What job skills are in demand?
- What are your job options?
- Working Overseas
- Graduate recruitment programs
- Industry Based Learning
- How to find volunteer work
- Organisations that are seeking volunteers
- Volunteer for an annual event
- What is volunteering?
- What are internships?
- What are student work placements?
- How to find work experience
- Work experience: Your rights and responsibilities
- 8 job skills you should have
- Find out more about the career you want
- How career counselling can help
- How to create a career plan
- Agriculture, forestry & fishing
- Building & construction
- Business & professional
- Defence & security
- Education & training
- Electricity, gas & water
- Environmental & animal management
- Finance, banking & insurance
- Government & justice
- Health & Community
- Hospitality & tourism
- Information & communications technology
- Media, Arts & Entertainment
- Science & engineering
- Sport & recreation
- Transport, storage & logistics
- Wholesale, retail & service
- Life after tertiary study
- What is a mentor and how can you find one?
- After the job interview
- Answering brainteaser interview questions
- Answering tricky interview questions
- Drug testing at job interviews
- How to dress for a job intervew
- Phone interviews: 6 tips for success
- What to expect at a job interview
- Common interview questions
- How to answer interview questions well
- Inappropriate interview questions
- How to create a folio
- Job interview practise
- Job interview tips
- What to research before a job interview
- Developing a business idea
- How to run a home-based business
- How to set up a business
- Researching your business
- What grants are available for new businesses?
- Writing a business plan
- First day in your new job
- Getting paid
- How to negotiate at work
- Resignation letters
- When to quit your job
- Signing documents at work
- Employment contracts
- Bullying and violence at work
- Dealing with stress at work
- Discrimination at work
- Safety at work
- What is unfair dismissal?
- What to do if you get sacked
- Rights of apprentices and trainees
- Rights of casual workers
- Rights of full-time and part-time workers
- Rights of workers under 15
- Salary guides
- What is your minimum wage?
- Buying a car
- How to get your Ls
- 10 things to know for the drive test
- Getting your Ps
- Friends and friendships
- Gender identity
- Same-sex attraction
- Sex - are you ready?
- Buying stuff
- Credit cards
- How to do a tax return
- Personal loans
- Phones and phone plans
- What is Tax?
- Concessions for young people
- Government financial assistance
- How to manage debt
- How to write a grant application
- What grants are available?
- What is an auspice organisation?
- How to budget and save
- Binge drinking
- Facts about alcohol
- Food and diet
- Mental health and wellbeing
- Choosing a healthcare professional
- Private healthcare
- Sport and fitness
- Support for people with a disability
- Buying a property: What help is available?
- Buying or renting a home: which is better?
- How to find a property to buy
- Emergency accommodation options
- Government housing assistance
- About youth homelessness
- How to get help if you are homeless
- Gas, electricity and services
- Household budget
- Insurance for renters and tenants
- Setting up a home: the essentials
- Finding housemates
- How to choose a housemate
- How to look for a place to rent
- Paying rent
- How to deal with breakages and repairs
- Problems with housemates
- Problems with the landlord
- Signing a lease
- Tips for sharehouse success
- Your rights as a tenant
- General safety tips
- How to have a safe party
- Cyberbullying and trolling
- How to avoid spam and scams
- How to behave when you're online
- How to shop safely online
- Parties - what to do if something goes wrong
- Consumer rights
- How to deal with the police
- Sexual assault
- Victim rights
- Where to get legal advice
- Discrimination and harassment
- Making a complaint
- Privacy rights
- Driving interstate
- Planning a trip around Australia
- Tips for affordable travel in Australia
- Travel in Australia: How to stay safe
- Working interstate
- A backpacker's survival guide
- Affordable Travel
- Getting around overseas
- Health & Safety Overseas
- Planning your trip
- FReeZA Program
- Contact organisations and companies
- Develop skills by volunteering
- Join or organise a protest
- Organise an event
- Recruit people to your cause
- Run a meeting
- Start or join a group or cause
- Plan a campaign
- Research an issue
- Stay committed to your cause
- Contact decision-makers
- Get support online
- How to contact a journalist
- Promote an event
- Publish something online
- Speak in public
- Speak on radio or TV
- Start a petition
- Write a letter to the editor
- Write a media release
- Information for community
- Resources and support for teachers and schools
- Information for young people
- Live at the Steps - All Ages Gig!
- PushIt! Lab: Applications Now Open!
- FReeZA Push Start
- Alexander Biggs
- Charm of Finches
- Chelsea Bleach
- Fraser A. Gorman
- Hi-Tec Emotions
- Hollow December
- Jungle Cuffs
- Loose Tooth
- Max Goes To Hollywood
- Milwaukee Banks
- Mosé + The FMLY
- Seth Sentry
- The Bean Project
- Void Of Vision
- Event Management
- FReeZA Committees and Audiences
- How to Enter and Prepare for a Freeza Push Start Competition (For Artists)
- How to Write a Blurb to Promote your Event
- How to Write an Event Review
- Making and Promoting a Great Event Page on Facebook
- Safer Spaces and Accessibility at Freeza Events
- Safety and Risk Management
- Event Guide
- An Intimate Afternoon with Anthony Fantano
- Deep As F*X
- FReeZA Push Start Heats - Wodonga
- Lilydale Street Party
- New Slang w/ Tiny Little Houses, Alex Lahey + more
- The Monash Music Battle
- Communication Guidelines
- Reporting Requirements
- Useful Contacts
- Barwon South West
- Gippsland Region
- Grampians region
- Hume region
- Loddon Mallee region
- Eastern Metro region
- North West Metro Region
- Southern Metro region
- Check or change your enrolment
- Enrolling to vote
- Federal Government and elections
- Getting involved in an election
- How to participate when you can't vote
- Local Councils and elections
- Run as a candidate
- State Government and elections
- Vote in a referendum
- Victorian Young Achiever Awards
- Community Radio - SYN Media
- Early Intervention and Support
- Empower Youth
- Multicultural Victoria
- Scholarships & Philanthropic Programs
- Scouts and Guides
- 2023 Victorian Youth Congress
- Victorian Youth Week
- Wakakirri goes digital
- Youth Mentoring
- Youth Parliament
- Backing South Sudanese youth to be the best they can be
- Talk, Test, Treat
Use this cover letter template if:
- you're applying for a job that has been advertised
- you have some paid work experience.
For sample cover letters designed for other situations, visit our our sample cover letters pages .
Download this sample cover letter
Sample Cover Letter: Work Experience - Word (89.56 KB) Sample Cover Letter: Work Experience - PDF (70.13 KB)
When to use this sample cover letter
This sample cover letter shows you what you can write when applying for an advertised job, and you have some paid work experience.
You can use this sample cover letter whatever your level of education. It has been written for use by:
- early school leavers
- current high school students
- VCE or VCAL graduates
- current university or TAFE students
- university or TAFE graduates
Features of this sample cover letter
The focus of this kind of cover letter is to prove you're able to:
- meet the requirements of the job
- make a positive contribution to the organisation or business.
Key points of this sample letter are that it:
- introduces you to the reader
- responds to the requirements of the job
- attracts the reader's interest and refers them to your resume
- doesn't include too many “I" statements, which can disengage readers.
What to include in a cover letter
A good cover letter should include:
- your name, email address and phone number at the top of the page on the right
- the name of the business and the contact person's full name on the left
- a reference line (e.g., "Re: Application for Administration Assistant position")
- an address to the reader directly (for example, "Dear Mr. Moyle" - avoid using "To whom it may concern" if you can)
- an opening statement that briefly introduces you to the reader
- a main body that highlights your relevant skills and experiences
- a closing paragraph asking to arrange an interview.
For more about resumes and cover letters, check out these pages:
- Sample resumes
- Sample Cover Letters
- How to Write a Resume
- How to Write a Cover Letter
A sample cover letter if you have some paid work experience.
Joanne Tint Email: [email protected] Mobile: XXXX XXX XXX
Mr Allan Moyle John Smith and Associates Phone: XXXX XXX XXX Email: [email protected]
15 December 2018
RE: Application for Trainee Administration Assistant position
Dear Mr. Moyle,
As a young and motivated individual I am extremely interested in submitting an application for the advertised Trainee Administrative Assistant position with John Smith and Associates.
In November 2017 I completed my VCE studies and also obtained a Certificate II in Business Administration. This has given me a range of practical capabilities that will meet the needs of this role.
While completing my VCE studies I worked part-time as a Customer Service Assistant for KSmart. My responsibilities in this role included providing face-to-face customer service and assisting on the floor with stock movements and visual merchandising. This position has given me key employability skills while also allowing me to experience working in a professional and fast-paced work environment.
With regard to my ability to meet the specific requirements of this job:
- customer service - worked for four years in a face-to-face customer service environment providing customer service at registers, lay-by counter and on the retail floor
- reception duties - responsibilities at KSmart included answering incoming phone calls and assisting customers with phone-based enquiries
- general administration - Certificate II in Business Administration has provided training in the use of skills including filing, data processing, records management and writing communication.
My teachers and employers have commended me for my high level of interpersonal skills and naturally engaging personality. My motivations include learning new things and the challenge of meeting key objectives. My current and previous managers can be contacted to provide more information about my ability to meet the needs of this job.
I understand that you will receive a large number of applications for this role. I do, however, believe that my motivation, commitment and pre-existing skills will allow me to fit into your work environment and immediately start supporting the needs of your organisation.
I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my application at an interview. I have enclosed a copy of my resume for your consideration. I can be contacted at all times on the details provided above.
Thanking you in advance for your time,
Was this page helpful?
- Skip to content
CVs and covering letters for work experience
targetjobs editorial team
Last updated: 6 Jun 2023, 15:06
Check out our essential guide to CVs and covering letters for work experience and internships to help you make the best possible application.
You don’t have to stick to a rigid format or set headings.
There is no one right way to write a CV for an internship, placement, open day or other work experience opportunity and only a very few rules for a covering letter. We know that there is nothing scarier than a blank piece of paper, though, and so we provide a handy sample of a penultimate-year student’s CV for you to download and use as inspiration. We also answer your work experience CV and covering letter FAQs to make sure you show yourself in the best light.
Download CV template
What should and shouldn’t I put on a CV?
A CV for an internship or work experience opportunity should clearly outline:
- your contact details
- your education history
- any work experience or part-time jobs
- any active involvement in extracurricular activities, eg university societies, community groups such as Scouts, volunteering, Duke of Edinburgh and so on
It’s good to list your additional language skills (if you have them), your IT skills, training in first aid (if you have any) and that you have a full, clean driving licence (if you do).
You can put details of your referees if you like (it is normal practice to include an academic tutor and a former work experience employer, if appropriate), but you can also just write ‘details available on request’. It will depend on the space available.
For CVs in the UK, you shouldn’t include your photograph, date of birth, gender, marital status, ethnic background or religious beliefs.
If you are in the penultimate year of your degree, employers probably won’t be interested in your experiences before you reached sixth form or further education college – unless you have done something particularly unusual or noteworthy.
What if I have no work experience to add to my CV?
Your CV should express evidence of your skills and abilities no matter where you gained them, so emphasise any involvement in clubs and extracurricular activities. Highlight the times you have taken responsibility for something, such as helping organise a charity event. Write about any project work you’ve completed as part of your A levels or degree, calling attention to the skills you’ve gained.
What is the best format for my internship CV?
There are two main ways that you could structure your CV – chronological or skills-based – although you can borrow elements of both. Read our explanation of the difference between chronological and skills-based CVs, but a chronological format is suitable for most university students in their late teens and early twenties and that is what we have used for our template CV.
In a chronological CV format, details about education, work experience and extracurricular activities are presented in reverse chronological order (most recent first), but you don’t have to stick to set headings. In our template CV, we have used ‘work experience’ for paid experience and ‘volunteering achievements’ for our candidate’s involvement in student societies and her contributing to student and local newspapers. However, if you have a lot of work experience in retail, for example, you could title the section ‘Retail work experience’. If you’ve had a lot of responsibility, you might want a section titled ‘Positions of responsibility’. If you’ve volunteered a lot, you could opt for ‘Voluntary work and fundraising’.
You’re looking to strike a fine balance between depth of information and a concise format. If a part-time job or extracurricular activity is particularly relevant to the employer or the opportunity, give it more space than other facts.
Make sure that your CV is neat and easy to read. For example, use the same typeface and point size for all headings. If you use bullet points, use them in every section. You can add colour to your CV, if it will make it more attractive – just make sure that the document is still legible if it is printed out in black and white.
How long should a CV be?
Either one full page or two full pages. Some employers specify a particular length of CV, so do double check before you send it off.
What contact details should I provide on my CV?
Make sure that you put down contact details that you use or access regularly. The recruiter is likely to email or phone you to invite you to an interview and you don’t want to miss the communication. However, make sure that your email address and your voicemail greeting sound professional or formal – you want to give the right impression.
If you want to add your LinkedIn handle (if you have one), make sure that your profile tallies with what you have put in your CV.
How do I present my education history?
You don’t need to list all of your GCSEs (or equivalent) – just cite the number and the range of grades.
In most cases, you don’t need to outline all of your degree modules and marks individually. It is usually sufficient to pick out any that are particularly relevant to the opportunity and to provide brief details of any projects. The exception might be if you are applying for a technical role and have done a technical degree (such as in engineering or technology) if you don’t have an opportunity to provide a full transcript. However, even then, if you need lots of space to write about your work experience or extracurricular achievements, it is usually sufficient to pick out modules that are most relevant.
How do I best describe my work experience and extracurricular activities?
You need to convey not just what you’ve done, but the skills you developed and what you have achieved. Focus on your personal contribution to whatever it is you’re writing about and stress achievements, results and outcomes, quantifying them wherever possible.
The examples below and above show how you can interweave your skills into the description of the tasks you completed and how you can quantify your achievements.
However, you will need to amend your CV for each individual opportunity that you apply for. Read each job description and use the employer's language when describing your achievements. For example, if they look for 'planning and organisation', make sure you use the words 'planned' and 'organised' in your CV. If they have used the term 'time management', explain how you managed your time. This will signal to the employer that you are right for the opportunity.
Do I need to include a career aim or personal statement on an internship CV?
Often a career aim or personal statement doesn’t give you a competitive advantage, as most students’ sound remarkably similar: for example, ‘A creative student who can work well in a team seeking a placement’. This is unlikely to strengthen your application and so it is usually better to use the space to expand on your part-time jobs or extracurricular achievements.
The exception to this is if you do not have the opportunity to submit a covering letter or to answer application form questions about your reasons for applying or your career aims.
If you do use a personal statement to introduce yourself, make it very specific to the employer and the opportunity and draw out what it is about you that would make you the best hire.
When do I need to write a covering letter for an internship?
Write a covering letter to accompany your CV if you apply for an opportunity via email. You can either write your covering letter directly into the email window or attach it as a separate document (if you do the latter, you should write a brief message in the email, outlining what you are applying for and referring the reader to the attached documents.)
If you are filling in an online form, it will specify whether a covering letter is required.
Get the insights and skills you need to shape your career journey with Pathways. We’ll show you exactly what goes into a convincing cover letter, so you can give yourself the best chance of getting to the next stage of the application process.
What do I write in a covering letter?
A covering letter introduces your CV. It highlights your most relevant skills and your enthusiasm for the opportunity. It must be specific to that opportunity and employer; every employer wants to feel wanted. A covering letter has four parts:
- An introduction. Try to apply to a named person rather than ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. State the opportunity you are applying for and where you saw it advertised.
- Why you’d be a good hire. Provide examples that show you have the skills, attributes and/or knowledge the recruiter wants – use the job description as a guide. You could use this formula to help you highlight your suitability: ‘I will be able to do [something on the job description] because I have experience of [doing something similar or using the required skills]. For example, I…’
- Why you want the internship. Say what appeals to you in particular about this opportunity and employer. Research the employer to back up your reasons.
- A gracious sign off. Thank them for considering your application or say you look forward to hearing from them. If you’ve applied to a named individual, sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’. If you have applied to ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, use ‘Yours faithfully’.
targetjobs editorial advice
This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.
People reading this also searched for roles in these areas:
- Graduate Jobs
- Graduate Schemes
Related careers advice
We've got you
How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023 + Examples
After weeks of heavy job search, you’re almost there!
You’ve perfected your resume.
You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.
You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.
But then, before you can send your application and call it a day, you remember that the job ad requires a cover letter.
Now you’re stuck wondering how to write a cover letter ...
Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think.
In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.
- What’s a cover letter & why it’s important for your job search
- How to write a convincing cover letter that gets you the job (step-by-step!)
- How to perfect your cover letter with the Novoresume free checklist
- What excellent cover letter examples look like
New to cover letter writing? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!
So, let’s get started with the basics!
What is a Cover Letter? (and Why It’s Important)
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or Resume).
Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .
A good cover letter can spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume.
A bad cover letter, on the other hand, might mean that your application is going directly to the paper shredder. So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
How does a good cover letter look, you might ask. Well, here’s an example:
Keep in mind, though, that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you don’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume.
If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, writing all this might seem pretty tough. After all, you’re probably not a professional writer.
The thing is, though, you don’t need to be creative, or even any good at writing. All you have to do is follow a tried-and-tested format:
- Header - Input contact information
- Greeting the hiring manager
- Opening paragraph - Grab the reader’s attention with 2-3 of your top achievements
- Second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job
- Third paragraph - Explain why you’re a good match for the company
- Formal closing
Or, here’s what this looks like in practice:
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter (And Get Hired!)
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, we’re going to guide you through the process of writing a cover letter step by step.
Step #1 - Pick the Right Cover Letter Template
A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.
So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, visual template?
You can simply pick one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in a jiffy!
As a bonus, our AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter on the go.
Step #2 - Start the Cover Letter with a Header
As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with a Contact Information section:
Here, you want to include all essential information, including:
- Phone Number
- Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
- Name of the company you’re applying to
In certain cases, you might also consider adding:
- Social Media Profiles - Any type of profile that’s relevant to your field. Social Profiles on websites like LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
- Personal Website - If you have a personal website that somehow adds value to your application, you can mention it. Let’s say you’re a professional writer. In that case, you’d want to link to your blog.
And here’s what you shouldn’t mention in your header:
- Your Full Address
- Unprofessional Email - Make sure your email is presentable. It’s pretty hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected].” Whenever applying for jobs, stick to the “[first name] + [last name] @ email provider.com” format.
Step #3 - Greet the Hiring Manager
Once you’ve properly listed your contact information, you need to start writing the cover letter contents.
The first thing to do here is to address the cover letter to the hiring manager .
That’s right, the hiring manager! Not the overly popular “Dear Sir or Madam.” You want to show your future boss that you did your research and are really passionate about working with their team.
No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes to get hired in any of them.
So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager? There are several ways to do this.
The simplest option is to look up the head of the relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably Head of Communications or Chief Communications Office.
So, you do a quick lookup on LinkedIn:
And voila! You have your hiring manager.
Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of a server. In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager.”
If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.
Here are several other greetings you could use:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Team
Step #4 - Write an Attention-Grabbing Introduction
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.
Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.
So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph .
The #1 problem we see with most cover letter opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Most of them look something like this..
- Hey, my name is Jonathan and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a sales manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.
See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say pretty much anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.
Do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.
Instead, you want to start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.
So now, let’s make our previous example shine:
My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed their sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the job.
See the difference between the two examples? If you were the hiring manager, which sales manager would you hire, Jonathan or Michael?
Now that we’ve covered the introduction, let’s talk about the body of your cover letter. This part is split into two paragraphs: the first is for explaining why you’re the perfect person for the job, and the latter is for proving that you’re a good fit for the company.
So, let’s get started...
Step #5 - Explain why you’re the perfect person for the job
This is where you show off your professional skills and convince the HR manager that you’re a better fit for the job than all the other applicants.
But first things first - before you even write anything, you need to learn what the most important requirements for the role are. So, open up the job ad and identify which of the responsibilities are the most critical.
For the sake of the example, let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. You scan the job ad and see that the top requirements are:
- Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
- Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
- Excellent copywriting skills
Now, in this section, you need to discuss how you fulfill these requirements. So, here’s how that would look for our example:
In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation & management process end-to-end. Meaning, I created the ad copy , images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.
Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:
- Google Search
Are you a student applying for your first internship? You probably don’t have a lot of work experience to show off in this section. Learn how to write an internship cover letter here.
Step #6 - Explain why you’re a good fit for the company
Once you’ve written the last paragraph, you might be thinking - I’m a shoo-in for the job! What else do I need to write? I’ll just wrap up the cover letter and hit that sweet SEND button.
Well, no. You’re not quite there yet.
The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.
After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary .
Meaning, you also need to convince the HR manager that you’re really passionate about working with them.
How do you do this? Well, as a start, you want to do some research about the company. You want to know things like:
- What’s the company’s business model?
- What’s the company product or service? Have you used it?
- What’s the culture like? Will someone micro-manage your work, or will you have autonomy on how you get things done?
So, get to Googling. Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or somewhere around the web.
Then, you need to figure out what you like about the company and turn that into text.
Let’s say, for example, you’re passionate about their product and you like the culture of innovation / independent work in the organization.
You’d write something like:
I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2 were real game changers for the device.
I really admire how Company XYZ thrives for excellence for all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone that thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I and Company XYZ will be a great match.
What you don’t want to do here is be super generic for the sake of having something to write. Most job seekers tend to mess this one up. Let’s take a look at a very common example we tend to see (way too often):
I’d love to work for Company XYZ because of its culture of innovation. I believe that since I’m super creative, I’d be a good fit for the company. The company values of integrity and transparency really vibe with me.
See what’s wrong here? The example doesn’t really say anything about the company. “Culture of Innovation” is something most companies claim to have.
The same goes for “values of integrity and transparency” - the writer just googled what the values for the organization are, and said that they like them.
Any hiring manager that reads this will see through the fluff.
So, make sure to do a lot of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying.
Step #7 - Wrap up with a call to action
Finally, it’s time to finish up your cover letter and write the conclusion.
In the final paragraph, you want to:
- Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? Any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision? Mention it here.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time. It never hurts to be courteous, as long as you don’t come off as too needy.
- Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. You should ask the hiring manager to take some sort of action.
And now, let’s turn this into a practical example:
So to wrap it all up, thanks for looking into my application. I hope I can help Company X make the most out of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your facebook marketing goals.
Step #8 - Use the right formal closing
Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.
Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions to a cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
And we’re finally done! Before sending off the cover letter, make sure to proofread it with software like Grammarly, or maybe even get a friend to review it for you.
Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?
- Professional email
- Relevant Social Media Profiles
Do you address the right person? I.e. hiring manager in the company / your future direct supervisor
Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?
- Did you mention 2-3 of your top achievements?
- Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
Do you successfully convey that you’re the right pro for the job?
- Did you identify the core requirements?
- Did you successfully convey how your experiences help you fit the requirements perfectly?
Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?
- Did you identify the top 3 things that you like about the company?
- Did you avoid generic reasons for explaining your interest in the company?
Did you finalize the conclusion with a call to action?
Did you use the right formal closure for the cover letter?
5+ Cover Letter Examples
Need some inspiration? Read on to learn about some of the best cover letter examples we’ve seen (for different fields).
College Student Cover Letter Example
Middle Management Cover Letter Example
Career Change Cover Letter Example
Management Cover Letter Example
Senior Executive Cover Letter Example
Want to discover more examples AND learn what makes them stand out? Check out our guide to cover letter examples .
Next Steps in Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume
Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application is for naught.
After all, a cover letter is just an introduction. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression, but flopping at the end because of a mediocre resume.
...But don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered on that end, too.
If you want to learn more about Resumes & CVs, we have a dedicated FREE guide for that. Check out our complete guide on how to make a resume , as well as how to write a CV - our experts will teach you everything you need to know in order to land your dream job.
Or, if you’re already an expert, just pick one of our resume templates and get started.
Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:
- A cover letter is a 250 - 400 word document that convinces the hiring manager of your competence
- A cover letter goes in your job application alongside your resume
- Your introduction to the cover letter should grab the hiring manager’s attention and keep it all the way until the conclusion
- There are 2 main topics you need to include in your cover letter: why you’re the perfect candidate for the job & why you’re passionate about working in the company you’re applying to
- Most of the content of your cover letter should be factual , without any fluff or generalizations
At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve, every step of the way! Follow our blog to stay up to date with the industry-leading advice. Or, check out some of our top guides…
- How to Write a Motivational Letter
- How to Write a Resume with No Work Experience
- Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
- Log in
- Site search
It's important to get your cover letter right. It's your one opportunity to sell your skills and experience to potential employers. Find out how to write and format a cover letter and take ideas and inspiration from our cover letter templates
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. It acts as a personal introduction and helps to sell your application.
Cover letters are necessary as they give you the chance to explain to an employer why you're the best candidate for the job. You do this by highlighting relevant skills and experience; therefore, you should always write your cover letter with the position you're applying for in mind.
Not to be confused with personal statements for your CV , cover letters should complement your CV but not duplicate it. The consensus among recruiters when it comes to the length of these documents is the shorter the better. Typically, three to five short paragraphs, cover letters should not exceed one A4 page.
If sending electronically, put the text in the body of the email rather than as an attachment, to avoid it being detected by spam filters.
Applications should always include a cover letter unless the job advert instructs you differently.
How do I write a good cover letter?
Before writing your cover letter it's important that you do your research. While reading the job description thoroughly is essential, it's not enough on its own. To help you craft a successful cover letter you’ll need to find out more about:
- who will be reading your cover letter
- the organisation and its culture
- the industry it operates in and any relevant news
- company competitors and market position.
- the organisations goals over the next five years.
When writing your cover letter keep it brief, while making sure it emphasises your suitability for the job. Cover letters can be broken down into the following sections:
- First paragraph - The opening statement should set out why you're writing the letter. Begin by stating the position you're applying for, where you saw it advertised and when you are available to start.
- Second paragraph - Highlight relevant experience and demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description. Summarise any additional strengths and explain how these could benefit the company.
- Third paragraph - Cover why you're suitable for the job, what attracted you to this type of work, why you're interested in working for the company and what you can offer the organisation. This is a good opportunity to show off your knowledge of the company.
- Last paragraph - Use the closing paragraph to round up your letter. Reiterate your interest in the role and indicate your desire for an interview. Now is the time to mention any unavailable dates.
Once finished read through the document and cut out any unnecessary words and sentences. Don't fill up space by repeating what's already covered in your CV. As a rule, only mention your current salary or salary expectations if the employer has specifically asked you to. If you're asked to include this information, put it between the third and last paragraphs.
Unless the job advert states differently (for example, it may ask you to provide your CV and cover letter as a Word document) save with a .PDF file extension to make sure it can be opened and read on any machine. Windows PCs and Macs don't always work in harmony - Windows use a .docx file extension and Macs .pages but if the recruiter uses the opposite system, they may not be able to open your file. Using a .PDF file extension should solve this.
If you need help with your CV take a look at how to write a CV .
How should I address a cover letter?
Always try and address your cover letter directly to the person who will be reading it. Bear in mind that you're more likely to receive a reply if you send it to the right person.
If you're struggling to find a named contact, you can use a general greeting such as:
- Dear Sir/Madam
- Dear Hiring manager
- Dear Human resources director.
However, general greetings should only be used once you have exhausted methods of finding a named contact.
How do I sign off?
How you sign off your cover letter depends on how you addressed it. If you include a named contact, sign off 'Yours sincerely'. If you use a general greeting, finish with 'Yours faithfully'.
Example cover letters
- Sample cover letter - Used to highlight your skills and experience and to express your suitability and passion for the job, cover letters are used to encourage recruiters to look at your CV. Attention to detail is crucial and spelling, grammar and formatting needs to be spot on. Take a look at our sample cover letter for inspiration.
- Speculative cover letter - These can sometimes be an effective method of creating an opportunity. To ensure that speculative cover letters are successful you'll need to do your research on the company you're applying to. Using our cover letter template, discover what to include in speculative applications.
- Cover letter by a Masters graduate - You probably embarked on a Masters to expand your subject knowledge, gain industry contacts and improve your job prospects but to really make it work you need to know how to sell your postgraduate qualification to employers.
- Cover letter for a jobseeker with no experience - It can be tough applying for a job with no experience, but our example cover letter shows you how to promote yourself to an employer if you haven't got any directly related work experience.
- Explaining a gap in your CV - Knowing how to navigate around gaps in your CV can be tricky but it's a mistake to try and gloss over them. Your cover letter is the perfect place to explain these gaps in your employment history to potential employers. Take a look at our sample cover letter to find out how to go about it.
- Cover letter for changing career - Find out how to explain a change of direction in our example cover letter for career changers. You'll need to briefly cover why you want to change career and relate your past experience and wealth of skills to the industry/job you’re applying to.
- Cover letter by an international graduate - If you'd like to expand your horizons by working abroad, take a look at our cover letter of an international student applying for a job in the UK. You’ll need to do your research if you apply for a job in another country, as application rules may differ.
- Disclosing a disability - Just like your gender, marital status and dependants your disability doesn't affect your ability to do a job and you're not legally required to disclose it on your CV or in your cover letter. However, if you would like to disclose a disability to outline any adjustments you may need, this sample cover letter will show you how.
- Internship cover letter - To set yourself above the competition you need to successfully sell your relevant skills and experience while conveying your passion for the role. As well as explaining to employers what the opportunity could do for you, you'll need to communicate what you could do for the company. Discover how to craft the perfect application for a formal internship with our internship cover letter template.
- Apprenticeship cover letter - Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular route into work, as well as a great alternative to university. Find out how to apply for these roles with our apprenticeship cover letter example.
For inspiration and guidance on crafting a CV see example CVs .
When should I follow up my application?
It's always a good idea to follow up on a job application if you don't hear back. If two weeks have passed and you've had no response, send an email to the hiring manager to check that your application has been received. Use this opportunity to reiterate your interest in the role and why you think you'd be an asset to the company.
Keep this email brief. It shouldn't act as a second cover letter or attempt to replace or repeat the original.
What are some top tips for writing a cover letter?
With employers often receiving lots of applications for each vacancy, you need to ensure that your cover letter makes a lasting impression for the right reasons. These tips will increase your chances of success:
- Tailor to the organisation - You should rewrite your cover letter every time you apply for a position in order to target the company. Sending out a generic letter for all applications rarely yields positive results and recruiters can spot your lack of time and effort from a mile away.
- Format - Presentation is important so you'll need to format your cover letter properly. Make sure the document is as uncluttered as possible, use the same font and size as you use in your CV and if you're sending it through the post or handing it in use good quality plain white paper to print it on.
- Use keywords that appear in the job advert - This lets the employer know that you’ve read and understood the job description. It also demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to tailor your application to the job.
- Identify your USPs - They're your unique selling points. Be positive about what you have to offer and clearly outline how your skills and experience meet those requested in the job description. Demonstrate why you're the perfect candidate.
- Include examples - Back up the claims in your cover letter with real evidence or examples that show how and when you've used your skills and experience.
- Save a copy - If you’re invited to interview you might need to refer back to it.
If you're a student or recent graduate, you can make an appointment with your university's careers and employability service to access further help when writing your cover letter. You'll be able to talk with specially-trained advisers, get advice on what to include and have a professional eye look over your application before sending.
To make sure you don’t trip up read about the 5 things to avoid when writing a cover letter .
Find out more
- Learn more about applying for jobs .
How would you rate this page?
On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like
- Dislike 1 unhappy-very
- Like 5 happy-very
Thank you for rating the page