What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page business document that typically serves as a cover page for your resume. Writing a cover letter for a job application allows you to expand upon the information you’ve provided on your resume.
A well-written cover letter elaborates on critical elements of your professional background, providing context and emphasis about your critical skills and experience to help potential employers understand how they relate to the job. It also gives you an opportunity to show off your communication skills and provides an opportunity to explain any gaps in your resume.
More importantly, writing a compelling cover letter for your resume can set you apart from the competition. Research shows that 47% of all job seekers skip writing a cover letter. This means that by simply including one, you have gone above and beyond nearly half of the competition. If you take the time to learn how to write a cover letter that is a standout, you’ve improved your chances of getting an interview.
4 ways we can help you write a cover letter for a job application
Our goal at LiveCareer is to help you land your next job. With our extensive array of cover letter tools and resources, we can help you every step of the way. Here’s how:
1. Advice for crafting the right cover letter content:
LiveCareer’s cover letter writing tools are designed to help you learn the ins and outs of the craft of cover letter writing.
- Cover Letter Builder
LiveCareer’s Cover Letter Builder makes it simple to craft a personalized cover letter for every job application. Our builder walks you step-by-step through the process, from choosing a template to suggesting pre-written customizable content for each section of your document. We also offer a Resume Builder to help you create a complete set of application materials.
- How to Write a Cover Letter
Need a tutorial on how to write a compelling cover letter? LiveCareer has broken down the process into five simple steps. In addition to instructions on how to write a job application letter, we also offer tips for writing cover letters for other scenarios, such as networking, when you are seeking a promotion, and “cold calling” a company you’d like to work for.
3. Tips for designing and formatting your cover letter:
LiveCareer offers tools designed to help you choose the right design and format for your cover letter through helpful tutorials:
- Cover Letter Templates
LiveCareer offers free and premium cover letter templates, plus tips on how to choose the right design for the role. From a modern look to a more conservative design, we have a template that will help present you as professional and polished regardless of industry. Also, peruse our selection of resume templates to create a complementary set of application documents.
- Cover Letter Formats
A great cover letter follows a specific format. LiveCareer shows you the critical sections to add to your letter and what belongs in each section. We also provide formatting tips to help you organize the content of your letter for the most impact.
4. Assistance with other cover letter challenges:
- LiveCareer offers hundreds of articles with tips and how-to for navigating every aspect of your career. Written by career experts and certified cover letter writers, use our curated cover letter content to find answers to all of your questions about cover letter writing and beyond.
Cover Letter Success Stories
Cover Letter FAQ
Can I skip including a cover letter?
The short answer is: no. Skipping a cover letter puts you at a disadvantage. Writing a cover letter accomplishes several critical tasks. First, it allows you to show employers that you can communicate effectively. Second, it will enable you to provide detailed information about your most impressive professional achievements. Finally, it demonstrates that you are willing to go the extra mile to get the job you want.
What do employers look for in a cover letter?
Like learning how to write a resume, writing a cover letter that will grab a hiring manager’s attention is a skill. When reading a cover letter, employers are looking for evidence that you can clearly communicate your most impressive skills and experience. They want to understand how your background aligns with the requirements of the role at hand and how your work in past roles impacted the organization’s success or bottom line. Be sure to highlight your most relevant experience and accomplishments in your cover letter by using data and metrics to show a hiring manager what you’ll bring to the table if hired.
Do I need to customize my cover letter for each job I apply for?
Hiring managers look at cover letters to see whether a candidate understands what the company does and whether the applicant’s skills and experience match the requirements of the job. To accomplish this, it’s critical to customize your cover letter for each job. Each cover letter you write should convey how your skills and experience can positively impact the company if you are hired for the position in question. This can’t be conveyed in a one-size-fits-all letter. To customize your cover letter for each role, study the job description and focus your letter on the skills and experience outlined there.
How long should my cover letter be?
A cover letter should be no longer than one page in length. To keep it concise, don’t waste space repeating information that an employer can find on your resume. Instead, focus on expanding by providing additional details about your experience or your work’s impact on the bottom line. Using bullet points on your cover letter can help pack in more information and add impact.