What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document sent alongside a resume or CV that summarizes your professional experience and explains why you’re an excellent fit for the job.
It consists of contact details, a greeting, three to four paragraphs and a formal signature.
Your cover letter paragraphs should:
Why cover letters matter
Research shows 83% of recruiters say cover letters are important to the hiring process! That means you must have a well-written cover letter if you’re serious about a job.
If writing a cover letter from scratch seems like a hassle, try our Cover Letter Builder. You’ll get a completely personalized letter that makes you sound like a pro and showcases your best qualifications.
Even if you’re a seasoned writer, our builder draws from a vast content database where you can pick and choose your paragraphs and customize them to your liking.
Create my custom cover letter
How to write a cover letter
Here, we’ll break down the process of writing a cover letter in six easy steps:
Add a structured header
Your cover letter’s header should include:
- Your name
- Location (city and state)
- Phone number
- The date of when you plan to send the letter
- Name and job title of the hiring manager
- Name and address of the company you’re applying to
Some optional information you can include in your cover letter’s header is:
- Your current job title
- Your LinkedIn page
- Links to your professional social media accounts
Good cover letter greeting examples
“Dear hiring manager,”
“Dear [XYZ Company] team,”
“Dear Customer Acquisition Hiring Manager,”
Weak cover letter greeting examples:
“To whom it may concern,”
Grab the reader’s attention in the opening paragraph.
Your opening paragraph should concisely state who you are and your interest in the position in no more than one or two sentences.
If a current employee at the company has referred you, you should mention it immediately in the opening paragraph. This way, the hiring manager will likely pay more attention to the accomplishments stated in your letter.
A few key elements that should appear in your opening paragraph are:
- Your profession/current job title
- Your desired position
- Your motivation for applying
Compare these cover letter opening paragraph examples:
Good example of a cover letter opening paragraph
“”After seven years working in marketing as brand manager in multinational companies like P&G and Unilever, I want to use my negotiation and extensive knowledge of retail operations to expand your company’s market as a sales representative.”
Why this cover letter opening works
In just one sentence, this applicant informs a potential employer of their years of experience, area of expertise, the role they wish to pursue and the skills to back up their career aspirations.
Weak example of a cover letter opening paragraph
“Hello. I am Lester Peterson. I hope you are doing well. I am writing to you because I want to apply to your company. I am a determined professional with all the qualities needed to excel in this role.”
Why this cover letter opening doesn’t work
This opener sounds informal, and instead of showing examples of his qualifications, the applicant opts for empty statements that need more convincing detail.
Prove your value in the body paragraphs.
Your cover letter’s body consists of one or two paragraphs where you offer more context to your career accomplishments.
Because the cover letter is a companion to your resume, you should mix up the language and descriptions you use. Expand instead of repeat!
Try to spin the details of your resume into a story. Narrate the challenges and opportunities during your career that led you to accomplish, for instance, an increase in sales, gaining a valuable client or leading a big project
Check out these cover letter body paragraph examples for different approaches you could take depending on your unique situation:
Body paragraph example focused on career accomplishments
“In my previous teaching role, I carved out 10-minute slots in my senior class to do SAT prep testing, resulting in having the district’s highest SAT score average in English. My dedication to my student’s needs has always been my priority, and students responded with increased participation in the portion of the class allotted for the syllabus topics. After being named Teacher of the Year, I organized a continuing education and mentorship program for newly graduated teachers in the school district.”
Body paragraph example focused on skill set
“Throughout my career as an accountant, I have acquired skills in various areas of accounting and finance. In my first years, I worked in the public sector, developing budgets between $50,000 and $2 million and ensuring accounting records complied with federal and state regulations. Eventually, I moved to work in private equity firms. I gained firsthand experience in financial analysis in tech investments and monitoring funds’ investments, preparing all financial statements and presenting to investors and stakeholders.”
Body paragraph example focused on career goals
“After graduating from Columbia School of Social Work and working as a volunteer in various non-profit organizations focused on at-risk youth and women’s shelters, I’m eager to put my skills to work as a counselor in the court system. My understanding of vulnerable children’s needs and challenges has inspired me to continue my career supporting children through their caregivers’ or their court proceedings.”
If you find your body paragraph is becoming too long, use bullet points to break up blocks of text.
Body paragraph example with bullet points
In my current role as sales lead, I’ve attracted several local businesses in a variety of industries and brought financial gains to both our company and clients. Notable achievements in this capacity include:
- Adding 14 new accounts to our portfolio.
- Improving client retention rate by 47% over four-year period.
- Negotiating and renewing longer contracts with current clients, increasing net revenue 11%
If you want your cover letter to impress a hiring manager, your body paragraph must be full of job-relevant skills and achievements — and written like a pro.
Our Cover Letter Builder will suggest over a dozen body paragraph examples you can choose from to wow employers.
You can edit these content suggestions with quantifiable achievements and keywords from the job ad to make your cover letter unforgettable.
Close your letter with positivity and thanks.
Your closing statement should be concise and direct, leaving the reader excited to learn more about you.
Make sure your closer is:
- One or two sentences long
- Direct about your eagerness to fill the role
- Encouraging the reader to set up an interview
- Polite and thankful
Compare the impact of these two cover letters’ closing statements:
Good example of a cover letter closer
“Hope we can meet to discuss my plans to contribute to XYZ Company’s mission to impact women professionals in their search for investment opportunities and financial education resources as Head of Marketing Operations. Thanks for your time in reading my application.”
Why this cover letter closing works
This closer proves the candidate wants to have a serious discussion with a manager by getting specific. It offers both value and respect to the hiring manager.
Weak example of a cover letter closer
“All in all, you won’t likely find a better candidate than me. My qualifications and experience will knock it out of the park. Let me know when you can meet with me for an interview.”
Why this is a weak cover letter closer
Although supremely confident, this statement lacks substance, and the tone is off-putting. It’s demanding instead of polite and friendly.
Sign off and mention any enclosures.
Your cover letter’s sign-off consists of two words at most. Plenty of signatures will make you sound like a pro, and others you should avoid.
Good cover letter sign-offs
Keep it formal and professional with these signature lines:
Thank you for your consideration,
Bad cover letter sign-offs
Avoid informal phrases you would use with friends:
Take it easy,
Have a great day,
Thx, or any other abbreviation
If you need to include additional documents beyond your resume –– like a portfolio of your work or letter of recommendation –– add a double space below your signature at the end of the cover letter. Then write “Enclosure:” for one document; “Enclosures:” for two or more documents. Below this, list each enclosure you are including.
- Tom Smith
- Letter of recommendation
Now that you’ve learned how to write every part of your letter, check out our collection of cover letter examples. These professionally written letters for various jobs and industries can inspire the content you can include in your cover letter.
Find a template design you like, and just plug in your information!
Professional graphic designers create our cover letter templates to look sharp and modern. Best of all, they’re designed to pass applicant tracking systems (ATS), which most companies use to scan your cover letter for keywords.
Cover letter examples
The best way to get inspired to write your cover letter is by looking at solid examples written for the same role to which you’re applying.
We have a library of cover letter examples for hundreds of job titles.
Here are six of the most-searched cover letter examples in our database:
To recap the main points of this article, keep these tips in mind:
- Write a fresh, custom cover letter for every job you apply to.
- Keep it to three to four paragraphs under one page.
- Use your cover letter to expand on details in your resume and tell a story.
- Ensure your document is free of errors.
Since your cover letter matters as much as your resume, you want to take this seriously! That’s why you should consider using our best tool for the job, the Cover Letter Builder.
The builder will suggest prewritten text tailored to the job for which you’re applying. You can select it and customize it in your cover letter. Our career experts wrote these phrases to ensure you sound professional and capable.
Best of all, since the builder automates the process, you can complete your letter in just a few minutes!
Cover letter writing FAQ
How do I write a cover letter for an internship?
When writing a cover letter for an internship, you should:
- State the internship position for which you’re applying.
- Mention the required skills and keywords from the internship advertisement.
- List any relevant coursework or projects that show you are a capable candidate.
- Explain your motivations and career aspirations.
- Emphasize what the company can gain from your unique abilities.
How do I format a cover letter?
Cover letters follow a standard business letter format. You must include the following sections to format a cover letter accurately:
- Date, your contact information and the recipient’s information.
- Address the hiring manager.
- Include a one- to two-sentence opening paragraph.
- Write one or two body paragraphs (you can use bullet points) to showcase your qualifications.
- Closing statement with a call to action for an interview.
- A sign-off like “Best regards,” or “Sincerely,”
- Your name and signature.
What is the best cover letter template?
The best cover letter template is the one that provides you with a visually attractive but practical design. You want something clean and readable, not flashy or distracting.
Our builder features 25+ expert-approved templates that are fully customizable!
You can change the fonts and colors, adjust margin size and even include additional sections to discuss availability, relocation and employment gaps.