Are cover letters necessary? Some hiring managers do not even consider a candidate if he, she, or they did not send in a cover letter with their resume (or CV) while some companies prefer applicants to not turn in a cover letter, claiming the work on a resume should speak for itself. We recommend you write a tailored cover letter for every job you apply to unless the company states explicitly to not submit one.
The format and design of the header of your cover letter should match that of the header of your resume for consistency. In the body of your cover letter, you should use the same font as the body of your resume and have one-inch margins on all sides of the document. In your header, include your full name and contact information, which includes your phone number, address, and email address. You may also include a link to your website or LinkedIn profile.
Here are header samples:
222 222 2222
Roxanne Franklin, RN
55555 FIVE ROAD, PITTSBURGH, PA 55555-5555
88888 Eight Avenue, Nashville, TN 88888
Date and salutation
Below your header, date your cover letter with the full date that includes the month, day, and year (or day, month, and year if you are applying for a job in the UK). Some suggest excluding the date because most cover letters are submitted digitally these days which means there will be a record of the date the cover letter was sent out. However, we suggest to include the date to maintain a formal feel to your letter.
Next comes your salutation. The most common salutations are as follows:
- Dear [
NAME OF THE HIRING MANAGER]
- Dear hiring manager,
- Dear [
COMPANY TEAM NAME]
It is always best if you can address the name of the hiring manager, but if you cannot find the name on the company website or on the job listing post, you can address the hiring manager in general or the team name.
Before writing the body of your cover letter, note that your cover letter should not go over one page. If you have too many achievements to write about, choose the one or two that stand out the most and are most befitting to the job you are applying for. As for tone, be sure to be enthusiastic, passionate, and confident (but not arrogant).
In the first line of your cover letter, you can reiterate what position you are applying for. In that same first paragraph, you should state why you are interested in that job. Common reasons for applying to a job are that it aligns with your career path or it is in the field you are passionate about. Be sure to do your research on the company and what specifically the position entails so you can write a tailored cover letter that shows that you are clearly interested in that job in particular. You do not want the hiring manager to think that you are just copying and pasting the same generic cover letter for every job. You want to show that you put effort into your cover letter because you are genuinely interested in the position. Remember to keep your first paragraph concise because the real meat of your letter will be in the second and third paragraphs.
In the second and third paragraphs, let the hiring manager know why your experiences and achievements make you the best candidate for the position. Instead of including a long list of your accomplishments, focus on your top one or two that would convince the hiring manager that you are the perfect applicant for the job. Explain what you can bring to the company and how you can help them grow and expand. This should be the focus of your cover letter. If a resume is a list of your achievements and experiences, a cover letter should address how your skills and expertise can be applied to aid the company in success. It is all the better if you can target the specific challenges that company is facing and tell them how you can help.
At the end of your cover letter, you should wrap up the letter with a closing statement followed by a complimentary closing and your full name. Here are some examples of closing statements:
- Thank you for your time and consideration.
- I’m looking forward to hearing back from you.
- Hope to hear back from you soon.
- I look forward to discussing my candidacy for this position.
- I would love to further discuss my candidacy for the position of [
Below we have some of the most common complimentary closings used in cover letters:
- Kind regards,
- Warm regards,
- Best regards,
- Thank you,
You may find putting a date, salutation, closing statement, and complimentary closing redundant because your job application email will contain the same information. However, this is all part of the formal process, and including all these factors in both the job application email and the cover letter will show that you can properly follow standard operating procedures and take the application process seriously.
Below are some sample cover letters you can refer to when writing yours.
First, let's meet Troy Pearson, applying for Junior Staff Writer for Science ABC.
12345 Culver Street,
Raleigh, NC 12345
January 4th, 2022
Dear Ms. Johnson,
I am writing in interest in the position of Junior Staff Writer for Science ABC magazine. I have been reading Science ABC since I was in elementary school because my father had a subscription. Although I could not understand all the advanced scientific jargon when I was younger, I grew interested in science through Science ABC, and now I am on a career path in the sciences.
With my three years of experience as a writer for Carolina Scientific, the University of North Carolina’s scientific magazine, I believe my experience and passion for scientific writing would make me a strong candidate. Not only did I graduate magna cum laude from UNC with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, but during my 2021 summer internship at Smithsonian, I won Best Article of the Month among interns for my article The Pulsing Electrical Current. I believe my experience at Smithsonian will also help me deliver compelling articles to the eyes of the readers of Science ABC.
Science ABC’s mission statement of spreading the love of science to the world resonates with me at higher frequency levels than gamma rays. With over a decade of reading Science ABC under my belt, I believe I would be the perfect vessel to accomplish that mission, as I have extensive experience mining and bringing light to interesting scientific stories and facts to deliver to readers.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I would be thrilled to hear back from you regarding my candidacy for the position.
Troy Pearson is a fresh college graduate and prospective scientific writer who opens his cover letter in a classic way: He states the position that he is applying for. In that same paragraph, he tells the hiring manager what motivated him to apply for the job; Troy had always been a loyal reader of the magazine Science ABC since he was younger.
In his second paragraph, Troy explains how his experiences and accomplishments would make him a strong candidate for Science ABC. Lastly, in the third paragraph, Troy emphasizes how Science ABC’s mission statement calls to him and even uses some of his scientific knowledge and flair in writing to adorn the paragraph with a touch of scientific jargon. This not only shows that he has great scientific proficiency but also that he is skilled at writing in a compelling way.
Troy does not ramble on or write lengthy explanations for any part of his cover letter. Hiring managers do not have the time to read long personal statements, so writing a compact and succinct letter is the most efficient way to land their attention.
In the second example, we have Winonna Harper who is a digital marketer applying for a position at a company called Marketers EFG.
9876 Hill Street, Chicago, IL 98765
September 18th, 2022
Dear Elaine Woods,
I believe my 5+ years of experience in digital marketing would make me a strong candidate for Digital Marketing Manager with Marketers EFG. I have always had a passion for digital growth and marketing and found that this job aligned with my career goals.
Since I started working at my current company, I have increased the sales of our company’s products by 29% with organic social media growth, paid advertisements, digital partnerships with other companies, and collaborations with online influencers. My most successful digital marketing campaign made $875K USD in revenue over 40 days. I believe my experience with online marketing and tenacity for reaching high revenue goals will make me a valuable asset at Marketers EFG for years to come.
I would love the opportunity to pour my skills and expertise into Marketers EFG’s unique mission of outsourcing the online marketing of their clientele to only the best digital marketers in the country: their own in-house marketers. I would be elated to join a company solely dedicated to the art of marketing and online growth which is only getting more relevant in this day and age.
Feel free to contact me to further discuss how we could learn and build off each other. I am confident that my radical method of marketing and digital growth strategies will aid Marketers EFG in their quest to creating the best marketing system.
Winonna has a more confident and radical tone than Troy in the previous example. She starts off by incorporating the traditional protocol of mentioning the position she is applying for in the first sentence, but she kicks it off by confidently mentioning that her multiple years of experience would make her an ideal candidate for the job. Hiring managers are used to seeing the same opening over a hundred thousand times, so beginning a cover letter with a hook or something different can grab the hiring manager’s attention and leave a more memorable impression. She then goes on to say her passion for digital marketing made her interested in the job opening.
In the second paragraph, she provides numbers with her accomplishments to fortify the fact that she is a strong candidate for the position. In the third paragraph, she expresses how she would like to join the company because as it is a collection of the top marketing experts whom she believes she can be on par with.
As a more assertive job seeker, Winonna includes a call to action in her last paragraph. She tells the hiring manager to contact her to discuss her potential future with the company and then expresses that she is confident that she can bring value to Marketers EFG.
Winonna’s cover letter can come off as more aggressive than the average Joe’s, but at times, you need to show your confidence to stand out among all the candidates. Marketers also typically have to be more assertive and take the initiative more often than not, so her strong-willed personality could be exactly what the company is looking for.
Next, we have Andrew Dawson who is an investment banker applying to a company called HIJ Investing.
+1 234 567 8901
123 Buffet Lane, San Francisco, CA 12345
November 11, 2022
Dear Hiring Managers,
As a two-year investment banking analyst, I find that my experience would make me a befitting candidate for the position of Investment Banking Associate for HIJ Investing. I became interested in HIJ Investing because it is one of the most progressive investment banking firms in the industry. I have always wanted to design financial strategies that deviate from the traditional methods but found difficulty introducing novelty at my current company LLL Investments which always opts for a conventional approach.
My analyses of market trends were calculated as the most accurate among all the investment banking analysts at LLL Investments, a skill I would like to utilize and polish at HIJ Investing. Having graduated top of my class from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Finance, I use the analytical skills I have sharpened throughout the years to scrutinize the growth potential of thousands of companies, including both domestic and international firms. Because I personally invest in blockchain and metaverse development companies, my strong base of knowledge in this field helped my current company lock in investments that on average saw a 41% increase in stock value within six months. I believe my familiarity with these industries can help HIJ Investing make highly efficient investments in these modern fields that are projected to grow exponentially.
I believe my interest and knowledge on growing industries and my experience scrutinizing the potential of mid-sized tech companies would make me a strong candidate for the role. I admire HIJ Investing’s tendency toward unorthodox financial strategies and choices and would thrilled at the opportunity to contribute to the company.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Andrew Dawson, who is still fresh in his career, starts his cover letter with a brief mention of his work experience and why he is interested in the company HIJ Investing. In his second paragraph, he talks about his achievements at his current company and expresses that he believes his skills can be beneficial to HIJ Investing. He slips in the fact that he graduated top of his class from one of the most prestigious universities with a strong Finance program which displays his diligence and capability to outperform others. He then mentions that he has skin in the game himself as he personally invests in growing industries.
In Andrew’s third paragraph, he further emphasizes his strength with modern fields and industries which HIJ Investing, a contemporary investing firm, may find attractive as a candidate. Throughout his cover letter, Andrew had stressed that he is drawn to HIJ Investing’s modern approach and portrays himself as a nontraditional investment analyst with a love for the virtual industries. It is essential to do your research on the company you are applying to in order to be familiar with its mission and goals. Familiarizing yourself will the company will show the hiring managers that you are interested in the company in particular as opposed to other companies.
Remember to proofread your cover letter multiple times and preferably get someone else to read over it as well. It is great to have a fresh set of eyes look over your letter because they can catch mistakes you might have missed. If you do not have time to ask a friend to proofread, you can use proofreading sites like Engram where Engram’s AI scans your cover letter for any grammatical errors or awkwardness.
Best of luck in your job-seeking journey!