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How to Write a Cover Letter in 2022 (Cover Letter Tips + Free Templates)

Maria Correa by Maria Correa, Career Advice Expert
Last Updated: August 01, 2022Rated 4.5/5 Stars

A cover letter serves as a sales pitch in which you explain why you’re the right person for a specific job. Well-written cover letters play a significant role in whether you get called for an interview, so understanding how to write a cover letter for a job is key to landing it. And we’re here to help you — here’s how:

Our guide is detailed. Not only do we tell you what to include in a cover letter, section by section, and have examples you can use to write your letter, but we also teach you how to write a cover letter for specific situations. Do you lack work experience? Do you have employment gaps? Are you changing careers? We cover that and much more.

If you want to jump to a specific part of this article, feel free to click any of the sections below:

How To Write Cl

What is a cover letter? And how long should a cover letter be?

A cover letter is a one-page business letter, between 250 and 500 words, where you further explain your background, skills and interest in a potential new job. What you put in your cover letter should complement the information in your resume and give the employer a glimpse into your personality.

“Cover letters can address common questions a recruiter might ask, such as why you want to work for the company, what makes you the right fit and how you’re unique,” says Johnny C. Taylor Jr., SHRM’s president and CEO, in an interview for USA Today. “Ultimately, these different documents aim to reinforce one message: why they should hire you.”

It’s essential to know how to write a good cover letter that addresses these questions and puts you at the forefront.

What to include in a cover letter

The rules for how to make a cover letter are straightforward — follow a basic structure and don’t duplicate your resume. The cover letter tips below summarize what should be in a cover letter and the proper order it should follow:

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • Contact information

    Make sure the contact information in the cover letter heading is accurate and professional (no silly email addresses like big-muscles-99@mail.com here).

  • Employer’s contact information
    Take the time to research who to address the cover letter to (such as a team manager). Knowing how to address a cover letter correctly is crucial because you don’t want it to end up in the wrong hands. If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name and are not sure how to address a cover letter without a name, just address the letter to the department. For example, “Dear Accounting Department.”

  • Greeting
    With the contact details done, here’s how to start a cover letter the right way. Avoid a generic salutation, such as “To whom it may concern” — it’s outdated. Use titles if needed (e.g., “Dr.”), and standard honorifics (“Ms.” instead of “Mrs.”).

  • Opening paragraph
    Write a cover letter that communicates what makes you unique, and why you believe you’re the right person for the job. Keep your tone enthusiastic and present a specific example of your skills or work history as a “hook” to grab the employer’s attention. Just take a look at the example above and you’ll see how to write a good cover letter opening paragraph that immediately catches your reader’s attention.

  • Body paragraph
    What should a cover letter include in the body paragraphs? In your cover letter writing, talk about your best professional qualifications, your unique skills and how you can contribute to the company’s success. Explain what you like about the company and why you want to work with them.

  • Closing paragraph
    If you’ve ever wondered how to write a good cover letter closing paragraph, it’s pretty easy. Conclude your cover letter with a round-up of your strengths, reiterate your interest in the job, and most importantly, provide a call to action to give the employer incentive to get in touch with you.

  • Closing salutation
    What should a cover letter say at the end? Wrap up your cover letter with a professional sign-off, followed by your full name. The most common is “Sincerely,” but you can also use “Best regards,” and “Thank you.”

How to write a cover letter (cover letter tips for every section)

From the cover letter heading to the sign-off, here’s how to make a cover letter in eight steps:

  1.  Step 1:
    Review your resume.

    Before you start writing your cover letter, it’s important to organize your information. Think of your cover letter as a strong companion to your resume. It’s your chance to explain things that aren’t shown in your resume, go into more detail about skills or achievements, and introduce yourself personally. To help you determine what to write in a cover letter, look over your resume and take note of abilities and experiences you want to highlight or expand upon.

  2. Step 2:
    Get to know the company.

    You know what skills and experiences you want to highlight, so what comes next? How do you write a cover letter for a job application? It’s all about tailoring it to the company.

    Learn about their values, culture, goals and history by exploring their website and any social media accounts the company might have. This will help you set the tone of your cover letter and it will also come in handy to explain why you want to work for that employer. After all, a cover letter for a job like animation shouldn’t be written like a cover letter for a job in banking.

  3. Step 3:
    Get your cover letter heading straight.

    Write your contact information under your name in the cover letter header — as you would in your resume. This includes:

    • First and last name
    • Professional email address
    • Phone number
    • City and state where you reside
    • Optional: LinkedIn or relevant social media handles, portfolio or website link

    Below your contact information and left-aligned, write the date and the company’s contact details, including:

    • First and last name of the hiring manager, or the person you’re writing to
    • Company address
    • Company phone number
    • Hiring manager’s email address

    Header Example

    Avoid using an unprofessional email in your cover letter heading, like catlady@mail.com. If you don’t already have an email specifically for professional settings, create one with just your first name and last name, if possible — it’ll help hiring managers take you more seriously.

  4. Step 4:
    How to address a cover letter with a name and how to address a cover letter without a name.

    The next step is figuring out who to address the cover letter to. Ideally, it should be the hiring manager.

    To find their full name, you can:

    1. Search the company on LinkedIn and see their list of employees.
    2. Explore its website or other social media profiles, like Instagram.

    You want to be as specific as possible in your cover letter writing; otherwise, your cover letter may end up in the wrong hands or department.

    But what if you still can’t find the right information after searching high and low? It’s OK! You have options:

    • If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, address your cover letter to the department. For example, “Dear Creative Department.”
    • If you have their name but are unsure whether to use titles like Mr., Mrs. or Ms., you can leave it out and use their full name. For example, “Dear Gina Smith.”

    Avoid starting with greetings such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir or madam” — they’re a thing of the past.

    How to write a cover letter greeting

    YES

    • Dear Kim Brown,
    • Dear Mr. Nelson,
    • Dear Dr. Law,
    • Dear Ms. Roberts,

    NO

    • Dear Sales Department,
    • Dear [Company] Team,
    • Dear [Company] Recruiter,

    AVOID

    • To whom it may concern
    • Dear sir or madam
  5. Step 5:
    How to start a cover letter.

    Start your cover letter with a strong opening paragraph. Here’s one of the hottest cover letter tips to do it right: Don’t introduce yourself in the opening statement — they can see your name in your contact information.

    Instead of a generic first paragraph like this one:

    • Poor examplesHey, my name’s Karen Young, and I’ve been a graphic designer for four years. I’d like to join the creative team at Blink Agency because I believe I’d be a great fit for the position.

    Here’s how to write a good cover letter opening paragraph:

    • Convey passion and enthusiasm for your work and the job opportunity. Dear John King,
      Graphic design has been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember and something I have dedicated myself to full-time for the last four years. When I saw on LinkedIn that Blink Agency was looking for a graphic designer to join their creative team, I quickly jumped into action, knowing that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join a team responsible for so many innovative and fun branding ideas.
    • If applying through referral, mention your professional connection upfront. Dear John King,
      I’ve been referred to the graphic designer opportunity at Blink Agency through Tom Smith, a product manager on your team, who thought I would be interested in this position given my four years of experience in branding and identity design. I have created many brand identities throughout my career for brands such as Bear Soap and LUNA Beverages, and I would love the opportunity to contribute to your creative team with my design aesthetic.
    • Highlight past work achievements.Dear John King,
      As a graphic designer, I’ve had four years of experience in branding and identity design, including work for Soda Night. My colorful and youthful rebranding for that company resulted in a 200% increase in sales among younger generations who made the packaging go viral on TikTok and Instagram. I’m excited at the prospect of making a similar impact with Blink Agency’s diverse clientele, which is why I ran to apply once I saw the job opening on LinkedIn..

    Each of these examples approaches the cover letter opening paragraph differently, but they have four things in common:

    1. They mention the job position you want.
    2. They include the company name.
    3. They explain how you discovered the job opening.
    4. They enthusiastically announce your intention to apply.

    Whether you decide to convey passion or highlight a past achievement, these four details are what should be in a cover letter opening.

  6. Step 6:
    What to put in a cover letter body paragraph.

    You should aim for your cover letter’s body paragraphs to go beyond your resume and paint a fuller, more vibrant image of who you are, what you can bring to the company, and how enthusiastic you are about this new opportunity. Here’s how to make a cover letter that stands out:

    • Provide further details on work accomplishments. If you can throw in quantifiable achievements in your cover letter writing, do so. Numbers are great indicators of impact and they help hiring managers get a better grasp of your abilities.
    • Explain what’s motivated you to change careers or jobs and how your skills will contribute to the company. Make a cover letter that highlights transferable skills — it’s a great way to show the employer that you have the capacity for the job.
    • Draw a connection between your past experiences and how they can be applied to the potential job. This is particularly helpful if you’re returning to the workforce after a pause or changing careers. What should a cover letter say to accomplish this? It’s simple! Just connect your previous job responsibilities with what the new job requires. Don’t have work experience? No problem! Connect this new opportunity with a personal project, extracurricular activity or internship.
    • Show your knowledge of the company and the job you’re seeking. Hiring managers know when you did your research. Write a cover letter that shows that you understand their culture, goals and environment. This will help you convey that you’re the best candidate for the role and a good fit for the team.

    Here are some examples that use one or more of these points and show you how to write a good cover letter body paragraph:

    • Highlight your skills and what you can bring to the table. Identifying innovative approaches and improved solutions to business challenges motivates and drives me in my experience, introducing fresh perspectives and new techniques to allow businesses to evolve and grow. Like Astound Group, my goal is to remain on the cutting edge of advancements within the design industry.
      As a graphic design intern, I’ve honed essential skills such as concept development and image manipulation using innovative approaches to create dynamic and interactive layouts for national campaigns and social media content. I’m keen to apply these skills and a collaborative spirit to your creative department, facilitating positive change and impacting outcomes.
    • Show your knowledge of the organization and your value.Your school emphasizes the importance of community and inclusion, striving to engage students through integrated learning. I have developed successful learning plans to help students retain and use their skills inside and outside the classroom throughout my teaching career. I’ve used my creativity, energy and compassion to improve the lives of over 60 students each school year, giving them the dedication and attention they deserve.
      I firmly believe that every student deserves an enriching education that helps them achieve their full potential. As an English teacher, my goal is to motivate Magnolia Elementary’s students with activities that inspire them and cultivate an environment that fosters confidence and inner strength.Having had a lifelong passion for teaching and education, I am excited by the prospect of joining your staff and using my experience to help more students flourish.
    • Explain how your past experiences will come in handy.After dedicating several years to fashion design and running my own business, I have decided to change paths and seek a career in digital marketing. My background in fashion and business provided me with communication, problem-solving and interpersonal talents that have supported my professional growth.
      I thrive in high-pressure and fast-paced situations, striving for positive results by applying my business planning and creative abilities. I also have expertise in process improvement and a knack for maximizing performance — my business’ online presence grew 30% more than expected in two months. I can visualize success and identify unconventional yet bold and highly effective strategies for achieving it.
      EM Socials has a proven track record of creating impactful, innovative and out-of-the-box digital content. Joining your team as an account executive and assisting in your mission to do more than just marketing is an opportunity I’d love to embark on.
  7. Step 7:
    What to include in a cover letter closing paragraph.

    You have a killer opening, and body paragraphs that highlight your accomplishments and skills. Now it’s time to teach you how to create a cover letter closing statement to wrap up everything nicely.

    Make it clear that you’re excited about the possibility of working for that employer and putting your knowledge and expertise to good use. Keep in mind that you’re writing a cover letter to a specific person, so thank them for their time and consideration. You should also encourage the recipient to follow up (e.g., “I look forward to further discussing my qualifications with you.”).

    Not sure how to write a cover letter closing? Here are a few examples:

    • I have attached my resume and creative portfolio to this application for further review of my credentials. I am eager to speak with you about this role and greatly appreciate your consideration.

     

    • Thank you for your time and consideration. I have enclosed my resume for a more in-depth illustration of my work history and accomplishments. I look forward to the possibility of discussing how my personality and background fit the English teaching position.

     

    • Following a review of my resume and portfolio, I hope my personality, abilities and dedication present a match for the company. I would be thrilled to have an opportunity to speak with your team further about this position. Please feel free to contact me via email. I sincerely appreciate your consideration and help through this process.
  8. Step 8:
    What goes in a cover letter sign-off?

    The most common cover letter sign-off is “Sincerely,” but you can use the ones mentioned below:

    • 4 cover letter sign-offs to use
    • Sincerely,
    • Best regards,
    • Kind regards,
    • Thank you,

    With all the sections written, the last thing you should do before downloading your cover letter is proofread it. Make sure there are no typos or grammatical mistakes, and if you can get a friend to review it for you, even better.

    And there you go! That’s how to write a good cover letter. So, what does a cover letter look like? When all is said and done, here’s a finished example that applies all the writing tips for cover letters we have provided:

How To Mak A Unique Cl

Cover letter tips for unique
situations

How to write a cover letter for a job with no experience

If you have no formal work experience but really want to land your first job, how do you make a cover letter that will help you stand out? It’s completely possible and easier than you think! The key is to focus your cover letter on any soft and hard skills you’ve gained from experiences like internships, extracurricular activities (such as clubs and volunteer work) or educational courses.

Write a cover letter that emphasizes your passion to learn more and your eagerness to join the employer’s company. Use this entry-level cover letter example as inspiration:

How to make a cover letter for a career change

Writing a career change cover letter requires some strategy and organization. Here’s what should be in a cover letter if you’re changing fields:

  1. Your transferable skills and previous work experiences relevant to the new job.
  2. Why you’re making the career change and why you chose that company to do it.

Your cover letter should show the hiring manager how your skills and past experiences, even if in a different industry, have equipped you with the knowledge necessary to tackle the new job’s responsibilities. Show that you bring a unique perspective to the table that will help their team thrive.

What to include in a cover letter if you have employment gaps

Life happens, and you might find yourself with an employment gap. If that’s your case, here are some tips on how to make a cover letter for a resume with gaps between jobs.

First off, use your cover letter to address any employment gaps you feel comfortable sharing directly. For example, if you left your previous job to start your own business, focus on artistic projects or do volunteer work, share it proudly. Write a cover letter that ties these experiences and any skills you may have learned from them to the new job, and explain how they will help you perform the job’s responsibilities.

If the employment gap was caused by anything health-related, personal or because you wanted to raise your family, you don’t have to give any explanations — the law protects you if you choose not to. In cases such as these, make a cover letter that focuses on your qualifications and skills.

If your former employer fired you, it’s also best not to include this in your letter. Instead of airing it out, write about your qualifications and excitement for this new opportunity and come to the interview prepared with a professional answer (because the interviewer will likely ask you about it).

How to write a “cold call” cover letter

In your job search, you may have come across a company that perfectly aligns with your skill set, interests and values. Their work and company culture speak to you, but you don’t know if they’re looking for new team members — this is where the cold call cover letter comes in. What is it? How do you make a cover letter that isn’t solicited?

The goal of a cold call cover letter is to introduce you and your skills to the hiring manager in the hopes of:

  • Getting early consideration for a future role.
  • Getting hired to a new role that was created specifically for you.

To achieve this, include compelling details about your skills and knowledge, why you’re so passionate about joining their team and how you will be of value to them. Remember: You are marketing yourself. It isn’t about what they can do for you, but about what you can do for them.

 

How to write a cover letter for a job that isn’t advertised

You know the company is looking to hire someone. Still, they haven’t posted the official job opening on their website or on any job boards. That’s no problem at all! Make a cover letter that explains how you found out about the role in the opening paragraph and why you couldn’t wait to apply to be part of their team.

How to write a cover letter for a job (temporary to permanent position)

You’ve been working as a temporary employee for a while and have come to really love your job and wish to join the full-time team. What goes in a cover letter that requests a permanent position?

The first thing you should do is ask your manager or the human resources department what the company policy is.

In some cases, you may need to formally apply for a permanent position through the same process as external candidates. Other times, the process is more straightforward as you’re already in the organization.

Whichever the case, use your cover letter to explain the experience and skills you have developed with their company. You’re already trained and know what to do, so write a cover letter that shows them what you have accomplished so far and how your hard work will continue to benefit them.

How to write a cover letter for a job with the same company

A new position opened up in the company you work at, and upon reviewing the job description, you found out that not only do you meet the requirements but it’s also something you’re interested in doing. Let’s write a cover letter that explains why.

Don’t assume that the hiring manager reviewing your application will know your qualifications because you work for the same company. Like a career change cover letter, a letter for this scenario will require you to highlight your transferable skills and experiences.

Share specific details of your achievements with the organization in your cover letter writing and explain what motivated you to apply. Perhaps it’s a more challenging role or something you’ve always wanted to do — state your case and make it clear that you have what it takes to tackle the new responsibilities.

How to write a cover letter when seeking a promotion

A job promotion cover letter should clearly explain why you’re qualified to take the next step in your career and grow within the company. You’re essentially saying: “Hey, look at my qualifications and experience. I know the company, I have the skills, and I believe I can be of value to you in a higher position.”

Make a cover letter that recaps the experience you’ve had so far, the impact you have had on the team and how, by promoting you, you will help the company accomplish its goals and mission faster.

For more inspiration and other cover letter examples by job and industry, check out our extensive cover letter examples page.

Next step: Write a cover letter with ease

Our Cover Letter Builder knows how to save you time and has a ton of features that will show you what to put in a cover letter from start to finish.

Castaway Blue

Job-specific phrases and skills:

No matter the job you’re applying for, we’ve got you covered. Our Cover Letter Builder makes it easier to make a cover letter by providing job-related information and skills you can incorporate with just one click.

Steps

Step-by-step guidance:

Our Cover Letter Builder gives you expert cover letter tips to help you feature the right content — every step of the way.

Customize

Easy customization:

Write a cover letter for every job application and save as many versions of it as you need.

Download

Multiple download formats:

Save and export your cover letter as a PDF, DOCX, text and more.

Pair your professional cover letter with a perfect resume

You know how to write a cover letter, but is your resume up to par? Make sure these two documents complement each other by using our expert resume resources and our Resume Builder.

If you want to learn more about resume writing, check out our in-depth guide on How to Write a Resume. For resume inspiration, we have over 1,000 resume examples for different jobs and industries at your disposal and professionally designed free resume templates you can match with your cover letter.

Free cover letter templates to consider

Searching for free cover letter templates to download? Look no further! We have exactly what you need and more. These free templates include clear instructions on how to write a cover letter for a job and expert cover letter tips if you want to do it on your own — though you can always come back to this article.

Key takeaways

To wrap up, let’s go over what to include in a cover letter and all the tips for cover letters we provided one more time:

  • A cover letter is a one-page document that complements your resume and helps you market yourself as the best candidate.
  • Address the letter to the hiring manager. If you don’t know who to address the cover letter to or can’t find their name, it is OK to address the letter to the department.
  • Write a cover letter introduction that immediately grabs the hiring manager’s attention and inspires them to keep reading.
  • The body paragraphs in your cover letter should explain why your skills and experience are perfect for the job and why you want to join the employer’s company.
  • A good cover letter thanks the hiring manager for their time and consideration before signing off. Remember to prompt them to follow up.
  • Make sure your cover letter and resume match, both visually and in writing.

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