Welcome back, ! Your subscription has expired. RENEW SUBSCRIPTION

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

A cover letter serves as a sales pitch in which you explain why you’re the right person for a specific job. According to 83% of hiring managers and recruiters, cover letters play a big 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!

This guide will cover and include:

How To Write A Cover Letter Mobile

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a one-page business letter, between 250 and 500 words, where you further explain your background, skills and interest in the potential new job. Its purpose is to 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. Our guide and cover letter examples are here to help you succeed.

What to include in a cover letter

All cover letters follow the same structure and have the following seven sections:

  1. Contact information

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

  2. Employer’s contact information

    Address the letter to the most appropriate person (like the hiring manager) and department. Be sure to include the company’s physical address as well.

  3. Greeting

    Get your letter off on the right foot — avoid a generic salutation (e.g., “To whom it may concern”). Take the time to research a specific person to address the letter to (such as a team manager). Use titles if needed (e.g., “Dr.”), and standard honorifics (“Ms.” instead of “Mrs.” for example).

  4. Opening paragraph

    Communicate 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.

  5. Body paragraph

    Elaborate on your best qualifications, and how you can contribute to the company’s success. Prove you’ve done your homework and note what intrigues you about the company’s business, needs and strong points. Provide details on your career and the unique skills that supply more depth and detail than what can be included in a resume.

  6. Closing paragraph

    Conclude your letter with a summation of your strengths, reiterate your interest in the job, and most importantly, provide a call to action, giving the employer incentive to get in touch with you.

  7. Closing salutation

    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.”

Sections Of A Cover Letter

How to write a cover letter: 8 steps

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

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. Look over your resume, and take note of abilities and experiences you want to highlight or expand upon.

Step 2: Research the company.

Learn about the company’s values, culture, goals and history. Aside from reading the job description well, explore their website and any social media accounts the company might have. Knowing this will help you determine the tone you must use in 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 creative job like animation shouldn’t be written like a cover letter for a more conservative job in banking.

Step 3: Get your header 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

Get Your Header Straight

Avoid using an unprofessional email, 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 to take you more seriously.

Step 4: Use a proper greeting.

The next step in cover letter writing is to address the letter to the right person, ideally the hiring manager.

To find their full name, you can search the company on LinkedIn and see their employees, and explore its website or other social media profiles, like Instagram. You want to be as specific as possible; 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

Do you know the hiring manager’s name?

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 and Dear sir or madam

Step 5: Start with a strong opening paragraph.

Writing an engaging cover letter opening is extremely important, as hiring managers and recruiters sometimes see hundreds of applications a day. So here’s a hot tip: 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:

Wrong example

Hey, 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.

Make an impact following one of these approaches found in our cover letter examples:

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 job 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, where my colorful and youthful rebranding 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.

As you can see, 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 should be included in your opening paragraph.

Step 6: Emphasize your value in the body paragraphs.

Your aim for your cover letter’s body paragraphs should be 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. You can do this by:

  • Providing further details on work accomplishments. If you can throw in quantifiable achievements, do so. Numbers are great indicators of impact, and they help hiring managers get a better grasp of your abilities.
  • Explaining what’s motivated you to change careers or jobs and how your skills will help. Highlighting transferable skills is a great way to show the employer that you have the potential to do the job.
  • Drawing 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. 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.
  • Showing your knowledge of the company and the job you’re seeking. Hiring managers know when you did your research. You want to show 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 cover letter sample body paragraphs that use one or more of these points:

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 creating 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 better 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 has 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, bold, yet 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.

Step 7: Finish with a call to action in your closing paragraphs.

You have a killer opening, body paragraphs that highlight your accomplishments and skills, and now it’s time to finish strong. Your closing statement is your last chance to make it clear that you’re excited about the possibility of working for that employer and putting your knowledge and expertise to good use.

Remember 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.

Step 8: Sign off formally and proofread.

Once you’re done with your closing statement, it’s time to finish the cover letter with a formal sign-off, followed by your full name. The most common is “Sincerely,” but you can use the ones mentioned below:

4 cover letter sample sign-offs to use

  • Sincerely,
  • Best regards,
  • Kind regards,
  • Thank you,

And there you go! That’s how to write a good cover letter. 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.

This sample cover letter is how the final product of your cover letter writing should look:

How To Write A Cover Letter Step 8

Cover letter examples for job seeker unique situations

How to write a cover letter with no experience

While writing a cover letter with no formal work experience might seem challenging, it’s completely possible and easier than you think. The key is to focus your cover letter on any soft skills and hard skills you’ve gained from experiences like internships, extracurricular activities (such as clubs and volunteer work) or educational courses.

Emphasize in your writing 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 write a cover letter for a career change

Writing a career-change cover letter requires a bit more strategy and organization. There are two things you want to accomplish in your writing:

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

 

As seen in the sample cover letter below, 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 responsibilities of the new job. Show that you bring to the table a unique perspective that will help their team thrive.

How to write a cover letter if you have employment gaps

Use your cover letter to directly address any employment gaps you feel comfortable sharing. As seen in the sample cover letter below, if you left your previous job to start your own business, focus on artistic projects or do volunteer work, share it proudly. Tie 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, focus on your qualifications and skills.

If your former employer fired you, it’s also best not to include this in your cover letter. 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, interest 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.

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, your cover letter must 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. As evidenced in the resume example below, 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 an unadvertised position

You know the company is looking to hire someone but they haven’t posted the official job opening on their website or any job boards. That’s no problem at all! Our sample cover letter below demonstrates the way to explain 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 temporary-to-permanent position

You’ve been working as a temporary employee for a while and have come to really love your job, so how do you request 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 the sample cover letter below to learn how to explain the experience and skills you have developed with the company. You’re already trained and know what to do, so show 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 different position 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 something you’re really 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 just because you work for the same company. As you can see from the sample cover letter below, a letter for this scenario will require you to highlight your transferable skills and experiences.

Share specific details of your achievements with the organization and explain what motivated you to apply. Perhaps it’s a more challenging role or maybe it’s 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

Our job promotion sample cover letter shows how to 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.”

In your writing, recap 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 exactly how to save you time:

1
Expert Designs

Job-specific phrases and skills

No matter what job you’re applying for, we’ve got you covered. Our cover letter builder will provide job-related information and skills you can incorporate into your letter with just one click.

2
Readable Layouts

Step-by-step guidance

Our cover letter builder gives you expert tips to help you feature the right content in your letter — every step of the way.

 

3
Easy To Customize

Easy customization

Create and save as many versions of your cover letter as you want.

4
Well Help You Build Your Resume

Multiple download formats

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

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.

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.

Key takeaways

Now that you understand everything about writing a cover letter, let’s go over what we’ve discussed 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 can’t find their name, addressing the letter to the department is OK.
  • Your introduction should immediately grab the hiring manager’s attention and inspire 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.
  • Before signing off, thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration, and prompt them to follow up.
  • Make sure your cover letter and resume match, both visually and in writing.

Rate this article

Average Rating
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
4.5/5 stars with 820 reviews

More cover letter resources