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Create a Perfect Cover Letter

The cover letter is often your first contact with a potential employer. Your cover letter highlights your top qualifications, but it’s also your chance to give hiring managers a memorable first impression of who you are as a job candidate and person.

Use the tips and cover letter examples on this page to build your own professional, job-winning cover letter.

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Why you need a good cover letter

A good cover letter complements your resume and is an essential component of a great job application, for these reasons:

  • This is your first opportunity to market yourself to an employer: State what makes you uniquely qualified for the position.
  • Your cover letter gives insight to employers about your personality and intangible traits, and how they can add value to the organization.
  • A cover letter displays your knowledge of what the company (and job) require, showing that you’ve done your homework.
  • Finally, a cover letter communicates your enthusiasm for the position, compelling employers to read your resume and follow up with you directly.

Keys to writing your cover letter

  • Use a straightforward layout and fonts.
    Show employers that you’re an organized, professional job candidate with an organized, professional cover letter. Stick to standard fonts such as Arial or Calibri, and don’t clutter your document up with unusual graphics or formatting. Don’t distract hiring managers from what really counts: the content of your letter! If you need an employer-ready template for your cover letter, you can choose from our free selection of designs.
  • Customize your cover letter for each job opportunity.
    No job or company is exactly the same as another — the same should go for cover letters. Adjust your letter to address the specific needs of the job, and show your potential employer you understand them by emphasizing the elements of the job and company that excite you, or specific areas where you can make a difference.
  • Cut to the chase.
    Instead of beginning your letter with a generic statement, such as “I’m interested in applying for [insert job here] with your company,” grab employers’ attention by stating what specifically attracts you about the job, or highlighting a top example or two of your skills and work experience that show why you’re the right fit.
  • Tell your career as a story.
    In contrast to a resume, which is a straightforward account of your work history and qualifications, a cover letter allows you to create a narrative for hiring managers. Tell them about how you’ve developed your skills over your career, and how your past achievements have prepared you for the new job.
  • Finish with a call to action.
    It’s important to thank potential employers for their time, but you also want them to take the next step and contact you. Give them a reason to do so in your concluding sentences: Express your readiness and desire to talk further about your background and skills, and suggest a follow-up interview.For more tips on writing a resume in each format, visit our Resume Formats section.

Do’s and don’ts for your cover letter

  • Do mention any direct connections you have with the company

    Whether it’s a former colleague who now works with the company, or someone you’ve already been in contact with, start your cover letter by mentioning any connections you have. Most workers have the most success getting a job through connections.

  • Do build on your resume

    Don’t just list past work achievements on your cover letter like you do on your resume — provide details on how you’ve approached notable projects and tasks, showing how you’ve used your skills and personal qualities to achieve success.

  • Do write a letter that matches the company’s culture

    Show employers that you understand what their companies are all about by matching your skills with what the company represents. If the company prides itself on detail-oriented, efficient service, communicate those qualities in your letter. For professions that value out-of-the-box thinking or collaboration, display examples of how you’ve used these attributes in previous work.

  • Don’t send in your cover letter without reviewing it

    At the very least, give your document a spell-check and fact-check. Nothing can torpedo a job application faster than a cover letter that contains accuracy, spelling or grammar errors. Make sure your letter features the right experiences and skills for the job you’re applying to. And don’t make the simple mistake of not including accurate contact information.

  • Don’t stretch the truth about yourself or your career

    Exaggerating or outright lying about past experiences can lead to major issues if you’re found out. And if you have work gaps in your career, be up front about them, and give context about your time away (e.g., leaving a job due to family health reasons, or dealing with a layoff, but picking up new skills and connections during your time off).

  • Don’t forget to answer the most important question

    Why do you want this job? Go beyond just the paycheck or how much your skills fit the position. Explain why the job matters to you, and why you think it’s the right next step in your career.

Cover letter examples by industry

These cover letter examples are geared towards specific industries — adapt them for your own letter.

More cover letter resources

For additional help crafting the right cover letter to land you the right job, use these guides and tips:

Cover Letter Basics
Use these tips and best practices for composing your cover letter.

Cover Letter How-to’s
We provide guides on the formatting, design and writing of cover letters.

Key Features of a Successful Cover Letter
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter
The 5 Biggest Cover Letter Mistakes
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter Closing
8 Cover Letter Formatting Don’ts
10 Tips to Create a Cover Letter That Isn’t Boring

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