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How to Write a Job Application Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is essential when applying for jobs. This is the perfect way to express how your specific skills are relevant to the open position. Wow your future employer with this simple cover letter example format.
Write a First Draft
Writing a first draft makes your letter concise and professional, states The Balance Careers. Organize your thoughts by making a list of what you’re trying to convey. Make sure you prioritize certain aspects like your previous job experience and why you would be a good fit for the position. Clearly state what position you’re interested in and why. Think about why you’re applying and what caught your eye about this specific position. Your cover letter will be easier to write after your thoughts are collected and organized.
Customize Your Salutation
When writing a salutation, make sure you know who you are writing to. Is this person the owner of the company or a Human Resources administrator? If you’re not sure, research the company to find out. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person shows initiative and attention to detail. After your salutation, start your letter with a short introduction of yourself. This gives future employers insight into who you are and the purpose of your cover letter.
Your cover letter should be no more than one page, so keep your points brief. Clearly state what position you are interested in and why. Explain why you are a good fit for the company because of your past job experience. If you have no similar job experience, let the employer know why you are changing career paths. Expand on your skills and give specific examples of how that skill set helped you at your last position. Name projects you’ve worked on and show results.
Close Your Letter
End your cover letter with a brief sentence and sign off. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest towards the job again. Let them know you’ll follow up with them if you do not hear back within a week and leave your contact information. Sign off with a professional farewell and leave room for a signature if sending a hard copy.
Edit and Proofread
As you finish writing your cover letter, make sure you take time to edit and proofread your document. Make sure it’s structured in a professional format with the company’s information, the salutation and introduction, the body of the letter, a brief closing sentence and farewell. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes to ensure a formal result. Make sure all names are spelled correctly, as well.
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5 Short Cover Letter Examples (+How to Write)
A general cover letter ranges from 300 to 500 words. But what if we told you that you can make it even shorter and still impress potential employers? Read on to find out how to write an effective short cover letter.
To write a short cover letter that still lands you the interview, draw inspiration from our short cover letter samples and template below. You can use these examples however you like — either download them as Microsoft Word files or copy and paste the text.
As long as you can explain why you’re the ideal candidate, a short cover letter is just as effective as a long cover letter. In fact, it’s even more effective to include just the one or two biggest reasons you deserve to be hired, rather than a list of less relevant reasons.
Five short cover letter examples
Our professional short cover letter samples include everything needed to capture the hiring manager’s attention and earn an interview.
Short cover letter sample #1
Download This Free Sample
This brief cover letter works because it quickly makes an impact by highlighting the candidate’s passion for tutoring.
Additionally, the cover letter is just long enough for the candidate to include some concrete achievements from their past work. These examples show employers what the candidate is capable of in just a short amount of time.
Short cover letter sample #1 (text version)
February 29, 2020
Washington High School
Portland, Oregon 97174
Dear Principal [Name],
I’ve been passionate about teaching since I began tutoring for pocket money in high school.
I have seven years of teaching experience, instructing children with a diverse range of abilities. I’m also successful at boosting achievement, having increased average grades by 15% at my current school. I believe this makes me an ideal candidate for the tutoring role at Brearley High School as advertised on LinkedIn.
I can be contacted at 971 874-2478 or [Your Email]. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Short cover letter sample #2
Despite this short cover letter’s length, the candidate quickly spotlights their interpersonal skills and full attendance record — both details that will impress employers.
By the end of this cover letter, the reader is left with a clear understanding of this candidate’s qualifications and confidence in their abilities.
Short cover letter sample #2 (text version)
March 15, 2020
Hiring Manager’s Name
47 Jackson Street
Derry, Maine 04401
Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],
Since graduating from high school in 2010, I’ve waitressed at four different establishments in Derry. If Atwater’s restaurant is looking for an experienced professional, I’m your candidate.
I’m a reliable, diligent worker, with a 100% attendance record. I’m also popular with the local clientele: my ability to create a rapport with customers increased daily wine sales by $50+ in my current role.
I look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at [Your Email] or (207) 014-7858.
Short cover letter sample #3
This concise cover letter is effective because the applicant wastes no time highlighting how much experience they have.
The candidate quickly shows that they were recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA) for their emergency response performance and strong sense of ethics. In less than 150 words, they effectively draw attention to their top hard and soft skills in a convincing yet brief cover letter.
Short cover letter sample #3 (text version)
April 7, 2020
1047 Osage Boulevard
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74169
As a state-qualified registered nurse with 17 years of experience tending to the infirm, I believe that I’m the ideal candidate for the nursing position at St. Mary’s Hospital.
In my present role, I evaluate the conditions of approximately 30 patients daily, developing personalized support plans for each of them, all while interfacing with colleagues to ensure effective care.
I’m responsive to emergency medical situations, and provide sympathetic support to patients as well as their friends and families. In 2018, I was awarded the Leadership in Ethics Award by the ANA in recognition of these qualities, so I believe I would be a valuable addition to St. Mary’s
I look forward to speaking to you about this position. I can be reached at 918.184.5447 or [Your Email].
Short cover letter sample #4
This short cover letter succeeds by packing plenty of information in a small space.
The applicant uses bullet points to showcase their relevant achievements and organizational skills . In this case, the applicant is applying for a copy editing role, so they talk about how they’ve successfully improved copy in the past, backing up those achievements with hard numbers.
Short cover letter example #4 (text version)
August 31, 2021
[Hiring Manager’s Name]
Atlanta, GA 30347
Dear [Mr./Ms./Mx.] [Hiring Manager’s Surname],
I’m writing to apply for the chief copy editor position at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution you advertised on Indeed.com.
Here are the reasons why I believe I’d be suitable for the role:
- I know the AP stylebook inside and out
- I have 7+ years’ experience as a sub-editor, including 2 as deputy chief copy editor
- In my current role, I edit 7,000 words per day
- I’m used to working to a (midnight) deadline
- I’ve adapted to working on rotation, often working weekends
- As deputy chief copy editor, I’m responsible for all copy editing on 3 days a week, supervising a team of 5
- Since I was hired, I’ve reduced the incidence of typos by 17% through my attention to detail and organizational skills
Thank you for reviewing my qualifications. You can contact me at your convenience to organize an interview at (470) 000-1234 or [email protected] I look forward to hearing from you.
Short cover letter sample #5
This example demonstrates that you don’t need work experience to write an effective short cover letter.
In fact, short cover letters are perfect if you’re writing an entry-level cover letter . The shorter format lets you get right to the point and allows you to focus on your top 1–2 achievements that make you a good fit for the role.
Short cover letter example #5 (text version)
February 1, 2022
74 Company Address
Murfreesboro, TN 37131
Dear [Mr./Mx./Ms.] [Hiring Manager’s Surname],
I’m thrilled to be writing to you to apply for the Tour Guide position that Greenbay Tours is advertising on LinkedIn.
Guiding tourists around our historic city and teaching them about its colorful past requires strong leadership and communication skills. I grew into an effective leader and communicator as President of the Tubman High School Debate Team, and these abilities paired with a passion for history make me the perfect fit for this role.
I have no doubt that I could apply my charisma and sincere interest in our city’s past to showcase its marvels to tourists. Please feel free to reach out to me for an interview at (615) 000-1234 or [email protected]
Short cover letter template
Prefer using a template where you can simply plug in your information? We’ve got you covered.
Download This Free Template
This template ticks all the boxes of a well-written short cover letter: it’s properly formatted, concise, and addresses the hiring manager by name. You can download this template — or copy and paste the text — and fill in the blanks.
Short cover letter template (text version)
[City], [State] [ZIP]
As a [Position Name] with [X] years of experience [Action], I believe that I am the ideal candidate for [Company Name].
I am a [Adjective], [Adjective] worker, and in my current position have successfully [Achievement — with numbers]
I look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at [Your Email] or [Your Phone Number].
How to write a short cover letter for a job application
To write an effective short cover letter, you need to summarize your relevant experience, skill set, and achievements as quickly as possible.
Follow these tips to create a brief cover letter that wins over hiring managers.
1. Don’t use this overused opening line
“I’m writing to apply for the role of…” is the most overused opening line job seekers use on their cover letters.
Most hiring managers have seen it thousands of times. When writing your cover letter, try to avoid this boring opener.
Instead, learn how to start a cover letter with creativity and personalize your opening to you, and you’ll get noticed by more recruiters.
To illustrate how to do this, here’s an example of a captivating opening line:
“As an experienced and innovative marketer with an excellent track record, I’m thrilled to submit my application for the Senior Marketing Specialist role at ABC Enterprises.”
Then later on your cover letter explain the details about the role you want to fill and where you found it.
2. Cut meaningless buzzwords
Anyone can describe themself as “detail-oriented” or a “self-starter,” but buzzwords mean little to recruiters.
Rather than describing yourself as “self-motivated,” give an example of an achievement that demonstrates this quality in action.
For instance, you could write “Researched a new search engine optimization strategy that led to a 47% increase in sales.”
Adding an accomplishment that reflects your strongest soft skills demonstrates to the hiring manager that you actually have those soft skills, and aren’t just saying so.
3. Don’t mention every past job
You don’t need to mention every job you’ve ever had in a short cover letter.
Instead of talking about specific roles, discuss the accomplishments and skills listed on your resume that make you the perfect fit for the job.
You can give a more detailed overview of your previous positions when writing your resume .
4. Use short words rather than long phrases
Without realizing it, we sometimes write unnecessarily long phrases on professional documents when a single word is enough. After you’ve written your cover letter, go back and reread it. Replace longer phrases with single words (or at least fewer words).
Here are some examples of long phrases that are frequently used in cover letters along with some shorter words to use instead:
- In order to
- I am capable of/I am able to
- Due to the fact that
- Successfully accomplished
- A large number of
- With regard to
- At the present time
Short cover letter FAQs
Here are the answers to some common questions about short cover letters.
What do I include in a short cover letter?
In clude the same sections of a cover letter you’d normally have, including:
- a cover letter header with your contact information
- the hiring manager’s mailing address
- a proper cover letter salutation
- the body of your cover letter
- a sign off and your signature or typed name
How do I format a short cover letter?
Format your short cover letter the same way you’d format a cover letter that’s standard length.
Standard formatting elements include:
- a professional cover letter font (size 10.5–12 points — your contact details can go down to around 8 points)
- 1” cover letter margins
- PDF or DOCX format
When shouldn’t I use a short and concise cover letter?
There are a couple of situations when you shouldn’t use a short and concise cover letter:
- If the hiring manager has set a minimum word count — make sure you hit it.
- If you have many relevant achievements, skills, and certifications that the hiring manager absolutely needs to know about (and you can’t describe them properly in your resume) — then you can add them to your cover letter.
- If writing at a high level is part of the job — showcase your written prowess with your cover letter.
- If you’re changing careers — a compelling career change cover letter needs to be long enouch to explain why you’re making the change and convince employers that your skill set will be an asset to their company.
However, here’s the Golden Rule of cover letter length : Never go past one page!
How can I make a short cover letter quickly?
If you need to make a short cover letter quickly, you can use a cover letter builder , which breaks the process down into a few quick steps. Or if you dread setting up a cover letter because you don’t know how to make it eye-catching, use a cover letter template instead.
Will hiring managers be turned off by a brief cover letter?
No, hiring managers won’t be turned off by a brief cover letter. In fact, many hiring managers will appreciate your ability to get to the point. Hiring managers have dozens of applications to review, and if you can sum up why you’d be the perfect hire in 200 words or less, they’ll appreciate you saving them time.
How short should a cover letter be?
As long as you can present a solid reason for why you should be hired, there’s no real rule about how short a cover letter should be. The shortest one we feature is under 150 words, but if you could convey the same information in fewer words, then go for it!
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Written by Ida Pettersson
Ida is a Content Writer at Resume Genius, where she assists job seekers as they plan their next career moves. She graduated from New College of Florida with a double major... more
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10 short cover letter samples to use in 2023
A standard cover letter takes up one page. Most of them fill the page entirely.
Well, because commonly held job search wisdom says that a cover letter should not be longer than a page. But that doesn’t mean that filling a page is a good idea either.
But, but, but…. job seekers have so much to tell a hiring manager.
Well, in theory, the core messages of their career story should be in their resume already. The cover letter is more about adding some personality and a sense of their “why.” And in a world of short attention spans, job seekers are increasingly opting for shorter cover letters. Our short cover letter samples prove that it can be done.
In this blog we explore short cover letter samples and why they might be preferable. Be warned – crafting your 100-150 words is a mammoth task. We consider:
What do hiring managers think about short cover letters?
- What is the structure of a short cover letter sample?
When shouldn’t I use a short cover letter?
- How much personality is too much personality?
- Short cover letter samples and tips
If you want to be truly memorable, keep it brief.
Standing out sometimes simply means being different. When your cover letter is half of the length of all the other candidates, you set yourself apart as being different. Whether that is “good” different or “bad” different will depend on the content of your job application, but different is a useful category to put yourself in. If the hiring manager views you as being the same as everyone else, that won’t end well for your application.
Some of the best sales pitches and slogans are a matter of just a few words.
You do not need to fill a page with writing to win someone over to your point of view.
We are all used to these pithy slogans, so when we read a long (and sometimes rambling) piece of content there is a tendency to lose the thread halfway through.
What were they trying to say, again?
That is why many hiring managers may be subconsciously impressed by a short cover letter. It is clear that the candidate will have plenty to say about their career, but the ability to focus on one or two things shows just how well they understand their value. And, also, the hiring manager will appreciate the mental breathing space. They may well spend the same time reading the letter. The blank spaces will simply hint that it is time to think.
As long as your resume is incredibly impressive and relevant, there is little risk in sending a shorter cover letter. You will see with our short cover letter samples that there are many situations where they may be appropriate.
You don’t have to mention your previous jobs at all. If you are writing a short cover letter, you might elect not to mention your previous jobs. Your resume will give all that factual detail, so maybe just focus on other aspects of your personality and motivations.
Here is exactly how you can write a cover letter that will stand out from the crowd, and help you land that interview.
Structure of a short cover letter sample
Very few short cover letters will be sent as a document.
The majority of the ten short cover letter samples in this blog will likely be sent via email or a direct message on social media. Their purpose is to catch the attention, not engage in a detailed sales story. If the employer requests a cover letter that they will store on their ATS system, it is best to write a full page to maximize the keyword possibilities.
ATS software does not like short cover letters, so beware.
Even though the short cover letter will not always be a formal document, much of the normal cover letter rules apply in terms of the structure – just in a miniaturized version.
How to format a short cover letter? The format of the short cover letter depends on the nature of the contents, but every cover letter should include your contact details, the date, a suitable salutation, two short paragraphs, a call to action and a polite sign-off.
10 Short cover letter samples with tips
For the purposes of these cover letter examples, we’ll leave out the header with the contact details, the date and the signature section – an email might also contain a link to your LinkedIn profile .
While these short cover letter samples are intended to spark inspiration, the charm of a short cover letter lies in the fact that they should be hyper-personalized. Copying a template will not serve you well.
1. Short cover letter sample (just the basics)
Even if a cover letter is short and simple, it still needs to be effective. In the sample below, you’ll see that the applicant made a connection to the company and used key success metrics to offer insight on the value they could bring.
Dear Mr. Gantley,
I am writing to see whether you need a talented mathematician in your marketing team? My former colleague Hannah Wilson mentioned that you may be hiring soon.
I have used my data science degree to outstanding effect in my marketing career thus far, diving deep into customer behaviors and seeing profit uplifts of 125% on certain projects.
I know that I will add value as you seek to increase your 12% market share. My expertise in lead targeting and customer segmentation will help you to plot the right path. I would love the opportunity of an interview to discuss my bespoke marketing analytics platform.
2. Short cover letter example (speculative)
When you are applying for a position speculatively it is especially important not to take up too much of the hiring manager’s time. Convey enough value to pique their interest in a short cover letter so that they explore further on your LinkedIn profile.
Dear Ms. Richards,
Having just moved to Seattle, I am looking to continue my five-year career in customer service. I was in the top 5% of call handlers in terms of call volume and customer satisfaction at my previous employer and I thrive on resolving customer complaints.
My hospitality degree adds to my understanding of the industry and gives me a sound appreciation of the nuances in any situation. I moved into a team leader role towards the end of my last position and this is a career path that I would hope to continue with my next employer.
I know that you are not advertising for roles currently, but I feel that I would be a strong member of the team should you wish to explore the possibility at any point.
3. Short cover letter sample (for when you know the hiring manager)
When you know the hiring manager there is little point in writing a long cover letter. It is true that other hiring decision makers may read it, but your contact will tell them all about you. Respect their time and remind them of your value as briefly as possible.
It was a pleasure to catch up at the conference the other day. I was fascinated to hear about the role and feel that it would be a potential fit in terms of what I am looking for. I know that my market research skills will certainly prove beneficial.
I would welcome the opportunity to send over my resume to the hiring manager and would love to hear more information when it is available. I understand that you will be running a full recruitment process for the role and do not expect any special treatment. From what you told me about the company culture, I think that I would enjoy working there.
Cover letters are a critical part of the job application process, and yet many struggle with how to write them. The cover letter writing tips in this guide will help you move beyond amateur errors and into the realm of a job-winning professional.
4. Short cover letter sample (short story)
All successful job seekers incorporate an element of storytelling about their career journey. A cover letter needs to only hint at the essence of their journey to get a hiring manager interested, and for some candidates that is all they want in their short cover letter.
Dear Mr. Green,
Having cycled across the United States on your bike for charity in 2015 and not experienced one serious mechanical issue, it has been a long-held ambition to work within your procurement department. Only the best parts go into making a RollEasy bike – my ten years of automotive and cycling sourcing experience will help me to make my difference.
I helped a stationary bike manufacturer save 19% and consolidate from 24 suppliers to 18 within a two-year period. I know that cost savings are on your agenda and understand how to achieve them without compromising on quality – I would love to explain how during a potential interview.
5. Short cover letter example (no experience)
A cover letter is required when you don’t have experience , but this creates a conundrum. Do you pen a longer cover letter to go deep into transferable skills or keep it short and hope that the hiring manager will see the value in your resume? Here is the short option.
Dear Ms. Hinch,
Having graduated from college and spent a year in a call center, I am now ready to take on a customer-facing role in retail. I am accustomed to dealing with customers, resolving complaints, and ensuring satisfaction – skills that would enable success at Parath.
I worked in hospitality during my studies and am used to working in a fast-paced and task-driven environment with a wide team of colleagues depending on you. I would welcome the opportunity of an interview to explore any opportunities.
If you’re wondering whether hiring managers even read cover letters in 2023, we’re here to assure you that this essential document is still extremely necessary and may just be the thing that lands you the interview.
6. Short cover letter sample (internship)
It is perfectly acceptable for interns not to have a whole lot of experience, so a short cover letter that is packed with motivation and low on accomplishments is absolutely fine. No one wants to hire an intern who talks too much – show that you value succinct communication.
Dear Mr. Bennett,
I am applying for the role as a summer intern with your PR firm because I wish to leverage the promotional skills that I have learned from building my social media following (64k across 3 channels) into a broader direction.
Much of my writing and content editing skills should prove useful. I enclose a selection of my most popular posts and compare them with some of your recent campaigns. I believe that the styles are somewhat similar, and I would be fascinated to see the metrics behind why you do what you do.
I am driven by data and wish to begin a creative career with data at the very center. The opportunity for a chat to discuss the position would be a dream.
7. Short cover letter example (new graduate)
In a similar way to an internship, a fresh graduate won’t have so much of a career story to tell, so while they can leave that to their one-page resume, their short cover letter can be laser-focused on their personality and ambitions. Just a taste of how awesome you are.
Dear Dr. Bradley,
As a recent biotech graduate, I am looking for my first role as a laboratory assistant. I saw that your new lab was hiring at all levels and wanted to see whether you were welcoming applications for recent graduates?
I have spent over 9 months in laboratories over the course of my studies, and am proficient in the use of all relevant technology. My safety record is impeccable, and I thrive in a controlled and high-pressure environment.
If the job description stipulates a one-page cover letter , or even gives a suggested word count, then you would be best served to avoid a short cover letter.
From a keywords point of view, if you are filling in an online cover letter in ATS software a short cover letter will also not be the optimal choice. You have to play the game.
8. Short cover letter sample (window onto socials)
Sometimes a visual can do the job better than words can. In that case, you may want to point an employer to your portfolio, website or social media. This short cover letter sample can be used to introduce yourself and encourage the hiring manager to explore your work.
Dear Ms. Kramer,
I saw your message on LinkedIn the other day that you are about to embark on a search for a new publishing assistant and I wanted to share the details of my social media activity to illustrate my knowledge base and publishing network. I understand that the ability to network within the industry is a key component of the role.
I hope that the links below demonstrate the extent of my potential, and I would be delighted to send over my resume if you like what you see.
When you end a cover letter to apply for your dream job, you should be leaving a carefully-crafted impression right up to the very last word.
9. Short cover letter sample (bullet accomplishments)
Some people choose a short cover letter because they want to go with an impactful format. This short cover letter sample is dominated by the bullet points. If there is little other text in the letter, you can be sure that they will be read. Just make sure that they are impressive.
Dear Mrs. Wilson,
I felt that it may be most prudent to briefly share some of my achievements to see whether it is worth sending over my resume for the project manager role?
- Managed project teams of 5-45 across consumer industries
- Worked on logistics, merchandising, marketing and buying projects
- Achieved average sales uplifts of between 8-25% across 30+ product areas
- Trained internal employees on the latest project management techniques
I would be available for a potential interview at short notice should you wish to discuss further. I have a wealth of excellent references to share should it get to that point.
Choosing a good cover letter font is important because it affects the legibility and the overall look and feel of this crucial job application document. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of various fonts (and font sizes) so you can make an informed choice.
10. Short cover letter sample (start up)
Some start-ups have so many applicants that a brief and focused cover letter may be the only way to stand out from the deluge of job search correspondence. Sharing your personality in a start-up application is particularly important – it’s all about the culture.
As a long term fan of Hussle, I have been waiting for you to make your next move in the market with interest. Having worked as a financial director for two relatively established FinTech startups, I yearn to start with a small team setting out from day one.
A friend told me that you were looking for a finance person with deep experience to join your first team and I would be honored if you would consider my application. I will be at the conference next week and wondered if you would be open to having a coffee? I include my LinkedIn profile which hopefully includes enough detail on my accomplishments.
Choose concise words. Some examples of how to keep the word count down and get the hiring manager to focus on the core messages within your short cover letter:
“Because” and not “due to the fact that”
“About” and not “concerning the matter of”
“Some” and not “a number of”
“During” and not “in the process of”
“Although” and not “regardless of the fact that”
The filename. It’s that last little step before submitting your resume or cover letter and breathing a sigh of relief.
In sales you don’t always have to be long-winded to get your message across. Any one-page pitch would be considered interminably long for most products, so that may also be the case for a busy hiring manager. When thinking about writing a short cover letter, consider:
- There are at least 10 situations where a short cover letter might work well
- Hiring managers welcome direct messages (if they are short)
- If you have a great resume, you can do something different with the cover letter
- Many short cover letters are sent by email (include contact details at the end)
- If the job description asks for a formal cover letter, write 300-350 words
- Use concise language wherever possible in your short cover letter
- Weave a story that shows off your personality!
- Have a look at our other cover letter examples and build your own cover letter
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- Cover Letter Examples
5 Short Cover Letter Examples for Any Job (+ Writing Guide)
Today’s hiring process is fast and furious. Don’t waste the recruiter’s time—see our 5 short cover letter examples and learn how to make every word count.
As seen in:
Cover letters. The worst part of any job application.
They’re tricky and time-consuming to write—who knows if they’re even read.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
You can be fast and effective. We’ve got a selection of short cover letter examples to show you how.
This guide will show you:
- Why short cover letters are the best cover letters.
- Five free short cover letter examples that have “You’re hired!” written all over them.
- The magic formula to write cover letters quick and woo the busiest recruiters.
Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.
Create your cover letter now
Sample Cover Letter for a Resume— See more cover letter examples here .
- Why Write a Short Cover Letter
- Sample Short Cover Letter (Mid-Level Office Job)
- Short Cover Letter Example (Creative Job)
Simple Cover Letter Sample (IT Startup Job)
Basic cover letter template (corporate job), brief cover letter sample (internship).
- Start Your Short Cover Letter Right
- Make a Brief Cover Letter Middle
- Seal the Deal With a CTA
Why Write a Short Cover Letter
Meet Mike. He’s a recruiter for a major corporation.
For every job opening that gets posted, he has to deal with 250 applications . Mike is a busy man.
He’s got no time for long application cover letters. What Mike wants is a simple cover letter that gives him the most info in the shortest time.
Short cover letters work for Mike, and they'll work for you. Here’s why:
- 53% of employers still expect cover letters. So you keep them happy and you won’t annoy the other 47% with an unwanted overly long document.
- Long cover letters are kryptonite for time-poor hiring managers. Nearly 70% of employers are looking for a brief, half-page cover letter or less.
- A short snappy list of your most relevant achievements sells you as a candidate. It’s a concentrated burst of pure employability.
- They’re faster and more fun to write!
Short and s imple cover letters are made for emails. No need for the hiring manager to click on an attachment. Just a few easy-to-read lines ready to go.
Want to learn more about sending email cover letters for a job application? Check out our guide: Email Cover Letters for Job Applications
You’ll need to email a resume, too. Learn how to do it right with our guide: How to Apply for a Job Via Email
So without further ado, meet our lean, mean short cover letter team.
Five Simple Cover Letter Examples to Get You Inspired
First, we’ll look at a carefully curated selection of short cover letter templates. Then we’ll tell you how to write one of your own.
Sample Short Cover Letter (Mid Level Office Job)
Let me introduce Tony. He’s an office manager at a small firm in Oregon. He’s got a few years experience and he’s looking to move on to work for a bigger company.
Here’s his super sharp short cover letter.
Attached you will find my resume with detailed work experience for the position of office manager. My most satisfying win has been cutting office supply costs by 50%. This success comes from my dedication to discovering new routes to efficiency and robust supplier contract management and negotiation.
As an Office Manager at Weyland’s Widgets Inc., I have a proven record of implementing cost-saving efficiencies and processes. My changes to office supply contractors saved $10,000 per annum and my outsourcing of payroll saved the HR team 20 man-hours per month.
Joining the team at Schickley’s Sprockets would be an incredible next step in my career. I’d relish the challenge of joining a rapidly growing team and your ethos of “progress through technology” is a perfect fit for my own professional values.
Could we please schedule a call so we can discuss how I can implement cost-saving process improvements at Schickley’s?
P.S. I’d also be delighted to tell you how my implementation of a call overflow system reduced customer phone waiting time by 65%.
Tony, you’re June’s savior!
Short Cover Letter Example (Creative Job)
Our next candidate is Maria. She’s a graphic designer from North Dakota. Her firm has had a round of layoffs and she is concerned for her future so she’s looking for a new challenge.
My resume is attached for the position of senior graphic designer. I’ve had a number of satisfying career highlights but my most notable to date is leading a team that was a winner in the 2018 Package Design Awards. This achievement was spearheaded by my dedication to meeting client requirements with fresh contemporary design solutions.
As a senior graphic designer at Edwards & Spinks, I designed a fresh layout for the new edition of the cookbook “Glorious Gluten” that led to the publisher signing a five-year contract worth $500,000.
Leading the graphic design team at Mountebanks & Co. is an amazing opportunity. I want to be part of your multi-award winning delivery of unique and functional web design to prestigious corporate clients.
Can we arrange a call so I can discuss how I led and developed a team of five junior designers while helping clients cut costs by an average of 15%?
P.S. I’m also keen to discuss how my design of the “Flight Comparator” app led to a 20% increase in conversions for the client compared to previous iterations.
Senior Graphic Designer
A simple cover letter that's short and to the point! The hiring manager is singing her praises already!
Here’s Helen. She’s a California-based software engineer who’s just moved from out of state for family reasons.
Please see attached my resume for the position of software engineer. My most recent achievement has been successfully managing code deployment to one of the largest ride-sharing platforms on the East Coast. This was driven by my expertise in transportation demand management software and my knack for reporting tool integration.
As a software engineer at Zoom! I implemented survey and data analysis functions that improved user behavior statistics and led to a 20% reduction in wait times for drivers during peak use periods with an accompanying 30% increase in client satisfaction.
Joining the team at Moov is exactly where I want to be in my career. Helping you disrupt the current West Coast platform duopoly is a challenge I am made for.
Could we meet for a coffee and a chat about how my dedication to leveraging gamification played a crucial role in increasing user data recording?
P.S. I’d also be happy for you to learn more about how my optimized driver tracking feature pinpointed inefficiencies that when resolved, resulted in cost savings of $750,000.
Watch out Uber. With Helen on board, Moov is ready to take over the world.
Meet Cyrus, he’s a business analyst from Illinois. He is looking to move on to pastures new in search of a more senior role.
I have attached my resume for the position of business analyst. My professional achievements include saving $1M in costs by choosing a new cloud data warehouse solution. This was enabled by my superior negotiation skills, expertise in effective procurement and ability to identify cost savings.
As a business analyst at Vantech, I leveraged a new procurement business process to ensure consistency across all teams leading to a saving of 500 man-hours equivalent to $100,000. This consistent approach was the first of its kind in the company.
Getting on board with Vermillion as it rapidly scales its operations is an amazing opportunity for me to do what I do best, increasing efficiency in business processes and implementing value-rich changes to the organization.
Let’s arrange a quick chat to discuss how my ability to translate stakeholder needs into development goals can help Vermillion at this crucial time.
P.S. It’d also be a great chance to discuss how my dedication to clear data visualization has improved communication between stakeholders and development teams.
They’re already preparing Cyrus’ onboarding.
Last up is Monica. She’s at college in Delaware and looking for a summer internship to gain some real-world experience while she pursues her studies.
Attached you’ll find my resume for the position of summer intern. My “Drill Instructor” augmented power tool add-on has just won the Northwest Student Award for Tech Innovation. That’s because I’ve had a passion for practical design since childhood.
Fazer’s commitment to mentoring the best young talent in the industry is a direct fit with my proven electronic engineering skills and studies.
I would love to improve my skill set to deliver even more cost-effective and industry-leading power tool and machinery solutions, just as I did with my award project.
I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to put my skills to work for you. Could we arrange a phone call to discuss how I can help Fazer gain even more industry plaudits.
P.S. I’d also love to discuss how my volunteer work with the “Upcycle!” project is helping to teach electronic engineering and repair skills to the wider community.
Monica’s summer is all set. A simple cover letter is all it takes.
Want to see even more cover letter examples? See: Cover Letter Templates for All Professions
How to Write a Short Cover Letter
This formula has all those bases covered:
Basic Cover Letter Structure—Checklist
- Dear (hiring manager name)
- Paragraph #1: introduction and a big job-fitting achievement
- Paragraph #2: key skills and why you fit the job
- Paragraph #3: your passion + why you want in
- Paragraph #4: your call to action
- Formal closing
- Add a P.S. to add value
Every one of our fast and furious five has followed that simple example. Next, we’ll break it down in brief.
1. Start Your Short Cover Letter Right
We’ve mentioned the power of personalizing your short cover letter by using the hiring manager’s name. That puts you in the elite. Only 16% of jobseekers bother to do this.
We want to be in the short, sharp, snappy 16%. We’re going straight in for the kill, so start with a powerful introduction that’s tailored to the job :
Short Cover Letter Example—Introduction
That’s Officer Manager Tony’s intro. He’s only 49 words in, but he’s ready to win. It’s personalized, starts off by indicating the position he’s applying for, then cuts to the chase with a solid achievement, eagerness, and key skills .
Find out more about winning short cover letter introductions in our guide: How to Begin a Cover Letter, so the Hiring Manager Wants More
Don’t know how to find the hiring manager’s name? It’s easy. See our guide: How to Address a Cover Letter
2. Make a Brief Cover Letter Middle
We’re off and racing in our cover letter sprint. This is where we build momentum. For a magnificent middle, you need to show two things:
- Your experience and achievements.
- Your motivation and desire for this particular position.
Short Cover Letter Example—Middle
That’s Maria, our graphic designer. She’s clearly got the skills to deliver to clients and bring in new business. Plus, she’s highly motivated and has done her research on the company and the role. All that in just 66 words.
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a professional resume template here for free .
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
3. Seal the Deal With a CTA
A CTA is a call to action. It’s the finish line of our short cover letter race. Do this right, and an interview is in the bag. Why?
Because you asked for it, and you did it in the right way:
Short Cover Letter Example—Closing
Helen is our software engineer. She’s asked for the interview and given the hiring manager a reason to find out more about the value she’ll add. Then she did one more thing that guaranteed it. Two letters. P.S.
That draws the eye like a magnet. Then it lands a killer blow with an impressive achievement backed by numbers. The hiring manager will be on the phone faster than Superman racing The Flash.
Lastly, remember about a formal close. There’s nothing like a simple “Sincerely,” but there are others too. Stick to this list, and you’ll be set:
Cover Letter Closing Salutations
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- With best regards,
Still not sure how to finish with an offer they can’t refuse? Read our guide: How to End a Cover Letter
And if you need more detailed pointers on cover letter formatting, check: How to Format a Cover Letter [10+ Examples]
You’re all set to write the best short application cover letter. Now let’s refresh your memory with a super short summary.
How to write a simple cover letter:
- Format it for sending as an email.
- Start off strong with a personalized intro that shows relevant skills and achievements.
- Make a middle that consolidates with experience, achievements, and motivation that’s targeted to the job you’re applying for.
- Finish with a CTA that incorporates an irresistible offer to get you the interview.
- Throw in a powerful P.S. to guarantee success.
Struggling to slim down your cover letter? Need more advice? Ask away in the comments section. Thanks for reading.
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How to Write a Cover Letter for Any Job in 8 Steps (2023)
You need to write a cover letter, but what is a cover letter, exactly? And what’s the best way to write it? Learn how to write a cover letter the best way with tips from experts.
35+ Successful Cover Letter Tips & Advice (With Examples)
Cover letter writing tips—sure to turn any boring letter into something employers want to read.
Cover Letter Outline as Suggested by Career Experts [+Tips]
Having trouble putting thoughts to paper? Take the guesswork out—our cover letter outline will make things super simple.
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Here's an example of the perfect cover letter, according to Harvard career experts
Found your dream job? Don't be so confident that you'll get hired: It's very likely that there are several other qualified candidates competing for that same position.
That's where the cover letter comes in. Including a cover letter to complement your resume can be an effective way to impress hiring managers: It displays your strong writing skills, sets you apart from other applicants and shows that you went the extra mile.
Linda Spencer, associate director and coordinator of career advising at Harvard Extension School, says that a solid cover letter answers two key questions :
- Why are you the right fit for the job?
- How will you add value to the organization?
"It takes the average employer about seven seconds to review these documents," says Spencer. "They're not reading, they're skimming. So you need to make it clear right off the bat how you can add value."
Here's an example of what a strong cover letter looks like, according to Harvard career experts (click here to enlarge):
Credit: Harvard University, Office of Career Services / Harvard Extension School, Career and Academic Resource Center
Don't know where to start? The career experts share tips on how to write a cover letter that stands out:
1. Address the letter to a specific person
"To whom it may concern" is one of the fastest ways to get your application deleted. Always try to address your letter to a specific person — usually the hiring manager or department head. Include their name, title, company and address at the very top below the date.
If you don't know who to address, LinkedIn is a great place to start. Simply enter the company name and some keywords into the search bar (e.g., "Google, hiring manager, sales") and a variety of related profiles will appear.
2. Clearly state the purpose of your letter
Your opening line doesn't need to be anything extravagant. In fact, it should be the complete opposite, according Harvard's career experts.
Keep it simple and straightforward: State why you're writing, the position you're applying for and, if applicable, how you found the job listing.
3. Don't rehash your entire resume
You're not writing a 1,000-word essay that summarizes your resume. The cover letter is your chance to explain why you're genuinely interested in the company and its mission.
No need to make it super formal, either. Use your own voice and add some personal flourishes to make the letter more interesting.
"If you have relevant school or work experience, be sure to point it out with one or two key examples," the career experts note . "Emphasize skills or abilities that relate to the job. Be sure to do this in a confident manner and keep in mind that the reader will also view your letter as an example of your writing skills."
4. Use action words and don't overuse the pronoun "I"
Instead of using flowery words and cliche claims like "fast thinker" and "highly creative," go for action words.
Here are a few examples of action verbs to use when highlighting specific skills:
- To demonstrate leadership skills : Accomplished, contracted, assigned, directed, orchestrated, headed, delegated
- To demonstrate communication skills : Addressed, translated, presented, negotiated, moderated, promoted, edited
- To demonstrate research skills : Constructed, examined, critique, systematized, investigated, modeled, formulated
- To demonstrate creative skills : Revitalized, redesigned, developed, integrated, conceptualized, fashioned, shaped
Avoid using too many "I" statements because it can come off as though you're mostly interested in what you can gain from the company. The focus should be on what the company can gain from you.
5. Reiterate your enthusiasm and thank the reader
The closing of your letter should:
- Reiterate your interest in the position
- Thank the reader for his or her consideration
- State that you look forward hearing back from them
- Include your signature at the very bottom
6. Be consistent in formatting
Visual consistency makes a big difference. Keep your letter to just one page and use the same font (and size) as you did for your resume. If you're converting the letter to a PDF, make sure the formatting is translated properly.
Dustin McKissen is the founder of McKissen + Company , a strategic communications firm in St. Charles, Missouri. He was also named one of LinkedIn's "Top Voices in Management and Corporate Culture." Follow him on LinkedIn here.
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How To Write A Short Cover Letter (With Examples)
- How To Write A Cover Letter
- When Is A Cover Letter Necessary
Free Cover Letter Templates
- Cover Letter Mistakes To Avoid
- Cover Letter Tips
- How To Sell Yourself In A Cover Letter
- Cover Letter Examples
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- Cover Letter With No Experience
- Short Cover Letter Examples
- How To Send An Email Cover Letter
- How To Write A Cover Letter For A Job With No Experience In That Field
- Cover Letter Format
- Salutation and Greeting
- Who To Address When Unknown
- How To Start A Cover Letter
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- Best Cover Letter Font And Size
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- Cover Letter Length
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- Use Dear Sir Or Madam?
- Use Mrs. Or Ms.?
Find a Job You Really Want In
- Why Use a Short Cover Letter
When to Write a Short Cover Letter
How to write a short cover letter, formatting a short cover letter.
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When applying for a job you will want to make sure your cover letter has your qualifications and why you are the right person for the job. This sounds like an easy task, right? While it may sound easy to do, recruiters and hiring managers don’t have the time to read through every application in detail. Sometimes a cover letter that is short and sweet is what you need to grab their attention without wasting their time. We will go over why you should use a short cover letter, when its appropriate, and how to write one while providing some examples. Key Takeaways: A short cover letter should be about 100-250 words broken down into three to four paragraphs. You should use a short cover letter if you are an entry level employee, if you are emailing your cover letter, or if you are submitting your application online. Your cover letter should highlight your qualifications and sell you as the ideal candidate. Why Use a Short Cover Letter
You stand out. When you use a short cover letter, you will stand out from the other candidates. A hiring manager will likely be reading a lot of cover letters, and if yours is shorter from the rest, it will stick out and they will remember it.
You can highlight easier. A shorter letter lets you highlight your qualifications without burying it in fluff and buzzwords. It will also give the hiring manager enough information before, while you’re still able to give more information during an interview.
Time-saving. As said before, a hiring manager is likely reading a lot of cover letters. If yours is short, they are more likely to read yours over the long ones.
If you’re applying for a high-level executive position, it makes sense for you to write closer to 400 words.
An entry-level employee. You won’t have as much experience as those high-level execs so an entry-level cover letter should be closer to 200 words, or even less.
Email cover letter. Emails are short and usually to the point by nature. Email cover letters should not be long. Otherwise, it would look like a gigantic block of text that the hiring manager will likely not even bother with.
Electronic application. If you are submitting your cover letter through an online application, you will need to keep it short. Many of those supplied text boxes have strict character limits.
You’re not tied to the above scenarios. If you don’t feel like the position calls for a long cover letter, then don’t include a lengthy attachment. You should still include a cover letter, though. Just keep it short. Think short story, not novel.
A short cover letter does pose an interesting challenge. There is a lot of information you want to convey, and you have so much space to do so.
Generally, a cover letter is about half a page in length and consists of 200-400 words broken into three to four paragraphs. The same cannot be said for a short cover letter.
You can still include all of the same elements you see in a regular length cover letter. You just have to be more selective with the words you use and the achievements you highlight. Here’s how to write a short cover letter:
Cut the fluff. Nobody wants fluffy cover letters. Despite how it sounds, fluff is actually a technical term. It means adding more information than is really necessary. So cut the fluff and remove unnecessary details.
You may find it easier to remove the fluff after you’ve finished your cover letter. Or, you may find it easier to be aware of it as you write and avoid it altogether. Your preference really matters.
But, how do you cut the fluff? Simple.
Avoid adjectives. Sure, adjectives liven up your writing, but this isn’t a creative writing piece. It’s a cover letter. You don’t have to cut them completely, but you should use them sparingly.
Avoid buzzwords. Try not to fill up your sentences with words like self-motivated, results-oriented, deadline-driven, or team-oriented. They just make your writing feel bulkier.
Write concisely. Get to your point quickly. If you can shorten the sentence, do it. Be careful, though. Sometimes when we write concisely, it comes off as terse or rude. Your tone really matters, so be aware of it.
Focus on relevant skills and experience. Technically, any cover letter you write should focus on the skills , experience, and achievements that relate to the position you’re applying for.
In a short cover letter, you want to be very selective. Use the job description to identify the qualifications and skills they find most important and focus on those.
Use bullet points to your advantage. Seeing a bulleted list in the middle of a cover letter is completely normal. Many job applicants use bullet points to highlight their most attention-grabbing (and relevant) qualifications and achievements.
Those bullet points can make a bigger impact in a short cover letter. You can include more in fewer words.
Focus on the value. Your cover letter should be conveying your value. Focus your attention on what you can bring to the position and the company.
As a general rule, the format of your cover letter should not change much, no matter the length. The biggest difference between a short cover letter and a regular length cover letter is the delivery method.
Your short cover letter should include :
Header. If you are emailing your cover letter or submitting it via an electronic application portal, you will not need to include a header . If you are submitting it more traditionally, then you will still need to include the header at the top.
Your header should look like this:
Your full name (Optional) Your current address Your phone number Your professional email address Your online portfolio (Optional) Your website, LinkedIn Date of submission Hiring manager’s name Hiring manager’s title within the company Company name (Optional) Company address
Greeting (Salutation). Regardless of how you are submitting your cover letter, you will need to address it properly . “Dear [ hiring manager’s name ]” is the standard. If you can’t locate the name of the hiring manager, you can use a more generic greeting. But, you should never use “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”.
Opening lines. Your opening lines should capture the reader’s attention and convince them to keep reading.
Body paragraph. This is where you will highlight your relevant skills and experience. Remember to pull information from the job description to help you determine which qualifications and achievements to focus on.
Closing lines. End your cover letter with a strong call-to-action. Give the hiring manager a reason to reach out to you.
Sign-off. Similar to your greeting, there is a right and a wrong way to close your letter. Even if you are submitting via email, you should use a formal closing such as “Sincerely”, “Respectfully”, “ Thank you ”, or “Best regards”.
You may also want to include your contact information below your name. This is especially true if you are excluding a header.
Example Answer 1: Short Email Cover Letter:
Subject: Customer Service Representative – Eloise Greene Dear Ms. Chatner, XYZ Department Store is known for its incredible customer service. I believe I would make an excellent addition to your team, and I have the customer satisfaction ratings to prove it. I take pride in the companies I serve, and it shows through my professionalism and enthusiasm. At ABC Shoppe, I was regularly mentioned by name in customer feedback surveys and had the most positive feedback ratings each week. You will find that I develop an excellent rapport with my customers, solve customer problems quickly and efficiently, and can work well independently. My coworkers and superiors know that there is no one more dedicated, reliable, or efficient than me. I look forward to speaking with you about this position. Sincerely, Eloise Greene 555-123-4567 [email protected] linkedin.com/in/eloisegreene478
Example Answer 2: Sales Rep Short Cover Letter:
Tanner Gaddas Atlanta, GA 555-123-4567 [email protected] linkedin.com/in/tannergaddas January 1, 2021 Genevieve Hudson VP of Human Resources 123 Sellers Dear Ms. Hudson, As a talented sales professional with eight years of proven history generating new leads, converting leads to customers, and driving growth in my territory, I believe I would be an asset to 123 Sellers. During my tenure at XYZ Enterprises, I have earned multiple awards and was named top seller three years in a row. I have expertise in client retention, new customer acquisition, and cold calling and am comfortable using CRMs like SalesForce and Hubspot. Highlights of my achievements include: Growing a $1M territory to a $4M in two years Converted 300 new customers over the course of a year Exceeded sales goals by 50% in my first year Maintain expert knowledge in complete product line up consisting of over 200 products I am confident that with my sales experience and techniques, I will help your company gain a larger market share. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to discussing this opportunity further. Respectfully, Tanner Gaddas 555-123-4567
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Samantha is a lifelong writer who has been writing professionally for the last six years. After graduating with honors from Greensboro College with a degree in English & Communications, she went on to find work as an in-house copywriter for several companies including Costume Supercenter, and Blueprint Education.
Matt Warzel a President of a resume writing firm (MJW Careers, LLC) with 15+ years of recruitment, outplacement, career coaching and resume writing experience. Matt is also a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing Focus) from John Carroll University.
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How To Use “Dear Hiring Manager” On Your Cover Letter
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The 12 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right
Published: February 16, 2023
Fun is not something typically associated with writing a cover letter. However, with a few tweaks, writing one doesn’t have to be a burden.
The cover letter examples below demonstrate that it is possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process.
What is a good cover letter?
A cover letter is used to demonstrate your interest in the role, passion for the company, and the impact you've had in previous positions. Cover letters should include a standout opening, relevant skills and qualifications, and a strong finish with a call-to-action — all within one page and unique to each application.
It may be true that only 35% of recruiters admit that cover letters do not materially influence the hiring process for them , but that doesn't mean yours has to contribute to that statistic. In fact, it might be that cover letters are deemed insignificant because so few of them stand out. Here's an opportunity for you to exercise your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process.
Personalization, after all, goes beyond replacing the title and company name in each letter you send to recruiters.
What’s on a cover letter?
Before you can get started writing your cover letter, there are a few components you must have.
Greeting: A simple, but pleasant greeting to address the recruiter or hiring manager.
Opener: Write a catchy introduction that explains why you’re interested in the role.
Summary of Skills/Qualifications: This is the heart of your cover letter. It outlines your relevant experience and why you’d be a great fit for the role. You can highlight special skills, experiences, professional achievements, or education to help make your case.
Closing: In this paragraph, provide a call-to-action by expressing interest in an interview. Provide your contact information and sign-off.
What does a cover letter look like?
In addition to showing off your skills and qualifications, cover letters give you the opportunity to present a clear, concise, and compelling writing sample that shows off your personality and ability to convey ideas. Check out our fillable examples below to see how you should organize the content of your cover letter.
Customizable Cover Letter Examples
In a hurry for a cover letter example you can download and customize? Check out the ones below from HubSpot’s cover letter template kit .
1. Standard Cover Letter Example
This standard cover letter hits all the right notes: It includes a space to give a brief summary of your experience, as well as a space to delve in-depth into the specific responsibilities at your current role. You also have the chance to describe the challenges you’ve mastered at previous roles, showing that you’re capable of facing any problem that comes your way.
Why We Love It
We love this cover letter because it allows you to describe the high points of your career while still being professional, personalized, and succinct.
2. Data-Driven Cover Letter Sample
Numbers are worth a million words — or that’s how the saying should probably go (if only we could include pictures in cover letters). Citing data and statistics about your achievements at your current company is an assured way to capture a hiring manager’s attention. Most hiring managers don’t read the entire letter, so a bulleted summary of your achievements can be a powerful way to increase the effectiveness and scannability of your message.
We love this cover letter because it’s adaptable to any role. Even if you don’t work in a data-centric role, you can include any enumerable achievement. If you’re in a creative industry, for instance, you can include the number of creative assets you designed for your current company.
3. Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
Download a Customizable Copy of This Cover Letter Example
Applying to your first job can be stress-inducing, to say the least. You can increase your chances of getting that first interview by including a cover letter that explains how your education can help you succeed in the role you applied for.
Look no further than this example from HubSpot. While other cover letter samples give experienced professionals the opportunity to share their experience at length, this one gives you the chance to describe your personal and professional attributes. You can then convey how you can leverage your knowledge to help your target company reach their goals.
We love this cover letter because it’s easy and simple to use for a student who has little experience in their target industry — including those who haven’t yet completed an internship.
Looking for more? Download the entire kit below.
5 Professional Cover Letter Templates
Fill out the form to access your templates., best cover letter examples.
What does a good cover letter look like in practice, and how can you make yours stand out? We found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.
Note: Some of these cover letters contain real company names and NSFW language that we've covered up.
1. The Cover Letter That Explains 'Why,' Not Just 'How'
We’ve already covered the importance of addressing how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?
The Muse , a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story. We advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.
Here’s another instance of the power of personalization. The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, that probably would eventually be revealed in an interview.
Make sure your story is nonfiction and relatable according to each job. While we love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company. But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, we’d find that fitting.
If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.
Why This Is A Great Cover Letter
This example demonstrates how effective personalization can be. The writer is passionate about the employer, drawing from her own childhood experience to communicate her enthusiasm.
2. The 'We're Meant for Each Other' Cover Letter
This cover letter example is a special one because it was submitted to us here at HubSpot. What does the letter do well? It makes a connection with us before we've even met the letter's author.
"Content Marketing Certified" indicates the applicant has taken the content marketing certification course in our HubSpot Academy (you can take the same course here ). Our "records" indicate he/she did indeed give an interview with us before — and was a HubSpot customer.
The cover letter sang references to a relationship we didn't even know we had with the candidate.
The letter ends with a charming pitch for why, despite him/her not getting hired previously, our interests complement each other this time around.
(Yes, the applicant was hired).
This cover letter example does an excellent job of building rapport with the employer. Despite not getting hired for previous roles they applied for at HubSpot, the writer conveys exactly why they are right for this role.
3. The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.
HubSpot has a lot of H.E.A.R.T. — Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent. Our Culture Code is the foundation of the company's culture, the driving force behind our mission to help millions grow better , and serves as the scaffolding for our hiring practices. Recruiters at HubSpot look for applicants that demonstrate how they embody the Culture Code and job description, paying extra attention to cover letters that are super custom to HubSpot.
In another HubSpot submission, a HubSpot applicant writes about how she found out about HubSpot, why she likes the company, and how her professional experience aligns with H.E.A.R.T.
HubSpot's recruiting team was impressed with her dedication to the company and how she went beyond what was asked for by linking her portfolio in her closing paragraph.
Featured Resource: 5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Download our collection of 5 professional cover letter templates to help you summarize your professional journey and land your dream job – whether it's at your first or fifth company.
Short Cover Letter Examples
4. the short-and-sweet cover letter.
In 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, “ The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received. ” That letter contained three complete sentences, as follows:
One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question. But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.
“The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me,” writes Silverman. “Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on.”
When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:
- Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under “reports to.” Address your letter to that individual.
- Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.
The key to this standout cover letter is research — by looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you provide solutions for them.
5. The Short Story
Basha Coleman began her cover letter with a short story. The goal of this short story is two-fold:
- Detail the experience she already has with the organization.
- Stand out to the hiring team.
You'll notice that her short story follows a typical narrative arc: It has a conflict/obstacle, a turning point, and a positive outcome, all created with a goal to emphasize a theme or point. In this case, Coleman is emphasizing her existing affinity with the brand and her triumphs within the program so that she can continue on her career path.
Like the second example in our list, this cover letter does an excellent job of conveying the applicant’s existing affinity for the brand. If you are applying to a company you love, don’t be shy about showing it and explaining why.
6. The Bare Bones Cover Letter
In today's job market, cover letters aren't always necessary. Even though many recruiters won't ask for or even read them, cover letters can still be effective and convey personality to a reader. Writing a strong cover letter can help you better convey your interest in the position and company.
This template from The Balance Careers puts together the essential components of a short cover letter: excitement about the position, your qualifications, and a call-to-action for the recruiter to follow up with you. Combining these central aspects in a well-written, compelling narrative will go a long way in convincing readers to hire you.
This letter is organized and concise. The inclusion of bullet points to highlight key skills and help the recruiter skim the document is a nice touch.
7. The Breezy Follow-Up
In this cover letter, Amanda Edens is following the instructions the hiring manager gave by forwarding an email with resume and writing samples attached.
Not only does Amanda provide links to relevant writing samples that are live on the web, but she also closes with a strong final paragraph that:
- Summarizes the expertise she has relevant to the posting
- Emphasizes that she doesn't want to simply get a job but rather help the organization accomplish their goals
- The reader gets everything they need in an organized and thoughtful manner.
8. The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
In this cover letter the candidate, Brenda, plays up her prior music industry experience to build a connection with Epic Music Group. If you have specific industry experience for the role you are applying for, be sure to highlight that.
It’s clear that she’s passionate about not only the music industry, but Epic as a whole. She’s done so much research on the company that she knows what software programs they use, and happens to be proficient in it to help convey value to the hiring manager.
This example further illustrates the importance of research. Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.
In just three short paragraphs, the applicant uses their company research to drive home why they are the perfect fit for the role — emphasizing industry experience as well as software knowledge specific to the company. All of this communicates that she’d be able to start with very few hiccups getting up to speed.
9. The Internship Cover Letter
Maybe you’re just getting started in your career and looking to land the right internship to gain experience in your field. In this case, you’ll need to highlight more of your educational background and transferable skills since you won’t have as much professional experience to highlight.
The cover letter above is a great example of how to emphasize your skills and accomplishments when applying to internships or entry-level positions. A few things the applicant does well:
- Highlights relevant extracurriculars and affinity networks. In this case, the applicant is applying to a business analyst position, so mentioning their involvement in a FinTech group makes sense.
- Previous internships in relevant fields: Our applicant points out that they’ve previously interned as a Business Analyst at another firm. Pointing out that they’ve done the role previously will help make their case for fit.
- Highlight other useful skills: This applicant is fluent in both English and German. If an international company or an organization needs bi-lingual support, knowing multiple languages is an asset.
This cover letter example illustrates how you can leverage your education and background to get the gig even when you don’t have much working experience. Highlighting previous internships or experience in related fields can go a long way in convincing hiring managers you’re the perfect candidate for the role.
Creative Cover Letter Examples
10. the brutally honest cover letter.
Then, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form. Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example “ the best cover letter ” (which he received while he was with Squarespace):
As Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company. But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.
“Remember that I'm reading these all day long,” Hertzberg writes. “You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out.”
The applicant did their research on the company’s culture and executed this cover letter flawlessly. It’s funny and shows off the applicant’s personality all while demonstrating why they are a good fit for the role.
11. The Pivot Cover Letter
Making a career switch? Your cover letter can be an excellent opportunity for you to explain the reasoning behind your career change and how your transferable skills qualify you for the role.
Since the role she is applying for is more visual, it’s important to both show and tell why you’re a good fit.
This cover letter strikes the perfect balance between creativity and simplicity in design while putting the applicant's career change into context. The copy is clean, with a creative font choice that isn’t distracting from the content, but still demonstrates the applicant’s knack for design.
12. The Graphic Design Cover Letter
When applying for more creative roles, the design of your cover letter can say just as much as the words on the page. Take the graphic designer letter example below.
It’s got so much going for it:
- Pop of color
- Clean layout
- Interesting fonts
In addition to the style elements, this example also doesn’t skimp on the key skills recruiters are looking for. Using metrics, the applicant demonstrates their value and why they would be a great fit.
This cover letter thoroughly conveys the applicant’s skills and qualifications using a variety of visual elements and by emphasizing their greatest achievements.
We’d like to add another stage to the job search: experimentation.
In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search. But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data we’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.
We certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will. That’s why it’s important not to copy these examples . That defeats the purpose of personalization.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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Your Complete Guide to Writing a Cover Letter (Plus Bonus Tips and Examples)
Hot jobs on the muse.
Ah yes, the familiar cycle: You sit down to write a cover letter, open a blank document, check your email, browse cover letter examples , do some chores, watch that cursor blink a few more times, and finally Google something like “how to write a cover letter”—which hopefully brought you here. But you still might be thinking something to the effect of: Does anyone really read cover letters? Why do they even exist?
First off: Yes, we can assure you that cover letters do, in fact, get read . To some hiring managers, they’re the most important part of your job application . And regardless, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell prospective employers who you are, showcase why they should hire you, and stand out above all the other candidates.
To ensure your letter is in amazing shape (and crafting it is as painless as possible), we’ve got easy-to-follow steps plus examples, a few bonus tips, and answers to frequently asked questions
What is a cover letter and why is it important?
How to write a cover letter hiring managers will love, what do examples of cover letters look like, bonus cover letter tips to give you an edge over the competition, cover letter faqs (a.k.a., everything else you need to know about cover letters).
A cover letter is a brief (one page or less) note that you write to a hiring manager or recruiter to go along with your resume and other application materials. Done well , a cover letter gives you the chance to speak directly to how your skills and experience line up with the specific job you’re pursuing. It also affords you an opportunity to hint to the reviewer that you’re likable, original, and likely to be a great addition to the team.
Instead of using cover letters to their strategic advantage, most job applicants blabber on and on about what they want, toss out bland, cliché-filled paragraphs that essentially just regurgitate their resume, or go off on some strange tangent in an effort to be unique.
Given this reality, imagine the leg up you’ll have if you learn how to do cover letters right.
OK, you’re sold on how important cover letters are. Here are eight steps to writing one that screams, “I’m a great hire!”
Step 1: Write a fresh cover letter for each job (but yes, you can use a template).
Yes, it’s way faster and easier to take the cover letter you wrote for your last application, change the name of the company, and send it off. But most employers want to see that you’re truly excited about the specific position and organization—which means creating a custom letter for each position.
While it’s OK to recycle a few strong sentences and phrases from one cover letter to the next, don’t even think about sending out a 100% generic letter. “Dear Hiring Manager, I am excited to apply to the open position at your company ” is an immediate signal to recruiters and hiring managers that you’re mass-applying to every job listing that pops up on LinkedIn.
At the same time, there’s nothing that says you can’t get a little help: Try out one of our free cover letter templates to make the process a bit easier.
Step 2: Add your contact info.
At the top of your cover letter, you should list out your basic info. You can even copy the same heading from your resume if you’d like. Some contact info you might include (and the order you might include it in) is:
- Your pronouns (optional)
- Your location (optional)
- Your email address
- Your phone number (optional)
- Your Linkedin, portfolio, or personal website URL (optional)
Note that only name and email are mandatory, and you don’t need to put a full address on a cover letter or resume anymore. A city and state (or metro area) are more than enough.
So your header might look like this:
Inigo Montoya he/him Florin Metropolitan Area [email protected] 555-999-2222
If the job posting tells you to submit your cover letter in the body of an email, you can add your contact info at the end, after your name (and if you’d like to forgo the email address here, you can—they have it already).
So your sign off could look like this:
Violet Baudelaire she/her [email protected] 123-123-1234 https://www.linkedin.com/in/violet-baudelaire/
Step 3: Address your cover letter to the hiring manager—preferably by name.
The most traditional way to address a cover letter is to use the person’s first and last name, including “Mr.” or “Ms.” (for example, “Dear Ms. Jane Smith” or just “Dear Ms. Smith”). But to avoid accidentally using the wrong title, or worse, inadvertently misgendering someone—first and last name also work just fine. And if “Dear” feels a bit too stiff, try “Hello.” But never use generic salutations like “ To Whom it May Concern ” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”
For more help, read these rules for addressing your cover letter and a few tips for how to find the hiring manager .
Step 4: Craft an opening paragraph that’ll hook your reader.
Your opening sets the stage for the whole cover letter. So you want it to be memorable, friendly, conversational, and hyper-relevant to the job you’re pursuing.
No need to lead with your name—the hiring manager can see it already. But it’s good to mention the job you’re applying for (the hiring manager may be combing through candidates for half a dozen different jobs), and yes, you could go with something simple like, “I am excited to apply for [job] with [Company].” But consider introducing yourself with a snappy first paragraph that highlights your excitement about the company you’re applying to, your passion for the work you do, and/or your past accomplishments.
This is a prime spot to include the “why” for your application. Make it very clear why you want this job at this company . Are you a longtime user of their products? Do you have experience solving a problem they’re working on? Do you love their brand voice or approach to product development? Do your research on the company (and check out their Muse profile if they have one) to find out.
For instance, say you’re applying for a marketing job with a company known for its incredible pies and baked goods. You might want to use your opening to mention how you love pie so much that when you were in the 4th grade, you took the blue ribbon in the National Cherry Festival pie-eating contest. Or take a look at this cover letter hook by a client of career coach and Muse writer Jenny Foss , who was working to land a leadership role at a nonprofit specializing in fire prevention:
“I have a personal interest in fire prevention that dates back to my youth. As the daughter of a nurse who worked in a hospital burns unit for many years, I grew up with significant exposure to those impacted by fire. I’d spend hours thinking about my mom’s patients, wishing there were some way to better protect people from fire.”
Read More: 30 Genius Cover Letter Openers Recruiters Will LOVE
Step 5: Convey why you’d be a great hire for this job.
A common cover letter mistake is only talking about how great the position would be for you . Frankly, hiring managers are aware of that—what they really want to know is what you’re going to bring to the position and company.
So once you’ve got the opening under wraps, you should pull out a few key ideas that will make up the backbone of your cover letter. They should show that you understand what the organization is looking for and spell out how your background lines up with the position. Study the job description for hints . What problems is the company looking to solve with this hire? What skills or experiences are mentioned high up, or more than once? These will likely be the most important qualifications.
Select the three to five important qualifications that you feel you exemplify best. For instance, maybe you’re looking for an account executive role and come across a posting that excites you. You might pull out these details that match you well:
- The job description mentions meeting and exceeding quotas several times.
- The company has a very collaborative, cross-departmental approach to solving problems.
- The sales department requires a fast learner so the account executive can get up to speed quickly on leads and tailor pitches to their needs.
If you tend to have a hard time singing your own praises and can’t nail down your strengths, here’s a quick trick : What would your favorite boss, your best friend, or your mentor say about you? How would they sing your praises? Use the answers to inform how you write about yourself. You can even weave in feedback you’ve received to strengthen your case (occasionally, don’t overuse this!). For example:
“When I oversaw our last office move, my color-coded spreadsheets covering every minute detail of the logistics were legendary; my manager said I was so organized, she’d trust me to plan an expedition to Mars.”
Step 6: Back up your qualifications with examples and numbers.
Look at your list of qualifications from the previous step, and think of examples from your past that prove you have them. And go beyond your resume . Don’t just regurgitate what the hiring manager can read elsewhere. Simply put, you want to paint a fuller picture of what experiences and accomplishments make you a great hire and show off what you can sashay through their doors with and deliver once you land the job.
For example, what tells a hiring manager more about your ability to win back former clients? This: “I was in charge of identifying and re-engaging former clients.” Or this: “By analyzing past client surveys, NPS scores, and KPIs, as well as simply picking up the phone, I was able to bring both a data-driven approach and a human touch to the task of re-engaging former clients.”
Having trouble figuring out how to do this? Try asking yourself these questions and finding answers that line up with the qualifications you’ve chosen to focus on:
- What approach did you take to tackling one of the responsibilities you’ve mentioned on your resume?
- What details would you include if you were telling someone a (very short!) story about how you accomplished one of your resume bullet points?
- What about your personality, passion, or work ethic made you especially good at getting the job done?
Come up with your examples, then throw in a few numbers. Hiring managers love to see stats—they show you’ve had a measurable impact on an organization you’ve worked for. Did you bring in more clients than any of your peers? Put together an impressive number of events? Make a process at work 30% more efficient? Work it into your cover letter!
Going back to the example from the last step. How could you prove that you’ll meet and exceed sales quotas if they hire you? Try something like:
“ I’ve always been very goal-oriented—whether that goal was hitting a new personal best on the swim team in college or smashing my quotas as a sales development rep for ZZZ Inc. As an SDR, I break my quarterly sales goals down month-by-month and then week-by-week—so that I always know whether I’m ahead, behind, or on-track. I also take an hour every Friday to reflect on what I could’ve done better in the previous week—so that I’m always improving. With these strategies, I’ve met my goals for meetings set 10 out of the last 10 quarters and actually averaged 114% to goal for finding leads that eventually turned into sales over every quarter last year. As an account executive for your company, I’d bring that same drive and systematic approach for meeting longer-term targets to my sales quotas. ”
Do this for each of the qualifications you want to focus on, and feel free to connect your accomplishments directly to the company. Pro tip: Use your space wisely. For more important qualifications, you might dedicate an entire paragraph, while others may only need a sentence or two.
Step 7: Finish with a strong conclusion.
It’s tempting to treat the final lines of your cover letter as a throwaway: “I look forward to hearing from you.” But your closing paragraph is your last chance to emphasize your enthusiasm for the company or how you’d be a great fit for the position. You can also use the end of your letter to add important details—like, say, the fact that you’re willing to relocate for the job.
Some advice might tell you to go with a hard close: Boldly insist that you’re the one, and that you’re going to call them within a week to set up a meeting. But with over 10 years of experience as a recruiter, Foss finds this annoying. It’s one thing to be proactive and confident but, to her, this approach feels like a cheesy tactic stripped out of an old school “How to sell yourself” textbook.
Instead, try something like this:
“I believe my energy, desire to innovate, and experience as a sales leader will serve OrangePurple Co. very well. I would love to meet to discuss the value I could add as your next West Coast Sales Director. I appreciate your consideration and hope to meet with you soon.”
Then be sure to sign off professionally , with an appropriate closing and your first and last name.
Read More: 3 Cover Letter Closing Lines That Make Hiring Managers Grimace (Plus: Better Options )
Step 8: Reread and revise.
We shouldn’t have to tell you to run your cover letter through spell-check, but remember that having your computer scan for typos isn’t the same as editing . Set your letter aside for a day or even just a few hours, and then read through it again with fresh eyes—you’ll probably notice some changes you want to make.
You might even want to ask a friend or family member to give it a look. In addition to asking them if they spot any errors, you should ask them two questions:
- Does this sell me as the best person for the job?
- Does it get you excited?
If the answer to either is “no,” or even slight hesitation, go back for another pass.
Here’s an example cover letter that follows this advice:
Alia Farhat San Francisco Bay Area [email protected] 444-000-1111
Hello Danny Tanaka,
If I’m being honest, I still haven’t fully gotten over the death of my first Tamagotchi pet when I was six years old. (His name was Tommy, and I’ve gotten far more creative since then, I promise.) When I was older, I discovered NeoPets and I was hooked for years—not just on the site, but on the community that surrounded it. So when I heard about FantasyPets last year, I immediately started following news about your development process, and that’s how I saw your post looking for a marketing strategist. Not only do I have eight years of experience in digital marketing, but as a lifelong gamer with a passion for pet-focused titles who’s spent years in online communities with like-minded people, I also know exactly what kind of messaging resonates with your target audience.
You’re looking for someone to help you craft a social media marketing campaign to go along with your game launch, and I’ve been a part of three launch-day marketing campaigns for mobile and web-based games. In my current role as social media manager at Phun Inc., I proposed a campaign across Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok based on competitor research and analysis of our social campaigns for similar games to go along with the launch of the mobile game FarmWorld. Using my strategy of featuring both kids and adults in ads, we ended up driving over one million impressions and 80k downloads in the first three months.
I’ve always believed that the best way to find the right messaging for a game is to understand the audience and immerse myself in it as much as possible. I spend some of my research time on gaming forums and watching Twitch streams and Let’s Plays to see what really matters to the audience and how they talk about it. Of course, I always back my strategies up with data—I’m even responsible for training new members of the marketing team at Phun Inc. in Google AdWords and data visualization.
I believe that my passion for games exactly like yours, my digital marketing and market research experience, and my flair for turning data into actionable insights will help put FantasyPets on the map. I see so much promise in this game, and as a future player, I want to see its user base grow as much as you do. I appreciate your consideration for the marketing strategist role and hope to speak with you soon.
Looking for more cover letter examples? Check out these from across our site:
- 4 best cover letter examples for different types of job seekers
- Pain point cover letter example
- Internship cover letter example
- Recent graduate cover letter example
- Career changer cover letter example
- Stay-at-home parent returning to work cover letter example
- Sales cover letter example
- Email marketing manager cover letter example
- No job description or position cover letter example (a.k.a., a letter of intent or interest)
- Buzzfeed-style cover letter example
- Creative cover letter example (from the point-of-view of a dog)
As you write your cover letter, here are a few more tips to consider to help you stand out from the stack of applicants:
- Keep it short and sweet: There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general, for resumes and cover letters alike, don’t go over a page. Need help? Check out these tips for cutting down your cover letter .
- Never apologize for your missing experience: When you don’t meet all of the job requirements, it’s tempting to use lines like, “Despite my limited experience as a manager…” or “While I may not have direct experience in marketing…” But why apologize ? Instead of drawing attention to your weaknesses, emphasize the strengths and transferable skills you do have.
- Strike the right tone: You want to find a balance between being excessively formal in your writing—which can make you come off as stiff or insincere—and being too conversational. Let your personality shine through, for sure, but also keep in mind that a cover letter shouldn’t sound like a text to an old friend.
- Consider writing in the company’s “voice”: Cover letters are a great way to show that you understand the environment and culture of the company and industry. Spending some time reading over the company website or stalking their social media before you get started can be a great way to get in the right mindset—you’ll get a sense for the company’s tone, language, and culture, which are all things you’ll want to mirror—especially if writing skills are a core part of the job.
- Go easy on the enthusiasm: We can’t tell you how many cover letters we’ve seen from people who are “absolutely thrilled for the opportunity” or “very excitedly applying!” Yes, you want to show personality, creativity , and excitement. But downplay the adverbs a bit, and keep the level of enthusiasm for the opportunity genuine and believable.
The bottom line with cover letters is this: They matter, much more than the naysayers will have you believe. If you nail yours, you could easily go from the “maybe” pile straight to “Oh, hell yes.”
- Are cover letters still necessary?
- Do I have to write a cover letter if it’s optional?
- Can I skip the cover letter for a tech job?
- What does it mean to write a cover letter for a resume?
- How can I write a simple cover letter in 30 minutes?
- How can I show personality in my cover letter?
- What should I name my cover letter file?
- Is a letter of intent different from a cover letter?
- Is a letter of interest different from a cover letter?
Regina Borsellino and Jenny Foss contributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.
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How to Write a Cover Letter
Advice for tackling one of the toughest parts of the job-hunting process.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the job application process is writing an effective cover letter. And yes, you should send one. Even if only one in two cover letters gets read, that’s still a 50% chance that including one could help you. Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. Next, catch the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter with a strong opening line. If you have a personal connection with the company or someone who works there, mention it in the first sentence or two, and try to address your letter to someone directly. Hiring managers are looking for people who can help them solve problems, so show that you know what the company does and some of the challenges it faces. Then explain how your experience has equipped you to meet those needs. If the online application doesn’t allow you to submit a cover letter, use the format you’re given to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role.
No one likes job hunting. Scouring through online job listings, spiffing up your résumé , prepping for grueling interviews — none of it is fun. For many, the most challenging part of the process is writing an effective cover letter. There’s so much conflicting advice out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Do you even need one, especially if you’re applying through an online system?
What the Experts Say
The answer is almost always yes. Sure, there will be times when you’re submitting an application online and you may not be able to include one, but whenever possible, send one, says Jodi Glickman, a communications expert and author of Great on the Job . “It’s your best chance of getting the attention of the HR person or hiring manager and an important opportunity to distinguish yourself from everyone else.” And in a tight job market, setting yourself apart is critical, says John Lees, a UK-based career strategist and author of Knockout CV . Still, as anyone who’s ever written a cover letter knows, it’s not easy to do well. Here are some tips to help.
Do your research first.
Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. Of course, you should carefully read the job description, but also peruse the company’s website, its executives’ Twitter feeds, and employee profiles on LinkedIn. This research will help you customize your cover letter, since you shouldn’t send a generic one. It’ll also help you decide on the right tone. “Think about the culture of the organization you’re applying to,” advises Glickman. “If it’s a creative agency, like a design shop, you might take more risks, but if it’s a more conservative organization, like a bank, you may hold back.”
If at all possible, reach out to the hiring manager or someone else you know at the company before writing your cover letter, advises Lees. You can send an email or a LinkedIn message “asking a smart question about the job.” That way you can start your letter by referencing the interaction. You might say, “Thanks for the helpful conversation last week” or “I recently spoke to so-and-so at your company.” Of course, it’s not always possible to contact someone — or you may not get a response. That’s OK. It’s still worth a try.
Focus it on the future.
While your résumé is meant to be a look back at your experience and where you’ve been, the cover letter should focus on the future and what you want to do, says Glickman. “It can be helpful to think of it as the bridge between the past and the future that explains what you hope to do next and why.” Because of the pandemic there is less of an expectation that you’ll be applying for a job that you’ve done before. “There are millions of people who are making career changes — voluntarily or involuntarily — and need to pivot and rethink how their skill set relates to a different role or industry,” says Glickman. You can use your cover letter to explain the shift you’re making, perhaps from hospitality to marketing, for example. Think of it as an opportunity to sell your transferrable skills .
“People typically write themselves into the letter with ‘I’m applying for X job that I saw in Y place.’ That’s a waste,” says Lees. Instead, lead with a strong opening sentence . “Start with the punch line — why this job is exciting to you and what you bring to the table,” says Glickman. For example, you might write, “I’m an environmental fundraising professional with more than 15 years of experience looking for an opportunity to apply my skills in new ways, and I’d love to bring my expertise and enthusiasm to your growing development team.” Then you can include a sentence or two about your background and your relevant experience, but don’t rehash your résumé.
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How to Write a Resume That Stands Out
Chances are the hiring manager or recruiter is reading a stack of these, so you want to catch their attention. But don’t try to be funny. “Humor can often fall flat or sound self-regarding,” says Lees. Stay away from common platitudes, too. “Say something direct and dynamic, such as ‘Let me draw your attention to two reasons why I’d be a great addition to your team.'”
If you have a personal connection with the company or someone who works there, also mention it in the first sentence or two. And always address your letter to someone directly. “With social media, it’s often possible to find the name of a hiring manager,” says Glickman.
Emphasize your personal value.
Hiring managers are looking for people who can help them solve problems. Drawing on the research you did earlier, show that you know what the company does and some of the challenges it faces. These don’t need to be specific but you might mention how the industry has been affected by the pandemic. For example, you might write, “A lot of health care companies are overwhelmed with the need to provide high-quality care while protecting the health and safety of their staff.” Then talk about how your experience has equipped you to meet those needs; perhaps explain how you solved a similar problem in the past or share a relevant accomplishment. You want to provide evidence of the things that set you apart.
Lees points out that there are two skills that are relevant to almost any job right now: adaptability and the ability to learn quickly. If you have brief examples that demonstrate these skills, include those. For example, if you supported your team in the shift to remote work, describe how you did that and what capabilities you drew on.
“When you don’t get hired, it’s usually not because of a lack of skills,” says Glickman. “It’s because people didn’t believe your story, that you wanted the job, or that you knew what you were getting into.” Hiring managers are going to go with the candidate who has made it seem like this is their dream job. So make it clear why you want the position . “Enthusiasm conveys personality,” Lees adds. He suggests writing something like “I’d love to work for your company. Who wouldn’t? You’re the industry leader, setting standards that others only follow.” Don’t bother applying if you’re not excited about some aspect of the company or role.
Watch the tone.
At the same time, don’t go overboard with the flattery or say anything you don’t mean. Authenticity is crucial. “Even if you’ve been out of work for months, and would take any job at this point, you want to avoid sounding desperate ,” says Lees. You don’t want your tone to undermine your message, so be professional and mature. A good rule of thumb is to put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and think about “the kind of language that the hiring manager would use with one of the company’s customers.” Of course, it can be hard to discern your own tone in writing, so you may need to ask someone to review a draft (which is always a good idea anyway — see advice below). Lees says that he often cuts outs “anything that sounds like desperation” when he’s reviewing letters for clients.
Keep it short.
Much of the advice out there says to keep it under a page. But both Glickman and Lees say even shorter is better. “Most cover letters I see are too long,” says Lees. “It should be brief enough that someone can read it at a glance.” You do have to cover a lot of ground — but you should do it succinctly. This is where asking a friend, former colleague, or mentor to review your letter can be helpful. Ask them to read through it and point out places where you can cut.
In fact, it’s a great idea to share your cover letter with a few people, says Lees. Rather than sending it off and asking, “What do you think?” be specific about the kind of feedback you want. In particular, request two things. First, ask your friend if it’s clear what your main point is. What’s the story you’re telling? Are they able to summarize it? Second, ask them what’s wrong with the letter. “Other people are more attuned to desperation, overselling, over-modesty, and underselling,” says Lees, and they should be able to point out places where the tone is off.
When you can’t submit a cover letter.
Many companies now use online application systems that don’t allow for a cover letter. You may be able to figure out how to include one in the same document as your résumé, but that’s not a guarantee, especially because some systems only allow for data to be entered into specific boxes. In these cases, use the format you’re given to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role. If possible, you may try to find someone to whom you can send a brief follow-up email highlighting a few key points about your application.
Principles to Remember
- Have a strong opening statement that makes clear why you want the job and what you bring to the table.
- Be succinct — a hiring manager should be able to read your letter at a glance.
- Share an accomplishment that shows you can address the challenges the employer is facing.
- Try to be funny — too often it falls flat.
- Send a generic cover letter — customize each one for the specific job.
- Go overboard with flattery — be professional and mature.
Advice in Practice
Case study #1: demonstrate an understanding of what the company needs..
Michele Sommers, the vice president of HR for the Boys & Girls Village, a nonprofit in Connecticut, recently posted a job for a recruiting and training specialist. “I was looking for someone with a strong recruiting background who could do everything from sourcing candidates to onboarding new hires,” she says. She also wanted the person to hit the ground running. “We’re a small team and I can’t afford to train someone,” she says.
More than 100 candidates applied for the job. The organization’s online application system doesn’t allow for cover letter attachments, but one of the applicants, Heidi (not her real name), sent a follow-up email after submitting her résumé. “And it’s a good thing she did, because she would’ve been weeded out otherwise,” Michele says.
Heidi’s résumé made her look like a “job hopper” — very short stints at each previous employer. Michele assumed she was a poor performer who kept getting fired. She was also the only candidate who didn’t have a four-year college degree.
But Heidi’s email caught Michele’s eye. First off, it was professional. Heidi stated clearly that she was writing to double-check that her application had been received. She went on to explain how she had gotten Michele’s name and information (through her husband’s boss, who was on the board) and her personal connection to Boys & Girls Village (her father-in-law had done some work with the organization).
Stand Out in Your Interview
What really stood out to Michele, though, was Heidi’s understanding of the group and the challenges it was facing. She’d done her research and “listed some things she would do or already had done that would help us address those needs,” says Michele.
“The personality and passion she conveyed in the cover letter came through during her phone screening,” Michele says. Heidi ended up being more than qualified for the job. “I wanted this role to be bigger from the get-go, but I didn’t think that was possible. When I met her, I knew we could expand it.” Three weeks later Michele offered Heidi the job and she accepted.
Case Study #2: Catch their attention.
Over the past four years, Emily Sernaker applied for multiple positions at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). She never gave up. With each application, she sent a personalized cover letter. “I wanted my cover letter to highlight my qualifications, creative thinking, and genuine respect for the organization,” she says.
Sarah Vania, the organization’s regional HR director, says that Emily’s letters caught her attention, especially because they included several video links that showed the results of Emily’s advocacy and fundraising work at other organizations. Emily explains, “I had prior experience advocating for former child soldiers, human trafficking survivors, vulnerable women, and displaced persons. It’s one thing to make statements in a cover letter, like ‘I can make a pitch, I am a creative person, I am thoughtful,’ but showing these qualities seemed like a better way of convincing the recruiter that the statements were true.”
This is what Emily wrote to Sarah about the video:
Here is a short video about my story with activism. The nonprofit organization Invisible Children made it for a youth conference I spoke at this year. It is about four minutes. As you’ll see from the video, I’ve had a lot of success as a student fundraiser, raising over $200,000 for Invisible Children. I’ve since gone on to work as a consultant for Wellspring International and have recently concluded my studies as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar.
In each of the cover letters, Emily also made clear how much she wanted to work for IRC. “To convey enthusiasm is a vulnerable thing to do and can come off as naivete, but, when it came down to it, my enthusiasm for the organization was genuine and expressing it felt right,” she says.
This is how Emily conveyed her interest in working for IRC:
You should also know that I have a sincere appreciation of the IRC. I have enjoyed learning about your programs and have personally visited your New York headquarters, the San Diego New Roots farm, the We Can Be Heroes exhibit, and the Half the Sky exhibit in Los Angeles. The IRC is my top choice and I believe I would be a valuable addition to your fundraising team.
Emily learned throughout the process that the organization had hundreds of applicants for each position and it was extremely competitive. “I appreciated that I wouldn’t be the best for every opening but also remained firm that I did have a significant contribution to make,” she says. Eventually, Emily’s persistence paid off. She was hired as a temporary external relations coordinator, and four months later she moved into a permanent role.
Editor’s note: The author updated this article, which was originally written in 2014, to reflect the latest advice from the experts and the reality of job-seeking during the pandemic.
- Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast , and the author of two books: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict . She writes and speaks about workplace dynamics. Watch her TEDx talk on conflict and follow her on LinkedIn . amyegallo
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How to write an effective cover letter (with samples)
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You will have to prepare a number of materials for employers while looking for a job. One type of document is the cover letter, which is included with your resume when requesting a job interview. An effective cover letter is directed towards a specific position or company, and describes examples from your experience that highlight your skills related to the role.
You want to convince the reader that your interest in the job and company are genuine and specific. You also want to demonstrate ways that your experience has prepared you for the role by sharing a few brief stories that highlight your qualifications. This takes time and research; use the job description and the company’s web site or LinkedIn page to identify traits and skills the company values.
Cover letter structure and format
A cover letter should be no longer than one page with a font size between 10-12 points. Be sure to include your contact information and address it directly to the hiring manager, using their name. If you are not sure who to address the letter to, write “Dear Hiring Manager.” If the role you are applying for has a reference number or code, be sure to include it in your letter so that human resources is able to accurately track your application. The reference code is usually included
Cover letters typically take the following structure:
Introduction (1st paragraph)
- State clearly in your opening sentence the purpose for your letter and a brief professional introduction.
- Specify why you are interested in that specific position and organization.
- Provide an overview of the main strengths and skills you will bring to the role.
Example : I am a second year master’s student in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program (TPP) writing to apply for a consulting position in Navigant’s Emerging Technology & Business Strategy group. After speaking with John Smith at the MIT career fair, I realized that Navigant’s values of excellence, continuous development, entrepreneurial spirit, and integrity align with the principles that guide me every day and that have driven me throughout my career. Moreover, I believe that my knowledge of the energy sector, passion for data analysis, polished communication skills, and four years of consulting experience will enable me to deliver superior value for Navigant’s clients.
Body (2-3 paragraphs)
- Cite a couple of examples from your experience that support your ability to be successful in the position or organization.
- Try not to simply repeat your resume in paragraph form, complement your resume by offering a little more detail about key experiences.
- Discuss what skills you have developed and connect these back to the target role.
Example : As a graduate student in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program, I spend every day at the cutting edge of the energy sector. In my capacity as an MIT Energy Initiative research assistant, I use statistical analysis to investigate trends in public acceptance and regulation related to emerging energy technologies. Graduate classes in data science, energy economics, energy ventures and strategy, and technology policy have prepared me to help Navigant offer the expert services that set it apart from competitors. Furthermore, I will bring Navigant the same leadership skills that I used as the student leader for the MIT Energy Conference’s Technology Commercialization round-table, and as the mentorship manager for the MIT Clean Energy Prize.
Even before MIT, my four years of work experience in consulting—first at LMN Research Group and then at XYZ Consulting—allowed me to develop the skillset that Navigant looks for in candidates. As a science writer and policy analyst at LMN Research Group, I developed superb technical writing and visual communication skills, as well as an ability to communicate and collaborate with clients at federal agencies such as EPA and DOE. As a research analyst at XYZ Consulting, I developed an in-depth understanding of data analysis, program evaluation, and policy design.
Closing (last paragraph)
- Restate succinctly your interest in the role and why you are a good candidate.
- Thank the reader for their time and consideration.
Example : I take pride in my skills and experience in several domains: critical thinking and analysis, communication, and leadership. I note that Navigant values these same ideals, and I very much hope to use my abilities in service of the firm and its clients. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to speaking with you further about my qualifications.
Additional cover letter tips
- Be sure that each cover letter is specifically tailored to the company you are writing to. Research the company to help you determine your approach. Check the company’s website and other resources online. You can also use MIT’s extensive alumni network through the Alumni Advisors Hub to seek first-hand knowledge, advice, and insight about the company.
- Are you seeking a position in a field or industry that does not have an obvious parallel or connection to your academic training? Be explicit about why you are interested in that particular field, organization or job, and what value you bring. For example, if you are an electrical engineer applying to a finance or consulting position, highlight your quantitative skills and ability to problem-solve.
- If you are applying for a summer job or internship and do not yet have any experience that is directly related to the position, focus on transferable skills that will add value to the role – leadership, communication, problem-solving, project management, etc.
- Lastly, cover letters are a chance to demonstrate the communication skills necessary to most jobs. Careful composing and revision are essential. To put your best foot forward and ensure your cover letter will be effective, schedule an appointment with a CAPD career advisor.
Tips & advice.
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5 Short Cover Letters That Get to the Point
If you audibly groan every time you see the words "cover letter requires", you might consider writing a short, impressive cover letter that gets the point across. We created short cover letter samples and a template to help you write a short but sweet cover letter.
The Essentials: What Your Short Cover Letter Needs
Your cover letter should include:.
- A friendly, professional greeting with the hiring manager's name (make sure it's spelled correctly)
- A direct first paragraph that details your most relevant experience and skills
- Another short paragraph details your inspiration for applying for this specific role and this specific company
- Your best regards
1. Be Direct
2. be enthusiastic., 3. remove anything irrelevant., 4. use concise and active language..
5. Brag About Yourself
When do i need a cover letter , when in doubt, just write the cover letter.
- More background on you
- Opportunity for storytelling
- Communication of your best character traits
- An occasion to imagine yourself in the role (+ showcase what you know about the company)
Short Cover Letter Examples
If you have little-to-no experience, if you have a gap in your work history , the really short cover letter:, if you want to add bullet points, if you are changing careers.
- cover letter
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Writing a cover letter is essential when applying for jobs. This is the perfect way to express how your specific skills are relevant to the open position. Wow your future employer with this simple cover letter example format.
Personal letters are usually given to family and friends to express thoughts of gratitude and love. They typically include the basic parts of a letter, which are the heading, date, greeting, content, closing, signature and post script.
What do I include in a short cover letter? · a cover letter header with your contact information · the hiring manager's mailing address · a proper
What should I include in my short cover letter? · Header: Find the hiring manager's name and the company's address. · Greeting: Address the hiring
How to format a short cover letter? The format of the short cover letter depends on the nature of the contents, but every cover letter should include your
Dear (hiring manager name) · Paragraph #1: introduction and a big job-fitting achievement · Paragraph #2: key skills and why you fit the job
Here's an example of the perfect cover letter, according to Harvard career experts · 1. Address the letter to a specific person · 2. Clearly state
Avoid adjectives. Sure, adjectives liven up your writing, but this isn't a creative writing piece. · Avoid buzzwords. Try not to fill up your
One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It's brief, to say the least, and the author doesn't go into a ton of
How to write a cover letter hiring managers will love · Step 1: Write a fresh cover letter for each job (but yes, you can use a template). · Step
Have a strong opening statement that makes clear why you want the job and what you bring to the table. · Be succinct — a hiring manager should be
Cover letter structure and format · Introduction (1st paragraph). State clearly in your opening sentence the purpose for your letter and a brief professional
Your cover letter should include: · A friendly, professional greeting with the hiring manager's name (make sure it's spelled correctly) · A direct first paragraph