Keep cover letters with your resume in Word
Job hunting electronically requires finesse. Keeping your cover letter with your resume, in a single document lessens the chance of losing that impressive letter, and it's easier for a potential employer to print. Here is one way to optimize your time and, maybe, impress a hiring manager.
Creating sections for a cover letter and resume
To keep your cover letter and your resume together, you can create them in the same document and use a separate section, with different information and formatting, for each.
Note: You can use the same technique to create title pages, tables of contents, and other pages where you want different margins and headers and footers.
Insert a section break
Go to File > Options .
Select > Display .
Under Always show these formatting marks on the screen , select Paragraph marks .
Click or tap where you want to insert a section break for your cover letter.
Go to Layout (or Page layout for 2013), and select the down arrow next to Breaks .
Under Section Breaks , select Next Page .
Cover letter header
Cover letter footer
Make the header and footer different from the previous section
Select the first page of the resume (not cover letter).
Go to Insert > Header .
Select Edit Header .
Click or tap anywhere in the header, and select Link to Previous to clear it.
Select Close Header and Footer .
Start your resume headers and footers on the second page of your resume
Select the second page of the resume .
Click or tap anywhere in the header, and select Different First Page .
Use different layouts for your cover letter and your resume
Set the layout for your cover letter, and then select the first page of your resume.
Under Apply to , select This point forward .
Make your layout changes and select OK .
About the author Karen Hofferber is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and senior resume writer at ResumePower.com. Changing careers? See The Career Change Resume by Kim Isaacs and Karen Hofferber for help. You can contact Karen at ResumePower.com.
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- Cover Letter Tips
Should You Combine Your Cover Letter and Resume into One Document?
The internet has impacted virtually every area of life, including the job search process. Gone are the days when a job-seeker would simply hand an employer a cover letter and resume in paper form. Today, more companies than ever accept digital copies of those job search documents.
In fact, many companies and employers now only accept emailed digital cover letters and resumes so they can make use of applicant tracking systems (ATS). Unfortunately, there’s been little effort to standardize submission processes, and that can make it a little confusing for the average job seeker.
For example, how should you submit your emailed resume and cover letter?
Should you send them separately, or combine them into one document?
In this post, we’ll examine both options and offer the advice you need to make the best decision.
Review the instructions
Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to get the submission guidelines for the position straight from the source. That means asking the company’s hiring manager how your resume and should be sent. If there are clear instructions, it’s important to follow them to the letter to maximize your chances of receiving the right type of attention.
In many instances, however, you will discover that the instructions are vague. Perhaps the only instruction is that your resume must be emailed. If that’s the case, then you need to decide whether to send them as one document or separately.
Cover letter and resume: to combine or not to combine?
You should generally opt for sending your cover letter and resume as separate documents, except when submission guidelines require a single document.
Let’s get right to the main question here: "should you combine the cover letter and resume into one document?" As a rule, no. Since they serve two very different roles in the job search process, they should be treated as separate documents. Obviously, there may be times when you don’t have that option, but that should always be your preferred choice.
When you leave them as separate documents, it is vital to submit them properly. That means learning how to email the resume and cover letter together as separate attachments. The following tips can help:
Make sure both documents are in the same format. Choose either Microsoft Word or a PDF file. We .
Use the same naming style for both. Use your first and last name, followed by the document type. If your name was Sam Ford, for example, you would have two documents: SamFordCoverLetter.docx and SamFordResume.docx.
If you want to ensure that the document can be read, you may want to send two copies of each, one in Word and one in PDF format.
When , either include the cover letter as an attachment or copy and paste its text into the email message. Don’t do both.
When you must combine resume and cover letter: job boards
But what about those instances where you have no choice other than to combine your cover letter and resume?
While this is a rare requirement, there is one place where it may be mandatory: when uploading to a
While many job boards provide a way to upload multiple documents, you may encounter some that lack that option.
If that’s the case, then you will need to submit your cover letter and resume as a single document.
While some experts recommend placing the cover letter first in a combined document, it’s safer to start with the resume. The reason for that is that you want hiring managers to see the resume right away. Some may assume that it’s just a cover letter if that’s the first thing they see.
You should always opt for sending a cover letter and resume as separate documents; however, be flexible enough to do whatever the situation requires. Check the employer’s instructions and try to follow them to the letter. In the end, the important thing is to get those vital documents into the right hands to improve your odds of landing an interview.
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How to Attach a Cover Letter to a Resume When You Have to Use an Employer Website
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Including a cover letter with your resume shows off your communication and writing skills. The online job application is convenient and expeditious for both employers and job seekers alike. Still, job seekers shouldn't underestimate the importance of including a cover letter.
It helps to have a deeper understanding of the online application process from the employer's perspective, in addition to what you see on the computer screen as a job seeker.
Applicant Tracking Systems
Applicant tracking systems are software programs that hiring managers and human resources professionals use to field job applications, explains Jobscan.com . ATS programs may scan both your resume and cover letter documents for keywords that match the qualifications and skills that are required for a particular job opening. Employers need to be able to search cover letters, in addition to resumes.
For example, some applicants expound on technology in the cover letter that is important for the current job opening. After you attach the cover letter to the resume during the application process, the ATS program may be putting the document to use by picking out related keywords from sentences and paragraphs.
Re-Read Employer Instructions
Many hiring employers will post clear and detailed instructions or a Frequently Asked Questions section next to the advertised job opening online. Miss one detail and your job application could be thrown out of contention. In particular, many employers require that your cover letter and resume be written for a specific job opening or requisition.
If you are applying for multiple open positions within the same organization, be prepared to write multiple tailored cover letters. If you are unsure about the cover-letter submission instructions, politely call or email the hiring manager for clarification.
In many cases you only get one chance to apply and get everything correct. ATS systems may store your rejected application for an unspecified period of time, and you may have to wait before you can reapply.
Prepare Your Letter First
Avoid typing a cover letter into an online application form so that you can take a break and re-read it with fresh eyes after 30 minutes or so. Type your cover letter first in a word processing program for proofreading purposes. Use the built-in grammar and spell-checking functions to clean up your final document.
Again, the cover letter shows off your writing skills, which is vital in many career fields. Stick with the conventional cover letter format, including your contact information, the recipient's contact information, salutation, three-paragraph body and closing. Avoid fancy fonts, odd-looking margins and bullets.
Some employers request documents in the plain-text or ASCII format. Name and save this document to your hard drive. Use a professional name, such as "Jane Doe: Cover Letter," because the file name may appear in the employer's ATS system.
Attaching and Submitting
Some employer websites support attaching separate cover letter and resume documents during the application process. Simply click the "Browse" or similarly labeled button next to each option. Find the documents by name on your hard drive and upload each to the website.
Other employers might request that you send a cover letter and resume as one attachment, and you'll need to combine both documents into single document. In this case, you will need to open both documents and then copy and paste the text from the cover letter above the contact information in your resume document. Use a page break to keep the cover letter on page 1 and the resume on page 2. Afterwards, browse for the combined document on the hard drive and upload it to the employer's website. Many online applications will display some type of status message, such as "Upload Complete" or "Upload Successful."
Many recruiters don't even bother to read cover letters, and instead proceed straight to resumes. Small companies might accept your cover letter in the body of an email if your resume is attached.
- Jobscan: Applicant Tracking System
- Indeed: How To Send an Email Cover Letter
- Career One Stop.org: Cover Letter Template
- Microsoft Office: Word: Demo -- Add and Remove Page Breaks
- Resume Power.com: Resume File Types -- MS Word, Plain-Text, and Adobe PDFs
Electronic resumes: how to include a cover letter, how to send a cover letter & cv by e-mail, should i send a cover letter as an attachment, what is a soft resume, tips for filling out online job applications, how to attach a cover letter, how to create a digital resume, i forgot to put a past employer on an application, how to format a resume for online applications, most popular.
- 1 Electronic Resumes: How to Include a Cover Letter
- 2 How to Send a Cover Letter & CV by E-mail
- 3 Should I Send a Cover Letter as an Attachment?
- 4 What Is a Soft Resume?
Here's the Right Way to Submit Your Resume Online
Have questions about applying for jobs online? We've got answers.
Here's the Right Way to Submit Your Resume Online
You've agonized over your resume and cover letter and perfected its content (hopefully), and now you're ready to submit it. But applying for jobs isn't always straightforward, and online application systems can sometimes be confusing or unwieldy.
You've got questions about applying online, and U.S. News has answers. Let's get started.
What format should your resume be in – Word, PDF or something else?
Either one is fine. There are advantages to using a PDF though, since it will preserve your formatting exactly as you want it, where Word documents can display differently from computer to computer. Do stick with one of these two formats though; your recipient may not have the software to open documents in other formats.
[See: The 25 Best Social Services Jobs of 2017 .]
If you're applying by email, should you attach your cover letter in a separate document or put it in the body of the email?
Either one is fine! People do it both ways, and employers aren't going to penalize you for picking one over the other.
That said, attaching the cover letter as a separate document will keep your formatting and can make it easier for hiring managers to share your materials with colleagues. If you choose to attach it, then before you send it you should write something like this in the body of the email: "I'd like to apply for your communications director position. Attached please find my cover letter and resume." (But don't get tempted to write more than that, or you'll end up with a whole second cover letter.)
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If an application system asks you to fill out questions that are already answered on your resume, can you just write "see resume"?
Sadly, no. The temptation is understandable, but it will annoy a lot of employers. They're asking, so they want you to answer.
But to make this easier, a good trick is to keep a plain-text version of your resume that you can easily copy and paste from without having to deal with formatting issues that can result if you're copying and pasting heavily formatted text.
[See: Tips for Surviving a Career Transition .]
If an online application system wants to know your salary requirements , do you have to answer?
This is an incredibly frustrating element of some online application systems, since your answer may depend on details you don't currently know about the job responsibilities and the broader company benefits package. And yet, many systems won't allow you to submit your application if you don't answer this question. Sometimes the system will let you enter a number like $1 – which makes it clear you're not answering right now, but lets the system move your application forward.
Is it true that your application will be screened by a computer and a human won't even look at it?
People think this happens far more than it does! It's true that some employers do some automated screening of resumes at the start of the process, and the system may automatically reject you if you don't meet certain requirements, like a specific degree or X number of years of experience in the field. But those searches are programmed by humans, and humans mostly do look at applications early in the process. Good hiring managers and good recruiters aren't relying on computers to do the majority of their screening – it's an aid in the process, but it's not the main thing driving the process.
If you have a strong resume that clearly describes your experience and speaks to the requirements outlined in the job posting, a human should see your application.
Plus, many employers don't use automated screening at all, and simply use their online application systems as a way to keep all the information about candidates in one place that many people involved in the process can access.
[See: The 25 Best Jobs of 2017 .]
With LinkedIn being so well-known, can you submit a link to your LinkedIn profile in place of a traditional resume?
No, not unless an employer explicitly says you can do that. Most won't, since when you're screening hundreds or resumes, it's much easier if they're all in a relatively consistent format. Plus, if the employer uses an applicant tracking system, most of those systems aren't set up to take LinkedIn pages. On top of all that, it's not even necessarily to your advantage to submit your LinkedIn profile instead of a resume, since that would mean you couldn't customize your resume to the particular job posting you're applying for . You can of course include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume, but it shouldn't take the place of your resume.
Best Healthcare Jobs
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How To Make Your Resume And Cover Letter Work Together
When applying to jobs, you typically need to create both a cover letter and a resume. Sometimes job seekers forget that these two documents work together. Because the two are intertwined, it’s a good idea to make sure they are indeed working well together. Here are some simple tips to consider when you write these documents for submission:
1. Make Sure The Fonts Match
2. make sure the information matches, 3. use the same high-quality paper.
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Home Cover Letter Help How to Write a Cover Letter
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job
Unsure what to write in your cover letter, or how to make a cover letter that pairs well with your resume? Our cover letter writing guide explains these details in-depth, and shows you how to write a good cover letter for a job application that lands you an interview.
Picture this : you’ve already made a resume that highlights your experience and you’re about to submit a job application. But before you can continue you see the phrase that every job seeker dreads: “ cover letter required .”
Nobody likes writing cover letters, but if you’re job hunting in 2023, you’ll need to write a cover letter .
We’re here to help. In this article, we break down what a cover letter is, provide some proven examples, and guide you through every step of making a cover letter for a job. Let’s get started.
What is a cover letter for a job?
Not quite clear on what a cover letter is exactly? Here’s a quick definition:
A cover letter is an application document you pair with your resume that explains why you want a particular job, and why you think you’re the right person for that job.
But seeing an example is always better than just reading a definition. So here’s an example of a cover letter to show you what a good cover letter looks like in 2023:
Download Cover Letter Example
Cover Letter Template (Text Version)
December 3, 2022
Mrs. Connie Finnegan
24 Federal Ave.
Atlanta, GA, 30308
Dear Mrs. Finnegan,
I’m writing to apply for the Restaurant Manager opening at Cool Bistro. I have more than three years of experience managing successful restaurants and bars, delivering excellent customer service, and creating unique dining experiences. I’m confident my professional expertise would make me a great addition to the team at Cool Bistro.
In my role as Restaurant Manager for Bar Louie, I proved to be an efficient, enthusiastic, and strong leader. My value quickly became apparent to Bar Louie’s owners after I trained and prepared the entire waitstaff for opening night. Not only did our team meet sales goals each month for the first year, but we received glowing reviews in the local papers as well.
I’m confident Cool Bistro would benefit from my skills in the following areas:
- Eye for excellence and high level of standards
- Strong work ethic and leadership skills
- Positive attitude even under pressure
I believe Cool Bistro will be a great success for many years to come, and my extensive expertise will help ensure your establishment succeeds well into the future. My time spent in this industry has prepared me for such an opportunity, and I sincerely hope I can contribute soon as a member of your team.
I’d appreciate the opportunity to discuss the Restaurant Manager position in more detail soon. I’m happy to come by whenever is most convenient for you. Thank you for your time, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
To maximize your chances of getting an interview, you need to write a cover letter that makes a strong positive first impression on employers. And if you don’t have time to write one, no worries — you can also make a cover letter quickly using online tools or a cover letter template .
Writing a cover letter for a job with no experience ? Watch the video below to get started. Or keep scrolling to learn everything you need to know about how to write a good cover letter that gets you hired regardless of your background.
How to write a cover letter for a job application
Not sure what to write in a cover letter? Follow the seven simple steps below to make a cover letter that leaves a lasting impression on employers:
1. List your contact details
Underneath your name in your cover letter header , list the following contact information:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Mailing address (optional)
- Linkedin profile link (optional)
- Portfolio or website (optional)
- Pronouns (optional)
2. Address the hiring manager by name
Here’s how the top half of your cover letter should look.
After your header, include the date and the company contact information in this format:
Cover Letter Address Format
Name or job title of the person or team you’re writing to Company name Company’s street address Company’s phone number Hiring manager’s email address
Next, address your cover letter to the hiring manager — by name if possible.
A standard cover letter salutation includes the hiring manager’s last name, and begins with “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or another relevant professional title.
If you don’t see the hiring manager’s name listed in the job ad, don’t worry. You can still easily find out who to address your cover letter to:
Ways to find the hiring manager’s name
- Search the company on LinkedIn and click on “People”
- Explore the company’s website (specifically their “About Us” or “Team” page)
- As a last resort, contact their human resources department and ask
However, if you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, using their job title or something like Dear [Department Name] Director is okay.
Here are some example cover letter greetings:
Ways to open your cover letter
- Dear Jane Smith
- Dear Ms. Smith
- Dear Accounting Department
- Dear [Company Name] Recruiter
3. Write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph
Start your cover letter with an informative, direct introduction.
In the first one or two sentences, mention the position and organization you’re applying for, where you found the position, and why you’re excited about the opportunity. Check out this example of an effective cover letter introduction:
Example of a good cover letter introduction
Your opening paragraph should encourage the employer to read the rest of your cover letter.
Highlight your passion
You can make your introduction even more attention-grabbing by adding some personality, or by including a career highlight. Here’s a sample cover letter for a job application highlighting the jobseeker’s passion for the role.
Displaying your passion for a job
As a teenager, I would cut my friends’ hair because of my passion for haircare. Eventually, many of my friends and family would come exclusively to me when they needed their hair cut. Today, if anything, I’m even more passionate about hair care, which is why I’m applying for the open Stylist role at Grateful Dreads.
Showing personality in your cover letter helps employers understand what motivates you.
Just be sure to strike the right tone for your industry or field. For instance, if you’re applying for a job in law or finance, keep your writing formal.
Mention any referrals or contacts you have at the job
If you received a referral to the job by a current employee, your introduction is the place to mention it. Include a referral in your cover letter by quickly stating their name and your connection to them. This is a great way to quickly win over a hiring manager.
Adding a referral for a role
Your Personal Trainer, Augusta Maine, informed me about your open Executive Diary Secretary role and encouraged me to apply.
4. Explain why you’re qualified for the job
Your second and third paragraphs should convince employers that you’re the right person for the job. Use these paragraphs to best market yourself by discussing your relevant work experience, skills, and achievements.
Some things to include in your cover letter that highlight your value to employers include achievements , awards , and expertise . Here’s how you can add these elements:
If you’ve received compliments from management or colleagues for your work, you can add them to your cover letter:
Showcasing success on a cover letter
The managing partner of the law firm, Olympia Washington — one of my references — informed me that without my research skills, we wouldn’t have been able to guarantee such a good result for our clients in a class-action suit against an eldercare facility that had been overcharging its residents.
5. Relate your experience to the company’s needs
Begin to close your cover letter by restating your interest in the job and explaining how your experience fits into the needs of the company.
For example, if you’re applying to work at a company that’s seeking to break into a new market that you have experience in, you should highlight this experience in your writing.
Showing prior experience on a cover letter
I noticed in The San Antonio Express-News that you’re expanding Los Pollos Sobrinos into neighboring New Mexico. As a supervisor at Big Kahuna Burger, I’ve onboarded 20+ new employees, and I’m sure I could help you rapidly grow and train your team.
If you’re not sure what the goals or needs of the company are, find out by doing some research online. Take note of the products or services they offer, what their work culture is like, and if they have any future goals.
The job ad is also an excellent place to find out what the company is seeking.
6. Finish with a concise closing paragraph and sign-off
When writing a cover letter closing , be polite, confident, and continue to market yourself as the best candidate for the job.
First, restate your excitement about the job opportunity. Then, encourage the hiring manager to interview you (remember to mention when you’re available), and thank them for their time:
Finally, wrap up your cover letter with a professional closing salutation. The standard closing is “Sincerely” but here are some more options:
6 more sign offs for a cover letter
- Best wishes,
- Kind regards,
- Best regards,
- Yours truly,
Then, make two spaces below the salutation, and type your full name.
7. Check your cover letter’s content and formatting
After creating your cover letter, you need to review it before you send it off. Here are a few things to consider when reviewing your cover letter:
Double-check your cover letter formatting
A professional cover letter is normally:
- 200–350 words
- US Letter (USA) or A4 (elsewhere) page size
- Left-aligned (except for your contact details, which can be centered)
Take a look at the checklist below before you submit your application to make sure your cover letter is formatted correctly.
Simplify your writing
The trick to writing a good cover letter that gives employers an easy overview of your qualifications is to use direct language.
Ideally, a cover letter for a resume should be easy to read, confident, and friendly.
To instantly improve your writing tone:
- Use contractions like “don’t” instead of “do not”
- Avoid overused buzzwords and phrases like “dynamic,” “think outside the box,” and “go-getter”
- Choose simple words like “helpful” instead of “advantageous”
Here’s a comparison between a friendly writing style and an overly formal one:
Excited and professional
I’m thrilled to apply for the customer service position at [Company Name]. Having been a customer service representative for 5+ years at Walmart, I’m confident I can quickly apply my experience using Zendesk and Salesforce to make a positive impact on [Company Name]’s bottom line.
It is with great interest that I apply for the open customer service position posted by your company on Indeed. I possess the requisite skill set to ably perform the customer service duties described in the job requirements.
Typos and grammatical errors in your cover letter will leave a negative impression on employers.
Here are two quick tricks professional editors use to catch mistakes:
- Read your writing out loud : Reading your letter aloud forces you to consider every word, sentence, paragraph, and punctuation mark. Plus, you’ll more easily notice hard-to-read sentences, and can then simplify them.
- Change the font : A new font forces your brain to process something that seems new. Switching your cover letter to a different font and font size can help you notice mistakes you’d otherwise miss.
After you’ve read your cover letter out loud, have someone else read it over. They can provide helpful feedback like whether your letter is clear and well-argued, or vague and filled with cliches. They’ll also (hopefully) notice any small grammar and spelling errors you missed.
How to make a cover letter using online software
If you’re short on time, try using a web application to quickly make a convincing cover letter.
There are several powerful cover letter builders online that you can try out. We’ll walk you through our own cover letter generator , so you can create your own letter in a few quick steps.
Step 1: Fill in your personal information
This information is what the software uses to generate your cover letter, and includes your:
- Educational background
- Skills and personal qualities
Additionally, you’ll need to list the job title and company that you’re applying for so that the builder knows how to address your cover letter.
Depending on your educational status and how much relevant work experience you have, the software will highlight different information to help put the focus on your strengths as a candidate.
For example, if you already have several years of relevant work experience, the builder won’t mention your college education because your degree is no longer your most relevant qualification.
The last question asks you to explain how your coworkers might describe you (the answer ultimately being a soft skill you’ve developed over time). The builder then uses this detail in your cover letter to help further market you as the best candidate for the job.
Step 2: Select your template
But before you download your cover letter, make sure it looks appropriate for the job you’re applying for and matches the design of your resume.
Click on the left or right side of your cover letter to swap between the many HR-approved templates available in our builder. We offer a variety of templates designed for different industries and levels of formality, so you’ll soon find a design that works for you:
Step 3: Download your completed cover letter
With your cover letter written and neatly formatted, you’re ready to download your finished document.
Once you click “Proceed to Download”, you’ll be prompted to download your file in either PDF or .docx format.
In most situations, you should save your cover letter as a PDF because it’s easy for employers to open and ensures the reader doesn’t accidentally edit your cover letter when viewing it.
However, if a company specifically asks you to send your job application in .docx format, you should save your cover letter as a docx.
Frequently asked questions about how to write a cover letter
Still unsure about something? Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about writing a cover letter:
What makes a good cover letter?
A good cover letter expands upon the information in your resume, providing context for your skills and accomplishments. It also gives employers insight into your personality so they can determine if you’d be a good cultural fit for the company.
What should you not say in a cover letter?
What you shouldn’t say in a cover letter is anything that makes you seem negative . For example, avoid talking about why you hate your job , or complaining about your current employer.
Instead, focus on what you learned in your current position that will help you succeed in your next role.
Should you include salary requirements in a cover letter?
No, you shouldn’t include salary requirements in your cover letter unless the company requests it.
If the salary you state is too high, the employer might reject your application before you get the opportunity to explain why your skill set and experience warrant a higher salary.
How do you write a general cover letter for a resume?
You write a general cover letter for a resume by highlighting the skills that make you a competitive candidate in your target industry without including any specific details about the job you’re applying for.
However, keep in mind that tailoring your cover letter to each position you apply for will increase your chances of landing a job. We recommend against using a general cover letter unless you really need to save time.
Additional cover letter FAQs:
Still have some questions that haven’t been answered? Here are some of our other cover letter FAQs:
- Does a resume need a cover letter?
- How do I include a referral in a cover letter?
- How do you write salary requirements in a cover letter?
- What is an enclosure in a cover letter?
- Should you use a template for a cover letter?
- Does a CV include a cover letter?
- Can a cover letter be two pages?
- Do cover letters need an address?
- Do I need to sign a cover letter submitted electronically?
- Should you put a photo on a cover letter?
- What does a cover letter look like?
We also have the answers to many more frequently asked questions about cover letters if you don’t see your question above.
Click to rate this article
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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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How to write a great cover letter for a job
How to write a great cover letter for a job
Job hunting can be tough—especially when it comes to your cover letter. Writing a unique, eye-catching cover letter for a job application is one of the toughest parts of the entire process.
To help you land your dream job, we’ve created this quick guide to writing a stand-out cover letter. Let’s dive in.
What is a cover letter?
Before you can write an outstanding cover letter for a job application, you’ve got to understand what it is.
Your resume lays down the facts about your professional history. Your cover letter puts all of that information in context. A good cover letter will contain:
- An explanation for why you are applying for a role
- A description of how your past work history makes you an outstanding candidate
- A hint of your soft skills and ability to adapt to a new work culture
Cover letter contents vary depending on your industry, work history, and the open job. There is no clear formula for writing one, though there are certain tips you can follow. Because there is no “right” way to craft a cover letter, templates will not be much help. While you can use a template to format your cover letter, you’ll want to write the bulk of it yourself.
The more unique and creative your cover letter is, the more likely a recruiter will contact you for an interview.
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Why is having a good cover letter important?
Cover letters are optional for some applications. In the current tight job market, employers try to make it easier for people to apply for their positions. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write one.
Over half of senior managers say that cover letters are worthwhile. If other applicants don’t include a cover letter for a job and you do, you have already set yourself apart from the pack. If your cover letter is well-written, your initial impression gets more of a boost. Even if a cover letter isn’t requested, it’s a good move to include one anyway. Be sure to go the extra mile.
For jobs that do require cover letters, a well-written cover letter can easily prove your professionalism to recruiters.
Ten tips for writing a stand-out cover letter for a job
Cover letters are important, but how do you write one that recruiters and hiring managers won’t stop talking about? Here are ten top tips for crafting a cover letter for a job:
- Address your recruiter or hiring manager by name. Using your recipient’s name quickly makes your cover letter stand out. Addressing your recipient by name shows them that you’re willing to put that extra work in.
- Link your history to the job description. Carefully review the job description before you write your cover letter. Pick out a few leading job requirements, and connect your work history examples to those requirements.
- Show, don’t tell. Don’t just tell your audience about your achievements. Show them. Give examples, and try to include results where you can. Add in numbers where you can, too. Quantified results will stand out.
- Create a story. In your cover letter, demonstrate how your past work history has raised you to your present level. Then, explain how you will be able to succeed at the specific role you’re applying for. Think of it as a story with a strong narrative arc.
- Use an appropriate, approachable tone. Formal cover letters can seem off-putting in this day and age. Write in a casual yet professional tone. If your industry skews conservative or otherwise, keep that in mind.
- Insert your personality. Hiring teams want to know if you’ll be a flexible co-worker. Try to make your cover letter reflect your personality—especially if you’re naturally energetic, positive, or kind.
- Be honest. Don’t stretch the truth in your cover letter. In fact, this is the place to address any potential issues, like an employment gap or botched project. Honesty can be impressive, showing hiring managers how you would resolve a mistake or problem in your new role.
- Leave out what you can. Mainly, you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with information. They can ask follow-up questions during the interview. Leave out any history that isn’t necessary or relevant.
- End with a call of action. Don’t tell the letter recipient that you’d like for him or her to reach out immediately. That’s overstepping boundaries. But you should feel free to let them know that you’re excited to talk with them soon.
- Coordinate your letter with your resume. Finally, you can coordinate your cover letter with your resume. Ensure both documents use similar language. You can even ensure the design matches for that extra touch with cover letter and resume templates .
Overview: what your cover letter is really about
At the end of the day, the best way to write a good cover letter for a job is to be yourself and show how much you want the job. Ultimately, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for enthusiastic team members who are willing to work hard for good results.
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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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Resume & Cover Letter
How to write a cover letter in 2022 (6 tips and 3 templates).
Posted by Dominique Fluker
Content Marketing Manager, Editorial
Last Updated June 9, 2022
A guide to writing a cover letter that impresses your reader.
The cover letter is a tool to help introduce yourself in a memorable, personal way during a job application. A well-crafted cover letter goes over information on your resume and expands this information for the reader, taking them on a guided journey of some of your greatest career and life achievements . Its purpose is to elaborate on the information contained in your resume while infusing your personality. Unlike a resume, a cover letter lets you introduce yourself to the hiring manager, provide context for your achievements and qualifications, and explain your motivation for joining the company. So how do you pique the interest of your future employer and hiring manager all while highlighting your truest self?
When starting to write any cover letter, it is always best to plan the content of your letter based on the requirements of the job you’re applying for.
We’re here to help you! This guide will cover:
- The essential elements of a successful cover letter
- How to write a unique cover letter,
- What to include in a cover letter
- What not to include and how you should submit your cover letter
What is a Cover Letter?
Your resume is intended to lay out the facts, but your cover letter is meant to convey more personality. The cover letter is your first introduction to the person who may hire you, and its goal should be to make you as memorable as possible , in a good way.
That means writing a unique cover letter for every job you apply to. No templates. No pre-written nonsense. The format of your cover letter should also match the company and the industry you’re applying to.
There is no “official format” for your cover letter or the information you include in it, but your cover letter should be visually organized , and orderly in its presentation of information.
Successful cover letters go something like this:
- Memorable introduction
- Specific, organized examples of relevant work done and problems solved
- Concise conclusion with a call to action
The rest is up to you. As we’ll go over in the next section, “What to Include in Your Cover Letter,” successful cover letters prove that you are qualified for the job by telling stories that demonstrate your skills and experience .
What to Include in Your Cover Letter?
You shouldn’t try to fit your whole career and life into the space of a cover letter.
Your cover letter should be a carefully curated selection of stories f rom your career that gives the reader a clear idea of who you are and how you can add value to their company.
The Society for Human Resources surveyed organizations on resumes , cover letters , and interviews and found the top three things that must be included in a cover letter are:
- How a candidate’s work experience meets job requirements.
- How a candidate’s skills meet job requirements.
- Why a candidate wants to work at the organization.
Your cover letter needs to provide this information and leave the reader convinced that you are the right person for the job .
To accomplish this, you should be using the requirements of the job to dictate the content of your cover letter and following these best practices.
Show how you can solve specific problems
Saying you’re a ‘problem-solver’ is about as helpful as explaining your preference for chocolate croissants over regular croissants. Don’t tell them about your amazing problem-solving skills . Explain the details of a particular problem you were key in solving and how exactly you employed your skills to solve it. Better yet, if you know the company has a particular problem you could help solve, outline how you can help solve it.
Pick an appropriate voice and tone
You should write like yourself, but you should also pick the appropriate voice and tone for the company you’re applying to.
Researching the company will help dictate the tone you want to use, which may differ greatly, depending on where you apply. For example, the tone of your letter for a legal consulting firm will likely differ from a tech startup .
Tell your story
Telling stories from your career is a great way to demonstrate your skills and give hiring managers some insight into your personality and work style .
When looking for the right stories to tell, always look to the requirements for the position in the job description .
It is also helpful to research the company further online to get a sense for the company’s culture. Before drafting your cover letter, compare your skills with the requirements for the position.
It can be helpful to use Venn diagrams to brainstorm and find what competencies you want to highlight and what specific experiences you want to share. After you create this diagram and identify what falls into both circles, overlapping subjects will direct and inspire the content of your cover letter.
Let’s say you’re applying for a marketing director position. Among other aspects in the description, the job requires several years of marketing experience, a deep knowledge of lead generation, and strong communication skills . Describe how, in your previous role as a marketing manager, you ran several campaigns for your clients and exceeded their expectations of lead generation (with specific numbers, if possible), and how you also trained and mentored new associates on how to manage their own accounts, which improved client retention rates.
Your anecdote is accomplishing a lot at once—it’s demonstrating one of your top hard skills, lead nurturing, and showcasing how you can collaborate with trainees, communicate effectively , and educate new employees on processes and client relations. You’re proving that you can meet the communication standards and marketing knowledge they’re seeking.
Honesty is the only policy
Dishonesty on your cover letter isn’t in your best interest.
Implying or stating that you have a skill that you don’t actually have will come back to bite you upon being asked to use that skill in the interview or on the job.
Don’t sound like everyone else
“Hi, I’m ___. I’m a detail-oriented, multi-tasking, natural-born leader and I am perfect for your company.”
Hiring managers are going to read the same basic cover letter repeatedly, and you don’t want to be the last template email the hiring manager discounts before lunch. Adding a little word variation helps you stand out against other applicants .
Instead of describing yourself as creative, try imaginative. You’re inventive, not innovative. You’re not determined, you’re tenacious. These word variations at least show that you can think beyond what the average applicant is willing to do.
End with a call to action
End your letter with a reason for them to contact you . But don’t add remarks like, “I’ll call to schedule an interview.” This doesn’t make you a go-getter, it crosses a boundary.
Instead, let the call to action be polite and open ended, suggesting that you are excited to offer more information and that you’re looking forward to talking with them.
Proof your cover letter
Always proofread your cover letter for errors and have friends and family read through the cover letter.
How to Make Your Cover Letter Unique?
When thinking about how to make your cover letter unique , keep the following statements in mind:
- You should make your cover letter unique and show the reader who you are as an individual.
- You should include experience and skills that relate directly to the job posting.
These might sound like opposing statements, but they’re equally important for writing a successful cover letter.
Your cover letter needs to be highly related to the job you’re applying to, but the way that you prove your qualifications should show who you are as an individual.
Tell a compelling story
Everyone loves a good story, and recruiters and hiring managers are no exception. Telling compelling stories from your career will make your cover letter unique and memorable for whoever reads it.
Just be sure that the stories you choose demonstrate proficiency with the skills, tools and concepts that are required by the job you’re applying for.
What makes this company your go-to choice? Why is this company special to you? Perhaps you’re attracted to the workplace culture , or perhaps you’ve always admired the business philosophy that the company lives by.
Address the recruiter or hiring manager by name
Now it’s fine to just use “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” when addressing the recruiter. In fact, I can tell you from experience that most people use precisely these words. However, I can also tell you that most people don’t get the job. If you want to make a strong impression, take time to research who you’re addressing .
You may have to make a few phone calls or try several searches before you find the right name, but, the harder they are to find, the less likely other applicants are to do it and the more impressed they will be with you.
Give your cover letter a unique visual format
A unique visual format for your cover letter can help you stand out from other candidates in a positive way. Just be sure that the unique format you use is appropriate for the company you’re applying to and their industry.
Here’s a good example of an eye-catching cover letter format :
What to Leave Off a Cover Letter?
Recruiters and hiring managers read thousands of cover letters and resumes, so make sure that you avoid these cover letter errors :
Avoid overused phrases
The average cover letter is going to be extremely generic and contain overused expressions such as “Thank you for taking the time to look at my resume” or “I believe that my set of skills make me a great fit for the job.” While none of these lines hurt your chance of getting the job, they certainly don’t help either.
Career coach Angela Copeland says, “stay away from phrases that are known to annoy hiring managers, such as ‘heavy lifting’ or ‘think outside the box’ or ‘game-changer.’”
Here are some more phrases that make recruiters and hiring managers groan :
- “To Whom It May Concern”
- “I’m not sure if you know”
- “Please feel free”
- “Self-Starter,” “Detail-Oriented,” and “Forward-Thinker”
- “Really, truly, deeply”
Recruiters and hiring managers go through hundreds of cover letters and get tired of these clichés . They’re waiting for something new and refreshing to come along and it’s in your best interest to do so.
Never include irrelevant information
Never include irrelevant information in your cover letter. Irrelevant information can confuse or bore the reader, causing them to miss important points in your cover letter.
How to Submit a Cover Letter?
The longer you “sit on” a cover letter to edit and re-write it , the longer you prolong the opportunity for someone else to get the attention of the hiring manager you want to impress.
You should submit your cover letter as soon as you are certain that:
- Your cover letter, resume and portfolio work are free from errors.
- Your cover letter is written in a way that balances professionalism with personality.
- Your cover letter catches the reader’s interest from the first sentence and maintains it throughout.
- Your cover letter uses the requirements for the job and information on the company as a guide for its content.
- Your cover letter tells stories that are filled with examples that satisfy job requirements and make you stand out positively as an individual and a potential employee.
Submitting your cover letter
Always follow the submission instructions laid out in the job description when submitting your cover letter.
If you are submitting the letter though a website with fillable fields, be sure that no formatting or content errors have occurred.
Be Very Specific
Do not send a generic cover letter. Repeat: DO NOT send a generic cover letter. They can be spotted a mile away and are as fun to read as they are to write. Try your very best to find a name you can address your letter to. A name is one of the most effective ways to make the letter feel more personal.
Visually Match Your Resumé
The heading of your letter should correlate with your resumé, the font should be the same and the paper (if you’re printing it) should also be the same. Along with your resume, your cover letter is part of a pair, and this pair should be visually consistent.
Consider Using a Template
This is an especially good idea if you’re already using a template for your resume. In fact, if your resume is templated, your cover letter absolutely should be too. A template is a great way to get some structure going. It can help make a big, blank, white page a little less intimidating.
If you have any more questions about how to write a successful cover letter, here are some related articles we’ve written on crafting cover letters that make you stand out from other applicants.
- Get Noticed: Write A Cover Letter That Makes You Stand Out
- How To Write An Entry Level Cover Letter
- 9 Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter Examples
- 4 Cover Letter Blunders and How To Fix Them
- How To Write a Cover Letter & Resume That’ll Guarantee a Job Offer
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To begin combining your resume and cover letter into a single document, start a new file on your computer. Name the file something that denotes the combined nature of the document. Save the file to ensure you don't lose any of your work. 4. Insert each document into the new file
Click or tap anywhere in the header, and select Different First Page. Select Close Header and Footer. Use different layouts for your cover letter and your resume Set the layout for your cover letter, and then select the first page of your resume. Go to Layout and select Page Setup dialog launcher . Under Apply to, select This point forward.
Choose either Microsoft Word or a PDF file. We recommend a .docx file. Use the same naming style for both. Use your first and last name, followed by the document type. If your name was Sam Ford, for example, you would have two documents: SamFordCoverLetter.docx and SamFordResume.docx.
If you submitted an application to an employer using Indeed, go to My jobs in your profile and click on the Applied tab. Follow these steps to download a cover letter: Click the 3 vertical dots . Select View and manage details . Click on your cover letter file to download.
move the cursor to the place you want to put the PDF file Insert tab / Text group / Object ddl / select Object to display Object dialog / Create from File tab / browse to locate your PDF file (do NOT click on Link to File) it will take a little time, but a PDF icon will eventually display in your document. The pdf is now embedded in the doc file.
Attaching and Submitting Some employer websites support attaching separate cover letter and resume documents during the application process. Simply click the "Browse" or similarly labeled...
Here are eight easy steps you can take to put together a resume quickly: 1. Identify qualifications that align with the job description The best resumes are the ones that are tailored specifically for the job that you're applying for. Start the process of creating your resume by carefully reviewing the job description for the position.
Oct. 23, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. Here's the Right Way to Submit Your Resume Online. You've agonized over your resume and cover letter and perfected its content (hopefully), and now you're ready to ...
Report abuse. What should be one of the simplest ways at this point is: Open the Cover Letter. Go to the very end ( Command+End) Go to Insert> Break> Section Break (Next Page) Go to Insert> File. Select & insert the resume document. As an alternative, you can generate each file as a separate PDF then: Open the cover letter PDF in Preview.app.
Here are some simple tips to consider when you write these documents for submission: 1. Make Sure The Fonts Match As small an issue as this may seem, hiring managers notice if your resume is written in a mix of Georgia and Arial—and your cover letter is written in Courier New.
Follow the seven simple steps below to make a cover letter that leaves a lasting impression on employers: 1. List your contact details Use centered text in your header to make your contact information stand out. Underneath your name in your cover letter header, list the following contact information: Email address Phone number
Job hunters looking for new jobs and entrepreneurs seeking to land new business must have up-to-date resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Each of these help tell the career story -- but in ...
3y. Amit G. Cover letters should not be permanent, candidates should improve cover letters. Never get possessive or comfortable. Don't keep copy-pasting the same cover letter; Instead, edit ...
Here are ten top tips for crafting a cover letter for a job: Address your recruiter or hiring manager by name. Using your recipient's name quickly makes your cover letter stand out. Addressing your recipient by name shows them that you're willing to put that extra work in. Link your history to the job description.
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.
Here's how to personalize your cover letter with a name: Use: "Dear Mr. Smith" or "Dear Chris.". If you aren't able to find the right name, use: " Dear Hiring Manager " or " Dear Head of Accounting Department .". Don't use: " Dear Sir or Madam " or " To Whom It May Concern.". 5. Add relevant wording or keywords.
Visually Match Your Resumé. The heading of your letter should correlate with your resumé, the font should be the same and the paper (if you're printing it) should also be the same. Along with your resume, your cover letter is part of a pair, and this pair should be visually consistent.
Our writers and editors must go through a sophisticated hiring process to become a part of our team. All the candidates pass the following stages of the hiring process before they become our team members: Diploma verification. Each essay writer must show his/her Bachelor's, Master's, or Ph.D. diploma. Grammar test.