A cover letter (also known as an application letter or motivation letter) is a document explaining why you are applying for a particular job and why the hiring manager should consider you.
Cover letter should help them see you as an ideal candidate who can contribute significantly to the company. You attach it to your application to complement your resume or CV and emphasize your qualifications and achievements.
Why should you write it when you can highlight your accomplishments in the resume? Because you can dive deeper into your professional experience and show you are genuinely interested in the position. Even when sending it is optional, it can leave an excellent impression and help you stand out from other applicants.
Purpose of Cover Letter
The primary purpose of an application letter is to provide information that emphasizes your resume. It helps the hiring manager understand your motivation for applying and get the complete picture of your professional career. Besides explaining your interest in the position, it allows you to showcase your knowledge about the company and understanding of its vision and goals. Finally, it lets you show how the business will benefit from your unique expertise, setting you apart from other applicants.
These reasons are why application letters are requirements for most jobs and why you should take the time to write a flawless one that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Research the Company Before Writing
Researching the company you wish to join before writing a cover letter will help you avoid creating something generic.
Many may refer only to the job description to include the keywords that make them suitable for the position. However, that may not be enough to influence the hiring manager’s decision to consider you. Showing you took the time to learn more about the company is a surefire way to demonstrate that you are a worthy candidate.
Besides exploring the company’s website, sift through its executives’ and employees’ LinkedIn profiles and tweets. They will help you learn about the culture and choose an adequate tone of voice when writing.
You can also consider contacting the hiring manager or someone you may know personally at the company to ask about your desired position. They might provide valuable information that you can use to stand out.
You can even mention your conversation in the cover letter to thank the hiring manager or say you recently spoke with someone at the company. This will show your genuine interest and create an excellent impression.
How to Write Cover Letter?
The following steps will show you how to write a cover letter like a professional and make your application stand out. Each features a helpful example to nudge you in the right direction.
Start with a Header
The header should contain your contact information (ensure consistency with the resume and social profiles), the writing date, the hiring manager’s name, title, and the company’s name and address.
Your contact details should include your name, phone number, and email address. You don’t have to provide your home address and title, but they will make you look more professional. Links to LinkedIn and Twitter profiles or a website you may have are always welcome.
Pro Tip: Hiring managers prefer Gmail accounts and personal domains. Create a new email address if your current one is unprofessional; it should consist of your first and last name, not something like “[email protected].” The same goes if it reflects your current workplace; sending your cover letter from that address would be inconsiderate.
1315 Woodland Drive
Chicago, IL 60606, United States
August 12, 2022
Marketing Connect, Inc.
2633 Coolidge Street
Orlando, FL 32801, United States
Address the Recipient Professionally
The greeting or salutation should start with an honorific like “Dear Mr.” or “Dear Ms.” and include the hiring manager’s name.
Always use their last name when applying for a corporate job. However, you can address the hiring manager by their first name if you wish to join a company with a relaxed culture.
Pro Tip: Check the company website’s “Team” or “About Us” page if you are unfamiliar with the hiring manager’s name. You might also find it in the “People” section on the organization’s LinkedIn profile. If all else fails, its HR department will be available to provide the necessary information.
-Dear Mr. Smith,
-Dear Ms. Williams,
-Dear Mrs. Brown,
Show Enthusiasm in Opening Paragraph
The opening paragraph will determine whether the hiring manager keeps reading or deems you unsuitable for the position. It is the first impression they will form about you, so make it count with an informative, attention-grabbing introduction.
Start by referring to the job posting and your prospective title. Then, show enthusiasm about the open position instead of merely saying that you are interested in it. That will convey your personality and set you apart from applicants submitting generic introductions.
Mention your experience and expertise to indicate you are a perfect fit, quantifying any relevant accomplishments.
As an avid follower of Marketing Connect, Inc.’s campaigns, I was excited to see your job posting for a Marketing Manager on Indeed. I’m confident I can contribute to the company’s future. I’ve led multiple successful campaigns for international companies, increasing M&B Global’s client base by 42% and profit margins by 13% in four years.
Explain Why You are Qualified for the Job
This part of your cover letter should persuade the addressee to move you to the top candidates’ pool and schedule an interview. Your experience, skills, and accomplishments should paint you an ideal candidate, making the hiring manager think they would be remiss not to hire you.
Mention any rewards you may have received and the most relevant achievements, ensuring you avoid bragging. Show you are an expert who can contribute to the company by including crucial numbers and metrics like increased website traffic or sales.
This information should align with the company’s needs and goals because your experience should make you a valuable asset.
For instance, if the company has expansion plans and you have successfully entered new markets, mention that experience to show you can help it grow.
Online research can help discover the company’s needs, plans, and workplace culture. For more details, you can check its website, announcements, news articles, and job posting.
Pro Tip: Put your academic achievements in the spotlight if you have no work experience. Relevant volunteering and extracurricular activities can also help you land an entry-level position.
As a Marketing Manager at M&B Global, I was responsible for developing and executing strategic marketing plans and supervising the entire department’s initiatives. I led a digital marketing campaign that increased organic website traffic by 120%, engagement by 25%, and sales by 85% within seven months, dramatically exceeding the annual goals.
I’m confident my expertise, meticulousness, and innovative approach will make me a valuable asset. I believe I can contribute to your team’s success and promote your company’s long-term growth.
Show Your Motivation to Join the Company
While your experience and accomplishments may be enough to land you the job, your motivation to join the company will set your application letter apart from its generic counterparts.
Companies want employees passionate about their profession who view daily tasks and challenges as exciting opportunities instead of tedious chores. Enjoying your work means you will stay with the employer longer and help them achieve goals.
Explain why you want the job, ensuring you tailor the information to the desired position and convey that working at the company would be rewarding. For instance, you can mention an upcoming project and emphasize how your expertise would help the company complete it with flying colors.
I was thrilled to hear about Marketing Connect Inc.’s global expansion, upcoming social media marketing campaigns, and mobile app launch. Those initiatives are a perfect opportunity to leverage my growth hacking skills and SEO expertise to achieve my professional goals and help your company grow.
Finish With Closing Paragraph and Sign-Off
The closing paragraph should be concise and compel the hiring manager to schedule an interview immediately. Be polite and respectful, showcase confidence, and reiterate your enthusiasm about the position.
Mention when you are available for an interview, thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration, and tell them you look forward to hearing from them and discussing the position in detail.
End with a professional salutation; the best options include “Kind regards”, “Best regards”, “Respectfully”, and “Sincerely”.
Type your full name two spaces below the sign-off and consider adding a handwritten signature. It is not mandatory, especially when sending your cover letter via email, but it gives a professional touch that the hiring manager might appreciate.
Pro Tip: Add a postscript to capture the hiring manager’s attention and entice them to interview you. It will ignite their curiosity to learn more about you and give you an edge over other applicants. It should address an impressive achievement, an innovative idea for the company, or anything else that makes you a unique and valuable asset.
I’m excited to discuss your marketing goals in more detail and show you how my experience at M&B Global can be valuable to Marketing Connect, Inc. I’m available anytime for an interview and would be delighted if you would consider me for the role.
Thank you for reviewing my application. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
P.S. – I would love an opportunity to show you how my SEM and SEO solutions increased M&B Global sales by 48% in six months.
Cover Letter Sample
920 Coplin Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States
August 15, 2022
1894 Driftwood Road
San Jose, CA 95131, United States
Dear Mr. Williams,
As a creative graphic designer following Delta Design’s ground-breaking work over the years, I was thrilled to see your job posting for a Graphic Designer on Indeed. I’ve completed over 350 design projects for more than 70 clients, achieving 98% client satisfaction.
As a Graphic Designer at Tier Pods, I was responsible for developing company logos, product illustrations, website layouts and graphics, and visual aspects of magazines, books, product packaging, and more. In addition, I created brand guidelines for over 50 companies, designed graphics for over 100 websites, and increased the company’s efficiency and sales by 46% and 32%, respectively.
I’m confident that my creativity, excellent attention to detail, and communication skills will make me a valuable asset to Delta Design. My unique approach to design and problem-solving skills enable me to turn every challenge into an opportunity and exceed clients’ expectations.
I’m excited about Delta Design’s upcoming rebranding project, which is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate my expertise and contribute to the company’s new look and feel. In addition, it would enable me to hone my skills and bring a unique perspective to the brand.
I’m eager to discuss your project and show how my experience at Tier Pods can add value to Delta Design’s long-term growth. I’m available anytime and would be delighted for a chance to showcase my skills.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. – I’d love an opportunity to show you how my creative product illustrations helped me win the Graphic Designer of the Year Award at the 2021-International Design Awards.
Personalizing Cover Letter Template
Personalizing your application letter is crucial for a competitive edge because tailoring it to a specific company and position will demonstrate your unique value. In addition, a template can help you streamline the process and is ideal if you are new to cover letter writing.
This website offers many free downloadable templates that you can customize to your needs and preferences. You only need to choose one with your preferred format, layout, and design to start creating an attention-grabbing cover letter.
Draw inspiration from the content relevant to the specific position and follow the expert tips for an impeccable result. Then, leverage the formatting tools to fine-tune the template, choose the file format, click “Download”, and prepare to impress your future employer.
Best Practices to Consider
The sample and guidelines above will help you write an impressive cover letter, but the following practices will add more flair and help your application stand out.
Double-check your formatting
Poor formatting may not be a deal-breaker, but its proper counterpart will get you points for professionalism.
- Font: Use a professional font like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, choosing a size between 10.5-12 points to ensure readability.
- Margins and spacing: Use left alignment to format the text for better readability, keeping the margins between 0.5-1 inch. Single line spacing is your way to go, and you should add a blank line between each section and paragraph.
- File name: Use PDF format to save the file and allow the recipient to access it on any device and operating system. Include your name, title, and document type in the file name (e.g., Michael-Robinson-marketing-specialist-cover-letter.pdf).
Simplify your writing
A cover letter should be an easy read, without lengthy sentences and overly formal language. Instead, combine words with contractions to enhance the tone (e.g., “I’m” instead of “I am”) and opt for modest adjectives that few applicants use.
Many cover letters contain “dynamic”, “advantageous”, “requisite”, “think outside the box”, and other overused words and phrases. Avoiding them will help you stand out.
Focus on the future
Focusing on the future instead of merely addressing your past work experience will help the hiring manager see you as a forward-looking professional. In addition, sharing your goals regarding the new position will showcase your willingness to grow and advance your career.
Explain your career change if you are switching from another industry or niche, focusing on your transferable skills and how you will use them to contribute to the company.
Emphasize your value
You offer unique value to your prospective employer, who seeks experts in identifying issues and developing solutions. Problem-solvers climb to the top of candidate lists because employers need people with skills to overcome challenges and improve the bottom line.
Your company research may uncover specific challenges you may have already tackled, allowing you to highlight your experience resolving the problem. You can also mention relevant industry-wide issues like the pandemic, explaining how you adapted and supported your team.
You can mention how you helped your colleagues switch to the work-from-home arrangement, adding skills like adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to grasp new concepts quickly.
Nearly every job requires them; you will undoubtedly capture the hiring manager’s attention.
Watch the tone
Showing enthusiasm about the position will demonstrate your interest in joining the company, but your message should be louder than your tone.
Focusing on flattery language will make you seem insincere and desperate to get the job. Stay professional and authentic instead, and ask a family member or friend for an honest opinion before submitting the application letter.
Avoid general references
Referencing your skills using general vocabulary is not enough to stand out. Hiring managers filter top candidates by achievements, so provide relevant examples of using your abilities to accomplish specific goals.
For instance, instead of merely mentioning your excellent customer service skills, you can refer to previous experiences exceeding their expectations and quantify your accomplishments (e.g., the client satisfaction rate you achieved).
General: “My excellent customer service skills would be ideal for your company.”
Specific: “As a social media customer care associate at Future Intellect, my core responsibilities were responding to inquiries and resolving problems. Exceeding customers’ expectations was my daily goal, achieving a 98% client satisfaction rate.”
A friend, family member, former colleague, or mentor can give you constructive feedback because they can look at your cover letter objectively. However, be specific when asking for their opinion to ensure they share relevant suggestions.
Ask them if your primary message is clear to ensure your story reads well. Your chosen reviewers should also check the tone to tell you whether you sound too modest, desperate, or overly enthusiastic. You can then fine-tune it to appear professional.
Keep it short
Your application letter should not exceed one page, with the paragraphs containing 200-400 words, although that count is not set in stone. Keeping it short will help you focus only on the most relevant skills and achievements.
Select a few you are most proud of, tying them to the job description’s requirements. Then, refer to them briefly to show you are an ideal candidate without parroting what you already mentioned in the resume.
Proofread your cover letter
Proofreading your application letter (several times) will help you ensure everything is flawless. Hiring managers frown upon grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors, so ensure none exist in your writing.
Reading your letter aloud will help you identify irrelevant words, lengthy sentences, awkward phrases, and other mistakes. Changing the font and font size is another helpful trick to discover potential errors because your brain will pay more attention to unfamiliar typography.
Pro Tip: You may not be able to submit a cover letter if your desired company uses an online application system that requires only a resume. It may even have specific boxes for qualifications, experience, and skills, preventing you from sending the two documents as one.
You can still showcase your skills and enthusiasm for the position using the available format, but you can also follow up via email. Sending it to the hiring manager to emphasize your achievements will help you stand out from applicants who submit only resumes.
A cover letter is crucial for highlighting your expertise and achievements and demonstrating why your potential employer should hire you. In addition, you must paint a picture of a qualified professional who perfectly fits the company and its culture and compel the hiring manager to schedule an interview.
It is the most challenging part of applying for a job, but this comprehensive guide has shown you how to make your application letter shine and show you are an ideal candidate. Follow the tips above to create an excellent impression and land your dream job.