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Learn how to write a cover letter
Did you know that when applying for a job, a CV alone is not enough? You need to have a professional, well-structured cover letter which can convince the recruiter that you are a good fit for the company. In this comprehensive guide you will learn:
With this guide, taking the next step in your career can be easier than you think!
How to write a cover letter:
These days, having a cover letter is a must. Many job seekers face quite a challenge – how to write a cover letter that will effectively capture a recruiter’s eye, present their achievements in the best light and help them land the job they’re applying for. However, not all of us are expert writers, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The most recommended and proven method of writing a cover letter, which will make things much easier even for those who do not know where to start, is to use a ready-made cover letter template. Such templates make it possible to quickly write a professional letter with a proper format and according to the currently applicable standards.
How to choose your cover letter template
A cover letter template is something that can make your job a lot easier – as long as you choose the right one. What should you focus on when choosing one?
Make sure to read the job description carefully
The choice of cover letter template largely depends on the position you will be applying for.
Make sure the letter is relevant to your industry
Such a cover letter will contain specialised vocabulary and its tone will be appropriate to the profession.
Do your research!
Find out more about the style of the company you are applying to. Check their website or social media profiles. This will help you better understand their policies towards employees. It can give you an idea of whether you might want a modern cover letter template, e.g. one with an interesting layout and a touch of colour, or opt for a subtle classic.
How to structure your cover letter
To the untrained eye, it may seem that a cover letter has no particular structure. However, it's quite the opposite! Similarly to learning how to write a CV, it’s worth paying attention to the cover letter standards to maximise your chances of a successful job hunt!
How to format a cover letter in 3 simple steps:
Start with your contact information.
First, enter your contact details: your name, address underneath, your phone number on the next line and your email on the next one. Align it with the edge of the page.
Underneath that, enter the details of the company you're applying to - also one below the other, aligned to the page edge.
Following the contacts section, you should include your letter, starting with a formal greeting. Typically, a letter will consist of three basic paragraphs:
- an introduction,
- main body,
Finish your letter with a formal goodbye and sign off with your full name.
How to layout a cover letter
Consider choosing the layout of your letter that matches the industry and management style of the company to which you are applying. You can opt for a classic or modern layout. In our intuitive cover letter builder you will over a dozen of unique cover letter layouts that you can customize at will.
How to set out a cover letter
These foolproof tips will help you create a great, professional cover letter:
How to start a cover letter
If you’re wondering how to open a cover letter, you can use one of the most commonly used formal greetings.
Here’s how to address a cover letter:
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Hiring Committee,
- Dear [name and surname of the recruiter],
Also used but a bit outdated ways to open a cover letter:
- To whom it may concern,
- Dear Sir or Madam.
Then state the purpose of your letter: include the full name of the job and the company you are applying to. You can also include where you found the advertisement and why it caught your attention. Be concise. The introduction shouldn't be longer than 3-4 sentences.
What to include in the main section
As you may have guessed, this part of the letter is the most important and the most developed.
It is often divided into two paragraphs:
- in the first paragraph, mention your experience and skills - especially those listed in the job advertisement. Cover letters are often run through special software which compares them with an advertisement according to the presence of so-called keywords.
- in the second part, list your accomplishments or achievements. Be precise. Use figures, they appeal best to the imagination.
Instead of saying:
I increased sales
I increased sales by 8% in the last quarter
Instead of saying:
I reduced the time needed to complete a task
Thanks to my optimisations, the task completion time was reduced by an average of 10 minutes
Instead of saying:
I prepared a documentation about processes
I prepared a documentation about over 15 processes per week.
Explain why you think you are the right candidate for the job and outline to the recruiter the benefits the company will gain by hiring you.
If you have had an extended break in employment and want to address this in your letter, this is also the place for it. These days, employers don't look at a gap in your CV as something negative, so you shouldn't either. Present it in a good light and outline the benefits it brought. Did you take a break to travel? You certainly learned a lot! Did you focus on parenting? Surely organization and creativity are not alien to you!
How to end a cover letter
Let's take a look at the last paragraph of the cover letter - its conclusion. The tone in which you end your letter will have a huge impact on the impression it makes on the person reading it.
How to finish a cover letter on the right note? Emphasise once again that you are a good fit for the company and hiring you would be a beneficial step for the company.
Follow this up with a time when you can start work and indicate that you are available for an interview.
This section should be a similar length to the introduction to your letter.
Now, let’s move on to how to close a cover letter. In general, you should end your letter with "Yours faithfully" if you don't include the name of the recipient and with "Yours sincerely" if you do include it.
Keep your conclusion approximately as long as the introduction.
How to sign off a cover letter
Now, let’s move on to how to close a cover letter. In general, you should end your letter with Yours faithfully if you don't include the name of the recipient and with Yours sincerely if you do include it.
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Committee
- Dear Sir or Madam
- Dear Recruiting Team
- Yours faithfully,
- Jane Bond
- Dear Ms. Georgia Smith
- Dear Mr. Sam Marks
- Yours sincerely,
- Jane Bond
Cover letter writing tips
How long does a cover letter have to be
Keep your cover letter concise and specific. You should be able to fit it on one page. Your introduction and conclusion should be about 3-4 sentences long each while the main body should have 9-12 sentences. This gives us a 1-3-1 ratio.
How to find who to address cover letter to
If you are determined to address your cover letter to a specific person, read the job advertisement once again. This is where you can find the name of the person in charge of recruitment. Another way is to look at the email address to which you are to send your application. Company emails usually carry the name of the employee in the handle.
On the other hand, if you are not entirely sure who to address your letter to, it is much better to address it, for example, "To the Hiring Professional", rather than to the wrong person.
How to explain job hopping in cover letter
If you have changed jobs frequently in your career, don't shy away from addressing this topic because sooner or later, you will be asked about it anyway. Briefly explain why you switched jobs. Keep it professional and elegant, though. Never speak ill of your previous employer.
Change of job is associated with adaptability, versatility and flexibility - and these are rather desirable qualities. Portray your career changes as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and capabilities.
How to show enthusiasm in a cover letter
First of all, be direct - say why you want to work for the company in question. Show that you have done your research and have a good idea of what they do and represent. Let the recruiter know that you are interested in working there and explain why you think you are a good fit.
For example, when applying to Microsoft, you can express your enthusiasm like this::
This opportunity is especially exciting, as my professional goals are aligned with Microsoft’s mission and values. Furthermore, my agility, resilience and communication abilities will serve to support your continued organisational efforts.
How to write a cover letter for every situation with examples
These examples will help you write a professional cover letter for any situation.
How to write a good cover letter for a job
To write a good job cover letter, make sure you have a clear understanding of the requirements outlined in the job advertisement. Find out more about the company and the position.
When writing, remember to always include all the required sections, i.e:
- main body,
Using a suitable cover letter template can help you with this.
Proofread your letter twice at the end to avoid mistakes.
How to write a cover letter for an internship
Internships are all about willingness to learn, so make sure this comes across in your application letter. Take a look at cover letter samples like this one to gauge how to position your qualifications, even if you don’t have relevant work experience. Stand out when you apply by keeping your letter short and professional.
How to write a cover letter with no experience
As with writing a cover letter for an internship, hiring managers want the candidate to show enthusiasm and a good academic record, especially if they are graduates who don’t always have much work experience. When composing one with no previous experience, for example when applying for your first job, the most important thing is to highlight your strengths. Even though you don’t have a lot of experience, you probably have skills that could be useful for the job. Don’t forget to mention them. Are you a fast learner? That’s important too!
How to write a cover letter for the UK
A UK cover letter isn’t identical to one in other countries. Our templates help you to choose an appropriate design and structure information to meet UK hiring managers’ expectations. Focus on creating a short, well-written summary of why you’re the perfect candidate, drawing attention to your strengths. Avoid sounding boastful by expressing genuine interest in the role and a job interview.
How to write a cover letter for retail
Retail cover letters need to lay information out in a clear, concise manner. This template helps you to build a professional impression without being dull. Use positive language and focus on your strengths. Include a key achievement and back it up with numbers or statistics. Finally, check that your spelling and grammar are on point.
How to write a legal cover letter
Legal cover letters need to be particularly concise and well-structured. A professional cover letter template will help you effectively communicate your relevant experience without wasting a single syllable. While your letter should be formal, don’t forget to add a few personal touches that hint at your personality.
How to write a law cover letter
Our law cover letter template will help you to apply for the role you want. It gives you an appropriate layout for your profession, as well as tips on the content you should include. Showcase key skills and achievements, but don’t forget to inject some personality so that they know you’re also a friendly team player.
How to write a cover letter for teaching
Stand out as the perfect candidate for a teaching role by using an appropriate cover letter template. Make sure you’re up front about holding the required qualifications. Give a sense of what you have to offer by sharing your career ambitions and your involvement in extracurricular activities.
How to write a short cover letter
Every cover letter should be short. Recruiters want a concise summary of what you have to offer, and don’t appreciate being overloaded with too many details. If your letter’s longer than 1 A4 page then go through and edit it, step by step, until it’s the recommended length. Our cover letter templates will help you keep it brief.
How to write a professional cover letter
Professional cover letters can be the difference between applying and getting an interview and landing in the discard pile. Choose a simple, visually appealing template, use a formal tone, and keep your letter to a single A2 page. Make sure it works well with your CV as a complete job application, and don’t forget to check its spelling and grammar.
For more examples check out our Cover Letter examples!
Write your cover letter with our builder:
Now that you know how to write a cover letter, put all that knowledge into practice and create your own professional job application letter. Check out practical examples, choose from countless unique formats and create your cover letter with our intuitive and easy-to-use Cover Letter builder!