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Have you found your dream job and can’t wait to apply? If so, we recommend checking out our sample cover letters, to make sure your application is fully covered. Some employers require a cover letter to be submitted with your resume when applying for a job, while others don’t. Even when a cover letter isn’t required for a job application, it’s a good idea to take the time to send one.
A cover letter, also referred to as an application letter, is a document sent to an employer as part of your job application. A cover letter introduces who you are and the skills and experience you have that make you a good fit for the job. Your cover letter should highlight:
As with any letter, a cover letter for a job application is separated into different sections. The sections to include in your cover letter are:
Some employers might request that you submit a hard-copy application, including your cover letter. However, this is rare. Today, most cover letters are attached as part of an online job application through an applicant tracking system (ATS), or emailed, either within the body of the email or as an attachment.
If you send a hard copy letter or attach it to an email or online job application, you should insert a heading. The heading goes at the top of your letter and consists of your name and contact information, the date, and the company’s address, in that order. If you can’t easily locate the company’s address on the job posting, at a minimum, you should be able to find the corporate address on the organization’s website.
When emailing your cover letter, your subject line should clearly indicate the job you’re applying for and your name. For example, “HR Director Job Application – John Smith.”
Note: If you send your cover letter within the body of an email, you will forgo the heading and begin the email with a greeting.
Your greeting should be addressed to a specific person when possible. Often, however, you might not be able to locate a hiring manager or recruiter to address. In such cases, go with a standard greeting like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Recruiter or Hiring Manager.”
The body of your cover letter gets to the heart of the matter. A body has three parts, the introduction, your qualifications, and a closing section:
The best options to sign your letter are “Regards,” “Sincerely,” or “Thank You,” followed by your name. You’ll add your signature with your typed name below it for a hardcover letter.
Be direct. In your introductory paragraph, share why you’re writing and provide the job title and company name. You should also add where you found the job posting.
Don’t copy and paste directly from your resume. When sharing your qualifications and why you’re a good fit for the job, it’s good to highlight some of the key points from your resume. However, don’t directly copy and paste the bullet points. Instead, rephrase some of the highlights so they’re easily digestible and come across as more personable in your cover letter.
Build your case. Your goals are to get an interview and land the job. Use your cover letter to help you do so. Why are you a good fit for the job? What are your strengths? What work experience has prepared you for this opportunity?
Showcase the company. Why are you interested in the company? What values do you appreciate? Do you align with their mission and vision? What excites you about the position? Answering these types of questions within your cover letter highlights that you’ve already taken the time to research the organization, which will be perceived as a positive.
Include pertinent details. Be sure to include a thank you sentiment and the best way to contact you to close the body of your letter. You can also choose to share how you plan to follow up.
1234 Audra Rd.
Billings, CA 99999
January 26, 2022
P.O. Box 55555
Palo Alto, CA 99999
To Whom It May Concern:
I am pleased to submit my application for Communications Manager with Company XYZ as advertised on LinkedIn. Enclosed is my completed job application and resume.
The position is very appealing to me. As a professional with more than 20 years of diversified experience in marketing, written communications, management, and consulting, I believe I am well-positioned to support your organization.
The following examples from my resume represent the value I can deliver in this role:
During my career, I have had the opportunity to work with an international workforce, expanding my appreciation for the vast options surrounding communications and marketing services. As you will see from my attached resume, I am dedicated to partnering and collaborating with others to ensure we meet our creative goals.
I also appreciate your company’s mission to provide inclusive and innovative communications. I would very much like the opportunity to discuss how I can meet the demands of this role to advance your organization’s overall mission. My contact information is provided above.
Thank you for reviewing this letter and the accompanying material.
(signature for hard copy)
Email subject line: IT Director Job Application – John Smith
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am pleased to submit my application for IT Director with your company, as posted on Indeed. As a professional with more than 20 years of diversified experience in Information Technology, I believe I am well-positioned to support IT Services Company. The following examples from my resume represent the value I can deliver in this role:
With an MS in information technology, specializing in cyberlearning and computational thinking, I have a comprehensive understanding of internet technology and the various facets that come with it.
I was also excited to learn that your IT department is in the process of expanding and incorporating a new client management system to support global operations. I would very much like the opportunity to discuss, in person, how I can meet the demands of that project and the role, in general, to advance the overall mission of the IT department. I can be reached at 555.111.5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reviewing this letter and the accompanying material.
While many might choose to forgo providing a cover letter with a job application when it’s optional, by choosing to do so you’re setting yourself apart from those candidates. Your cover letter provides insights into how you can add value to the organization with the goal of piquing their interest so you get your foot in the door.
Follow the guidelines above to get started with writing a cover letter to help you land that interview—and then, the job! You can also check out our 73 cover letter examples that come with our free, downloadable resume templates.