how to write a cover letter

We have all probably seen “upload Cover Letter here” somewhere on a job application. We all also probably have some weird cover letter wannabe that we copied and pasted from Google with a few changes on it to fit what we need. But what is the actual point of a cover letter? Isn’t my resume good enough? Aren’t they the same thing?

Kind of, but not really. Although they are similar, a cover letter is more specific. If a resume showcases your skills and experiences, then a cover letter showcases what about the job you find attractive and why you want to work for the employer. So in practical English, in a cover letter, you are sucking up to the company about why they are great and why you are uniquely qualified to work for them. It’s your chance to show them that you know the industry, the company, and how you fit into all of it. But who cares about all that? You just want to know how to write a cover letter so you can get it over with, right? Well, without further ado… 

Also, if you want to know how to write a resume, check out our article here.


Cover Letter Format

  • Your Name 
  • Your Phone Number
  • Your Email

January 1, 20XX

  • John Smith
  • General Manager
  • Business
  • Address

Dear Mr. Smith:

[Max word count of 300 words]

Intro Paragraph: Tell Mr. Smith why you are writing.

This is where you state what position you are applying for and how you heard about it. The tone of voice should be enthused. Why are you excited about the job, and how are you a right fit over other candidates who are applying. Like any good essay, your cover letter needs a hook. Something engaging that will make you stand out and grab the reader’s attention.

Tips:

  1. You aren’t the only one who is qualified for the job. This is your chance to show the employer that you want to work for them and this won’t just be some job.
  2. Be genuine. Flattery is nice, but you don’t have to go all out. This isn’t a first date. 
  3. If you have a connection to the company or know someone who works there, then this is the place to mention it.  

Second Paragraph: Your Sales Pitch

This is where you sell yourself. Market your abilities and experience, but don’t rattle off facts. This is you showing them you have the specific qualities that they are looking for in an employee. 

Step 1

Reiterate what the job posting said and tell them what qualifications they were looking for.

Step 2

This is where you talk about a time you used the skills you have developed in past jobs to show them that you aren’t just all talk. Make this a specific example of a time you demonstrated what they are looking for. 

Third Paragraph (Optional): Why do you want to work for them? 

This is where you flex on them. Why do you want to work for them? Simple, it’s the next step in your career path. Speaking of careers, show them you know the industry and the various challenges the company may face. Show them you know what the company does and the industry itself. Also, refer to your phone number and email where they can reach you. Thank the reader for their consideration, and if you are applying for a job outside of your area, this is where you will tell them when you are planning on moving to the area. 


Example Cover Letter

  • Joe Smith 
  • (000) 000-0000
  • jsmith123@gmail.com 

January 1, 20XX 

  • Hiring Manager
  • Creative Director
  • Company Name
  • Company Address

Dear Hiring Manager Name: 

Please accept this letter and resume in application for the Project Specialist position at ABC Company as posted on JobFinder. I believe my combination of experience, skills and personal interest in writing and the creative industry may match well with the qualifications you are seeking. 

On my resume, you’ll note that I recently graduated from University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. This past spring, I served as a Teacher Assistant/Intern in the English Department, where I had the opportunity to work with students, review and grade papers, and develop individuals to become stronger writers. My responsibilities also included overseeing the creation of all the lesson plans and teaching classes in new and captivating ways. These duties allowed me to help equip students with the various tools and skills needed to better their writing and become better students. Managing these duties required proficiency in various desktop publishing programs and the sharpening of my leadership skills. Attention to detail, strong organizational skills, and the ability to work under deadlines were critical to ensuring a successful semester for both the students and the professor. 

ABC Company has a great reputation for equipping people with tools to help form healthy relationships and to also better themselves as individuals through various creative outlets, and I am very interested in learning more about this position and your goals. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you in more detail about my background and how I may be able to contribute to your team. Feel free to contact me at your convenience at 000-000-0000. Thank you for your time and consideration. 

Sincerely, 

Joe Smith

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