A Cover Letter Template and Writing Guidelines To Steer You in the Right Direction
You have your resume ready and feel motivated to begin your job search. You start scrolling down job listings and notice that many companies require a cover letter too.
Not entirely sure how to write one? Nothing a cover letter template can’t fix!
You can customize the template to suit the roles you’re applying for, but you can’t change only your name, company name, and a few skills and call it a day. Competition in the job market is fierce, so generic cover letters won’t work.
When choosing the cover letter template, you have to make sure it’s top-notch. Only a well-written, well-formatted, and well-optimized letter can help you get a job interview.
This article will give you a simple cover letter template and teach you how to adapt it. You will learn what the benefits of submitting an outstanding cover letter are, how to structure and format it, and how to incorporate specific keywords so that your letter finds its way past HR bots and gets in front of a human recruiter.
What Is a Cover Letter Exactly?
You will send your cover letter along with your resume when you apply for a role you are interested in. It is a document that introduces you to the employer. It complements your resume by explaining in more detail how your skills, experience, and qualifications pertain to the role you want.
While a resume merely lists your previous jobs, projects you worked on, and academic achievements, your cover letter will provide more context for this information. By writing a cover letter, you emphasize your greatest career accomplishments and point out the value you can bring to the company. You also show your motivation for joining a particular company.
The Benefits of Sending a Top-Notch Cover Letter
Many job seekers are not aware of what a cover letter is or what its purpose can be. This lack of information may lead them to believe that cover letters are not that necessary. But not sending your cover letter can turn out to be a costly mistake.
- Not all recruiters will read your cover letter, but 50% of them expect you to send one
- Only 2% of applicants get invited for an interview
- 26% of recruiters admit that they base their hiring decisions precisely on cover letters
These facts translate to two fundamental notions:
- Candidates who submit their cover letters will have the advantage over those who don’t
- A great cover letter has the power to get you the invite to the job interview
A cover letter helps you establish a relationship with an employer. Building that relationship is a critical step to getting a job that aligns with your career goals. A resume only presents the facts—a cover letter shows your personality.
Still, writing a cover letter from scratch every time you apply for a job can be time-consuming.
To streamline this process, it’s critical to find a fantastic cover letter template that will make the first contact with the potential employer count.
A Professional Cover Letter Template
Here is a simple cover letter sample you can customize according to your skills and the role you are applying for:
[Name of the hiring manager] (if applicable)
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am writing to express my keen interest in your vacancy for a [position]. After reading the job description I found [where], I am confident that I would be a perfect fit for the position as my experience has equipped me with the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to fulfill your requirements. I also notice that, as a company, you value [what], and since I believe that [what attracted you to the company] is critical for business, I am confident I would be a great addition to [company name].
Working in [fields] for over [number of years], I have developed:
I also gained knowledge and experience in:
As a [role], I have been focusing on
- [relevant project]
- [relevant project]
- [relevant project]
I believe that the work I have done has provided me with a set of skills that can easily be transferable to the area of [field] and that I am ready to handle any challenges the position presents. Being a highly motivated person, I have always worked to improve myself, learn new skills, and obtain new knowledge.
I would love to meet in person and discuss the role further. Thank you for your time and consideration.
A Perfect Cover Letter Template Structure
When picking a good cover letter template, you need to pay attention to its structure. A typical cover letter consists of six primary sections:
- Opening paragraph
- Closing paragraph
- Formal closing
Each of these cover letter parts contains specific information. Knowing what each part is about will help you tweak the cover letter template to suit your needs. In the sections below, you will find tips on how to customize your cover letter.
A Professional Cover Letter Header
Every cover letter should begin with a header that includes the following:
|Your full namePhone numberEmail addressDateName and title of the hiring manager (if you know it)Name and address of the company you are applying to||Your job titleHome address and city of residenceLink to your professional websiteLinks to your social media accounts (only LinkedIn and Twitter are appropriate)|
Your cover letter header should exude professionalism. To ensure that, pay attention to the following:
- Use a serious email address from a reputable provider—if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or something utterly inappropriate, create a new one
- Don’t use your work email address to send your application—if you’re currently employed, make sure you’re applying from a private account
- Make sure your contact information is consistent across all sources—check your cover letter, resume, and social media accounts
A Proper Greeting
Source: Ivan Samkov
You can address the cover letter directly to the hiring manager if you know their name—doing so will add a personal touch to your cover letter.
If you don’t know their name, there is no need to try and find out. Don’t send an email to inquire about it. Recruiters receive numerous emails on a daily basis, so another one from you about something so insignificant will not be welcome.
Although a very short phrase, a greeting can be pretty impactful. That’s what the recruiter will see first, so you want to start off on the right foot. It is also a great way to grab their attention straight away.
Here are some good options to use when you start adapting your template:
|If You Know the Name of the Recruiter||If You Don’t Know the Name of the Recruiter|
|Dear Mr. Jones|
Dear Ms. Jones
|Dear Hiring Manager|
Dear Sir or Madam
To whom it may concern
Don’t use Mrs or Miss—Ms is a female equivalent for Mr and doesn’t imply marital status. Don’t use Hi or Hello either because they are too informal.
Using the recruiter’s first name is acceptable, though. If you begin your cover letter with Dear Jason, the moment Jason sees his name, a whole range of activities will happen in his brain. He will feel that he is reading something composed explicitly for him. Your letter will instantly become more personal and increase the chances of your cover letter being given the recruiter’s full attention.
Still, you have to do a bit of research on the company culture first. Using the first-name basis may not be considered appropriate in some companies.
A Catchy Opening Paragraph To Grab the Recruiter’s Attention
It’s like writing an essay or a newspaper article—fail to intrigue the reader right from the start, and they will not keep reading. You have to make an outstanding first impression, and you will do that if your cover letter introduction:
- Is based on your enthusiasm for the company
- Highlights the value you can bring to it
- Mentions the company name and role
- Demonstrates that you understand the company’s needs
A Main Paragraph To Demonstrate Your Value and Show Enthusiasm
Whether you have a world of experience or you are at the start of your career, the second paragraph of your cover letter must show your prospective employer why you are a perfect fit for them. This is the part of the template you have to work on the most.
You need to give them exactly what they want—show how you can satisfy their needs. Do some research and read the job description carefully, so you can tailor your cover letter to the position you want. This is where you will explain how your particular skills or knowledge relate to the role you are applying for.
Present yourself as an expert in the field by mentioning your accomplishments and career successes, and try to include some factual data to support your claims. Make sure to add only the stuff you are comfortable talking about in the interview because you may have to elaborate on anything you have included in your cover letter.
If you are applying for an entry-level position and you lack concrete experience, think of courses you took, skills you acquired, and knowledge you have that is relevant for the role.
Whatever you do, always highlight how you will contribute to the company.
Generic phrases won’t get you far—a tailored cover letter targeted for a particular role will. Say what attracted you to the position and the company. Express your passion and enthusiasm for the job. It will show the recruiter that you are ready to stay with them for the long haul.
A Closing Paragraph To Seal the Deal
Source: Vlada Karpovich
An excellent closing paragraph includes a call to action. Before you thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration, make sure to say that you are eager to meet them and discuss the position further. An ending like that will ensure you finish your cover letter strong—the same way you started it.
A Professional Way To Sign Off
All you need at the end of your cover letter is a professional closing phrase and your full name.
Some of the tried and true options are:
- Best regards
- Kind regards
- With best regards
- Thank you for your consideration
Optimizing and Formatting a Cover Letter
Many companies nowadays use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) to filter applications and speed up the recruitment process. This means that you have to optimize your cover letter so that software recognizes it as relevant and forwards it to the human recruiter.
You can do that by incorporating specific keywords. Read the job description carefully and use phrases concerning the required skills, level of education, experience, etc.
Using keywords will get your letter past the HR bots; then, you have to make it memorable for the recruiter. That means that before you click the Send button, you have to step up your formatting game. Here is what to be careful with:
- Font choice—Stick to fonts that are easy to read (Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica, etc.)
- Spacing between paragraphs—Create shorter paragraphs with white space between them to make the text more readable
- Bold sentences—Highlighting the most critical bits makes the text skimmable
- Bulleted lists—Present your most significant accomplishments using bullet points so they’re easy to notice
- Word count—Your cover letter shouldn’t exceed one page
Some elements you shouldn’t include in your cover letter are:
- Colored text
- Exclamation marks
- All caps
Creative cover letters are acceptable for certain professions—for example, graphic design, web design, or architecture. When composing such letters, you can be more creative with your words but save any visual content for the portfolio because an ATS can only read plain text.
Customizing Cover Letter Templates—More Tips and Tricks
Source: Artem Podrez
You can find the best cover letter outline there is, but unless you tailor it to the specific role, it won’t do anything for you.
Wondering what else you can add to make your cover letter notable? You can include your soft skills related to:
- Work ethic
- Time management
Doing this is particularly beneficial if you lack experience. Remember that you should also elaborate on each skill you choose to include in your cover letter and connect it to the job requirements.
Here is how you can do it:
- Communication and presentation skills—Gave a presentation on a class project in front of 50 students and several professors
- Leadership skills—Was a leader of a five-person team that developed a business plan for a marketing agency
- Teamwork skills—Worked as a part of a five-person software team responsible for website updates
Although these skills can be overused, you can still add them to your cover letter, provided you can back them up with concrete information.
Companies might also use some buzzwords in their job description. In that case, you should include them in your cover letter because that will help you pass the ATS screening.
What Not To Mess Up
There are a few elements of a cover letter that people often miss that can affect your chances considerably, such as:
- The date—If you forget to change it, you will show that you lack attention to detail and signal the recruiter that you are mass applying
- File name—When you save your basic cover letter template, you will give it a particular name. Don’t forget to change it when you send it to different companies
- Job title—Remember to include the job title of a role you are applying for in the document
To ensure you’ve made no mistakes, read everything you have written from start to finish, sleep on it, and read again. Don’t rush it.
Job Hunt Made Easy
Source: Vlada Karpovich
Looking for a job can get pretty challenging. The majority of employees agree, stating that searching for a job in this economic climate is a lot more stressful than ever before.
It doesn’t have to be that complicated—Lensa offers a better way to look for a job.
As a job aggregator, we form partnerships with numerous job boards and present all the job listings in one place. We also use AI to help users find a job opening that is the best fit for them.
Sign up for Lensa and find a job that will meet not only your desired compensation and location requirements but also your personal and workstyle preferences.
Besides access to multiple job ads from a single platform, you will enjoy many other benefits, including:
- Playing the Workstyle Game to understand your professional strengths and attitude towards work
- Personalizing your account to find a suitable job opening faster
- Getting notifications when a desirable position opens
Register With Lensa Step by Step
The registration process that will make your entire job search experience immensely more pleasant takes three simple steps:
- Visit the website
- Add the desired job title and location
- Add your email address
You’re all set! You can now browse job listings and play the Workstyle Game. You can also get the most out of Lensa by personalizing your account:
- Add your first and last name
- Provide your cell phone number to start receiving personalized job suggestions
- Include your education, experience, and desired compensation
- Upload your resume to unlock Company Reviews and Matching Companies features
When your profile is complete, Lensa will start sending you job suggestions suited to your preferences. You will find listings that you like much faster. And with the example of a professional cover letter you have found here and some valuable advice, you will have a much easier time applying for jobs too.
Featured Image: Tima Miroshnichenko