Write a cover letter for job applications

Creating a cover letter for a job application is essential. It gives you a chance to talk about why you are good for the job, express your interest in the company or business where you want to work, and how you’ll contribute to their success. Read seven tips that will help you write a great cover letter.

young woman sitting by a window writing on a notepad

A cover letter always accompanies or goes attached with your resume. A cover letter it’s usually the first impression many hiring managers, businesses, and companies get about you. It’s only one page long and should support the information you already have in your resume.  

On online applications, sometimes attaching a cover letter is optional. You should always include it to make the employer interested in reading your resume and interviewing you.

Seven tips for writing an excellent cover letter

1. Use the same format for your cover letter as your resume.

The cover letter for a job application and resume should have the same font size and style. The margins (spaces on the side of the page) should be the same too. You can just cut and paste the top part of the resume (header) that includes your contact information.

2. Don’t repeat your resume in your cover letter.

Do not use the exact words in your resume; this can be boring to read for employers. Instead, tell a story or give more detail about an achievement. An example would be a bullet point on your resume that says you did accounting at your old company. You could choose to tell a story about when you fixed an accounting mistake and saved the company money.

3. Don’t talk about what you don’t have.

Nobody has every skill that is written in a job description. If you have 80%, you are a good candidate. Never mention if you lack skill. Instead, focus on what you are good at.

4. Use your cover letter to say why you like the company. 

It is important that the employer feels that you want to work for them. If you just found the position online, go to their website. Read the “about” section and learn about what their product or work is. Look at their “mission and vision” section. That is where companies talk about their goals and what is vital to their company. Pick out something that you like about the company and mention it at the end of the cover letter.

5. Talk about yourself and not the team. 

Many countries value being a part of a community or team. However, the USA is an individualistic country; American employers want to hear about your specific strengths. Use the word “I” instead of “we” to impress the employer. It may not be easy but will become easier with practice.

6. Do some research. 

You will need to write the company contact information on your cover letter for a job application. One of the things that are good to know is the hiring manager’s name. Sometimes, it is written in the job description. If not, look up the company on the Internet or LinkedIn, a site for job networking. If you find it, put it in your cover letter. It will show the employer that you pay attention to detail and do extra work.

7. Mention what makes you different. 

There is a good chance many people will apply for the job you want. A cover letter is your chance to say what makes you different. It would help if you talked about how your skills can help the organization. For example, you might speak another language; this is important because many companies have diverse employees or offices in other countries. You also may have worked or volunteered with people from different cultures. Make sure to mention this.

Use cover letter examples

On our cover letter examples page, you can find examples of good cover letters. You will see a sample letter for an entry-level job and a sample letter for a professional job. You will be able to download examples of both letters in Microsoft Word and change them to suit your application.