Smart tips to help you format and write a cover letter
Struggling to write a cover letter that will catch an employer's attention? We've got tips to help you show your best self—and a sample you can use to get started.
There's nothing scary about writing a cover letter.
You've found the perfect job, hit the "apply" button, and started the process with your engines revved and ready. But wait! Slam the brakes! They want a cover letter. Oh no.
Don't let this request derail you. Here's everything you need to know to write a letter that truly sells your skills. Plus, scroll down to see a sample cover letter you can use to craft your own.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that, along with your resume, is sent with your job application. A cover letter is your chance to tell a potential employer why you’re the perfect person for the position and how your skills and expertise can add value to the company. The letter should be professional but personable, and serve as a sort of introduction.
Do I need to send a cover letter?
A lot of job seekers today wonder if a cover letter is still appropriate to send with your resume—and the answer is yes! Even if an employer doesn’t ask for a cover letter, it couldn’t hurt to send one. In fact, it’s can help you get someone's attention in a different way, and it can be a great way to display your enthusiasm for the job and company.
What are the basic elements of a cover letter?
- Greeting: Address your cover letter to the proper person.
- Opening: Write a personable, inviting opening paragraph that notes how your skills are a perfect fit to the job and displays your enthusiasm.
- Hook: Highlight your past achievements as they relate to the job you're applying for.
- Skills: Emphasize additional relevant skills, such as computer languages or certifications.
- Close: Briefly recap your strengths as a candidate, and include your contact information.
Cover letter tips
1. Parrot the keywords: Just like with your resume, your cover letters should be customized for each job you apply to. Start by reviewing the job description. In it, you will find important keywords that let you know what kind of employee the company is hoping to find. Use these same keywords throughout your cover letter.
2. Adapt for the company: Each version of your cover letter should talk about how your skills will benefit the particular company that you want to work for. You want to target the company’s needs—not your own. Demonstrate how you could help them achieve their goals. Remember: You're selling yourself in a resume and a cover letter, but the employer has to want to buy.
3. Show you "get" them: Your cover letter should demonstrate that you have done some research into what the organization's pain points are. Presenting yourself as a solution to a hiring manager’s problem can help your cover letter take the right tone. If you’re applying to an administrative position, be sure to mention your time-management skills; if you’re an IT professional, include your expertise in improving efficiency. Always ask yourself: How can I help this company?
4. Proofread. Don’t assume spell check will catch every mistake (it won’t). Slowly review your cover letter to make sure everything reads properly. Have someone else read your cover letter for backup.
Need even more confidence before you start your cover letter? Below are some additional cover letter tips you could reference—or keep scrolling for a cover letter sample:
Cover letter mistakes you should avoid: From overusing “I” to being too vague, there are a bunch of pitfalls that can trip you up. Don’t let them!
Cover letter format and advice tips: Learn how to set up your cover letter and what each section should include.
Cover letter tips for new grads: You might lack real-world work experience, but your cover letter can be chock-full of activities that demonstrate your potential to succeed.
Cover letter tips for technology professionals: The ease of applying to online jobs has led many IT professionals to skip sending a cover letter, but that’s a mistake.
Cover letter tips for finance professionals: If you’re searching for a finance job or want to be prepared just in case, you will need a dynamic cover letter to grab the hiring managers’ attention.
Tips for better email cover letters: If you're emailing a resume, your cover letter will deliver the first impression. These eight tips will help you craft a better email cover letter.
Cover letter sample
Check out the sample cover letter below (or download the template as a Word doc) to get some inspiration to craft your own. And we've also got you covered if you're looking for a cover letter in a specific industry.
Once you've finished your cover letter, consider joining Monster—you can upload and store up to five cover letters and resumes, so that you can apply for jobs on our site in a snap!
Ms. Rhonda West
Customer Service Manager
123 Corporate Blvd.
Sometown, CO 50802
Re: Customer Service Representative Opening (Ref. ID: CS300-Denver)
Dear Ms. West:
I was excited to see your opening for a customer service rep, and I hope to be invited for an interview.
My background includes serving as a customer service associate within both call-center and retail environments. Most recently, I worked on the customer service desk for Discount-Mart, where my responsibilities included handling customer merchandise returns, issuing refunds/store credits, flagging damaged merchandise for shipment back to vendors and providing back-up cashiering during busy periods.
Previously, I worked within two high-volume customer-support call centers for a major telecommunications carrier and a satellite television services provider. In these positions, I demonstrated the ability to resolve a variety of issues and complaints (such as billing disputes, service interruptions or cutoffs, repair technician delays/no-shows and equipment malfunctions). I consistently met my call-volume goals, handling an average of 56 to 60 calls per day.
In addition to this experience, I gained considerable customer service skills during my part-time employment as a waitress and restaurant hostess while in high school.
I also bring to the table strong computer proficiencies in MS Word, MS Excel and CRM database applications and a year of college (business major). Please see the accompanying resume for details of my experience and education.
I am confident that I can offer you the customer service, communication and problem-solving skills you are seeking. Feel free to call me at 555-555-5555 (home) or 555-555-5500 (cell) to arrange an interview. Thank you for your time—I look forward to learning more about this opportunity!
Some employers consider cover letters tiebreakers that can act as the deciding factor when evaluating similar candidates, others turn to them to get more insight into which applicants have done their company research, and still more look to these as a necessary step in the jobseeker vetting process.
Accordingly, a strong cover letter that tells your story and drives home your unique value is still critical to a successful job search. However, knowing that you need a cover letter and actually creating a well-written, compelling document is a completely different story.
That’s why we’ve created over 300 professional cover letter templates for your reference. Regardless of your experience level, industry, and career path, you’ll be able to find cover letter examples and samples that suit your needs. And if you do need more assistance, use LiveCareer’s Cover Letter Builder to quickly and easily create your own stand out document.
Data Entry: Cover Letter Template
To land a job in data entry, you will not only need to highlight your computer database skills in your resume, but also tell your story in a great cover letter. To make the most of the cover letter as a tool for success, check out our data entry cover letter template here. It will help you format your document properly and decide what to include.
Your opening lines should explain your skill level and what you can contribute to the work environment. Back this up with clear examples of how your education and accomplishments satisfy the requirements of the job description, emphasizing skills like analysis and reporting. Close by sharing the unique characteristics you can bring to the team and expressing your enthusiasm for the opportunity.
Executive Assistant: Cover Letter Template
To advance your career as an executive assistant, you’ll want to take the time to write an outstanding cover letter for each job application. For inspiration on what to include, as well as how to format it, use our executive assistant cover letter template as a strategic reference point.
While your resume lists the main attributes you need for the job, like organization and verbal communication, your cover letter should explain how you’ve developed these skills over time. The more concrete and specific, the better. It’s also important to express why you’re interested in working at the company, as well as any unique characteristics you can bring to the table.
Office Assistant: Cover Letter Template
Getting an office assistant job requires some effort beyond listing concrete skills in your resume. You’ll need to prove that you are well-organized and a good communicator by writing a strong cover letter. We recommend using an office assistant cover letter template, like ours, as inspiration for what this might look like.
Your cover letter may be the first thing that an employer reads, so include an overview of your top qualifications right at the beginning. Then, highlight some specifics that give the reader an idea of how you might perform on the job. Don’t forget to detail why this particular job and company is appealing, and restate the unique qualities you have to offer.
Secretary: Cover Letter Template
Creating a polished cover letter is a relatively simple exercise that can pay big dividends as you seek that next position as a secretary. Our secretary cover letter template is a great tool to see how you might illustrate your candidacy as a professional. From content to formatting, we’ve got you covered.
Begin by summarizing the most significant skills you have to offer, like customer service and organization. Then name one or two notable accomplishments to focus on. Give details about your chosen accomplishments and tie them back to the requirements in the job description. Last, talk about this particular company would benefit from your efforts.
Legal Assistant: Cover Letter Template
When pursuing legal assistant jobs, your cover letter is a great tool to give your application a boost. It can help make a personal connection with prospective employers. Use a legal assistant cover letter template like ours to ensure that your letter has the right elements.
While there are many things you could include in your cover letter, you’ll want to start off with a compelling hook. This gives the reader a reason to learn more about you as an outstanding law professional. Focus on concrete accomplishments and skills, like drafting documents, to describe your past experience. And make sure to stay on topic – provide the employer with some reasons why you are a good fit for this specific job and company.
Actor: Cover Letter Template
In competitive fields like acting, writing a stellar cover letter can really help you land interviews and auditions. Creativity is welcome here, but it’s a good idea to follow an actor cover letter template like ours to get inspiration for what to say – and how to say it.
Beyond your acting reel and the qualifications listed in your resume, the cover letter gives you a chance to tell your story in greater depth. Choose one or two stand-out accomplishments and give specifics about how those experiences make you a good fit for this next role. Finally, give the director, producer, or casting agent a clear idea of why you want to work specifically with them on a given project. This helps establish a personal connection with your application.
Accounting Assistant: Cover Letter Template
Crafting a well-written cover letter will enhance your candidacy for accounting assistant jobs. It’s a great tool for showcasing your qualifications for a job in a deeper, more personalized manner than a resume. Work with this accounting assistant cover letter template for inspiration.
The key here is to balance tangible details about your experience with a more holistic picture of how you fit into the role at hand. Start with a strong hook or summary statement, and expand your argument with a couple of notable skills or accomplishments. Be sure to discuss some clear reasons why this company, in particular, could benefit from your contributions.
Product Manager: Cover Letter Template
When vying for a product manager role, your cover letter is a great tool to showcase your strength in organizing information. Employers will be looking for reasons like this to bring you in for an interview and learn more about you. Consult our product manager cover letter template here to see what a well-crafted letter might look like.
Contrary to the more cut-and-dry resume, your cover letter should act as a more narrative version of your qualifications and how you fit into the role you’re after. Choose a few skills or accomplishments that illustrate exactly what you can contribute to the company. Don’t forget to cater these points directly to this role and company, as detailed in the job description.
Police Officer: Cover Letter Template
As you apply for police officer jobs, a well-crafted cover letter is key to getting interviews. This is your chance to elaborate beyond the simple bullet points in your resume. Reference a police officer cover letter template, like the one here, when deciding what to include.
While there are many things you can say, make your cover letter as concise and cohesive as possible. Get to the point right away, and choose only two or three key traits or achievements to illustrate your strength as a candidate. These could even be intangibles like strong presence of mind and interpersonal communication. Make sure that your particular interest in the division you’re applying to is evident.
Store Manager: Cover Letter Template
When applying for store manager jobs, you should write a cover letter that plays to your strengths and expertise. While many recruiters and hiring leaders may admit that they forego reading this document, most still expect you to provide this with your application. Not to mention, a well-written cover letter can set you apart from other candidates with a similar resume.
When it comes to creating this document, treat your cover letter like a one-page story about why you are an excellent candidate for the job. Focus on making a couple of key points about how your skills and past work experiences fit well into this particular role and company. Be specific about how you have demonstrated management ability in the past, and apply that directly to your interest in this new position.
Assistant Teacher: Cover Letter Template
To land a job as an assistant teacher, use your cover letter as a way to establish a sense of connection with prospective employers. You’ll want to be super clear and to the point about why you are a strong candidate for the job. To see what this looks like in practice, check out our assistant teacher cover letter template.
Employers should be able to take away a few key points from your letter that make you stand out. Be specific about your contributions in a previous job and how you see this experience benefitting the school where you’re applying. Since you’ll need to gain students’ trust and respect, showcasing your leadership ability is vital. And don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.