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For Business

For Individuals

How to write a great cover letter in 2024: tips and structure

young-woman-checking-her-cover-lette

A cover letter is a personalized letter that introduces you to a potential employer, highlights your qualifications, and explains why you're a strong fit for a specific job.

Hate or love them, these brief documents allow job seekers to make an impression and stand out from the pile of other applications. Penning a thoughtful cover letter shows the hiring team you care about earning the position.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to write a cover letter — and a great one, at that.

What is a cover letter and why does it matter?

A professional cover letter is a one-page document you submit alongside your CV or resume as part of a job application. Typically, they’re about half a page or around 150–300 words.

An effective cover letter doesn’t just rehash your CV; it’s your chance to highlight your proudest moments, explain why you want the job, and state plainly what you bring to the table.

Show the reviewer you’re likable, talented, and will add to the company’s culture . You can refer to previous jobs and other information from your CV, but only if it helps tell a story about you and your career choices .

What 3 things should you include in a cover letter?

A well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out to potential employers. To make your cover letter shine, here are three key elements to include:

1. Personalization

Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name whenever possible. If the job posting doesn't include a name, research to find out who will be reviewing applications. Personalizing your cover letter shows that you've taken the time to tailor your application to the specific company and role.

2. Highlight relevant achievements and skills

Emphasize your most relevant skills , experiences, and accomplishments that directly relate to the job you're applying for. Provide specific examples of how your skills have benefited previous employers and how they can contribute to the prospective employer's success. Use quantifiable achievements , such as improved efficiency, cost savings, or project success, to demonstrate your impact.

3. Show enthusiasm and fit

Express your enthusiasm for the company and the position you're applying for. Explain why you are interested in this role and believe you are a good fit for the organization. Mention how your values, goals, and skills align with the company's mission and culture. Demonstrating that you've done your research can make a significant impression.

What do hiring managers look for in a cover letter?

Employers look for several key elements in a cover letter. These include:

Employers want to see that your cover letter is specifically tailored to the position you are applying for. It should demonstrate how your skills, experiences, and qualifications align with the job requirements.

Clear and concise writing

A well-written cover letter is concise, easy to read, and error-free. Employers appreciate clear and effective communication skills , so make sure your cover letter showcases your ability to express yourself effectively.

Demonstrated knowledge of the company

Employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in their organization. Mention specific details about the company, such as recent achievements or projects, to show that you are enthusiastic about joining their team.

Achievements and accomplishments

Highlight your relevant achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your qualifications for the position. Use specific examples to showcase your skills and show how they can benefit the employer.

Enthusiasm and motivation

Employers want to hire candidates who are excited about the opportunity and motivated to contribute to the company's success. Express your enthusiasm and passion for the role and explain why you are interested in working for the company.

Professionalism

A cover letter should be professional in tone and presentation. Use formal language, address the hiring manager appropriately, and follow standard business letter formatting.

excited-woman-in-her-office-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

How do you structure a cover letter?

A well-structured cover letter follows a specific format that makes it easy for the reader to understand your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position. Here's a typical structure for a cover letter:

Contact information

Include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter. Place your contact information at the beginning so that it's easy for the employer to reach you.

Employer's contact information

Opening paragraph, middle paragraph(s), closing paragraph, complimentary close, additional contact information.

Repeat your contact information (name, phone number, and email) at the end of the letter, just in case the employer needs it for quick reference.

Remember to keep your cover letter concise and focused. It should typically be no more than one page in length. Proofread your letter carefully to ensure it is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Tailor each cover letter to the specific job application to make it as relevant and impactful as possible.

How to write a good cover letter (with examples)

The best letters are unique, tailored to the job description, and written in your voice — but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a job cover letter template.

Great cover letters contain the same basic elements and flow a certain way. Take a look at this cover letter structure for ref erence while you construct your own.

1. Add a header and contact information

While reading your cover letter, the recruiter shouldn’t have to look far to find who wrote it. Your document should include a basic heading with the following information:

  • Pronouns (optional)
  • Location (optional)
  • Email address
  • Phone number (optional)
  • Relevant links, such as your LinkedIn profile , portfolio, or personal website (optional)

You can pull this information directly from your CV. Put it together, and it will look something like this:

Christopher Pike

San Francisco, California

[email protected]

Alternatively, if the posting asks you to submit your cover letter in the body of an email, you can include this information in your signature. For example:

Warm regards,

Catherine Janeway

Bloomington, Indiana

[email protected]

(555) 999 - 2222

man-using-his-laptop-while-smiling-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

2. Include a personal greeting

Always begin your cover letter by addressing the hiring manager — preferably by name. You can use the person’s first and last name. Make sure to include a relevant title, like Dr., Mr., or Ms. For example, “Dear Mr. John Doe.”

Avoid generic openings like “To whom it may concern,” “Dear sir or madam,” or “Dear hiring manager.” These introductions sound impersonal — like you’re copy-pasting cover letters — and can work against you in the hiring process.

Be careful, though. When using someone’s name, you don’t want to use the wrong title or accidentally misgender someone. If in doubt, using only their name is enough. You could also opt for a gender-neutral title, like Mx.

Make sure you’re addressing the right person in your letter — ideally, the person who’s making the final hiring decision. This isn’t always specified in the job posting, so you may have to do some research to learn the name of the hiring manager.

3. Draw them in with an opening story

The opening paragraph of your cover letter should hook the reader. You want it to be memorable, conversational, and extremely relevant to the job you’re pursuing. 

There’s no need for a personal introduction — you’ve already included your name in the heading. But you should make reference to the job you’re applying for. A simple “Thank you for considering my application for the role of [job title] at [company],” will suffice.

Then you can get into the “Why” of your job application. Drive home what makes this specific job and this company so appealing to you. Perhaps you’re a fan of their products, you’re passionate about their mission, or you love their brand voice. Whatever the case, this section is where you share your enthusiasm for the role.

Here’s an example opening paragraph. In this scenario, you’re applying for a digital marketing role at a bicycle company:

“Dear Mr. John Doe,

Thank you for considering my application for the role of Marketing Coordinator at Bits n’ Bikes.

My parents bought my first bike at one of your stores. I’ll never forget the freedom I felt when I learned to ride it. My father removed my training wheels, and my mom sent me barrelling down the street. You provide joy to families across the country — and I want to be part of that.”

4. Emphasize why you’re best for the job

Your next paragraphs should be focused on the role you’re applying to. Highlight your skill set and why you’re a good fit for the needs and expectations associated with the position. Hiring managers want to know what you’ll bring to the job, not just any role.

Start by studying the job description for hints. What problem are they trying to solve with this hire? What skills and qualifications do they mention first or more than once? These are indicators of what’s important to the hiring manager.

Search for details that match your experience and interests. For example, if you’re excited about a fast-paced job in public relations, you might look for these elements in a posting:

  • They want someone who can write social media posts and blog content on tight deadlines
  • They value collaboration and input from every team member
  • They need a planner who can come up with strong PR strategies

Highlight how you fulfill these requirements:

“I’ve always been a strong writer. From blog posts to social media, my content pulls in readers and drives traffic to product pages. For example, when I worked at Bits n’ Bikes, I developed a strategic blog series about bike maintenance that increased our sales of spare parts and tools by 50% — we could see it in our web metrics.

Thanks to the input of all of our team members, including our bike mechanics, my content delivered results.”

5. End with a strong closing paragraph and sign off gracefully

Your closing paragraph is your final chance to hammer home your enthusiasm about the role and your unique ability to fill it. Reiterate the main points you explained in the body paragraphs and remind the reader of what you bring to the table.

You can also use the end of your letter to relay other important details, like whether you’re willing to relocate for the job.

When choosing a sign-off, opt for a phrase that sounds professional and genuine. Reliable options include “Sincerely” and “Kind regards.”

Here’s a strong closing statement for you to consider:

“I believe my enthusiasm, skills, and work experience as a PR professional will serve Bits n’ Bikes very well. I would love to meet to further discuss my value-add as your next Director of Public Relations. Thank you for your consideration. I hope we speak soon.

man-reading-carefully-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Tips to write a great cover letter that compliments your resume

When writing your own letter, try not to copy the example excerpts word-for-word. Instead, use this cover letter structure as a baseline to organize your ideas. Then, as you’re writing, use these extra cover letter tips to add your personal touch:

  • Keep your cover letter different from your resume : Your cover letter should not duplicate the information on your resume. Instead, it should provide context and explanations for key points in your resume, emphasizing how your qualifications match the specific job you're applying for.
  • Customize your cover letter . Tailor your cover letter for each job application. Address the specific needs of the company and the job posting, demonstrating that you've done your homework and understand their requirements.
  • Show enthusiasm and fit . Express your enthusiasm for the company and position in the cover letter. Explain why you are interested in working for this company and how your values, goals, and skills align with their mission and culture.
  • Use keywords . Incorporate keywords from the job description and industry terms in your cover letter. This can help your application pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and demonstrate that you're well-versed in the field.
  • Keep it concise . Your cover letter should be succinct and to the point, typically no more than one page. Focus on the most compelling qualifications and experiences that directly support your application.
  • Be professional . Maintain a professional tone and structure in your cover letter. Proofread it carefully to ensure there are no errors.
  • Address any gaps or concerns . If there are gaps or concerns in your resume, such as employment gaps or a change in career direction, briefly address them in your cover letter. Explain any relevant circumstances and how they have shaped your qualifications and determination.
  • Provide a call to action . Conclude your cover letter with a call to action, inviting the employer to contact you for further discussion. Mention that you've attached your resume for their reference.
  • Follow the correct format . Use a standard cover letter format like the one above, including your contact information, a formal salutation, introductory and closing paragraphs, and your signature. Ensure that it complements your resume without redundancy.
  • Pick the right voice and tone . Try to write like yourself, but adapt to the tone and voice of the company. Look at the job listing, company website, and social media posts. Do they sound fun and quirky, stoic and professional, or somewhere in-between? This guides your writing style.
  • Tell your story . You’re an individual with unique expertise, motivators, and years of experience. Tie the pieces together with a great story. Introduce how you arrived at this point in your career, where you hope to go , and how this prospective company fits in your journey. You can also explain any career changes in your resume.
  • Show, don’t tell . Anyone can say they’re a problem solver. Why should a recruiter take their word for it if they don’t back it up with examples? Instead of naming your skills, show them in action. Describe situations where you rose to the task, and quantify your success when you can.
  • Be honest . Avoid highlighting skills you don’t have. This will backfire if they ask you about them in an interview. Instead, shift focus to the ways in which you stand out.
  • Avoid clichés and bullet points . These are signs of lazy writing. Do your best to be original from the first paragraph to the final one. This highlights your individuality and demonstrates the care you put into the letter.
  • Proofread . Always spellcheck your cover letter. Look for typos, grammatical errors, and proper flow. We suggest reading it out loud. If it sounds natural rolling off the tongue, it will read naturally as well.

woman-writing-on-her-notebook-how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Common cover letter writing FAQs

How long should a cover letter be.

A cover letter should generally be concise and to the point. It is recommended to keep it to one page or less, focusing on the most relevant information that highlights your qualifications and fits the job requirements.

Should I include personal information in a cover letter?

While it's important to introduce yourself and provide your contact information, avoid including personal details such as your age, marital status, or unrelated hobbies. Instead, focus on presenting your professional qualifications and aligning them with the job requirements.

Can I use the same cover letter for multiple job applications?

While it may be tempting to reuse a cover letter, it is best to tailor each cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. This allows you to highlight why you are a good fit for that particular role and show genuine interest in the company.

Do I need to address my cover letter to a specific person?

Whenever possible, it is advisable to address your cover letter to a specific person, such as the hiring manager or recruiter. If the job posting does not provide this information, try to research and find the appropriate contact. If all else fails, you can use a generic salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager."

Should I include references in my cover letter?

It is generally not necessary to include references in your cover letter. Save this information for when the employer explicitly requests it. Instead, focus on showcasing your qualifications and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the position.

It’s time to start writing your stand-out cover letter

The hardest part of writing is getting started. 

Hopefully, our tips gave you some jumping-off points and confidence . But if you’re really stuck, looking at cover letter examples and resume templates will help you decide where to get started. 

There are numerous sample cover letters available online. Just remember that you’re a unique, well-rounded person, and your cover letter should reflect that. Using our structure, you can tell your story while highlighting your passion for the role. 

Doing your research, including strong examples of your skills, and being courteous is how to write a strong cover letter. Take a breath , flex your fingers, and get typing. Before you know it, your job search will lead to a job interview.

If you want more personalized guidance, a specialized career coach can help review, edit, and guide you through creating a great cover letter that sticks.

Ace your job search

Explore effective job search techniques, interview strategies, and ways to overcome job-related challenges. Our coaches specialize in helping you land your dream job.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

3 cover letter examples to help you catch a hiring manager’s attention

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IMAGES

  1. How To Write A Cover Letter Reddit

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  2. Covering Letter For Employment

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  3. How to Write a Cover Letter

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  4. How To Write A Good Cover Letter Reddit

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  5. Cover Letter Examples Reddit 2018 ~ Resume Letter

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  6. how to write a professional cover letter for a job application

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VIDEO

  1. HOW TO GET EVERY JOB YOU APPLY FOR! STAND OUT BY DOING THIS!

  2. Are cover letters needed for job applications? #careeradvice #interviewtips #jobsearch #podcast

  3. Employers, what’s the worst CV you’ve ever seen?

  4. Five Letters • Got, Got Money And I Moo [Fierce! Video Edit]

  5. Five Letters

  6. What is a Cover Letter? 👇

COMMENTS

  1. Please post examples of cover letters that have got you hired ...

    This is a long damn sentence. All of this comprises 1/3rd of your cover letter. Some points: I have experience working with... HTML/CSS. In today's tech climate, I would assume this, and unless you're looking at a web dev job specifically, I don't care. This is like saying you're proficient in Microsoft Office.

  2. Here's the best cover letter I've ever seen : r/jobs

    Head to our discord for live support: discord.gg/jobs. Here's the best cover letter I've ever seen. Hey everyone. I've been using this cover letter for years and it has worked really well. Most recently in my job search, I've had at least 3 separate contacts make a comment about how good the format is. Hope it helps you.

  3. The 46 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

    The 46 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right : r/Modernmarketing. r/Modernmarketing. r/Modernmarketing.

  4. How important are cover letters? Ever got a job without ...

    For me, a cover letter won't get you a job, but it does mean that of all the resumes HR sends to me, I'll probably read yours first. As a job seeker, I always submit a cover letter. In my last job search, I formatted a cover letter that could be used again and again after tweaking only a few details. I don't start from scratch with every job ...

  5. Thoughts on cover letters in 2024? : r/recruitinghell

    How important are cover letters in 2024? I've gotten several interviews recently by just submitting resumes….many of those though were also obtained through networking, though. Some applicant systems didn't even give me the chance to attack a cover letter, and so far in my job search, I've largely been just focusing on my resume and ...

  6. how the heck do you write a good cover letter? : r/jobs

    Write this down in a table. You may not fit all the requirements - that's OK - just make sure you can maximise your suitability for the role. b) Write the letter, introducing yourself, what the purpose of the letter is, and your experience and background in a single paragraph. The second paragraph is how you meet their requirements.

  7. What was the cover letter that got you the job? : r/jobs

    What was the cover letter that got you the job? A cover letter doesn't always translate into a job, but I often write down some ideas for a sales pitch and sometimes it got me the interviews I want. Like the one with me being the bread baker who loves learning new things. What was the wildest thing you ever wrote in your cover letter? 2 comments.

  8. coverletters

    For example: "With my extensive experience in X and Y, I am well-suited for the role of Z." This helps your resume get past automated screenings, especially if the job is looking for specific past roles. Always Include a Cover Letter: Even if it's listed as optional, a cover letter can set you apart.

  9. Should I write a new cover letter for every new job application?

    for roles you really want. you need to be strategic, you can't spend all day writing cover letters. prioritize your efforts. you also can't spend 24/7 applying for jobs or you'll burn out. take time to rest and do other things. You'll learn as you assemble your cover letters with a few different variations of cover letters depending on the job.

  10. Are cover letters even worth it when they are not a required ...

    Cold apply? 30 minutes or less, includes reading the job description and trying to find the hiring manager on linked in. Then go from there depending on how interested you are in the role. Spend the most time researching, customizing the rez, wordsmithing the cover letter, etc when you have high interest and a close reference.

  11. The 46 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

    Get the Reddit app Scan this QR code to download the app now ... The 46 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right blog.hubspot.com Open. Share Add a Comment. Be the first to comment ... How to Start a Cover Letter That Gets You Your Dream Job blog. upvote r/makeithero. r/makeithero. This community offers Digital marketing methods, hacks ...

  12. LPT: Your cover letters purpose is to explain how your ...

    I go with a short one-page letter, the main part of which is a list of four or so bulletpoints highlighting my experience using the language from their job description. E.g. if their job ad says something like "Must have experience deploying a G.E.C.K. in hostile environments." I might have a bullet like:

  13. 4 Cover Letter Examples + Tips on How to Write Yours

    We've got examples of four types of cover letters below: a traditional cover letter, an impact cover letter, a writing sample cover letter, and a career change cover letter. So let's take a look at these examples, why they work, and how you can use them to craft your own. 1. The traditional cover letter example.

  14. Cover Letters That Have Actually Worked!

    Robot writing: Write how you speak! Examples of Real Cover Letters That Have Actually Worked to Land a Job! General Anatomy of a Cover Letter (solicited, for a specific job) Dear [name] , Try to find the name of the head of the department / hiring person for the job you are applying to—you can usually find it by doing a little bit of research ...

  15. How to Write a Great Cover Letter in 2024 (+ Examples)

    1. Personalization. Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name whenever possible. If the job posting doesn't include a name, research to find out who will be reviewing applications. Personalizing your cover letter shows that you've taken the time to tailor your application to the specific company and role. 2.

  16. How to Write a Standout Cover Letter in 2022

    Step 3: Address your cover letter to the hiring manager—preferably by name. The most traditional way to address a cover letter is to use the person's first and last name, including "Mr." or "Ms." (for example, "Dear Ms. Jane Smith" or just "Dear Ms. Smith").

  17. I've Read More Than 300 Cover Letters, And This Is How I ...

    Here's a real, two-line excerpt from a cover letter I've written before: If I'm in a conference room and the video isn't working, I'm not the sort to simply call IT and wait.

  18. Free AI Cover Letter Generator : r/GetEmployed

    That frustration inspired me to create an AI-powered cover letter generator. Instead of wasting an hour crafting an essay to impress a potential employer, you just fill out some basic information about yourself, copy and paste details about the job, and my AI creates a tailored cover letter for you. It's been a huge time-saver, and now I can ...

  19. How To Write A Cover Letter That Gets You A Job Interview

    Use bullet points from the job application to highlight your relevant skills or experience. Use spell check and grammar check. There's no excuse to send a cover letter, or any document for that ...

  20. How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job in 2024

    Respectfully, Kind regards, Best regards, Yours truly, Then, make two spaces below the salutation, and type your full name. For some professional (but optional) flair, sign your cover letter either with a scan of your signature or by using software like DocuSign. 8. Check your cover letter's content and formatting.

  21. The 11 Best Cover Letter Examples of 2024

    1. The professional cover letter. In this great cover letter example, the applicant landed an IT project management job by proving they had the required project management skills and experience while providing highlights from their career: Include hard numbers in your cover letter to impress the employer.

  22. 30 Better Ways to Start a Cover Letter

    Communicate that you'll bring something to the company: You'll get more into the details after your opening, of course. But your cover letter opener should still tell the reader, "This person can do something for us ," rather than, "This job would really help them .". Stick to the point: Your opener, while creative, should still be ...

  23. Free AI Cover Letter Writer : r/jobsearchhacks

    Instead of wasting an hour crafting an essay to glaze a potential employer, you just fill out some basic information about yourself, copy and paste details about the job, and my AI will create a tailored cover letter for you. Now, you can apply to roles that most people avoid because they don't want to deal with writing cover letters, and you ...