How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job [8 Steps + Samples]

Writing a cover letter may seem like an easy thing to do… Until you sit down to writing it. All of a sudden your mind goes blank. Or—You just repeat whatever you’ve written on your resume. And once you’re done (if you haven’t given up halfway through), you don’t even know how to format this thing as a letter.

 

Steady on.

 

In this guide, you will see you how to write a cover letter for a job in eight easy steps. You will also learn tips on how to make your cover letter illustrate your skills and wow the recruiter.

 

How to write a cover letter example

 

Cindy Rowland

Administrative Assistant

4783 Jewell Road

Minneapolis, Minnesota (MN), 55402

+1 123 456 7890

your-name@email.com

linkedin.com/in/hermandrovvland

 

21 November 2019

 

Peter H. Watson

Human Resources Director

Digital I Creative Agency

2134 Crimson Street

Minneapolis, Minnesota (MN), 55402

 

Dear Peter:

 

I am a CAA certified administrative assistant who would love to bring in 5+ years of experience working in a fast-paced environment to Digital I Creative Agency as Office Manager.

 

According to the job ad you put on LinkedIn, you’re searching for an office manager able to juggle multiple tasks in a fast-paced and time-sensitive environment. At my last position with Smart Marketing Ventures, I had quite a few wins I’m proud of, including:

  • Saved $2,000 per year after renegotiating contract with the office supply vendor.
  • Flawlessly calendared for 3 executives and 5 teams.
  • Named Employee of the Year twice in a row in 2017 and 2018.

 

All the above show I take my work seriously and care about the results I deliver on behalf of my company. Were you to hire me at Digital I, I would bring that same drive and commitment with me each and every day.

 

I’ve always been drawn to your company's firm belief in empowering employees to make complicated decisions on their own when needed. In my previous job, my strong decision-making and negotiation skills allowed me to make big annual savings. I would be incredibly fortunate to be considered for the position at a company whose work and culture I admire.

 

Would you have time for a quick phone call or meeting next week? I’d love to discuss how I could bring similar results to your company.

 

Sincerely,

 

Cindy Rowland

 

P.S. I’d love to tell you how I dealt with a particularly sensitive situation with integrity that helped the company avoid a lawsuit from a former employee.

 

1. Know who you’re writing to

 

If you don’t know who you’re writing to, your covering letter is as good as none at all. Starting a cover letter with the phrase to whom it may concern only shows your laziness. And this isn’t exactly what you want to show, is it? Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name] looks much better and sets you apart from the other candidates instantly.

 

So check out the company’s website, LinkedIn, or other social media profiles to find out who to address your cover letter to.If your efforts at finding the addressee are futile, write Dear Hiring Manager or, better yet, Dear IT/Marketing/Customer Service Team Manager. These options aren’t perfect, but still better than to whom it may concern.

 

If pursuing a more traditional career, e.g. at a law firm or at a university, go with their title (e.g., Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr.) and their last name to be on the safe side. Otherwise, using their first name is a great way to grab the reader’s attention.

 

2. Introduce yourself

 

The purpose of writing a cover letter is to introduce yourself to the hiring manager. So, why not do it in the very first sentence? Like so—

 

Example opening of a cover letter for a job

 

I am a CAA certified administrative assistant who would love to bring in 5+ years of experience working in a fast-paced environment to [company name] as Office Manager.

 

Remember: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Having this in the back of your mind will help you write a good cover letter with simple yet impactful sentences.

 

The example above is spun around this straightforward formula:

  • Who you are
  • What you can offer
  • What position you’re seeking

 

That’s all you really need to tell your reader at this point. 

 

3. Show what you can do

 

Next come your experience and skills. In fact, they are what will (or won’t) land you an interview. Period. The key to writing this section of your cover letter is relevance. Learning this rule by heart will help you write a great cover letter:

 

Relevance is key.

 

The example below will show you how you can present your skills on a cover letter for a job application:

 

Example of skills on a cover letter for a job application

 

According to the job ad you put on LinkedIn, you’re searching for an office manager able to juggle multiple tasks in a fast-paced and time-sensitive environment. At my last position with Smart Marketing Ventures, I had quite a few wins I’m proud of, including:

  • Saved $2,000 per year after renegotiating contract with the office supply vendor.
  • Flawlessly calendared for 3 executives and 5 teams.
  • Named Employee of the Year twice in a row in 2017 and 2018.

 

All the above show I take my work seriously and care about the results I deliver on behalf of my company. Were you to hire me at [company name], I would bring that same drive and commitment each and every day.

 

Why is this so effective?

 

First and foremost, every single thing is relevant to the job offer (so double- or triple-check the job ad before you write anything). Plus:

  • The very first sentence shows you’ve done your research and know exactly what kind of skills the company is looking for.
  • Key achievements are grouped into bullet points, which makes them stand out from the rest of the text.
  • There are numbers that demonstrate your skills’ real-life impact.
  • The section is personalized by mentioning the name of the employer.

 

Pay attention to these points when writing your cover letter, and you’re bound to make a lasting impression on the reader.

 

 

4. Prove you’re a great fit

 

Your skills are of the utmost importance—but so is your personality. After all, you’ll be spending the better part of the week at work. So, when writing a CV cover letter, show the hiring manager you’re a great cultural fit and a cool person to hang out with. Use this opportunity to your advantage because there’s no room for anything like this on your resume.

 

As you’re writing this section of your cover letter, focus on—

  • What you like about the company (be specific).
  • How your personality and working style fit the company culture.
  • Why you want to work for this particular employer.

 

Look at the example below to get you inspired:

 

How to show you fit the company culture on a professional cover letter

 

I’ve always been drawn to your company's firm belief in empowering employees to make complicated decisions on their own when needed. In my previous job, my strong decision-making and negotiation skills allowed me to make big annual savings. I would be incredibly fortunate to be considered for the position at a company whose work and culture I admire.

 

5. Close your cover letter with a call to action

 

People need to be reminded what to do. It may sound unorthodox in the context of writing a cover letter (after all, it should be obvious what you want, shouldn’t it?) but… it works. So, see to it that the final paragraph of your covering letter includes a call to action. Something along these lines will do the job:

 

Closing paragraph of a cover letter

 

Would you have time for a quick phone call or meeting next week? I’d love to discuss how I could bring similar results to your company.

 

When you’re writing your version of the closing of a cover letter, make sure you:

 

  • Propose how you’d like to meet and talk (e.g. phone call, video chat, face-to-face meeting, lunch, etc.).
  • Suggest a specific time to meet (e.g. this week, next week, etc.) to make your offer seem more urgent.
  • Say what you’d like to discuss (you can mention a specific issue if you know what the current challenges for the company are).

 

 

6. Sign off in a professional manner

 

What does a professional manner even mean? In short—Stick to good old Sincerely. Semi-formal options, such as Regards, Yours Truly, or Thank You are perfectly fine as well. Avoid anything like Cheers, Peace, Love, XOXO, etc.

 

Here’s what the ending of your cover letter can look like:

 

Example of a formal cover letter closing

 

Sincerely,

 

Cindy Rowland

 

If you’re handing in a physical copy of your cover letter, leave a few extra spaces between the complimentary closing and your name. Then, add a handwritten signature for a stylish and professional flourish.

 

7. Add a postscript

 

This is an optional thing you can do to grab the hiring manager’s attention once more. The whole idea behind the P.S. section is to include something that’s relevant, but you had no option to write it in any part of your cover letter.

 

What can this be?

 

An achievement of yours you weren’t able to fit in elsewhere, a comment on the company's recent success, a fun fact about you that proves you’re a fit. Whatever. As long as it’s relevant and necessary. If you don’t have an idea on what to put in the postscript, you most likely don’t need it at all.

 

Here’s an example of what the P.S. section can look like:

 

Example of the postscript in a cover letter

 

P.S. I’d love to tell you how I dealt with a particularly sensitive situation with integrity that helped the company avoid a lawsuit from a former employee.

 

8. Format your cover letter

 

So, your cover letter is ready but—Does it look like a letter? Make sure you format it the right way:

  • Align everything to the left side. Don’t use text justification.
  • Single line space all text (or use 1.15 line spacing).
  • Use a double space between each cover letter section and paragraph.
  • Include a 1-inch margin on all sides of the cover letter.
  • Choose a great cover letter font. Select the font by how legible it is over how pretty it looks.
  • When in doubt, a cover letter is a business document, so follow formal letter formatting rules.
  • Pick a cover letter template that matches your resume template to give the employer one unified job application package.
  • Unless otherwise instructed, send your cover letter as a PDF rather than Microsoft Word .doc file. PDFs formatting will stay intact regardless of the device used.

 

 

There you have it! Did you like our covering letter guide? If you’ve got any additional questions on how to write a cover letter for a job, we’d be happy to answer them below in the comment area. Thanks for reading!

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LiveCareer Editorial Team
LiveCareer Editorial Team

About the author

Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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