What to Include in a Cover Letter? (with Examples)

It doesn’t matter if you are the most qualified candidate ever. All that matters is whether the employer believes that you are. Knowing what to put in a cover letter is a subtle art of balancing. Less is more. But how do you know what to bolden, and what to skip out on?

 

With this guide, you will know exactly what to include in a cover letter to maximise your chances of making an interview, no matter what industry you are working in.

 

Use the LiveCareer cover letter builder and your cover letter will write itself. Choose a professional template, answer a few easy questions and the creator will generate a professional cover letter for you with just one click.

 

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What to Include in a Cover Letter—Example

 

Sarah Jenkins

69 Hull Road

Oxwick

NR21 9TR

sarah@jenkins.com

 

John Smith

Manager

High Fashion Store

12 Paramount Road

Oxwick

NR21 9TR

 

May 29, 2020

 

RE: Sales Assistant Position

 

Dear John,

 

Being a religious customer of the High Fashion Store ever since I moved to the area in 2017, when I spotted the opening for a Sales Assistant—I knew I had to fill those shoes. I have a proven track record of 3+ years of exceeding sales targets at Carphone Warehouse, and I am seeking to transfer to a role closer to my passion.

 

During the regular visits to your store, I have noted that the customer experience is of paramount importance to you. At Carphone Warehouse, I have consistently scored 100% on product knowledge, and have provided expert advice to the customers. In the context of the High Fashion Store, I could achieve the same, as it is closer to my real passion and interests. I am already expert at finding big-brand bargains in your shop, and would make an energetic addition to the team that customers could rely on for advice, and you could rely on for upselling. I have been commended for exceeding the sales targets at CW by up to 47% through upgrading, upselling, and retargeting. I have consistently passed 3 secret shopper encounters tasked with testing emergency or demanding situations. I will be able to combine these skills with my passion for fashion (I write a fashion blog with 3,000 subscribers) and provide a bespoke experience to your customers. 

 

The High Fashion Store has always made me feel at home and appreciated, even when I walked out empty-handed after hours of browsing, and it is apparent that this attitude must spread to a good working atmosphere amongst the staff. I am ready to make a seamless addition to your team that will surpass your sales targets with proven skills.

 

When would be good to have a call or a meeting to discuss how we can use retargeting to close on abandoned sales?

 

Best Regards,

Sarah Jenkins

 

Now you know what to include in a cover letter. Here’s what tu put in yours to make it equally good:

 

1. Draft the outline of your cover letter

 

Study the job advertisement intently and make a list of the skills, duties and responsibilities that are important to your prospective employer. Also make a list of your key achievements in the previous role. 

 

If they overlap in two, three, four obvious places, that’s great. If not, see if you can make them overlap. Find measurable evidence for your claims. Once you have this list, you have the most of what you need to include in a cover letter.

 

You can adjust every cover letter created in the builder to meet the job requirements. Choose the name of your profession and the company to which you’re applying, and the builder will automatically adapt the content for you. Create a cover letter faster than you ever thought possible and apply for the job in record time.

 

Create your cover letter nowcover letter builder

 

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2. Use a professional header and a proper salutation

 

The first element that you need to put on a cover letter, is the header. List your contact information, complete with email, and any website/portfolio links that could help in the header. Align your details to the right, then drop a space, and list the same details for your hiring person.

 

Align the hiring manager’s details to the left. Below, write the date, what the cover letter concerns (RE: Position Name), and a proper salutation. Address the hiring person by first name if possible. Avoid writing general salutations such as “To Whom It May Concern”.

 

What to include in a cover letter—header example

 

Sarah Jenkins

69 Hull Road

Oxwick

NR21 9TR

sarah@jenkins.com

 

John Smith

Manager

High Fashion Store

12 Paramount Road

Oxwick

NR21 9TR

 

May 29, 2020

 

RE: Sales Assistant Position

 

Dear John,

 

3. Include a strong cover letter opening

 

Right away, make yourself stand out. Either through an extremely relevant achievement, or through displaying a connection with the business. Keep this down to 40-80 words. The next paragraph is for elaborating on your achievements. 

 

What to include in a cover letter—opening xxample

 

Being a religious customer of the High Fashion Store ever since I moved to the area in 2017, when I spotted the opening for a Sales Assistant—I knew I had to fill those shoes. I have a proven track record of 3+ years of exceeding sales targets at Carphone Warehouse, and I am seeking to transfer to a role closer to my passion.

 

You don’t have to create any content yourself. The LiveCareer cover letter maker will automatically suggest the best content for your cover letter with ready-made examples and expert tips.

 

Create your cover lettercover letter builder

 

Create your cover letter

 

4. Display achievements in the second paragraph

 

Get your list of the job requirements and your achievements, and outline the 2 or 3 most relevant achievements you have. Make sure they are backed up with achievements and numbers where possible, this will allow your employer to imagine the impact you can make for them.

 

This should make up the bulk of your cover letter, and be in the region of 120-200 words.

 

What to include in a cover letter—main paragraph xxample

 

 

During the regular visits to your store, I have noted that the customer experience is of paramount importance to you. At Carphone Warehouse, I have consistently scored 100% on product knowledge, and have provided expert advice to the customers. In the context of the High Fashion Store, I could achieve the same, as it is closer to my real passion and interests. I am already expert at finding big-brand bargains in your shop, and would make an energetic addition to the team that customers could rely on for advice, and you could rely on for upselling. I have been commended for exceeding the sales targets at CW by up to 47% through upgrading, upselling, and retargeting. I have consistently passed 3 secret shopper encounters tasked with testing emergency or demanding situations. I will be able to combine these skills with my passion for fashion (I write a fashion blog with 3,000 subscribers) and provide a bespoke experience to your customers. 

 

5. Include a call to action in your cover letter ending

 

In the closing paragraph of your cover letter, refer to what it is exactly you bring to the table for your new employer. Keep this section down to 60-80 words. Below write a single line asking for an interview or a call, under the guise of discussing how to improve their business. Sign off underneath, using a formal form such as “Best Regards”.

 

What to include in a cover letter—closing example

 

The High Fashion Store has always made me feel at home and appreciated, even when I walked out empty-handed after hours of browsing, and it is apparent that this attitude must spread to a good working atmosphere amongst the staff. I am ready to make a seamless addition to your team that will surpass your sales targets with proven skills.

 

When would be good to have a call or a meeting to discuss how we can use retargeting to close on abandoned sales?

 

Best Regards,

Sarah Jenkins

 

6. Final tips on what to include in a cover letter

 

By design, the cover letter should be the first element of your job application that the hiring person will read. Therefore, remember the following:

 

The cover letter works together with your CV, instead of copying it

 

Of course, when considering what to put on a cover letter, you will have to carry over the significant achievements from your CV. However, the cover letter should provide more background, personality and feeling.

 

The CV is meant to provide cold, hard facts regarding your education, work experience and skills. It is also the space to show the company genuine interest in them and what they do, allowing you to score extra points for doing the research.

 

One cover letter for one job

 

Two job openings with the same title could entail entirely different responsibilities. Two companies doing the same thing could have two polar approaches. For this reason, make sure every cover letter is targeted for one company. The same with your CV.

 

Not only will you have better chances of seeming like the perfect match, doing the research will allow you to truly garner whether you want to work there. Show a culture fit to let them see you will be a seamless addition.

 

7. Check your cover letter formatting

 

Apart from worrying about what to include in your cover letter, you must also give some thought on how to present it. Follow the business letter rules for formatting:

 

Cover letter length rules

 

Here is the cheat sheet on cover letter length:

  • Between 200 and 350 words total
  • No more than 1 page of A4, no less than half a page of A4
  • Opening paragraph kept between 60 and 80 words
  • Main body kept between 120 and 200 words
  • Closing paragraph should be between 40 and 60 words
  • The call-to-action should be a single sentence

 

Choose a legible font

 

Make sure whatever you include in a cover letter is readable by using a classic font such as Calibri, Noto or Garamond, no larger than size 12. Remember, you have to fit on one page. Don’t go smaller than size 10.

 

Set even margins

 

Make sure your cover letter is appropriately centred and spaced by using standard, 1-inch margins on all sides. If you are lacking length, you can set it to 1.5-inch to compensate for the lack of content.

 

Use white space

 

Break up the sections and paragraphs with a line of white space to make everything easier on the eyes and easier to read. If you still have large blocks of text, consider using bullet points to list your achievements.

 

Match the CV

 

The format and style of your CV and cover letter should match—they are not two separate documents—they form a whole. 

 

Save as PDF

 

Unless specified otherwise, save in the PDF format to protect your formatting. 

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Choose a professional CV template and quickly fill in every CV section using ready-made content and expert advice.

 

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Does this answer what to include in a cover letter? Got any more questions on what to put in a cover letter? Let us know in a comment!

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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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