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!
Cover Letter Example for Applying for Multiple Jobs
When you're excited about a company, you may want to apply to several different positions there. But as a job seeker, you may be worried about the impression it gives off. Does it seem desperate? Well, it depends.
Below is information on when applying for multiple jobs at a company is a good idea. Also, see a cover letter example for applying for multiple jobs within the same company.
Should You Apply for Multiple Jobs at a Company?
Applying for different positions in a company works if you are truly qualified for the positions you're applying to.
If you are a strong candidate for all the positions, it makes sense to apply to them.
Another factor you must consider is the size of the company. If it is a large company, then there's a good chance you won't get the same hiring manager reviewing each application. Therefore, there is no harm in applying for multiple jobs.
Most importantly, even if you're applying for multiple positions at a company, try to limit yourself and be realistic. Applying to two or three positions you qualify for is acceptable, but submitting your resume for every single position listed can be a turnoff.
Some people recommend applying to one job at a time and, if you don't hear back and some time has passed, applying for another position later. However, there's a chance that the jobs may be gone by the time you're ready to apply again. You'll have to weigh the risks.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for Two Jobs at a Company
When applying to two or more jobs at a company, you will typically submit separate resumes and cover letters for each job.
Every resume and cover letter should be tailored to fit the specific job listing. For each job application, include keywords related to the specific job.
However, if you are allowed to only submit one job application to the company, or the two jobs are in the same department and are similar, you might consider writing one cover letter for two or more jobs.
When doing this, you need to keep a few things in mind:
Address the right person. Since you are submitting your cover letter to two jobs, two separate people might be looking at the cover letter. In your salutation, be sure to address all of the people who will be reading your cover letter (or use a general phrase such as “To Whom It May Concern”). This way, you will not appear to be emphasizing your interest in one job over the other.
Express your qualifications for both jobs. Be sure to explain why you are qualified for both jobs. Consider writing one paragraph mentioning your skills and experiences for one job, and another paragraph for the other job. Another option (if the two jobs are related) is to list your skills and experience that apply to both jobs.
Express enthusiasm for the company. Clearly state your interest in the company, so that the hiring managers understand your interest. Perhaps include a paragraph that states why you think you are a good fit for the company generally. Include keywords from the company website in this paragraph. Also emphasize how you can benefit the company - explain that you hope to add value to the company, in either of these jobs.
Sample Cover Letter Applying for Two Jobs
The following is a cover letter example applying for two positions at the same company.
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
Your IT department has advertised two job openings for which my experience directly qualifies me. My nuclear power experience would translate well into the chemical industry. Both industries endure extreme regulatory pressure for environmental impact. I am extremely knowledgeable and familiar with this kind of regulatory environment and I recognize how vital IT is for the record keeping that is necessary for dealing with that kind of scrutiny.
My IT experience gives me a unique ability to apply technology, in all its forms, to business processes. Some of the business process knowledge includes accounting, finance, facilities, inventory control, budgeting, vendor management and various operational processes.
I have experience with merger/acquisition events, high growth challenges, technology replacement projects and IT process improvement. I have delivered large technology projects on schedule/on budget and in alignment with the business strategy. Companies I have worked for include Dakil Energy, Hoppy Rent a Car, Digit Equipment, and Miners Gas and Electric.
I would enjoy an opportunity to talk with you or someone in your organization to see where my skill set would be of the greatest benefit to your company. I know I could be a great asset to your department.
Your Signature (hard copy letter)
Your Typed Name
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