How To Write A Cover Letter For A Job In 2022 (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar and Experts - Aug. 29, 2021

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Job-seekers often think of cover letters as a complement to resumes, but they’re still relevant and important in 2021.

As one recent survey found that 52% of hiring managers pay more attention to a resume that is accompanied by a cover letter. The same study revealed that the percentage is even higher for application materials that are tailored to the position.

Writing a cover letter in 2021 is even more important to your chances of employment when you consider the current job market. We’ll cover exactly what employers expect to see on a cover letter, provide actionable tips on how to write your cover letter, and show an example to pull all our advice together.

What Is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a one-page document that describes your professional background, fitness for the role, and interest in the company. Cover letters are a way of introducing yourself to hiring managers in a more engaging way than resumes can.

While your resume spells out the “who, what, where, when” of your relevant experience, a cover letter fills in the “why” and “how.” A good cover letter not only expands on your resume’s accomplishments but also highlights the soft skills that make you an excellent person to work alongside.

While there are no official formatting guidelines for cover letters, hiring managers and recruiters do have certain expectations regarding structure, length, and content.

Why Cover Letters Are Important

Writing a good cover letter is important because it is your chance to stand out from other potential candidates. By showing your personality while also matching the tone of the company, it will help recruiters to visualize how you could fit into the role.

Simply submitting a cover letter isn’t enough though. Each cover letter you write should be specifically tailored for the job you’re applying for (just like resumes). It’s essential that you show the reader that you’ve done your homework and understand exactly what function you’d be serving if hired. You do that by providing examples of past work experiences that directly relate to the responsibilities of the new job.

What’s a quick cover letter tip?

Michael Akbar
Vice President
Certified Professional Career Coach

Use your six seconds to show the employer in a tailored cover letter and resume that you understand their pain and will make their lives better if put in the position.

How to Format a Cover Letter

Each and every cover letter will be unique based on a person’s experiences, but there are still basic structural elements across all letters. You want a clear and concise document that highlights your qualifications but can also be read quickly.

We will go over how to accomplish both with a breakdown of the parts to include in your resume:

  1. The Header

  2. The Greeting

  3. Opening Paragraph

  4. Second Paragraph

  5. Concluding Paragraph

  6. The Sign Off

Cover Letter Header

The header of your letter is where you should input all of the contact information for yourself and the hiring manager. Include your name, address, phone number, and email address. For the hiring manager’s information, you can use the contact details found in the job posting. Any missing elements, such as an address, can be found on the company website. Also include the current date between the two addresses.

Page Roman
444 Frog Rd.
Marigold, TX, 10987

August 27th, 2021

Chris Morgan
Marketing Manager
New Media Company
833 Rune Rd.
Marigold, TX, 10987

If you’re emailing your cover letter, you can simply include your name, telephone number, email address, and fewer address details (just your city and state will suffice). You can also include a zip code if you live in a big city with multiple zip codes.

Jessica Dancer

jessica.dancer@email.email | (555)-444-3333 | Colombus, OH 43110

Be sure to use a professional-sounding email address that’s not associated with your current or past employer. It’s disprespectful to both your current employer and the company you’re applying to, and will likely hurt your chances of being invited for an interview.

Cover Letter Greeting

Greet the hiring manager with a proper salutation. Using “Dear [Mr./Ms.] [Last name]” is the best greeting, just make sure to address the correct person. You never want to use a generic greeting such as “To whom it may concern” because it looks like you’ve just copy/pasted the same cover letter to every company (even if you haven’t).

Dear Mr. Morgan,

If you’re having trouble finding the hiring manager, check out this article on figuring out their name. And if you’re still stuck, here are a few good generic alternatives:

  • Dear Hiring Manager

  • Dear [Department] Manager

  • Dear [Title of the Person You’d Report to if Hired]

  • Dear [Department] Hiring Team

Cover Letter Opening Paragraph

The opening of your professional cover letter should instantly grab the attention of your reader. Try to lead off with one your most relevant and impressive accomplishments.

  • Open strong. Open with a statement other than your name or stating your interest in the position. Lead with an interesting experience or achievement that directly relates to the new position.

  • Convey your personal value. There are always other qualified applicants with similar skills, so it is key to express why you personally would bring value to the organization. Give specific details as to the value you brought in a previous position, and how that could transfer to the new role.

  • Show your enthusiasm. Recruiters want to hire candidates that are excited about the position. Express enthusiasm and convey why you are passionate about the role. This is another opportunity to share a quick personal anecdote related to the job.

  • Keep it short. All of these points in your opening paragraph shouldn’t be more than a sentence or two each. You don’t want your introduction to be too long, as you want the reader to be able to quickly go through your cover letter.

As a Content Writer with a passion for travel and literature, I was thrilled to see the Senior Content Writer position open up at BookFly. My past experience driving organic traffic by 23% YoY to the travel website, XTravel, would translate perfectly into the position’s stated goals from the job description.

Cover Letter First Body Paragraph

With numerous respondents to job postings, hiring managers need to know why you’re the ideal hire. Here is where you should really sell yourself across several areas. Showcase how your personality traits, such as being honest or having the ability to work under pressure, make you a good fit.

Another area you can emphasize is how your transferable skills make you perfect for the role. Examples would be how you worked collaboratively on a team previously, or you took on a leadership role amongst your peers and drove results.

These types of skills are valuable no matter the position and are especially important if you are entry-level without vast experience or are going through a career change.

To determine the most valuable personality traits and skills, revisit the original job description. There you will find certain keywords that you should try to incorporate throughout your cover letter. This also helps with any applicant tracking systems (ATS) that may pre-sort applications even before they get in front of a recruiter’s eyes.

I have a passion for content creation and a deep understanding of the content cycle, from ideation to promotion. My years in the digital publishing world have crafted my ability to drive killer CTR and resonate with an audience. Not only did CTR jump by 2.1% in the months after I was brought on board, but it had a knock-on effect on social media engagement, which rose by 8% in the same time frame.

I believe good content has its roots in good data. This is why while at Media Company I created a content-marketing dashboard to highlight KPIs like those mentioned above. The dashboard allowed us to take advantage of wins more rapidly and avoid repeating losses.

Cover Letter Second Body Paragraph

Just as an employer wants to know why you’d want the role, they also want to know why you’d want to work at their company. Do your research and learn more about the core values of the company. Discuss how they align with your own.

Check the company’s website but also start to explore LinkedIn for greater insights. Employers want to make sure that you fit into the overall culture, and this is also something you should consider for yourself. However you feel you fit into the work culture, explain to the recruiter why. Paint a picture of how you’ll be better from the company, and how the company will also benefit.

I thrive in a fast-paced environment and excel at creating structure from scratch. I spearheaded our SEO efforts, developing workflows and systems to ramp up content production from zero. BookFly’s commitment to core values of “collaboration and imagination” align with my own preferred approach to tackling projects and dreaming of big ideas.

Cover Letter Closing

Now it’s time to close your cover letter and put yourself in the position to land the interview.

The closing of your letter is your final impression to the hiring manager, and therefore should clearly express your eagerness to take on the position. You don’t need to rehash all of the accomplishments and skills highlighted in previous sections. Consider this more of a statement of intent.

First, express gratitude that they took the time to consider you for the job by making it all the way through your letter. Then, quickly remind them of the benefit that you can bring to the role and company.

Finally, your closing should state a clear call-to-action (CTA) for the recruiter to take next, such as calling you to schedule an interview. Being confident and direct at the end of your cover letter helps to close the deal.

I look forward to learning more about how the Senior Content Writer operates within BookFly and the current content process. Thank you for taking the time to consider my application.

Sincerely,

Jessica Dancer

Cover Letter Example

With thousands of cover letter templates on the internet, you want to make sure you choose the right one. Here’s a basic format of what a good cover letter will contain:

Jessica Dancer

jessica.dancer@email.email | (555)-444-3333 | Colombus, OH 43110

Dear Mr. Morgan,

As a Content Writer with a passion for travel and literature, I was thrilled to see the Senior Content Writer position open up at BookFly. My past experience driving organic traffic by 23% YoY to the travel website, XTravel, would translate perfectly into the position’s stated goals from the job description.

I have a passion for content creation and a deep understanding of the content cycle, from ideation to promotion. My years in the digital publishing world have crafted my ability to drive killer CTR and resonate with an audience. Not only did CTR jump by 2.1% in the months after I was brought on board, but it had a knock-on effect on social media engagement, which rose by 8% in the same time frame.

I believe good content has its roots in good data. This is why while at Media Company I created a content-marketing dashboard to highlight KPIs like those mentioned above. The dashboard allowed us to take advantage of wins more rapidly and avoid repeating losses.

I thrive in a fast-paced environment and excel at creating structure from scratch. I spearheaded our SEO efforts, developing workflows and systems to ramp up content production from zero. BookFly’s commitment to core values of “collaboration and imagination” align with my own preferred approach to tackling projects and dreaming of big ideas.

I look forward to learning more about how the Senior Content Writer operates within BookFly and the current content process. Thank you for taking the time to consider my application.

Sincerely,

Jessica Dancer

If you are submitting an email cover letter in the body of your email, you can use the same overall template. Be sure to include the job position and your name (Job Title application — Name) in the email subject line.

You can skip adding the contact details in the header and instead close the letter with your name, email, phone number, and LinkedIn link. Also, feel free to add a link to your professional portfolio as applicable.

Advice For Picking the Right Cover Letter Template

While you will want to change certain elements, here are a few tips for picking the right cover letter template:

  • Make sure all the structural elements are there.

  • Look for examples that provide unique openings and closings, rather than generic content that won’t help you stand out.

  • Try to find a template related specifically to your job field. You will likely find accomplishment ideas that are more relevant and inspiring.

  • Take note of the template length. You want everything to be written in a few easily digestible paragraphs.

Do’s and Don’ts in a Cover Letter

Even with all of the resources for crafting the perfect cover letter, having a concise list of do’s and don’ts can always be helpful. Job seekers sometimes make common mistakes that can be easily avoided by simply rereading their cover letter. There are also some easy additions applicants can make that might initially be overlooked.

Here are 10 do’s and don’ts for writing a good cover letter:

Do’s:

  • Do start by scanning the original job posting for keywords you can include in your letter.

  • Do be proud of your accomplishments and make sure to highlight them.

  • Do clearly express why you would be an asset to the organization.

  • Do tailor your cover letter to every hiring manager and position that you apply for.

  • Do try to find unique experiences, but make sure to always discuss measurable and relevant results.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t feel the need to lie about your skills or accomplishments. One of the worst mistakes to make is being caught in a lie.

  • Don’t copy and paste a template and only change your name and job titles. Recruiters will not see the value in a plug-in-play cover letter that has been used by multiple applicants.

  • Don’t forget to be direct and include a call-to-action.

  • Don’t make your cover letter too long. Similar to your resume, you want the reader to sum up who you are and get a quick explanation of why you’re a good fit.

  • Don’t forget to proofread. Grammatical errors on a cover letter and resume are a quick way to get your packet in the “no pile”.

Cover Letter Key Takeaways

With plenty of tips, template ideas, and examples of how to write your cover letter, you can now begin working on yours. Once you have decided on a template that works for you, you’ll find that writing custom cover letters will be much easier across different jobs. Now here is a final roundup of how to write the best cover letter for a new job:

  1. Research the company and express why you are a great fit for the company.

  2. Put contact information for yourself and the employer in the header of the letter.

  3. Include the appropriate salutation.

  4. Write your introduction and express interest in the position.

  5. Discuss your accomplishments and results from your previous job to show why you are the best candidate.

  6. End your cover letter with a call-to-action for the recruiter.

  7. Add in a professional closing followed by your name.

Cover Letter FAQ

  • What do you write in a cover letter? In a cover letter, you should mostly write about impressive accomplishments from past jobs or academic experiences that relate to the job you’re applying for.

  • What is the purpose of cover letter? The purpose of a cover letter is to help a hiring manager see why your background makes you suitable for the role in question. While a resume lists achievements, educational background, and skills, it doesn’t give the reader an idea of your actual expertise or personality.

    A cover letter allows you to share your approach to work, as well as your ability to communicate your value effectively. A good cover letter makes it easy for a reader to think “I could imagine this person working for us.”

  • How do you write a simple cover letter? To write a simple cover letter, start with the header and greeting we outlined above. Next, state your interest in the position (give the exact job title as listed in the job description) and mention your years of industry/job experience.

    To keep your cover letter simple, you can now briefly mention in 1-2 sentences or 3-4 bullet points what parts of your background are most important for the hiring manager.

    Finally, thank the reader for considering your application, and sign off as usual (e.g., “Sincerely, [full name]”).

  • What is the best way to start a cover letter? The best way to start a cover letter is with an accomplishment that speaks directly to your ability to provide value for the company. Other good strategies include describing your long-standing passion for the field, mentioning an important reference at the company, or referring specifically to challenges the company is currently facing.

  • Do you introduce yourself in a cover letter? No, you do not introduce yourself in a cover letter. By that we mean you do not say “My name is so-and-so” — you simply jump into your background and why you’re interested in the position.

    Your name can be found at the bottom of the cover letter, as well as the header, your email address, and your resume, so there’s no need to force it awkwardly into your cover letter’s opening.

  • How do you end a cover letter? To end a cover letter, thank the reader for their time and/or consideration, express enthusiasm for further correspondence and conversation, and sign off with a standard closing like “Sincerely.”

  • How long should a cover letter be? A cover letter should be a maximum of one page long, with three to five paragraphs. Half a page is the shortest that your cover letter should be.

References

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Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

Expert

Matt Warzel, CPRW, CIR

Matt Warzel a President of a resume writing firm (MJW Careers, LLC) with 15+ years of recruitment, outplacement, career coaching and resume writing experience. Matt is also a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing Focus) from John Carroll University.

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