What To Include In A Cover Letter (With Examples)

Maddie Lloyd
By Maddie Lloyd
- Mar. 3, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

When it comes to finding a job, your cover letter is your secret weapon for landing an interview. Your cover letter is your chance to show off your written communication skills, your relevant qualifications, and your motivation to work with a particular company.

Here’s the deal:

In order to fully convince an employer to invite you in for an interview, you’re going to have to include all of the requisite information in a clear and efficient manner. That means knowing all of the parts of your cover letter and what they entail.

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to include in each part of your cover letter:

  1. Your contact information and date

  2. The employer’s contact information

  3. The greeting

  4. The body paragraphs

  5. The closing paragraph

  6. The sign off

Let’s go through each element of the cover letter in detail.

Your Contact Information and Date

The very first key element your cover letter is going to be a header that includes your contact information. You’re going to list your name, your address, your phone number, and your email address. Feel free to include your LinkedIn contact information or a link to your online portfolio.

Lulu Paige
333 First Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90001
(000) 111-2222
Youremail@address.com

January 1, 2020

Let’s talk about that email address. It’s time to retire your timelessly funny email address of days long since past.

Opt for something more professional on a more modern platform, like FirstName.LastName@gmail.com. Your email address should show that you want to be taken seriously, not that you love to party.

Employer’s Contact Information

Even though most cover letters are submitted online nowadays, it’s still a general rule of thumb to include the company’s contact information. Google the company to find their local address and list it beneath your own contact information.

Adam Smith
Recruiter
TopNotch Company
111 West Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

If you can’t find out the company’s local address, don’t sweat it — but if you can find it, include it just for tradition’s sake.

Greeting

How you address your cover letter is more important than you might think. Ditch the outdated greetings such as, “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” These greetings are impersonal and make you sound like you’re about 100 years old. Plus, it shows that you didn’t even try to look into learning more about the employer.

Instead, try to find out the name of the person who’s going to be reading your cover letter. Call the company’s front office or review their website to find their hiring manager’s name.

If you can’t find a specific contact, address the head of the department for the position you’re applying for, or use terms like “Dear Hiring Manager,” or “Dear Human Resources Manager.”

Dear Chris Rogers,

Body Paragraphs

No, this isn’t a Stephen King novel, but that doesn’t mean you should take it any less seriously. The body of your cover letter is the most important part. It tells the employer what job you’re applying for, why they should bring you in for an interview, and how you’re going to follow up.

Here’s everything you need to include in the meatiest part of your cover letter:

  1. First paragraph. This is your cover letter introduction. It’s where you’re going to grab the employer’s attention and make them want to read the rest of your cover letter.

    Let’s not waste any time in this paragraph — go ahead and tell them which position you’re applying for and how it relates to your background, and show them that you’re excited about the opportunity.

    I am interested in applying for your Social Media Manager position that I saw advertised on Zippia.com. After contributing to the growth and success of my last employer’s presence on Facebook and Instagram, I am seeking new challenges with a company that is looking for someone with exceptional leadership and management abilities.

  2. Second paragraph. This is where you’re going to tell the hiring manager what you have to offer. Use this paragraph to list your qualifications, give examples from your work experience, and quantify any of your achieved results.

    I know my proven leadership skills, strong commitment to growing a social media base, and flexibility with regard to assignments would allow me to make a significant contribution to TopNotch Company. I welcome the opportunity to discuss how my qualifications could be beneficial to your company’s continued success.

    Pro tip: Go into more depth on your relevant qualifications, but make sure not to copy your resume word for word. Use your cover letter to highlight the most important reasons why you’re the ideal candidate.

  3. Third paragraph. Discuss what you know (and like) about the company. This is your chance to impress the employers even further by showing them that you care enough to do some background research on the company, and how you can contribute to their mission.

    TopNotch’s commitment to a sustainable future aligns with and inspires my own values of environmental consciousness and stewardship. Even as a digital marketer, I found ways to reduce my office’s carbon emissions by 11%, and I’d be thrilled to work for a company that values and prioritizes such changes.

    Feel free to mention any current events, information about the company’s history, their core values, or their mission statement.

Closing Line

The final paragraph is where you’re going to close your cover letter. Summarize what you could bring to the position and request an interview or a phone call.

I’d like to thank you again for taking the time to review my application and resume, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications with you in detail.

See that? Easy as pie. Check out this article to learn more on how to close your cover letter.

Sign-off

Picking an appropriate and successful sign-off is trickier than you might think. A cover letter is a professional document, so you have to be strategic with everything you write.

With that in mind, here are some sign-offs to choose from that hiring managers respond well to:

  • Best regards

  • Respectfully

  • Sincerely

  • Thanks in advance

And here are some sign-offs you should avoid at all costs:

  • Best wishes

  • Cheers

  • Affectionately

  • XOXO

  • Love

  • Bye

  • Sent from my iPhone

You get the idea. Pick an appropriate sign-off, sign your name, and then you’ve got yourself a cover letter!

Example Cover Letter

Lulu Paige
333 First Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90001
(000) 111-2222
Youremail@address.com

January 1, 2020

Adam Smith
Recruiter
TopNotch Company
111 West Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

Dear Mr. Smith,
I am interested in applying for your Social Media Manager position that I saw advertised on Zippia.com. After contributing to the growth and success of my last employer’s presence on Facebook and Instagram, I am seeking new challenges with a company that is looking for someone with exceptional leadership and management abilities.

As you will see in my enclosed resume, while serving as a Social Media Intern, I was tasked with onboarding new employees and managing their publishing schedules as well as coming up with content for my own calendar. My ability to juggle these different tasks reinforced my desire to advance in my career and step into a management role.

I know my proven leadership skills, strong commitment to growing a social media base, and flexibility with regard to assignments would allow me to make a significant contribution to TopNotch Company. I welcome the opportunity to discuss how my qualifications could be beneficial to your company’s continued success.

I’d like to thank you again for taking the time to review my application and resume, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications with you in detail.

Sincerely,
Lulu Paige

Cover Letter Tips

Knowing all the parts of a cover letter is important, but that’s not all there is to it. Follow these tips to write the best cover letter possible:

  1. Customize each cover letter. When you’re sending out applications to multiple companies, it’s essential to tailor each cover letter and resume for the job. Your resume customization may just take a few strategic keyword changes and emphasizing different parts of your experience.

    Your cover letter customization, however, should be much more thorough. Hiring managers and recruiters can spot a generic cover letter a mile away, so be sure to talk specifically about why you’re interested in the company and what particular value you’d have for the company.

  2. Find the hiring manager. In the spirit of customization, try your best to find the hiring manager or recipient’s name. Review the job posting for contact info, research the company’s website, and look on LinkedIn if you’re stuck. Or just call the company’s HR department and ask.

    If you’re still stuck, “Dear Hiring Manager” or one of its alternatives will work.

  3. Don’t copy your resume. Instead of repeating every point from your resume, pick one or two bullet points to really emphasize. Think about what accomplishments you can quantify since those are the most compelling evidence of your past success.

    Also, your cover letter should answer the “how” and “why” of your career, so discuss how you achieved those awesome results and why you enjoy doing things your way.

  4. Always focus on the company. A cover letter is your chance to sell yourself, but that mostly means highlighting how the company will benefit from your skills, methodologies, and contributions.

  5. Steal keywords from the job description. Highlight keywords from the job description like skills, qualifications, and attributes, and then incorporate some of those words throughout your resume and cover letter. That way, it’s super easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to see how your experience matches up with the job requirements.

  6. Match the company culture. Spend some time researching the company on their website and scouting employees on LinkedIn. If you can match the tone of the company’s written communications, you’ll be in good shape for presenting as a solid cultural fit.

  7. Let your personality shine. Resumes are boring, but cover letters are your chance to showcase who you are as a person as well as a professional. Don’t go overly formal (unless you’re applying to a conservative firm).

    Hiring managers want to know what kind of person you’re like to work with, and while the interview will inform them more fully, your cover letter is meant to whet the reader’s appetite so they want to call you in for an interview in the first place.

  8. Open and finish strong. Cover letters are generally skimmed, so you really want to make your opening and closing lines count. Open with an attention grabber and finish with a strong call-to-action and reminder of your awesomeness and enthusiasm.

  9. Keep it short. Cover letters should never be more than 400 words, but we recommend aiming for a 200-300 word count. As we said, recruiters usually skim these things, so make it easy for them.

  10. Review and edit. Never send a cover letter without a proofread, a spellcheck program, and, if possible, a trusted confidant to read it over. Another pair of eyes might catch things you didn’t notice re-reading it over and over again.

  11. Email cover letters. If you’re emailing your cover letter directly (as opposed to attaching it or mailing it physically), be sure to include a descriptive subject line.

    Often, employers will tell you how to label your email in the job posting, so follow any directions there. If not, a subject line that includes your name and the position you’re applying for is a safe bet.

    For an email cover letter, don’t include contact information at the start. Instead, put your contact information after your signature (you can skip your physical address) and leave out the company’s contact information entirely.

Final Thoughts

Cover letters are one of your most valuable tools when it comes to applying for jobs. They let you go into detail about your qualifications, demonstrate your communication skills, and show that you’re interested in a specific company.

When you write your cover letter, make sure to include your professional contact information, go into detail about your relevant skills, and show that you’re motivated to help the company achieve its goals. Show the hiring manager why you’re the best person for the position, and you’re on your way to getting the job of your dreams.

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Maddie Lloyd

Author

Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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