Career Planning Finding a Job Cover Letters Cover Letter Examples and Writing Tips By Alison Doyle Alison Doyle Facebook Twitter Website Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts. learn about our editorial policies Updated on December 3, 2022 Reviewed by Amy Soricelli In This Article View All In This Article What is a Cover Letter? How to Write a Cover Letter Cover Letter Examples and Templates Basic Cover Letters to Apply for a Job Email Cover Letter Examples Cover Letters With a Referral Examples Listed by Type of Applicant Cover Letters Listed by Occupation Applying for a Transfer or Promotion Inquiry and Networking Letters Cover Letter Formats Photo: vgajic / Getty Images Do you need to write a cover letter? A cover letter should be sent or posted with your resume or curriculum vitae when applying for a job, so it's essential to write a good one. Your cover letter is an opportunity to show the employer how you're an excellent match for a position. Learn about writing a cover letter, including what to include, how to send it, review examples, and get free templates to download for many different types of occupations and applications. There are also guidelines and samples for writing email cover letters, inquiry letters, referral letters, prospecting letters, and networking letters. What is a Cover Letter? A cover letter is a (typically) one-page document that explains to the hiring manager why you are an ideal candidate for the job. It goes beyond your resume to explain in detail how you could add value to the company. Note A cover letter is a document that you send or upload with your resume when applying for jobs to provide additional information on your skills and experience. A cover letter may be required by an employer, optional, or not needed as part of a job application. The requirements should be listed in the job posting. How to Write a Cover Letter Keep in mind that your cover letter doesn't have to be boring. Taking some time to showcase your personality and how it will be an asset to the employer can help your application get noticed. Follow these tips on how to write an effective cover letter. Tailor each letter to the job. It takes a little extra time, but be sure to write a unique cover letter for each job. Your cover letter should be specific to the position you are applying for, relating your skills and experiences to those noted in the job posting. Use keywords. One useful way to tailor your letter to the job is to use keywords from the job posting. Circle any words from the job posting that seem critical to the job, such as specific skills or qualifications. Try to use some of these words in your letter. This way, at a glance, the employer can see that you match the requirements of the job. Explain how you will add value. Think of concrete ways to prove you will add value to the company. Include examples of specific accomplishments from previous jobs. For example, if you helped reduce turnover by 10% at your last company, or implemented a filing strategy that reduced file errors by 15%, include this information. Note Try to quantify your successes when possible to clearly demonstrate how you could add value to the company. Carefully edit your letter. Your cover letter is your first, and best, chance to sell the hiring manager on your candidacy for employment, so make sure it's perfect. Read through your letter, proofreading it for any spelling or grammar errors. Ask a friend, family member, or career counselor to read it as well. You want to make sure the letter is polished before submitting it. Cover Letter Examples and Templates It can be beneficial to look at cover letter examples when writing your own. A sample can help you decide what to include in your letter, and show you how to format it. Note This collection of free, professionally written cover letters will help you get started writing your own letters. Below you'll find both hard copy and email samples and templates, for a variety of different types of employment inquiries and job applications, including general cover letters, cold contact cover letters, referral letters, customized cover letters, job promotion letters, networking outreach letters, and letters to inquire about unadvertised openings. Basic Cover Letters to Apply for a Job Applying for a new job can be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. However, writing a cover letter that really “sells” the qualities you have to offer an employer is a great confidence-builder—you’ll know your letter is perfect when you read it and think, “Hey—I’d interview me!” Here are some examples of effective cover letters, with downloadable templates. Basic Cover Letter Example for a Resume Sample Cover Letter for a Job Application Cover Letter Example Matched to a Job General Cover Letter Academic Cover Letter Applying for More Than One Job Cold Contact Letter Letter For Unadvertised Openings Email Cover Letter Examples While cover letters that are emailed do not have as conservative a format as traditional “snail mail” cover letters, there is still a specific structure one should observe when drafting and sending them. Here’s how to make sure your email cover letter gets read. Email Cover Letter Email Cover Letter With Resume Email Cover Letter - Part-Time Job Email Cover Letter - Summer Job Email Message - Volunteer Position Cover Letters With a Referral One of the best ways to “get your foot in the door” at a company you would love to work for is to mention a professional connection to one of their current personnel. Here’s how to ask someone to serve as a referral for you and how to drop their name in your cover letter. Employee Referral Referral Cover Letter Referred by a Contact Requesting a Meeting Temp to Perm Value Proposition With Salary History With Salary Requirements Examples Listed by Type of Applicant The ideal content and format of a cover letter depend both upon the type of position you are applying for and your relevant experience. Note The cover letter of a seasoned professional will emphasize experience, whereas that of a recent college graduate is best focused upon training and potential. Similarly, a cover letter for a sales position will use more aggressive marketing language than one designed for a social work role. The following cover letter samples are for candidates who are applying for a specific type or level of position. Samples Listed by Occupation Career Change College Graduate Entry-Level Internship Management Part-Time Jobs Summer Jobs Transferable Skills Volunteer Cover Letters Listed by Occupation Here's a list of cover letter samples and downloadable templates listed by industry and position. Choose one that's a match for the jobs you're applying for, then tweak it to include your most relevant skills and experience. Cover Letters Listed by Type of Job Applying for a Transfer or Promotion When you’ve worked for an employer for a while and know, through both your own impressions and strong performance reviews, that they value your work, it may be time to ask for a promotion or a transfer to a better position. Be proactive—companies don’t always have upward career tracks, and may not automatically award a promotion unless this is requested. Job Promotion Job Transfer Request Letter Job Transfer Request Letter - Relocation Inquiry and Networking Letters Applying to officially advertised positions isn’t the only way to land your dream job. Often opportunities can be discovered through strategic networking; more than one person has been offered a position because they made their availability and interest known to employers who were not actively hiring. Inquiring About Job Openings Letter of Interest Networking Cover Letters Cover Letter Formats and Templates Review more examples of professional formats, layouts, and templates to use to apply for jobs, keeping in mind that you should tailor any cover letter template you decide to use as your model to reflect your own circumstances and personality. Cover Letter Format Cover Letter Layout Cover Letter Template Email Cover Letter Template Google Docs Cover Letter Templates Microsoft Word Cover Letter Templates Cover Letter Template to Download Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word) or see below for more examples. @ The Balance 2020 Download the Word Template Cover Letter Sample (Text Version) Joseph Q. Applicant123 Main StreetAnytown, CA email@example.comJuly 20, 2020Jane SmithDirector, Human ResourcesFit Living123 Business Rd.Business City, NY 54321Dear Ms. Smith:I’m writing to apply for the position of Social Media Manager for Fit Living, as advertised on your website careers page. I have three years of experience as a Social Media Assistant for Young Living, and I believe I am ready to move up to the manager position.In your job posting, you mention that you want to hire a Social Media Manager who understands the Internet and social media trends. During my time at Young Living, I was given the responsibility of increasing follower numbers on Instagram. I explained to my manager that I would be happy to do so and that I would also work hard to increase follower participation because engagement has become an important metric.Within six months, I increased our followers by over 50% and increased engagement by 400%. I’m very proud of that accomplishment. Currently, I’m working to build a following with the best influencers in our niche.When I saw the job opening, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to offer you both my social media marketing skills and people skills. I’ve included my resume so you can learn more about my educational background and all of my work experience. Thank you for your time and consideration.Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my cell phone at 555-555-5555. I hope to hear from you soon.Sincerely,Your Signature (hard copy letter)Joseph Q. Applicant 1:52 Watch Now: 9 Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. CareerOneStop. "Cover Letters."