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What should a cover letter include?


Hi everyone,

I’m currently applying for jobs and need to write a cover letter to accompany my resume. I’m a bit unsure about what exactly should be included in a cover letter to make it effective and professional. Could you provide a detailed breakdown of what elements a strong cover letter should have?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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3 Answers

  1. A well-written cover letter should include the following key elements:

    1. Header
    • Your name and contact information
    • The date
    • The company’s name and the hiring manager’s details (if available)
    1. Salutation
    • Use a formal greeting like “Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name]” or “Dear Hiring Manager”
    1. Opening Paragraph
    • Capture the employer’s interest by stating the position you’re applying for
    • Briefly explain why you’re interested in the role and the company
    1. Body Paragraph(s)
    • Highlight your most relevant qualifications, skills, and experiences for the role
    • Provide specific examples that demonstrate your ability to perform the job well
    • You can also explain how your background aligns with the company’s values/mission
    1. Closing Paragraph
    • Reiterate your enthusiasm for the position
    • Mention you’d appreciate an opportunity to discuss your qualifications further
    • Thank the employer for their time and consideration
    1. Closing Salutation
    • Use a formal closing like “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” or “Thank you”
    • Follow with your full name

    Other tips:

    • Research the company to showcase your knowledge and interest
    • Customize each letter for the specific role and company
    • Keep it concise, typically 3-4 paragraphs
    • Use a professional, confident tone
    • Check carefully for spelling and grammar

    The cover letter allows you to make a great first impression and compel the employer to review your full resume. Use it to highlight why you’re an ideal candidate.

  2. A strong cover letter acts as an introduction to your resume, highlighting your qualifications and enthusiasm for a specific position. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements to include:

    • Your Contact Information: Include your full name, phone number, professional email address, and LinkedIn profile URL (if you have one).
    • Date: Insert the date you’re writing the letter.
    • Hiring Manager Contact Information (if possible): Address the letter to the hiring manager by name if possible. If you can’t find a name, use a respectful salutation like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern.
    • Attention-grabbing Opening: Start with a strong opening sentence that hooks the reader’s interest. Mention the specific job title and how you found the opportunity.
    • Enthusiasm for the Role and Company: Briefly express your enthusiasm for the position and the company. Highlight what interests you about the role and why you’re a good fit.
    • Skills and Experience Highlights: In a concise paragraph or two, showcase 2-3 key skills and experiences from your resume that are most relevant to the job description. Quantify your achievements whenever possible to demonstrate your impact.
    • Call to Action: Conclude by expressing your interest in the interview and thanking the reader for their time and consideration. Mention your availability for an interview and include your contact information again.

    General Tips:

    • Tailor it Each Time: Don’t use a generic cover letter. Adapt it to each specific job application by highlighting relevant skills and experiences mentioned in the job description.
    • Keep it Concise: Aim for a one-page cover letter, ideally around 3-4 paragraphs.
    • Proofread Carefully: Ensure there are no typos or grammatical errors.
    • Professional Tone: Maintain a professional tone throughout the letter.
    • Action Verbs: Use strong action verbs to describe your skills and accomplishments.
  3. Hi there,

    Writing a cover letter can be a bit daunting, but including the right elements can make it a powerful tool to help you stand out to potential employers. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what to include in a strong cover letter:

    1. Header:
      • Your Contact Information: Include your full name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the cover letter.
      • Date: Write the date you are writing the letter.
      • Employer’s Contact Information: Include the name of the hiring manager (if available), the company’s name, and the company’s address.
    2. Greeting:
      • Address the cover letter to a specific person, if possible. Use “Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],” If you can’t find the name, “Dear Hiring Manager,” is acceptable.
    3. Introduction:
      • Start with a strong opening that grabs the reader’s attention. Mention the job title you’re applying for and how you found out about the position. Briefly state why you are interested in the role and the company.
    4. Body Paragraphs:
      • First Paragraph: Highlight your relevant experience and skills. Mention one or two key achievements that demonstrate your qualifications for the role.
      • Second Paragraph: Explain why you’re a good fit for the company. Reference specific aspects of the company’s values, mission, or recent projects that resonate with you and explain how your background aligns with these elements.
      • Third Paragraph (Optional): If you have any additional relevant information, such as gaps in employment or willingness to relocate, briefly address it here.
    5. Conclusion:
      • Reiterate your enthusiasm for the role and the company. Mention that you’ve attached your resume for further details. Politely request an interview or a chance to discuss your application further. Thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration.
    6. Signature:
      • Use a professional closing such as “Sincerely,” followed by your full name. If submitting a hard copy, leave space for your signature above your typed name. If sending electronically, a typed signature is sufficient.

    Example Layout:

    [Your Name]
    [Your Address]
    [City, State, ZIP Code]
    [Your Email Address]
    [Your Phone Number]

    [Hiring Manager’s Name]
    [Company’s Name]
    [Company’s Address]
    [City, State, ZIP Code]

    Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

    I am writing to express my interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name], as advertised on [where you found the job posting]. With [number] years of experience in [your field/industry] and a strong background in [relevant skills or qualifications], I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your team.

    In my previous role at [Previous Company], I [briefly describe a key responsibility or achievement]. This experience has equipped me with [specific skills or knowledge] that align well with the requirements of the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. I am particularly drawn to [Company Name] because of [mention something specific about the company that resonates with you].

    At [Previous Company], I successfully [describe another relevant responsibility or achievement]. I believe that my expertise in [relevant area] and my commitment to [specific company value or mission] make me a great fit for your team. I am eager to bring my skills in [specific skill] to [Company Name] and contribute to [specific goal or project related to the company].

    Thank you for considering my application. I have attached my resume for your review and would welcome the opportunity to discuss how my background, skills, and certifications will be an excellent match for the [Job Title] position. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule an interview.


    [Your Name]

    Additional Tips:

    • Be Concise: Aim for a cover letter that is no longer than one page.
    • Tailor Each Letter: Customize your cover letter for each job application to reflect the specific job and company.
    • Proofread: Carefully proofread your cover letter to avoid any spelling or grammatical errors.
    • Use a Professional Tone: Maintain a formal and professional tone throughout your letter.