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Job Search: Cover Letters

Resume and job search tips, recommended reading, online resources, and community trainings for job seekers

Cover Letter Tips & Templates

Not every job application requires a cover letter, but if you have the option to include one, it's a great opportunity to share more about your work history with a potential employer. While the resume is very direct, in a cover letter, you can share and explain more about what you have done.

A cover letter has three basic parts:

  • The opening - who you're writing to, what job you are applying to, how you found out about it, and why they should consider you.
    • Dear {Full Name} or {Hiring Manager}, I am writing to apply to the front desk assistant position I found through With my strong customer service skills, engaging phone manner, and ability to speak both English and Spanish, I believe I would be a solid fit for this position.
  • The narrative - tasks and accomplishments from your current and prior jobs that match what they're asking for, more detail than the resume.
    • In my current position as a receptionist at the Marriott Hotel DUMBO, I answer a high volume of calls from hotel guests and from the public. I help guests address any needs or issues that come up, from extra blankets to questions about charges. Most things can be resolved quickly and satisfactorily for guests, but when a complex question requires an advanced solution, I know when and how to escalate to the appropriate team member or manager.
  • The closing - restating what makes you the right person for the job and how that matches their mission/goals, thanks.
    • With my service orientation, problem-solving skills, and commitment to doing the job right every time, I look forward to speaking with you about how I can help Relax-O-Rama Spa meet its goals of stress-free service and sending each customer out the door with a smile. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Jobseeker Jones 917-555-5555


Sample Cover Letters

Take these cover letter tips and templates and adapt them for the jobs you're applying to. Don't forget to change the company name every time you send it out, or you might accidentally apply with the wrong name, which not only is embarrassing but might also cost you the job!

Other cover letter resources

Cover Letter Tips

Cover letters can feel so intimidating! What's the right way to make one? These cover letter tips will help you tell the story of your skills and experience in a way that will grab the attention of the hiring committee when you are applying to a job.

Unlike the resume, the cover letter is a business letter with full sentences, and you can and should use the word "I" (but don't start every sentence with "I"!)

Each cover letter MUST be customized to the job you are applying for. One size does NOT fit all with cover letters.

Remember your goal with the cover letter (and resume): to get an interview.

If you don't have a name to address the letter to, you should write, "Dear Hiring Manager".

At the beginning of the cover letter, make it clear what position you are applying for. You can also state where you saw the job posting.

In the middle paragraphs (two or three), tell the reader why you are interested in this specific job and why you feel you are a strong candidate.

Use the cover letter to convey your character, enthusiasm and confidence.

Do not reiterate the resume; give additional information about your qualifications, experience, and skills related to that job.

Do some research on the employer and include something you learned about them in the cover letter.

Give examples of qualities and skills you have, rather than just stating them (ex. tell a brief one or two sentence story of when you used creativity to solve a problem at work, rather than just saying, "I am a creative thinker".)

Address anything that might be a concern for the reader briefly and honestly (such as the fact that you are applying for a job far from where you live now), and then go back to describing what you can do for them.

Do not include anything negative, or anything that is misleading or untrue.

If the employer asks about your salary history or requirements, unless you must give a number or a range, it is best to say something like, "My salary requirements are negotiable" and put off that discussion until later.

End the cover letter by respectfully requesting an interview to discuss the position further and thank the reader for their consideration. (Do not write that you will call to set up an interview! The employer decides who gets an interview.)

The cover letter should be no more than one page. Use the same font and font size you used for your resume.