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How to Write a Cover Letter that Gets You Hired [FREE template included]

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

The year is 2022, but the same questions remain: Should you send a cover letter with your resume? Does anyone even read cover letters anymore?

When you are applying for jobs, you only have one shot at presenting yourself as the best candidate.

Why rely solely on cold facts from your resume when you can add more information, connect with an employer through a story about your achievements and skyrocket your chances of being invited to an interview?

The fantastic thing is that a single-page cover letter can accomplish all of that.

Your cover letter give you additional space to show your passion for the position and the company and highlight your most relevant qualifications, achievements and successes.

On top of that, cover letters are and always will be a sign of motivation. Trust us; not everyone will research the company and then write a compelling text about why they are a perfect match to the company’s needs.

Many candidates are so reluctant to do it that they avoid applying for any jobs that require the submission of a cover letter - even if their career depends on it.

That’s why a cover letter is an obvious sign of your motivation. And motivation will always be in style.

Let us make this task easier for you.

Here you are going to learn:

Additionally, here you’ll also find a cover letter template. Just replace the keywords, and your cover letter will be ready in no time. If you are in a hurry, jump straight to the template.

>> Download now a resume pack for your next job application. Cover letter template included! <<

Content: How to write a perfect cover letter

A cover letter should complement the content of your resume.

In a concise, straightforward way, you should put your skills and experience in the context of the job you’d like to apply for and convince the employer that you are the best candidate out there.

Be carefulall that should be done in 300-350 words.

Considering the limited space, a cover letter is not a place to duplicate content from your resume.

It is, however, a space to enhance your personal brand, position yourself as an expert, add value to your application and express things that cannot be added to a resume, such as your motivation for applying, the story behind your most impressive achievements or the reasons why you want to work for this company.

To do so, here is the proven structure you should follow:

1. Greeting

Start with a greeting. It can seem silly, but this part sets the tone of your cover letter and can easily be a deal-breaker, so you need to do it right.

  • Greetings to avoid: Do not use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ or ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ – they are obsolete, unnatural and way over-used. Some hiring managers stop reading a cover letter when they see one of those two phrases, so avoid them.

  • Address personally: Try to address your letter to the hiring manager directly. If no name is listed with the posting, research the name of the department director, recruiter, or other contact associated with the position via LinkedIn.

  • Or: If you can't find a name, start the letter with ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ or ‘Dear XYZ Team’.

  • But don’t: Don’t combine too many options starting your cover letter with ‘Dear Sir/Madam/Hiring Manager/Mister/Miss’. It makes you look indecisive and unconfident. We just wanted to mention this because we have seen it - sadly, more than once.

2. Intro

Grab the reader's interest with your opening paragraph. This part should be a sneak peek at the expertise and knowledge you can bring to the table.

To make it right, in one or two sentences, you should:

  • tell them who you are

  • summarize your experience

  • and express your enthusiasm for the role.

For example, you could say:

‘As a performance manager with four years of experience in managing the team and exceeding targets each quarter, I was excited to see your advertisement for regional performance director.’

It grabs attention more effectively than:

‘I am writing to apply for the role of regional performance director, which was advertised on the XYZ job board.’

It will also set you apart from other candidates, as you will have an opening sentence that differs from 97.6% of other cover letters.

3. Body

This is the most important part of your cover letter. (Spoiler alert: This is where you win the employers over!)

It consists of two to three short paragraphs where you answer two main questions:

  • What experience, skills and knowledge do you have that is, of course, relevant to the job?

  • How do your experience, skills and knowledge add value to the company you want to work for and the job you are applying for?

Showing that you have done your research about the company is vital for this section.

Demonstrate your knowledge of the organization's current situation and how your background, interests, and experience can contribute to or help them resolve problems. The best way to do this is to highlight your achievements, as they are the best evidence of your abilities.

4. Achievements

This is a section that will set you apart from other candidates.

The two best things you can do here are:

  • Include numbers to take your cover letter to the next level. They effectively grab attention and make it easier for readers to understand the impact of your actions. So, let the numbers speak for themselves.

  • Put your achievements in the spotlight by creating a short bullet-pointed list of two to three key achievements.

So, instead of this:

"I have increased the size and sales levels of my client base in every position I have held, which in turn has increased the revenues and profits of my employers. I want to bring the same success to the account position you have posted on your Website."

Write this:

‘As a Performance Manager, I have increased the size and sales levels of my client base resulting in:

  • Increased unit sales from $2 million to more than $5 million yearly.

  • Expanded client portfolio by 48%, from having 55 clients in 2017 to 81 clients in 2018

  • Improved client satisfaction score from 6.1 NPS to 8.5 NPS

Seeing that your company is currently growing and expanding its activities across the region, based on my previous experience, I am confident that I can bring the same success to your regional performance director position.’

And that is how you create an exciting cover letter that employers actually read.

5. Closing

Finally, summarize what you've written.

Restate your interest in the position and interview. For example, a good closing paragraph could be:

'I am confident that my experience and skills would make me a great fit for the position of the XYZ position. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my application in more detail.'

Additionally, express your appreciation for the hiring manager's time and consideration. The final greeting can be as simple as “Sincerely”, “Best”, or “Best regards."

>> Perfect cover letter waits for you! Check our selection of resume packs including modern cover letter templates and get your next job application ready in 15 minutes! <<

Formatting: How to format a cover letter?

Unlike resumes where the perfect length is not set in stone and depends on different factors, a cover letter shouldn’t be longer than one page. If you aimed at 300-350 words of tailored content, this shouldn’t be a problem.

In terms of layout, resumes and cover letters both need to be visually appealing. A cover letter must look like a polished, carefully crafted and well-structured professional document.

To wow employers and come across as a motivated, professional and detail-oriented candidate, make the formatting consistent throughout all your documents. As cover letters are typically sent along with resumes, it means those two documents should have a matching format.

If your resume is already aligned with resume-formatting best practices, simply copy the same style.

Copy the same header and footer. Apply the same font style and size in both documents. The same works for the white space – apply the same spacing between rows and margins as you have used in your resume. Make sure you have enough white space that makes the document easy on the eye.

If your cover letter looks cluttered and you need to change the font style or other formatting elements, go back to your resume and do the same to have complementary documents.

In case you need to re-format both documents, here are some actionable tips that can help:

A. Font style

Select a professional, readable font. Avoid too complex, unprofessional or hard-to-read fonts.

Here is a shortlist of the best and worst resume fonts:

  • Best cover letter fonts: Calibri, Arial, Corbel, Cambria, Georgia, Source Sans Pro/Light

  • Worst cover letter fonts: Comic Sans, Book Antiqua, or any cartoonish or handwriting font styles

Another factor in making your words highly readable is setting an appropriate font size. Generally, you should stay between 10 and 12 points.

Additionally, if you want to highlight some information, bold it. Don’t underline it, as underlining hurts the readability of the text.

B. Bullet points

To break the monotony of the text, add two or three bullet points to describe and highlight your achievements. It’s a visual trick that will make the most impressive part of your cover letter more eye-catching.

C. White space