A cover letter is a letter you write when applying for a job. Your cover letter highlights why you want that specific job, and what makes you qualified for it.
Not every company requires applicants to write a cover letter. But submitting a clear, thought-out cover letter helps you make a positive first impression on employers and improves your chance of getting an interview.
Ready to make a great cover letter? We explain exactly what to include in your letter, outline how write a great cover letter for a job, and provide a variety of cover letter examples. Let’s get started:
What to include in a cover letter in 2022
- A cover letter header with your first and last name
- Your contact information (and the recipient’s)
- Three to four body paragraphs outlining your experience, achievements, and skills — tailored to the job advert
- A sign off and your name (and signature if printed out)
Here’s a template that breaks down the standard cover letter format paragraph-by-paragraph:
[Your Phone Number]
[Addressee’s/Hiring Manager’s Name]
Dear [Mr/Ms/Mrs] [Addressee’s Surname],
Introductory paragraph: State who you are, how many years of experience you have, and where you found the job advert. Then, briefly explain why you’re interested in the position.
Body paragraphs: In one or two paragraphs, provide an overview of your previous job experience, skills, qualifications, and accomplishments. Explain how your skills will help the company meet its goals. Use numbers to back up your claims when appropriate.
Closing paragraphs: Restate your interest in the position and mention your availability for an interview. Say that you’ll contact them within a week if you don’t hear back about your application. Finally, thank the employer for their time and consideration.
How to write a good cover letter
Now that you know the general information to put in your cover letter, you need to fill in each section.
Here’s how to make a cover letter that’s sure to impress even the most picky HR manager:
1. List your name and contact details
The top of your cover letter is where the reader will look first. Place your contact details in this area using an eye-catching cover letter header so they quickly internalise your name.
List the following contact details in the header of your cover letter:
- Name: First and last name (middle name optional).
- Phone number: Mobile is best, and absolutely don’t use your work number!
- Email address: Something with your name in it is professional and makes your application easier for employers to find.
You can also add links to relevant web pages, such as your LinkedIn profile or your online profile (for graphic artists) or blog (for writers).
2. Address the employer
Underneath your header, right-align the date and then switch to left alignment for the employer’s address.
Add the following details for the recipient of your cover letter:
- Contact person’s name (if you have it)
- Contact person’s email
- Company name
- Company address
- Company phone number
Essentially, you should address your cover letter the same as you would if you were sending a letter by post.
Then, you should formally start your cover letter by addressing the employer by name, like so:
Dear Mr/Ms/Mx [Contact Person’s Surname],
If you can’t find a contact person’s name in the job advert, you may need to do a little research. In this situation, you should:
- Check the company’s website to see who’s the department head for the role
- Ring the company and tell whoever picks up that you need a name to address your cover letter to
If all else fails, you can address your cover letter using a position title, like this:
Dear Sales Director,
3. Write a direct, personalised opening paragraph
The best way to make sure employers read your entire cover letter is by grabbing their attention from the beginning. To do this, start your cover letter with an informative, concise first paragraph.
Include the following information in your cover letter’s opening paragraph:
- Who you are: quickly explain your professional background
- The job title: state the title of the advertised position and the name of the company you want to work at
- How you discovered the opening: mention where you saw the job advert. In most cases saying you found it on Indeed or reed.co.uk is sufficient
- Your interest in the position: state your enthusiasm for the role and what drove you to apply
- Your notable accomplishments: if you have relevant work experience, highlight one or two of your most important achievements to show that you’re qualified
Here’s an example of an opening paragraph that includes all of the important details:
4. Explain why you’re qualified for the job
Once you’ve finished writing the first paragraph of your cover letter, it’s time to show employers why you’re worth their time.
Your second and third paragraphs should provide a compelling case for why you’re the most qualified person for the job by highlighting your relevant experience, skills, and educational qualifications.
Here are some details you can mention in your body paragraphs to show that you’re worth the employer’s consideration:
- Achievements: whether you exceeded your sales goals at work or finished a major project at university, use your cover letter to highlight your accomplishments.
- Awards: if you received an award at school, university, or work, you should mention it.
- Praise: have your employers praised you for your work? Use your cover letter to showcase moments you were applauded for.
However, any accomplishments on your cover letter should be directly relevant to the job you want or demonstrate transferable skills that would be useful for the position.
To make it clear that your achievements are relevant, add a short third paragraph towards the end of your cover letter. In this paragraph, emphasise that you’re confident your achievements would help you succeed in the new role.
Here’s an example of how to effectively demonstrate your achievements and relate them back to the job requirements in the body of your cover letter:
5. Recap with a confident closing paragraph
In any business letter, you use the final paragraph to sum up your arguments and make a request. A cover letter is no different.
Here’s how to write a strong closing to your cover letter:
- Start by thanking the reader for taking the time to read your letter
- Politely request an interview and state your availability
Additionally, you can restate your phone number and email address just to make it a bit easier for the interviewer to get in touch with you.
Here’s what a correctly formatted cover letter final paragraph looks like:
6. Use a formal closing and sign your name
Finally, close your cover letter by writing a polite sign-off and writing your name.
The rules for sign-offs for a cover letter are simple:
- If you addressed the reader by name (for example, ‘Dear Ms Stephanopolous,’), then you should end with ‘Yours sincerely,’.
- If you used a job title (‘Dear Sales Manager,’) or generic greeting (‘Dear Sir/Madam,’), then it needs to end with ‘Yours faithfully,’.
This distinction might seem minor, but applying proper letter-writing etiquette when ending your cover letter shows the reader that you’re an experienced professional.
3 cover letter examples
Now that you know the basics of how to write a good cover letter, here are three examples that demonstrate how to put these lessons into practice:
Here’s an example of a cover letter written by a candidate with four years of work experience:
55 Road Name
07444 444 444
30 October 2021
Contact Person’s Name
55 Street Name
07555 555 555
Dear [Mr/Mrs/Ms][Contact Person’s Name],
I’m a professional driver with 4+ years’ experience delivering food in the Greater London area. Familiarity with your delivery area and a spotless driving record make me an ideal candidate for [Company Name]’s open Delivery Driver position.
At my last job, I was known for quickly planning efficient routes for delivering multiple orders, and I was often praised by my managers for the customer service skills I exhibited on the phone, behind the till, and at customers’ doors. Here are some of my accomplishments that prove I can make an immediate impact as a member of your team:
- Haven’t received a lateness complaint in 3+ years
- Compiled a 98% customer satisfaction rating on after-order surveys
- Placed first in a side-dish upselling contest, selling 50 sides in one month
- Trained as a pizza maker, achieving an average 45-second prep time
The job description posted on your website says you’re seeking a friendly driver who’s comfortable handling diverse tasks in the restaurant as well. I believe the above qualifications make me the person you’re looking for.
Please reach me on 07444 555 555 or at [email protected] to schedule an interview. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Here’s an example of a speculative cover letter that demonstrates the candidate’s passion for their line of work:
274 Cotham Road
Dear Mr Lewis,
I’m a recent graduate with a BSc in Sound Design (Hons) from Staffordshire University, and I’ve been producing music for successful indie bands for 3+ years. Although I didn’t see any job listings on the Westerfeld Recording website, I’m a huge fan of your music releases, and it would be a dream come true if you could find a role for me on your team.
I’m fully prepared to start with low-level work like cleaning facilities and maintaining equipment. However, I’m confident you’ll quickly find a use for my audio engineering skills, which include the following:
• Have used Avid Pro Tools and Ableton Live to produce music since I was in Year 10, and became a true expert at using these tools as an undergraduate
• Interned for 4+ years at Venombase Studios in Stoke-on-Trent, becoming an expert equipment tech and honing my mixing and mastering skills by helping produce 10 albums for local artists
• Produced two full-length albums for my friends’ band Agent Purple, both of which have received extensive local radio play
I believe my experience, proven sound-design talent, and passion for quality music can benefit [Studio Name]. If you’re intrigued by the qualifications listed above and in my attached CV, please contact me on 07555 555 555 or at [email protected] when you get a moment’s break from creating beautiful music.
Here’s a creative cover letter example from a candidate in the podcast industry:
204 Old Kent Rd,
07555 555 555
Dear Mrs Khatri,
You’ve no doubt heard of the world-renowned Whack Jitehall podcast. Well, I’m the person who runs it! Now I’m interested in using everything I’ve learned in my 5+ years of production experience to take your hilarious programme to the top of the podcast charts.
Why would I leave such a cushy job at a famous podcast? The answer is simple: I’m a massive fan of your content, and I’m looking for a new production challenge. When I heard on episode #214 of Footy Matters that you’re looking for a new producer, I did a double take and immediately began penning this cover letter.
Here’s some of the relevant experience I’ll bring with me to your programme:
• At Whack Jitehall, I conceptualised and led our on-air talent to implement our most popular bits, including the Jack Whitehall impersonator jokes that have garnered 10 million+ listens.
• I was also the booker for Whack Jitehall, developing a global network of comedians and other celebrities who’d be perfect guests on your show.
• I’m an expert at editing and tracking video/audio content in Adobe Premiere and Audition, Logic Pro, and Buzzsprout.
As you can tell, I possess well-honed comedy production skills and am ready to improve your already-hysterical content. I’m passionate about handling behind-the-scenes organisation so talented performers such as you are free to focus on entertaining.
If you’re interested in learning more about me and my podcast-producing skills, feel free to contact me on 07555 555 555 or at [email protected] I’m eagerly anticipating the opportunity to meet with you.