A cover letter is a formal job application document you send to a potential employer along with your CV. Typically, a cover letter is one page long for easy reading and is meant to provide employers with relevant information about your qualifications, skills, and experience that’ll convince them to ring you for an interview and even hire you.

Here’s an example of a cover letter that shows you how to write one:

An example of a retail manager cover letter with a pink and grey, centred heading to highlight the applicant's name and job title. There's also a light grey diamond pattern in the bottom-right corner.

Download Free Cover Letter Example

Example of What a Cover Letter Is (Text Version)

 

YOUR NAME

Email: your.name@gmail.com Phone: 07123 456 789 Address: Your Street, Town, Postcode LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/your.name

Today’s Date

Contact Person’s Name
Company Name
123 Company Address
Town
Postcode
07965 123 345
contactperson@gmail.com

Dear [Mr/Ms/Mx] [Contact Person’s Name],

I am writing regarding my interest in the Retail Assistant position at Topp Tiles, as advertised on LinkedIn. With a solid foundation in customer service from my customer service role at Gus’s Gyros and experience in sales through fundraising for my university chess society, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your team.

In my current role at Gus’s Gyros, I have developed strong skills in customer engagement and sales. My responsibilities include greeting customers, understanding their needs, and ensuring they leave with a positive dining experience. This role has honed my ability to quickly adapt to different customer personalities and needs, a skill directly transferable to a retail environment.

Beyond my work experience, I have been actively involved in fundraising for my university chess society. This role required excellent organisational skills, teamwork, and the ability to engage with a diverse range of individuals. Through these efforts, we successfully raised funds for travel expenses.

I am eager to bring my enthusiasm for customer engagement and my proactive approach to your dynamic team. My background in a fast-paced service environment and my team-centred approach from my extracurricular activities will make me an asset to Topp Tiles.

Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to the opportunity to discuss how my experiences and skills align with your team’s needs. I am available at your earliest convenience for an interview and can be reached on 07123 456 789 or via email at your.name@gmail.com.

Yours sincerely,

Your Name

 

What is the purpose of a cover letter?

A cover letter’s purpose is to introduce yourself formally to a company and explain why you’re a good fit for the job you want.

Your cover letter is a prime opportunity to:

  • showcase your personality, communication abilities, and enthusiasm for the job
  • provide more information about your qualifications and experience beyond what’s on your CV
  • convince the employer that you’re the best candidate for their job opening

To show employers that you’ve done your research, read their job advert carefully, study their company’s official website, and learn more about your target job’s responsibilities before you begin writing your CV and cover letter.

What does a good cover letter look like?

Here’s an example of what a good cover letter looks like with each section labelled:

An infographic showing what a cover letter is by numbering each of its sections and including a how-to guide in the middle.

To make your cover letter look like it should, include these elements:

  • Header: Put your name and contact information at the top in a well-designed cover letter header.
  • Today’s date: To follow UK business letter formatting, right-align the date you submit your cover letter.
  • Employer’s contact information: Left-align the contact person’s name, company name, and contact details.
  • Salutation: Greet the contact person by name in your cover letter salutation following the ‘Dear [Mr/Ms/Mx] [Contact Person’s Name],’ format (or use the department name if you can’t find a contact — e.g., ‘Dear Software Development Team,’)
  • Body paragraphs & bulleted list: Explain how your skills and experience connect to your target role, breaking up text with bullets if possible.
  • Sign-off: End your cover letter by writing ‘Yours sincerely,’ (if you greeted a person by name) or ‘Yours faithfully,’ (if you greeted a generic title or department) followed by your name.

Frequently asked questions about cover letters

Want to know more about cover letters? Here are answers to four commonly asked questions about what a cover letter is and how to make one:

1. How should you format a cover letter?

Here’s how you should format your cover letter:

  • Font: Choose a widely used font for your cover letter (like Arial or Tahoma). Set your font to between 10.5 and 12 points so your cover letter is easy to read and looks professional.
  • Line spacing: Set your line spacing to ‘1.0’ in your word processor to give your cover letter some white space and a visually appealing look.
  • Margins: Make your margins between 1.25 cm and 2.5 cm around your page so your cover letter doesn’t look too crowded or spread out.
  • Length: Typically, a cover letter is one page long (250–400 words), so ensure that it’s easy to read and accurately conveys your skills and experience.
  • Bullet points: Use bullet points in the middle of your cover letter to break up the text and to make your accomplishments easy to find.

Try using a pre-formatted cover letter template if you’re short on time or prefer not to format your cover letter by yourself. Cover letter templates have modern designs that include what should be in a cover letter.

2. Can I use the same cover letter for multiple job applications?

While it may be tempting to use the same cover letter for multiple job applications, you should write a personalised cover letter for each job you apply for.

Tailoring your cover letter demonstrates why you’re a good fit for that particular role and shows employers you put effort into researching their company and the position.

3. What tone and language should I use in a cover letter?

In the UK, the tone and language used in a cover letter should be professional and formal, but also engaging and personable to show you’re genuinely interested in the role.

Use concise language that highlights your skills and work history rather than overly complex or technical language or abbreviations that might confuse the person reading your letter.

Finally, use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You can catch mistakes by using Grammarly while you write and then proofreading after you finish.

You can also use an online cover letter builder and a CV maker to get your application’s tone and language right. These AI-driven tools take just a few minutes to write error-free, professional content for you.

4. Is a cover letter more important than a CV?

No, a cover letter is not more important than a CV. Both job application documents are equally important to employers as they each serve a unique purpose:

  • Your CV outlines your skills and experience in a scannable format using section headers, internal headings, bullet points, and data. Employers can easily jump around your CV and focus on the information that’s most valuable to them.
  • Your cover letter gives employers a glimpse of your personality and your ability to write a convincing argument for why you should get the job.
Aaron Case
Written by

Aaron Case

Aaron Case is a CPRW & Senior CV Expert at CV Genius with 8+ years of experience in writing and career resource spaces. Job seekers around the world and in various stages of their vocational journeys have landed fulfilling work thanks to his thoughtful career advice, which has also been showcased in publications like Forbes, MSN, CareerAddict, Ladders, Best Colleges, Ivy Exec, Capitalism.com, and vidIQ. Aaron has a BS in English & Communications from Liberty University bolstered by a professional credential from UC Berkeley. He’s collected practical experience while following various career paths, and he enjoys sharing the resulting insights with everyone. You can contact him through his LinkedIn profile or on Twitter. Please note, we don’t accept guest posts, and all such requests will be ignored.