Smart tips to help you format and write a cover letter
Struggling to write a cover letter that will catch an employer's attention? We've got tips to help you show your best self—and a sample you can use to get started.
There's nothing scary about writing a cover letter.
You've found the perfect job, hit the "apply" button, and started the process with your engines revved and ready. But wait! Slam the brakes! They want a cover letter. Oh no.
Don't let this request derail you. Here's everything you need to know to write a letter that truly sells your skills. Plus, scroll down to see a sample cover letter you can use to craft your own.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that, along with your resume, is sent with your job application. A cover letter is your chance to tell a potential employer why you’re the perfect person for the position and how your skills and expertise can add value to the company. The letter should be professional but personable, and serve as a sort of introduction.
Do I need to send a cover letter?
A lot of job seekers today wonder if a cover letter is still appropriate to send with your resume—and the answer is yes! Even if an employer doesn’t ask for a cover letter, it couldn’t hurt to send one. In fact, it’s can help you get someone's attention in a different way, and it can be a great way to display your enthusiasm for the job and company.
What are the basic elements of a cover letter?
- Greeting: Address your cover letter to the proper person.
- Opening: Write a personable, inviting opening paragraph that notes how your skills are a perfect fit to the job and displays your enthusiasm.
- Hook: Highlight your past achievements as they relate to the job you're applying for.
- Skills: Emphasize additional relevant skills, such as computer languages or certifications.
- Close: Briefly recap your strengths as a candidate, and include your contact information.
Cover letter tips
1. Parrot the keywords: Just like with your resume, your cover letters should be customized for each job you apply to. Start by reviewing the job description. In it, you will find important keywords that let you know what kind of employee the company is hoping to find. Use these same keywords throughout your cover letter.
2. Adapt for the company: Each version of your cover letter should talk about how your skills will benefit the particular company that you want to work for. You want to target the company’s needs—not your own. Demonstrate how you could help them achieve their goals. Remember: You're selling yourself in a resume and a cover letter, but the employer has to want to buy.
3. Show you "get" them: Your cover letter should demonstrate that you have done some research into what the organization's pain points are. Presenting yourself as a solution to a hiring manager’s problem can help your cover letter take the right tone. If you’re applying to an administrative position, be sure to mention your time-management skills; if you’re an IT professional, include your expertise in improving efficiency. Always ask yourself: How can I help this company?
4. Proofread. Don’t assume spell check will catch every mistake (it won’t). Slowly review your cover letter to make sure everything reads properly. Have someone else read your cover letter for backup.
Need even more confidence before you start your cover letter? Below are some additional cover letter tips you could reference—or keep scrolling for a cover letter sample:
Cover letter mistakes you should avoid: From overusing “I” to being too vague, there are a bunch of pitfalls that can trip you up. Don’t let them!
Cover letter format and advice tips: Learn how to set up your cover letter and what each section should include.
Cover letter tips for new grads: You might lack real-world work experience, but your cover letter can be chock-full of activities that demonstrate your potential to succeed.
Cover letter tips for technology professionals: The ease of applying to online jobs has led many IT professionals to skip sending a cover letter, but that’s a mistake.
Cover letter tips for finance professionals: If you’re searching for a finance job or want to be prepared just in case, you will need a dynamic cover letter to grab the hiring managers’ attention.
Tips for better email cover letters: If you're emailing a resume, your cover letter will deliver the first impression. These eight tips will help you craft a better email cover letter.
Cover letter sample
Check out the sample cover letter below (or download the template as a Word doc) to get some inspiration to craft your own. And we've also got you covered if you're looking for a cover letter in a specific industry.
Once you've finished your cover letter, consider joining Monster—you can upload and store up to five cover letters and resumes, so that you can apply for jobs on our site in a snap!
Ms. Rhonda West
Customer Service Manager
123 Corporate Blvd.
Sometown, CO 50802
Re: Customer Service Representative Opening (Ref. ID: CS300-Denver)
Dear Ms. West:
I was excited to see your opening for a customer service rep, and I hope to be invited for an interview.
My background includes serving as a customer service associate within both call-center and retail environments. Most recently, I worked on the customer service desk for Discount-Mart, where my responsibilities included handling customer merchandise returns, issuing refunds/store credits, flagging damaged merchandise for shipment back to vendors and providing back-up cashiering during busy periods.
Previously, I worked within two high-volume customer-support call centers for a major telecommunications carrier and a satellite television services provider. In these positions, I demonstrated the ability to resolve a variety of issues and complaints (such as billing disputes, service interruptions or cutoffs, repair technician delays/no-shows and equipment malfunctions). I consistently met my call-volume goals, handling an average of 56 to 60 calls per day.
In addition to this experience, I gained considerable customer service skills during my part-time employment as a waitress and restaurant hostess while in high school.
I also bring to the table strong computer proficiencies in MS Word, MS Excel and CRM database applications and a year of college (business major). Please see the accompanying resume for details of my experience and education.
I am confident that I can offer you the customer service, communication and problem-solving skills you are seeking. Feel free to call me at 555-555-5555 (home) or 555-555-5500 (cell) to arrange an interview. Thank you for your time—I look forward to learning more about this opportunity!
Table of Contents
- Cover Letter Examples for You to Personalize
- Cover Letter Example for Job Application
- True or False: Cover Letter Quiz
While not every employer requires a cover letter in the application process, skipping this step can be a huge mistake for motivated jobseekers. A well-written cover letter is a valuable tool in your job search toolbox, one that can help distinguish you from other applicants. Don’t miss a chance to get a leg up on the competition!
A cover letter is your chance to elaborate on the experiences you list on your resume and become more three-dimensional to the hiring manager. It’s also a great opportunity for you to show that you understand the role and the company’s mission.
Using our cover letter examples is the best way to perfect your language. Have limited work experience? We have cover letter examples that will help you craft a resume that shows off your skills and education. Take a look at our huge selection of cover letter examples below to get inspired.
Create My cover letter
Cover Letter Example for Job Application
A common mistake many jobseekers make in cover letter writing is making it all about what they want while ignoring the needs of the employer. A great cover letter is your chance to prove that you understand the scope of the role and the company’s mission. By reading the job ad, you can identify what the organization needs and respond appropriately in your cover letter.
Below, see a job ad and a cover letter example that you might use respond to that ad. Read on to learn how to personalize your cover letter to appeal to hiring managers.
Job Description Example
Customer Service Manager
Health First Medical Clinic
If you love helping people, this exciting and diverse role might be perfect for you. The Customer Service Manager oversees the Customer Service department, serves as a liaison between the patient and the pharmacy and monitors the processing of specialty pharmacy order for patients to increase efficiency and improve turnaround times. The Customer Service Manager is in direct contact with vendors, pharmaceutical reps, doctors’ offices, payers, and both general and specialty pharmacies.
The person in this role will interface directly with the Physician Leadership team and the Revenue Cycle Leadership team to identify, communicate, and assist in the resolution of client inquiries.
- Five or more years of customer service experience •
- At least one year of experience in reimbursement case management, preferably in the medical/insurance pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry •
- Proficiency in all aspects of reimbursement •
- Knowledge and understanding of Medical Terminology •
- High school diploma •
- Registration with the California State Board of Pharmacy
- Experience supervising a Customer Service department, including day-to-day operations of the department •
- Ability to handle customer calls efficiently and with professional courtesy. •
- Proven track record of effectively handling customer e-mail inquiries. •
- Experience with monitoring customer service metrics. •
- Understanding of claim adjudication and drug reimbursement issues
- High School Diploma or Equivalent •
- Bachelor’s degree preferred
This applicant has demonstrated that she has read and studied the job ad, echoing perfectly the language used in the ad in her cover letter. This, combined with a similar mirroring of language in her resume, will give her a great shot at getting her resume past an ATS and onto the desk of a hiring manager or recruiter. Our cover letter examples can show you how to accomplish this same technique to get you the interview you want.
Cover Letter Example
Dear Ms. Morris:
As a customer-obsessed professional with a passion for the healthcare industry, I was thrilled to learn that Health First Medical Clinic needs a Customer Service Manager. Presently, I am a Senior Customer Service Representative with six years of experience. I am registered with the California State Board of Pharmacy and have a B.A. in Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
I have built on my education with hands-on customer service experience at Kaiser Permanente. I started on the ground floor as a customer service rep in the telephone call center; after two years, my employer promoted me to Senior Customer Service rep, handling both phone and email inquiries. I am currently serving as interim Customer Service Manager while my supervisor is on maternity leave, managing a team of 20 customer service reps.
You need someone with at least a year of experience in reimbursement case management, but I offer much more. During my time at Kaiser, I have mastered reimbursement case management and monitoring customer service metrics across my team. I have spent the last five years developing a keen understanding of claim adjudication and drug reimbursement issues and medical terminology, as well.
I have a proven track record of efficiently handling customer calls and effectively handling customer e-mail inquiries. Under my interim management, specifically:
- Customer service surveys indicate an 11% increase in customer satisfaction with our department in just two months •
- Employee absenteeism in my department dropped by 5%
I think that my skill set aligns perfectly with the needs of Health First Clinic. Thank you for reviewing my credentials. I look forward to learning more about the opportunity.
Like in all great cover letter examples, this applicant utilized the document to emphasize several important points, including her experience with the required work experience and several of the items listed as preferred experience. She drew attention to her education, which is very relevant to this role, and backed up her stated work experience with a statistic that highlights her accomplishments on the job. Overall, this is an A+ cover letter.
Create My cover letter
True or False: Cover Letter Quiz
Using numbers and data in my cover letter can help me stand out.
True! Employers often see the same core competencies and experiences in many applicants. Make your accomplishments clear by detailing the result of your efforts. Use number-driven results wherever possible on your resume and explain them in your cover letter by using eye-catching bullet points. Interesting data might include the number of employees you’ve managed, or your stellar sales numbers.
It’s ok to write a single cover letter for every job you apply for.
False! You must tailor the bulk of your information to the job at hand. Look closely at the job ad and mimic the language it uses as closely as possible. Do your research on the company and its mission and think of creative ways to prove that you’re the best person for the role. This is your chance to show that you understand the demands of the role and the needs of the company. Use it to your advantage!
The format of the letter matters as much as the content.
True! A cover letter should have four main parts: a greeting, an opening paragraph, one or two short body paragraphs, and a closing statement. It should never contain images or photos, which can confuse applicant tracking system. Keep your cover letter simple, clean and concise for the best results.
If you don’t have a skill that the employer outlined in the job ad, you should apologize for it in your cover letter.
False! In fact, if you write, “I know I don’t have all the experience you need, but I’m a fast learner” you’re giving hiring managers a reason not to interview you. Instead, emphasize the skills you do have. Highlight the skills you possess and emphasize how they are transferable. For instance, if you lack the sales experience that the employer wants, you could touch on your competitive nature and experience with customer service, which could apply to a sales role
A tiny typo is a huge deal.
True! Proofreading your cover letter and resume carefully is one of the most important parts of the process. Recruiters look to cover letters to help them differentiate between candidates with similar backgrounds and skill sets. If all that sets you apart from another worthy candidate is a glaring typo in your cover letter, you will likely lose out on the opportunity. Read your letter several times, run it through spell check, and send it to a trusted friend for a second look.
Using “Dear Sir or Madam” is unacceptable.
True! Using a general salutation like, “To Whom It May Concern” proves only one thing: you haven’t conducted basic research. With a tool like LinkedIn at your fingertips, it’s usually easy to find out the name of the hiring manager. For larger organizations, there may be several, but you can still make an educated guess. Can’t find the name of the hiring manager? Our cover letter examples can give you ideas for how to address your letter.
Adding personality to my cover letter isn’t the right approach. A cover letter should be all business.
False! As we mentioned, cover letters help distinguish you from other candidates. If you have an appropriate anecdote to share – perhaps you grew up using a product the company makes – include it. A cover letter should present a more three-dimensional picture of you than your resume does. Always maintain a professional tone, but sharing a fact or two about why you are a fan of a company could set you apart from other candidates who stuck to the script.
Using a photo of myself in my cover letter will hurt my chances of getting an interview.
True! The hard truth is that 88% of applicants who put a picture on a resume or cover letter will not receive invitations to interviews. Recruiters don’t care what you look like; they want to know how your skills and experience will help their company meet its goals. Keep your cover letter simple, clean, and free of typos and grammatical errors. Photos or other artwork will only serve to distract from your qualifications.
Echoing the wording of job ad shows a lack of creativity.
False! Mimicking the language used in the job ad is a good idea. Using the same words and phrases to describe your skills will help a recruiter quickly see that you fit the bill. If you are unsure about how to incorporate the language into your cover letter, use an online tool to check your spelling and grammar. Our cover letter examples can demonstrate how to echo the language of a job post in a cover letter.
Recruiters spend an average of six seconds scanning a resume before deciding on a candidate.
True! True! This means that having a compelling cover letter can improve the chances that they’ll want to learn more about you. Again, many qualified candidates have similar experience and skill sets. Your cover letter is your chance to set yourself apart from the pack. Our cover letter examples can help you make your next cover letter great!
Create My cover letter
Cover Letter Examples by Industry
More Helpful Resources
Cover Letter Examples for You to PersonalizeCREATE MY Cover Letter
General Cover Letter
The kind of all cover letter examples, this sample is a Jack-of-all-trades. Appropriate for use across industries, this general cover letter example will carry you through applying for everything this from a server position to a sales rep position.
Short Cover Letter
Short but sweet is the goal for any cover letter, and this is the simplest of all of our cover letter examples. Suitable for use across industries, this step-by-step cover letter example helps you elaborate on your work experience in a concise, personalized format.
Relocation Cover Letter
Ready to make a move? Our cover letter examples show you step-by-step techniques for emphasizing your work experience and your willingness to relocate for the right role.
Student Cover Letter
For students with limited work experience, cover letters can be tricky. See our student cover letter examples to learn how to showcase your education and skills.
Entry-Level Cover Letter
Don’t let limited work experience limit your potential! Our entry level cover letter example guides you step-by-step through the best ways to accentuate your skillset for your next great opportunity.
Management Cover Letter
Whether you have management experience or are ready to take the next step in your career, using a management cover letter example will help you underscore your achievements and reach for the brass ring.