Cover Letter Writing Explained with Tips and Examples

Learn how to write a cover letter here in the next 5 minutes.

Your cover letter is your greeting to your future employer. Let the employer know who you are and make them like you. 

Finding it difficult to do so?

You can either use many of our job-specific cover letter samples to get an idea or read through the page to find out more about writing a winning cover letter.

Check out some of our most useful cover letters, samples and tips here

Closing of a Cover LetterInternship Cover Letter Samples
Generic Cover Letter SamplesJob Winning Cover Letters



OR, get your cover letter reviewed for free




Let’s construct your cover letter!

You’re writing a short formal letter which ideally follows the academic style of writing- the same as you wrote back at school.

To begin with, let us quickly learn the essential parts of the body of a cover letter.

Your cover letter contains the following main parts.


Parts & Order of a Cover Letter

  • Salutation
  • Introduction & reference
  • Experience now
  • What you have done in the past
  • Other useful experiences, if any
  • Conclusion & closing

Write about 150-200 words to contain all the information you will convey through your letter.

Decide what you want to say under each head mentioned above. Don’t bother including all heads if you do not have anything interesting to tell under them.

Use the above order of cover letter to frame your letter right. 

After you have gathered what you want to say, put the points together, and add or subtract words and sentences to give it a consistent flow from Salutation to Closing.

Below is a cover letter with its parts separated for your understanding and ease of building up yours.



Salutation on a Cover Letter

The most used and the fail-safe salutation to use on your cover letter is “Dear” followed by the person’s first name.

Although, it will not hurt to use “Hello” instead, followed by the first name of the reader.

“Hello” is both formal and a little later adopted by people after the “Dear” salutation.

You should know that these days, “Hi” followed by the reader’s first name is also considered standard for all formal letters.

Word of caution here; get to know who you are writing to and if you can relate to the person at the level of saying “Hi”, go with it, but if you don’t, loose the “Hi” and use the good old “Dear”.

“Hi” makes the conversation a little more friendly than absolute cold mailers. 

Sometimes, when you write a letter, you have no idea who this person is (gender, age, likes, dislikes, friendly, uninterested), in such cases use “Dear” or “Hello”.  

Using a “Mr.” or “Ms.” to precede the first name for senior individuals or unknown persons is a good practice.

Now, let’s write the body of the cover letter.

 

Writing a Cover Letter- Introduction

A job that you have applied for may not be the only job advertised by a company. 

Moreover, the vacancy may have been available for months to find the right candidate or there may be multiple positions open in one department. 

That tells you, that the recruiter may not be looking for only the position that you have applied for, and your position may have been sidelined to fill-in a vacancy on priority. 

Remember, there are always vacancies in an organization.

Know it, that whether or not there is a vacancy, resumes keep coming in for jobs.

Therefore, you must mention where you found the position advertised. 

When you do that, you make sure that the recruiter knows that you aren’t shooting in the dark and that there is a legit vacancy out there that needs to be filled. 

Right after you mention the advertisement, the recruiter seeks knowledge on whether you are relevant.

You can do that in a flash by bringing in the number of years of experience you hold and your designation at the current organization if that is relevant.

Wait a moment!

Even before you write your experience, are you applying through the reference of an employee of that company?

If yes, mention that first– 

“Paul Wooldridge (serving as Director of Sales at CORT) referred
the job to me and had asked to mention his name in my applic-
-ation.”


Now, you can continue with writing about the number of years you have put to a relevant job before. 

Thereafter, it depends on how well you describe your work experience.

Here is an example of the opening paragraph of a cover letter.


How to write a cover letter- Introduction Example

Hello Juliana,
This is with reference to the vacancy for Assistant Delivery Manager advertised in the New York times on Sunday. I have been working as a Delivery Manager for the past 6 months after being promoted from my previous Project Manager position.

3-4 lines are just about right for the introduction paragraph.

Now, you can go on and write about your work experience. What you do on a regular basis, whether you manage a team or mentor your subordinates, all begins here.


Body of the Cover Letter- Current Job

It is preferable, to begin with, your most recent experience because that is most relevant to the employer.

You can tell your story- putting what happened first, up in the order, and progressing as things happened for you. 

Story-telling is a good idea if you are applying for your first job or internship. Nevertheless, your story has to be interesting to read.

Look at the below example of the recent experience section of the cover letter.


Writing a Cover Letter – Recent Experience Example

To begin with, as a delivery manager, I continued working on the same projects that I held as a Project Manager and lead them to the delivery phase successfully. I value participation in projects at all stages to know my projects and clients and their customers since the start and add value to the project by sharing useful research information on the business front of the projects. I have continued to perform research work on my projects since I started my career as a developer and have found it to be profoundly useful at each level moving upwards in the hierarchy.

The above paragraph is when you first talk about your experience and work responsibilities. 

You state all the primary activities that you carried on, some secondary ones that seem important and some others that needed to be looked upon to accomplish your primary goals. 

You are allowing the recruiter to know the scope of your work here. 

If that is what they are looking for, they will be interested in opening your resume and finding out more about you.

The ideal length of this paragraph should be 4-6 lines.

The standard length of the entire experience section maybe 7-10 lines.

Move on to writing about your other experiences from the past.



Body of the Cover Letter- Past Experiences

Begin writing in a new para about your past relevant experience or any special achievement that relates to and proves your skills for this job. 

You don’t want to list your responsibilities here because that you have on your resume. 

You want to share important details on your achievements, success or an approach that has worked for you in the past or what you learned from it that is complementary to the needs of the new job.

Here is what you can write in this section of your cover letter.

Writing a Cover Letter – Past Experience Example

Being a developer turned manager, I’m familiar with the chaos that might develop at any stage of a project and halt the process. My understanding of development environment, architecture, business utility and employee relations leave me with a strong grasp on identifying complications that may evolve in the future and avoiding the pitfalls. I take a calculative approach to timely address the unavoidable development issues which has helped me deliver faster and save 1.2 million on completion of 2 projects in the last 6 months.

That is all about you. 

You have to keep it short and yet give the recruiter a fair idea of who you are and what your experience is worth to their organization.

Next, you close your cover letter with a promise to be an asset to their organization if they hire you.



Closing your Cover Letter

This paragraph is the concluding statement.

The best thing you can do here is to tell them how you plan to help them move closer to their vision.

Have a customized strategy carved out for them to sell in the interview and prompt in your cover letter. 

Such an offer can rarely be ignored.

But be sensible in your prompt dialogue. It has to make real sense to the employer, for them to consider you and put their time in hearing you out in the interview.

Below is an example of such an offer to help your future employer raise their revenue and cut their costs.


Closing Statement for your Cover Letter

The industry knowledge and research I bring to any project are transferable to the enterprise-grade projects you construct. I have researched your high budget projects- the Luka series and MetroTicket. There are some useful insights that can be put to work immediately and speed-up the development process.   

Let’s set up a meeting where I can share those and talk more about howwe can do similar alterations and put my research to work on other projects to save time and cost.  

Looking forward to hearing from you!  

Sincerely,  
John Marcus

Now, that is how to write a cover letter answered!

Follow the process+ sequence the letter right = get the job!

What you have Learned

To sum up, your cover letter has to simply introduce you. 

You could be detailed if you can manage to keep the reader interested; however, a short cover letter reduces the risk of rejection. 

Your cover letter should give an idea of what you do at your job and how much experience you have. 

You should talk about how you are a good fit for the employer’s advertised position and what you have to offer to help them grow.

Make no spelling or grammatical mistakes and you should be in for an interview.

Good Luck!