How to Write a Cover Letter: Guides & Examples (2022) (2023)

If you’re unsure what to include ina cover letter, our guide will help you:

  • What is a cover letter and why is it still important in 2022?
  • How to research and plan your cover letter
  • The basic format of a good cover letter
  • How long should a cover letter be?
  • Addressing the hiring manager
  • Using the job description
  • How to market yourself in your cover letter
  • How to structure and write your cover letter, with examples
  • Using a ‘cold’ cover letter to approach a company you’d like to work for
  • How to send your cover letter

What is a cover letter and why is it still important in 2022?

A cover or covering letter is a brief, single-page document that accompanies your CV when you make a job application.

Its purpose is to introduce yourself and to highlight your key skills, particularly concerning the job for which you are applying. It’s your chance to showcase both your personality and suitability.

It’s important to remember that the cover letter is independent of your CV – in other words, it shouldn’t be just the same information presented differently. It needs to position you as the right person for the job by highlighting skills that you have that are essential for the role. Therefore, your cover letter should be tailored to every application. Don’t worry, we’ll tell you what to include in a cover letter.

Some recruiters will receive hundreds or even thousands of applications for a role, so your cover letter is your chance to stand out from the crowd and it’s an essential application component of the application process.

Download our cover letter template

How to research and plan the creation of your cover letter

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” –a saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and it’s true. Planning is the key to success in any endeavour, and it’s certainly true for your cover letter and whencreating your CV.

The important things you should research before you begin writing your cover letter are:

  • Who will be receiving and reading your cover letter? This will likely depend on the size of the company doing the hiring – if it’s a small organisation, it may well be the CEO or owner of the business. For a larger company, it will most likely be the hiring manager or the head of HR
  • Whatskills and experience are listedin the job description?What skills do you have that this role calls for? Are there other skills that you have that you know will be of benefit to the company and position? Put those in your cover letter and then detail why you think they’re relevant and important
  • The company and its culture. Any reputable company will have some form of online presence where you can do this research. If they don’t have their own website (which is highly unlikely) then they will most certainly have some social presence; LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or others
  • The company’s competitors and market position. As for the above point, this can generally be found online. Some organisations have obvious competitors e.g.: Nike and Adidas –the competitors for other companies may be less obvious. There are free trials available with tools such asSemrush, Ahrefs and others that will help you identify them
  • The sector and any recent news or trends. Which sector or industry do they operate in? Do some online searches for news,using Google or any other search engine with a ‘news’ results tab
  • The organisation’s aims for 2022 and beyond. This can be trickier to find, perhaps have a look on LinkedIn and search for key employees, those with CxO roles may well share goals, roadmaps and more on their profiles.

Building up a good knowledge of both the company and their industry helps you to tailor your cover letter for each company you apply to. It also shows your passion for the job and sector.

The basic format of a cover or covering letter

Every cover letter you write should be tailored to the specific job role or company you’re applying for, but there is a basic format to follow for every cover letter:

Your cover letter should address the following:

(Video) Write an Amazing Cover Letter: 3 Golden Rules (Template included)

  • Paragraph one – The introduction
  • Paragraph two – The by-line
  • Paragraph three – Show your knowledge
  • Paragraph four – Conclusion

How long should a cover letter be?

Brief, probably less than one side of A4 – 250-300 words maximum.

A cover letter is important but remember, it’san accompaniment to your CV, not your actual CV.

Addressing the hiring manager or recruiter

Just like your CV or Resume, every cover letter you submit should be written to match the job role you are applying for, the company and role you’re writing it for, and it should be comprehensive. You’ll also need to avoid tired and clichéd buzzwords.

  • Personalise it – find the name of the hiring manager or the person most likely to be receiving or reading it in the first instance. It should show that you’re determined, thorough and thoughtful, too. Sign off with“Yours sincerely”
  • If you don’t have that information and can’t specify a name–then start the letter with “Dear Sir or Madam” – but remember your grammar and sign off your letter with “Yours faithfully”

Using the job description to tailor your covering letter

This is possibly the most vital aspect of the cover letter – if you don’t take the opportunity to state that you have the necessary skills and experience then you may as well not bother! Mirror some of the phrases used in the job requirements list.

Detail your skills and provide examples of how you have used them in the past to succeed in your own goals and those of the company you were working for.

You will most likely need to use different skills and examples for each cover letter as each job role will require different skills and abilities.

How to market yourself in your cover letter

A bit like your Personal Profile, your cover letter is your chance to show off a bit and sell yourself to the people doing the hiring and the company they represent. There are several good ways to sell yourself, and having done your research, they should be easy to add:

  • Demonstrate knowledge – in the role, the company, and the sector in which they operate
  • Your skills, qualifications and goals – any that are relevant to the role and company
  • Highlight your social and interpersonal skills – talk about the clubs and/or societies you are a member of, any volunteering you do – anything that shows your ideals and what you enjoy doing in your spare time

How to structure and write a cover letter

In 2022, and for a while now, it’s unusual for cover letters or CVs to be sent as physical copies, as most are sent online, but the cover letter should still be written in a formal way like any other business letter, digital or not.

Begin with your address and contact details in the top right-hand corner. Ensure that your contact details are appropriate and professional – include just a mobile or a mobile and landline number if you wish, perhaps an email address too. You should follow this with the address of the company you’re applying to and further down on the left-hand side, the date, then the name of the person you are writing to (or “Dear Sir or Madam” if you don’t have a name).

Like this example cover letter:

[Your address Line 1]

[Address Line 2]

(Video) How To Write An AMAZING Cover Letter in 2022 - TOP Cover Letter Tips with EXAMPLES

[Address Line 3]

[Phone Number]

[Company address line 1][Company address line 2][Date]

To [Name],

Cover letter paragraph 1: The introduction

The position you are interested in and why you are applying for it – a brief introductory passage that covers three things:

  • Why you’re writing the letter
  • What job role is it that you are applying for
  • Howyoufound out about the job

Something like:

“I am writing to apply for the role of [job title], in response to an advert I saw on [name of job site]. Please find my CV attached.”

Cover letter paragraph 2: The by-line

This paragraph should be all about you and detail the skills you possess that are relevant to the role, particularly those that have been identified in the job advert or description. Be careful not to produce a copy of your CV. Mirror phrases and skills that are mentioned in the job advert or description.

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Cover letter paragraph 3: Show your knowledge

This is where you can demonstrate the research that you did before applying. Show that you know what sector they operate in what they do and why you wish to work there and really make a difference. How you’ll fit in with the company’s ideals, culture and core values. Show that you’re the perfect candidate.

(Video) How To Write THE PERFECT Cover Letter (2022) | [Example Included]

Cover letter paragraph 4: Conclusion

Your cover letter, the masterpiece that it now is, should end with a clear call to action. You want to secure an interview for this position, so mention that and let them know when you’re available for a callback or contact to arrange it (don’t be demanding, just confident and clear). If you plan to follow up with a phone call, then let them know. If you’re not comfortable doing this then end your letter with:

“I look forward to hearing from you.”

Thank them for taking the time to read your letter and sign off with:

“Yours sincerely, [Your Name]”

Download our cover letter template

Using a covering letter as a speculative approach to a company you’d like to work for

Is there a company that you’ve seen that you’d really like to work for? But, they’re not advertising any positions as currently open? In this case, a ‘cold-contact cover letter‘ makes a great speculative application letter. Here’s what to include in that cover letter:

  • Address the letter formally – Try to get hold of the name of the hiring manager; check their website or call the main number and ask. If not, then address it as “Dear Sir or Madam”. You could alternatively address it to the CEO or Managing Director – once they see it is a speculative application, they will probably pass it to the relevant person within the company
  • Your reason for writing – As no vacancy exists that you are aware of, then you should explain why you are writing and what attracted you to the company
  • Mention any contacts – If a friend or acquaintance works at the company and has suggested or agreed that you should apply, then mention them – their name and job title
  • Detail your skills and experience – The body of the speculative application should highlight your skills and experiences and provide examples of how you have used them. Then state once more why it is that you’re interested in working for the company, talk about the sector or industry they operate in and show that you have done your research
  • Say what you would like – Which area or department of the company are you interested in? Where would you like to work – sales, marketing, front-of-house, for example?
  • Conclusion – close the cover letter by thanking them for their time and expressing your interest in hearing from them about any job vacancies that they may have

Remember, each speculative application using a cover letter should be unique.

Sending your cover letter

When sending your cover letter online,and need to send your cover letter as an attachment, make sure you use the .pdffile format; this way any computer will be able to view the file, and all your formatting will be preserved.

If you need to send your cover letter as the actual body text of your email, your approach will need to be slightly different. First, make sure you format the subject line of your email like so:

Application for [Job Title] – [Your Name]

If you were given a reference number, include that in the subject line as well. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about the layout of your letter. The paragraphs can be the same as an original cover letter, but you can remove the addresses, date and signature.

If you’re applying for a job via a job board, you can sometimes afford to scale down your cover letter to key components:

(Video) The PERFECT Cover Letter In 5 MINUTES Or Less - BEST Cover Letter Examples & Template!

Check out this example cover letter for 2022:

Hi [Name],

I am interested in applying for the current vacancy you have for a [job title].

In my current role as [role title] with [company name], I am responsible for [insert relevant experience relating to job advert] but am currently looking to make a step up into a more challenging role with a reputable company who can offer career growth.

I am currently on a notice period of [notice period] and can interview immediately.

Kind regards,

[Name][Phone number][Email]

By following these covering letter guidelines and examples you’ll be ahead of many other applicants applying for roles in 2022 and one step nearer to securing an interview.

Try to have fun with it and we wish you the best of luck!

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Related Career Advice articles

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  • How long should a cover letter be?
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FAQs

How do you address a cover letter in 2022? ›

The most traditional way to address a cover letter is to use the person's first and last name, including “Mr.” or “Ms.” (for example, “Dear Ms. Jane Smith” or just “Dear Ms. Smith”). But to avoid accidentally using the wrong title, or worse, inadvertently misgendering someone—first and last name also work just fine.

Do people still use cover letters in 2022? ›

Short answer: yes, you should submit a cover letter alongside your resume. Here's why: Most job openings require you to submit a cover letter. Recruiters might not have the time to read ALL the cover letters they receive, but they will definitely read cover letters if they're on the fence for a candidate.

What is the format of letter writing in 2022? ›

Salutation: For formal letter, the salutation to be used are Sir / Respected sir / Madam. Body: Write the matter of the letter here. You can divide it into 3 paragraphs. First para of the body: Introduce yourself and explain the purpose of writing the letter in brief.

How do you write a powerful cover letter? ›

What the Experts Say
  1. Do your research first. Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. ...
  2. Focus it on the future. ...
  3. Open strong. ...
  4. Emphasize your personal value. ...
  5. Convey enthusiasm. ...
  6. Watch the tone. ...
  7. Keep it short. ...
  8. Get feedback.
4 Feb 2014

How do you introduce yourself in a cover letter? ›

Yes, you should introduce yourself in a cover letter. Introduce yourself by stating your name, the position you're applying for, and how you found it. For example: My name is Henry Applicant, and I'm applying for the open Account Manager position listed on LinkedIn.

How do you start off a cover letter? ›

How to start a cover letter
  1. Convey enthusiasm for the company. ...
  2. Highlight a mutual connection. ...
  3. Lead with an impressive accomplishment. ...
  4. Bring up something newsworthy. ...
  5. Express passion for what you do. ...
  6. Tell a creative story. ...
  7. Start with a belief statement.

What do employers look for in a cover letter? ›

Recruiters say your cover letter should be succinct and: Show how your achievements relate to the role. Highlight how your skills and work experience are what the employer needs. Show genuine excitement and enthusiasm for the role.

What should you say in a cover letter? ›

When writing a cover letter, you should:
  • introduce yourself.
  • mention the job (or kind of job) you're applying for (or looking for)
  • show that your skills and experience match the skills and experience needed to do the job.
  • encourage the reader to read your resume.
18 Dec 2018

How long should a good covering letter be? ›

A cover letter can be anything between half a page and a full-page long. Generally, you should aim for a cover letter word count of 250 to 400 words and about three to six paragraphs.

What 3 main points should be included in your cover letter? ›

Beyond that, Siegel boils down the most important things to include in a cover letter to three points. “Show enthusiasm, show you've done research, and show you want to come in there and make a contribution,” he says.

What are the 4 tips for a great cover letter? ›

4 Tips for Writing a Successful Cover Letter
  • Make It Personal. To make your cover letter seem more personable, it's a good idea to address the reader directly. ...
  • Past, Present, and Future. ...
  • Research is Key! ...
  • Keep It Brief.
1 Jul 2022

What are the 3 main sections of a cover letter? ›

A cover letter should be 3 paragraphs – Introduction, Sales Pitch and Conclusion.

What is the best letter format? ›

Tips for Formatting Your Letter

Length of the Letter: Most formal letters are no more than one typed page. Margins: Use one-inch margins and left justify your text. Spacing: Single space your letter and leave a space between each paragraph. Use one-inch margins and align your text to the left.

How do you start the body of a letter to the editor? ›

How do you write a letter to the editor?
  1. Open the letter with a simple salutation. ...
  2. Grab the reader's attention. ...
  3. Explain what the letter is about at the start. ...
  4. Explain why the issue is important. ...
  5. Give evidence for any praise or criticism. ...
  6. State your opinion about what should be done. ...
  7. Keep it brief. ...
  8. Sign the letter.

What are the 4 types of formal letter? ›

The types of Formal Letter Formats are mentioned below.
  • Letter of Enquiry.
  • Order Letter.
  • Letter of Complaint.
  • Reply to a Letter of Complaint.
  • Promotion Letter.
  • Sales Letter.
  • Recovery Letter.
23 Oct 2022

What should you not say in a cover letter? ›

15 Things You Shouldn't Include
  • Any Spelling or Grammar Errors. ...
  • The Wrong Company Name or the Wrong Name of the Contact Person. ...
  • Anything That Isn't True. ...
  • Paragraphs That Are Too Long. ...
  • Your Salary Requirements or Expectations. ...
  • Negative Comments About a Current or Past Employer. ...
  • Information Not Related to the Job.
5 Mar 2021

What should a 2022 resume look like? ›

In 99% of the cases, we'd recommend going with a reverse-chronological resume format. In 2022, it's the most common and useful format: Applicant tracking systems can read it without any problems. All recruiters and hiring managers are familiar with this format.

Are cover letters being phased out? ›

Bye-bye, cover letters

Though recruiters may be more likely to read them for a more prominent role, the majority of respondents find cover letters obsolete. “The future of this historical hiring component looks grim,” Murphy says.

What size font should a 2022 resume be? ›

Best resume font sizes are: 11-12pt for normal text, 14-16pt for section titles and headers. The most-used resume formatting order is: Contact information, work experience, skills, and education.

What are 3 things that you should definitely not do on your cover letter? ›

As a job seeker, it's better to be safe than sorry.
...
3 Tips On What NOT To Do In Your Cover Letter
  • Don't Waste The Opening Paragraph. ...
  • Don't Tell Your Story (Talk About What You Can Do For Them) ...
  • Don't Have Long Paragraphs.

What should you not put on a resume for 2022? ›

Don't include lots of information that's irrelevant to the job you're applying for. “Sure, you've got hobbies, interests, languages, favorite bands, and ambitions,” Cenedella says. “But keep the information that doesn't address your ability to be responsible, accountable, and a hard worker to a reasonable level.”

Which format do most employers prefer for resumes? ›

Chronological resume

This is the most common type of resume format and is generally preferred by most hiring managers. A chronological resume leads with your work history, which should list your current and previous positions in reverse chronological order.

What is a headline for a resume? ›

A resume headline is a concise introduction to your work experience, skills, and professional background. Having a good headline will encourage recruiters to look deeply into your resume. A resume headline can also allow you to bypass applicant tracking systems & ensure that your CV gets read by a recruiter.

What should never go in a cover letter? ›

15 Things You Shouldn't Include
  • Any Spelling or Grammar Errors. ...
  • The Wrong Company Name or the Wrong Name of the Contact Person. ...
  • Anything That Isn't True. ...
  • Paragraphs That Are Too Long. ...
  • Your Salary Requirements or Expectations. ...
  • Negative Comments About a Current or Past Employer. ...
  • Information Not Related to the Job.
5 Mar 2021

What cover letters should avoid? ›

Things to avoid when writing a cover letter
  • Not following instructions.
  • Using the wrong format.
  • Discussing why you are looking for a new position.
  • Using the same cover letter for every application.
  • Writing without first researching the company and position.
  • Discussing irrelevant work experience or a lack of experience.

What is the most professional font? ›

Best Resume Fonts
  • Times New Roman.
  • Arial.
  • Calibri.
  • Helvetica.
  • Cambria.
  • Georgia.
  • Garamond.
  • Avenir Next.
30 May 2022

Which font color is best for resume? ›

The best resume font color is black. It's elegant, goes well with every industry, and is easily readable by humans and ATS. If you want to make your name or headings pop, you can use colors like blue, green, beige or even pink — just keep the body text black and make sure it fits your industry.

What is the best line spacing for a resume? ›

Typically, resumes stay within a single-spaced format up to 1.5-point spacing. You want enough space to keep your resume scannable without leaving too much white space between lines of text.

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