Soft Skills

10 minute read

The Cover Letter Template That Will Impress Any Employer

Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

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Groan, right? Needing to put together a polished and professional resume is tough enough (by the way, we have some great resume templates right here).

But, a cover letter? Well, that’s often enough to inspire job seekers to give up on their job searches altogether.

We get it—drafting a cover letter that’s concise, impactful, and proves that you’re worthy of an interview is challenging. However, it’s also one of those necessary evils you’re going to need to address if you truly want to land a new gig.

So, before you stare at that menacing, blinking text cursor on a blank page for a half hour, take the time to read through everything we’ve pulled together right here. We have all of the tips you need—plus a cover letter template that’s sure to take so much pain out of the process.

Get your free cover letter template

Download and customize this template for a winning cover letter

Do cover letters still matter?

In the age of LinkedIn and social media, it’s tempting to think that a cover letter is no longer a staple of your job search. And, when you’ve heard the terrifying statistics that 55% of hiring managers don’t actually read cover letters, it’s easy to write them off as a colossal waste of time.

Sure, that can be discouraging. But, think of it this way: That statistic also means that 45% of hiring managers are actually reading through that carefully crafted letter of yours.

Do you really want to take the chance and be the candidate who doesn’t submit a cover letter—when the employer was actually expecting that document? Here’s the short answer: no.

Plus, there’s another benefit to cover letters: It can be tough to tell your story and share all of your amazing skills and qualifications within the confines of your resume. Your cover letter is your chance to fill in the gaps and go beyond the bullets to share the details of why you’re a seamless fit for that position you’re eager to land.

So, make this your golden rule: When in doubt, it’s smart to submit a cover letter.

Writing a cover letter: 5 must-know tips

Now that you know that you’ll likely need a cover letter to ace your job search, it’s time to cover the basics of what makes for an impactful one.

1. Pay attention to your greeting

If you’re looking for a surefire way to get your cover letter tossed into the recycling bin, start with a generic opening like “To Whom it May Concern.”

Employers want to see that you’ve invested time into researching the company—including the key decision makers in charge of the hiring process for the job you want.

Roll up your sleeves and do some digging to figure out which name you should put at the top of that letter, whether that’s:

  • The department head for the role you’re applying for

  • The HR manager

  • The CEO of the company

Remember, you want a real name at the beginning of your letter to immediately demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. Skip the generic salutations.

2. Use a strong opening

You can bet that the vast majority of cover letters that hiring managers receive begin with something like, “I’m writing to express my interest in the position of…”

Sure, that opening gets to the point. But, when employers are seeing that over and over again, it certainly doesn’t make an impact or help you stand out from the sea of competition who are also vying for that role.

That’s why it’s better to start with something a little more attention-grabbing. Maybe that’s a quick anecdote about how you knew you were built for sales when you started your very first neighborhood lemonade stand. Or, maybe it’s a glimpse at the history of what inspired you to change careers.

Don’t be afraid to get a little creative—that’ll help you make a far more memorable impression.

3. Don’t regurgitate your resume

You’ve invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that resume of yours. So, nobody can blame you for wanting to repurpose it in as many ways as possible.

But, know this: Your cover letter should not repeat everything that’s already on your resume. This is your chance to expand on the qualifications that make you a qualified candidate—and not just repeat them.

So, make sure that your cover letter adds some additional context or value aside from what’s already included on your resume. Otherwise, there’s really no point in sending both.

4. Highlight your key skills

You want to shine a spotlight on all of the things that make you a no-brainer fit for that position—and, your cover letter is a great place to do that. You can call attention and add more detail to those things you really want the hiring manager to know.

The best way to do that is through a few carefully selected sections you include in the body of your cover letter. Don’t worry—we’ll talk more about that when we dive into the template!

5. Tailor and tweak

Much like your resume, you can’t just create one general cover letter document and assume that you can swap out the company name and make a killer impression on every employer.

No, you need to tweak your career documents for each specific job you apply to. When your goal is to appear as relevant as possible, one blanket document just won’t work.

So, what types of things should you be tweaking? Things like your overall tone (you’d use a different voice when applying to a laid-back startup than you would a more rigid corporation) and the skills you highlight will vary depending on the details of each role and company.

It’s tempting to skip this step, particularly when you’ve already invested so much time into your starting cover letter. But, heed this warning: Tailoring your documents is super important.

The cover letter template you need

You’re armed with everything you need to know to piece together a solid cover letter. But, uhh… now what?

Actually pulling it all together can be the tough part. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Take a look at the below template, add in details and make any necessary changes so it fits your own situation, and prepare to land at the top of that “to be interviewed” pile.

Dear [Company Contact’s Name],

Ever since I [attention-grabbing anecdote about what got you to this point in your career].

My passion and enthusiasm for [career field] has only grown stronger since that point, and that’s why I was so excited to see the opening for the [Job Title] position with [Company Name]. I’m actively seeking a company where I can leverage my skills and [number of years] of experience to make a measurable impact and assist in achieving organization-wide goals.

Here are a few of the many ways that I know I can add value for [Company Name]:

[Skill #1]: I’m committed to using [skills] to [result], and have used this competency in my previous role as [previous job], where I [quantifiable achievement].

[Skill #2]: With my background in [skill or field], I know I can utilize my experience to help [Company Name] achieve [goal].

[Key Accomplishment or Honor]: I was recognized by [organization or person] for my [skill or achievement].

I’m confident that my work ethic, knowledge, and enthusiasm for this position make me a qualified fit for your organization.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you so that we can further discuss all of the great work that [Company Name] is doing—as well as how I could contribute to your continued success.

All the best,

[Your Name]

See the template in action

Eager to see what this template looks like when you actually fill in the necessary details? Here’s a sample of how this could play out:

Dear Ms. Hansen,

Ever since kindergarten, I’ve had a passion for the written word. I even went so far as to start a newspaper for my classroom—and then vehemently demand that each of my classmates read it in its entirety each and every week.

My passion and enthusiasm for content creation has only grown stronger since that point, and that’s why I was so excited to see the opening for the Staff Writer position with The Writing Company. I’m actively seeking a company where I can leverage my skills and five years of experience to make a measurable impact and assist in achieving organization-wide goals.

Here are a few of the many ways that I know I can add value for The Writing Company:

Data Analysis: I’m committed to using my keen eye for data to craft content that actually resonates, and have used this competency in my previous role as Managing Editor, where I decreased our overall site bounce rate by 17%.

News Journalism: With my background in news journalism, I know I can utilize my experience to help The Writing Company achieve written content that’s timely, trending, and appeals to its audience of busy young professionals.

Awarded 2017’s Top Content Creator of the Midwest Award: I was recognized by the American Association of Awesome Content Creators for my contribution in overhauling CompanyXYZ’s content strategy and more than doubling the site’s readership.

I’m confident that my work ethic, knowledge, and enthusiasm for this opportunity make me a qualified fit for your organization.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you so that we can further discuss all of the great work that The Writing Company is doing—as well as how I could contribute to your continued success.

All the best,

Kat Boogaard

 

 


 

Ready to get your foot in the door?

There you have it—a template for a cover letter that’s sure to impress even the most discerning of hiring managers.

Download your free cover letter template below—it's quick and easy to customize with your own details.

Get your free cover letter template

Download and customize this template for a winning cover letter

Want to learn more about crafting an effective cover letter and strong resume? Check out the GoSkills Business Writing course for more helpful tips and tricks.

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Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

Kat is a writer specializing in career, self-development, and productivity topics. When she escapes her computer, she enjoys reading, hiking, golfing, and dishing out tips for prospective freelancers on her website.

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