How to Write a Cover Letter: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

|
Calendar Icon
November 30, 2023
|
Edited by
|
Clock Icon
19
min read

Are you on the job hunt and trying to figure out how to write a cover letter that actually gets you an interview?

Applying for new jobs can be discouraging. To stand out, you should create personalized materials for each job you apply to—including your cover letter. And to make an impact, it can’t be mediocre; you need to make a great cover letter to get your hiring manager’s attention.

But how do you write a cover letter for every role you want without losing too much time (or sanity)? Well, let’s get into it! And by the end of this post, you'll know how to transition from a generic cover letter that gets sent to the recycling bin to a successful cover letter that lands you an interview.

3 key takeaways

  • What is a cover letter?
  • How to write a cover letter
  • Cover letter examples you can follow to start writing your own

Now, let's start with the very basics: what is a cover letter?

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a document you typically send with your resume or CV when you apply for a job. It serves as an introduction to who you are and what makes you a good fit for the position. 

Your cover letter should be tailored to the specific job and company you’re applying to. It needs to highlight your relevant skills and experiences, demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job in question, and explain why you’re the best candidate for this role.

Do I really need a cover letter in 2024?

Yes, a professional cover letter is still necessary to get a job in 2024. 

A well-crafted cover letter can provide context for your job application and set you apart from other candidates. It also allows you to provide additional information about positions on your resume or explain anything unusual in your professional history (gaps between jobs, having been fired, etc.). 

Unfortunately, many candidates use cover letters inefficiently by simply repeating the information on their resume. But cover letters are a chance to show off your personality and transform the details of your resume into an engaging story. 

Here are some ways you can make your cover letter as impactful and unique as your resume:

1. Address the letter to a specific person: Right off the bat, your cover letter will be more personal than your resume because you’re addressing it to a specific individual. When possible, find out the name and title of the person in charge of hiring for the position you're applying for, and address your cover letter directly to them.

2. Show enthusiasm: Start the letter by expressing your excitement about the opportunity to work in the role you're applying to. Don’t be afraid to let your (professional) personality show with your words. 

3. Explain why you're a good fit: Use the cover letter to explain why you're the best candidate for the job, focusing on only the most relevant skills on your resume. In your cover letter, you want to focus on how your measurable accomplishments in the past make you perfect for the role you want now. 

4. Demonstrate your understanding of the company: Show that you've done your research on the company/industry, and explain how your professional experiences align with the company's goals and values.

5. Conclude with a call to action: End the letter by expressing your interest in the opportunity to interview and your availability to discuss the position further in the closing paragraph.

That last part is particularly important. Ensure you end your cover letter with your contact information and an invitation to speak further. 

Here’s an example of how you might end a cover letter: 

“Thank you for considering my application. I’m eager to bring my technical expertise and passion for helping others to your team and to make a positive impact on your customers. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule an interview or to discuss my application further.”

Later, we’ll explore even more examples that you can use to modify your cover letters. 

But if you’re really struggling with this aspect of the job application, you should definitely try out Teal’s AI Resume Builder.

Create professional, customized resumes and cover letters with Teal's AI Resume Builder.

Directly from your dashboard, simply click the “Cover Letter” icon:

Create personalized cover letters with Teal's AI Resume Builder.

Generative AI will help you craft the first draft of your cover letter in seconds: 

Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI  Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.
Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.

This will write a cover letter that's tailored to the job description of the role you want and the information in your resume.

So if you're struggling to figure out how to write a cover letter for each position you're applying to, make life easier for yourself!

Sign up for Teal 100% risk-free and create a professional cover letter today.

What if I don’t have work experience?

If you don't have work experience, don't worry. You can still write a compelling cover letter! 

Check out these tips to get started:

  • Emphasize your education: Highlight your education, academic achievements, and any relevant coursework or projects demonstrating your skills/abilities.
  • Talk about your transferable skills: Even if you don't have direct work experience, you probably have transferable skills like teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and time management that you can highlight in your cover letter.
  • Show your enthusiasm: Let your excitement for the job and the company shine through. Explain why you’re interested in the position, what you hope to gain from working there, and what you plan on contributing to the team.
  • Use examples from extracurricular activities or volunteer work: If you don't have work experience, you can still demonstrate your skills and abilities through examples from your extracurricular activities or volunteer work.
  • Ask for an opportunity: If you’re confident in your abilities and believe you would be a good fit for the position, don't be afraid to ask for an opportunity to interview or meet with hiring managers.

Remember, a cover letter is a chance to sell yourself and make a strong first impression.

Here’s an example cover letter with no experience by someone making a career transition from software engineering to customer success:

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I’m writing to express my interest in the Customer Support Specialist role at [
Company Name]. After many years as a software engineer, I’ve realized my true passion lies in working directly with people and seeing the positive impact of my work on their lives.

Although my background is in software engineering, I’ve always had a strong desire to help others and understand their needs. In my previous role at [
Previous Company Name], I was successful in developing solutions to complex problems, but I found that I was missing the human connection that comes with working directly with customers.

To gain practical experience in the customer support field, I’ve taken on freelance projects where I’ve provided technical support and assisted customers with their needs. Through these experiences, I’ve developed strong communication skills and the ability to listen to and understand the needs of others effectively. I believe these skills will enable me to excel in the role of Customer Support Specialist at [
Company Name].

Thank you for considering my application. I’m eager to bring my technical expertise and passion for helping others to your team. Please feel free to contact me at [
Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule an interview or to discuss my application further.

Sincerely, 

[
Your Name]

A career change cover letter can be difficult to write, particularly if you don't have much freelance or volunteer work to draw from. That said, focus on creating a story around why you want to switch paths and add any relevant accomplishments you can.

How should I format my cover letter?

Formatting your cover letter can directly affect how easily a hiring manager can pick you out from other candidates.  

But this can be tricky for job applicants because formatting your cover letter is different from formatting your resume. 

  • With a resume, the formatting revolves around the content's structure and the visual layout you choose. 
  • With a cover letter, you need to focus more on the structure of your content, using professional font/font sizes and highlighting relevant keywords or skills.   

To help you format your cover letter, try using the following tips:

1) Keep it concise: Aim for a single page by using clear and concise language.

2) Use a professional font: Choose a font that’s easy to read, like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman, and use a font size between 10 and 12 points.

3) Left-align the text: This makes your cover letter easier to read and provides a clean, professional look.

4) Include your contact information: Include your name, address, phone number, and email at the top of the cover letter.

5) Use proper margins: Leave a one-inch margin on all sides of the cover letter to provide a clean, professional look. 

6) Use bullet points: Break up blocks of text with bullet points to make it easier to read.

7) Address the hiring manager: If possible, find out the name of the hiring manager and address the cover letter directly to them. If you can't find a name, use a generic greeting like "To whom it may concern" or “To the hiring manager.”

8) Highlight relevant skills and experiences: In the body of your cover letter, emphasize your most relevant skills and experiences that match the job description. Use examples to demonstrate your expertise and how it will benefit the company.

9) Include a closing and signature: End the cover letter with a closing such as "Sincerely" or "Best regards," followed by your signature if you send a hard copy. 

10) Proofread and edit carefully: Before sending your cover letter, carefully proofread and edit it to ensure it is free of spelling and grammar errors. This step is crucial, as even small mistakes can hurt your chances of being considered for the position. 

Remember, the goal of your cover letter is to make a solid first impression, so taking the time to follow these tips and format them properly can help you achieve that.

How long should my cover letter be?

A good cover letter is brief and to the point—typically one page or less in length. Shoot for three to four paragraphs highlighting your skills, experiences, and why you’re the best candidate for the job.

If your cover letter hits two pages, you likely need to rework your draft and prioritize which skills/work experiences are truly worth mentioning. 

How should my cover letter heading look?

The heading of a cover letter should include your name, phone number, and email address. It should be located at the top of the page, either centered or aligned to the left or right margin.

Note: While some people have traditionally put their physical address on a resume, this isn’t recommended. Providing your phone number and email address is more than enough information for the hiring manager. 

Here’s an example of what a cover letter heading might look like:

Your Name
(123) 456-7890
youremail@email.com

This gives the hiring manager all the information they need to contact you for an interview.

How should I introduce my cover letter?

The opening paragraph (or paragraphs) of your cover letter is your chance to make a solid first impression and get the hiring manager's attention. 

Here are the elements that typically build a strong intro:

  • Start with a hook: Open with a sentence that grabs the reader's attention and makes them want to keep reading. You could mention the job title you're applying for or a specific achievement that makes you stand out.
  • Express your enthusiasm: Let the hiring manager know you're excited about the opportunity to work for their company and the specific role you're applying for.
  • Mention the job posting: Explain how you learned about the job and why you're interested in the specific role you're applying for.
  • Summarize your qualifications: Briefly summarize your relevant skills, experiences, and qualifications to show why you're the best candidate for the job.

Here's an example of an effective cover letter introduction:

Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

I was thrilled to come across the [
Job Title] role at [Company Name] on [Job Board or Website]. As an experienced [Skill or Relevant Experience], I'm confident in my ability to make a positive impact on your team.

I'm particularly excited about the opportunity to work with [
Company Name] because of its reputation for [Company's Unique Trait or Reason for Interest]. I’m eager to bring my skills in [Skill or Relevant Experience] to the table and help drive [Company's Goal or Project].

Every cover letter will be different, but this should give you an idea of what you need for a strong introduction to yours. 

How do I end my cover letter?

The end of your cover letter is your opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager. 

Here's how to end your cover letter strongly:

  • Express gratitude: Thank the hiring manager for taking the time to review your application and for considering you for the role.
  • Reiterate your interest: Reiterate your interest in the job and the company, and explain why you’re the best candidate for the role.
  • Provide a call to action: Encourage the hiring manager to get in touch with you to schedule an interview or to discuss your application further. Provide your contact information to make it easy for them to reach you.

Here's an example of a strong cover letter ending:

Thank you for taking the time to review my application. I’m confident that my skills and experience make me a strong fit for the [Job Title] role at [Company Name]. I’m eager to bring my passion and dedication to the team and help drive [Company's Goal or Project].

Please feel free to contact me at [
Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule an interview or discuss my application further.

Thank you again for considering me for this opportunity.

Sincerely, 

[
Your Name]

Unique tips for writing an eye-catching cover letter

Personalize it

When writing a personalized cover letter, start by researching the company you’re applying to. Take the time to learn about its values, mission, and goals. This will help you tailor your cover letter to the specific company and demonstrate your enthusiasm for working there. 

Then, in your cover letter, mention specific aspects of the company that you admire or align with your own values and goals. 

For example, mention the company's commitment to sustainability or innovative approach to solving industry challenges. The goal is to show the hiring manager you have a genuine interest in the company and role and that you’re the right fit for the job.

Show your personality

Your cover letter is an excellent opportunity to showcase your personality and writing style. 

Don't be afraid to inject some personality into your writing, but keep it professional and appropriate for the role you're applying for. 

Here’s a sample cover letter introduction with a bit of personality: 

Dear Hiring Manager,

As someone who's as passionate about crafting narratives as I'm about meticulously analyzing data, I couldn't help but apply when I came across the Digital Marketing Specialist position at [
Company Name]. Like a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, I'm eager to dive into the world of data-driven marketing, uncover hidden insights, and strategize solutions to help your company stand out in the digital landscape (don’t worry, you won’t need to hire a Watson 🤔)

This shows the candidate’s enthusiasm for the role and, at the very least, a small attempt at humor that can signal a good fit for the company culture. 

Highlight specific achievements

Instead of simply listing your responsibilities in past roles, focus on specific achievements and how you made a positive impact. Use concrete numbers and statistics to show your successes. 

For example, you could mention how you increased sales by a certain percentage or streamlined a process to save the company [X number of hours] or [Y dollars]. Again, the key here is to highlight the measurable successes you’ve had in the past.

Address any potential gaps 

If there are any potential concerns about your qualifications or experience, address them in your cover letter. Explain how you’ve overcome similar challenges in the past and why you’re confident in your ability to succeed in the role. 

For example, if you have limited experience in a certain area, you could mention how you’ve taken steps to develop those skills, such as taking a course or shadowing someone with more experience. 

Use keywords

Keywords are specific words or phrases that are relevant to a job position or industry, and they’re included in a resume to optimize it for applicant tracking systems (ATS) and catch the attention of recruiters. This type of software digitally scans resumes to see which candidates would most likely be a great fit for the job.

It’s also worth noting that, despite popular belief, ATS software doesn’t toss out candidates who don’t use the right terminology. Instead, it simply prioritizes candidates who appear to be better suited for the role.  

Using the right keywords can increase the chances of a resume getting past the initial screening process and into the hands of a hiring manager. Highlight specific skills and experiences relevant to the job, and use the same language and terminology as the job posting. 

Teal can help you with this in the AI Resume Builder. When you match a job description to a resume, you’ll see keywords highlighted for you: 

And if you want, you can use Teal’s generative AI to create a cover letter that already includes these resume keywords (using the same engine that powers ChatGPT, already synced with the resume you’re building in Teal). 

Sign up today and build your cover letter with Teal 100% free today! 

Proofread

Make sure to check your cover letter for typos, grammatical errors, and other mistakes. A well-written cover letter can make a strong impression on the hiring manager and demonstrate your attention to detail. 

Take the time to review your cover letter carefully and ask someone else to review it as well. A second set of eyes can help catch any mistakes you may have missed.

With these tips in mind, let’s take a look at a few great cover letter examples.

Cover letter examples

Since cover letters are so tied to the unique candidate and job position, it's hard to provide anything that looks like a cover letter template. However, some short cover letter samples can serve as a good guide for writing your own.

Below, we’ll describe a fictional candidate and give you an example of what their cover letter could look like. Our goal is to help you see the structure needed for your cover letter, as well as the key information you should include. 

And you should note that many of the examples follow a similar structure. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. You need to have a cover letter that’s clear, concise, and easy to read. 

Let’s start with a sales cover letter. 

Sales cover letter

Meet Emily, a sales professional with five years of experience in the tech industry. Emily has a proven track record of exceeding sales targets and building long-lasting relationships with clients. She’s now looking to take the next step in her career and is applying for a senior sales role at a growing tech company.

Here's an example cover letter for Emily:

Dear Hiring Manager,
I’m writing to express my interest in the Senior Sales role at [
Company Name]. With 5 years of experience in the tech industry and a proven track record of exceeding sales targets, I’m confident in my ability to positively contribute to your team.

I was particularly drawn to [
Company Name] because of your reputation as an innovative and forward-thinking company driving growth in the tech industry. I admire your commitment to [Company Value or Goal] and believe my skills and experience make me a strong fit for this role.

As a sales professional at [
Current Company Name], I’ve consistently exceeded my sales targets and have been recognized for my ability to close complex deals and build long-lasting relationships with clients. I’m confident that my experience, combined with my passion for sales and my strong work ethic, will enable me to make a positive impact at [Company Name].

Thank you for considering my application. I’m eager to bring my skills and experience to your team and help drive [
Company's Goal or Project]. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule an interview or to discuss my application further.

Sincerely,

[
Your Name]

Marketing cover letter

Meet Lauren, a marketing professional with six years of experience in the tech industry. Lauren has a proven track record of creating successful marketing campaigns and building relationships with stakeholders. She is now applying for a senior marketing role.

Here's an example cover letter for Lauren:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I’m writing to express my interest in the Senior Marketing role at [
Company Name]. With 6 years of experience in the tech industry and a proven track record of creating successful marketing campaigns, I’m confident in my ability to contribute to your team positively.

I was particularly drawn to [
Company Name] because of your reputation as a fast-growing tech company driving innovation in the industry. I admire your commitment to [Company Value or Goal] and believe my skills and experience make me a strong fit for this role.

In my current role as a marketing professional at [
Current Company Name], I’ve consistently created successful marketing campaigns that have increased brand awareness and driven growth. I’ve also developed strong relationships with stakeholders, including customers, partners, and internal teams, to ensure that marketing initiatives are aligned with business goals. I’m confident that my experience, combined with my creativity and ability to think outside the box, will enable me to make a positive impact at [Company Name].

Thank you for considering my application. I’m eager to bring my skills and experience to your team and help drive [
Company's Goal or Project]. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule an interview or to discuss my application further.

Sincerely, 

[
Your Name]

Customer success cover letter 

Meet Jake, a customer success professional with four years of experience in the tech industry. Jake has a passion for helping customers achieve their goals with a proven track record of reducing churn and increasing customer satisfaction. He now wants to take the next step in his career and is applying for a senior customer success role.

Here's an example cover letter for Jake:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm writing to express my interest in the Senior Customer Success role at [
Company Name]. With 4 years of experience in the tech industry and a passion for helping customers achieve their goals, I believe I would be the best fit for the position. 

I was particularly drawn to [
Company Name] because of your reputation as a customer-centric company dedicated to helping customers succeed. I believe that my skills and experience, combined with my commitment to customer satisfaction, make me a strong fit for this role.

As a customer success professional at [
Current Company Name], I reduced churn by 23% and increased customer satisfaction (12%) by proactively addressing customer needs and providing tailored solutions. I'm confident that my experience, combined with my strong communication skills and ability to build relationships, will enable me to make a positive impact at [Company Name].

Thank you for considering my application. Please feel free to contact me at [
Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule an interview or to discuss my application further.

Sincerely,

[
Your Name]

Engineering cover letter

Meet Sarah, a software engineer with five years of experience in the tech industry. Sarah has a passion for solving complex problems and a proven track record of delivering high-quality software on time and within budget. She is now looking to take the next step in her career and is applying for a senior software engineer role.

Here's an example cover letter for Sarah:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm writing to express my interest in the Senior Software Engineer role at [
Company Name]. With 5 years of experience in the tech industry and a passion for solving complex problems, I'm confident I would make a valuable addition to your team.

I was particularly drawn to [
Company Name] because of your reputation as a leader in [Industry or Technology]. I'm excited by the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technologies and to be part of a team that is driving innovation in the industry.

As a software engineer at [
Current Company Name], I've consistently delivered high-quality software on time and within budget. Plus, I have a proven track record of using my technical skills and problem-solving abilities to develop solutions that meet the needs of the business and the customer. I'm confident that my experience, combined with my ability to work collaboratively and my commitment to continuous learning, will enable me to make a positive impact at [Company Name].

Thank you for considering my application. Please feel free to contact me at [Y
our Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule an interview or to discuss my application further.

Sincerely, 

[
Your Name]

Find more examples in these software engineer resumes.

Recruiting cover letter

Meet Mark, a recruiter with five years of experience in the tech industry. Mark is passionate about finding top talent and has a proven track record of sourcing and hiring top-performing candidates.

Here's an example cover letter for Mark:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm writing to express my interest in the Senior Recruiter role at [
Company Name]. With 5 years of experience in the tech industry and a passion for finding top talent, I'm confident in my ability to positively contribute to your team.

I was particularly drawn to
[Company Name] because of your reputation as a fast-growing technology company that’s driving innovation in the industry. I believe that my skills and experience, combined with my commitment to finding top talent, make me a strong fit for this role.

In my current role as a recruiter at
[Current Company Name], I’ve consistently sourced and hired top-performing candidates who have made a positive impact on the business. I have a proven track record of using my sourcing and relationship-building skills to find top talent in a competitive market. I'm confident that my experience, combined with my ability to work collaboratively and my commitment to diversity and inclusion, will enable me to make a positive impact at [Company Name].

Thank you for considering my application. I'm eager to bring my skills and experience to your team and to help drive growth at
[Company Name]. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule an interview or to discuss my application further.

Sincerely, 

[
Your Name]

Should I write my cover letter with ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a valuable tool for job applicants looking to write one cover letter. And there are many reasons you might want to give it a try.

Here are a few of the popular benefits of using ChatGPT for your cover letter: 

  1. Time-saving: ChatGPT can generate a personalized cover letter quickly and efficiently— leaving you with more time to focus on other aspects of your job search.
  2. Objective perspective: Sometimes, it can be difficult to step back and objectively assess your qualifications and experiences. ChatGPT can provide an objective perspective and generate content based on industry best practices.
  3. Customization: ChatGPT can be tailored to fit the user's specific needs and preferences. By providing input on the job position and company, the generated cover letter can be customized to highlight the user's relevant skills and experiences.

Ultimately, the decision to use ChatGPT to write your cover letter is a personal one that depends on individual preferences and circumstances. That said, for more helpful tips on how to write a cover letter with ChatGPT, check out the following video: 

How to write a cover letter with Teal

Writing a successful cover letter can be tricky, especially when you're going at it alone. But when you build your cover letters with Teal, you not only simplify the process but also end up with a high-quality document than you would've otherwise had.

Here's why: Teal uses generative AI to personalize your cover letter to the specific resume you're working on.

In seconds, you'll have the first draft of a great cover letter that's tailored to the job you're applying for.

And if you've been on the job hunt for a while, then you know that applying to multiple jobs is a must if you want to increase your odds of success. But cover letter writing is a time-consuming and exhausting process when you need to write one, let alone many.

Teal's cover letter builder will create perfectly tailored cover letters for all of your job applications.

Stop wasting time with generic cover letters that take hours to produce (and never get callbacks, anyway), and let Teal help you simplify the process.

Here’s how to get started:

Step One: Go sign up for Teal 

This part’s easy. Just click here and start your free trial immediately.  

Step Two: Create your resume 

Before writing your cover letter, you’ll want to generate your resume in the dashboard. Click “Resume Builder” on the left-hand side, then “New Resume” on the top: 

If you’re starting from scratch, you can import content from your LinkedIn profile with a single click: 

Once you’ve built your resume, you’ll want to make sure it’s matched to the role you want. 

Step Three: Match your job 

This step mostly matters if you’re applying to multiple jobs. Remember, the goal is to create personalized documents for each application. 

You can click the “Matching” icon from your builder and add a specific job description for the role you want: 

This will ensure Teal uses the right keywords when creating your cover letter.

Step Four: Generate your cover letter 

Now that your resume is built click the “Cover Letter” icon:

Then click the “Generate with AI” button:

Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.
Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.

And just like that, you’ll have a personalized cover letter in seconds. 

Step Five: Apply and track

Finally, you can monitor all of your applications by clicking “Job Tracker” from the side menu on the left of your screen:

That way, you can stay organized in your search to land your dream job! 

Ready to get started? Sign up for Teal and create your cover letter 100% risk-free today! 

Frequenty Asked Questions

Nathan Thompson

Nathan is a professional content marketer who's been lucky enough to write for some of the best SaaS brands on the planet, including Twilio, Trello, OptinMonster, TrustPulse, and more. When he's not obsessing over performance metrics, Nathan spends most of his time wrestling around with his kids.

We help you find
the career dream.