How to Write a Personalized Cover Letter

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March 17, 2023
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Let's be honest: Cover letters aren't very fun to write. But they are an extremely important part of the hiring process.

In a 2020 survey of 236 hiring managers and recruiters, ResumeGo established that 87% of the hiring teams read cover letters. And only 13% did not. Additionally, they also identified that applications with tailored cover letters yield just over 50% more interviews compared to those without.

Whether you're applying for your dream job or an entry-level position, a strong personalized cover letter is the way to get noticed.

If writing a tailored cover letter for every position you're interested in seems like too much work, you don't have to do it on your own. Teal's new AI integration features (found within the AI Resume Builder) can generate multiple versions of cover letters directly within the Teal platform. This digital tool is a great option to help you quickly write a cover letter that can impress hiring managers at any company. All you need is a free Teal account.

First, though, it's helpful to learn what you should include in a personalized cover letter, from the introduction to the closing paragraph. Follow our guide to writing a standout cover letter that sets you apart from the pack.

What is a cover letter? 

A cover letter is a document that you send along with your resume or job application when you apply for a position. You use this letter to introduce yourself and explain why you’re a good fit for the job. It covers the main points of your resume and highlights your qualifications and experience.

Typically, a concise cover letter is one page long and consists of three main parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. You’ll discuss topics like why you’re interested in the position and your relevant skills and experience.

A cover letter is an important part of any job application because it gives you the chance to explain why you’re a good fit for the job and stand out from other candidates. It’s a way to showcase your personality, your writing skills, and your passion for the position.

Why is it important to personalize a cover letter? 

Personalization is important because it demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to research the company and the position you're applying for. Sending a personalized letter instead of a generic one indicates that you’re genuinely interested in the opportunity — which is definitely the impression you want to get across.

A personalized cover letter should include specific details about the company, the job opening, and your qualifications for the position. You can also use your cover letter to highlight any relevant experiences or skills that make you a strong candidate for the job.

Personalization can help set you apart from other applicants and demonstrate that you’ve done your homework on the company and the position. It shows that you’re not just applying to any job you can find on Indeed, but that you’re specifically interested in this particular opportunity.

When should I send a personalized cover letter? 

Ideally, every cover letter you send should be personalized to some extent. However, there may be some situations where personalization is more important.

For example, if you’re applying for a job at a company you’re especially interested in or a job that you’re particularly well-suited for, personalization is crucial. This will demonstrate your enthusiasm and help you stand out from other applicants.

On the other hand, if you’re applying for multiple jobs at once or if you’re applying for jobs in different fields or industries, it may be more difficult to personalize every cover letter to the same extent. In these situations, you can still include some personalization — such as mentioning specific skills or experiences that are relevant to the job. But you may not need to research the company in as much detail.

In general, it’s a good idea to prioritize personalization for the jobs that you’re most interested in and the jobs where you feel you have the strongest qualifications. This will help you make a strong impression with potential employers and increase your chances of landing an interview.

What should a personal cover letter include?

Contact information

When you're ready to write your personalized cover letter, start with your contact information. You want to make sure the employer can easily get in touch with you. Use the top of the document to list your:

  • Name
  • Physical address (street address, city, state, zip code)
  • Email address
  • Phone number

This way, whoever reads your letter can see at a glance where you live and how to get in contact with you.

Start with greeting and a strong introduction 

Next, get the hiring manager's attention with a friendly greeting and strong introduction.

If you have a connection to the company--maybe someone referred you to this position or you recently met some of the brand's employees at a conference--you can add that in your first paragraph.

And while you still want to stay professional, it's completely appropriate to express enthusiasm about the position ("I'm excited to be applying for the role of... because I'm passionate about...").

Specify the job you’re applying for

This leads us to our next point: Make sure you mention which job you're applying for. You might think this would be obvious--but it's best to be clear about it up front. And this also serves as an extra spot to slip in some extra personality and passion: "I'm applying for the Financial Analyst job because I'm a complete nerd about numbers--that's why I got a BS in Mathematics."

Summary of skills/qualifications

The next part of every great cover letter will outline what makes you awesome--the skills and experience that qualify you for this job.

Briefly mention your relevant educational background, such as any degrees you have that relate to the job you're applying for.

This is also where you can include information about your past experience (as long as it's relevant experience) to back up what you're claiming.

For example, don't simply tell the HR team that you're a good problem solver--show them by mentioning a specific problem you solved at your last job. If you have specific numbers to share, like metrics or statistics, these can be hugely beneficial to your job search to prove you're good at what you do.

Finally, make sure you touch on any specific skills that are mentioned in the job posting. If an ad for an HR manager mentions experience hiring and interviewing staff, you'll want to touch on the half-dozen positions you filled in your previous role.

Describe how you can contribute to the company

Go from generic cover letter to great cover letter by being clear about how you're prepared to help the company's mission and bottom line. This may take some research on your part to understand where the business is going. You'll also want to demonstrate that you're a good fit for the company culture.

Once you've done your research, this might read something like: "I admire how [company] values teamwork and belonging. This is something I learned about firsthand while working at a startup after college."

Closing

The final paragraph of your cover letter doesn't need to be long or complicated. Simply thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration, and let them know that you're looking forward to speaking with them further about the position.

Close the letter by using "Sincerely," "Thank you," or "Best regards" and your first and last name.

How to write a personalized cover letter 

Research the company and name

Use LinkedIn, the company's website, or simply a Google search to learn more about the company you're interested in working for. It's important to have a good handle on who the company is and what it does so you can correctly position yourself as their ideal employee. Not all job seekers do this, so this is an area where you can get ahead.

Within Teal's Job Application Tracker is a super helpful “Notes” tool to track and update company information for each saved job. It pulls up next to the job description, making it easy to pull all the necessary keywords. Make any edits and additions you need, and your changes will be saved automatically.

Teal’s Job Application Tracker saves notes for every job you are interested in to help you stay organized.
Teal’s Job Application Tracker saves notes for every job you are interested in to help you stay organized.

Address the hiring manager by name

Do your best to find the hiring manager's name and pronouns online ("Dear Mr. Doe" or "Dear Ms. Doe"). If you can't locate this person's name, it's okay to instead address your letter to the department head for the position you're applying for. "Hello [Company] Finance Team" is acceptable as a last resort.

Don’t repeat your resume

Personalized cover letters should not be a copy-and-paste of your resume. You're already sending in your resume anyway, so your cover letter needs to share different information--or at least, share the same information in a different way.

If you're concerned about repeating your resume, sit down and write your cover letter off the top of your head, without even looking at your resume.

Tailor it to the job description 

Remember, you'll want to pull out key words, phrases, and concepts from the job description to include in your letter. This is especially important if the hiring company uses an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, to process resumes and cover letters. This software automatically scans job applications and will pick up on those phrases.

Use Teal's AI Resume Builder to quickly compare the skills and keywords in the job posting to those in your resume. Make sure to add any relevant experience to your customized resume and to your application answers.

Teal’s AI Resume Builder compares the skills in a job description to the skills in your resume to give you a match score.
Teal’s AI Resume Builder compares the skills in a job description to the skills in your resume to give you a match score.

Teal's AI Resume Builder includes an AI feature that generates a cover letter based on a job description and your resume. This feature saves you a lot of time if you're applying for multiple positions that each need personalized cover letters.

Emphasize your personal value

What makes you unique? What skills or experience do you have that make you the perfect candidate for this specific job? That's what you need to get across in your cover letter. The "show, don't tell" method mentioned earlier can be a great way to prove that you're well-suited for your dream job.

Keep it short and to the point 

Ideally, your cover letter length will fall between a half page and one full page in length. This is approximately 3-5 paragraphs and 200-300 words. Hiring managers are much more likely to read a concise letter in-depth.

You should also proofread your final letter before sending it. Typos are not the way to make a good first impression. A free tool like Grammarly can help if writing isn't your forte.

Personalized cover letter examples

Ready to put these tips into practice? Take a look at these cover letter samples to help kickstart your brainstorming process.

Standard cover letter example

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to apply for your open marketing role. As a skilled marketing professional with experience in content marketing and social media management, I'm excited about the opportunity to contribute to your team.

With a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Georgia, I have worked as a marketing manager at a medical device company, where I won an award for a successful social media campaign. I have also served as a content marketing manager for an edtech company, where I created compelling video and user-generated content for social channels.

I am highly skilled in managing corporate social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. I'm proficient in SEO best practices, Google Drive, Microsoft 365, WordPress, Asana, and Slack. In my free time, I enjoy cycling and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

I am a creative and highly professional individual who is passionate about content marketing and social media marketing. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Cover letter example for an internship 

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm excited to submit my application for your summer Digital Marketing Internship. I am a current student at the University of Georgia, with my anticipated graduation with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing next spring. I'm confident that my knowledge, skills, and passion in the digital marketing field make me an ideal candidate for this position.

During my academic journey, I have taken courses such as Public Relations, Business to Business Marketing, Principles of Finance, Product Management, and Behavioral Marketing, which have equipped me with the necessary knowledge and skills for this internship. Additionally, I recently achieved a 115% improvement in conversion rate for a local restaurant's paid ad campaign.

I am particularly interested in managing corporate social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. Given my experience in developing and executing successful social media campaigns for student projects, I'm confident in my ability to develop effective digital marketing strategies that meet the needs of your organization.

As someone who is passionate about the tech industry, I'm eager to find a challenging position where I can put my skills to work and continue to grow professionally. My 3.7 GPA and involvement with Habitat for Humanity demonstrate my dedication to excellence and my commitment to making a positive impact in my community.

I look forward to the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications with you and how I can contribute to your team's success. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Entry-level cover letter example 

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm excited to apply for your Marketing Assistant position that recently opened up. As a recent graduate from the University of Georgia with my Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, I'm passionate about utilizing my digital marketing skills and knowledge in a challenging role in the tech industry.

I have taken courses in public relations, product management, and behavioral marketing, which have equipped me with the skills needed to provide strategic content marketing direction. During my time as a student, I completed a successful paid ad campaign project for a local restaurant, where conversion rates improved by 115%. I'm also experienced in managing corporate social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.

During my multiple summer internships at a well-known tech company in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to help strategize and execute multiple successful social media campaigns that included video content and user-generated content.

I am a highly professional and creative individual who is passionate about my work. I'm excited about the opportunity to bring my skills and experience to your team and contribute to the success of your company. Thank you for considering my application.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Cover letter example for a career pivoter

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm excited to express my interest in the new role you're offering. I am a marketing professional with over 10 years of experience working for tech companies, and I'm currently looking for a new challenge. I have been recognized for my ability to pivot and innovate in high-pressure situations, which is a testament to my adaptability and willingness to take on new things.

Throughout my career, I've provided strategic content marketing direction and have established strong relationships with clients and stakeholders--skills that I believe would be relevant to this new role. I have experience using a host of digital tools, and I'm also skilled in research and SEO best practices.

Although I don't have experience in this specific role, I'm confident that my transferable skills and expertise would be valuable in contributing to the success of the team. I enjoy trying new hobbies in my personal life (such as cycling and woodworking), and I am a fast learner.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to further discussing this role.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe.

The best way to write a personalized cover letter 

A strong cover letter is a crucial step to landing your next position. But creating personalized letters for each application takes time and effort.

With Teal's new AI integration, you can generate multiple versions of cover letters directly within the Teal platform, making the process easier and faster.

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.

Sign up for a free Teal account and let our AI features help you showcase your personality, skills, and passion in your next personalized cover letter.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tailor my cover letter for a specific industry or role?

To tailor your cover letter for a particular industry or role, research the company and the position to understand their values, challenges, and culture. Use this information to highlight experiences and skills that align with their needs. Mention specific projects or roles you've had that are relevant, and use industry-specific language to show your familiarity and expertise.

What is the best way to address a cover letter when the hiring manager's name is unknown?

If you cannot find the hiring manager's name, it's best to use a general but respectful salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear [Company Name] Team." Avoid overly generic greetings like "To Whom It May Concern," as they may seem impersonal. Whenever possible, try to find the name by checking the company's website, LinkedIn, or calling the company directly.

How can I demonstrate my enthusiasm for the company in my cover letter without sounding insincere?

To genuinely express enthusiasm for the company, do your homework and identify specific aspects of the company's work, culture, or mission that resonate with you. Share a brief personal story or example that illustrates your connection to these elements. Be specific and sincere, avoiding overused phrases, and ensure your passion is relevant to the role you're applying for.

Hailey Hudson

Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance writer and content marketer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She writes in the healthcare, digital marketing, education, and pet industries.

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