Do I Need a Cover Letter in 2024? Are Cover Letters Mandatory?

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During the job-hunting process, you might find yourself asking “do I really need a cover letter?”

And honestly, that’s a very good question.

You might’ve heard a lot of recruiters say that cover letters aren’t nearly as important as the resume. Some recruiters even openly admit that they don’t read cover letters at all.

So, no wonder that you’re confused about whether or not you really need a cover letter.

In this article, we’re going to deep dive into the topic and teach you when you really need a cover letter (and when you don’t).

  • Whether you need to include a cover letter in your application (and why)
  • When to not include a cover letter with your resume 
  • When to really put effort into your cover letter   

Do I Need a Cover Letter For My Resume

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. Besides, even if they never get to your cover letter, failing to submit one when it’s required will be a red flag.
  • A cover letter shows that you’ve put in the extra effort. So, even if the recruiters don’t read them, they will know that you really want the job and that you are committed to taking all necessary steps to show you’re worth it.
  • A cover letter can set you apart from other candidates. Imagine this scenario: a recruiter is looking at two candidates with the same exact professional background and resume. The difference? One submitted an A++ cover letter that showed exactly why they’re the perfect fit for the job, while the other just copied and pasted an internet template. Which one would you pick? Our point exactly!

The above being said, there do exist a few cases where a cover letter isn’t necessary and a few others where you shouldn't just submit a cover letter, but you should really put in the extra effort to make it memorable!

Ready to go through them?

When Not to Include a Cover Letter

The 3 cases where you don’t need to include a cover letter with your application are:

#1. The job opening doesn’t require one. 

Yeap, in some cases, the job description will specifically instruct you not to submit a cover letter when you’re applying for the position. Needless to say, submitting one regardless of the instructions will not make you a poster child for dedication; it will just show you can’t follow instructions. 

#2. You don’t have the time to customize your cover letters. 

If there’s one thing that’s worse than not submitting a cover letter, is submitting a bad cover letter. What do we mean by bad? An uncustomized cover letter, or a cover letter based on a one-fits-all kind of template that you plan on mass-sending to all the jobs you’re applying for.  

So, if you’re applying to many jobs and you just don’t have the time (or creativity) to write a separate cover letter tailored to each job, then just don’t write one instead of making that cover letter mistake. 

#3. There is no place to upload one on the application platform.

When you’re filling out an online job application, you might notice there is no place to upload a cover letter.

Consider that a clear sign that a cover letter is not required for that particular role.  

When Should You Put Extra Effort to Submit a Cover Letter

Now, as we said, the best practice is to submit a cover letter with your resume for any job, internship, or even internal position that you apply for (unless they explicitly ask you not to). 

That being said, there are a few cases in which you should REALLY submit a cover letter—and put in extra effort to make it significant: 

  • You have important information to add. It might be a career gap, the need for a relocation, or a career change - anything, basically, that you can’t go into detail about in your resume. Your cover letter is your chance to explain it (especially if it adds significant value to your application).
  • There’s a personal connection/referral. If someone has personally referred you to the company, make sure to acknowledge that in your cover letter. A personal referral means bonus points for your application, so don’t miss out on a chance to mention it.
  • You have a link to the company. Did you complete an internship at the company? Or maybe you know the hiring manager or someone higher up the ranks outside of work. No matter the case, be upfront about any link you may have to the company in your cover letter. It will probably do your application good or at least show those reading it that you’re transparent.
  • It’s your dream job. Without making it a love letter to the company, use your cover letter to express what this job means to you professionally and how it’ll help you thrive. Passion goes a long way!

6 Tips For a Perfect Cover Letter 

The bottom line? 

Overwhelmingly, a cover letter is an essential part of your job application and you should include one with your resume.

So, as you can imagine, your cover letter should be on par with your resume. Before you start writing your cover letter, here are a few tips to make the process easier for you:

  • Keep it short. One page is more than enough when it comes to cover letters. Actually, the optimal length for a cover letter is between 250-400 words long.
  • Follow submission instructions. In the job description, look out for specifics on the cover letter format (Word or PDF), fonts and margins, and content (such as which sections or information to include).
  • Proofread your cover letter. Once you’re done writing, make sure your cover letter doesn’t have any grammar or spelling mistakes. Use spell check software such as Grammarly to be on the safe side.
  • Avoid cliches. Saying you’re a “great team player” or “effective communicator” will get you nowhere. Instead, aim to show it by backing it up with your experience. Think, “I’m a great communicator” versus “I’m a great communicator, having closed 50+ sales per month at my last job.”
  • Enhance your personal brand. Opt to use the same fonts, margins, colors, and style in both your resume and cover letter. In this way, you can highlight your personal brand and make more of an impression on the hiring manager.
  • Use action verbs . To make your achievements stand out, use action verbs. So, instead of repeating “I was responsible for” or “I was in charge of,” you can use action verbs such as “managed” or “coordinated.”

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Do you still have some unanswered questions? Here are the most frequently asked questions on whether cover letters are mandatory.

Do I need a cover letter for a part-time job?

You should follow the same practice with your part-time job application as you would with a full-time one. That means you should definitely submit a strong cover letter with your resume (unless otherwise indicated in the job description).

Do I need a cover letter for an internal position? 

When you apply for an internal position within the company, you should create a cover letter to highlight your experience and professional interest in the position. 

Do I need a cover letter for an internship?

Yes, you should include a cover letter with your resume when you’re applying for an internship. The cover letter should focus on your skills and strengths, your education, and your dedication to the internship program. 

Not sure how to write a cover letter for an internship from scratch? This article will tell you all you need to know!

Do I need a cover letter for an entry-level job?

Yes, an entry-level cover letter is a must.

You might not have many professional or relevant experiences to list on your resume (e.g. you’re a recent college graduate or you’re changing career paths), so the cover letter is where you can convey your enthusiasm and commitment. Plus, you can also (in words) explain how your skills from your university or past career translate into the job you’re applying for. 

Do employers read the cover letter or resume first?

Generally, employers will first read your resume to see if you have the relevant experience or skills for the position. From there, they decide whether your cover letter is worth reading or not.  If you send your cover letter in the body of the email where you have attached your resume, though, the recruiter will probably skim through it before opening your resume.

Keep in mind that in such a case your cover letter should be perfect, especially in terms of spelling and business etiquette. If the recruiter spots a “u r” instead of “you are,” or a smiley face, they might not even get to your resume.    

Want your cover letter to match your resume? We are confident that the hiring manager will appreciate the effort. Do it effortlessly by using Novorésumé's matching cover letter and resume templates !  


Key Takeaways

Well, that was all on whether cover letters are mandatory in 2023. We hope that we answered all your questions on the topic. 

Here’s a quick review of the main things we covered:

  • In 98% of cases, you should include a cover letter in your job application. Although recruiters might not always read it, they expect candidates to submit one. A cover letter will considerably boost your chances and set you apart from other candidates with similar backgrounds and resumes.
  • Don’t include a cover letter if the job opening specifies it’s not necessary, if you don’t have time to customize it to the position, or if there is no place to upload one in the application platform.
  • Put extra effort in your cover letter if you have extra information to add to your resume if you have been personally referred for the job, if you have a link to the company, or if you’re applying to your dream job.

Related Readings: 

  • How to Start a Cover Letter
  • How to End a Cover Letter
  • How to Address a Cover Letter

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How and Why to Write a Great Cover Letter

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A cover letter is a one-page business letter that you submit when applying to a job, along with your resume. As a piece of persuasive writing, your cover letter will aim to convey to the employer why you’re a great candidate for the role.

What is the purpose of a cover letter?

Your cover letter complements your resume by making it easy for the employer to see how your experience and interest connect to the position. Your goal is to convince the employer to interview you.

With your cover letter, you’ll aim to:

  • Highlight your qualifications:  You’ll show how your skills and experience relate to the employer’s needs for a specific position.
  • Showcase your motivation: You’ll demonstrate your enthusiasm for the specific position and the organization.
  • Reflect your voice and written communication skills: You’ll give the employer a sense of your personality and writing style.

When should I write a cover letter?

Not all jobs require cover letters. So, how do you decide whether to submit one?

Submit a Cover Letter when…

  • The posting explicitly requests that you do so
  • You’re applying to an opportunity at a mission-driven organization
  • You think that doing so could provide important information to the employer that they wouldn’t get from your resume

Consider Submitting a Cover Letter when…

  • It’s marked “optional” in an application, and you have the bandwidth to do so
  • You have content that you can easily recycle or repurpose into a tailored cover letter

No Need to Submit a Cover Letter when…

  • A posting specifically tells you not to submit one
  • There’s no way to submit one in an application portal, and doing so would require a serious workaround

If you’re applying to several similar opportunities, creating a draft cover letter in advance, geared toward that type of opportunity, can be a helpful way to save time in your actual application process.

How do I write a cover letter?

Your cover letter should articulate your qualifications and motivation for the position. Read the job description closely and research the organization. As you craft your cover letter, use examples that demonstrate your relevant skills, knowledge, and interests. The cover letter should be concise, clear, and well-organized.

Before Writing

Research the employer.

Learn enough about the organization to articulate why you are a strong fit for that firm. 

  • Review the firm’s website and LinkedIn page.
  • Speak with current or previous employees.
  • Read articles and social media for current news.

Analyze the job description

Look for skills, duties, and qualifications of the job so you can design your letter to match these as much as possible.

Reflect on your experience and motivation

Identify skills and personal qualities you have developed which will be useful in this role. Ask yourself:

  • What attracts you about this role/company/industry?
  • What have you have done in your work experiences, classes, internships, activities, projects, volunteer work, travel, etc., that is similar to the duties required of the job? 

Cover Letter Structure

As a business letter, the cover letter should include:

  • Heading: Include your name and contact information in the same format as your resume
  • Salutation: Address your letter to the specific individual who can hire you, if this is known. If the name is not included in the job description, address the letter to the Hiring Manager or title mentioned in the job description.
  • Body Paragraphs:  Discuss your experiences, interests, and skills to show the employer how you can add value to their team. See the section below for more guidance.
  • Signature Line: Include a closing and your name.

The cover letter should be one page, about three or four paragraphs, and single spaced. Use 10-12 point font and one inch margins. 

When applying online, upload your cover letter as a PDF file, unless another format is specified. When sending your resume and cover letter by email, you may write a short note or paste your cover letter in the body of your email (without the address header) and also attach the PDF file.

Cover Letter Content

Your cover letter should answer who, what, when, where and why you are applying for the opportunity. 


State the position for which you are applying. If you have a referral or spoke with someone from the company, you can mention it in the introduction. Provide some basic information about yourself; this can include your class year and what you’re studying at Columbia. Briefly outline why you’re interested in the organization and what you bring in terms of relevant experience and skills. 

Body Paragraphs

These paragraphs will highlight your qualifications and strengths that are most relevant to the organization and position. Use the job posting and your research as clues to determine what the employer is seeking in a candidate. Have your resume beside you and reflect on what you want the employer to know about you. Are there experiences you want to expand upon that demonstrate your understanding of the role and ability to do the job requirements?

Structure the paragraphs based on relevance, not chronology. Lead with your most relevant skill or strongest experience.

Start each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence.  This can highlight a key skill set, a transferable experience, or a core area of knowledge you’ve built through your studies. Walk the reader through a project or experience, integrating the relevant skills you used and qualities you demonstrated. Provide details about your accomplishments and impact. Connect how these experiences have prepared you for this role and why you are motivated to do this job. There is no need to apologize if you feel you lack experience; focus on the accomplishments that you have.

Recap what you would bring to the organization and your interest in the position. Thank the employer for their consideration. Keep your tone positive and enthusiastic. 

Check out our example of how to structure your cover letter content . 

Editing Tips

Use our  Cover Letter Checklist to make sure your format and content is in line with best practices. 

  • Ensure that the content reflects the requirements in the job description
  • Keep the cover letter concise, at one page or less
  • Correct any errors in grammar, sentence structure, and spelling
  • Use the active voice
  • Avoid beginning too many sentences with “I”

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How to write a great cover letter in 2024: tips and structure


A cover letter is a personalized letter that introduces you to a potential employer, highlights your qualifications, and explains why you're a strong fit for a specific job.

Hate or love them, these brief documents allow job seekers to make an impression and stand out from the pile of other applications. Penning a thoughtful cover letter shows the hiring team you care about earning the position.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to write a cover letter — and a great one, at that.

What is a cover letter and why does it matter?

A professional cover letter is a one-page document you submit alongside your CV or resume as part of a job application. Typically, they’re about half a page or around 150–300 words.

An effective cover letter doesn’t just rehash your CV; it’s your chance to highlight your proudest moments, explain why you want the job, and state plainly what you bring to the table.

Show the reviewer you’re likable, talented, and will add to the company’s culture . You can refer to previous jobs and other information from your CV, but only if it helps tell a story about you and your career choices .

What 3 things should you include in a cover letter?

A well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out to potential employers. To make your cover letter shine, here are three key elements to include:

1. Personalization

Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name whenever possible. If the job posting doesn't include a name, research to find out who will be reviewing applications. Personalizing your cover letter shows that you've taken the time to tailor your application to the specific company and role.

2. Highlight relevant achievements and skills

Emphasize your most relevant skills , experiences, and accomplishments that directly relate to the job you're applying for. Provide specific examples of how your skills have benefited previous employers and how they can contribute to the prospective employer's success. Use quantifiable achievements , such as improved efficiency, cost savings, or project success, to demonstrate your impact.

3. Show enthusiasm and fit

Express your enthusiasm for the company and the position you're applying for. Explain why you are interested in this role and believe you are a good fit for the organization. Mention how your values, goals, and skills align with the company's mission and culture. Demonstrating that you've done your research can make a significant impression.

What do hiring managers look for in a cover letter?

Employers look for several key elements in a cover letter. These include:

Employers want to see that your cover letter is specifically tailored to the position you are applying for. It should demonstrate how your skills, experiences, and qualifications align with the job requirements.

Clear and concise writing

A well-written cover letter is concise, easy to read, and error-free. Employers appreciate clear and effective communication skills , so make sure your cover letter showcases your ability to express yourself effectively.

Demonstrated knowledge of the company

Employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in their organization. Mention specific details about the company, such as recent achievements or projects, to show that you are enthusiastic about joining their team.

Achievements and accomplishments

Highlight your relevant achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your qualifications for the position. Use specific examples to showcase your skills and show how they can benefit the employer.

Enthusiasm and motivation

Employers want to hire candidates who are excited about the opportunity and motivated to contribute to the company's success. Express your enthusiasm and passion for the role and explain why you are interested in working for the company.


A cover letter should be professional in tone and presentation. Use formal language, address the hiring manager appropriately, and follow standard business letter formatting.


How do you structure a cover letter?

A well-structured cover letter follows a specific format that makes it easy for the reader to understand your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position. Here's a typical structure for a cover letter:

Contact information

Include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter. Place your contact information at the beginning so that it's easy for the employer to reach you.

Employer's contact information

Opening paragraph, middle paragraph(s), closing paragraph, complimentary close, additional contact information.

Repeat your contact information (name, phone number, and email) at the end of the letter, just in case the employer needs it for quick reference.

Remember to keep your cover letter concise and focused. It should typically be no more than one page in length. Proofread your letter carefully to ensure it is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Tailor each cover letter to the specific job application to make it as relevant and impactful as possible.

How to write a good cover letter (with examples)

The best letters are unique, tailored to the job description, and written in your voice — but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a job cover letter template.

Great cover letters contain the same basic elements and flow a certain way. Take a look at this cover letter structure for ref erence while you construct your own.

1. Add a header and contact information

While reading your cover letter, the recruiter shouldn’t have to look far to find who wrote it. Your document should include a basic heading with the following information:

  • Pronouns (optional)
  • Location (optional)
  • Email address
  • Phone number (optional)
  • Relevant links, such as your LinkedIn profile , portfolio, or personal website (optional)

You can pull this information directly from your CV. Put it together, and it will look something like this:

Christopher Pike

San Francisco, California

[email protected]

Alternatively, if the posting asks you to submit your cover letter in the body of an email, you can include this information in your signature. For example:

Warm regards,

Catherine Janeway

Bloomington, Indiana

[email protected]

(555) 999 - 2222


2. Include a personal greeting

Always begin your cover letter by addressing the hiring manager — preferably by name. You can use the person’s first and last name. Make sure to include a relevant title, like Dr., Mr., or Ms. For example, “Dear Mr. John Doe.”

Avoid generic openings like “To whom it may concern,” “Dear sir or madam,” or “Dear hiring manager.” These introductions sound impersonal — like you’re copy-pasting cover letters — and can work against you in the hiring process.

Be careful, though. When using someone’s name, you don’t want to use the wrong title or accidentally misgender someone. If in doubt, using only their name is enough. You could also opt for a gender-neutral title, like Mx.

Make sure you’re addressing the right person in your letter — ideally, the person who’s making the final hiring decision. This isn’t always specified in the job posting, so you may have to do some research to learn the name of the hiring manager.

3. Draw them in with an opening story

The opening paragraph of your cover letter should hook the reader. You want it to be memorable, conversational, and extremely relevant to the job you’re pursuing. 

There’s no need for a personal introduction — you’ve already included your name in the heading. But you should make reference to the job you’re applying for. A simple “Thank you for considering my application for the role of [job title] at [company],” will suffice.

Then you can get into the “Why” of your job application. Drive home what makes this specific job and this company so appealing to you. Perhaps you’re a fan of their products, you’re passionate about their mission, or you love their brand voice. Whatever the case, this section is where you share your enthusiasm for the role.

Here’s an example opening paragraph. In this scenario, you’re applying for a digital marketing role at a bicycle company:

“Dear Mr. John Doe,

Thank you for considering my application for the role of Marketing Coordinator at Bits n’ Bikes.

My parents bought my first bike at one of your stores. I’ll never forget the freedom I felt when I learned to ride it. My father removed my training wheels, and my mom sent me barrelling down the street. You provide joy to families across the country — and I want to be part of that.”

4. Emphasize why you’re best for the job

Your next paragraphs should be focused on the role you’re applying to. Highlight your skill set and why you’re a good fit for the needs and expectations associated with the position. Hiring managers want to know what you’ll bring to the job, not just any role.

Start by studying the job description for hints. What problem are they trying to solve with this hire? What skills and qualifications do they mention first or more than once? These are indicators of what’s important to the hiring manager.

Search for details that match your experience and interests. For example, if you’re excited about a fast-paced job in public relations, you might look for these elements in a posting:

  • They want someone who can write social media posts and blog content on tight deadlines
  • They value collaboration and input from every team member
  • They need a planner who can come up with strong PR strategies

Highlight how you fulfill these requirements:

“I’ve always been a strong writer. From blog posts to social media, my content pulls in readers and drives traffic to product pages. For example, when I worked at Bits n’ Bikes, I developed a strategic blog series about bike maintenance that increased our sales of spare parts and tools by 50% — we could see it in our web metrics.

Thanks to the input of all of our team members, including our bike mechanics, my content delivered results.”

5. End with a strong closing paragraph and sign off gracefully

Your closing paragraph is your final chance to hammer home your enthusiasm about the role and your unique ability to fill it. Reiterate the main points you explained in the body paragraphs and remind the reader of what you bring to the table.

You can also use the end of your letter to relay other important details, like whether you’re willing to relocate for the job.

When choosing a sign-off, opt for a phrase that sounds professional and genuine. Reliable options include “Sincerely” and “Kind regards.”

Here’s a strong closing statement for you to consider:

“I believe my enthusiasm, skills, and work experience as a PR professional will serve Bits n’ Bikes very well. I would love to meet to further discuss my value-add as your next Director of Public Relations. Thank you for your consideration. I hope we speak soon.


Tips to write a great cover letter that compliments your resume

When writing your own letter, try not to copy the example excerpts word-for-word. Instead, use this cover letter structure as a baseline to organize your ideas. Then, as you’re writing, use these extra cover letter tips to add your personal touch:

  • Keep your cover letter different from your resume : Your cover letter should not duplicate the information on your resume. Instead, it should provide context and explanations for key points in your resume, emphasizing how your qualifications match the specific job you're applying for.
  • Customize your cover letter . Tailor your cover letter for each job application. Address the specific needs of the company and the job posting, demonstrating that you've done your homework and understand their requirements.
  • Show enthusiasm and fit . Express your enthusiasm for the company and position in the cover letter. Explain why you are interested in working for this company and how your values, goals, and skills align with their mission and culture.
  • Use keywords . Incorporate keywords from the job description and industry terms in your cover letter. This can help your application pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and demonstrate that you're well-versed in the field.
  • Keep it concise . Your cover letter should be succinct and to the point, typically no more than one page. Focus on the most compelling qualifications and experiences that directly support your application.
  • Be professional . Maintain a professional tone and structure in your cover letter. Proofread it carefully to ensure there are no errors.
  • Address any gaps or concerns . If there are gaps or concerns in your resume, such as employment gaps or a change in career direction, briefly address them in your cover letter. Explain any relevant circumstances and how they have shaped your qualifications and determination.
  • Provide a call to action . Conclude your cover letter with a call to action, inviting the employer to contact you for further discussion. Mention that you've attached your resume for their reference.
  • Follow the correct format . Use a standard cover letter format like the one above, including your contact information, a formal salutation, introductory and closing paragraphs, and your signature. Ensure that it complements your resume without redundancy.
  • Pick the right voice and tone . Try to write like yourself, but adapt to the tone and voice of the company. Look at the job listing, company website, and social media posts. Do they sound fun and quirky, stoic and professional, or somewhere in-between? This guides your writing style.
  • Tell your story . You’re an individual with unique expertise, motivators, and years of experience. Tie the pieces together with a great story. Introduce how you arrived at this point in your career, where you hope to go , and how this prospective company fits in your journey. You can also explain any career changes in your resume.
  • Show, don’t tell . Anyone can say they’re a problem solver. Why should a recruiter take their word for it if they don’t back it up with examples? Instead of naming your skills, show them in action. Describe situations where you rose to the task, and quantify your success when you can.
  • Be honest . Avoid highlighting skills you don’t have. This will backfire if they ask you about them in an interview. Instead, shift focus to the ways in which you stand out.
  • Avoid clichés and bullet points . These are signs of lazy writing. Do your best to be original from the first paragraph to the final one. This highlights your individuality and demonstrates the care you put into the letter.
  • Proofread . Always spellcheck your cover letter. Look for typos, grammatical errors, and proper flow. We suggest reading it out loud. If it sounds natural rolling off the tongue, it will read naturally as well.


Common cover letter writing FAQs

How long should a cover letter be.

A cover letter should generally be concise and to the point. It is recommended to keep it to one page or less, focusing on the most relevant information that highlights your qualifications and fits the job requirements.

Should I include personal information in a cover letter?

While it's important to introduce yourself and provide your contact information, avoid including personal details such as your age, marital status, or unrelated hobbies. Instead, focus on presenting your professional qualifications and aligning them with the job requirements.

Can I use the same cover letter for multiple job applications?

While it may be tempting to reuse a cover letter, it is best to tailor each cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. This allows you to highlight why you are a good fit for that particular role and show genuine interest in the company.

Do I need to address my cover letter to a specific person?

Whenever possible, it is advisable to address your cover letter to a specific person, such as the hiring manager or recruiter. If the job posting does not provide this information, try to research and find the appropriate contact. If all else fails, you can use a generic salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager."

Should I include references in my cover letter?

It is generally not necessary to include references in your cover letter. Save this information for when the employer explicitly requests it. Instead, focus on showcasing your qualifications and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the position.

It’s time to start writing your stand-out cover letter

The hardest part of writing is getting started. 

Hopefully, our tips gave you some jumping-off points and confidence . But if you’re really stuck, looking at cover letter examples and resume templates will help you decide where to get started. 

There are numerous sample cover letters available online. Just remember that you’re a unique, well-rounded person, and your cover letter should reflect that. Using our structure, you can tell your story while highlighting your passion for the role. 

Doing your research, including strong examples of your skills, and being courteous is how to write a strong cover letter. Take a breath , flex your fingers, and get typing. Before you know it, your job search will lead to a job interview.

If you want more personalized guidance, a specialized career coach can help review, edit, and guide you through creating a great cover letter that sticks.

Ace your job search

Explore effective job search techniques, interview strategies, and ways to overcome job-related challenges. Our coaches specialize in helping you land your dream job.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

3 cover letter examples to help you catch a hiring manager’s attention

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  • Cover Letter Tips

Should You Combine Your Cover Letter and Resume into One Document?

Ken Chase profile pic

The internet has impacted virtually every area of life, including the job search process. Gone are the days when a job seeker would simply hand an employer a cover letter and resume in paper form. Today, more companies than ever accept digital copies of those job search documents.

In fact, many companies and employers now only accept emailed digital cover letters and resumes so they can make use of applicant tracking systems (ATS). Unfortunately, there’s been little effort to standardize submission processes, and that can make it a little confusing for the average job seeker.

For example, how should you submit your emailed resume and cover letter? Should you send them separately or combine them into one document? In this post, we’ll examine both options and offer the advice you need to make the best decision.

What’s the difference between a cover letter and resume?

Before you decide whether to combine your cover letter and resume into one document, it is helpful to make sure that you fully understand each of these important tools. The fact is that each of these documents has its own role to play in the job search process, and they have some major differences:

Each of these documents serves a distinct purpose in the job search process. Resumes are designed to provide an employer with an easy way to quickly assess your qualifications. The main purpose of a cover letter is to help the employer understand your motivations, goals, and personality. Both are important documents, but they are not interchangeable.

Your cover letter should be a targeted document that focuses on your qualifications for a specific job role. It should contain information about why you are the best candidate for the position and what you hope to achieve for the employer if you are hired. Your resume is more of a marketing tool that highlights your skills, relevant work experience , and educational qualifications in an easily digested summarized format.

Structure and format

These two documents also have dramatically different structures and formats . Your resume will be divided into specific sections for easier consumption and will include bullet point lists of relevant skills and achievements. Cover letters look more like any other written communication, conveying your message in full sentences and paragraphs.

Cover letter and resume: to combine or not to combine?

Let’s get right to the main question here: should you combine your cover letter and resume into one document? As a general rule, you should try to avoid it wherever possible. Since resumes and cover letters serve two very different roles in the job search process, they should be treated as separate documents. The only time you should even consider combining these two documents is when the company has instructed you to do so.

Review the instructions

Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to get the submission guidelines for the position straight from the source. That means asking the company’s hiring manager how your resume and cover letter should be sent. If there are clear instructions, it’s important to follow them to the letter to maximize your chances of receiving the right type of attention. On those rare occasions when a company wants a combined document, the job posting will usually include that instruction.

Why you should not combine these two documents

In most instances, however, you will discover that the instructions are vague. Perhaps the only instruction is that your resume must be emailed. If that’s the case, then you should always choose to leave these two documents as separate files. There are several very good reasons to do so:

If you include these two tools in one document, applicant tracking systems may reject it. That can happen if the ATS mistakes your cover letter for a resume and assesses it based on its rules for resume approval.

Hiring managers often want to go directly to your resume to review your qualifications. If your cover letter is part of that document, it could be a distraction that frustrates your reader.

Your cover letter and resume serve different purposes. Keeping them separate helps to ensure that each document receives the attention it deserves.

What if employers request that your cover letter and resume be combined?

As we noted above, there may be times when a specific employer requests that a resume and cover letter be sent as one document. Obviously, that request should be honored if you want to be considered for an interview. The important thing then is to ensure that you combine them properly. The following tips can help:

Decide which document you want the employer to see first

Since the cover letter serves as your introduction, there is a case to be made for putting it in the front of the resume. If you want to make sure that the ATS scores your resume properly, however, you may want to put the resume at the beginning of the document. That can also help hiring managers quickly access your qualifications.

Create a new document

Make sure that you create an entirely new document for your combined file. That will enable you to keep them separate for other companies and submissions. Then copy and paste your resume and cover letter into this new document. Be sure to save the file with an appropriate file name. For example: JohnSmithResumeCoverLetter.docx or JohnSmithResumeCoverLetter.pdf.

Use proper formatting

When you paste each document into your combined file, make sure that you retain the original formatting. Also, be sure to include a page break at the end of the first document so that the next document begins on a fresh page.

Submit the combined file

Once you have your new combined file, submit it to the company. If the online job posting includes submission instructions, follow them to the letter. Otherwise, simply send it to the appropriate email address.

How to email your cover letter and resume

When emailing your cover letter and resume, either include the cover letter as an attachment or copy and paste its text into the email message. Don’t do both. 

It is generally recommended that you submit both the resume and cover letter as file attachments rather than having any part of them in the body of your email message. What you can include in the email text is confirmation that you have attached the resume and cover letter files.

Of course, you also need to decide whether you want to submit a Word document or a PDF file. Once again, review the job board instructions to see what the company is requesting. If there is no specific option listed, then the best thing to do is to submit each document in a Word file. 

Sample cover letter and resume template

Below, you will find a resume and cover letter template that you can use to ensure that your job search documents contain the information that employers want to see. You can use these templates to guide you as you create your own cover letter and resume:

Resume template

[Your first and last name]

[Your Phone number]

[Your Email address]

Professional Summary

[No more than three sentences highlighting your qualifications, experience, and achievements.]

Core Competencies

[Bullet point list of your relevant skills. Use multiple columns to list 12-15 top skills ]

Employment History

[Company name], [city], [state] | [Employment dates]

[Job title]

Job responsibility and achievement

[Repeat employment history for additional jobs, in reverse chronological order]

[Name of school], [city], [state]

[Degree], [major]

[Date you graduated] It should be noted that you don’t have to include education dates if you graduated more than one year ago. 


[Name of certification or license, organization providing it, and relevant dates]

Awards and Achievements

[Award, honor, achievement]

Cover letter template

[Your city and state]

[Recipient's first and last name]

[Company name]

[Company address]

Dear [Recipient's name],

My name is [your name] and I am interested in discussing the open [position name] position at your company. I have [length of experience] experience as a [your profession] and am confident that I can provide a great deal of value for your company if hired.

I have recently been employed at [relevant employer name], where I was responsible for [cite job duties using keywords that match the skills needed in the open position]. Prior to that, I [provide examples of job duties that show your qualifications to fill the company’s open job]. I would love to have the opportunity to use these skills as part of your team.

I have included my resume with this letter so that you can evaluate my qualifications and experience at your leisure. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to having the opportunity to discuss the position with you in greater detail.


[Your name]

You should choose to send your cover letter and resume as separate documents, unless the company has instructed you to combine them into a single file. More importantly, make sure that you get those critical job search tools into the right hands so that you can increase your chances of landing an interview!

Want to know whether your resume has what it takes to capture a hiring manager’s interest? Get a free resume review from our team of experts today!

Recommended Reading:

How to Tailor Your Resume to Different Positions (Examples)

How long should a resume be in 2023?

How to Get Your Resume Past the ATS Scans

Ken Chase, Freelance Writer

During Ken's two decades as a freelance writer, he has covered everything from banking and fintech to business management and the entertainment industry. His true passion, however, has always been focused on helping others achieve their career goals with timely job search and interview advice or the occasional resume consultation. When he's not working, Ken can usually be found adventuring with family and friends or playing fetch with his demanding German Shepherd. Read more resume advice from Ken on  ZipJob’s blog .

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  • Cover Letter

What to Include in a Cover Letter (Examples for 2024)

Christian Eilers, CPRW

Our customers have been hired by:

What to include in a cover letter besides a desperate plea to give you a job? Cheer up! Writing one will be a breeze if you know what to put in a cover letter. Not only that—you’ll write an attention-grabbing cover letter that will get employers on the phone ASAP.

So what should a cover letter include? Our brief cover letter guide will show you what should and shouldn’t be in a cover letter and why.

This guide will tell you:

  • What to include in a cover letter to land the job you're after.
  • What NOT to include in a cover letter.
  • What are the elements that make a great cover letter.

Want to save time and have your cover letter ready in 5 minutes? Try our cover letter builder. It’s fast and easy to use, and you'll get tips and right-vs-wrong examples while writing it. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume.


Here’s an infographic showing you what to include in a cover letter:

sample cover letter example

Sample cover letter for a resume— See more cover letter examples here .

Looking for some cover letter examples? See:

  • The Perfect Cover Letter for Any Job (Example & Guide)
  • General Cover Letter Example
  • Email Cover Letter Example
  • Brief Cover Letter Example
  • Cover Letter with No Experience Example
  • Motivational Statement Example
  • 10 Short Cover Letter Examples for Any Job (+ Writing Guide)
  • Cover Letter for an Internship: Example & Tips for All Interns
  • Business Cover Letter: Samples, Proper Format, & Writing Guide
  • Cover Letter Examples to Land Any Job

Need a detailed cover letter writing guide? Check here: How to Write a Cover Letter in 8 Simple Steps

Now, let’s see what should be in a cover letter to make it successful:

What to Include in a Cover Letter: Example

Adalynn Harris

Customer Service Representative

123 Seaside Lane

Portland, Maine, 04101


[email protected]

Portland, July 1, 2023

Emersyn Campbell

Human Resources Manager

456 Tech Boulevard

Portland, Maine, 04102

Dear Ms. Campbell,

I am writing to express my interest in the advertised Customer Service position at LumeTech. With my proven track record of exceptional customer service during my tenure at ThriveSwift, I am confident I can contribute to LumeTech's renowned customer satisfaction ratings.

At ThriveSwift, I led the implementation of a new customer relationship management system, increasing customer satisfaction scores by 25% within the first quarter of its launch. This achievement underlines my commitment to driving customer-centric improvements and showcases my ability to proactively identify and address our client's needs.

My motivation to join LumeTech stems from your commitment to innovation and focus on providing outstanding customer experiences. I want to bring my excellent communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and a customer-first mindset to support LumeTech's continued growth. My expertise and ability to work well in a team will greatly benefit your company.

I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how my skills and experiences align with LumeTech's goals and how I can contribute to maintaining the high standards of customer service that your company is known for.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to contributing to LumeTech.

What to Include in a Cover Letter?

The key to writing a successful job application is to know exactly what to put in a cover letter. Are you wondering: "What should I include in a cover letter?" With a good writing guide, it’s just like following a cooking recipe. Think of each element of a cover letter as the necessary ingredients, and your writing style as seasoning that adds a unique flavor.

Here are the key elements a cover letter should include:

Contact Information

What contact details should you add? Must-haves include your name, email address, and phone number. Your mailing address, branding statement, and link to your optimized LinkedIn profile are nice-to-haves.

Current Date

End your cover letter header by inserting the date of writing before moving on.

Company Information

You need to list the name of the person leading the recruitment process, their job title, and the company address. Research the company website, or a site like Glassdoor , to locate the hiring manager’s name so that you can address your cover letter correctly. 

Dear is regarded as one of the best cover letter salutations  out there, as it is helpful whether the letter is formal or informal and whether you know the recruiter’s name. Avoid cliché greetings such as Dear Sir or Madam , or To Whom It May Concern , as they’re considered lazy and outdated.

Opening Line

What should the first paragraph of a cover letter include? Like the compelling first line in a great novel, the opening paragraph in a cover letter should immediately hook the reader in a way that makes them want to read further.

Your Interest in the Company and Position

Show your enthusiasm for the job by including attention-grabbing facts about the company or your respect for their products and services. A bit of praise can get you very far!

Reasons You’re Great for the Job

Show them you are the perfect fit for the company and team by mentioning your professional achievements . Give specific examples of using the required skills in the past. This section of your cover letter shouldn’t be a repetition of your resume but a tailored demonstration of your expertise.

Closing Paragraph With a CTA

Write an impressive closing paragraph of your cover letter by briefly summarizing everything, and add a Call To Action by proposing a meeting or a phone call.

Closing Sentiment and Your Name

Simple ones such as “Best Regards” or “Sincerely” with your full name are enough. Remember to add a cover letter enclosure to make sure the hiring manager knows you emailed a complete job application . 

A P.S. at the bottom of your cover letter always draws the reader’s attention, even if they don’t care to read the rest. Include an original idea for the company, or show off an impressive professional achievement in a way that will make them want to learn more about you.

Now that you know what should be included in a cover letter, make sure to fill each element correctly. Remember what your cover letter should say : you can help the company succeed!

Pro Tip: Remember to format your cover letter professionally. Use easy-to-read cover letter fonts that can make a good impression on recruiters. Set the spacing and margins of your cover letter to maintain a good balance between text and white space, and limit the cover letter length to one page. Learn more about cover letter formatting: Formatting a Cover Letter Step-by-Step .

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What Not to Include in a Cover Letter?

Maybe you’ve got a unique idea about what to include in a cover letter for a job. It’s better to check if it’s not against the rules. There’s always a bit of freedom in writing a job application, but going too far won’t make a good impression on recruiters.

What not to put in a cover letter: 

Irrelevant Information

Your cover letter should include relevant experience that fits the advertised position. Skip anything that won’t matter to the hiring manager.

Extensive Paragraphs

A cover letter is not an essay! Keep the paragraphs up to 5 sentences long to write a killer cover letter .

False Claims

It’s the same as in a resume— lying on a job application is a big NO. If you claim something, make sure you have facts to back it up.

Salary Expectations

Generally, it’s better not to include them. Mention your salary requirements in the cover letter only if the job advertisement tells you to do it.

Negative Remarks About Previous Jobs

Never say you hated your job . Whatever the circumstances of leaving a previous position are, keep all remarks professional.

If you need to explain something in your cover letter, make sure you’re not using unverifiable claims, such as: “I didn’t get a promotion because the manager chose someone who slept with the boss .”

Personal Information

Unless it’s relevant to the position or the job advertisement, don’t focus on details of your personal life. The recruiter doesn’t need to know everything about you. In fact, providing irrelevant information may lead to unconscious bias and employment discrimination, even though it’s against labor laws .

Social Links

Leave the socials, profile URLs, and portfolio to your resume unless the cover letter template of your choice has a place for them.

Excessive Flattery

You don’t need to be like, “I love you guys!”. Show your enthusiasm for the job, but don’t go too far with flattery . Focus on the company's achievements rather than subjective opinions about it.

Your Wishes

It’s perfectly fine that you expect certain things from the company. But in your cover letter, focus on saying what you can do for them.

Spelling or Grammar Errors

It’s just common sense—use a spellchecking tool such as Grammarly to ensure you didn’t make any mistakes.

Wrong Names

It’s obvious, but make sure that you address the letter to the right company and person.

Strange File Name

Naming a cover letter is important. You don’t want the file lost on the recruiter’s hard drive. Always put your name and the position you apply for in the file name. 

Remember that a cover letter should be formal . Unless you know for certain that the company culture is extremely relaxed, don’t include jokes or puns.

Indulge in the wealth of tips on writing a cover letter that will let you stand out: 35+ Successful Cover Letter Tips, Advice & Guidelines

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here.  Here's what it may look like:

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaway

Here's what should a cover letter include:

  • Opening paragraph —grab the recruiter's attention with relevant skills and accomplishments.
  • Middle paragraphs —show that you are a perfect match and how you can add value to the company.
  • Compelling ending —ask for a meeting or a call and add a catchy postscript.

Do you have any questions about what should you include in a cover letter? Not sure what should be in a cover letter to make it effective? Get at us in the comments below, and we will answer your question. Thanks for reading!

About Zety’s Editorial Process

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines . We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.


Frequently Asked Questions about What to Include in Cover Letters

What to include in a cover letter.

It’s good that you know that cover letters are necessary . When writing a job application, it’s also important to know what should a good cover letter include. The purpose of a cover letter is to express your interest in the advertised position and present your qualifications for the job. In order to do that, you must include the essential cover letter information.

Here’s what goes in a cover letter:

  • Your contact information
  • Date of the letter
  • Contact information of the hiring manager and the company
  • Salutation + the hiring manager’s name
  • Attention-grabbing opening statement .
  • First paragraph, containing your enthusiasm for the position and the company
  • Second paragraph, containing an overview of your qualifications
  • Third paragraph, specifying why this position is perfect for you
  • Closing paragraph with a Call To Action
  • Greetings and optional P.S.

Remember that your cover letter layout should match the resume template—this makes your job application appear more professional! If you don’t want to work with font sizes, cover letter spacing & margins , and all of that fluff, you can pick some simple cover letter templates to download , or a few free cover letter templates in Microsoft Word to make your life easier.

What are 3 things you should include in a cover letter?

While certain parts of a cover letter, such as contact information and salutations, are easy to remember, the contents of the cover letter’s paragraphs are more difficult to write. However, once you remember what your cover letter should say in 3 short points, it will become easier to write one.

Here are the 3 things you should include in a cover letter:

  • Your enthusiasm for the job and the company
  • Your research about the position and the company’s business goals
  • Your willingness to make a contribution

Why do these things matter to recruiters?

First, they want to see you are enthusiastic about the advertised position. By letting them know what attracts you to the job and the company, they can see that you didn’t just send the same letter to 20 other businesses. For this reason, never address your cover letter with “To whom it may concern” —it really makes a bad impression on the reader!

Second, by doing research about the position and the business, you can learn about their current goals, history, achievements, and challenges to overcome. You can make a great impression by referring to a little-known fact or a significant achievement of the company in your cover letter.

Third, the hiring managers want to know what you can do for the company. Explain how you can contribute to the overall business goal and the goals of the department you’d work for. Be as specific as possible!

What are the 7 things you should include while formatting your cover letter?

Just like there are many recipes for apple pie, there are also many guidelines for cover letters. How are you supposed to know which ones matter? We tried to combine them into 7 points to make formatting a cover letter easier.

Here are the 7 things you should include in a cover letter:

  • Cover Letter Header : add your contact information and contact details of the company
  • Salutation: tailor the cover letter greeting and use the hiring manager’s name instead of the cliché “ Dear Sir or Madam ”
  • Opening paragraph: grab the reader’s attention by introducing yourself, stating why you want this job, and what attracts you to the company.
  • Second paragraph: present your qualifications by referring to the requirements from the job advertisement.
  • Third paragraph: show that you’re the perfect candidate for this position by explaining how you can contribute to the company's success.
  • Closing paragraph: summarize your interest in the position and include a Call To Action.
  • Greetings and signature: use a professional closing and paste your scanned signature for a personal touch.

That’s it!

Sometimes, the job advertisement may ask candidates to also include their salary expectations in cover letters . If that’s the case, make sure to also mention them!

As for the ideal length of a cover letter , it’s best to keep it short enough to fit a bit more than half of a page. Recruiters are busy people, they don’t have time to read long essays.

What are the 4 parts of a cover letter?

It’s not easy to find a general cover letter outline . But don’t worry, writing a cover letter can be easier than finding the perfect answer to your question via Google . You just need to know what 4 parts to include in your cover letter .

Each cover letter has four distinct sections:

  • Header with contact information and salutation
  • Your introduction
  • Body of the letter
  • Closing statement

That’s what a cover letter should look like .

The body is the longest section of a cover letter. It may consist of several paragraphs (though usually two are enough) dedicated to proving that you’re the best fit for the advertised position. In this part, you should include an overview of your qualifications, refer to the requirements mentioned in the job ad, and explain how you can use your skills and knowledge to assist the employer and help the company achieve its goals. Remember that the goal of your cover letter is to sell yourself . It’s important to be specific—vague promises are not convincing for recruiters!

Christian Eilers, CPRW

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  • Resume and Cover Letter
  • What is the perfect cover...

What is the perfect cover letter length?

8 min read · Updated on May 08, 2023

Marsha Hebert

Finding the perfect balance between concise and complete can be a challenge

When applying for a job, the cover letter can often be the key factor that sets you apart from other candidates. A cover letter serves as an opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, and personality and can give hiring managers a glimpse into what you have to offer. 

However, one of the biggest challenges in creating a cover letter is determining the ideal length. So, what is the perfect length for your cover letter? The answer can depend on the job you're applying for, the company culture, and the expectations of the hiring manager. 

In this article, we'll provide tips on how to create a standout letter and offer guidance on determining the ideal cover letter length that will make the right impression on potential employers.

How long should a cover letter be?

While there's no set rule for how many words your cover letter should be, the length will depend on the amount of information you need to convey and the style you choose to write in. 

However, as a general guideline, it's recommended to keep your cover letter to one page, with each paragraph consisting of 3-4 sentences. This works out to between 300 and 500 words and ensures that your document is concise and easy to read - while still providing enough detail about your qualifications and experience . 

Additionally, it's important to focus on quality over quantity and make sure that each sentence is relevant and impactful to the overall message of your cover letter. On top of that, some employers may have specific guidelines for cover letter length. 

Guidelines on cover letter length

1 page or 300-500 words

One commonly accepted guideline is to keep your letter to one page, with a cover letter word count of approximately 300-500 words. This length allows you to provide enough information to highlight your skills and experience, while remaining on point.

Exceptions to the rule

How long is too long? Many people wonder if it's okay to have a two-page cover letter. There are some instances where you can exceed one page; however, they are few and very far between. If the job posting specifically requests a longer cover letter, you can consider writing a more detailed document that addresses the specific requirements of the position. In some fields, such as academia or research, a longer cover letter may be expected in order to provide a comprehensive overview of your experience and qualifications. But in normal circumstances, one page is plenty. 

Breaking down the cover letter

When determining the length of your cover letter, it can be helpful to think about the different sections of the document and how much space each one should take up. Breaking down a cover letter into its different sections and knowing what to include in each paragraph can help you to create a document that is well-organized, effective, and concise. 

What should a cover letter include, though? Here's a breakdown of what you could cover in each paragraph:

Paragraph 1: Introduction

The first paragraph of your cover letter should introduce you and explain why you're applying for the job. You can start with a sentence that grabs the reader's attention and makes it clear that you're excited about the opportunity. For example, you might say something like, "I am thrilled to apply for the [Position] at [Company Name], as I have a long-term interest in [field or industry]."

You should also summarise why you're a good fit for the position and why you're interested in working for the company. This is your chance to make a connection with the reader and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job. 

Paragraph 2: What you bring to the table

The second paragraph of your cover letter should provide more detail about your skills and experience and how they align with the requirements of the job. This is where you can explain what you bring to the table and how you can contribute to the company's success.

It's important to be specific and provide examples of your accomplishments , as well as any relevant education or training that you've completed. This is also a good place to mention any soft skills that are important for the position, such as communication, teamwork, or leadership abilities.

Paragraph 3: Career achievements and supporting information

The third paragraph of your cover letter can be formatted into bullet points, if you prefer. This is where you can demonstrate your expertise and show the reader that you have the skills and experience needed to excel in the position.

Be sure to tailor your examples to the requirements of the job posting and focus on achievements that are relevant to the company's goals and mission. This is also a good place to mention any relevant certifications, awards, or publications that you've earned.

Paragraph 4: Closing and call to action

The final paragraph of your cover letter should wrap up your document and provide a call to action. This is where you can thank the reader for considering your application and express your enthusiasm for the position once more.

You should also provide your contact information and encourage the reader to get in touch with you for further discussion or to schedule an interview. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression and show the reader that you're a qualified and keen candidate for the job.

Tips on crafting effective cover letters 

Crafting an effective cover letter within word count limits can be challenging, but it's always possible. Here are some tips that can help you to stay on track and make the most of the space you have:

Focus on the essentials: Be concise and avoid including irrelevant or redundant information

Use the active voice: This helps to convey confidence and clarity and makes your writing more engaging

Use bullet points: When appropriate, bullet points can help you to present information in a more efficient and visually appealing way

Customize your letter: Tailor your letter to the specific job and company you're applying to, highlighting the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position

Proofread: Make sure to carefully proofread your letter for errors, typos, and grammar mistakes; consider asking a friend or mentor to review your letter as well

Use a consistent format: Use a consistent format for your letter, with the same font and header that you used on your resume

Be confident and positive: Use confident, positive language to convey your enthusiasm for the position and your ability to excel in it

Example of a successful cover letter

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[Your Email Address]

[Today's Date]

[Company Name]

[Company Address]

Dear Mr Carlson, 

Having seen the job posting for a Project Manager, I would like to offer you adaptability, leadership skills, and a willingness to take initiative in this role. As someone who has demonstrated an ability to embrace change and lead others through it, I can also bring a wealth of knowledge surrounding project management to your team. I have earned recognition for bringing innovative and creative approaches to business and for embracing technical solutions. 

I am proud to have successfully transitioned from a QA role to a Project Manager with my current employer, in response to a sudden shift in the business structure. I demonstrated strong leadership by being one of the first employees to embrace the changes and execute the transition. I encouraged and inspired other QA team members to take on the challenge and shone a positive light on making the transition.

Please also consider the following qualities that I could bring to your team:

Emerging technologies: Business and tech changes at the speed of light, or so it seems sometimes. I am adept at keeping up with those changes and assimilating new ways of doing things. I bring fresh perspectives to processes and procedures and strongly feel that transformational change and adaptation are imperative to driving innovation. 

Leadership: I truly enjoy stewarding the career progression of others and have been trusted by management on several occasions to lead projects and to motivate teams to success.

Commitment to improvement: I proactively seek opportunities to expand my skills and knowledge through professional development activities. I'm also not afraid to take on new challenges and can make autonomous decisions despite ambiguity and tight deadlines.

While my resume does go into more detail and provides additional insights into my background, please feel free to contact me on [cell phone number] if you have any questions about my candidacy.  I look forward to discussing further how my professional goals are perfectly aligned with your organization's priorities.  

Thank you for your time and kind consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Remember, the goal of your cover letter is to get your foot in the door and secure an interview, so put in the effort to make it the best it can be. Good luck with your job search!

If you need help, TopResume writers are experts at crafting compelling cover letters that highlight skills, qualifications, and achievements. We'll not only make sure you have the perfect cover letter length, we'll write it in such a way that you won't fail to impress recruiters!

Recommended reading:

What to Say in a Cover Letter: 5 Things You Should Include

Career-Specific Cover Letter Samples & Examples

How to Start a Cover Letter That Grabs Attention  

Related Articles:

Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?

How to Create a Resume With No Education

Why You Lose When You Lie on Your Resume: Learning From Mina Chang

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Resume for a Part-Time Job: Guide with Tips and Examples

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW

Our customers have been hired at: * Foot Note

If creating a resume for a part-time job is giving you full-time stress, we’re here to help. A good part-time job resume must show your qualifications, even if this is your first job or if you’re looking to reenter the workforce. This professional document must present you as a desirable candidate even for a role requiring fewer hours. 

Whether you’re seeking your first job, additional income or looking to remain employed while managing life at home, this guide will help you craft a professional resume for apart-time job with examples for different industries and tips for a smoother process. 

Examples of a resume for part-time jobs

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How to write a resume for a part-time job

Start your resume by choosing a format that fits your years of experience in the industry. This will first highlight your strongest qualifications, whether experience, skills or education. 

Pick one of these three formats for a part-time job resume:

  • Chronological resume format for experienced candidates
  • Functional resume format for candidates with little or no experience
  • Combination resume format for job seekers with 3 to 9 years of experience

Once you’re set on the format, use the job description to create a part-time resume tailored to your desired role. 

Resume Header

This is a simple section. Your name and contact information will be at the top of your resume. Remember to use your latest contact information and a professional email address. You can also include a resume headline , which is like a tagline for your career, as an introduction to the hiring manager. 

For example:

  John Smith  Creative Mocktails Bartender 555-555-5555         [email protected]           Austin, TX

Resume Objective

A resume objective is your official introduction to the hiring manager. It presents you as a candidate with your strongest job-relevant qualification, even if it is your first job. 

Highly motivated and enthusiastic individual seeking a part-time position at a coffee shop to gain valuable hands-on experience in the hospitality industry. Committed to providing excellent customer service and contributing to the success of the coffee shop team with a strong work ethic and friendly demeanor.

If you do have experience, you can use a career summary instead and include you’re seeking a part-time role. 

For example: 

Results-driven sales professional with a track record of exceeding sales targets, increasing sales by 20%, and providing exceptional customer service. Seeking a part-time sales associate position to leverage my experience in driving revenue growth and fostering positive customer relationships. 

The specialized skills section of a resume for a part-time-job brings attention to your strongest and job-relevant skills. It will consist mainly of hard skills, but you should also include critical soft skills for your industry. 

  • Color Theory
  • Time management
  • Collaboration

You can create categories to draw attention to a specific subset of skills. If you’re applying for a job in information technology, you can add a Programming Languages category.

Take a look at this example for a project management candidate:

Risk Management Tools Risk Register+ RiskyProject

Document Management Confluence Microsoft SharePoint

Reporting & Analytics PowerBI Tableau

Languages Fluent in Mandarin for Business Conversational Spanish

Work History

The work history section goes beyond telling where you’ve worked. It shows what you can accomplish and how your career has grown. For an impactful section, include the employer’s name, the dates worked and your position. If you’ve held multiple positions within the same company, list them separately. 

Under each role, add a bulleted list of your quantifiable accomplishments. Each bullet point can have more than one sentence. For example:

Receptionist ABC Company 2023 – current

  • Greet visitors and direct them to the appropriate department, providing excellent customer service and a friendly atmosphere. Answer and transfer incoming phone calls, take messages and ensure prompt and accurate communication.
  • Manage the company’s main email account, responding to inquiries and forwarding messages to the appropriate recipients. Handle incoming and outgoing mail, ensuring timely distribution and proper documentation. 
  • Schedule and coordinate meetings, conferences, and appointments for staff members. Assist with special projects, including event planning and coordination, as assigned by management.

If this part-time role is your first job, the focus will be on your education section. Make it as robust as possible. Include the name of the school, the degree and the graduation year, accomplishments, awards, coursework relevant to the job, and any extracurricular activities. 

For candidates with experience, you can limit the section to their name, degree and graduation year — if it’s under a decade. 

Additional sections

If you’re writing a resume with no experience , these sections can help show your skills and non-traditional work experience. If you have experience, including these optional sections can help you stand out from other candidates. 

  • Internships : You can include internships under the work experience, including essential accomplishments, or as a separate section.
  • Volunteer work : Volunteering shows your commitment and reliability but can also highlight valuable skills. Like internships, you can include it under your work section. 
  • Extracurricular activities : If you’re still in high school or pursuing a college degree, you can include your extracurricular activities, especially if they show skills relevant to the position. 
  • Certifications : Include any certifications relevant to the role or the industry. You can always include general ones, like a CPR certification.

Include a cover letter with your resume for a part-time job

Life happens. You could seek a part-time role for health reasons, family life or simply to complement your current salary. 

While there is no need to include all this information, a cover letter is the perfect vehicle to take control of the narrative. For example, you could say, “I am seeking this part-time opportunity to maintain my lifestyle while contributing to the industry with my expertise and skills.”

Whether or not you decide to share why you’re seeking a part-time role, a cover letter is an excellent complement to your resume. You can expand your skills and qualifications and express your interest in the employer.

Tips for your resume for a part-time job

  • Start the process by creating a resume outline . It’ll help you build a part-time job resume faster. 
  • Look at resume examples for your industry to find inspiration on what you like and what to include in your resume for a part-time job. 
  • Tailor your resume to the job description by matching as much information as possible. 
  • Choose a resume template that shows your personality and helps create a personal brand. 
  • Use a professional resume font to create an easy-to-read document.
  • Include a resume heading to bring your strongest skill to the forefront.
  • Proofread and grammar-check your entire resume. 
  • Check if your resume is ATS-ready with our Resume Checker .

Key takeaways

  • A resume for a part-time job is a marketing tool to introduce your qualifications to a potential employer. 
  • Choose a resume format according to your years of experience and keep the resume to one page.
  • Use the resume objective to state you’re looking for a part-time role and introduce your qualifications.
  • Create a robust education section if you haven’t had any previous experience.
  • Include additional sections to showcase what you bring to the table and help you stand out from other candidates. 
  • Include a cover letter with your resume for a part-time job to expand on your resume and present additional qualifications applicable to the role.

What is a professional summary for a part-time job resume?

A professional summary is your introduction to the employer. It presents your expertise and a significant achievement. When looking for a part-time role, simply include what you seek in the last sentence. 

You can use this formula to create one:

[Descriptive word] [Your job title] [Experience level] [Work experience] [Skills] [Achievement]. Seeking a part-time role. 

Results-driven marketing professional skilled in creating compelling content and implementing successful marketing campaigns. Strong knowledge of digital marketing strategies and proficiency in social media management. Seeking a part-time marketing role to utilize my expertise with a dynamic organization.

How do I write a resume with no experience?

To write a resume with no experience :

  • Tailor your entire application to the job description. Research the employer to include information or skills that benefit them but must be clearly stated in their description. 
  • Use a functional resume format that highlights your skills.
  • Focus on your education and create a robust section with extracurriculars, honors, awards and relevant coursework. 
  • Build a skills section using skills gained through education and other experiences.
  • Include sections to show additional valuable skills, like certifications, internships, volunteer opportunities and languages.

How to make a resume for a part-time job in Canada?

Canadian resumes are similar to U.S. resumes. You should pay close attention to your resume objective, clearly state you’re seeking a part-time position, and include a cover letter explaining why you are interested in the employer and what you bring to the table. 

Our guide on how to write a Canadian resume can help you tailor your U.S. resume . 

How long should a resume for a part-time job be?

Keep your resume for a part-time job to one page. A resume is a marketing tool that presents your qualifications to the employer. If your resume is too long, an employer could dismiss it. Always tailor your application to the job description. Even if you have extensive experience in the field, condense your accomplishments to those the employer is looking for. Save a 2-Page resume for a more specialized role. 

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Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW

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Nilda Melissa is a Certified Professional Resume Writer who has written for The Washington Post and Latina Style Magazine. She has a master's in Journalism from Columbia University and is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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should you put a cover letter with a resume

Essential advice for landing your dream job

W hen you’re looking for a new job there’s a lot to figure out: What information should you include on your résumé and what do you need to trim? Is a cover letter really necessary? What are the best answers to the most common interview questions? Do you really need to send a thank you note?Fast Company contributor Judith Humphrey’s book The Job Seeker’s Script offers everything job seekers need to navigate all the unwritten rules of applying for (and hopefully landing) your next dream job. Here’s what she advises:

Preparing for a job hunt

Humphrey advises that before applying for any job, it’s important to focus your search so that you are only applying for jobs you really want. You don’t want to waste your time—and everyone else’s—by applying randomly for 200 jobs. That’s a reciprocate for frustration and a lot of ghosting. She suggests asking yourself these six questions before you start looking for a new job:1. Am I prepared to invest time?2. What are my skills and interests?3. Do I want a new direction?4. What kind of culture do I want to work in?5. What size company do I want?6.  Will I be able to succeed there?

What to include on your résumé

Crafting a compelling résumé is a big topic but a good place to start is by breaking down what sections to include and what should go in those sectionsHumphrey calls the résumé the “key to the kingdom,” or the most important “script” a job seeker creates. In her book she outlines a six-step approach for creating the best attention-getting résumé:

Step 1: Provide contact information and name in bold 18-24 sized type. This could include your phone, city, LinkedIn profile, and website (if relevant).

Step 2: Create your summary statement. This is ideally one sentence. Ask “What’s the one compelling message I want to get across about myself?” Use active verbs.

Step 3: Create a message for each job you’ve held. This should also be one strong sentence. Use active verbs for each job you’ve held and ensure these messages align with your summary statement.

Step 4: Create a set of bullet points under each job. All should all begin with strong verbs (“led,” “built,” “earned,” “exceeded”) and include specific numbers that show your accomplishments.Step 5: Add any other sections, including education and skills.Step 6: Add keywords in a natural way. Reference specific skills and roles, but also keep in mind that Applicant Tracking Systems and AI prefer simple, clear writing and active verbs. (Abbreviations can also trip up these tools, so spell out things like MBA or CFA, just in case.)

How to write a cover letter worth reading

Cover letters can be controversial, as a lot of people think they’re pointless. In recent years there’s been a lot of talk about outsourcing cover letter writing to AI. But Humphrey believes cover letters are important and that job seekers should write one, even when they’re technically not required. She points out that 90% of executives consider cover letters valuable. Here’s why she advises writing a thoughtful cover letter:

  • It gives you the opportunity to show your communication skills.
  • It allows you to show your understanding of the hiring company and the job.
  • It let’s you emphasize the strong connection between the job and your skills and background.
  • Finally, it gives your application a personal touch.

So, if you’re convinced that cover letters are important, Humphrey suggests using these four steps a knockout cover letter:

Step one: Craft your opening line. It explains what you are applying for and your interest or excitement. Step two: Craft your message. It should inspire. Step three: Give the reasons you feel ready for this role. Step four: Conclude with a call to action or next steps.

Nailing the interview

If you’ve found a job that feels like a good fit, and written an impressive résumé and cover letter, hopefully you’ll land the interview. Here’s how to make a good impression. The biggest question people have is how to answer the most common interview questions. Here’s how Humphrey suggests answering the three most common questions:“Tell me about yourself.”“‘Tell me about yourself’ is tough because it is so open-ended,” Humphrey says. “Answering it well requires preparation. In fact, write out in advance your answers to all the questions you think you might be asked. Think about something that will equip you to handle the job and tell a story about that.” “What’s your biggest weakness?”“You don’t want a weakness that disqualifies you from a role,” Humphrey says. But there are two approaches that work: Use the question to talk about a weakness you are working on or discuss a weakness that is actually a strength.“Where do you see yourself in five years?”“Don’t say to the interviewer “’I want your job,’” says Humphrey. “But you can say, “’One of the things I really like about your company is the many opportunities for promotion. I could see myself in Job A ….or Job B….time will tell exactly how I’ll progress.’”

Sealing the deal with a thank you note

Much like the cover letter, there’s a lot of division over the tradition of sending a thank you note after an interview. But many hiring managers say that it makes a good impression and can even be the deciding factor between two candidates.Humphrey says a thank you note should start off with a statement of appreciation. Then it should move to your message: how you loved the discussion, or feel ever more excited about working for that company. Reinforce the message with a few proof points and end with a call to action, or what you’d like to see as next steps in the hiring process.

Essential advice for landing your dream job

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Perfect Cover Letter Salutations: Start Strong

11 min read · Updated on April 24, 2024

Jen David

Greet your future employer professionally with these cover letter salutations

Cover letters – some recruiters love them; some recruiters hate them. Unfortunately, you'll rarely know which type of recruiter you're contacting, so the safest bet is always to send one, just in case. 

The aim of a cover letter is to make the reader want to find out more about you, so in this article, we're looking at starting strong. 

Which are the best cover letter salutations to make a great first impression?

What is a cover letter salutation?

When we say “salutation,” we mean the opening line of the letter where you greet the person you're writing to. For example, when you write to thank your aunt for the jumper she knitted for Christmas, you might use “Dear Aunt Betty” as your salutation. These days, the salutation may refer to the opening of an email as much as to the opening of a handwritten or printed letter. 

While cover letter salutations generally refer to the opening line of your epistle, some people also refer to the sign-off as a salutation as well, so we'll look at that at the end of the article. 

Considerations when choosing cover letter salutations

A cover letter is a formal business document that you use to try to make yourself more memorable. Remember, though, you want to be remembered for the right reasons and not the wrong ones! 

Starting your letter “Yo!” or “Hey” doesn't convey the impression of a competent professional who knows the unspoken rules of office writing etiquette. 

While not everyone is a natural writer, relying instead on personality, speech, and body language, cover letters depend very much on the written word. In fact, a cover letter, along with your resume, is part of your personal sales brochure. You need to choose the right words to sell yourself effectively. 

Stick to these guidelines, and you can't go far wrong.

Keep it formal and professional

Your tone should be aligned with the tone you'd use when speaking to a teacher, religious leader, or grandma, not the tone you'd use with your mates or kid brother. This is the first impression you'll make on your potential employer, so it's important to show that you can communicate professionally , with respect, and in line with workplace norms. 

Personalize wherever possible

Bonus points if you know, or can find out, the name of the person who will be reading the letter. If you can address them by name, you're instantly showing that you've made the effort, done your research, and have taken the time to write a personalized letter rather than firing the same one off to multiple vacancies. 

Always use a salutation

Even if you can't find out the recipient's name, never leave the greeting line blank. It conveys the impression of someone who lacks attention to detail or is just plain lazy. Not a great impression to create on someone you need to impress! 

This doesn't just apply to the cover letter salutation but to the entire document. Punctuation is important as it enables your reader to accurately interpret your meaning. Use capital letters for names and add a comma after the salutation. Get a trusted friend or family member to check over your letter when it's written to help you give it the polish it needs. 

Options for cover letter salutations

Let's take a look at some different salutations you could use on your cover letter. 

Dear Mr Donnelly 

Addressing the hiring manager by name is the ideal option. If it's not given in the job posting or provided by the person connecting you, it's fine to resort to good old Google. You may find their name on the company website or be able to track them down on LinkedIn. It's also perfectly acceptable to contact the company directly and ask them who you should address your application to.

If you're lucky enough to know the name of the hiring manager, you should always use it in the cover letter salutation. Bear these considerations in mind, though: 

Double and triple check the spelling – even the most common names sometimes have unconventional spellings 

Default to “Mr,” “Mrs,” or “Miss” plus their surname and use the generic “Ms” if you're not sure whether “Mrs” or “Miss” would be most appropriate

Reflect the gender-neutral title “Mx” if that's what you find online or on the job advert

Dear Doctor Foster

If the recipient has a professional title, it's recommended you use that instead of “Mr,” “Mrs,” or “Miss.” Examples could include “Dear Professor Dumbledore,” “Dear General Eisenhower,” or “Dear Doctor House.” 

While the formal “Dear Ms Farrell” is the preferred and most formal option, if you only have the hiring manager's first name, it's perfectly acceptable to use it to open the letter. Again, check the spelling. A slightly less formal salutation here isn't a reason to take a less formal tone throughout the rest of the letter, however. This is a suitable salutation for a job application email, as you can get away with a slightly more relaxed approach in an email.

Dear HR team

If you need a greeting for a cover letter to an unknown recipient, this is a popular option. It's not ideal, but your letter is likely to be forwarded to the right department at least. If you can't find the name of the hiring manager, this is a viable Plan B. 

Dear hiring manager

This is an alternative cover letter greeting when you have no name available. It's better than leaving a blank space, but it's far from warm and personal. Additionally, your letter may not find its way to the right person if the company has different teams hiring for different roles. Try to avoid this unless you've run out of other options.

Dear Sir / Madam

This cover letter salutation is falling out of favor. It's not just impersonal; it doesn't even address a specific team or department. Still, it's better than an overly casual greeting or a blank space. 

How NOT to address a cover letter

As we've already said, there are some greetings that are just too informal to use as cover letter salutations. There are others, however, that tread a very fine line. We'd advise avoiding these openings, as they're either too colloquial or too stuffy. 

To whom it may concern

We're not in the 19th century anymore. Trim your whiskers and relegate this stuffy greeting to history, it's too impersonal even for the most uptight offices. 

Using “dear” on its own, with no name or further greeting attached, gives the wrong vibe. It sounds like a combination of your old aunt, someone unfamiliar with the English language, and someone who's forgotten to fill in a blank on their template. Literally, anything is better than nothing after the word “dear.”

Hi, hello, hi there!

While these cover letter salutations certainly aren't stuffy or over-formal, they fall too far in the other direction. They're friendly and casual but too much for an initial introduction. Save these for the interview. 

Expert tip: Read this article to find out more about cover letter mistakes to avoid: 10 of the Worst Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid  

Cover letter closing salutations

How you end is just as important as how you begin. After all, you want to end on a high! Before you come to an abrupt end, you'll want to do both of these things: 

Thank the reader for their time and consideration 

Add a call to action, for example, directing them to look at your resume or give you a call

Cover letter salutations to close 

You've started strong and used the body of the email to convince the hiring manager that you're the ideal candidate for the role. Now, it's time to choose your sign-off. 

Yours sincerely, yours truly

These two phrases should be your go-to sign-offs for a formal business letter. If you've started your letter with the recipient's name, choose sincerely; otherwise, choose truly. 

Best regards, kind regards, regards

These are all acceptable closing phrases but better suited to an email than a full letter. They veer towards the casual and aren't generally considered the best letter-writing etiquette. 


This is a polite way of signing off a letter, although not especially conventional or formal. While it's better than no closing at all, it would be wiser to choose a more formal option. 

How NOT to sign off a cover letter 

Just as there are ways not to start a cover letter, there are ways not to sign off. 

Well, it's polite but way too informal. “Thank you” would be better, but a line within the body of the letter saying that you appreciate the time they take to consider your application would be best. 

Just no. You're not taking leave of a friend you've just dropped in on; you're addressing your potential future employer. A more formal and respectful tone is needed. 

However you choose to end your cover letter, remember to finish with your name – and leave space above to sign it if you intend to print it out.

Cover letter examples

Below you'll find two cover letter examples with strong salutations, one a traditional letter and one an email, that you can use for inspiration. 

Traditional cover letter example

Dear Ms Searle, 

Re: Sales Manager vacancy 

Having seen your advertisement for a Sales Manager on LinkedIn, I would like to outline my professional experience and strong track record. I believe I can make a very significant contribution to Acme Corp.

In addition to extensive experience in a sales environment, I also have a commitment to delivering exceptional customer service and a proven ability to meet targets. As you will see from my enclosed resume, I am a natural people person, communicating effectively with a diverse range of people and demonstrating excellent negotiation and influencing skills. My leadership abilities mean that I am able to successfully engage and motivate teams – my current team has surpassed its Q1 targets by 23%. 

I am driven, ambitious, and keen to progress my career in a growing and innovative business such as Acme Corp. I am confident that my strong work ethic, combined with my sales results and integrity, will enable me to play a key role in your success. 

Please do not hesitate to call me at 555-555-5555 so we can arrange an interview to discuss my application in greater depth. I appreciate your consideration. 

Yours sincerely,

Email cover letter example 

Dear Liz, 

Re: Assistant Security Manager vacancy (ref: 12345)

Having read your advertisement for an Assistant Security Manager with interest, I am writing to outline my extensive professional experience. I believe that I possess the talents necessary to make a positive contribution to your hotel.    

I have a comprehensive understanding of security and a commitment to exceptional service. As a Police Officer, I led teams of up to 6 personnel, overseeing security patrols and managing performance. Colleagues would recommend me for my ability to build and motivate teams to achieve exceptionally high standards and positive outcomes. 

As a manager, I take pride in providing training and development opportunities across the team to improve individual skill levels and ensure the achievement of organizational objectives.

The position at Acme Hotel is particularly appealing to me as I believe it will make the best possible use of my security and leadership skills whilst providing opportunities for further development. 

Please do not hesitate to call me at 555-555-5555 so we can arrange an interview to discuss my application in greater depth. I appreciate your consideration of my application and look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards, 

Choose the right cover letter salutations to set the right tone

As you can see, there are several options for opening and closing a cover letter. Make sure you choose one that is professional, has the right amount of formality, and shows you understand corporate communication. 

At TopResume, we create impactful resumes that land jobs. If you need help with your cover letter, we can do that, too! Why not contact us for a strong start on your journey towards a new career? 

Recommended reading: 

Resume vs Cover Letter: How They're Different

What is the perfect cover letter length?

How to Tailor Your Cover Letter for Each Job Application

Related Articles:

How to Maximize Your Resume Action Words to Wow the Employer

Resume Spelling and Accent Explained

Guide to Writing a Great Resume with No Work Experience

See how your resume stacks up.

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How to use ChatGPT to build your resume


Graduation season is here, which means students will be in a frenzy of applying for jobs to secure their first role out of college. Whether you're seeking to launch your career or have been in the labor market for decades, there's one thing we can all agree on -- creating a resume that attracts the eye of recruiters is a challenge.

How to use ChatGPT to write:  Cover letters  |  Code | Excel formulas | Essays  

As if landing a job that aligns with your qualifications and expectations wasn't difficult enough, you also have to sum up all of your professional experiences and strengths in one application -- the heart of which is the CV or resume. 

A resume is meant to be a concise one-page document highlighting your academic, professional, and leadership achievements, which is just as difficult as it sounds. Finding the right words to summarize what you have done in a role for an extended period in three bullets is difficult, but Open AI's  ChatGPT can make the resume-building process a breeze.

How ChatGPT can help build your resume

You can use ChatGPT to generate ideas and bullet points for your role from scratch, or to refine and optimize your current points that are not hitting the mark. Beyond bullet points, the AI tool can help you answer questions about putting together your resume. Here is how to get started.

Side note:  We are using ChatGPT, but you can use any AI chatbot -- there are plenty of capable AI chatbots to choose from .

1. Choose a resume template

ChatGPT will help you with the text in your resume, but you'll need to pick a template before you get started. The program you're using to write the resume -- such as Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or Canva -- will likely have a resume template already.

Also: What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know

A quick Google search for resume templates will also bring up hundreds of editable templates you can import into your program of choice.

2. Sign in to ChatGPT (optional)

On April 1, 2024, OpenAI stopped requiring you to log in to ChatGPT. You can now access ChatGPT simply by visiting ChatGPT's website . However, if you want to take advantage of certain perks, such as being able to revisit the chat later, I recommend signing up. If you want to tweak your bullets at a later date, you won't have to start from scratch and can pick up where you left off.

Also:  How to save a ChatGPT conversation to revisit later

Signing up is easy. All you have to do is go to OpenAI's ChatGPT homepage and create an account by creating an OpenAI login or using your existing Google or Microsoft account. ChatGPT is free, so the sign-up process is simple, requiring no credit cards or obscure information. 

3. Add text

If you want ChatGPT to generate text for your resume from scratch, all you have to do is ask. 

Whether you want it to generate your professional summary or an individual bullet, ask it directly. For example, I asked ChatGPT, "Can you write a short, professional resume summary about my role as a tech reporter?" Within seconds, it generated what you see in the screenshot above.

Also: 6 helpful ways to use ChatGPT's Custom Instructions

Although ChatGPT can create content ready to be copied and pasted into a resume, you should tweak the text so it is personalized to your experiences and doesn't look like a chatbot wrote it.

Employers want to learn about what makes you unique. Without your assistance, the chatbot will only have access to generic content about your role. You can also use the Custom Instructions feature to share some details about your role and interests that ChatGPT can reference to output the text. 

4. Use ChatGPT to revamp your text

Whether you fill out the template yourself before using ChatGPT's assistance or have an existing resume you want to enhance, ChatGPT is a great resource for polishing up text. 

All you have to do is copy and paste your text and ask ChatGPT to make it better. 

Also: The best AI chatbots: ChatGPT and other interesting alternatives to try

For example, I asked ChatGPT, "Can you make this resume bullet sound better: I write stories about technology." Within seconds, it pushed out an elaborate bullet point that incorporated a professional tone and made that simple sentence more complex, as seen in the screenshot above.

Once you get your result, you can always tell ChatGPT to tweak it further with prompts like, "Make it shorter" or "Can you include [additional details]?" 

How much does it cost for ChatGPT to write my resume?

ChatGPT is currently free to use regardless of what you use it for, which includes resume-building assistance. 

How can ChatGPT help me with my resume?

ChatGPT can generate text for different parts of your resume, including your professional summary and individual bullet points for each experience.

Also:  How to nail the 'Do you have any questions for me?' part of the interview

The chatbot can also help enhance your current resume by optimizing your text. If you have any questions about how to format your resume and what to include, ChatGPT can give you some answers.

What should I put in my resume?

Ideally, you want a resume to highlight all your career accomplishments. This can include any educational, professional, and leadership experiences that are meaningful to you. You should also include as much detail about your unique experiences to make you stand out from other applicants.

How to use ChatGPT to write a cover letter (and why you should)

How to better organize your arc browsing life with profiles, the best free ai courses (and whether ai 'micro-degrees' and certificates are worth it).


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  1. Should You Include a Cover Letter? With Expert Tips

    Here are some benefits of including a cover letter in your job application: 1. They showcase your personality. Cover letters typically reveal insights into a candidate's values, character traits and outlook on work. Many hiring managers prefer candidates who align with the organization's culture, so highlighting your unique personality in your ...

  2. What Should You Include in Your Cover Letter? [w/ Tips for 2024]

    The top of your cover letter should include a designated header where you can input your contact information, such as your full name, email address, phone number, address, and links to any relevant social media. Make sure these details match your resume and double-check for any typos. Company details.

  3. How to Write A Cover Letter in 2022 (6 Tips

    The longer you "sit on" a cover letter to edit and re-write it, the longer you prolong the opportunity for someone else to get the attention of the hiring manager you want to impress. You should submit your cover letter as soon as you are certain that: Your cover letter, resume and portfolio work are free from errors.

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    How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter #1. Choose the Right Cover Letter Template #2. Put Contact Information in the Header #3. Address the Hiring Manager #4. Write an Eye-Catching Introduction #5. Use the Cover Letter Body for Details #6. Wrap It Up and Sign It Cover Letter Writing Checklist 15 Cover Letter Tips 15+ Cover Letter Examples 5 ...

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    Here's what to include in a cover letter to make your application stand out: Your name and contact information. The hiring manager's name and contact info. A salutation. Your relevant achievements. A mention of something you know about the company. Why you are the best candidate for the position. An impressive ending.

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    Do I Need a Cover Letter For My Resume. 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.

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    When sending your resume and cover letter by email, you may write a short note or paste your cover letter in the body of your email (without the address header) and also attach the PDF file. Cover Letter Content. Your cover letter should answer who, what, when, where and why you are applying for the opportunity. Introduction

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    Write 250-450 words in 3-4 paragraphs to hit the cover letter length preferred by hiring managers and recruiters. If you want to keep your cover letter brief, look at some short cover letter examples online to get an idea of how it should look. 3. Address the hiring manager by name.

  9. How to Write a Great Cover Letter in 2024 (+ Examples)

    1. Personalization. Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name whenever possible. If the job posting doesn't include a name, research to find out who will be reviewing applications. Personalizing your cover letter shows that you've taken the time to tailor your application to the specific company and role. 2.

  10. How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job in 2024

    Respectfully, Kind regards, Best regards, Yours truly, Then, make two spaces below the salutation, and type your full name. For some professional (but optional) flair, sign your cover letter either with a scan of your signature or by using software like DocuSign. 8. Check your cover letter's content and formatting.

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    Step 3: Address your cover letter to the hiring manager—preferably by name. 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").

  12. How to Write a Cover Letter (Expert Tips & Examples)

    Write a clear and professional subject line that includes the job title and your name. Compose a brief message in the body of the email, introducing yourself and stating the position you are applying for. Attach your cover letter and resume to the email, making sure they are properly named and labeled.

  13. Should You Combine Your Cover Letter and Resume into One Document

    Create a new document. Make sure that you create an entirely new document for your combined file. That will enable you to keep them separate for other companies and submissions. Then copy and paste your resume and cover letter into this new document. Be sure to save the file with an appropriate file name.

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    Here are 9 steps you can take to make sure you're headed in the right direction: Step 1. Do your research. Before writing your cover letter, thoroughly read the job description and the requirements for the job. Melanie Denny, award-winning resume expert, likens the job description to your cover letter cheat sheet.

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    Here are the 7 things you should include in a cover letter: Cover Letter Header: add your contact information and contact details of the company. Salutation: tailor the cover letter greeting and use the hiring manager's name instead of the cliché " Dear Sir or Madam ".

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    A great cover letter consists of the following components: 1. Your name and contact information in a header. The hiring manager needs to have your contact information. Without these details, they have no way of inviting you for an interview. The most eye-catching way of adding your contact information to your cover letter is by creating a large ...

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    How to write a cover letter worth reading . ... If you've found a job that feels like a good fit, and written an impressive résumé and cover letter, hopefully you'll land the interview. Here ...

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    However you choose to end your cover letter, remember to finish with your name - and leave space above to sign it if you intend to print it out. Cover letter examples. Below you'll find two cover letter examples with strong salutations, one a traditional letter and one an email, that you can use for inspiration. Traditional cover letter example

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    ChatGPT will help you with the text in your resume, but you'll need to pick a template before you get started. The program you're using to write the resume -- such as Google Docs, Microsoft Word ...