How Should A Good Cover Letter Look

Writing a smart cover letter can get your foot in the door, even if you have a weak resume. This guide will help you to write the best letter possible.

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Table of Contents

  1. Format & Writing How-To Guide
  2. Winning Cover Letter Templates for All – Copy, Paste, Fill in the Blanks
  3. I have “Red Flags” in my work or personal history — should I address them in my Cover Letter?

Format & Writing How-To Guide

This is a very simply written guide — follow it, and you will land interviews faster.

Don’t forget to double check! Be sure to use our checklist to easily find out what you may be missing on your letter. It is free to download.

Click Here to Download
Our Cover Letter Checklist

Cover letters are one page documents that you send with your resume when applying for a job. It is meant to:

  1. Introduce yourself to the hiring manager
  2. Argue why you’d be a good fit for the job
  3. Fill in places your resume cannot describe
  4. Further explain other aspects of your resume

By hitting those 4 aspects, your letter can be a convincing and powerful companion to a well-written resume.

Content Format Guide: 4 Steps

1. Contact Information

To begin, include both the employer’s and your contact information. See the example below:

While the example above demonstrates the information you need to include in the section, there are various ways to format it. Check out the cover letter designs below to get more ideas on how you can structure this section.

No spelling or grammar errors! This one really goes without saying. Spelling mistakes make an awful first impression.

2. Introduction

Find out to whom you’re writing

Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes for a second. Would you like to be addressed as “Dear Sir or Madame?” or “To whom it may concern?”

“Dear Sir or Madame” makes you sound like you’re from the year 1865, and “to whom it may concern” is very irritating to hiring managers.

You can easily avoid this problem by doing your research. Look through the company’s website, LinkedIn, or even give the company a call to ask for the hiring manager’s name. Even if you get it wrong, it still looks like you’ve made an effort.

Introduce yourself

In the first paragraph, begin by telling the employer the position you are applying for and how you learned about the opportunity.

The rest of this paragraph should briefly present basic info about yourself, including: degree, area of study/expertise, and your career goals in terms of how they align with the goals of the company.

3. Sell Yourself

The second paragraph should respond directly to the job description written by the hiring manager. Describe how your previous job experiences, skills, and abilities will allow you to meet the company’s needs. To make that easier, you can (and should) literally include words and phrases from the job description in your cover letters.

No bombast! The rule of thumb is that you’re allowed to be as boastful as you want – so long as you have the evidence to back it up!

To go the extra mile, do some research about the company, and try to find out what they are doing — and why — given the current state of their industry. In a third paragraph, explain how you can fit into that schema, and help push the company forward and achieve any goals you suspect they may have.

4. Conclusion

The final paragraph is called the “call to action.” Inform them that you’d love to get interviewed. Tell them that you’ll be in contact with them in a week if you don’t hear back. Thank them for spending the time to read your letter.

Page Format Guide: 4 Steps

Aside from the content on the page, the actual look and feel of the document is also an important aspect of your letter. Elements such as margins, font size and style, and alignment all factor in to the hiring manager’s overall impression of you.

Here are a few quick tips when styling your own:

  1. 1” – 1.5” margins are always a safe bet. If you are having trouble fitting everything on one page, there is some wiggle room, but be careful not to make the content look crammed together.
  2. Don’t go below a 12-point font unless absolutely necessary. Anything below 12 can strain the eyes.
  3. Font style is really a matter of preference. Try to choose one that looks professional or that matches what the employer uses on their website. Keep in mind that different styles will change the size of the font.
  4. Maintain a uniform alignment throughout. We suggest keeping all paragraphs left-aligned.

Formatting For Applicant Tracking Systems

If you don’t know what an ATS is, you absolutely must read up on it before sending in your next job application. Applicant tracking systems are mostly designed to read through resumes, sifting through keywords and key-phrases to statistically determine whether to let you through to the next stage. 70% of jobs are filled via an applicant tracking system.

Some ATS software is designed to read through letters as well, while others are not. You might as well be completely prepared.

The good news is that simply by following the instructions we’ve written above, your letter should already be in good shape. If you’ve responded directly to the hiring manager’s job description, and included language from it in your own your letter, you already have a high likelihood of hitting statistically important keywords and phrases.

Does anyone read cover letters?

Yes, someone will read it. Will they read it carefully? It depends on the hiring manager. Some use the letters to “weed out” candidates out of a huge stack, while others believe that the candidate’s interview skills are more important. Either way, you’re going to need to write a strong letter, in order to give yourself a higher chance of getting a job.

Winning Cover Letter Templates for All – Copy, Paste, Fill in the Blank

Simply click the section that best reflects your current life situation and work experience, then choose the “tone” of cover letter that best suits your personality.

Before you start – 5 tips for filling in these template letters:

In our templates, you’ll be filling in the blanks that look like [this]. Here’s some help for filling in these trickier ones:

  1. [insert positive trait] – here’s a list of positive traits you can use to describe yourself
  2. [insert 1-3 soft skills] – here’s a list of soft skills you can use to describe your abilities
  3. [insert 1-3 hard professional skills] – our cover letter samples or resume by industry pages should help you brainstorm
  4. [insert GPA] – only insert if your GPA is above a 3.5
  5. [insert your degree] – style it this way, including the parentheses – (BS Engineering)

Now, get started – We recommend that you copy and paste your favorite template into one of our awesome looking pre-arranged cover letter designs.

List of positive traits

AdaptableFocusedProactive
Detail-orientedHard-workingQuality-oriented
DiligentEfficientResponsible
Results-oriented

List of soft skills

AnalyticalLeadershipProblem-solving
CommunicationManagementResearch
Creative thinkingMultitaskingService
Critical thinkingOrganizationalTeamwork
InterpersonalPersuasionTechnical
LanguagePlanningWriting

Download HR-Approved Cover Letter Template Designs

We provide 8 free downloadable cover letter designs. Just click any template below to download the one that best suits you.

Enthusiastic Tone

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student [insert GPA] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [name of open position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Confident (Authoritative) Tone

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student [insert GPA] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Versatile Tone

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student [insert GPA] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional Tone


My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student [insert GPA] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for.  I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for.  I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [(insert GPA, [major])] currently attending [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [(insert GPA, [major])] currently attending [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [(insert GPA, [major])] currently attending [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for.  I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name].. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I was consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I was consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I was consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I was consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for.  I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my rcesume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my peers. Over the course of my career, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my peers. Over the course of my career, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my peers. Over the course of my career, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my peers. Over the course of my career, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic:

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my co-workers and management. Over the course of my [# of months/years of experience] career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the [position] role you are hiring for, including [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Overall, I have consistently demonstrated [insert 1-3 soft skills] abilities in every aspect of my [your current job title] role at [your current company’s name], and I invite you to review my detailed achievements in the attached resume.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my proven skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my co-workers and management. Over the course of my [# of months/years of experience] career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the [position] role you are hiring for, including [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Overall, I have consistently demonstrated [insert 1-3 soft skills] abilities in every aspect of my [your current job title] role at [your current company’s name], and I invite you to review my detailed achievements in the attached resume.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree)] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my co-workers and management. Over the course of my [# of months/years of experience] career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the [position] role you are hiring for, including [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Overall, I have consistently demonstrated [insert 1-3 soft skills] abilities in every aspect of my [your current job title] role at [your current company’s name], and I invite you to review my detailed achievements in the attached resume.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my co-workers and management. Over the course of my [# of months/years of experience] career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the [position] role you are hiring for, including [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Overall, I have consistently demonstrated [insert 1-3 soft skills] abilities in every aspect of my [your current job title] role at [your current company’s name], and I invite you to review my detailed achievements in the attached resume.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Ah, the dreaded cover letter. Every time you sit down to write one, you probably browse cover letter examples online, get overwhelmed, and think something to the effect of: Does anyone really read these? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if I could just let my resume speak for itself?

First off: Yes, we can assure you that cover letters do, in fact, get read. In fact, to some hiring managers, they’re the most important part of your application. And yes, while it would be easier to let your resume speak for itself, if that was the case you’d completely miss the opportunity to tell prospective employers who you are, showcase why they should hire you, and stand out above all the other candidates.

Ready to get started? To make sure your cover letter is in amazing shape (and is as painless as possible to write), we’ve compiled our 31 best cover letter tips of all time into one place.

Read on—then get cover letter writing.

1. Don’t Regurgitate Your Resume

Instead of just repeating yourself (“I was in charge of reviewing invoice disputes”), use your cover letter to describe additional details that you weren’t able to squeeze onto the single page of your resume: “By resolving invoice disputes, I gained a deep analytical knowledge—but more importantly, I learned how to interact calmly and diplomatically with angry customers.” A cover letter gives you the freedom to use full sentences—instead of bullet points—so use them to expand upon your resume points and tell the story of why you’re the perfect fit for the company.

2. Think Not What the Company Can Do for You

A common cover letter mistake? Talking about how great the position would be for you and your resume. Frankly, hiring managers are aware of that—what they really want to know is what you’re going to bring to the position and company. On that note:

3. Clearly Show What You’re Capable Of

Beyond explaining what you’ve done in the past, show hiring managers what you can do in the future. “Determine the key requirements and priorities for this job, and make it instantly clear to the reviewer that you can deliver the goods on these key things,” says Jenny Foss, job search expert and founder of JobJenny.com. “Consider crafting a section within the letter that begins with, ‘Here’s what, specifically, I can deliver in this role.’ And then expound upon your strengths in a few of the priority requirements for that role.”

4. Showcase Your Skills

When you know you have the potential to do the job—but your past experience doesn’t totally sell you as the perfect one for the position—try focusing on your skills, instead. Here’s a template that helps you do just that.

5. …Not Necessarily Your Education

Many new grads make the mistake of over-focusing on their educational backgrounds. At the end of the day, what hiring managers care about most is your work experience (and yes, that can be volunteer or internship experience, too)—and what you can walk through the door and deliver on Day 1.

6. Don’t Apologize for Skills You Don’t Have

When you don’t meet all of the job requirements, it’s common for job seekers to use lines like, “Despite my limited experience with marketing…” or “While I only have work experience doing administrative tasks…” But why apologize? Instead of drawing attention to your weaknesses, try to focus on the skills you do have, says career expert Lily Zhang. “Stay positive, focus on your strengths, and immediately launch into your transferable skills and infectious enthusiasm for the position.”

7. Highlight the Right Experiences

Not sure what skills and experiences you should be featuring? Drop the text of the job description into a word cloud tool like Wordle, and see what stands out. That’s what the hiring manager is looking for most.

8. Tell a Story

What brings you to this company? Did you used to sing along to all of its commercials as a kid? Did the product make some incredible difference in your life? Do you sometimes pull into the parking lot and daydream about what it would feel like to work there? Stories bring your background and experiences to life, so feel free to tell them. (Just, you know, keep them short and to the point.)

9. Use a Few Numbers

When it comes to the job search, numbers often speak louder than words. “Offer stats to illustrate your impact on companies or associations you’ve worked for in the past,” suggests career expert and founder of ProfessionGalMegan Broussard. “Employers love to see numbers—it shows them that you speak their language and that you understand what they’re looking for in an employee: results.”

10. Consider Testimonials

If you have great feedback from old co-workers, bosses, or clients, don’t be afraid to use it! A seamless way to integrate a positive quote from a previous manager or client is to use it as evidence of your passion for your area of expertise. For example, “I have developed a keen interest in data science during my years working various political campaigns (as my past supervisor once said, I love Excel more than anyone she knows).”

11. Cut the Formality

“Don’t be overly formal (‘I wish to convey my interest in filling the open position at your fine establishment’),” writes career expert Mark Slack. “It makes you seem insincere and even robotic, not anything like the friendly, approachable, and awesome-to-work-with person you are.

12. Think Custom, Not Canned

Most companies want to see that you’re truly excited about the position and company, which means creating a custom letter for each position you apply for. “When a recruiter reads, ‘Dear Hiring Manager, I am so excited to apply for the open position at your company, where I hope to utilize my skills to progress in my career,’ he or she immediately recognizes it for what it is—a stock cover letter that you’ve mass-distributed to every place in town,” says Muse career expert Katie Douthwaite. And then probably throws it in the trash.

13. Start With a Template

That said, there’s nothing that says you can’t get a little help. Our easy, downloadable cover letter guide will walk you through, step-by-step, how to create a cover letter that rocks.

14. …Or Some Inspiration

Having trouble getting started? Check out 31 examples of how to start your cover letter in an engaging, attention-grabbing way or these eight examples of awesome cover letters that actually worked.

Give yourself a little (or big) boost by running your application by an expert

Talk to a Cover Letter Coach Today

15. Be Open to Other Formats

If you’re applying to a more traditional company, then the tried-and-true three-to-five-paragraph format probably makes sense. However, if you’re gunning for a more creative or startup job—or need to explain to the hiring manager, say, how your career has taken you from teaching to business development, a different approach could be appropriate. Here at The Muse, we’ve seen cover letters use bullet points, tell stories, or showcase videos to (successfully) get their point across. This professional even turned hers into a BuzzFeed-style list!

16. But Don’t Go Too Far

Like this guy did. Just—don’t.

17. Consider Adding a Headline

One formatting idea from The Undercover Recruiter? Add an eye-catching headline to your letter, like “3 Reasons I’m an Excellent Fit for the Marketing Manager Position.” Again, no one says you have to follow the tried-and-true format, and this can be an easy way to catch the hiring manager’s eye quickly.

18. Be Real

“Honest, genuine writing always goes much, much further than sticking to every dumb rule you’ve ever read in stale, outdated career guides and college textbooks,” explains Foss.

19. ...And Normal

We can’t tell you how many cover letters we’ve seen from people who are “absolutely thrilled for the opportunity” or “very excitedly applying!” Downplay the adverbs a bit, and just write like a normal person.

20. Cut the Fluff

Avoid, at all costs, describing yourself as a “team player” or a “people person,” says Broussard. “Instead, show off your skills with descriptive statements like ‘I’m an expert communicator with experience bringing together diverse departments to develop a cohesive program.’ It’s longer—but it’s also stronger.”

21. Write in the Company’s “Voice”

Cover letters are a great way to show that you understand the environment and culture of the company and industry and prove that you’ve got what they are looking for. So, always keep in mind who will be reading your cover letter, and tailor it to what you know will get them excited. Spending five or 10 minutes reading over the company website before you get started can be a great way to get in the right mindset—you’ll get a sense for the company’s tone, language, and culture, which are all things you’ll want to mirror as you’re writing.

22. Boost Your Confidence Before Writing

Writing guru Alexandra Franzen offers a simple mind trick that will dramatically change the way you write cover letters: Pretend. “Pretend that the person you’re writing to already loves and respects you. Pretend that the person you’re writing to already believes that you’re worthy and valuable. Pretend that the person you’re writing to doesn’t need a big sales pitch,” she explains. Then, write. Your words will come out so much easier. (Here’s more on how to do it.)

23. Have Some Fun With It

News flash: Cover letter writing doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, there are plenty of ways to spice it up! Hoping for a job at a startup? Making your cover letter more creative—whether you use a spunkier tone, play with the format, or make it more visual—will likely improve your chances of getting a call back. Applying for a corporate position? Stick with the traditional format, but make it more conversational, or include a story about how you first came in contact with the company or how much you love it. Much more fun, right? (Here are a few other ways to make cover letter writing suck less.)

24. Don’t Let Your Fear of Bragging Get in the Way

If you tend to have a hard time writing about yourself, here’s a quick trick: Imagine you’re someone else writing a letter about yourself. Think from the perspective of a friend, mentor, or previous employer—someone who would only sing your praises—and then write the letter from her point of view. If it helps, you can even write the letter in third person (i.e. “Erin would be a great fit for this position because…”). Just make sure you’re very careful about going back through and changing it to first person when you’re done!

25. Have Someone Gut Check It

Have a friend take a look at your cover letter, and ask him or her two questions: Does this sell me as the best person for the job? and Does it get you excited? If the answer to either is “no,” or even slight hesitation, go back for another pass.

26. Keep it Short and Sweet

There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general, for resumes and cover letters alike, don’t go over a page. “According to the Orange County Resume Survey, almost 70% of employers either want a half page cover letter (250 words) or ‘the shorter the better,’ approach,” writes Slack.

27. Don’t Start With Your Name

Because, well, the hiring manager can see it already on your resume. Get right to the point with what you can bring to the job.

28. But Do Include the Hiring Manager’s Name

Use the person’s first and last name, including a “Mr.” or “Ms.” (e.g., Mr. Jack Smith). Never use “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear or Sir or Madam”—nothing could be more generic (not to mention archaic). For more on addressing it correctly, read these cover letter rules.

29. Unless You Don’t Know It

OK, sometimes, even after hours of online searching (try these tips), you still might not be able to definitively figure out who exactly the hiring manager for the position you’re applying for is. If you can only find a list of executives and you’re not completely confident who the hiring manager is, use the head of the department for the position you’re applying for. If you really don’t have a name to use, try to still be as specific as possible in your greeting. Consider using “Senior Analyst Hiring Manager” or “Research Manager Search Committee”—something that shows that you’ve written this letter with a particular audience in mind.

30. Edit

We shouldn’t have to tell you to run your cover letter through spell-check, but here’s an even better step: Check out how the wording sounds to others using Hemingway. Drop your text onto the page, and the color-coded app will give your writing a once-over. Is a sentence too wordy, overly complex, or totally unreadable? It’ll be highlighted in red until you revise it. Tend to overuse the passive voice? Every instance of it will show up in green. The site will even recommend when you can use shorter or simpler words (Why take up precious resume space with “utilize” when you can say “use?”).

31. But Care Most About Standing Out

Perhaps the best piece of cover letter wisdom we can offer you comes from Foss: The most memorable cover letters are written by people who care less about the rules and more about standing out to the hiring manager. “Next time you sit down to write a cover letter, vow to not get uptight about all the tiny little ‘rules’ you’ve picked up along the way,” she writes. “Instead, buck convention. Be memorable. Nail the stuff that will make you a true standout.”

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