General Job Search Cover Letter Samples

Smart tips to help you format and write a cover letter

Struggling to write a cover letter that will catch an employer's attention? We've got tips to help you show your best self—and a sample you can use to get started.

There's nothing scary about writing a cover letter.

You've found the perfect job, hit the "apply" button, and started the process with your engines revved and ready. But wait! Slam the brakes! They want a cover letter. Oh no. 

Don't let this request derail you. Here's everything you need to know to write a letter that truly sells your skills. Plus, scroll down to see a sample cover letter you can use to craft your own.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a one-page document that, along with your resume, is sent with your job application. A cover letter is your chance to tell a potential employer why you’re the perfect person for the position and how your skills and expertise can add value to the company. The letter should be professional but personable, and serve as a sort of introduction.

Do I need to send a cover letter?

A lot of job seekers today wonder if a cover letter is still appropriate to send with your resume—and the answer is yes! Even if an employer doesn’t ask for a cover letter, it couldn’t hurt to send one. In fact, it’s can help you get someone's attention in a different way, and it can be a great way to display your enthusiasm for the job and company.

What are the basic elements of a cover letter?

  1. Greeting: Address your cover letter to the proper person.
  2. Opening: Write a personable, inviting opening paragraph that notes how your skills are a perfect fit to the job and displays your enthusiasm.
  3. Hook: Highlight your past achievements as they relate to the job you're applying for.
  4. Skills: Emphasize additional relevant skills, such as computer languages or certifications.
  5. Close: Briefly recap your strengths as a candidate, and include your contact information.

Cover letter tips

1. Parrot the keywords: Just like with your resume, your cover letters should be customized for each job you apply to. Start by reviewing the job description. In it, you will find important keywords that let you know what kind of employee the company is hoping to find. Use these same keywords throughout your cover letter.

2. Adapt for the company: Each version of your cover letter should talk about how your skills will benefit the particular company that you want to work for. You want to target the company’s needs—not your own. Demonstrate how you could help them achieve their goals. Remember: You're selling yourself in a resume and a cover letter, but the employer has to want to buy.

3. Show you "get" them: Your cover letter should demonstrate that you have done some research into what the organization's pain points are. Presenting yourself as a solution to a hiring manager’s problem can help your cover letter take the right tone. If you’re applying to an administrative position, be sure to mention your time-management skills; if you’re an IT professional, include your expertise in improving efficiency. Always ask yourself: How can I help this company?

4. Proofread. Don’t assume spell check will catch every mistake (it won’t). Slowly review your cover letter to make sure everything reads properly. Have someone else read your cover letter for backup.

Need even more confidence before you start your cover letter? Below are some additional cover letter tips you could reference—or keep scrolling for a cover letter sample:

Cover letter mistakes you should avoid: From overusing “I” to being too vague, there are a bunch of pitfalls that can trip you up. Don’t let them!

Cover letter format and advice tips: Learn how to set up your cover letter and what each section should include.

Cover letter tips for new grads: You might lack real-world work experience, but your cover letter can be chock-full of activities that demonstrate your potential to succeed.

Cover letter tips for technology professionals: The ease of applying to online jobs has led many IT professionals to skip sending a cover letter, but that’s a mistake. 

Cover letter tips for finance professionals: If you’re searching for a finance job or want to be prepared just in case, you will need a dynamic cover letter to grab the hiring managers’ attention.

Tips for better email cover letters: If you're emailing a resume, your cover letter will deliver the first impression. These eight tips will help you craft a better email cover letter.

Cover letter sample

Check out the sample cover letter below (or download the template as a Word doc) to get some inspiration to craft your own. And we've also got you covered if you're looking for a cover letter in a specific industry. 

Once you've finished your cover letter, consider joining Monster—you can upload and store up to five cover letters and resumes, so that you can apply for jobs on our site in a snap!


[Date]

Ms. Rhonda West
Customer Service Manager
Acme Inc.
123 Corporate Blvd.
Sometown, CO 50802

Re: Customer Service Representative Opening (Ref. ID: CS300-Denver)

Dear Ms. West:

I was excited to see your opening for a customer service rep, and I hope to be invited for an interview.

My background includes serving as a customer service associate within both call-center and retail environments. Most recently, I worked on the customer service desk for Discount-Mart, where my responsibilities included handling customer merchandise returns, issuing refunds/store credits, flagging damaged merchandise for shipment back to vendors and providing back-up cashiering during busy periods.

Previously, I worked within two high-volume customer-support call centers for a major telecommunications carrier and a satellite television services provider. In these positions, I demonstrated the ability to resolve a variety of issues and complaints (such as billing disputes, service interruptions or cutoffs, repair technician delays/no-shows and equipment malfunctions). I consistently met my call-volume goals, handling an average of 56 to 60 calls per day.

In addition to this experience, I gained considerable customer service skills during my part-time employment as a waitress and restaurant hostess while in high school.

I also bring to the table strong computer proficiencies in MS Word, MS Excel and CRM database applications and a year of college (business major). Please see the accompanying resume for details of my experience and education.

I am confident that I can offer you the customer service, communication and problem-solving skills you are seeking. Feel free to call me at 555-555-5555 (home) or 555-555-5500 (cell) to arrange an interview. Thank you for your time—I look forward to learning more about this opportunity!

Sincerely,



Sue Ling

Enclosure: Resume


General / All-Purpose Cover Letter Sample

When you apply for a job, many times you will be required to submit a cover letter with your resume. Your cover letter should highlight points on your resume that make you a superior candidate for the position you are seeking. It should not simply review your resume, but rather point out details and expand on specific key assets which are essential for success in the job.

Information to Include in the Letter

Think of your cover letter not just as an introduction or a statement of intent to apply for a job, but as a golden opportunity to market yourself, your skills, your qualifications, and your training to an employer.

As a powerful marketing document, its primary purpose is to persuade a hiring manager to give a closer review to your resume than the typical six-second scan.

Sometimes a job posting lists the name of the hiring manager, and in that case, you should address your letter to him or her.

In cases where a name isn’t listed, you should make an effort to find out the right person to whom to address your letter. It’s always better to address your application materials to the appropriate hiring manager. If you can’t find their name by reviewing their corporate website or calling their front office, you may use the address of the company and an alternative salutation, such as “Dear Hiring Manager." Here are tips for how to address a cover letter.

The body of your letter should contain pertinent information about how you were referred to the opportunity, your interest in the position, your qualifications for the job, relevant training, and why you would make an excellent candidate.

In closing, you can include your plans for following up with the hiring manager: “I will call next week to follow up on the status of my application.” You should also thank them politely for their time. Use a business-like closing, such as “Sincerely,” “Best Regards,” or “Yours Truly,” followed by your name and signature (on a hard copy).

General / All-Purpose Cover Letter Sample

Your Name
Your Address (Optional)
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email

Date

Name
Title
Organization
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

I am writing in reply to the classified ad you posted seeking to fill the position of Graduate Student Advisor for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program at ABC College.

Having earned my Master of Arts degree in Academic Advising from XYZ University, I understand the importance for informed academic counseling and program planning in a higher education environment.

I have also experienced, first-hand, the comforting effect of being able to contact an adviser who genuinely cares for the professional growth and success of students.

Prior to my graduate studies, during my career as an electrician, I was elected Chairman of the Executive Board which sat as the union’s representatives to the apprenticeship advisory board. In this capacity, I was able to be an effective advisor to apprentices who were experiencing scholastic problems which threatened their future in the industry. I particularly enjoyed working with older apprentices who were seeking a career change and had problems adjusting to the obligations of work, school, and family life.

I believe that both my educational background in Academic Advising and my work-related duties of counseling and advising students enrolled in learning programs qualifies me for consideration for the position of Graduate Student Advisor. I look forward to discussing how my skills can be of value to ABC College as it prepares to move into the new millennium. Thank you for your time, consideration, and forthcoming response.

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Your Typed Name

More Sample Cover Letters
Follow this link to review cover letter samples for a variety of career fields and employment levels, including an internship cover letter sample, as well as entry-level, targeted. and email cover letters.

Cover Letter Articles and Advice: Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Tips | What to Include in a Cover Letter | Email Cover Letters | Targeted Cover Letters

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