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?
- Greeting: Address your cover letter to the proper person.
- Opening: Write a personable, inviting opening paragraph that notes how your skills are a perfect fit to the job and displays your enthusiasm.
- Hook: Highlight your past achievements as they relate to the job you're applying for.
- Skills: Emphasize additional relevant skills, such as computer languages or certifications.
- 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!
Ms. Rhonda West
Customer Service Manager
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!
Curious to see how a cover letter in your industry should look? We provide dozens of cover letter examples from over 15 different industries. Find your industry below and download your favorite samples. Plug in your own information and you’re ready to send off your application.
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If you are looking for free downloadable cover letter templates, click here. Or, you can learn How to Write a Cover Letter
SEE ALSO > Resume Examples by Industry
Cover Letter Samples Sorted By:
Job & Industry
Food Service Industry Cover Letter Samples
Waiter, Waitress, Server
For the food service industry, cover letters should highlight the candidate’s customer service abilities, their knowledge of a particular type of cuisine, and their adherence to food safety and sanitation guidelines. If you are able to demonstrate these key attributes, restaurant owners will certainly call you in for an interview.
Customer Service & Retail Industry Example Cover Letters
Call Center, Phone & Support
Hotel, Hospitality & Transportation
Since customer service is such a broad category, we offer a variety of letters from different areas of the field. The key to getting a job in customer service is to showcase your ability to upsell and retain customers. Click on any of the samples above to learn how to display these abilities in your cover letter.
Office Worker & Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Examples
Assistants & Office Managers
The responsibilities of administrative assistants and office workers are often quite similar across different companies. So the challenge is to find a way to differentiate yourself from other candidates. One way to do this is to emphasize your organizational skills through measurable achievements, such as the money or time you saved with your initiatives in a previous position. Take a look at how the examples above accomplish this.
Housekeeping Industry Example Cover Letters
We provide two versions of a cover letter for a housekeeper: one for a candidate with experience and one for an entry-level housekeeper. So no matter how much experience you have, our examples will help you get started.
Janitor & Maintenance Worker Samples
Janitors must demonstrate their concern for safety and accident prevention in order to be considered for the position. Use our experienced and entry-level examples to guide you on how to include these traits in your letter.
Nursing & Healthcare Cover Letter Samples
Nursing & Social Care
Whether you want to get a job in nursing, dentistry, or pharmaceuticals, we have a sample that applies to your career path. Careers in the healthcare industry require a wide range of experience and education. Technical skills, licenses and certifications, and the ability to communicate effectively are a few of the top qualities to include in your cover letter.
Marketing & Sales Example Cover Letters
If you’re applying for a job in marketing or sales, you’ll need to highlight key performance metrics. Employers will be looking for you to elaborate on the projects that were mentioned in your resume and the results that were produced.
We offer samples for 4 different kinds of engineers. Find your career track and discover how to best format your own letter. No matter what engineering track you are on, your cover letter needs to highlight problem solving skills and the ability to meet quality standards.
Teaching & Education Example Cover Letters
Our teaching and education samples are great for job seekers who are just starting their career or for those that need help showcasing their wealth of experience. Although our sample is for an english teacher, the format can be used for a teacher of any subject.
Construction Industry Examples
Working in construction usually entails being able to use a wide variety of tools and equipment while also having knowledge numerous construction techniques. Make sure you mention the equipment you have used and the different techniques that you are familiar with.
Accounting & Finance Cover Letter Samples
We offer five different examples within the accounting and finance industry. Quantifiable/numerical achievements are extremely important when it comes to applying for an accounting job. Check out the samples to see how the candidates discuss their accomplishments.
Driver & Transportation Examples
A truck driver cover letter should focus on the years of driving experience, the type of vehicles you have operated, and your specific state and national licenses. Click the sample above to see how our job candidate lists this information.
Whether you are just starting your career as a librarian or are looking for a senior position, we have a sample that will help you tailor your own cover letter. Click on the position above that applies to you.
Information Technology (IT) Cover Letter Examples
When applying for an IT job, you will likely need to get through an HR representative who might not be well-versed in the technical aspects of the position. Keep this in mind when writing your cover letter and consider toning down the technical language.
Art and Music Samples
Art & Design
Writing a cover letter for an industry as abstract as music and entertainment can be difficult. Instead of focusing on numerical achievements, you’ll have to focus your letter towards a portfolio of specific projects or performances. Use our letters above for inspiration.
C-Suite & Executive Cover Letters
C-Suite executives have extensive industry experience and their cover letters must go beyond a list of duties and facts. Their cover letters must reflect an ability to fit within an organization. Our cover letter examples and tip sections will help you communicate a strong profile to boost to your candidacy.
Real Estate Industry Examples
For a job in real estate, you’ll need to highlight your ability to market to prospective home owners as well as your drive to reach sales quotas. Our real estate agent letter does all of this and much more. Click the link above to learn how to write your own.
Law Enforcement, Security & Fire Cover Letters
Law Enforcement & Security
In this section we offer cover letters for those in the legal space and law enforcement. Click the position that you are in and learn about exactly what you can highlight in your cover letter to make you an outstanding candidate.
Student and Internship Cover Letters
Students often have the hardest time writing a cover letter because they lack professional experience. The key for students is to focus on relevant coursework, internship experience, and skills you might have gained from working a part-time job.
Looking for a great template?
Check out and download our library of templates. Below are some of our readers’ favorites:
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