Updated: May 25, 2021
Writing a cover letter is an essential part of getting any job today. Whether you’re just starting out, or have been working in your industry for a long time, the addition of a cover letter to your next job application can ensure you stand out from your competitors - many of whom do not send cover letters at all.
But how do you write a cover letter? And should you write a new letter every time you send a resume?
As you begin to send out applications in your field, it’s time to learn the basics of how to write a cover letter for your next job application.
How to Write a Cover Letter: Cover Letter Writing Basics
Cover letter writing can seem daunting. What should you include? What should you leave out? How can you tell what a potential employer wants to know?
Having written over a thousand cover letters for clients at all levels of employment, I can tell you one piece of advice right away: avoid simply repeating what’s already on your resume. Instead, explain why and how that experience will benefit the company and their workplace atmosphere.
Now that you're prepped and ready to get writing, let’s move on to my step-by-step guide on how to write a great cover letter for your next job application.
Step 1: Create a header for your cover letter that includes your name, contact information, and any educational credentials you carry.
The first step to building a great cover letter is to create a header that you can use again and again. Different people will have different styles, but whatever header you decide to create, make sure it includes the following:
Name of company to which you will apply
Address of company to which you will apply
Name of position to which you will reply
(if relevant) Job ID or Job Number
Here’s a very simple version you can copy and paste for your own uses. Just make sure you fill in your own personal information:
Mary Ramirez, B.Sc.
10102 Pleasant Rd.
Augusta, LV T0B 9S8
(800) 555 - 5555
July 3, 2026
3502 Manuville Drive
Augusta LV T1K 3E4
RE: Administrative Assistant Position, Job ID: AI58099
If you have been in your industry for a while, or if you have special skills in graphic design, this is your time to shine by making your header really stand out. Otherwise, I would suggest using one of the many free cover letter templates available online, such as those from hloom.com or our Ready-Made Content Shop, to build a great header you can use again and again.
Step Two: Write a simple introductory statement that explains your intent in applying
For many, the introductory statement can be one of the most difficult parts to write - simply because it’s the first real interaction you’ll have with a hiring manager. Do you jump in and begin telling the hiring manager all about our work experience? Do you tell them about your wonderful time last weekend with your pets? Best practice says these are both big no-nos!
Instead, try thanking the hiring manager for considering your application, or affirm which position you are applying for, or both. Here’s what that might sound like:
“Thank you in advance for your consideration of this cover letter and attached resume for the position of Health Clerk III with Ludavega Medical.”
Next, I’ll move into creating a statement which summarizes my intent in writing that particular cover letter. How? Ask yourself why you’re applying to the position, and tell the truth. Maybe you’re looking to grow at a new company, or want to learn a new trade. Maybe your skills are just really well-suited to the job posting. Whatever the reason, find a way to say it that sounds professional, and which supports your enthusiasm to work at that company.
To get started, here are three basic examples of this type of statement that you can build into your own cover letter:
“While I have learned a great deal as a ______ in the _______ sector, I am eager to begin this next chapter of my career, where if selected I would to use my ______, ______, and ______ skills to ________.”
“Considering the employment experience listed on my resume, I am confident my skills as a _______ are well-suited to the requirements listed in the aforementioned position’s job description.”
“Due to a growing interest in the areas of ______ and ______, paired with my existing expertise as a ________, I am submitting this application to further explore this interest, while supporting the _______ team.”
Step Three: Develop an outline for, and then write, a central summary statement to connect yourself to the tasks you'll need to complete in the future
Because you have set up the intent of your letter with your introduction statement, you can now add relevant information about your work experience and personal life that will connect you to the job to which you're applying.
But which information should you add? You’ve already listed a lot of your accomplishments on your resume, so what’s left to talk about?
Before you begin writing this section, my advice is to refer back to the job posting you’re working from and follow these three simple steps to build a quick central summary statement for your cover letter:
Reread the job posting and pull three (3) job requirements directly from the posting that you believe represent you, your work ethic, or your experience.
Copy and paste these to your working cover letter document.
Beneath each selected job requirement, write out one or two things you’ve accomplished (inside or outside of work) that relate to the requirement, and which show you have a capacity for that skill.
Create a central summary paragraph from that material.
Let’s do an example together to really get the hang of it.
Imagine I was an accountant applying to an accounting position. For step one, I would look at the job posting and see what the job requirements are, and which ones I excel at the most. I choose payroll, accounts receivable, and helping with financial planning for the business.
For step two, I would then type those three items into my document like so:
Financial Planning for Business
Step three, as mentioned, is where I would write out one or two accomplishments or related work experiences that comes to mind, but which aren’t already on your resume, like so:
Payroll - onboarded entirely new payroll system during tax season
Accounts Receivable - reduced company debt balance by 12% in my first year
Financial Planning for Business - sat on board of financial planning for local community group where I assisted local entrepreneurs
Finally, step four is to pull it all together into a paragraph or two that connect these concepts and achievements, and which expand on how you managed to create these successes, and the specific results you achieved. Really hone in on the skills you possess which made it possible for you to achieve those goals, or to gain that experience.
Here is an extremely basic version that someone might write using the accounting example above:
“In my time at Augusta Accounting Group, I was able to reduce the company’s internal debt balance by 12% in my first year thanks to a strict organizational accounts receivable process I implemented after due observation and client research. I worked hard with my colleagues to produce these results, all while onboarding an entirely new payroll system that needed intense troubleshooting and collaboration from the entire accounting department. Outside of work, I have also committed to providing high-level business and financial advice to entrepreneurs on a volunteer basis at the Hondall Centre for Entrepreneurship, where I recently helped one young businesswoman locate funding for her start-up. Together, I believe these accomplishments would make me an excellent fit for the team....”
[optional] Step Four: Create added interest by emphasizing your personal motivation for applying
Used in place of a second summary paragraph, or added to the preface of your conclusion, almost every cover letter I have sent out - whether for myself or on behalf of my clients - has mentioned a more personal anecdote that humanizes the application.
The easiest way to successfully add a section like this to your cover letter (again, it doesn’t have to be long), is to discuss why you are personally motivated to take on this position, your beliefs or philosophies about the job you want to take on, or why you believe your personal skills (not just employment skills) would make you an asset to the team or business. You might even want to use this section to discuss your willingness to take on more training - just make sure again that these are not things easily found on your resume.
Once more, here is a brief example of what a personal statement paragraph might look like, this time using an administrative example this time around:
“On a more personal note, while I believe that organized administration is key to any business venture, I have always felt that administrators hold a key managerial support role that often goes underutilized. That is why I always try to establish my capacity for my primary tasks, as well as my willingness to jump in and assist with other supervisory or leadership tasks as needed - particularly in consideration of my long history as a group volunteer lead with the AMSP.”
Step Five: Finalize your letter with a strong concluding statement
Closing statements are flexible, and can be as simple as ‘Thank you again for your consideration, I hope to hear from you soon’. For my own cover letters though, I always like to insist that I am ready and eager to answer any other questions the hiring manager may have for me. Other times, I re-emphasize my enthusiasm or confidence in my ability to help the company to which I am applying. Whatever the case, make sure to thank the reader once more before signing off with your full name and relevant credentials, like so:
“As you continue your search for an excellent _______, I would be pleased to answer any further questions you may have with regard to this position, or my skills as a _______. Until then, I wish you the best of your week, and thank you once more for your consideration.
Mary Ramirez, B.A.”
How to Write A Great Cover Letter: Summary
To write a great cover letter, you need an eye-catching header with all the right information, a solid introductory statement, a central summary paragraph that explores your talents and your ability to fill the position you’re applying for, as well as a personal note on your expertise and a concluding statement.
Make sure that you always include personalized information about the job you’re applying to, and try your best to alter each cover letter every time you send one off. The final piece of advice I’ll leave you with, then, is to remember to use as many keywords in your cover letter from the original job posting as possible, and that you’re sending a letter to a person, not a job. You can be casual-professional these days and still get your foot in the door.
Wish you could skip the hardest part of cover letter building? Try out one of our FILL-IN-THE-BLANK COVER LETTER TEMPLATES from Manifest Content Solutions.
Just type your information into the brackets provided, edit, and voila! A new cover letter ready to send off in no time at all!