The Only Cover Letter Template You Need To Easily Apply To Jobs

There are things that col­lege just does­n’t pre­pare you for. For exam­ple, how to dress casu­al (seri­ous­ly, how?), or how to pre­pare for work­ing a 9‑to‑5 job for the rest of your . As some­one who has recent­ly entered the world of job search­ing, I’m find­ing that there’s one thing I real­ly wish I had learned in a col­lege class: How to write a cov­er let­ter.

Most jobs I’ve seen require both a and cov­er let­ter to apply, and I’ve found myself dread­ing hav­ing to write a new let­ter for every sin­gle posi­tion I want. (Seri­ous­ly, who has time for all this?) I know I’m not alone: In a 2024 Her sur­vey of 562 respon­dents, near­ly 3 out of 10 said they are unlike­ly to apply for a job that requires a cov­er let­ter. While tak­ing the extra time to write a cov­er let­ter seems like a pain, skip­ping out on apply­ing alto­geth­er could mean you end up miss­ing out on some great oppor­tu­ni­ties.

When you’re try­ing to put your­self out there to employ­ers, craft­ing indi­vid­ual let­ters can real­ly slow the process down; hon­est­ly, it’s dis­cour­ag­ing to think about spend­ing hours and hours writ­ing when you want to be search­ing for more oppor­tu­ni­ties. 

To per­fect the art of writ­ing a quick and easy cov­er let­ter, I spoke with Linked­In’s Top Recruit­ing Voice and Direc­tor of Recruit­ment at Swan Resumes, Brit­tney Swan. Not only did I get some amaz­ing advice on what to include in one of these let­ters, but Swan also gave me tips to cre­ate the per­fect cov­er let­ter that you can use any time you need one. And the best part is, it won’t take you more than 15 min­utes to put togeth­er.

Cover letter template
Her Cam­pus

First, let’s establish what a cover letter is.

So, what is a cov­er let­ter, exact­ly? Cov­er let­ters are an intro­duc­tion to your resume and your appli­ca­tion. “It should be a quick snap­shot of your qual­i­fi­ca­tions and it should direct­ly link your expe­ri­ence with a spe­cif­ic job descrip­tion or com­pa­ny,” Swan tells Her Cam­pus.

When you’re brows­ing LinkedIn or Indeed, job posts will (hope­ful­ly) have a blurb that describes the posi­tions, , and qual­i­fi­ca­tions the com­pa­ny is look­ing for. This is what you want to con­nect your own skills and expe­ri­ences to in your cov­er let­ter. 

It’s impor­tant to dis­tin­guish what a cov­er let­ter should­n’t be, though. “Can­di­dates might not real­ize that cov­er let­ters are not the same as a let­ter of intent or a SOQ let­ter (which is a set of designed to demon­strate your knowl­edge on a sub­ject),” Swan says. “Com­pa­nies [may] ask for a let­ter of intent, which means you need to explain what you would do in the role if accept­ed ver­sus a cov­er let­ter, which is explain­ing your qual­i­fi­ca­tions and pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ences.” 

One oth­er thing a cov­er let­ter should not be is a retelling of your life sto­ry. Adding extra that is not need­ed or not applic­a­ble can actu­al­ly hurt your chances of get­ting hired. “Your life sto­ry, your fam­i­ly’s life sto­ry, or per­son­al infor­ma­tion can make it ille­gal to hire you based on [work­place] bias laws,” Swan says. So, it’s best to stay away from these per­son­al details in a cov­er let­ter. 

Here’s a quick and easy format for your cover letter intro.

Essen­tial­ly, the sim­ple for­mat for a cov­er let­ter is this: an intro­duc­tion + qual­i­fi­ca­tion + qual­i­fi­ca­tion + qual­i­fi­ca­tion + con­clu­sion = a com­plet­ed let­ter. 

A great way to open your let­ter is by estab­lish­ing your inter­est in the com­pa­ny and giv­ing a brief intro­duc­tion to your recent expe­ri­ence. “Write an open­ing state­ment start­ing with the job title and explain­ing your expe­ri­ence,” Swan says.  “Then write what you’re look­ing for in this role or join­ing the com­pa­ny — growth, chal­lenge, et cetera.”

Swan pro­vid­ed a sam­ple intro­duc­tion that you can tai­lor to your own needs: 

“This let­ter is to express my inter­est in join­ing your grow­ing orga­ni­za­tion, through an open (title) posi­tion. The last XXX years have encom­passed [expla­na­tion, expla­na­tion, expla­na­tion]. My hope is to become a part of your orga­ni­za­tion, as I believe [expla­na­tion, expla­na­tion, expla­na­tion].” 

Here’s what to include in the middle. 

After your intro, this is where the bulk of your expla­na­tion comes in. “The sec­ond para­graph direct­ly links what the com­pa­ny is ask­ing for with the expe­ri­ences you have,” Swan says. This is a great time to tie in all that infor­ma­tion from the job post­ing blurb back to what you bring to the table. 

This expla­na­tion sec­tion does­n’t have to be super long. It’s just telling the com­pa­ny that over the span of how­ev­er many years, you did a cer­tain amount of rel­e­vant work, and since the job list­ing indi­cates a need for some­one with a cer­tain set of skills, you believe you would be a great fit for the posi­tion. 

Then wrap it all up with a short and sweet conclusion.

Clos­ing out a cov­er let­ter can be thought of like any oth­er con­clud­ing para­graph, or the end of a term paper. You want to reit­er­ate your main points briefly, and then thank the hir­ing man­ag­er for their time or con­sid­er­a­tion. 

Swan gives anoth­er excel­lent sam­ple, say­ing in the clos­ing: 

“Giv­en the , I can bring sig­nif­i­cant val­ue to your cor­po­ra­tion by uti­liz­ing my spe­cif­ic skill sets, work expe­ri­ence, and edu­ca­tion. I have enclosed my resume and appre­ci­ate the time you have tak­en to get to know who I am and what I could pos­si­bly offer to this already inspir­ing sys­tem.”

Cov­er let­ters don’t have to be stress­ful or ridicu­lous­ly long. Just remem­ber to stick to some basic for­mat­ting like this so you don’t over­think it, and you’ll be a pro just like that!

For more insights on nav­i­gat­ing a dif­fi­cult job mar­ket and the top jobs, indus­tries, and cities to pur­sue right now, check out Linked­In’s 2024 Guide to Kick­start­ing Your Career.

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