How to Write a Cover Letter in English| An Effective Guide

Cover letter is basically an accompanying formal document that helps provide context to the contents of another document. For a job seeker applying for jobs in English-speaking work environments , writing a cover letter is an important skill.

Last update:
01/01/2024

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A well-written cover letter can help you distinguish yourself from other candidates and allows you to make a positive and lasting impression on a potential employer. To write an effective cover letter can seem challenging but we are here to help, guide and steer you in the right direction. In this detailed guide, we will be taking you through the nuances and provide you with helpful tips to help you craft an articulate, effective and professional cover letter. 

What is a Cover Letter?


In the context of the job application process, a cover letter is a formal one page document that acts as an introduction to your resume. It helps in highlighting your suitability for the position by showcasing your relevant experience, skills and qualifications. 

Cover letter in English


The benchmark of a good cover letter lies in its ability to get a hiring manager to notice your application. It needs to be brief, to the point, persuasive and perfectly tailored to the specific job that you are applying to. It is advisable to not rush this process and take your time articulating your thoughts so your cover letter ensures that it conveys all the important details of your professional experience and skills. 

The Significance of a Cover Letter


A cover letter helps personalize your job application process and conveys to a potential employer that you have taken extra effort to curate your application. It is a powerful tool that should be utilized to your advantage during your job search. 

A cover letter is the most effective way to distinguish yourself from other applicants. It gives you the perfect opportunity to show your genuine enthusiasm for the role that you have applied for. 

In a resume, you are bound by the limits of space, so it is a concise overview of your career.  It  serves the purpose of providing more context to your resume. It gives you the opportunity to elaborate on parts of your professional life you couldn't appropriately represent on your resume. It ensures that a hiring manager gets all the information they require to make an informed hiring decision. 

Complementing your resume with a cover letter also helps you highlight your professional written skills, which is an important aspect of every job. It helps instill confidence in a potential employer that you have the ability to work and communicate formally  even if you are not a native speaker of English. 

Lastly, a cover letter helps you take the initiative and gives you the opportunity to directly ask the employer or hiring manager to set up an interview. This demonstrates proactiveness from your side, a quality that resonates with most employers and is most likely to work in your favor. 

How to Write a Cover Letter?


Before diving into the writing process, it is important to gather your thoughts and roughly jot down all the points you would like to highlight in your cover letter. Make a note of your career high points and the skills and qualifications that you have gained along the way. Identify the exact points you want relayed to your potential future employer. 

To enhance your cover letter is crucial to thoroughly do your research about the company culture, values and the exact requirements of the position. With this knowledge, you can perfectly align your cover letter with the employer’s expectations giving you a decent shot at convincing them to hire you. 

Another important thing to remember is to recognize and emphasize your unique set of skills that sets you apart from the other candidates. This is hard to do in a resume, as most applicants will be similarly qualified but in a cover letter you can highlight unique instances that make you a perfect fit for the position. 

Format of a Cover Letter


Since a cover letter is a professional document, there are rules and guidelines to format and structure it. A well-formatted and properly structured cover letter is sure to positively impact your job application. There are multiple formats and styles of cover letters. Each format serves a unique purpose and should be chosen according to your goals and purpose. We will go through cover letter formats that will effectively help you in expressing your genuine interest for the position that you are applying to. 

Application Cover Letter

The application cover letter is the most common type of cover letter that is used with a resume for a specific job opening.

This format begins with your contact information, the employer’s contact information, and a formal greeting addressing the hiring manager by his/her name. This is followed by an introduction which shows your genuine interest in the position and the organization and another paragraph highlighting your qualifications. Lastly, there is a closing paragraph with a call to action like requesting for an interview or a meeting. 

If you choose this format, use an extremely formal and professional tone. Make sure to mention the job title and specify where you got the job lead. Make sure to adequately emphasize and bring attention to your skills that make you a perfect candidate for the position. It is important to convey genuine interest for the company and prove that you have done your research about the company’s culture and work ethic. 

Referral Cover Letter

A referral cover letter, as the name suggests, is used when you have been referred to a job by a mutual professional contact of yours and the company. 

This format begins with the name of the person who referred you for the position. Then you can proceed with highlighting your relevant experience, skills and qualifications. Make a strong closing statement and be proactive and request for an interview. Include all the important information as mentioned above for the application cover letter format. 

The beauty of this format is that the hiring manager will take your application seriously as you have been vetted and have applied through a reference. This already gives your cover letter a lot more credibility. Highlight the relevant professional experiences that align with the company and its values. Make sure to keep the language formal and professional and ensure you mention the name of the person that recommended you for the position. 

Prospecting Cover Letter

A prospecting cover letter is used in instances where the candidate is interested to work for a particular company and preemptively sends them a job application even though they have not specifically advertised for any position.

The content and structuring of this format does slightly differ from the above mentioned formats. It starts with a strong introduction expressing your interest in working with the company. The next section, which is the main body of your cover letter, needs to highlight your qualifications and convey the value you bring to the company. 

Since in this case, you are applying for a position that may or may not be available, you need to show that you have done your homework. Show that you have a comprehensive understanding of the company’s philosophy and use specific examples of their work that has attracted you to want to work for them. Highlight only relevant skills and experience that prove that you are the right fit for the company. You should close this cover letter by politely asking for an interview. Be ready to follow up and show persistence to land an interview for your dream job. 

Networking Cover Letter

A networking cover letter is used when you want to reach out to your professional network of contacts for job leads, advice or interviews.

The purpose of this format is to call upon your professional networks for better career opportunities. So, it starts with a warm greeting followed by explaining your purpose of writing while providing background on your connection so the person you are writing to has full context. This letter should be appropriately tailored to the person you are reaching out to, and maintain a formal tone depending on the nature of your relationship.

In this format, it is very important to establish the context  of your relationship and your purpose for reaching out in the very beginning so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure to be concise and maintain a formal and respectful tone. Ensure that you express your gratitude for their time and advice beforehand.

The Essential Components of a Cover Letter


Every cover letter has a set of essential sections that need to be covered. A standard cover letter format follows the following order.

  • Cover letter header with the date and contact details specified
  • Employer’s contact information
  • Salutation
  • Opening paragraph
  • Second paragraph 
  • Closing paragraph
  • Signature
Cover letter in English


List Your Contact Details

The header section of your cover letter needs to contain the following contact details.

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Email Address
  • LinkedIn Profile

Mention The Date

Like any formal letter, mention the date of writing the cover letter.

Add Employer’s Contact Details

It is important that you address it directly to the hiring manager by adding the following details. 

  • Hiring manager’s name
  • Company name
  • Company’s address

Begin with a Salutation

One of the main advantages of writing a cover letter is that it helps you personalize your job application. It is very important to try and find the name of the hiring manager and address the letter to them directly. You can find these details on the company’s website or check the job description section of a job advertisement. If you still cannot find it, then take the initiative to call the company and find out. 

In case you cannot find the name of the hiring manager, then you can use the standard salutations or greetings like “to whom it may concern” or dear sir/madam. 

Write an Attention Grabbing Opening Paragraph

Set a professional and enthusiastic tone from the get go with the opening paragraph of your cover letter. Remember that this is your opportunity to grab the attention of a hiring manager and make a great first impression while introducing yourself. Mention the position that you are applying for and how you learned about the job or got the lead. 

Example

As a results-driven marketing professional with 10+ years of experience and  a proven track record of leading large-scale digital campaigns with high-end brands,I am thrilled to submit my application for the Head of Marketing position at ABC company as advertised on LinkedIn. Your company’s commitment to forming a brand's exclusive identity resonates with my professional values. Eager to contribute to the continued success of your dynamic team.

Construct the Body of the Cover Letter

The second paragraph which is the body of your cover letter is where you provide detailed information about your relevant experience and qualifications that can convey that you are the ideal candidate for the position.

Highlight only the relevant skills and experience that are aligned with the employer’s requirements for the position. It is recommended to use specific examples that accurately demonstrate your unique expertise and skill set. You can opt for bullet points for a neater and more visually appealing look. 

Cover letter in English


Take this opportunity to give an articulate explanation of the reasons you are interested to work with the company. Prove that you have researched the organization and are well-versed with their values and ways of working. Make sure to list the different aspects of the company that appeal to you. 

You should mention any notable recognition or achievements that you have had while working in your previous jobs. Always support this with specific metrics and tangible examples. 

Example

In my current role as a marketing manager for XYZ Company, I have had the wonderful opportunity to oversee large scale digital campaigns with prestigious brands and drive a lot of foot traffic for the brands that I am associated with. I am excited to bring my expertise to the Marketing Head position at ABC Company.

During my time at XYZ company, I was responsible for a number of successful marketing initiatives. My experience in executing data driven strategies has contributed to the company’s success in gaining an online presence. Notably, I spearheaded a comprehensive digital marketing campaign that increased the web site traffic by 40% in the first quarter.

I am extremely excited to work with ABC company as their commitment to innovative and creative strategies to meet business goals aligns with my own professional values. ABC company is the leading player in developing groundbreaking marketing strategies and I am eager to be a part of such a dynamic company.

Make a Strong Closing Statement

In your closing statement thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration. Utilize the closing paragraph to reiterate your interest in the position and express your interest in further discussing how you can contribute to the company’s success. Make a clear request for an interview.

Example

I am extremely interested and committed to contribute my marketing leadership skills to ABC company in order to enhance the company’s online presence and visibility. I am open to discuss this in greater detail and explain what value I can offer your company’s marketing team. Request you to schedule an interview so that we can explore the possibility of working together. Please feel free to contact me at 000-000-0000 or rachelminnow@example.com.

Thank you for your generous time and consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Your Sincerely,

Rachel Minnow

Pro Formatting and Styling Tips for Your Cover Letter


It is important to focus not only on the contents of your cover letter but also be mindful of how they are presented. A neat and visually appealing cover letter can go a long way in impressing a potential employer.

Use a Professional Font

It is important to use clear and professional sans serif fonts like Arial, Calibri and Helvetica. Keep the font size between 10-12 points for optimum readability for a hiring manager. 

Ensure a Legible Structure

Ensure to maintain a clear and organized structure for your cover letter. It should be divided into these sections- header, employer’s contact details, the appropriate salutation, introduction, second paragraph and closing paragraph 

Opt for Bullet Points

You can choose to use bullet points to highlight your skills and achievement. This will offer a break from the long paragraphs and allow a recruiter or hiring manager to quickly scan through the relevant sections. 

Maintain a Professional Tone

It is imperative to use an extremely professional tone throughout your cover letter. 

Keep a Consistent Style

It is very important to maintain a consistent style throughout your cover letter. This applies to the type of fonts, the font size, the styling on the fonts (bold or italics) etc. 

Keep it Concise

A cover letter should not extend beyond one page. It is a focussed document that should only contain the most relevant information regarding your professional career. 

Proofread and Edit


It is important to scan your cover letter for formatting, spelling and grammatical errors before the final submission. This step is very important as it ensures there are no mistakes in the final version of your cover letter. 

It is advisable to ask your friend or family member or trusted colleague to proofread your cover letter and they can offer some new perspective that can make your cover letter even better.

Tailor Your Cover Letter


Since every cover letter is addressed to a specific hiring manager and their company, it is absolutely compulsory to customize every cover letter to the specific job that you are applying to.Incorporate specific details from the job description into your cover letter to align perfectly with the role requirements. 

Another thing to keep in mind while tailoring your cover letter is to ensure that you emphasize that the company’s values and ethos resonate with your own. You need to demonstrate that you are the perfect candidate for the role. 

Cover letter in English

Cover Letter Template


If you find it hard to write a cover letter from scratch then you can take the aid of the multiple cover letter templates and cover letter examples we have to offer for multiple professions. These templates are designed to cover all the important aspects of cover letter writing and will be extremely useful for candidates whose first language isn't English. Here is a standard template for a cover letter.

[Your Full Name]
[Phone Number]
[Email Address]
[Online Profile- Personal website/LinkedIn]

[Date]

[Employer’s name]
[Company name]
[Company address]
Dear [Hiring manager’s name]

I would like to express my interest in the [Job title] position at [Company name] as mentioned on [Company website/LinkedIn]. With X number of years of experience in [mention your key qualifications], I am eager to contribute my skills and experience to your team.

I am impressed by the [Company name]’s commitment  to [mention specific company values or projects] and I am confident that my experience positions me as the right candidate to meet your requirements.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. Please find my resume attached and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss in person how my experience aligns with the [Company Name]’s objectives.

Sincerely,

[Your Full Name]

Key Takeaways


Here are some of the key steps to keep in mind while writing your cover letter to complement your resume. 

  • Understand the definition and significance of a cover letter before you begin writing it.
  • Make a note of all the details you want highlighted in your cover letter
  • Do a thorough research on the company’s policies and values to incorporate into your cover letter. 
  • Highlight your unique skills and qualifications to stand out from the crowd.
  • Choose an appropriate cover letter format that best suits your purpose and goals.
  • Address the hiring manager by name to personalize your job application.
  • Write a strong opening statement and establish an enthusiastic and professional tone from the start.
  • Pay attention while writing your second paragraph and include instances where you have significantly contributed to a company’s growth in your previous roles.
  • Write an impactful closing statement with a clear call to action.
  • Keep it concise and make sure to proofread your cover letter before submitting it.
  • Customize your cover letter appropriately for every job application.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to write a simple cover letter?

To write an effective and great cover letter you need to do your research on the company that you want to work for as well as align your skills perfectly with their job requirements to position yourself as the best fit for the job. Utilize the space and the opportunity that you get with a cover letter to touch upon the topics you couldn't include in your resume like instances and learnings from your previous jobs, your additional responsibilities and the unique expertise and skill set you have to offer.

What is the appropriate length for a cover letter?

A cover letter is strictly a one page document and it should not extend beyond that. Recruiters spend a few seconds per application so make sure to keep short and impactful.

Is a cover letter important?

Yes, a cover letter is very important and can positively impact your chances of landing your dream job.

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