Cover Letter Writing Guide With Examples

Young businesswoman working on documents
Damir Cudic / Getty Images

Here is your guide to writing effective cover letters that will help you win the interview. It will step you through the process of writing a cover letter to send with your resume when applying for jobs.

Here's advice on what to include in your cover letter, how to write a cover letter that will get your application noticed, tips for customizing your letters, cover letter format, and cover letter samples and examples.

Getting Started

  • Choose a Type of Cover LetterWhen you are job hunting, it's important to choose the type of cover letter that is appropriate whether you are applying for a job, or requesting job search assistance. Here are the different types of cover letters and information on when each should be used.
  • What to Include in a Cover LetterWhen you are a writing a cover letter, there is specific information that needs to be included. Your cover letter should include a contact section, a salutation, information on why you are qualified for the job, a closing, and your signature.
  • How to Write a Cover LetterA cover letter typically accompanies each resume you send out. A well-written cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored, so it makes good sense to devote the necessary time and effort to making yours effective.
  • Cover Letter Writing TipsPerfection matters when writing cover letters. Every cover letter you write should be customized for the job you are applying for, clear and concise, grammatically correct, and error-free.
  • Customize Your Cover LettersA targeted cover letter will show specifically how you are qualified, what makes you a strong candidate and why you should be selected to interview. Includes targeted cover letter samples and examples.

What to Include and How to Format

  • Parts of a Cover LetterA cover letter is comprised of several parts: contact information, a salutation, the body of the cover letter and an appropriate closing.
  • Cover Letter SalutationsWhen you're writing a cover letter or sending an email message to apply for a job, it's important to include an appropriate salutation at the beginning of the cover letter or message.
  • Cover Letter ClosingsThe closing to your cover letter is important. Be sure to use an appropriate, professional close to your email or sent cover letter.
  • How to Format a Cover LetterYour cover letters should follow the basic format of a business letter or email and should address three general issues, including why you are writing, what you have to offer and how you will follow-up.

Email Cover Letters

  • Writing and Sending Email Cover LettersWhen you're sending an email cover letter, it's important to follow the employer's instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume and to make sure that your email cover letters are written as well as any other correspondence you send. Here's how to write and send email cover letters.

Review Examples

  • Sample Cover LettersReview these cover letter samples and examples, cover letter formatting, plus templates you can customize to create your own cover letters.

Check Before You Send

  • Cover Letter ChecklistBefore you send your cover letter, review this checklist to make sure that you have covered all the basics and are sending a perfect cover letter to your prospective employer.