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15 Cover Letter Templates to Perfect Your Next Job Application

Are cover letters necessary? I’m not in HR, but I’ve been approached by applicants who wondered whether their cover letter would actually be read.

Are cover letters necessary? I’m not in HR, but I’ve been approached by applicants who wondered whether their cover letter would actually be read. My answer is one not many of them wanted to hear: “sometimes.” Sometimes it will be read. Other times, you can get away with just sending in your resume — like when you network your way into applying for a position.

The truth is, you can’t really predict on a case-by-case basis — and you’re better safe than sorry. For the most part, having a cover letter will give you an upper hand in ways your resume doesn’t. It allows you to show off your writing skills, provide details that you couldn’t fit on your resume, demonstrate your passion, and show your willingness to put in as much time and effort as possible.

If you’ve ever rolled your eyes or balked at an application that required a cover letter, this guide is for you. We’ll go over how to write a cover letter and provide cover letter templates to help you perfect your own.

Application Letter

An application letter is a written document addressed to an employer by a job applicant, explaining why they’re interested in and qualified for an open position. More commonly known as a cover letter, this document can come in the form of an email, MS Word document, or similar application template offered by the employer.

Seems fairly basic, right? Cover letters can hold different levels of importance to an employer depending on the industry you’re in and the job you’re applying for. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 49% of recruiters say sendign a cover letter along with your resume boosts your chance of landing the role.

If you do plan to write a cover letter, keep in mind there are certain qualities it should have that are not included in the definition above.

What to Include in a Cover Letter?

So, what should you include? We’ll let the 11 templates below this list do most of the talking. No matter which one you download, pay attention to the following elements — all of which should shine through in the letter you send to your future manager.

1. Contact Information

Cover letters shouldn’t just carry your contact information, but also that of the company to which you’re applying. Contact info includes your phone number, email address, and any social media accounts you’re willing to share and receive connections to.

Home addresses aren’t required, but they can be a helpful reassurance to the employer that you already live nearby and would have no trouble coming into the office.

Avoid offering phone numbers, email addresses, or actual addresses that belong to your current employer. Using your personal Gmail address over your work email, for example, ensures your correspondence with recruiters remains separate from all of your current work communication.

2. A Personal Address Line

For as often as you see “to whom it may concern” at the top of cover letters today, do your best to avoid writing this exhausted line.

Address lines that specify a person or company grab your reader’s attention much more quickly, and show the employer that you’ve taken the time to tailor your application letter to them. Don’t have the name of the hiring manager? “Employers at [company name]” will do just fine.

3. A Hook

A “hook” is a clever introduction that “hooks” your reader into wanting to learn more. Think about yourself as a job candidate — what makes you unique? What about your career might a recruiter be intrigued by that you can package into an interesting first sentence?

4. Why You’re Qualified

It’s a no-brainer that you should summarize your professional experience in your cover letter. However, today’s best applications describe why this experience qualifies the applicant for the job they’re applying for. For example, don’t just state that you spent three years writing for a company blog. Explain that this type of work lends itself to managing your new potential employer’s content calendar every week.

5. General Knowledge of the Business

Grammatical errors could mean your application is thrown in the trash, but that’s not the only thing that could get your letter tossed aside. Using a generic “one-size-fits-all” cover letter — especially if you forget to change the name of the company — will also hurt your chances of landing an interview.

So, if you take the time to write a cover letter, take the time to comment on the business itself. Why are you applying to this company? What about their business stuck out to you as a professional?

Now, let’s take a look at an example cover letter, what makes it effective, along with 11 templates you can download or draw inspiration from.

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