Your resume may be brilliant, and your online portfolio may be a work of art, but your job application won’t be complete without a convincing, well-written, well-formatted cover letter. As you draft and edit your letter, you’ll need to make your case using both strong messaging and a winning layout and design.
To get a head start on the latter, select any one of our cover letter templates and start crafting your work story today. Further, if you need more help, use our cover letter builder to create an attention-grabbing message that can open doors and take your career to the next level.
Cover Letter Templates & Designs
What to Include in a Strong Cover Letter Template
Like any strong narrative, the work story you shine a light on in your cover letter should have a certain progression and some core components.
While cover letters vary widely based on a given applicant’s intentions, target job, years of experience, and personality, almost every effective letter contains four elements (have a look at our cover letter templates to see them in action):
- a salutation,
- an opening,
- a paragraph or two of body content,
- and a closing section.
In the sections below, we’ll review the goals and requirements of each of these critical elements.
Begin your letter with a concise greeting that reflects what you know about your reader.
If you know the person’s name (a specific hiring manager or HR director, for example), greet the person using that full name, first and last (for example, “Dear Jessie Waxler”). And by extension, do some research to try to find out to whom you should address your cover letter if no name is listed on the job ad.
If you aren’t sure who will read your letter—and your research hasn’t turned up anything definitive, start with “Dear Hiring Manager.” Use our cover letter templates to get a sense of how your salutation should appear on the page.
This section may seem unimportant, but a red flag at the very top of your letter can hurt your chances from the start. Make sure you spell your reader’s name correctly and avoid outdated or sexist terms (for example, “Dear Sir”).
Follow your greeting with a brief one paragraph introduction that includes your target job title, the company name, how you found out about the position, and why you think you’d be able to add value to the company. If possible, include a point about why you’re applying for this particular role; this extra effort at personalization shows the employer that you really are enthusiastic about joining their team.
Again, use our cover letter templates and be sure to avoid easy mistakes at the very beginning of your letter, since you don’t want employers to stop reading or lose interest before they reach your primary points. Keep your strong opening fluid, personable, and packed with relevant information regarding who you are and what you have to offer.
After your opening statement, you’ll need a section that highlights the alignment between your profile and the needs of the open position you’d like to pursue. This section will contain the substance of your primary argument: you should be hired for this job, and your readers will be wise to scoop you up before their competitors have a chance.
As you write this section, keep in mind that your qualifications will be listed in your resume, so there’s no need to rattle off your vital statistics in list format (educational accomplishments, previous jobs, etc.). Instead, use this section to tell real stories about some of your real accomplishments and skills. Alternatively, this is the space where you should explain any points on your resume that need context, like long employment gaps, why you’re interested in making a career change, etc.
Use our cover letter templates to draft and format your story from the ground up.
A well-written closing allows you to reiterate your fit for the role and encourage your readers to take a series next steps. You’ll want to leave your reader feeling respected, appreciated, and excited about inviting you in for an in-person interview.
Wrap up your professional story and let your readers know where to turn for additional information about you. Should they review your online profiles? Should they request personal references? Let them know what else you’d like them to see and where they can find it. Then sign off using your full name and contact information.
Cover Letter Templates by Industry
The general best practices described here can apply across the board to almost every cover letter and every job search, but you’ll need to take these general guidelines and adapt your own letter to meet the needs of the specific industry you’re targeting.
Some employers and some industries require closer attention to certain details than others; for example, a typo in a job application for a copyeditor position might carry more weight than it would in other industries. Likewise, a beautiful sense of layout and style might heavily influence hiring managers looking for a designer or artistic director.
These industry-specific cover letter templates can provide you with insight and guidance as you shape your letter to meet the needs of employers in your own chosen field. Take a closer look for more information.