Created on: February 19, 2024
Modified on: February 19, 2024

A cover letter is a formal document that accompanies a CV when applying for a job or other similar situations. Its purpose is to provide additional information about the candidate and his or her motivation for a particular job or opportunity.

Whether you love writing cover letters or view them as a chore, many hiring managers still rely on them to gauge an applicant’s personality, attention to detail and written communication skills. The key to writing effective cover letters is to follow instructions and communicate succinctly with an assertive voice.

Here are  guidelines to keep in mind as you write your cover letters:

Customise your header based on the format of your application

If you’re writing your cover letter directly within an online job application, there’s no need to include your address or other contact information, as you’ve probably already typed that into other areas of the application form. If you’re including your cover letter as an attachment, you can use the same heading as your CV.

Use an appropriate greeting

If you know the name of the hiring manager for this job, begin your cover letter by addressing them directly (example: Dear Jane).

If you don’t know the name of the hiring manager, you can begin your letter with a simple ‘Hello,’ or ‘Dear Hiring Manager,’. Research the company’s culture when deciding how formal your greeting should be. More formal introductions such as ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, can come across as too stuffy for some organisations, while greetings like ‘Hey!’ and ‘Hi there’ are almost always too casual for a cover letter.

Keep it short and to the point

Unless specified in the job description, there is no required length for a cover letter, so focus on the details that are most important for the job. Read the job description closely to understand the requirements of the job. Think of examples from your past that fit those requirements, including your proudest professional achievements. Choose one or two and match them directly to the desired experience or qualifications the hiring manager is looking for, using just a few detailed but concise sentences. What traits or behaviours has the employer asked for in the job description? Consider using the cover letter itself as a way of demonstrating those traits.

Always proofread before you submit

Reread your cover letter several times before submitting and keep an eye out for errors in spelling, grammar or punctuation.

For jobs that require a cover letter, remember that you’re getting a valuable chance to illustrate your capabilities and share a glimpse of your authentic personality. Take advantage of the opportunity to let your greatest strengths shine, while also showing that you respect the hiring manager’s time and attention.


Cover letter structure

Elements of a cover letter:

  • Date and contact information
  • Salutation/greeting
  • Opening paragraph
  • Middle paragraphs
  • Closing paragraph
  • Complimentary close and signature


Cover letter should not be attached as a separate file, but written in a letter to the HR manager!

Cover letter format example

Dear [Employer’s Name or Hiring Manager’s Name],

I am writing to express my enthusiastic interest in the [specific job position] at [Company Name] as advertised on [where you found the job posting]. With a strong background in [relevant skills or experience], I am confident in my ability to contribute effectively to your team.

In my previous role at [Previous Company], I [briefly describe a relevant achievement or responsibility that showcases your skills]. This experience has equipped me with a solid foundation in [mention a key skill or qualification required for the job].

What excites me about the opportunity at [Company Name] is your commitment to [mention something specific about the company, e.g., innovative solutions, community impact, etc.]. I am particularly drawn to the prospect of [mention a specific aspect of the job or company that aligns with your career goals].

Enclosed is my resume that provides additional details about my professional background. I am excited about the possibility of contributing to the success of [Company Name] and would welcome the opportunity to discuss how my skills and experiences align with your team’s needs.

Thank you for considering my application.

I look forward to the possibility of discussing how my skills and experiences make me a strong fit for this position.



[Your Full Name]