How to Write a Formal Cover Letter

Use these tips and cover letter examples to help you create a formal cover letter and succeed in your job search!

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The Best Formal Cover Letter Example

Writing a formal cover letter is an essential part of your job search journey. Your cover letter should go beyond the information listed in your resume to provide a complete picture of your key credentials as a candidate. A great cover letter will set you up for success for the rest of the application process. This guide will show you:
  • Best practices for writing a formal cover letter
  • An example of a professional cover letter for you to follow
  • Cover letter tips to help you score an interview
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Formal Cover Letter Example

We have a wide range of industry-specific cover letter samples on our website for you to peruse. Here’s one example below:
 
[Today’s Date]
 
[XYZ Company Address]
[Phone Number]
[HiringManagerEmail@xyzcompany.com]
 
Dear [Hiring Manager’s name],  
 
I am writing to express my interest in the HR Assistant role at [Company name]. As an HR professional with a BA in Human Resource Management and particular expertise in recruitment, I was thrilled to find your job opening and feel there is a strong alignment between my skillset and the goals of your organization.
 
During my time at [ZYX Company], I took responsibility for a wide range of HR-related tasks and was entrusted with a key role in the company’s hiring process. Managing the recruitment screening stage, I reviewed applications and conducted phone interviews with shortlisted candidates at an average rate of 15 per day. A thorough analysis of each candidate ensured hiring managers were well briefed prior to the interview and could move quickly to the offer stage, with my efforts helping to improve time-to-hire by 35%. I also assisted with a variety of clerical processes, including payroll, benefits administration, and employee data management, the performance of which was instrumental to the company’s record-high employee satisfaction scores during my period of employment.
 
With my existing experience and willingness to develop my skills further, I am confident I would make a great addition to your team. I look forward to speaking with you at a time of your convenience to discuss the role in greater detail. Thank you for your time and consideration.   
 
Sincerely,  
 
[Your name]     


Tips for Writing Your Formal Cover Letter Using This Example

Whether you’re applying to an entry-level role or a senior job posting, these cover letter writing tips will help you write the best cover letter possible:  
 
1.Tailor your cover letter to the job description.
 
The first step to writing the perfect cover letter is research. Study the job ad as well as the company’s website to build a precise understanding of the needs of the role. Make a note of two or three key skills that will serve as the foundation of your cover letter. Here are some examples of soft skills that are applicable to many jobs:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication 
  • Organizational skills
  • Problem-solving 
  • Time management 

Hard skills will vary widely depending on the role but include things like:

  • Software skills
  • Negotiation
  • Video production
  • Bookkeeping
  • Data compliance

Aim to cover a mix of soft skills and role-specific hard skills in your cover letter, as both types of abilities are key for most jobs.  

 
2. List your best attribute in the first paragraph.
 
Don’t wait until the main body of your cover letter to start selling yourself; describe your biggest accomplishment or best quality in the opening paragraph. This will hook the hiring manager’s attention and encourage them to continue reading to learn more about your skill set. Your hook should be unique and help to distinguish yourself from other job seekers. It could be your expertise in a particular area, as in the example cover letter above. If you’re at the start of your career, then it could be your strong work ethic and willingness to learn.
 
 3. Use examples to support your points.
 
When discussing your work experience in the second paragraph, use specific examples to make your case more convincing. Case studies and statistics will actively demonstrate the contributions you’ve made in previous positions.
 
In the example above, the candidate refers to the positive impact they had on time-to-hire. This is an important key performance indicator (KPI) within human resources and helps showcase their understanding of the field.
 
 4. Include a call to action in the closing paragraph.
 
Before you sign off, use your final paragraph to reiterate your interest and enthusiasm for the position, and add a call to action, such as a request for an interview or phone call to discuss the role further.  
 
5. Add your contact information to the header.
 
Don’t forget to add your contact details to the page header at the top of the cover letter. This information includes your:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Professional email address
  • Link to a professional online profile, if appropriate (e.g., LinkedIn)

Present your contact details clearly so that the hiring manager can quickly reach out to you should they wish to advance your application.


FAQ: Former Cover Letter Example

Q: Do I really need a cover letter to get a job?

Unless the job posting explicitly states not to, always include a cover letter as part of your application. Writing a good cover letter is key to making a positive first impression, and it’s an opportunity to expand on your key skills and qualifications.

Q: How long should my cover letter be to get a job?

Your cover letter should be about 3/4 of a page or roughly 250–400 words. If you’re struggling to keep to this length, then use bullet points (e.g., for featuring prime responsibilities or achievements from a previous job) for added brevity. Another tip is to start with a cover letter template. This will provide you with a set format from which to build out your cover letter.

Q: Does this cover letter example work if I don’t have a lot of experience?

The sample letter above works as a great template for all kinds of jobs and experience levels. If you don’t have much professional experience, then discuss any relevant experience as a volunteer or intern. If you also lack this kind of experience, then focus on your education and training.

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