Best Cover Letter
Cover letter outline
While summarizing your professional background can feel daunting, this template is designed to help you easily craft a stand-out cover letter that explains why you’re the best person for the job. In this template, expert Career Coaches offer step-by-step instruction with thought exercises and best practices so you can create a cover letter quickly and confidently. For more details on cover letter writing best practices, visit How To Write a Cover Letter.
When you're done, check out our template to create your resume.
Elements of a cover letter
Cover letters typically follow the format of a traditional business letter, containing sets of information in a specific order. For reference, we’ve included a full cover letter example in the template above. Your cover letter should include the following elements:
Hiring Manager’s Name
Company City, State, ZIP code
First paragraph: Introduction
Sentence one: Introduce yourself.
Sentence two: Include your reason for writing, including the job title.
Sentences three and four: Explain why the job is a good fit for you and why you’re a good fit for the job, including keywords from the job posting.
Second and third paragraphs: Pitch
Sentence one: A brief description of your most recent or current role(s), connected to the job description.
Sentence two: Specific accomplishments that show a track record of success doing relevant work, using numbers when possible.
Sentence three: Experiences from your background that are similar to the new role that you particularly enjoyed and/or found success with.
Fourth paragraph: Conclusion and closing
Sentence one: A brief summary of your qualifications, accomplishments, and fitness for the role.
Sentence two (optional): Any additional, non-professional experience relevant to the role such as volunteer roles or personal hobbies.
Sentence three: Expression of interest in the role and learning about next steps in the hiring process. Offer additional resources and information as needed.
Closing sign-off and name (ex., "All the best, Joan Yip").
Cover letter tips
To write the best cover letter possible, there are a few small tweaks you can make to set yourself up for success.
Research the company. Your cover letter is a great opportunity to draw connections between your motivations and personal career goals to the company’s mission and values.
Get advice. It’s always a good idea to ask a trusted friend or colleague to review your cover letter. If possible, ask someone in your network who is familiar with your work and industry — even better if they have the same or similar role to the one to which you’re applying.
Keep it concise. Hiring managers typically review your resume and cover letter in under a minute, scanning for specific information. Be sure to cut down on “fluff” and use that space for important, relevant information that will help the reader picture you being successful at the company, on their team, and in that role.
Use the job description. The job description is a great source of information. The hiring manager likely wrote it themselves, painting a picture of the exact type of person they’re seeking. Use those same words to describe yourself and your experience throughout.
Quantify your success. Whenever possible, use numbers to express your accomplishments and illustrate your impact. These can be amounts of money you’ve saved or earned the company, percent changes in key metrics, number of people or teams you’ve managed, or time you’ve saved.
Integrate soft skills. Even the smartest, most skillful people can have an overwhelming negative impact if they don’t work well with others. Hiring managers often hire based on referrals to avoid the risk of hiring people who don’t meet their culture standards. Weave soft skills into your past experience and accomplishments to show you’re dependable, willing to learn, and team-oriented.
Build on your resume. Your cover letter is a great opportunity to get ahead of any questions that might come up around your resume, like a gap in employment. You should also use your cover letter to go in-depth on a few of the most relevant items from your resume to create a richer, more personal view of your qualifications. Avoid copying and pasting all of the details from your resume word for word. If you need to create or update your resume, check out our resume template in Miroverse.
Proofread. Even the most well-structured, thoughtful cover letter can get thrown out based on a simple spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistake. Proofread before you send it, ask a friend to read it, and proofread it backwards so your eyes are looking for mistakes instead of just reading the words.
Cover letter format
Consider the following formatting best practices to ensure your cover letter appears professional and readable:
Cover letter font
Use a font that’s easy to read, like Arial, Calibri, Verdana, or Times New Roman. Font size should be readable at nine to 11 points. Match the font on your resume so the two documents are consistent and appear as a neat, professional package when you send them.
Cover letter spacing
Use single or 1.15-point line spacing, and add a space between each of the main letter sections, as demonstrated above. It’s obvious when you use spacing to visually expand a short cover letter. To avoid white space, consider including more information about non-professional experiences related to the job, such as volunteering, leadership, extracurricular roles, or personal hobbies and interests.
Cover letter length
Your cover letter should one page in length. Ideally, it has three to four paragraphs without a distracting amount of whitespace.
Cover letter margins
Cover letter margins should be .75” - 1” to make your document look professional and readable.
How to send a cover letter
Download or export your cover letter as a PDF to retain its formatting. Use a professional and specific convention to name your document, for example:
First Name-Last Name-Cover-Letter (e.g., Jade-Young-cover-letter.pdf)
Again, you might match your document’s naming convention to your resume so they appear as a consistent package.
Cover letter FAQs
Here are answers to a few commonly-asked questions about cover letters:
What are the 3 parts of a cover letter?
The three parts of your cover letter include the introduction, pitch, and conclusion. In the introduction, you’ll create a personal connection with the reader and lay the groundwork for your pitch. In the following paragraphs, you’ll use your experience and accomplishments to explain why you’re the best person for the job. In the conclusion, you’ll tie everything together with a short one-sentence summary and express your enthusiasm for the role.
What do I write in a cover letter?
In your cover letter, write the professional experiences, skills, and accomplishments that show a track record of success doing work relevant to the job to which you’re applying. Use keywords from the job description so the hiring team can quickly see that you’re qualified for the job.
Is there a template for a cover letter?
Our Miro cover letter template above is a great way to get started. For more inspiration, check out Indeed Career Guide’s library of cover letter samples by job title.
How do I write a simple cover letter?
To write a simple cover letter, include your professional experiences by outlining your role and responsibilities, what you accomplished, and why it’s relevant to the role to which you’re applying. Use clear, straightforward language to tie those experiences back to the position so the hiring team can picture you succeeding in the job.