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Tips and Advice to Help You Write a CV

cv and cover letter means

Your Curriculum Vitae (CV), or Resume, is your personal advertisement and chance to make a good first impression with a prospective employer. There is a lot riding on this first impression with up to 90% of CVs being rejected by recruiters in as little as 8 seconds. Understanding what recruiters are looking for in these crucial seconds will help you write a first-class CV which can help you move to the next stage of the recruitment process. Following the below tips and advice will help you make a great first impression every time.

Personal Information

The first section of your CV should always be your personal information. This does not need a title and is where you state your full name and contact details including address, telephone number(s) and email address(es).

It is becoming increasingly common to only include the town and country in the address, however, you may also include your full postal address if you prefer. Please also make sure any email address you provide is professional and appropriate.

If your LinkedIn profile is accurate and up to date, you may also choose to include it in this section. It is no longer considered appropriate to include personal information such as marital status, religion, age or ethnicity.


Next should be some form of introduction, career objective or personal statement. Clearly explain, in a sentence or two, why you are the best person for this particular job, or what experience you have to offer.

Work Experience

List your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent or current position. You should also provide volunteering or internship positions in this section. Each position should be listed separately and include the following information:

Don’t leave large gaps in your work history. If possible, provide a reason for any gaps, for example, travel, maternity leave or studying.

Education and/or Training

Include the name of your University or College, graduation date and the title of your Degree(s). It is unnecessary to include high school information unless you did not attend college. You should also include all the details of any additional training or study you have undertaken if it is relevant to the position.

Other Sections – As Required

Depending on the position you are applying for, you may consider including some or all of the following:

Remember to only include information if it is relevant.

The perfect length for a CV will be argued as long as the earth turns, however, the general consensus is around two pages. For a highly-skilled, technical position, an additional page may be required. It is unlikely you will fit all of the above information on just one page, so clear formatting is a must.

Make sure you use a clear, easy to read font in an appropriate size. Fancy fonts look great on your personal projects but do not present a professional image in your CV. If you are printing your CV, serif style fonts are the clearest and easiest to read – Times New Roman, Georgia and Century Gothic are serif style fonts. For electronic versions, sans-serif styles make for easier reading – Arial, Helvetica and Calibri are popular sans serif fonts.

Font size is also important. 11 or 12 point font is the most popular, however, it may be appropriate to increase or decrease slightly in certain situations. It is not recommended to go below 9 point or above 14 point in the main body of your CV.

Use headings, bullet points and short sentences. Do not be afraid of white space. White space can increase readability, and keeping the recruiter reading is your main goal.

Check spelling, grammar and formatting. Then check it again. If necessary, check a third time. Make sure you use the same margins, font and size throughout. If you have any doubts at all, ask someone else to check it for you too. Spell check is great, but there are times when you have used a correctly spelled word in the wrong place. Spell check will not single out “from” when you really meant to say “form”.

Your CV needs to be customized for each individual position you are applying for. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all as you will want to highlight different experiences and skills for each particular role you apply for. Taking time to research your prospective employer and adjusting your CV to meet their requirements will be obvious to the recruiters and may help you land an interview.

Keep it Current and Accurate

Keep your CV current at all times. It is easier to update your latest achievements, certificates and training as they occur, rather than scramble to remember what you did and when if you find yourself applying for a position.

It’s not ok to lie or exaggerate on your CV. It can be hard to give ourselves credit for things we have done well but don’t cross the line by making things up. You will be found out at some stage and that could make for an embarrassing situation. You have things to be proud of, point them out in a clear, non-bragging way. If you follow these tips, you can write a CV which stands out from the crowd and gets the right attention from the recruiter.


cv and cover letter means

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CV vs Cover Letter: What’s the Difference?

CV vs Cover Letter: What’s the Difference?

The difference between a CV and cover letter is like that between PB & J. And just like PB & J, they form an epic pairing.

Oliwia Wolkowicz

As seen in:

When applying for a job, you have a couple of opportunities to show the recruiter your best side. Those two chances are your cover letter and your CV. Needless to say, you need to hit a bullseye with both of them. Otherwise, you’re just another application.

To do that, you need to understand not just the difference between a CV and cover letter, but how they work as an awesome team. This guide will show you the differences, similarities, and how to make them fight for you like Gregor Clegane.

First look at both documents created in our builder. On the left—a resume, in the middle—a CV for academic purposes, on the right—a cover letter. 

Want to save time and have your CV ready in 5 minutes? Try our CV builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ CV templates and create your CV here .

Create your CV now

sample templates

Sample resume, CV and cover letter made with our builder— See more CV samples and create your CV here .

Oliwia Wolkowicz

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How to Make a Resume: Step-by-Step Writing Guide for 2023

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How to Write a CV: Make the Perfect Curriculum Vitae in 2023

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Cover Letter vs. CV

A CV (curriculum vitae) is different from a cover letter in that a cover letter is more concise and a CV is fairly detailed. While a CV includes detailed information about a person's educational background and work experience, a cover letter is a more concise document expressing interest in the job being applied to.

Comparison chart

Differences between a cv and cover letter.

A cover letter is an introduction to yourself with regard to the job opening you are applying for. Cover letters are generally one page at most in length, divided into a header, introduction, body, and closing.

Curriculum Vitae may include a cover letter along with other details which are important when applying for international jobs, fellowships, grants, research, scientific and academic positions. The CV is used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment.

A cover letter includes general details about a person like name, contact information, educational and professional qualification, work experience and career goal or what a person is looking for in terms of a job profile. A cover letter should not be confused with a resume as it does not include all the details of a resume. The cover letter should have enough details so that it complements the Curriculum Vitae and also interests the person reading it.

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Difference between CV and Résumé

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The difference between CVs and cover letters

Laura Slingo

A CV and cover letter share a purpose, but they are different

So you're wondering, what the difference is between a CV and a cover letter? It's unsurprising if you believe they're similar ‒ the two documents share the purpose of showing you're a good match for a vacancy by highlighting your experience and achievements.

However, whilst they share the same aim and strongly complement each other, they are different in format and content.

For many employers, a CV is essential when applying for a job, but cover letters may be optional. That said, including a cover letter with your application can dramatically strengthen your chances of success, according to 51% of recruiters .

This quick recap of a CV versus cover letter covers all the points you should look out for when developing each. Empower yourself by using the following information, so that you can write your CV and create a cover letter template for further use. For even more CV tips, read our other articles on the topic .

What is the difference between a CV and a cover letter?

They may seem similar, but knowing the differences between a curriculum vitae (CV) and a cover letter is crucial to get the best results in your job search.

Your CV is a summary of your qualifications, skills, and experience from the last 10 to 15 years. It offers a short-yet-targeted overview of your career highlights, that prove you're a great candidate for the job at hand. To do this, each piece of information laid out should be tailored to the role you're applying for.

CVs are commonly split into distinct sections: a profile, a summary of your career, and a section on education and qualifications. Details are usually presented in snappy bullet points, led by powerful verbs, and bolstered with concrete statistics, to show off your skill set and talent.

CVs can be directly compared to the American resume. They contain the same information and serve the same function of introducing you to an HR Manager.

Cover letters are different. They are primarily used to expand on your CV, to add more context and further explain your value. Ultimately, your cover letter is sweet-talking the HR Manager as you supply them with further evidence that proves you are an applicant worthy of an interview.

What does a CV include?

Your CV should cover four main sections, including:

Name, professional title and contact information details: It is essential that these details are accurate and properly formatted, to ensure that an HR Manager can both identify and get in touch with you. Learn more here about how to add contact information to your CV .

Personal profile: Your personal profile should detail who you are, what you can offer the company and your career goals, all in one in a tidy paragraph.

Experience and employment history: Your work experience should explain what you've done in your previous roles. Most importantly, it should then be expanded to feature your key accomplishments, demonstrating the value you could bring to your new role, too.

Education and qualifications: Your qualifications simply add finer details to prove that you're a qualified expert in certain areas, adding to your impressive professional skill set.

CVs are formatted with clear headings and bullet points to keep them concise and easy to read for time-poor recruiters, who are typically swamped with hundreds of applications at a time.

What does a cover letter include?

A cover letter is different. Usually, it's a three-to-four paragraph document that complements your CV. It typically discusses four key things:

What position are you applying for and why?

What are your most impressive, relevant skills and experiences?

Why do these skills benefit your prospective employer or hiring manager?

Requesting an interview

It's formatted similarly to a traditional letter, with a salutation, paragraphs, and a close. 

However, in the digital age where many CVs are sent directly to employers via email, the rules for cover letters are changing. If you're emailing your CV, treat the message in your email as your cover letter, rather than attaching it separately.

Email cover letters are typically more concise and can be anywhere from 100 to 400 words. They still tap into the four main talking points mentioned above though.

Use cover letters to demonstrate subjective, personable details

A CV is used to state the facts and gives a succinct overview of your relevant experience and achievements. A cover letter, on the other hand, provides the opportunity to elaborate on your selling points and explain your qualities and potential in more detail.

But it doesn't stop there. Your cover letter offers the chance for recruiters to get to know you. Subjective details such as your writing style, tone of voice, interest in the position, and your own values and motivations add colour to your application and help recruiters warm to the real you.

Cover letters aren't always listed as an essential requirement on a job application. However, with a CV that proves your talent and ability and a cover letter that supports and sells your story, you increase your chances of impressing your prospective employer.

TopCV knows its way around both CVs and cover letters. Learn more about working with an expert writer to find more success with your job-search documents .

Recommended Reading:

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Resume vs. curriculum vitae: what's the difference, informational videos.

Watch this and other videos on our informational videos page. Check back often for new uploaded content.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is Latin for "course of life." In contrast, resume is French for "summary." Both CVs & Resumes:

If you are applying for both academic as well as industry (private or public sector) positions, you will need to prepare both a resume and a CV.

Curriculum Vitae vs. Resume: Format and Content

The CV presents a full history of your academic credentials, so the length of the document is variable. In contrast, a resume presents a concise picture of your skills and qualifications for a specific position, so length tends to be shorter and dictated by years of experience (generally 1-2 pages).

CVs are used by individuals seeking fellowships, grants, postdoctoral positions, and teaching/research positions in postsecondary institutions or high-level research positions in industry. Graduate school applications typically request a CV, but in general are looking for a resume that includes any publications and descriptions of research projects.

In many European countries, CV is used to describe all job application documents, including a resume. In the United States and Canada, CV and resume are sometimes used interchangeably. If you are not sure which kind of document to submit, it is best to ask for clarification.

Know the Differences & Comparisons

Difference Between CV and Cover Letter

Last updated on July 26, 2018 by Surbhi S

Cover letter vs CV

The two documents are of great importance, for every candidate who wants to get a job, in the world of extreme competition. A CV and a cover letter presents the applicant, before the employer and so it must be properly drafted and written. Most people assume that the two are one and the same thing, while they are not. Just take a read of this article to know about the differences between CV and cover letter.

Content: CV Vs Cover Letter

Comparison chart, definition of curriculum vitae (cv).

A written snapshot of a person’s educational qualification, work experience, and some personal details is known as a Curriculum Vitae (CV). It is mainly used by the prospective employers to draw the career sketch of the job seekers and shortlist the deserving candidates before calling them for an interview. It contains the qualifications, skills, hobbies, experience, achievements, projects, awards, publications, extracurricular activities.

The term Curriculum Vitae is derived from a Latin word, which simply means ‘course of life’. It is used while applying for specific purposes like fellowships, advanced research, grants and so on.

Definition of Cover Letter

A letter which is attached to or sent with another document (i.e. CV or resume) and contains the summary of another document is known as Cover Letter. The cover letter is used while applying for the jobs. It complements the main document by outlining eligibility criteria fulfilled by the applicant. The document is of utmost importance; that decides whether the candidate will get a chance to meet personally or get an interview call for the said position.

Cover Letter gives a short introduction about the candidate qualifications, experience and accomplishments and interest that are required for the post applied.

Cover Letter contains the arguments that why the candidate is the best man for the job. It can be customized according to the job. It contains the details about name, contact details, educational qualifications, professional experience, prospects and so on.

Key Differences Between CV and Cover Letter

The major differences between CV and Cover Letter are explained below:

CV and Cover Letter are complementary documents. Cover Letter gives an overview of the person’s accomplishments and shows the skills, competencies, experience and qualifications that fulfill the recruiter’s criteria. CV is the well-organized document which gives each and every detail about the background and skills of an individual. The content, format, and language used, in the two documents have a great impact on the reader’s mind. So, it would be beneficial, if the sender prepares the two documents in such a way that will impress the reader.

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Cv Vs Resume

Arshid says

September 1, 2017 at 6:50 am

Really helpful

February 22, 2020 at 6:49 pm

very well described and helpful. tnx

Gholam Reza Mirzaie says

September 13, 2022 at 2:08 am

Thanks a lot

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What’s the Difference Between a CV and a Cover Letter? A Deep Dive

cv and cover letter means

Job hunting is an overwhelming affair. While interviews are an essential part of the process , your application documents — like your curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter — also help you win the position.

The CV and the cover letter work as a team. So, you must know how to write and design them appropriately for you to get an interview. However, you’ll only understand how to prepare them well when you know their meaning and essence.

As such, let’s dive deeper into the definition, similarities, and differences of a CV and cover letter so you can write them to your advantage.

CV and Cover Letter: Definitions, Similarities, and Differences

Is a CV a cover letter?

It’s completely baffling how a CV is different from a cover letter. To help you with that, let’s talk about the definition of a CV and a cover letter. After which, let’s discuss their similarities and differences to grasp each of them better. 

What is a CV?

A CV stems from the Latin term curriculum vitae , which means “course of life.” This implies that a CV is a written background of a candidate’s entire work.

The CV is a detailed sketch of a person’s career objective, career experience, academic background, licenses, skills, and other achievements. While its uses vary depending on the country you wish to work in, a CV generally helps showcase your qualifications. It’s especially important for candidates who are in the medical and academic fields.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter — often confused with a CV — is attached with another document, typically with a resume or CV. It’s an introductory letter that sums up and outlines a candidate’s credentials and interest in an open position.

The cover letter is an eloquently written document that presents the applicant’s work history, professional skills, and career aspirations. It also explains how these qualifications would benefit a company. Essentially, it complements the CV or resume by describing your eligibility criteria.

Comparing the CV and the cover letter

Both the CV and the cover letter entice a recruiter to select you for an interview. Both also present valuable information about your skills and experiences, painting you as the best hire. Overall, it helps a recruiter and manager screen your job application.

How are they different from each other?

A CV is the primary document recruiters ask from a candidate. Meanwhile, a cover letter is supportive in nature — it mainly highlights the details listed in a CV. CVs also use bullet points for easy understanding, while cover letters are written in paragraphs and sentences.

Moreover, a CV specifies an applicant’s qualifications comprehensively, while a cover letter only provides a brief explanation of why the candidate best fits a position.

Also, applicants can customize their CVs according to their preferences. However, they should format their cover letters according to the company and job they are applying for.

Structure-wise, a CV is usually written in two pages and may extend depending on an applicant’s skills and experiences. On the other hand, cover letters typically take one whole page. On average, a cover letter should be between 250 and 400 words.

How to Make a CV

Now that we all have that covered, let’s head on to the writing and designing stage! 

First, here are the primary elements of a CV. Note all these writing tips to help you create a document that gets you that coveted interview.

1. Proper format

If you want to capture the attention of recruiters, you must take the time to format your CV correctly .

If you had a career-focused trajectory, it would be best to use the reverse-chronological format , which highlights your work experience. However, if you were a bit experimental with your experiences, use the functional format , which emphasizes your skills. Meanwhile, the combination format would be an excellent choice if you want a recruiter to see your relevant skills as well as your accomplishments.

A header carries your full name, work title, license, phone number, LinkedIn URL, and email address. 

3. Career objective

Whether you’re in the medical or academic field, a career objective is beneficial. Essentially, it summarises your skills, experience, and career aspirations that make you qualified for the open position. Found at the top of the CV, the career objective is what entices a recruiter to read the whole document. So, make it engaging and attractive!

Here’s an example of a career objective for a Staff Nurse for your reference:

A competent Staff Nurse of a well-esteemed organisation with ten years of experience in the field. Devoted to providing quality healthcare to patients while expanding practical experience and personal knowledge.

4. Career experience

When writing your career experiences, indicate your past work titles and their respective employer and dates of employment. Then, following each job title, detail your duties and responsibilities comprehensively. Refrain from starting each sentence with, “I.” Instead, start with a strong action verb to entice recruiters.

As a guide, below is a sample list of duties and responsibilities for a Staff Nurse.

5. Academic background

Academic background is highly essential in any career. This is especially true for professionals seeking a job outside of their home country.

With this, if you acquired licenses from working and studying, noting this on your CV would be highly beneficial. The relevant courses you’ve earned — or even your post-graduate degree/s — will be essential here.

Besides your impressive career trajectory, your skills also determine if you’d fit the position.

Present your skills comprehensively by listing your hard and soft skills. For example, if you experienced assisting a physician in operating advanced technologies while working as a nurse, list that under hard skills. Be sure to mention the technology you used.

Moreover, if you developed exceptional soft skills through your jobs like communication skills, organisational skills, or attention to detail, highlight them, too.

7. Other accolades

If you have research grants, licenses, or relevant publications worth mentioning, add them in this section. These impressive credentials would boost your credibility as a healthcare professional and will make you the best hire.

8. Final polishing

If you’re done listing your skills and experiences, recheck your content for possible misspellings and grammatical errors .

Finally, finish off your CV with an uncomplicated and elegant design. When designing your CV, you can use your favourite colours and fonts. Show a hint of your character by playing around with the shades and font sizes to fit your preference.

We made a sample CV for a Staff Nurse below to guide you through your writing and designing process.

cv and cover letter means

How to Create a Cover Letter

Finally, to help you create a cover letter, here are some guidelines for you to note:

1. Research about the company

To spark a company’s interest effectively, you first need to know its vision and goals. Next, check how they align with your career aspirations . Find out what the role involves, what essential skills are needed, and how they meet your skills and experiences.

2. Use proper formatting

Cover letters should be formal and professional-looking. If a company requires a specific format, follow it diligently. Otherwise, use a straightforward format with standard fonts like Arial or Helvetica. Keep the font sizes between 10-12 to ensure readability. Finally, be sure to have your content left-aligned, with single spacing and one-inch margins on all sides.

3. Put a header

Mirror the details you placed on your CV header to the one on your cover letter. Place your name on top and set it in a noticeable format for the easy viewing of recruiters. Below your name, write the work title you’re applying for and include relevant licenses to showcase your credentials. Then, write your contact information. Finally, just under all these, write the date you’ll send the cover letter in full. 

4. Address the right person

Below the header, write the hiring manager’s full name, title, company name, and company address. However, if you don’t know who to address in your letter, a “Dear Sir/Madam” will suffice.

5. Write the body

When writing your letter, begin by showing off your interest in the role. Then, demonstrate how you’re best suited for the job through your work experience and show how your skill set would be an asset to the company. Be sure as well to highlight the things you said on your CV in your cover letter.

Finally, reiterate your interest in the job, and wrap it all up with a call to action. Thank the addressee for their time, and tell them you’re open for an interview by providing your contact details.

6. Add finishing touches

Like you would with your CV, double-check your cover letter for possible mistakes in spelling or grammar. 

As a reference, here is a sample cover letter to use as inspiration when writing for your own.

cv and cover letter means

A CV and a cover letter make a great team. There are many essential guidelines to writing and designing a perfect CV and cover letter, but the most important of all is to keep all the information honest and genuine.

Let us know how you’re doing with the process by sending us a word. Good luck!

Author Bio:

Moira Perez is a writer, traveller, and content specialist in ResumeGuy. She’s passionate about marketing and public relations. Connect with her on LinkedIn .

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cv and cover letter means

A cover letter is a written document commonly submitted with a job application outlining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. Since a cover letter is often one of only two documents sent to a potential employer, a well- or poorly-written letter can impact whether the applicant is called for an interview .

Key Takeaways

7 Cover Letter Blunders

Most job postings are done online and no longer require a physical application. Instead, applicants send companies a copy of their resume along with a cover letter either by email or with a hard copy through the mail. A resume offers a glimpse into the professional and academic experience of a potential employee. The cover letter, on the other hand, acts as an introduction written by the candidate to express their interest in the position and what makes them the best fit for the job.

A good cover letter complements a resume by expanding on items relevant to the job. In essence, it's a sales pitch that describes why the applicant is the best person for the position. Career experts advise job seekers to spend time customizing each cover letter for the particular position, rather than using a generic missive. Although this requires extra effort, it can be very helpful in allowing an applicant to stand out above the competition.

The cover letter provides information to the employer about who the candidate is as a professional and as a person. This includes their areas of interest, professional goals, knowledge, skills they've gained over the years, achievements, passions, and aspirations. The cover letter should be a one-page document that provides a clear and concise idea about why the candidate is the best person for the job . It should also highlight the cultural fit.

While there is no set template for a cover letter, the type of letter that you write will depend on the requirements of each individual company or employer. The information that is included in a cover letter will vary depending on the goals and purpose of your application.

When employers post a job ad that requires a cover letter, they may specify certain requirements for the cover letter to address. For example, they may require applicants to answer certain questions, or to respect a certain word limit. It is important to follow these requirements, as they reflect on the applicant's ability to understand and follow directions.

If the employer does not set any expectations, a typical cover letter should be about a page or less, and may include a formal greeting, contact information, and links to the applicant's portfolio or work. It should highlight any special skills, and explain why you would be a good fit for the position. This is your chance to impress the employer: Even if your resume does not have everything an employer wants, a well-written cover letter can make the applicant stand out from the crowd.

However, it is possible to include too much information. Most employers will simply glance at the majority of their cover letters, and a long-winded essay might end up at the bottom of the pile. A few short paragraphs explaining your skills, and why you chose that specific employer, should be enough to put your best foot forward.

Writing a cover letter doesn't have to be tedious—even though it may seem like it's a chore. Here are a few simple tips you may want to consider when composing your cover letter:

A simple, focused cover letter without any typos or grammatical errors will get you noticed by potential employers.

A perfect resume can often be sabotaged by a poorly thought-out cover letter or one that is laden with mistakes. Whether you include the letter as per required submission guidelines, or you simply want to emphasize your interest in the job, make sure you avoid making these blunders.

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

According to Indeed , a leading job-seeking site, a typical cover letter should be about three or four paragraphs long and highlight any special experience or achievements that make the applicant exceptionally well-suited to the position.

How Do You Start a Cover Letter?

A cover letter should start with a formal greeting, preferably addressed to the hiring manager. If you do not know who will be reading your cover letter, a generic "to whom it may concern" is an acceptable, albeit old-fashioned, way to address a cover letter. It is also acceptable to address the letter to a title, such as "Dear Hiring Manager," or "Dear Talent Acquisition Team."

What Should a Cover Letter Contain?

An effective cover letter should highlight the applicant's skills, experience, and any achievements that make them a good fit for their prospective employer. It is also a good chance to mention anything that is not included in the resume: For example, if an applicant is drawn to a certain employer because they love a certain product, the cover letter is a great place to mention it. Make sure your cover letter also includes your name and contact information.

In a competitive jobs market, an effective cover letter is one way to make a job application stand out. This is a chance for an applicant to demonstrate why they think they would be a good fit. However, a poorly-written or meandering cover letter can hurt an application more than it helps.

Harvard Extension School. " Resources and Cover Letters: An Extension School Resource ," Pages 3 and 5.

Harvard Extension School. " Resources and Cover Letters: An Extension School Resource ," Page 5.

Jobscan. " Cover Letter Formats ."

Indeed. " What Is a Cover Letter? "

Indeed. " How to Address a Cover Letter (With Examples). "


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How to Write a Cover Letter in 2023 | Beginner's Guide

Background Image

After weeks of heavy job search, you’re almost there!

You’ve perfected your resume. 

You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.

You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.

But then, before you can send your application and call it a day, you remember that the job ad requires a cover letter.

Now you’re stuck wondering how to write a cover letter ...

Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think. 

In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.

So, let’s get started with the basics!

What is a Cover Letter? (and Why It’s Important)

A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or Resume). 

Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .

A good cover letter can spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume. 

A bad cover letter, on the other hand, might mean that your application is going directly to the paper shredder. So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.

How does a good cover letter look, you might ask. Well, here’s an example:

how to write cover letter

Keep in mind, though, that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you don’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume.

If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, writing all this might seem pretty tough. After all, you’re probably not a professional writer.

job search masterclass ebook

The thing is, though, you don’t need to be creative, or even any good at writing. All you have to do is follow a tried-and-tested format:

Or, here’s what this looks like in practice:

structure of a cover letter

How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter (And Get Hired!)

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, we’re going to guide you through the process of writing a cover letter step by step. 

Step #1 - Pick the Right Cover Letter Template

A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.

So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, visual template?

cover letter templates

You can simply pick one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in a jiffy!

As a bonus, our AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter on the go.

Step #2 - Start the Cover Letter with a Header

As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with a Contact Information section:

contact information on a cover letter

Here, you want to include all essential information, including:

In certain cases, you might also consider adding:

And here’s what you shouldn’t mention in your header:

matching resume and cover letter

Step #3 - Greet the Hiring Manager

Once you’ve properly listed your contact information, you need to start writing the cover letter contents.

The first thing to do here is to address the cover letter to the hiring manager .

That’s right, the hiring manager! Not the overly popular “Dear Sir or Madam.” You want to show your future boss that you did your research and are really passionate about working with their team.

No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes to get hired in any of them.

So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager? There are several ways to do this. 

The simplest option is to look up the head of the relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably Head of Communications or Chief Communications Office.

So, you do a quick lookup on LinkedIn:

linkedin search cco

And voila! You have your hiring manager.

Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of a server. In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager.”

If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.

Here are several other greetings you could use:

Step #4 - Write an Attention-Grabbing Introduction

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.

Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.

So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph .

The #1 problem we see with most cover letter opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Most of them look something like this..

See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say pretty much anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.

Do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.

Instead, you want to start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.

So now, let’s make our previous example shine:

My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed their sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the job.

See the difference between the two examples? If you were the hiring manager, which sales manager would you hire, Jonathan or Michael?

Now that we’ve covered the introduction, let’s talk about the body of your cover letter. This part is split into two paragraphs: the first is for explaining why you’re the perfect person for the job, and the latter is for proving that you’re a good fit for the company.

So, let’s get started...

Step #5 - Explain why you’re the perfect person for the job

This is where you show off your professional skills and convince the HR manager that you’re a better fit for the job than all the other applicants.

But first things first - before you even write anything, you need to learn what the most important requirements for the role are. So, open up the job ad and identify which of the responsibilities are the most critical.

For the sake of the example, let’s say you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. You scan the job ad and see that the top requirements are:

Now, in this section, you need to discuss how you fulfill these requirements. So, here’s how that would look for our example:

In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation & management process end-to-end. Meaning, I created the ad copy , images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.

Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:

Are you a student applying for your first internship? You probably don’t have a lot of work experience to show off in this section. Learn how to write an internship cover letter here.

Step #6 - Explain why you’re a good fit for the company

Once you’ve written the last paragraph, you might be thinking - I’m a shoo-in for the job! What else do I need to write? I’ll just wrap up the cover letter and hit that sweet SEND button.

Well, no. You’re not quite there yet.

The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.

After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary . 

Meaning, you also need to convince the HR manager that you’re really passionate about working with them.

How do you do this? Well, as a start, you want to do some research about the company. You want to know things like:

So, get to Googling. Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or somewhere around the web.

Then, you need to figure out what you like about the company and turn that into text.

Let’s say, for example, you’re passionate about their product and you like the culture of innovation / independent work in the organization.

You’d write something like:

I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2 were real game changers for the device. 

I really admire how Company XYZ thrives for excellence for all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone that thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I and Company XYZ will be a great match.

What you don’t want to do here is be super generic for the sake of having something to write. Most job seekers tend to mess this one up. Let’s take a look at a very common example we tend to see (way too often):

I’d love to work for Company XYZ because of its culture of innovation. I believe that since I’m super creative, I’d be a good fit for the company. The company values of integrity and transparency really vibe with me.

See what’s wrong here? The example doesn’t really say anything about the company. “Culture of Innovation” is something most companies claim to have. 

The same goes for “values of integrity and transparency” - the writer just googled what the values for the organization are, and said that they like them.

Any hiring manager that reads this will see through the fluff.

So, make sure to do a lot of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying.

Step #7 - Wrap up with a call to action

Finally, it’s time to finish up your cover letter and write the conclusion.

In the final paragraph, you want to:

And now, let’s turn this into a practical example:

So to wrap it all up, thanks for looking into my application. I hope I can help Company X make the most out of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your facebook marketing goals.

Step #8 - Use the right formal closing

Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.

Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions to a cover letter:

And we’re finally done! Before sending off the cover letter, make sure to proofread it with software like Grammarly, or maybe even get a friend to review it for you.

Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?

Do you address the right person? I.e. hiring manager in the company / your future direct supervisor

Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?

Do you successfully convey that you’re the right pro for the job?

Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?

Did you finalize the conclusion with a call to action?

Did you use the right formal closure for the cover letter?

5+ Cover Letter Examples

Need some inspiration? Read on to learn about some of the best cover letter examples we’ve seen (for different fields).

College Student Cover Letter Example

college or student cover letter example

Middle Management Cover Letter Example

Middle Management Cover Letter

Career Change Cover Letter Example

Career Change Cover Letter

Management Cover Letter Example

Management Cover Letter Example

Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Want to discover more examples AND learn what makes them stand out? Check out our guide to cover letter examples .

Next Steps in Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume

Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application is for naught. 

After all, a cover letter is just an introduction. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression, but flopping at the end because of a mediocre resume.

...But don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered on that end, too.

If you want to learn more about Resumes & CVs, we have a dedicated FREE guide for that. Check out our complete guide on how to make a resume , as well as how to write a CV - our experts will teach you everything you need to know in order to land your dream job.

Or, if you’re already an expert, just pick one of our resume templates and get started.

resume examples for cover letter

Key Takeaways

Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:

At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve, every step of the way! Follow our blog to stay up to date with the industry-leading advice. Or, check out some of our top guides…

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Job Search Questions & Answers from the Experts at Resume Genius

Does a CV include a cover letter?

No, a CV does not include a cover letter. A curriculum vitae (CV) is a resume-like document that highlights your academic and professional experiences. The document itself doesn’t include a cover letter, but like a resume, your CV should be paired with a cover letter for every job application you submit.

While CVs are important for detailing your professional experience, cover letters let you explain how that experience can be used to benefit the company. A CV paired with a cover letter will give you the greatest chance of getting a job interview.

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Cover letters

Cover letters add context to your CV and allow you to sell your skills and experience to potential employers. To make the best of this opportunity discover how to write a cover letter and take a look at our examples for inspiration

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a document sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. It acts as a personal introduction and helps to sell your application. A cover letter is necessary as it gives you the chance to explain to an employer why you're the best candidate for the job. You do this by highlighting relevant skills and experience; therefore you should always write your cover letter with the position you're applying for in mind.

Not to be confused with  personal statements for your CV , cover letters should complement your CV but not duplicate it. The general consensus among recruiters when it comes to the length of these documents is the shorter the better. Typically three to five short paragraphs, cover letters should not exceed one A4 page.

If sending electronically, put the text in the body of the email rather than as an attachment, to avoid it being detected by spam filters.

Applications should always include a cover letter unless the job advert instructs you differently.

How to write a cover letter

Before writing your cover letter it's important that you do your research. While reading the job description thoroughly is essential, it's often not enough. To help you craft a successful cover letter discover more about:

When writing your cover letter keep it brief, while making sure it emphasises your suitability for the job. It can be broken down into the following sections:

Once finished read through the document and cut out any unnecessary words and sentences. Don't fill up space by repeating what's already covered in your CV. As a general rule only mention your current salary or salary expectations if the employer has specifically asked you to do so in the job description. If you're asked to include this information put it between the third and last paragraphs.

Unless the job advert states differently (for example, it may ask you to provide your CV and cover letter as a Word document) save with a .PDF file extension to make sure it can be opened and read on any machine. Windows PCs and Macs don't always work in harmony - Windows use a .docx file extension and Macs .pages but if the recruiter uses the opposite system they may not be able to open your file. Using a .PDF file extension should solve this.

If you need help with your CV take a look at how to write a CV .

How to address a cover letter

Always try and address your cover letter directly to the person who will be reading it. Bear in mind that you're more likely to receive a reply if you send it to the right person.

If you're struggling to find a named contact you can use a general greeting such as:

However, general greetings should only be used once you have exhausted methods of finding a named contact.

How to sign off

How you sign off your cover letter depends on how you addressed it. If you include a named contact, sign off 'Yours sincerely'. If you use a general greeting, finish with 'Yours faithfully'.

Example cover letters

For inspiration and guidance on crafting a CV see example CVs .

5 tips for the perfect cover letter

With employers often receiving lots of applications for each vacancy, you need to ensure that your cover letter makes a lasting impression for the right reasons. Here are some tips to increase your chances of success:

If you're a student or recent graduate you can make an appointment with your university's careers and employability service to access further help when writing your cover letter. You'll be able to talk with specially-trained advisers, get advice on what to include and have a professional eye look over your application before sending.

To make sure you don’t trip up read about the 5 things to avoid when writing a cover letter .

Find out more

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