7 Key Cover Letter Parts to Include in Your Letter

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 30, 2022

Published December 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you apply for jobs, you may submit a cover letter to your potential employer. An effective cover letter includes seven key elements and a clear format. If you're preparing to apply for jobs, it's beneficial to learn what to include in your cover letter so that your potential employer considers you a competitive candidate for the job. In this article, we explain what a cover letter is, describe seven cover letter parts to include, share a cover letter template, and provide an example of a cover letter.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is an introductory letter that you send to a potential employer when you're applying for a job. The primary goal of a cover letter is for your potential employer to learn more about your qualifications and interest in the position, leading to an interview. A well-written cover letter can provide insight into your soft skills, attitude, and motivations. Using this information, employers can decide whether you may be a suitable fit for their company culture and contribute towards reaching goals.

Related:

  • What Is the Purpose of a Cover Letter?

  • Short Cover Letter Examples (With Definition and FAQs)

7 important cover letter parts

Ensure that your cover letter includes the following seven cover letter parts:

1. Header

All cover letters begin with a header that includes your contact information. Candidates often use the same header for their cover letters as they do for their resumes to create consistency across their entire application. Regardless of the format you use, a header begins with your first and last names. Include your email, phone number, and address on separate lines. Some people include links to their portfolio or social media if that information applies to the position. For example, a writer may include a link to their online portfolio containing some of their past work.

If you have room on the page, include the name and contact information of the hiring manager or company. Candidates usually include employer contact information on their cover letter if they submit a hard copy, but this part of the header is optional.

2. Greeting

Next, include a greeting. This is your chance to show your potential employer that you spent time researching the addressee. By including the correct name of the addressee, your potential employer may think you're a meticulous person who is willing to put in additional effort in their work. You may be able to locate the name of the addressee by scanning the job listing, visiting the company's website, or by phoning the company's office and inquiring.

If you have difficulty finding a specific name to address your letter to, you can personalize the greeting by referencing the department with which you may work. For example, Dear Hiring Manager is a standard greeting that is acceptable when their name is not available. Keep your greeting short and professional, using the appropriate honorifics or titles when applicable.

Related: Who to Address a Cover Letter to (With Templates and Examples)

3. Introduction

The first paragraph of your cover letter provides the basic details about who you are and why you want the job. Include the title of the job to which you're applying. Provide a general overview of why you may excel at the position and the reasons that you're excited about the opportunity. You might mention how you learned about the position and why you applied, which is an excellent strategy if another employee referred you to the position. Review the job posting for the core strengths that the job requires and use your introductory paragraph to explain how you exhibit those qualities.

4. Qualifications

After the introduction, focus on your history and qualifications. This inclusion allows you to attract the employer's attention by immediately sharing how you can benefit their team. Provide more details about the information you include on your resume and focus on how your experiences specifically apply for the job. Include stories about relevant projects or situations that give insight into how you solve problems and do your work well. Explain how you contributed to the success of past projects and draw attention to the impact of your actions.

5. Values and goals

In the next paragraph, demonstrate that you understand the company's mission and have researched the position. Focus on how your goals align with theirs and connect to the elements you like about the company culture. Explain how the work you do can mutually benefit your future and the needs of your prospective employer. This section of your cover letter allows you to show that you can not only do the job well but can fit in with a team and bring a positive attitude to the workplace. Try to keep this section of the cover letter brief. Cover letters are typically no longer than a page in length.

Related: How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

6. Call to action

The last paragraph summarizes your interest and suggests the next steps for proceeding with the application. Thank the hiring manager for taking the time to review your application and express interest in speaking more about the position or scheduling an interview. Explain how you can benefit the company and focus on the skills and talent you hope to bring to their team.

Related: 3 Free Cover Letter Templates to Create an Impactful First Impression

7. Signature

Sign off with a professional closing phrase and your signature or typed name. If you're emailing your cover letter, ensure that you don't include an unnecessary email signature. Some appropriate closing phrases include:

  • Sincerely

  • Best regards

  • Respectfully

  • Thank you

  • With thanks

Related: How To Write an Effective Acceptance Letter (With Examples)

Cover letter template

Use this template to create an effective cover letter:

[Your name]
[Your city and province]
[Your phone number]
[Your email]

[Date]

Dear [hiring manager name or title],

I hope this letter finds you well. I recently saw the job listing for the [job title] position at [company name], and I'm interested in the position. I have experience in [skill set] and hope to use this experience to accomplish [company's goals]. I'm enthusiastic about [career interest] and appreciate [company's mission].

My experience as a [previous job title] has prepared me for this role. During my time with [previous company name], I took part in various training for improving [technical skills]. I used these skills during [a project that you contributed to] and assisted my team members. We ultimately achieved our goal by [the positive result of your work efforts]. While at [previous company name], I improved processes by [list how you employed your soft skills to improve processes].

I respect [company]'s mission and hope that I get the opportunity to work in an environment that promotes [describe the company's core values]. If hired, I plan to continue to grow professionally in [field of interest]. I can contribute to [company]'s high standard of service and uphold their reputation within our community. As I continue to develop professionally, I plan to apply [new skills] to [describe work environment] so that I'm a valuable asset for [company],

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and consider me a candidate for [position]. I appreciate the opportunity of sharing how I can contribute to [company], and I hope to hear from you soon. I look forward to discussing this application in an interview.

[Closing phrase],

[Your name]

Related: How to Write an Entry-level Cover Letter (With Examples)

Cover letter example

Here is an example of a standard cover letter that you can use as a guide when writing your letter:

Don Prodder
Toronto, ON
555-393-1026
don.prodder@email.com

August 27, 2019

Dear Mr. Ka Ho,

I hope this letter finds you well. I recently saw the job listing for the senior marketing manager position at Evergreen Eco-clean, and I'm interested in the position. I have experience in creating effective marketing campaigns. I hope to use this experience to reach consumers outside of Canada and get them excited about Evergreen Eco-clean's products. I'm enthusiastic about marketing and appreciate Evergreen Eco-clean's mission of bringing eco-friendly household cleaning agents to more consumers worldwide.

My experience as a junior marketing manager has prepared me for this role. During my time with Tasty Organix, I took part in various training for improving project management, risk management, and content management systems (CMS). I used these skills during a marketing campaign I helped our senior marketing manager to lead. We successfully introduced a new product during one specific campaign and overtook our competitor's sales within the first year of sales. While at Tasty Organix, I improved processes by being an effective communicator and managing a marketing team of twelve individuals.

I respect Evergreen Eco-clean's mission and hope that I get the opportunity to work in an environment that promotes using eco-friendly alternatives to help create a better, greener future. If hired, I plan to continue to grow professionally in marketing. I can contribute to Evergreen Eco-clean's high standard of service and uphold its reputation within our community. As I continue to develop professionally, I plan to apply my strong communication, team management, and critical thinking skills to manage effective marketing campaigns that drive sales and expand the company's market to be a valuable asset for Evergreen Eco-clean.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and consider me as a candidate for the senior marketing manager. I appreciate the opportunity of sharing how I can contribute to Evergreen Eco-clean, and I hope to hear from you soon. I look forward to discussing this application in an interview.

Sincerely,

Don Prodder

Related: Letter of Interest vs. Cover Letter (With Steps and Samples)


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