General / All-Purpose Cover Letter Sample and Writing Tips

woman typing on laptop
••• BraunS/E+/Getty Images

When you apply for a job, you may be required to submit a cover letter with your resume. Even if it isn't required, it's typically a good idea to write one when you're applying for jobs. Your cover letter should highlight the points on your resume that make you a superior candidate for the position you are seeking. It should not simply recap your resume, but rather point out details and expand on specific key assets that are essential for success in the job.

Information to Include in the Letter

Think of your cover letter not just as an introduction or a statement of intent to apply for a job, but as a golden opportunity to market yourself, your skills, your qualifications, and your training to an employer. As a powerful marketing document, its primary purpose is to persuade a hiring manager to give a closer review to your resume than the typical six-second scan.

Sometimes a job posting lists the name of the hiring manager, and in that case, you should address your letter to him or her. In cases where a name isn’t listed, you should make an effort to find out the right person to whom to address your letter. It’s always better to address your application materials to the appropriate hiring manager. If you can’t find his or her name by reviewing the company's corporate website or calling their front office, you may use the address of the company and an alternative salutation, such as “Dear Hiring Manager." Here are tips for how to address a cover letter.

The body of your letter should contain pertinent information about how you were referred to the opportunity, your interest in the position, your qualifications for the job, relevant training, and why you would make an excellent candidate.

In closing, you can include your plans for following up with the hiring manager: “I will call next week to follow up on the status of my application.” You should also thank them politely for their time. Use a business-like closing, such as “Sincerely,” “Best Regards,” or “Yours Truly,” followed by your name and signature (on a hard copy).

General / All-Purpose Cover Letter Sample

You can use this sample as a model to write a cover letter. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.

all-purpose cover letter
©TheBalance 2018 
Download the Word Template

General / All-Purpose Cover Letter Sample (Text Version)

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email

Date

Name
Title
Organization
Address
City, State Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

I am writing in reply to the classified ad you posted seeking to fill the position of Graduate Student Advisor for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program at ABC College.

Having earned my Master of Arts degree in Academic Advising from XYZ University, I understand the importance for informed academic counseling and program planning in a higher education environment.

I have also experienced first-hand the comforting effect of being able to contact an advisor who genuinely cares for the professional growth and success of students.

During my career as an electrician prior to my graduate studies, I was elected Chairman of the Executive Board where I sat as the union’s representative to the apprenticeship advisory board. In this capacity, I was able to be an effective advisor to apprentices who were experiencing scholastic problems that threatened their future in the industry. I particularly enjoyed working with older apprentices who were seeking a career change and had problems adjusting to the obligations of work, school, and family life.

I believe that both my educational background in Academic Advising and my work-related duties of counseling and advising students enrolled in learning programs qualify me for consideration for the position of Graduate Student Advisor. I look forward to discussing how my skills can be of value to ABC College as it prepares to move into the new millennium. Thank you for your time, consideration, and forthcoming response.

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Your Typed Name

Sending an Email Cover Letter

When you're sending your cover letter by email you don't need to include the employer contact information or your contact information at the top of the letter. Instead, list your contact information in your email signature under your name.

More Sample Cover Letters

Review more cover letter samples for a variety of career fields and employment levels, including an internship cover letter sample, as well as entry-level, targeted, and email cover letters.