Smart Cover Letter

Writing a smart cover letter can get your foot in the door, even if you have a weak resume. This guide will help you to write the best letter possible.

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Are you looking for a follow up email or letter instead? Check out our comprehensive Follow Up Guide.

Table of Contents

  1. Format & Writing How-To Guide
  2. Winning Cover Letter Templates for All – Copy, Paste, Fill in the Blanks
  3. I have “Red Flags” in my work or personal history — should I address them in my Cover Letter?

Format & Writing How-To Guide

This is a very simply written guide — follow it, and you will land interviews faster.

Don’t forget to double check! Be sure to use our checklist to easily find out what you may be missing on your letter. It is free to download.

Click Here to Download
Our Cover Letter Checklist

Cover letters are one page documents that you send with your resume when applying for a job. It is meant to:

  1. Introduce yourself to the hiring manager
  2. Argue why you’d be a good fit for the job
  3. Fill in places your resume cannot describe
  4. Further explain other aspects of your resume

By hitting those 4 aspects, your letter can be a convincing and powerful companion to a well-written resume.

Content Format Guide: 4 Steps

1. Contact Information

To begin, include both the employer’s and your contact information. See the example below:

While the example above demonstrates the information you need to include in the section, there are various ways to format it. Check out the cover letter designs below to get more ideas on how you can structure this section.

No spelling or grammar errors! This one really goes without saying. Spelling mistakes make an awful first impression.

2. Introduction

Find out to whom you’re writing

Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes for a second. Would you like to be addressed as “Dear Sir or Madame?” or “To whom it may concern?”

“Dear Sir or Madame” makes you sound like you’re from the year 1865, and “to whom it may concern” is very irritating to hiring managers.

You can easily avoid this problem by doing your research. Look through the company’s website, LinkedIn, or even give the company a call to ask for the hiring manager’s name. Even if you get it wrong, it still looks like you’ve made an effort.

Introduce yourself

In the first paragraph, begin by telling the employer the position you are applying for and how you learned about the opportunity.

The rest of this paragraph should briefly present basic info about yourself, including: degree, area of study/expertise, and your career goals in terms of how they align with the goals of the company.

3. Sell Yourself

The second paragraph should respond directly to the job description written by the hiring manager. Describe how your previous job experiences, skills, and abilities will allow you to meet the company’s needs. To make that easier, you can (and should) literally include words and phrases from the job description in your cover letters.

No bombast! The rule of thumb is that you’re allowed to be as boastful as you want – so long as you have the evidence to back it up!

To go the extra mile, do some research about the company, and try to find out what they are doing — and why — given the current state of their industry. In a third paragraph, explain how you can fit into that schema, and help push the company forward and achieve any goals you suspect they may have.

4. Conclusion

The final paragraph is called the “call to action.” Inform them that you’d love to get interviewed. Tell them that you’ll be in contact with them in a week if you don’t hear back. Thank them for spending the time to read your letter.

Page Format Guide: 4 Steps

Aside from the content on the page, the actual look and feel of the document is also an important aspect of your letter. Elements such as margins, font size and style, and alignment all factor in to the hiring manager’s overall impression of you.

Here are a few quick tips when styling your own:

  1. 1” – 1.5” margins are always a safe bet. If you are having trouble fitting everything on one page, there is some wiggle room, but be careful not to make the content look crammed together.
  2. Don’t go below a 12-point font unless absolutely necessary. Anything below 12 can strain the eyes.
  3. Font style is really a matter of preference. Try to choose one that looks professional or that matches what the employer uses on their website. Keep in mind that different styles will change the size of the font.
  4. Maintain a uniform alignment throughout. We suggest keeping all paragraphs left-aligned.

Formatting For Applicant Tracking Systems

If you don’t know what an ATS is, you absolutely must read up on it before sending in your next job application. Applicant tracking systems are mostly designed to read through resumes, sifting through keywords and key-phrases to statistically determine whether to let you through to the next stage. 70% of jobs are filled via an applicant tracking system.

Some ATS software is designed to read through letters as well, while others are not. You might as well be completely prepared.

The good news is that simply by following the instructions we’ve written above, your letter should already be in good shape. If you’ve responded directly to the hiring manager’s job description, and included language from it in your own your letter, you already have a high likelihood of hitting statistically important keywords and phrases.

Does anyone read cover letters?

Yes, someone will read it. Will they read it carefully? It depends on the hiring manager. Some use the letters to “weed out” candidates out of a huge stack, while others believe that the candidate’s interview skills are more important. Either way, you’re going to need to write a strong letter, in order to give yourself a higher chance of getting a job.

Winning Cover Letter Templates for All – Copy, Paste, Fill in the Blank

Simply click the section that best reflects your current life situation and work experience, then choose the “tone” of cover letter that best suits your personality.

Before you start – 5 tips for filling in these template letters:

In our templates, you’ll be filling in the blanks that look like [this]. Here’s some help for filling in these trickier ones:

  1. [insert positive trait] – here’s a list of positive traits you can use to describe yourself
  2. [insert 1-3 soft skills] – here’s a list of soft skills you can use to describe your abilities
  3. [insert 1-3 hard professional skills] – our cover letter samples or resume by industry pages should help you brainstorm
  4. [insert GPA] – only insert if your GPA is above a 3.5
  5. [insert your degree] – style it this way, including the parentheses – (BS Engineering)

Now, get started – We recommend that you copy and paste your favorite template into one of our awesome looking pre-arranged cover letter designs.

List of positive traits

AdaptableFocusedProactive
Detail-orientedHard-workingQuality-oriented
DiligentEfficientResponsible
Results-oriented

List of soft skills

AnalyticalLeadershipProblem-solving
CommunicationManagementResearch
Creative thinkingMultitaskingService
Critical thinkingOrganizationalTeamwork
InterpersonalPersuasionTechnical
LanguagePlanningWriting

Download HR-Approved Cover Letter Template Designs

We provide 8 free downloadable cover letter designs. Just click any template below to download the one that best suits you.

Enthusiastic Tone

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student [insert GPA] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [name of open position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Confident (Authoritative) Tone

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student [insert GPA] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Versatile Tone

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student [insert GPA] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional Tone


My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student [insert GPA] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for.  I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] high school student ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I can leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for.  I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent high school graduate ([insert GPA]) who has consistently been praised as [insert positive trait] by my teachers and managers. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [(insert GPA, [major])] currently attending [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [(insert GPA, [major])] currently attending [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [(insert GPA, [major])] currently attending [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for.  I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name].. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] college student  [insert GPA, [major]] currently attending [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I was consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I was consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I was consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. Throughout my academic career, I was consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. While working on academic and extracurricular projects, I developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for.  I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my rcesume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] recent college graduate [(insert GPA, [major])] from [college_name]. During the course of my academic career, I also managed to accrue nearly [# of months/years of experience] of work experience. I had the privilege of working for [your current company’s name] in a [your current job title] role in my free time, where I learned valuable professional skills such as [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. In both my academic and professional life, I have been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my professors and peers. Whether working on academic, extracurricular, or professional projects, I apply proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my peers. Over the course of my career, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my peers. Over the course of my career, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my peers. Over the course of my career, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my peers. Over the course of my career, I have developed proven [insert 1-3 soft skills] skills, which I hope to leverage into the [position] role at your company.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Enthusiastic:

My name is [your name]. I am thrilled to be applying for the [position] role in your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for an enthusiastic applicant that can be relied upon to fully engage with the role and develop professionally in a self-motivated manner. Given these requirements, I believe I am the perfect candidate for the job.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my co-workers and management. Over the course of my [# of months/years of experience] career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the [position] role you are hiring for, including [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Overall, I have consistently demonstrated [insert 1-3 soft skills] abilities in every aspect of my [your current job title] role at [your current company’s name], and I invite you to review my detailed achievements in the attached resume.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of positive and driven candidate that you are looking for. I am excited to elaborate on how my proven skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Confident (Authoritative)

My name is [your name]. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role, and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my co-workers and management. Over the course of my [# of months/years of experience] career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the [position] role you are hiring for, including [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Overall, I have consistently demonstrated [insert 1-3 soft skills] abilities in every aspect of my [your current job title] role at [your current company’s name], and I invite you to review my detailed achievements in the attached resume.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Versatile

My name is [your name]. I’m grateful for the opportunity to apply for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, it’s clear that you’re looking for a versatile candidate to handle the numerous and varied responsibilities associated with this role. Given these requirements, I am certain that I can meet and exceed all expectations.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree)] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my co-workers and management. Over the course of my [# of months/years of experience] career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the [position] role you are hiring for, including [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Overall, I have consistently demonstrated [insert 1-3 soft skills] abilities in every aspect of my [your current job title] role at [your current company’s name], and I invite you to review my detailed achievements in the attached resume.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of skilled and resourceful candidate you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how my varied skillsets and abilities will benefit your organization. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Traditional

My name is [your name]. Please accept my application for the open [position] role at your company. After reviewing your job description, I believe that I have the necessary skills and abilities to fill the role.

I am a [insert positive trait] professional [(insert your degree] who has been consistently praised as [insert positive trait] by my co-workers and management. Over the course of my [# of months/years of experience] career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the [position] role you are hiring for, including [insert 1-3 hard professional skills]. Overall, I have consistently demonstrated [insert 1-3 soft skills] abilities in every aspect of my [your current job title] role at [your current company’s name], and I invite you to review my detailed achievements in the attached resume.

After reviewing my resume, I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and reliable candidate that you are looking for. I look forward to elaborating on how I can help benefit your organization, and assist your business achieve its goals. Please contact me at [PHONE] or via email at [EMAIL] to arrange for a convenient meeting time.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

If you’re a first-time job-seeker, you probably feel a lot of pressure to find a job quickly. And at this stage, the fastest way to land more interviews is to take your cover letter seriously.

Yes, your resume is also important, but here’s the thing: In a sea of youthful candidates, most of your resumes will look very similar. And as most companies deal with a huge influx of entry-level applications, so hiring managers find that judging candidates based on virtually indistinguishable resumes ends up being inefficient and cumbersome. Instead, they’ll use your cover letter to gauge your potential.

The clincher? Entry-level and internship candidates tend to make the same cover letter blunders, which are fatal to their applications. Here are seven big mistakes entry-level candidates make, and how you can avoid them to come out on top.

Problem #1: It’s Too Long

Everyone learns how to write a 500-word, one-page essay in school. To most of us, it sounds like “the bare minimum.” But for a cover letter, it’s way too much—and will only serve to annoy the hiring manager.

The Fix: Keep it Simple, Direct, Clear, and Short

Aim for 250 words. According to the Orange County Resume Survey, almost 70% of employers either want a half page cover letter (250 words) or “the shorter the better” approach.

If that seems short, just remember: All you really need to include in your cover letter is the job you want to fill, the reason you can do the job, and how you intend to do the job—with a little flair of personality. No need to write out your whole resume. No need to pen your personal manifesto. Keep it short and sweet for the hiring manager who’s reading through dozens of these.

Problem #2: It’s Overly Formal

Too many cover letters have sentences that read like this: “I wish to convey my interest in filling the open position at your fine establishment.”

Is that so, Mr. Shakespeare?

The problem with this stilted and unnatural language is that it’s off-putting to hiring managers: It makes you seem insincere and even robotic, not anything like the friendly, approachable, and awesome-to-work-with person that you are.

The Fix: Use Common Language and Speech Patterns

Skip the frills, and just use clear language—“I’m thrilled to be writing to apply for the [position] at [company].” You can sense that this sentence has a much more genuine and friendly tone than the first example. Here are some other complicated terms and their simpler, more natural synonyms:

  • Advantageous — helpful
  • Erroneous — wrong
  • Leverage or utilize — use
  • Attempted — tried
  • Subsequently — after or later

There are a couple ways to spot overly formal language in your cover letter. First, try reading it out loud to see if there are areas that feel unnatural coming off the tongue, and rework them to flow better. You can also try using a program like Hemmingway App to help you identify over-complicated language in your writing.

Problem #3: It Sounds Disingenuous

All career advisors will ell you to target your cover letter. Unfortunately, too many people think that this simply means writing something like “I love [insert target company here].”

I’ve got news: That’s simply not good enough to show a hiring manager your enthusiasm for a company.

The Fix: Demonstrate Your Understanding of the Company With Details

Instead, you’ll need to read enough about the company to make a truly personalized comment in your cover letter. First, you should study the content, advertising, branding, business strategies, and culture of the company. Pay especially close attention to the department you’d like to join. Find out what the team is doing and how they’re doing it, and take note of the areas that you know you can contribute to.

Including that specific information in the cover letter shows that you’re interested and already have ideas for how you can help the company. So let’s say that you’re applying for an internship position at a company like The Muse. You might say something like:

I really enjoy reading the productivity section on The Daily Muse—it’s got a great blend of psychological and technical tips, many of which I’ve taken to heart. I’m a sucker for this type of “food for thought” material, so I have my own ideas and resources that would make me a strong contributor in this vertical.

Problem #4: You’re Underselling Yourself

If you have any lines in your cover letter that read like these, you must remove them:

I’m probably not the most qualified candidate…

I’m sure you have many other more qualified candidates who have applied…

Give me a chance to prove myself…

Why would the hiring manager not hire the most qualified candidate? That would be absurd!

The Fix: Make an Argument for Yourself

Even if you feel under-qualified, put on a brave face and tell the hiring manager the attributes that would make you a strong candidate. Respond to the job description, and play up the directly related and transferable skills you have that would allow you to meet the challenge.

For instance, someone applying for an entry-level position as a salesperson might write:

During college, I was responsible for ad sales in our newspaper, The Blue and Gold. I learned how to create, manage, and maintain professional relationships with business owners around our campus. My direct efforts led to a 10% profit margin increase over the year, and I believe that those skills can be directly applied to your open position.

If you’re still unsure, check out career counselor Lily Zhang’s suggestions for drawing out your strengths instead of your weaknesses.

Of course, remember that having too much bombast (“I’m absolutely the best and you better believe it!”) also isn’t good.

Problem #5: It Sounds Selfish

The following is one of the most important rules to remember about writing your cover letter: It isn’t just about you.

In other words, avoid writing about how working at your target company will create a great boost for your resume and career. Hiring managers are fully aware of that. What they need to know is how you’re going to provide a boost for the company.

The Fix: Ask What You Can Do for the Company

Your cover letter should state what you can do for the company. Ask yourself—what is it about your education and experience that would allow you to meet the challenges of the open job position? How can you leverage your expertise for the benefit of the company? What ideas do you have to move the business forward?

It’s perfectly fine to mention that being hired would be mutually beneficial—the hiring manager wouldn’t want you to be a demoralized worker in a role that doesn’t suit your career prospects. Just keep it to a quick sentence and then move on to wooing the reader with what you can do for the company.

Problem #6: It’s Full of Irrelevant Filler

Got a paragraph about your semester abroad, or some other travel experience where you found your “true calling?” You should probably delete it. Do you have sentences like, “I am a hard working, efficient, and loyal person?” Don’t make a series of lists of positive sounding words about yourself. It’s not convincing.

Most importantly, if you’ve included personal information about your religion, marital status, or race, delete it. Even if you think it’s adding personality, it’s actually irrelevant to the job and could cause you to be discriminated against.

The Fix: Focus on Your Relevant Skills and History

Only talk about the experiences that directly relate to your skills and abilities that will help you succeed in the position. So if you learned a relevant skill while you were abroad, like a language? Then it’s perfectly fine to bring it up.

You should also make sure to show the hiring manager proof of your skills rather than simply say that you have them. For any word you choose to describe yourself, make sure to include an example from your work experience to back up your claim.

For example, instead of saying that you’re “hard-working” or “a problem solver,” write something like:

I felt like my own training could have been better, so I took the initiative to create new documents and checklists to make employee training less resource-intensive, which led to shorter training periods and faster content production.

Problem #7: It Has Too Much Information About College Metrics

This may be strange to hear, but here are four things that don’t really factor in your cover letter: the university you attended, your GPA, the classes you took, or your senior thesis.

You should be proud of yourself if you got into an Ivy League school and have a great GPA, but in most cases, they aren’t great metrics for determining whether you’ll be a strong employee.

The Fix: Stick to Activities and Responsibilities

To the greatest extent possible, talk about activities you participated in both inside and outside of college that have some relevance to the job. A student with a 2.9 GPA but with experience as editor of a college newspaper is still very likely to get an interview for a media job.

The reason that activities speak louder than statistics is because they act as proof that you have the soft skills necessary to be a good employee and co-worker. Activities provide experience you can use to show that you are organized, have leadership skills, can work in a team, and can easily get used to a professional environment.

Above all, activities show that you were motivated to succeed beyond simply earning a degree.



By fixing these seven mistakes, your application will stand out from the sea of other entry-level candidates jockeying for the same position. A genuine, refreshing, and smart cover letter is sometimes all it takes to get attention—and kick start your career.

Photo of cover letter courtesy of Shutterstock.

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