Cover Letter FAQs

Find quick answers to common cover letter questions to help you write a standout application.

What is the purpose of a cover letter?

A cover letter introduces you to the employer, highlights your key achievements, and explains why you’re the right fit for the job. It’s your chance to make a compelling case for your candidacy beyond what’s in your resume.

What’s the difference between a cover letter and a resume?

A resume provides a detailed overview of your work history, skills, and educational background, while a cover letter is a personalized letter to the employer, explaining your interest in the job and showcasing your most relevant qualifications.

Do employers read cover letters?

Many employers read cover letters to get a sense of a candidate’s personality and enthusiasm for the job. A well-written cover letter can significantly influence an employer’s decision, especially when choosing between similarly qualified candidates.

Should I write a cover letter?

Yes, a cover letter can be a crucial part of your application. It allows you to explain your interest in the position and company, and to highlight your most relevant skills and experiences in a narrative form.

Should I write a cover letter for every job?

Ideally, yes. Tailoring a cover letter for each job demonstrates your interest in the specific role and company, and shows that you’ve taken the time to personalize your application.

Should I write a cover letter if optional?

Yes, writing a cover letter even when it’s optional can set you apart from other candidates. It shows initiative and gives you an additional opportunity to showcase your qualifications.

What should a cover letter include?

A cover letter should include an introduction, a brief overview of your most relevant experiences and skills, how they align with the job requirements, and a conclusion with a call to action, such as requesting an interview.

How long should a cover letter be?

A cover letter should be concise and no longer than one page. Aim for three to four paragraphs that succinctly convey your qualifications and enthusiasm for the role.

What is the best cover letter format?

A professional cover letter format includes a header with your contact information, a greeting to the hiring manager, body paragraphs covering your relevant qualifications, and a formal closing with your signature.

Who should I address my cover letter to?

Address your cover letter to the hiring manager. If you know their name, use it (e.g., “Dear Mr. Smith”). This personalizes your application and shows attention to detail.

Who should I address my cover letter to if there is no name?

If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, use a general salutation like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear [Company Name] Team.” Avoid generic greetings like “To Whom It May Concern.”