Good Basic Cover Letter
This basic cover letter can be adapted for just about any job search situation.
We show you how to put together a straightforward and convincing cover letter, how to effectively communicate your relevant skills and competencies for the job and how to make sure your resume gets read.
A resume without a cover letter often gets no further than the trash can. Show your interest and enthusiasm for the job opportunity by taking the time to write a good cover letter.
Follow the guidelines and use the sample letter to get the right message across.
The Cover Letter Checklist
- Always address the letter to an individual by his or her name. Do not send it to the "Hiring Manager" or "To Whom It May Concern". Contact the company and find out who the cover letter should be addressed to.
- Clearly establish why you are writing the cover letter in your opening sentences - the position you are applying for and why you are applying.
- Express enthusiasm and confidence that you are a suitable candidate in your introduction.
- Highlight your competencies and summarize why you are the right person for the job.
- Close the cover letter with a proactive request for an interview, meeting or follow-up.
What competencies should I focus on?
There are a number of competencies that are recognized as key to successful performance in nearly all job fields. The employer will be looking for evidence of these competencies in your basic cover letter.
The likelihood is that you already possess and use these skills in your professional life. Go through each of these 6 key competencies and think of an example of how you use that particular behavior or competency in your work.
Communication skills - able to express your ideas clearly, able to listen actively, able to follow instructions properly and give information appropriately.
Teamwork - able to work together with others to reach a goal. Co-operative and willing to put the team's success above personal success.
Problem-solving - able to collect and analyze information to identify problems and come up with possible solutions.
Planning and organizing - able to plan and prioritize work tasks to achieve the necessary outcomes.
Integrity - honesty, respect for others, reliability, maintain confidentiality, fulfill your commitments and adhere to company policies.
Motivation - this includes energy, hard work and enthusiasm for the job. A willingness to put in extra hours and go the extra mile.
It is important to communicate these competencies to the employer in your cover letter. Remember that these behaviors apply to virtually any job situation and can be used in any basic cover letter. Emphasize those competencies that are indicated in the job posting.
You can view other key competencies that may apply to your particular job at 12 core competencies for all jobs.
Sample Basic Cover Letter
Your Contact details (phone and email)
Contact Job Title
Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Last Name
I was excited to see your opening for an Administrative Assistant on the XYZ job website. I am confident that my background and abilities are an excellent match for the job. Please allow me to highlight my skills and competencies as they relate to your job requirements.
- X years wide-ranging experience as an administrative assistant in a fast-paced work environment
- proven computer skills with an in-depth knowledge of MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint
- excellent verbal and written communication skills used to successfully develop presentations, write reports and draft correspondence
- recognized as a resourceful problem-solver who is able to efficiently collect and analyze information to find workable solutions
- strong organizational and planning skills ensure that I am able to accurately and consistently meet multiple project deadlines
- a hard worker who has built confidence and trust at all levels
- a committed team member who is known to go the extra mile
I firmly believe that I can make a positive contribution to your company and I have enclosed my resume to provide more information on my skills and experience. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you for an in-depth discussion and I will make myself available at your first convenience.
Thank you for you review and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Basic Cover Letter 2
Know what to include in your cover letter by fully understanding the purpose of the cover letter.
Use these well written sample cover letters to help you craft your own persuasive and professional cover letter.
A comprehensive cover letter template to complete with your own details.
Decide which is the most suitable cover letter format for you to use.
Powerful phrases for closing a cover letter.
Tips on how to create a cover letter that gets the reader's attention.
Easy-to-use sample email cover letter
Sample letter of intent for employment will help you land the critical first interview.
Are you sending a cold cover letter? View sample networking cover letters.
These job descriptions will help you to include all the necessary information in your cover letter.
All the resume examples you need to adapt for your own use.
Job Interviews > Sample Cover Letters > Basic Cover Letter
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Do you struggle with what to say in your cover letters/emails? In a recent post, I provided a formula for how to write a cover letter. Now I want to show you some real-world examples, so that you can see how you can put the principles into practice. (If you haven’t read that article, I suggest reading it now as the examples will make more sense).
The first letter was written for an administrative assistant, the second for a sales executive, and you will see that each is different in approach. But fundamentally they follow the same principle which is the one I preach over and over again. You must a) understand the needs and concerns of your target audience, b) identify why you are uniquely qualified to meet those needs and c) make that connection for the employer.
Let’s look first at the letter written for the administrative assistant. (To see a larger version, click on the image twice).
Notice how the letter addresses many of the common issues facing executive assistants such as the need to work for multiple managers, the need to handle confidential matters and the skills required to organize heavy workloads.
Now look at the letter for the sales executive.
Here results are what count, and this letter clearly demonstrates that the sender has relevant experience. In fact, rather than describing his skills, this letter focuses on outlining how he solved a specific problem (one that he knows is also plaguing this company). This letter will grab the attention of recipients because it is so carefully targeted, and because it is packed with impressive results.
It’s all about appealing to specific needs
Each of these cover letter examples works because the applicants truly understand the needs of their target audience. Generic cover letters have no impact whatsoever, but you can open doors very effectively by taking the time to craft an email or letter that shows how you can solve specific problems.
I hope these letters have inspired you to revisit your own and given you ideas for improvement. Good luck!
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Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.
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