How to Write a Professional Cover Letter

Many jobs require you to email a cover letter with a resume attached.  Some jobs require the cover letter and resume in addition to an online application.  Other jobs require the cover letter and resume instead of an online application.  A good cover letter should answer the following questions:

  • How did you learn about this job?
  • Why are you applying for this job?
  • What are a few basic things that you have learned about this job from the job advertisement or from researching the company?
  • What skills, education, or experience do you have to qualify you for this job?
  • What is your basic contact information?

If you know the name of the hiring manager of the company that you are applying to, you can begin the email with “Dear” and that person’s first and last name.  Before the name, there should be one of the following titles, depending on what you know about the person:

  • Mr. – Use this title if the hiring manager is a male.
  • Miss – Use this title if the hiring manager is a single female.  Only use this title if she included the title in the job advertisement.
  • Mrs. – Use this title if the hiring manager is a married female.  Only use this title if she included the title in the job advertisement.
  • Ms. – Use this title if the hiring manager is a female, and you do not know whether or not she is married.
  • Dr. – Use this title if you learned that the hiring manager has a doctorate degree.  In the United States, a doctorate represents a title earned after completing a minimum of 20 years of education, including primary school, high school, college, and graduate school.
  • If you do not know whether the person is male, female, or has a doctorate, it is better to avoid using a title.

If you do not know who the hiring manager is, begin the email with “To Whom It May Concern:”

Read the cover letters below.  Answer the comprehension questions.  Then, write your own cover letter for an imaginary job opportunity.


To Whom It May Concern:

I saw your job advertisement on careerbuilder.com, and I am very interested in the computer programmer position opening at ESL Computer Company in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Your job advertisement mentioned that you are looking for an experienced computer programmer who is willing to travel to other countries to train other computer programmers around the world.  I have three years of experience as a computer programmer at Raleigh Programmers.  Before I began working at Raleigh Programmers, I took several courses in computer programming languages at Wake Technical Community College.  I am an ideal candidate for world travel because of my language skills.  In addition to English, I speak Somali and Arabic fluently.  I am also proficient in French.  My volunteer work as a literacy teacher in public schools has also allowed me to develop the teaching skills that would be necessary for this job.

As I am passionate about both travel and computer programming, I feel I would be perfect for this position.

My resume is attached to this email.  Thank you for your consideration.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Zahra Ibrahim
zahraibrahim947298@gmail.com
(919) 555-1294


1.  Who is the hiring manager for this position?  What do we know about this person(s)?

2.  Why do you think Zahra is interested in this job?

3.  What skills, education, and experience does Zahra have to qualify her for this position?

4.  What is the name of the company that Zahra is applying to in this cover letter?

5.  How did Zahra learn about this position?


Dear Dr. Marguerite Angelou,

I saw your advertisement in the Triangle Newspaper for the French teacher position opening at Little Geniuses Trilingual Preschool in Durham, North Carolina.

In my country, Guinea, I was an elementary school teacher for over 8 years.  I earned a Master’s degree in Education at the Université Kofi Annan de Guinee.  After moving to the United States last year, I began taking classes in childcare at Wake Technical Community College.  I have also been volunteering at the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh for the past 6 months.

I would truly love to have the opportunity to teach my native language to young children in the United States.  I believe that I would have a lot to offer Little Geniuses Trilingual Preschool, due to my extensive teaching experience, high level of education, commitment to professional development, and native-level command of the French language.

My resume is attached for your consideration, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you for your time.  Please let me know if there is any further information that I can provide.

Sincerely,

Mariam Konate
mariam.konatenc@gmail.com
(910) 555-2837


1.  Who is the hiring manager for this position?  What do we know about this person(s)?

2.  Why do you think Mariam is interested in this job?

3.  What skills, education, and experience does Mariam have to qualify her for this position?

4.  What is the name of the company that Mariam is applying to in this cover letter?

5.  How did Mariam learn about this position?


Writing Exercise:

Now it is time to write your own cover letter.  Imagine that you see an advertisement for your dream job online.  The advertisement asks you to send a cover letter and your resume in an email.  Type up a cover letter for this imaginary job.  Explain why you are applying for this job and why you are qualified for the position.  List any experience, training, or education that you have.

Remember, it is very important to proofread your cover letter carefully.  This letter represents your writing skills in English, and your prospective employer will see it as evidence of your ability to communicate effectively at work.  Before submitting a cover letter, you should read it aloud at least 4 times.  You should also ask a friend, family member, or teacher to check it for mistakes.  When you are finished proofreading your written cover letter, click “Leave a Reply”, and type your cover letter into the comment box.

2 thoughts on “How to Write a Professional Cover Letter

  1. Thanks for writing such a beautiful article. I am happy that you have brought out some pro bloggers tips under one roof. I am really like it. It’s so knowledgeable and motivational too.

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