Cover Letter Basics

Never underestimate the power of a good cover letter! Some applications don’t require one, but trust me a cover letter can make you stand out and put you ahead of your competitors.

Again you can pull up a template on your word processor. You can use the same template you used for your resume, that way they match! You will use the same top portion as your resume, your name, contact information, etc. Under that, on the left side of the document, you will put the company name in which you are applying and the company address. Put the name of the person the letter is directed to as well if you know who that is – if you don’t know, leave it blank.

For example …

Title, first name, last name – or blank if you’re not sure

Blank State College

1 Something Drive

In What’s it Called, USA 12345

After that you will write either, To whom it may concern, or if you know who you’re writing the letter to, then put their name in this section.

Then you can start your letter. The first paragraph I like to explain my intent, why I am applying for the job. In the second paragraph I explain my background, work and education, and how these experiences make me a great job candidate. I use the third paragraph as a short closing paragraph. I thank them for taking the time to review my application and let them know my best contact information to set up an interview. My last sentence is usually, I look forward to meeting /talking with you.

Then I write …


Dee (full name.)

Here are some great cover letter “buzz works,” to use when describing your personality and/or attributes. You can use these in any paragraph.

  • Self-starter
  • Go-getter
  • Detail oriented
  • Team player
  • Proficient
  • Results driven
  • Go to person
  • Dynamic
  • Innovative
  • Strategic thinker

Note: Use real life examples to describe your personality and/or attributes.


It’s also super important to list references! I always add these in a separate document I entitle, references. I use the same template as my resume and cover letter. You want to list at least three – two professional references and one personal. For a professional reference you want to list someone who worked over you, a supervisor, an assistant supervisor, a coordinator, etc. For your personal reference you want to list someone like a family friend, someone who can speak on your character. It shouldn’t be someone in your direct family. For all references you should have their name, and contact information (phone number as well as email.) For your professional references you also need to list their job title and company they work for. Some applications might require more references but three is standard. It might go unsaid but nevertheless, don’t forget to formally ask these people if you can use them as references. It would probably come as a shock if your boss got a call from someone looking for you to come work for them.

I hope you found this information helpful for any upcoming job opportunities you might have! As always, thanks for reading!

– D

If you haven’t yet, check out my blog post, ‘Resume 101,’ for some great resume tips!

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