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Federal Cover Letter Example for Government Job in 2024

A federal resume is very long, and recruiters don't enjoy that. Give them a short and sweet summary in the form of a succinct and efficient federal job cover letter.

Mariusz Wawrzyniak
Mariusz Wawrzyniak
Career Expert
Federal Cover Letter Example for Government Job in 2024

Fantastic news! You’ve already finished writing your resume and are ready to pursue your next government job. But wait! There’s more paperwork needed to achieve success.

A good federal job cover letter will convince even the most demanding hiring manager to read your application from start to finish. Don’t worry. In just a few minutes, you’ll learn how to write the perfect cover letter for government jobs.

This guide will show you:

  • Two federal cover letter examples: for experienced and inexperienced candidates.
  • What cover letter formatting rules you need to follow.
  • A federal cover letter template you can update with your information in just 15 minutes.

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Looking for different cover letter examples? See:

First, here are two federal cover letter examples. See how these candidates manage their resources to get themselves to an interview.

Federal Cover Letter Examples

The first federal cover letter example comes from Matthew, who is applying for an administrative management position with NASA. It will be within his scope to recommend short-term solutions and long-term plans, liaising with high-ranking agency officials, congressional staff, and state, legislative, and private sector executives.

Let’s see his cover letter for a federal job:

Federal Cover Letter Example for an Experienced Candidate

Matthew Paderewski

Phone: +1-214-658-0002

Email: matt@paderz.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/mattuspaderewski

Mountain View, Jan 25, 2020

Rene Trenton

Department Head


Moffett Blvd, 

Mountain View, CA 94035

Dear Rene,

It is with enthusiasm that I submit my application for the position of Administrative Manager at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at the NASA Ames Research Center. During my 12+ years as a personnel clerk and administrative chief in the US Navy, I am equipped with the right staff management and large-scale organization skills to improve the efficiency of operations at Ames.

In the Navy, in the last 5 years, I orchestrated aircraft carrier deployments with my team of 14 clerks and administrators. One of my proudest achievements was preparing a 100,000-tonne ship for a 24-month sail by ensuring proper supply channels, taking care of orders, and filling out paperwork. I took part in administrating over 150 deployments and was personally responsible for 50+ of them. As a chief, I was responsible for liaising with the most senior Navy and other military officials, congressional staff, and politicians, as well as representatives of the government. We maintained good relationships with all these branches and, on more than one occasion, could count on their support or leniency in a tight spot. During this time, my team had 0 major incidents and responded to two crises in a timely and effective manner. I believe I can bring military discipline and careful attention to detail to NASA to increase the safety, comfort and efficiency of the astronauts and researchers alike.

I believe the skills I gained in the Navy are directly translatable to the reality of NASA, and my calmness, military discipline, and error-free meticulousness will secure the level of stability that the most innovative and groundbreaking government agencies require.

When could we schedule a meeting? I’ll gladly tell you how I handled an emergency response to an aircraft carrier running out of fuel.

Best Regards,

Matthew Paderewski



Matt presented his work history, professional skills, and personal interests in this short document. But he is a very experienced professional.

What if you’re not nearly as experienced as he is?

The government offers many positions to recent graduates. And we’ll show you how to do it. Check out Steven’s cover letter for a federal job, he’s applying to be an intern with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The role isn’t pre-specified. They make assignments to different departments based on the interests, knowledge, and background of the candidates.

Federal Cover Letter Example With No Work Experience

Steven M. Walter

Phone: +1-252-653-4132

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/stevenmwalter

Email: steven@walter.com

Orlando, Jan 25, 2020

Jane Employer

HR Recruiter

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

1 Main Avenue

Orlando, FL 32810

Dear Jane,

I was waiting impatiently for you to reopen your CFPB Summer Internship admissions. As a recent 4.0 GPA graduate of a Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation from Utica College and an ACFE-certified Fraud Examiner, I am ready to serve the American public and root out predatory and abusive financial practices.

In my last year of college, I interned as a Fraud Analyst at the TQC Financial Group. During this 2-month placement, I was able to stay abreast of financial crime risk trends, relevant regulations, and compliance standards. During this time, I detected over 150 instances of fraud, totaling a prevented cost to TQC and clients of $1.5m. I also participated in investigation and prosecution activities of automatically detected (or suspected) fraud, working on over 100 cases totaling over $2.1m. TQC’s main clients were medium to large privately held companies, and I learned the typical mechanisms of corporate fraud and navigating the records, systems, and patterns of these companies. I was offered a full-time position at TQC at the end of the internship. Still, I decided to apply my talents to protecting individual, private persons whose livelihoods are at risk after instances of fraud.

Serving the American public is extremely important to me as a Navy League Cadet, and fraud is a personal issue for me. Working at CFPB and securing financial markets for consumers would be extremely gratifying to my personal calling.

When could we connect in person or by call to discuss how my corporate fraud analysis experience can translate to detecting and combating large-scale, low-stakes, individual target fraud?

Kind Regards,

Steven M. Walter



Steven’s cover letter effectively combines personal passion, professional achievements, and a tailored approach to the federal internship, making it a standout application.

Now, let’s write your own federal cover letter for government jobs.

Don’t have your resume ready just yet? Check out the Federal Resume Writing Guide.

How to Write a Cover Letter For Federal Jobs

Federal jobs are positions within the U.S. government, spanning various agencies and departments. Working for the federal government often involves contributing to public service. Some of the crucial skills needed for federal jobs are communication, analytical thinking, and leadership.

This is how to write a cover letter for government jobs that covers all the bases:

1. Square Up The Federal Cover Letter Format

Deep within the cogs of the bureaucratic machine (where you’re going), organization, rules, and order are everything. These jobs tend to be well-structured. Present your case very clearly by using the established federal cover letter formatting rules:

  • Make sure your cover letter font is the same as your resume font. Pick a legible one: Cambria, Times New Roman, etc. 
  • Always ‘Align Left’. There is no need to use justification.
  • Use 1.15 line spacing, and leave an empty line between every section and paragraph.
  • Use at least a 1-inch margin on every side.
  • Perfect cover letter length? 1 page. Always.

Now that you’ve structured the document, let’s start writing your cover letter.

Expert Hint: If you’re applying online, there are some specific issues to remember when sending your legal cover letter electronically, which our email cover letter guide will clue you up on. At ResumeLab, there are also always more cover letter tips, dos and don’ts to know.

2. Make Your Federal Cover Letter Header Match Your Resume

The header of your cover letter should match your resume header. Below your personal details, you should put the city and date of the letter, and the details of the hiring manager. Often, you will be applying impersonally through government portals. Call them up to check who’s handling it.

Here’s a template:

Federal Cover Letter Template—Header

[ Your Full Name]

[ Your Job Title ] (Optional)

[ Phone Number ]

[ Email Address ]

[ LinkedIn Profile ] (Optional)

[ City and Date ]

[ Hiring Manager’s Full Name ]

[ Hiring Manager’s Position ]

[ Company Name ]

[ Company Street Address ]

[ City and Zip Code ]

And if you’re wondering where to look for potential federal jobs, the best place to start the search is the official government resource to find employment.

Expert Hint: Finding out your hiring manager’s name can be time-consuming, but it pays off. A targeted cover letter is much more effective than a generic cover letter.

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3. Introduce Yourself in the First Paragraph

Step number 1 is to show them you did your homework. The salutation, or greeting, sets the tone for the rest of your federal cover letter. If you hit the recruiter with a “To Whom It May Concern," they will put your application into the *REDACTED* pile. Use “Dear [their name]”. If you can’t find their name, no matter how hard you try, use their professional title instead.

As for what the first paragraph should look like: express your excitement for the position, and take the opportunity to showcase a significant accomplishment or relevant experience that makes you a standout candidate. Establish a professional and confident tone, steering clear of generic statements.

To make it easier, fill in the blanks:

Cover Letter for Government Job Template—Introduction

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

I was excited to find the opening for a [target position name] at [target organization name]. Having spent the last [number of years] as a [previous position title], I have devoted my energy to developing [very strong relevant skills you have] skills that will allow me to handle the [key requirement from the job posting] at [target organization name] effectively and contribute to [key goal of the organization].

4. Present Your Strengths in the Main Body

Whether the federal job is clerical, behind the scenes, or community-facing, don’t make the cardinal mistake of forgetting whose interest is always meant to be at the forefront. The institution’s. Focus on what you can do for them, especially in terms of goals or projections they have made.

What are their problems right now? What are their plans for the near future? Are they considering implementing new technologies? What is the most crucial requirement in the whole job posting? Focus on that. Be the problem solver and the person ready to take on any challenge. Back it up with numbers and achievements from your resume.

Start with this:

Federal Cover Letter Template—Second Paragraph

Since [Organization name] is seeking a [target position name] with competencies in [refer to the requirements of the job], I believe I’m the perfect candidate. At [previous employer name], I have acquired priceless expertise in [refer to the requirements of the job], which brought about a [a metric, achievement, or statistic that proves your excellence in this area]. I have also devoted significant time to developing my [type of skill] skills through [relevant responsibilities, duties, or projects you’ve successfully completed, supported by metrics, if possible]. My experience in [key important requirement] combined with [target position name]’s established practices and resources will bring about positive outcomes for your institution and the people it serves.

Expert Hint: Are you a veteran trying to get a government job? Check out our guide on writing a military-to-civilian resume.

5. Showcase Your Passion for the Job

It takes the right kind of person to perform some federal jobs and, even more so, to excel in them. An element of passion, or a calling, must often be present in someone to go in this direction.

If this sounds like you, articulate your motivation in this paragraph. Don’t flatter excessively, but instead explain how the approach and goals of the institution align with your own, and the resulting culture fit will result in good outcomes for everyone. Mentioning specific aspects of the company's values, projects, or goals shows that you're truly interested and aren’t sending copy-pasted applications wherever possible.

Here’s a small template to help:

Federal Job Cover Letter Template—Third Paragraph

By joining [target organization name], which devotes so much time and energy to [the mission of the agency/their values/their activities/other], I would finally be able to apply my [skills/experience] to [what the organization does] and help the American public [what the organization does for the public].

Expert Hint: You might be tempted to skip writing a cover letter altogether. But that’s a bad idea. Our research has shown that cover letters are necessary, as more than 70% of recruiters expect to receive them, even if the job ad doesn’t say so.

6. Ask For an Interview And Close the Deal

Your federal resume most likely spans several pages. So, your short federal job cover letter is probably a breath of fresh air for the recruiter. Now that they’re rejuvenated after reading it, ask them for an interview.

Before you formally sign off your cover letter for government jobs, ask for a meeting or a call to discuss something you have expertise on that will benefit this government agency and its clients—the American public.

Like this:

Federal Cover Letter Example: Sign Off & Call to Action

When would be a good time to have a call or a meeting to discuss how my [your best, most relevant skill/experience/their most important requirement] experience can help [target organization name] achieve [something important to them or the American public]?

Best Regards,

[Your Full Name]

[Phone Number]

[Email Address]

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Key Points

As you write a cover letter for government jobs, remember to:

  • Match the cover letter header to your resume header, and check that the contact info is up-to-date for you and the hiring manager.
  • Identify the position you’re applying to, and introduce yourself with a relevant achievement in the first paragraph.
  • List your best achievements that match the job requirements, and back them up with numbers and evidence in the second paragraph of your federal cover letter.
  • Show genuine interest in the organization and the cause, research, and write about something that struck you personally in your last paragraph.
  • Request an interview and sign off.

Do you have any questions about writing a cover letter for federal jobs? Did you find our federal cover letter example helpful? Leave us a comment, I’ll be more than happy to hear from you!

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At ResumeLab, quality is at the crux of our values, supporting our commitment to delivering top-notch career resources. The editorial team of career experts carefully reviews every article in accordance with editorial guidelines, ensuring the high quality and reliability of our content. We actively conduct original research, shedding light on the job market's intricacies and earning recognition from numerous influential news outlets. Our dedication to delivering expert career advice attracts millions of readers to our blog each year.

Mariusz Wawrzyniak
Written byMariusz Wawrzyniak

Mariusz is a career expert with a background in quality control & economics. With work experience in FinTech and a passion for self-development, Mariusz brings a unique perspective to his role. He’s dedicated to providing the most effective advice on resume and cover letter writing techniques to help his readers secure the jobs of their dreams.

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