My account

You control your data

We use cookies to tailor the experience of creating resumes and cover letters. For these reasons, we may share your usage data with third parties. You can find more information about how we use cookies on our Cookies Policy. If you would like to set your cookies preferences, click the Settings button below. To accept all cookies, click Accept.

Settings Accept

Cookie settings

Click on the types of cookies below to learn more about them and customize your experience on our Site. You may freely give, refuse or withdraw your consent. Keep in mind that disabling cookies may affect your experience on the Site. For more information, please visit our Cookies Policy and Privacy Policy.

Choose type of cookies to accept


These cookies allow us to analyze our performance to offer you a better experience of creating resumes and cover letters. Analytics related cookies used on our Site are not used by Us for the purpose of identifying who you are or to send you targeted advertising. For example, we may use cookies/tracking technologies for analytics related purposes to determine the number of visitors to our Site, identify how visitors move around the Site and, in particular, which pages they visit. This allows us to improve our Site and our services.

Performance and Personalisation

These cookies give you access to a customized experience of our products. Personalization cookies are also used to deliver content, including ads, relevant to your interests on our Site and third-party sites based on how you interact with our advertisements or content as well as track the content you access (including video viewing). We may also collect password information from you when you log in, as well as computer and/or connection information. During some visits, we may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, download errors, time spent on certain pages and page interaction information.


These cookies are placed by third-party companies to deliver targeted content based on relevant topics that are of interest to you. And allow you to better interact with social media platforms such as Facebook.


These cookies are essential for the Site’s performance and for you to be able to use its features. For example, essential cookies include: cookies dropped to provide the service, maintain your account, provide builder access, payment pages, create IDs for your documents and store your consents.

To see a detailed list of cookies, click here.

Save preferences

What Is a Cover Letter & How to Make It Stand Out [10+ Tips]

Typically, a job application consists of a resume and cover letter. And while to most of us the resume is a pretty familiar concept, the idea of a cover letter could be confusing.

Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Career Expert
What Is a Cover Letter & How to Make It Stand Out [10+ Tips]

Writing a cover letter can seriously boost your chances of landing a job. The question is—


What is a cover letter in the first place? Don’t worry. After reading this guide you’ll know exactly what a cover letter is, and you’ll never confuse it with a resume or CV.


In this guide you’ll learn:

  • What the purpose of a cover letter is and what to put on it.
  • The difference between a cover letter and a resume/CV.
  • How to write and format a job-winning cover letter.
  • Why writing a cover letter for a job is a good idea. 


Save hours of work and get a cover letter like this. Pick a template, fill it in. Quick and easy. Choose from 18+ cover letter templates and download your cover letter now.


Create your cover letter now


CREATE YOUR COVER LETTER NOWwhat is a cover letter example

What users say about ResumeLab:

I had an interview yesterday and the first thing they said on the phone was: “Wow! I love your cover letter.”

I love the variety of templates. Good job guys, keep up the good work!

My previous cover letter was really weak and I used to spend hours adjusting it in Word. Now, I can introduce any changes within minutes. Absolutely wonderful!

Create your cover letter now


Interested in learning more about cover letters? Read:


1. What Is a Cover Letter for a Resume?


A cover letter (also known as a motivational letter, letter of motivation, or covering letter) is a letter that accompanies a resume or CV and forms part of a job application. A cover letter’s role is to explain your motivation for applying for the position and demonstrate the skills that make you suitable for the job.


And let’s be super clear about one thing—


A cover letter is not the same as a resume or CV.


The term resume is commonly used in the US and Canada to refer to a document briefly outlining your qualifications, previous experience, education, and skills. Typically, resumes are one or two pages long. You can find more details in our guide on how to write a resume.


A CV, or curriculum vitae, is very much like a resume but offers a more detailed look into the candidate’s career history. In the US and Canada, CVs are mostly used when applying for positions with academic institutions. CVs can be one or two pages long, but it’s not uncommon for a CV to be 10+ pages long, and contain detailed information on the candidate's publications or academic honors among others. For more details, read our guide on how to write a CV.


2. What Is on a Cover Letter?


A cover letter should be clean and simple, like this one:


Sample Cover Letter


Eric K. Jordan

Senior Business Analyst

3950 Bottom Lane

Buffalo, NY 14202



Anytown, 1 June 2019 


Gloria L. Turner

Director of Sales

ARK Tech

4182 Desert Broom Court

Newark, NJ 07102

Dear Gloria,


When I noticed that ARK Tech has an opening for a Senior Business Analyst, I felt like the offer was specifically directed at me. In my current role as a business analyst with Xytras Media, I was able to save as much as USD 500K in a year by redesigning the company’s data system. I’m positive my superb analytical skills will let me achieve comparable results at ARK Tech.


I understand one of the biggest challenges for your team of business analysts will be to craft and implement viable strategic initiatives after your recent merger with NEXGEN. In my career as a business analyst, I’ve been opportune enough to work within cross-functional teams on developing large-scale sales and operation strategies. One of such collaborations resulted in creating an enterprise data warehouse worth USD 5M.


What I find immensely motivating about the opportunity at ARK Tech is that your mission is perfectly aligned with my values, and the company is only starting to step into the territory I’ve had so much experience with. That’s why I’d love to share my knowledge, help you avoid certain common pitfalls, and make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.


Would it be possible to schedule an appointment next week, so we can discuss what short- and long-term strategies we could implement to boost sales figures by 20% next year? 


Thank you,


Eric K. Jordan




P.S.—I’d really love to tell you how my team was able to identify and eliminate a major bottleneck that was causing 15% loss of revenue.


3. How to Write a Cover Letter


They say that writing a cover letter can be gruelling. Well, it can.


But not if you know exactly what to do, and how to do it right.


Here’s a handy checklist you can fall back on when writing your cover letter:

  • Make a professional cover letter header. See to it that it includes your full name, job title, and current contact information, as well as the addressee’s contact details.
  • Use appropriate salutation. Start with Dear, and follow it with either the hiring manager’s first name or Mr./Ms. and their last name, depending on company culture. If you have no idea who you’re writing to, you can use Dear Hiring Manager for example.
  • Divide the main body into three sections: start your cover letter with showing your biggest achievement, then explain how your skills will benefit the company, finally explain your motivations.
  • Include a call to action towards the end of your cover letter and sign off with a professional closing.


If you need more detailed advice, head straight to our full-length guide on how to write a job-winning cover letter. Apart from lots of great writing hints, you’ll find good and bad examples of each cover letter section.


Double your impact with a matching resume and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter generator and make your application documents pop out.




CREATE YOUR COVER LETTER NOWcreate your cover letter now

Want to try a different look? There's 21 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.


4. How to Format a Cover Letter


The best cover letter format is one that’s universal enough to be easily tailored to just about any position. Here are the basic rules of formatting a job-winning cover letter:

  • Add your contact details
  • Put the addressee’s contact information
  • Date the letter
  • Use an appropriate salutation
  • Write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph
  • Make a paragraph explaining why you’re a great fit
  • Finish with a closing paragraph that calls the reader to action
  • Include a professional sign off
  • Consider adding the postscript (an optional section)


And here come our tried and tested formatting guidelines:

  • Set a one-inch margin on each side
  • Left-align the text
  • Opt for professional-looking cover letter fonts
  • Stick to single-line spacing (1.15 will do too)
  • Separate each section and paragraph with a blank line
  • Export your cover letter to a PDF.


Our in-depth guide on how to format a cover letter offers actionable advice on getting to grips with every section of your cover letter. Plus, it has a lot of examples you can use and modify for your purposes.


5. Do I need a Cover Letter?


Cut a long story short—


Yes, you do need a cover letter.




First off, 50% of hiring managers expect your job application to consist of both a resume and a cover letter. Since you never know what the hiring manager reading your job application expects, it’s better to overdeliver than disappoint.


Plus, a well-written cover letter will give you an edge over those applicants who are either too lazy to write one or have no idea what it takes to write a great cover letter.


In fact, we have an entire guide in which we examine whether on not cover letters are necessary, and see how the cover letter evolved over the years.


6. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?


Here’s how it works:


Your cover letter should be long enough to show everything you can offer, and short enough not to lose the reader halfway through.


This is how it translates into numbers.


Your cover letter should be: 

  • 1 page
  • 3 paragraphs
  • about 300 words


Obviously, there are many different kinds of cover letters. So, if you’re looking for more detailed information, our guide on how long a cover letter should be has all the answers.


With ResumeLab’s resume builder you’ll write your resume in a flash. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Improve your resume in our resume builder now.




CREATE YOUR RESUME NOWcreate your resume now

Nail it all with a splash of color, choose a clean font, highlight your skills in just a few clicks. You’re the perfect candidate and we’ll prove it. Just pick one of 21 resume templates and get started now.


Key Points


Here’s all you need to know about a cover letter:

  • A cover letter is a type of letter you include in your job application.
  • Its main role is to let the reader know what motivated you to apply, and what you can offer.
  • A cover letter is not synonymous with a resume or CV.
  • Typically, a cover letter’s main body consists of three paragraphs, each for a different purpose.
  • Even though cover letters aren’t always necessary, they can give a serious boost to your application.
  • Cover letters shouldn’t be too long. Most of the time, a single page is enough.


Do you have any questions on what a cover letter is? Would you like to share your advice on what a cover letter should consist of? We’d love to hear from you. Give us a shout out in the comments below.

Rate my article: what is
Thank you for voting
Average: 5 (7 votes)
Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Maciej Duszynski is a career advice writer and a resume expert at ResumeLab. With over 8 years of experience in recruitment, hiring, and training, Maciej shares insider HR knowledge to equip every job seeker with professional advice to nail the job hunt. His insights have been featured by the Chicago Tribune, SparkPeople, Toggl, Referral Rock, and Databox, among others. Maciej has helped job candidates at all stages of their career paths, from interns to directors to C-suite members, to thrive in their job. His mission is to help you find the right opportunity and create a job application that gets you the career you deserve. Maciej holds a Master’s degree in English with a specialization in communication and education management.

Was it interesting? Here are similar articles