Office Assistant cover letter example

Complete Cover Letter Writing Guide for 2023 | Beginner-friendly

Only about 20% of resumes are submitted with a cover letter. So, just by writing one, you’ll give yourself a significant advantage! At Jobhero, our team of experts has prepared this complete guide to cover letters and writing tools for 2023.

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What Is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a document you submit along with your resume. A well-written cover letter is a perfect way to market your top skills and accomplishments that set yourself apart from other applicants.A cover letter isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to your job search, though. There are three main types of cover letters: an application letter, referral letter and letter of interest. Choose the format that’s appropriate to the specific position, company or career path you’re pursuing.
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Application letter:

This is the most common form of cover letter. If you're attaching a cover letter for a specific job application, the key is to make sure it doesn't sound generic. Hiring managers will immediately notice if you take the time to craft a letter written specifically for a job they are looking to fill.
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Referral letter:

If you're applying for a job someone has referred you for, make sure your letter mentions the name of the person who has endorsed you and cite their credentials or relevance to the company.
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Letter of interest:

Sometimes, you may not be sure whether there is a specific job opening or not, but you want to work for a particular company. In these cases, it's OK to send out what's called a "letter of interest." These letters, also known as prospecting letters, are a great way to create opportunities.

Why Is a Cover Letter Important?

Cover letters are important because they’re a determining factor in whether you land the job or interview. When pairing it with a resume, they become a powerful combination of selling points that show you meet the key requirements of the job description.

Here are the top three reasons why a cover letter is an important part of your job application:

  1. The average job seeker does not use cover letters, so putting in a little extra work can help you stand out against other applicants. A cover letter is an essential tool to set yourself apart because it shows you are self-motivated and have attention to detail.
  2. Cover letters create the opportunity to build a relationship with the employer. Explain to them why you’re interested in working for their company and give them enough information about yourself to think about how your skills could benefit their business.
  3. A cover letter explains things in a different way than a resume can. If you send a resume alone, you will only be covering the basic facts about what you’ve accomplished. However, a cover letter allows you to showcase your personality and tell a compelling story about yourself and how you reached your career achievements.

A strong cover letter directs the employer to your unique experience and top accomplishments and paints a fuller, clearer picture of who you are as an employee.

When to Use a Cover Letter

Some companies may or may not require you to send a cover letter with your resume. However, you should always include a cover letter unless the job ad specifies against it.

Include a cover letter with your resume:

  • If the job application mentions it as a requirement.
  • If it says it’s optional, it’s best practice to include one.
  • If you were referred for the position.
  • If you have a friend or former colleague who works at the company.
  • If you’re applying for an internship.
  • If you are interested in learning about possible career opportunities within the company.
  • If you want to proactively address employment gaps or potential job-related concerns.

However, there are some exceptions where a cover letter shouldn't be used. Do not use a cover letter if the employer specifically directs not to do so.

For instance, their job application software may not allow additional document attachments. If this is the case, follow the employer's instructions.

Lastly, if you are in a rush to apply because the job post is about to expire or you don't have time to write a convincing cover letter, it's better to go without it.

That's the only time a cover letter will ever hurt you. Although, a poorly written or generic cover letter may hinder your chances of getting hired as well, so make sure to put in the effort to make it unique if you’re including one.

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Cover Letter Writing Advice

First off, we have a How to Write a Cover Letter Guide that breaks down step-by-step how you nail each section of your document.Here are our main tips on crafting a cover letter:

Personalize the greeting.

Target your cover letter.

Highlight your excitement.

Tell a story about yourself.

The main two steps to personalize your greeting and target your cover letter require research!

If you research the company and know who you are writing to, it will make it easier and more effective to know what to say.

In your cover letter, you need to explain why you're excited about the role and why it's well suited to someone with your skills and experience.

So, begin the body of your letter by mentioning the role that you're applying to by name and citing some specific reasons why you're excited and why you would be an excellent fit.

Then, tell a story that illustrates to your prospective employer a bit of your career growth or work background that shows why you're a qualified job candidate.

Top 10 Cover Letter Samples

JobHero has an entire library that features a vast selection of cover letter examples. You can use them to see what works and how you might want to discuss your own experience.

Here are our 10 most popular cover letter examples for your inspiration: