What About a Cover Letter?

There’s great debate about cover letters.

Is it required? 

Should it be required? 

Should you include one even if it’s not required? 

Even if it’s required, does anyone actually read it? 

Our answer to all of these questions is YES!

Cover letters are still a requirement in many industries and even if a company does not require them, it’s a great opportunity to share your story and sneak in a few keywords in the process.

  • The goal of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to the reader.
  • The cover letter should be a single page document that tells the reader about you including your background, why you’re interested in the position, and how you believe you’ll benefit the organization.
  • Your cover letter should not discuss personal details, attempt to be funny, or repeat all of the information from your resume.
  • Think of the cover letter as the introduction before a speaker is called to the podium.
  • Keep it brief, calm, and factual while remaining friendly and approachable.
  • Use the same font and colors from your resume to keep them consistent.

Create a cover letter template that you can customize for each position you’re interested in (or use the template provided below as a guide). This will make the cover letter writing process much faster (5 minutes instead of 20+ minutes).

How to write a cover letter

Use a traditional business letter format when creating the cover letter and save the final copy in PDF format. This will allow you to attach the formal cover letter to your email or online application.

Another option is to copy and paste the body of the cover letter into the text of your email to the hiring manager.

Example Layout:

Example Header: 

  • In the top left corner of the letter include your name, phone, and email address.
  • Next, list the date the letter is being submitted.
  • Finally, include the hiring manager’s name, title, and company name. This may require additional research to find the correct hiring manager’s name. DO NOT USE “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN” Check LinkedIn and the company’s website to find the information you’re looking for.




Month xx, 2020

Hiring Manager Name

Hiring Manager Title

Hiring Manager Company

Writing the Body:

  • Salutation: Do not start the letter with ‘Hi’, ‘Hey’, or the just the first name of the hiring manager. Instead, insert the person’s full name. Unless you are sure of the hiring managers preferred pronouns, avoid using Mr., Miss, Ms., or Mrs.
  • Next state the purpose of the letter. In this case, you’re expressing your interest in the specific company and the position you’re applying for.
  • Next, include one or two sentences about who you are as a professional. In most cases, these will be similar statements to those in your summary at the beginning of your resume. Let these showcase the big picture of your work. This will allow you to save these into the master copy and avoid updating them each time. If you’re relocating to where the company is located, this is a good place to list that information including the date you plan to arrive. Avoid sharing personal information about why you’ve relocated.
  • Following this section, include information about the job requirements and how you match them. This can be listed in a bullet point format or in paragraph form. In either case, mention the requirements that you match best and then share accomplishments or specific experiences that demonstrate how you match those requirements. Limit this to three or fewer requirements.
  • Finally, let the reader know your resume is included and that you appreciate their time.

Example Body: 


I would like to express my interest in [INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE] and the position of [INSERT POSITION TITLE HERE]. As a charismatic business development professional, I am known for putting client needs first while remaining calm under pressure. Below I have outlined how my skills match your requirements for this position. I appreciate your consideration for employment with [INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE].

Your Requirement:


My Qualification:


Your Requirement:


My Qualification:


Your Requirement:


My Qualification:


My resume is included for your review. Thank you for taking the time to review my credentials and experience.

Complimentary Close: 

  • Keep this simple and professional. Use ‘Sincerely’ and sign it with your legal name.
  • If you have a digital image of your signature, add it above your typed name.
  • Save the document in DOCX and PDF formats using your first initial, last name, company name, cover letter as the document name. Example: mmerritt_ABC_Coverletter
  • This will tell the reader who the cover letter belongs to and will remind you which company you sent the letter to.


Cover Letter Template

You’ll want to create a template FirstInitialLastNameCoverTEMPLATE.docx that you can duplicate and edit for each position you apply to. So you’ll be able to track your applications by file name FILastNameCoverXYZCORP.docx

To get you started, we have attached a cover letter template for you to customize and use.

Cover Letter Template

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) - Not as scary as they seem.

Your resume is only one item in your job search toolkit. Now you need to make a plan to handle Applicant Tracking Systems.

Each time you submit your documents to a potential employer, chances are good that it will be read by a computer algorithm long before it is ever seen by human eyes. This ATS could decide that you don’t meet certain criteria and prevent your resume from going past this point.

Never be afraid of an ATS! We’ve covered most of the things you need to know to get around them, here’s a guide to refer to later on.

Below you’ll find a free eBook Getting Past the ATS Gate from us that you can refer to as you tailor your resume.

Getting Past the ATS

Download it today and add it to your favorite eReader!


Are you stuck or do you have a question about the class?

Reach out to us with questions or comments here.  We will reply to your email as soon as we are able.

Before you go...

Congratulations! You now have a winning resume! We hope you’ve found this course helpful and that it provided you with insights to make a next-level career document that tells your story.

Thank you!

The Merrfeld Team