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How To Mention A Referral In Your Cover Letter (With Examples)

  • How To Sign A Cover Letter
  • Salary Requirements In Cover Letter
  • Referral In Cover Letter
  • Cover Letter Body
  • Use Dear Sir Or Madam?
  • Use Mrs. Or Ms.?

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Having a referral by someone who is already employed at the company you’re applying to can be an excellent way to get your foot in the door. Mentioning a referral in your cover letter is one of the ways to do this.

To help you write the best referral in your cover letter, we’ll go over how to include a reference in a cover letter, provide some referral cover letter examples, and some benefits to being referred.

Key Takeaways:

Make sure you have a reliable referral that is in good standing with a company, and that they know they are being included before putting down a referral.

Candidates that are referred also tend to feel more of an obligation to the company, their reference, and their team, allowing them to get up to speed more quickly and adapt to the new culture and workplace more efficiently.

Writing a cover letter with referral will allow you to highlight the key skills you can bring to the position and provide specific examples of why you are the best fit for this job.

How To Mention A Referral In Your Cover Letter (With Examples)

What is a referral cover letter?

How to mention a referral in your cover letter, referral cover letter examples, who to ask for a referral, the benefits of being referred, referral in your cover letter faq, final thoughts, expert opinion.

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A referral cover letter is an application document for a potential job opportunity that mentions a mutual contact you may share with the hiring manager or someone in the company. This connection can be an old colleague, a friend, or a networking acquaintance who likely works at the company you are applying to.

When done effectively, you can drop their name in your cover letter to emphasize how your skills and abilities align with the job and how you’ve worked with your referral in the past. You can mention specific projects and details that you know this person may be able to vouch for.

Your cover letter is the first thing your employer or hiring manager is likely to see, so use it as your moment to shine. This document will allow you to provide additional details about your education, qualifications, skills, and work ethic. You can point to specific projects and challenges you may have experienced and discuss how you overcame them and how those abilities translate to the job you are applying for.

When mentioning a referral in your cover letter, make sure your referral knows you are including them before, and then mention their name in the letter and explain why they are recommending you. Here is a more detailed list of how to add reference in cover letter:

Make sure your referral knows. Mentioning a referral in your cover letter is appropriate when you have directly contacted the person you’re planning to mention as your referral. This could be someone you contacted or someone that contacted you. It can even be someone who is not your contact on LinkedIn or other networks, but you’ve reached out to them, and they’ve agreed to be a referral.

However, in instances where you have not asked for explicit permission from the person you’re planning to use as your referral or this person is not in good standing with their employer, you should stay clear of mentioning them in your cover letter .

Mention who is referring you. The purpose of the cover letter is to impress from the start . Mention your referral within the first paragraph of your note. To do this effectively, include:

The person’s name

How you know them

How they are familiar with your skills and qualifications

Explain why they are recommending you. You can give the hiring manager a quick summary of why they are recommending you and how your past experience gives you the skills required to do the job well.

Keep it short. Try to keep your referral to one single paragraph in your cover letter. The rest of your letter should expand more on you and your skills, including how the things you have learned in previous work environments are transferable to your new role .

Send a copy of your cover letter to your referral. The last thing you should do is send a copy of your cover letter to your referral so they can read it over. Doing this is a nice gesture and allows them to know what you are saying about them. Be sure to also thank them for their help.

We’ve included some examples of how it may look to include a referral in your cover letter.

Cover letter with referral example

Dear Angela Morris, I am writing to inquire about the Marketing Director position, which came highly recommended to me by Bill Jeffries, Vice President of Marketing at Apple, Inc. Bill and I worked closely together for several years at Nabisco, where we tackled a variety of event coordination and digital lead generation efforts. Bill believes my marketing experience and skill for developing memorable events can have a profound impact on the marketing team and organization as a whole.
Dear Larry Smith, Bill Jeffries suggested I reach out to you regarding the Marketing Director position at Apple, Inc. I met Bill while coordinating a conference at the end of last year. We worked closely together with vendors, contracts, and design. He was able to see my ability to bring booths to life, develop innovative ideas to capture new leads, and drive to continually improve marketing programs, which is why he’s referred me to this role on your team.
Dear John Riley, Tom Johnson suggested I contact you regarding the Customer Representative Position at XYZ Company. I worked with Tom last year when we worked together at ABC Corp. Working closely together allowed him to see my ability to connect with others and drive sales. This is why he referred me to this role and your team.

Getting a referral when you don’t know someone well can sometimes be tricky. But there are a variety of ways to be referred for a job . A connection at the company you’re applying for might inquire whether you’re interested in exploring new job opportunities. You may have an old connection on LinkedIn that you forgot about.

LinkedIn is a great tool to explore whether you know anyone at the company you are applying to. You can easily see if you know an existing connection or if one of your contacts knows someone at the company currently.

Once you choose someone to provide a referral , be sure to reach out to them before applying for the job. Ask if they are willing to give you a referral for the job. Even if you assume this person will build your credibility with the hiring manager, it’s important to check with them first. You don’t want to bombard someone at the last minute, and you certainly don’t want to tell the hiring manager that a person has vouched for you when they actually haven’t.

To do this, you can send them an email or a letter asking them for a referral. Similar to a reference letter , this will give the person you are asking a chance to look over the requirements and think about how they can best help you. This also gives them an opportunity to opt out of a referral in case they don’t feel comfortable.

Being a candidate who is referred by someone respected in the company is a tremendous benefit for you as a job seeker such as an expedited hiring process or the ability to highlight key skills. Here are some more benefits of being referred.

It can quicken the hiring process. Even if a company doesn’t have a formal employee referral program , the human resources (HR) department typically welcomes referrals. They help to expedite the hiring process and ensure that strong candidates fill open spots on teams.

Allows the interviewer to see you in a different light. When you are referred for a job, it might feel like a lot to live up to. However, if you view it as a step up during your interview process , you will be better suited for your interview. Ultimately, having a candidate referred gives the hiring manager an authentic glimpse into the kind of employee you will be and will help them relate your experience to the position.

A better understanding of the company culture. The person who referred you will likely be asked to provide insights into how you will fit into their company culture . However, there is no need to worry because the person who referred you would not have vouched for you if they didn’t think you were the right fit for this job.

Being able to highlight key skills. Putting this referral in your cover letter will allow you to highlight the key skills you can bring to the position and provide specific examples of why you are the best fit for this job. Cover letters give you another area to share additional details that your resume may not include.

Should you mention a referral in a cover letter?

Yes, you should mention a referral in your cover letter. Mentioning a referral in a cover letter helps to emphasize how your skills and abilities align with the job and how you’ve worked with your referral in the past. The best way to do this is to mention specific projects and details how you know the person and how they can vouch for you.

Who should be a referral for a job?

A referral should be someone you know such as an old colleague, former classmate, or someone from your network who works at the company you are applying for. The person who is referring you should be a current employee and someone you trust. They should be able to help highlight your strengths and abilities.

How do you mention a referral in your cover letter?

To mention a referral in your cover letter be sure to mention by name the person who referred you and your relationship to the. This should be a person who is a current employee who can highlight your skills and abilities. Your referral in your cover letter should be kept short and to the point.

If you come into a company with the right type of referral and a person who can actively vouch for your work ethic, you’ll already place yourself ahead of the competition. Even if you have a vast network and land your dream job, continue to network . Ensure that you always depart work environments on good terms with colleagues and managers. You never know who you will cross paths with later in your career journey: the broader your network, the better chance you will have to name-drop in the future.

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How To Mention A Referral In Your Cover Letter

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“My colleague XXX recommended that I contact you directly about this position ” is an easy way to name drop your referral in the cover letter. To strengthen the statement, add something about the relationship of the referral to the company.

University of South Florida – Cover Letter Do’s & Don’ts

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Caitlin Mazur is a freelance writer at Zippia. Caitlin is passionate about helping Zippia’s readers land the jobs of their dreams by offering content that discusses job-seeking advice based on experience and extensive research. Caitlin holds a degree in English from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

Matt Warzel a President of a resume writing firm (MJW Careers, LLC) with 15+ years of recruitment, outplacement, career coaching and resume writing experience. Matt is also a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing Focus) from John Carroll University.

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How to Mention a Referral in Your Cover Letter

does a cover letter have a reference

What Is a Referral Cover Letter?

The benefits of being referred, who to ask for a referral, how to mention a referral, tips for writing a referral cover letter, referral cover letter sample.

  • More Cover Letter Examples

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If you know someone at a company or someone with a strong connection to a company, it can be helpful to mention them in your cover letter when you apply for a job. Having a referral can help you stand out from the crowd when you're job searching, and including the referral in your cover letter can help get your application noticed by the hiring manager.

Mentioning that you're referred by someone is like getting an employment reference in advance. Hiring managers and recruiters will likely take a closer look at candidates with whom they share a mutual contact, and for good reason: Studies have shown hiring through employee referrals results in faster, cheaper, more effective hiring than relying on job sites.

Applicants with a referral are four times more likely to be offered a job than candidates without one. Referral hires also tend to get up to speed more quickly, fit in better, and stay with the company longer. Referrals can also give the hiring manager additional context on a candidate and their work background.

Mentioning your referral and shared connection in your cover letter can make the difference in helping your application get noticed by prospective employers.

Here's how to write a referral cover letter, including the best way to mention the contact who is referring you and a sample letter with a template to download.

A referral cover letter mentions a mutual connection when applying for a job. You might be referred by a colleague, friend, employee at the company you’re interested in, client or vendor, or college career office.

Referred candidates are a leading source of new hires, and many employers actively seek referrals when hiring for open positions. Even if a company doesn't have a formal employee referral program , referrals are typically welcomed as a way to expedite the hiring process and secure strong candidates for available jobs.

Having a referral name to mention in your cover letter helps the hiring manager understand the shared connection you have with them or their employer. A referral also helps relate your experience to the open position and, depending on how you know the referring party, can provide some insight into how well you might fit in at the company.

Your cover letter also provides an opportunity to briefly highlight your education, skills, and qualifications for the job. In addition to mentioning your referral, you'll have the chance to add a few specific examples of why you are the best candidate for the position and share other details not included on your resume.

There are many different ways to be referred for a job. A connection at a company may inquire into whether you have an interest in exploring new opportunities. You may find that you're connected with an employee on LinkedIn. Before you apply for a job, take a look to see who you know at the organization.

The referral doesn't have to be a business connection. You can ask anyone you know at the company or who has a contact at the company if they would recommend you for a job.

Be sure to check with the individual in advance and ask if they are willing to give you a referral . Even if you’re certain they’d vouch for you, giving a potential referral the heads-up ensures they’ll be ready and able to offer the best possible recommendation, given the job requirements.

You can send a letter or email asking for a referral , which gives the person the time and opportunity to think through what they can do for you and how to proceed. Asking in writing also gives your connection an out if they aren't comfortable referring you.

  • Mention who is referring you. When you use a referral in your cover letter, mention them in the first paragraph. Include the individual by name and describe your connection with them as well.
  • Explain how you know the person. Give a brief account of how you know the person, and explain how they came to be familiar with your work qualifications and skills.
  • Describe why they are recommending you. If the person recommended that you apply for this particular position, take the opportunity to mention why they are endorsing you. What specific qualities of yours made them think you would be a good fit for the company and the job? What do you have to offer the company?

Here's an example of an introductory paragraph mentioning the candidate has been referred by a colleague:

My colleague Amy Smith recommended that I contact you directly about the sales representative position at ABC, Inc. Amy and I have worked closely in the industry for many years, and she thought the company would be a good fit for my style and experience in sales. She pointed out that as a successful, award-winning salesperson, I would be an excellent addition to the team at ABC, Inc.

Name-dropping does not come easily to some people, especially if you're already wrestling with how to write about your accomplishments and sell yourself to a hiring manager. Even though it might be a challenge, being referred for a job can give you a boost over the competition. At the least, it should help you get considered for an interview. At best, it could give you a foot in the door that might lead to a job offer.

Review examples. If you're not sure what to write, it helps to look at examples of cover letters , although you'll want to tailor your letter to fit your specific personal and professional circumstances.

Mention the referral upfront. Remember to include a brief mention of your referral and recommendation right away in your cover letter. This strategy puts the referral at the front of the reader's mind, giving them context for the information that follows.

Make the best first impression. Expand on your strengths and why you're the best candidate for the job. Your cover letter offers a chance to make a strong first impression since it's likely the first thing a hiring manager sees, possibly even before your resume.

Share your accomplishments. Mention brief examples of your successes in the workplace to prove you are the most qualified person for the job.

Carefully proofread your letter. As with all business correspondence, make sure you proofread your cover letter for correct spelling and grammar, and check that the information matches across all the documents you submit. 

This is an example of a cover letter that mentions a referral. Download the referral cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online).

Referral Cover Letter Sample (Text Version)

Betty Forbes 999 Main Street Anytown, MA 02222 555-123-4567 bforbes1223@email.com

February 28, 2024

George Smith Marketing Director Acme Communications 1234 Fragrant Way Citytown, MA 02224

Dear Mr. Smith,

It was with great interest that I learned of the opening in your department for a marketing associate. Your marketing manager, Anna Black, was my supervisor at Catz Marketing before taking her current position with Acme Communications. As she can attest, I bring a unique perspective and can integrate the many facets of a media campaign.

With Anna at Catz Marketing, I worked with a local company to build their business and promote their grand opening. We continued to work with them for the first few years, developing a total media plan and implementing it. Their continued success and recommendations brought other businesses to seek our services as well.

My experience with Catz Marketing has prepared me to take on the challenges of working in a national company such as Acme Communications, and I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how I can be an asset to your team.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Signature (hard copy letter)

Betty Forbes

More Cover Letter Examples 

Need more inspiration for writing your cover letters? Review these  cover letter samples and downloadable templates  for many different types of jobs to get started.

Key Takeaways

  • A cover letter with a referral can help get your application considered.
  • Before naming someone as a referral in your cover letter, ask them for permission to do so.
  • Include the referral in the first paragraph of your cover letter.
  • Also include specifics on why you're a leading contender for the job.

LinkedIn. " Here is Why Employee Referrals are the Best Way to Hire ."

Zippia. " Facts About Employee Referrals in the US ."

Jobvite. " 4 Reasons to Invest in Employee Referrals ."

CareerOneStop. " Make Your Next Cover Letter a Great One ."

SHRM. " Employee Referrals Remain Top Source for Hires ."

How to Write a Cover Letter [Full Guide & Examples for 2024]

Background Image

After weeks of heavy job searching, you’re almost there!

You’ve perfected your resume.

You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.

You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.

But then, before you can send in your application and call it a day, you remember that you need to write a cover letter too.

So now, you’re stuck staring at a blank page, wondering where to start...

Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think. 

In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.

We're going to cover:

What Is a Cover Letter?

  • How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter, Step by Step
  • 15+ Job-Winning Cover Letter Examples

Let’s get started.

A cover letter is a document that you submit as part of your job application, alongside your resume or CV.

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, it should be around 250 to 400 words long .

A good cover letter is supposed to impress the hiring manager and convince them you’re worth interviewing as a candidate.

So, how can your cover letter achieve this?

First of all, it should complement your resume, not copy it. Your cover letter is your chance to elaborate on important achievements, skills, or anything else that your resume doesn’t give you the space to cover. 

For example, if you have an employment gap on your resume, the cover letter is a great place to explain why it happened and how it helped you grow as a person. 

If this is your first time writing a cover letter, writing about yourself might seem complicated. But don’t worry—you don’t need to be super creative or even a good writer .

All you have to do is follow this tried and tested cover letter structure:

structure of a cover letter

  • Header. Add all the necessary contact information at the top of your cover letter.
  • Formal greeting. Choose an appropriate way to greet your target audience.
  • Introduction. Introduce yourself in the opening paragraph and explain your interest in the role.
  • Body. Elaborate on why you’re the best candidate for the job and a good match for the company. Focus on “selling” your skills, achievements, and relevant professional experiences.
  • Conclusion. Summarize your key points and wrap it up professionally.

Now, let’s take a look at an example of a cover letter that follows our structure perfectly:

How to Write a Cover Letter

New to cover letter writing? Give our cover letter video a watch before diving into the article!

When Should You Write a Cover Letter?

You should always include a cover letter in your job application, even if the hiring manager never reads it. Submitting a cover letter is as important as submitting a resume if you want to look like a serious candidate.

If the employer requests a cover letter as part of the screening process, not sending one is a huge red flag and will probably get your application tossed into the “no” pile immediately.

On the other hand, if the job advertisement doesn’t require a cover letter from the candidates, adding one shows you went the extra mile.

Putting in the effort to write a cover letter can set you apart from other candidates with similar professional experience and skills, and it could even sway the hiring manager to call you for an interview if you do it right.

Need to write a letter to help get you into a good school or volunteer program? Check out our guide to learn how to write a motivation letter !

How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Now that you know what a cover letter is, it’s time to learn how to write one!

We’ll go through the process in detail, step by step.

#1. Choose the Right Cover Letter Template

A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.

So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, stylish template?

cover letter templates for 2024

Just choose one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in no time!

As a bonus, our intuitive AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter as you write it. You’ll have the perfect cover letter done in minutes!

cover letter templates

#2. Put Contact Information in the Header

As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with your contact details at the top. These should be in your cover letter’s header, separated neatly from the bulk of your text.

Contact Information on Cover Letter

Here, you want to include all the essential contact information , including:

  • Full Name. Your first and last name should stand out at the top.
  • Job Title. Match the professional title underneath your name to the exact job title of the position you’re applying for. Hiring managers often hire for several roles at once, so giving them this cue about what role you’re after helps things go smoother.
  • Email Address. Always use a professional and easy-to-spell email address. Ideally, it should combine your first and last names.
  • Phone Number. Add a number where the hiring manager can easily reach you.
  • Location. Add your city and state/country, no need for more details.
  • Relevant Links (optional). You can add links to websites or social media profiles that are relevant to your field. Examples include a LinkedIn profile , Github, or an online portfolio.

Then it’s time to add the recipient’s contact details, such as:

  • Hiring Manager's Name. If you can find the name of the hiring manager, add it.
  • Hiring Manager's Title. While there’s no harm in writing “hiring manager,” if they’re the head of the department, we recommend you use that title accordingly.
  • Company Name. Make sure to write the name of the company you're applying to.
  • Location. The city and state/country are usually enough information here, too.
  • Date of Writing (Optional). You can include the date you wrote your cover letter for an extra professional touch.

matching resume and cover letter

#3. Address the Hiring Manager

Once you’ve properly listed all the contact information, it’s time to start writing the content of the cover letter.

The first thing you need to do here is to address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager.

In fact, you want to address the hiring manager personally .

Forget the old “Dear Sir or Madam” or the impersonal “To Whom It May Concern.” You want to give your future boss a good impression and show them that you did your research before sending in your application.

No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes something sticks with their generic approach

So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager?

First, check the job ad. The hiring manager’s name might be listed somewhere in it.

If that doesn’t work, check the company’s LinkedIn page. You just need to look up the head of the relevant department you’re applying to, and you’re all set.

For example, if you’re applying for the position of Communication Specialist at Novorésumé. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Officer.

Here’s what you should look for on LinkedIn:

linkedin search cco

And there you go! You have your hiring manager.

But let’s say you’re applying for a position as a server . In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager” or “food and beverage manager.”

If the results don’t come up with anything, try checking out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.

Make sure to address them as Mr. or Ms., followed by their last name. If you’re not sure about their gender or marital status, you can just stick to their full name, like so:

  • Dear Mr. Kurtuy,
  • Dear Andrei Kurtuy,

But what if you still can’t find the hiring manager’s name, no matter where you look?

No worries. You can direct your cover letter to the company, department, or team as a whole, or just skip the hiring manager’s name.

  • Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear [Department] Team
  • Dear [Company Name]

Are you applying for a research position? Learn how to write an academic personal statement .

#4. Write an Eye-Catching Introduction

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.

Hiring managers get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.

So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph.

The biggest problem with most opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Here’s an example:

  • My name is Jonathan, and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a Sales Manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.

See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.

And do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.

Instead, you want to start with some of your top achievements to grab the reader’s attention. And to get the point across, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.

Your opening paragraph should also show the hiring manager a bit about why you want this specific job. For example, mention how the job relates to your plans for the future or how it can help you grow professionally. This will show the hiring manager that you’re not just applying left and right—you’re actually enthusiastic about getting this particular role.

Now, let’s make our previous example shine:

Dear Mr. Smith,

My name’s Michael, and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed its sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked as a Sales Representative with Company X, another fin-tech company , for 3+ years, where I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month and beat the KPIs by around 40%. I believe that my previous industry experience, passion for finance , and excellence in sales make me the right candidate for the job.

The second candidate starts with what they can do for the company in the future and immediately lists an impressive and relevant achievement. Since they’re experienced in the same industry and interested in finance, the hiring manager can see they’re not just a random applicant.

From this introduction, it’s safe to say that the hiring manager would read the rest of this candidate’s cover letter.

#5. Use the Cover Letter Body for Details

The next part of your cover letter is where you can go into detail about what sets you apart as a qualified candidate for the job.

The main thing you need to remember here is that you shouldn’t make it all about yourself . Your cover letter is supposed to show the hiring manager how you relate to the job and the company you’re applying to.

No matter how cool you make yourself sound in your cover letter, if you don’t tailor it to match what the hiring manager is looking for, you’re not getting an interview.

To get this right, use the job ad as a reference when writing your cover letter. Make sure to highlight skills and achievements that match the job requirements, and you’re good to go.

Since this part of your cover letter is by far the longest, you should split it into at least two paragraphs.

Here’s what each paragraph should cover:

Explain Why You’re the Perfect Candidate for the Role

Before you can show the hiring manager that you’re exactly what they’ve been looking for, you need to know what it is they’re looking for.

Start by doing a bit of research. Learn what the most important skills and responsibilities of the role are according to the job ad, and focus on any relevant experience you have that matches them.

For example, if you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. The top requirements on the job ad are:

  • Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
  • Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
  • Excellent copywriting skills

So, in the body of your cover letter, you need to show how you meet these requirements. Here’s an example of what that can look like:

In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $40,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation and management process end-to-end. I created the ad copy and images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.

Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:

  • Google Search

Our example addresses all the necessary requirements and shows off the candidate’s relevant skills.

Are you a student applying for your first internship? Learn how to write an internship cover letter with our dedicated guide.

Explain Why You’re a Good Fit for the Company

As skilled and experienced as you may be, that’s not all the hiring manager is looking for.

They also want someone who’s a good fit for their company and who actually wants to work there.

Employees who don’t fit in with the company culture are likely to quit sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary , so hiring managers vet candidates very carefully to avoid this scenario.

So, you have to convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about working with them.

Start by doing some research about the company. You want to know things like:

  • What’s the company’s business model?
  • What’s the company’s product or service? Have you used it?
  • What’s the company’s culture like?

Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or on job-search websites like Jobscan or Glassdoor.

Then, pick your favorite thing about the company and talk about it in your cover letter.

But don’t just describe the company in its own words just to flatter them. Be super specific—the hiring manager can see through any fluff.

For example, if you’re passionate about their product and you like the company’s culture of innovation and independent work model, you can write something like:

I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features, such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2, were real game changers for the device.

I really admire how Company XYZ strives for excellence in all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone who thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I’ll be a great match for your Product Design team.

So, make sure to do your fair share of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying to that specific company.

Is the company you want to work for not hiring at the moment? Check out our guide to writing a letter of interest .

#6. Wrap It Up and Sign It

Finally, it’s time to conclude your cover letter.

In the final paragraph, you want to:

  • Wrap up any points you couldn't make in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? If there’s any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision, mention it here. If not, just recap your key selling points so far, such as key skills and expertise.
  • Express gratitude. Politely thanking the hiring manager for their time is always a good idea.
  • Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. This means you should ask the hiring manager to do something, like call you and discuss your application or arrange an interview.
  • Remember to sign your cover letter. Just add a formal closing line and sign your name at the bottom.

Here’s an example of how to end your cover letter :

I hope to help Company X make the most of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your Facebook marketing goals. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at the provided email address or phone number so that we may arrange an interview.

Thank you for your consideration,

Alice Richards

Feel free to use one of these other popular closing lines for your cover letter:

  • Best Regards,
  • Kind Regards,

Cover Letter Writing Checklist

Once you’re done with your cover letter, it’s time to check if it meets all industry requirements. 

Give our handy cover letter writing checklist a look to make sure:

Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?

  • Professional Email
  • Phone Number
  • Relevant Links

Do you address the right person? 

  • The hiring manager in the company
  • Your future direct supervisor
  • The company/department in general

Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?

  • Did you mention some of your top achievements?
  • Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
  • Did you convey enthusiasm for the specific role?

Do you show that you’re the right candidate for the job?

  • Did you identify the core requirements for the role?
  • Did you show how your experiences helped you fit the requirements perfectly?

Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?

  • Did you identify the top 3 things that you like about the company?
  • Did you avoid generic reasons for explaining your interest in the company?

Did you conclude your cover letter properly?

  • Did you recap your key selling points in the conclusion?
  • Did you end your cover letter with a call to action?
  • Did you use the right formal closing line and sign your name?

15 Cover Letter Tips

Now you’re all set to write your cover letter! 

Before you start typing, here are some cover letter tips to help take your cover letter to the next level:

  • Customize Your Cover Letter for Each Job. Make sure your cover letter is tailored to the job you're applying for. This shows you're not just sending generic applications left and right, and it tells the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.
  • Showcase Your Skills. Talk about how your skills meet the company’s needs. And while your hard skills should be front and center, you shouldn’t underestimate your soft skills in your cover letter either.
  • Avoid Fluff. Don’t make any generic statements you can’t back up. The hiring manager can tell when you’re just throwing words around, and it doesn’t make your cover letter look good.
  • Use Specific Examples. Instead of saying you're great at something, give an actual example to back up your claim. Any data you can provide makes you sound more credible, so quantify your achievements. For example, give numbers such as percentages related to your performance and the timeframe it took to accomplish certain achievements.
  • Research the Company. Always take time to learn about the company you're applying to. Make sure to mention something about them in your cover letter to show the hiring manager that you're interested.
  • Follow the Application Instructions. If the job posting asks for something specific in your cover letter or requires a certain format, make sure you include it. Not following instructions can come off as unattentive or signal to the hiring manager that you’re not taking the job seriously.
  • Use the Right Template and Format. Choose the right cover letter format and adapt your cover letter’s look to the industry you’re applying for. For example, if you’re aiming for a job in Law or Finance, you should go for a cleaner, more professional look. But if you’re applying for a field that values innovation, like IT or Design, you have more room for creativity.
  • Express Your Enthusiasm. Let the hiring manager know why you're excited about the job. Your passion for the specific role or the field in general can be a big selling point, and show them that you’re genuinely interested, not just applying left and right.
  • Address Any Gaps. If there are any employment gaps in your resume , your cover letter is a great place to mention why. Your resume doesn’t give you enough space to elaborate on an employment gap, so addressing it here can set hiring managers at ease—life happens, and employers understand.
  • Avoid Quirky Emails. Your email address should be presentable. It’s hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected].” Just use a [email protected] format.
  • Check Your Contact Information. Typos in your email address or phone number can mean a missed opportunity. Double-check these before sending your application.
  • Mention if You Want to Relocate. If you’re looking for a job that lets you move somewhere else, specify this in your cover letter.
  • Keep It Brief. You want to keep your cover letter short and sweet. Hiring managers don’t have time to read a novel, so if you go over one page, they simply won’t read it at all.
  • Use a Professional Tone. Even though a conversational tone isn’t a bad thing, remember that it's still a formal document. Show professionalism in your cover letter by keeping slang, jargon, and emojis out of it.
  • Proofread Carefully. Typos and grammar mistakes are a huge deal-breaker. Use a tool like Grammarly or QuillBot to double-check your spelling and grammar, or even get a friend to check it for you.

15+ Cover Letter Examples

Need some inspiration? Check out some perfect cover letter examples for different experience levels and various professions.

5+ Cover Letter Examples by Experience

#1. college student cover letter example.

college or student cover letter example

Check out our full guide to writing a college student cover letter here.

#2. Middle Management Cover Letter Example

Middle Management Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a project manager cover letter here.

#3. Team Leader Cover Letter Example

Team Leader Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a team leader cover letter here.

#4. Career Change Cover Letter Example

Career Change Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to a career change resume and cover letter here.

#5. Management Cover Letter Example

Management Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a management cover letter here.

#6. Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an executive resume here.

9+ Cover Letter Examples by Profession

#1. it cover letter example.

IT Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an IT cover letter here.

#2. Consultant Cover Letter Example

Consultant Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a consultant cover letter here.

#3. Human Resources Cover Letter

Human Resources Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a human resources cover letter here.

#4. Business Cover Letter Example

Business Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a business cover letter here.

#5. Sales Cover Letter Example

Sales Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a sales cover letter here.

#6. Social Worker Cover Letter

Social Worker Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a social worker cover letter here.

#7. Lawyer Cover Letter

Lawyer Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a lawyer cover letter here.

#8. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing an administrative assistant cover letter here.

#9. Engineering Cover Letter Example

Engineering Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an engineer cover letter here.

#10. Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a receptionist cover letter here.

Need more inspiration? Check out these cover letter examples to learn what makes them stand out.

Plug & Play Cover Letter Template

Not sure how to start your cover letter? Don’t worry!

Just copy and paste our free cover letter template into the cover letter builder, and swap out the blanks for your details.

[Your Full Name]

[Your Profession]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Email Address]

[Your Location]

[Your LinkedIn Profile URL (optional)]

[Your Personal Website URL (optional)]

[Recipient's Name, e.g., Jane Doe],

[Recipient's Position, e.g., Hiring Manager]

[Company Name, e.g., ABC Corporation]

[Company Address]

[City, State/Country]

Dear [Recipient's Name],

As a seasoned [Your Profession] with [Number of Years of Experience] years of industry experience, I am eager to express my interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. With my experience in [Your Industry/Sector] and the successes I've achieved throughout my education and career, I believe I can bring unique value and creativity to your team.

In my current role as [Your Current Job Title], I've taken the lead on more than [Number of Projects/Assignments] projects, some valued up to $[Highest Project Value]. I pride myself on consistently exceeding client expectations and have successfully [Mention a Key Achievement] in just a [Amount of Time] through [Skill] and [Skill].

I've collaborated with various professionals, such as [List Roles], ensuring that all [projects/tasks] meet [relevant standards or objectives]. This hands-on experience, coupled with my dedication to understanding each [client's/customer's] vision, has equipped me to navigate and deliver on complex projects.

My key strengths include:

  • Improving [Achievement] by [%] over [Amount of Time] which resulted in [Quantified Result].
  • Optimizing [Work Process/Responsibility] which saved [Previous Employer] [Amount of Time/Budget/Other Metric] over [Weeks/Months/Years]
  • Spearheading team of [Number of People] to [Task] and achieving [Quantified Result].

Alongside this letter, I've attached my resume. My educational background, a [Your Degree] with a concentration in [Your Specialization], complements the practical skills that I'm particularly eager to share with [Company Name].

I'm excited about the possibility of contributing to [Something Notable About the Company or Its Mission]. I'd be grateful for the chance to delve deeper into how my expertise aligns with your needs.

Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

The Heart of Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume

Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application falls through.

After all, your cover letter is meant to complement your resume. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression in your cover letter, only for the hiring manager to never read it because your resume was mediocre.

But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered here, too.

Check out our dedicated guide on how to make a resume and learn everything you need to know to land your dream job!

Just pick one of our resume templates and start writing your own job-winning resume.

resume examples for cover letters

Key Takeaways

Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:

  • A cover letter is a 250 - 400 word document that’s meant to convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the job.
  • Your job application should always include a cover letter alongside your resume.
  • To grab the hiring manager’s attention, write a strong opening paragraph. Mention who you are, why you’re applying, and a standout achievement to pique their interest.
  • Your cover letter should focus on why you’re the perfect candidate for the job and why you’re passionate about working in this specific company.
  • Use the body of your cover letter to provide details on your skills, achievements, and qualifications, as well as make sure to convey your enthusiasm throughout your whole cover letter.
  • Recap your key selling points towards the end of your cover letter, and end it with a formal closing line and your full name signed underneath.

At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve every step of the way! 

Follow our career blog for more valuable advice, or check out some of our top guides, such as:

  • How to Make a Resume in 2024 | Beginner's Guide
  • How to Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) in 2024 [31+ Examples]
  • 35+ Job Interview Questions and Answers [Full List]

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How to Include Job Recommendations in a Cover Letter

  • Cover Letters
  • ')" data-event="social share" data-info="Pinterest" aria-label="Share on Pinterest">
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Guidelines for Writing a Letter Requesting a Job Interview

How to write a cover letter for a foreign language teaching job application, how to format my references for a resume.

  • Writing a Cover Letter for a General Manager Position
  • Should a Contact Be Mentioned in a Cover Letter?

Job recommendations are important because they verify two things: that applicants are who they claim to be and that their skills, ethics and character can be verified. Applying for a job and including a cover letter with a recommendation can make an applicant stand out from the competition. There are several ways to mention that a job recommendation is included with the application.

Cover Letter With Recommendation

Hiring managers are flooded with job applications and often don't read cover letters all the way to the end. Therefore, it is wise to mention a recommendation in the opening paragraph of your cover letter.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center recommends starting your cover letter by establishing a point of contact, such as the job posting you’re applying for. If the recommendation letter is from someone who works for the company you’re applying to, make sure to mention that in either the first or second sentence. Important details like that may make you stand out from other candidates significantly.

Examples of Cover Letter With Recommendation

Here is an example: “Susan Jones, XYZ Company’s purchasing manager, suggested I apply for the regional manager position that is available with your company.” As an alternative, start off with a point of contact, a general explanation of why you are qualified for the job, and then mention the referral.

Begin the cover letter with your point of contact, followed by a brief explanation as to why you are the best applicant for the position. Follow this with a sentence such as: “I enclose my resume and a letter of recommendation from my previous manager, Susan Jones.” Keeping this close to the top of the letter increases the chances of the hiring manager reading the enclosed letter.

Acquiring Letters of Recommendation

Getting recommendations is part of the college application process, and prospective students should read their applications carefully to see how many letters are required. The College Board advises applicants to read instructions carefully. Some students will need to ask guidance counselors or teachers. Seek out those with whom you have good relationships, as they are more likely to write positive, personalized recommendations.

Job applicants who want to obtain cover letters should think carefully before contacting people for reference letters. Lurleen B. Wallace Community College has some helpful tips for deciding who to contact. Reach out to those who have first-hand knowledge about your qualifications and work experiences, such as previous colleagues you managed, successful projects with favorite professors, or someone with whom you chaired a volunteer project. Instead of emailing them these requests, pick up the phone or visit them in person – that extra effort can make a real difference.

While it isn't necessary to tell them why you need the letter, you can ask them to mention specific qualifications and experiences that would stand out for the job you’re applying for. Make extra copies of the letter and be sure to send thank-you notes to the people who supply your references. Now you are ready to send out a cover letter with recommendations. Best of luck with your job search!

  • The Writing Center University of Wisconsin - Madison: Writing Cover Letters
  • College Board: How to Get a Great Letter of Recommendation

Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She has been writing on business-related topics for nearly 10 years. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing, and she works with a number of small businesses to develop B2B content for their websites, social media accounts, and marketing materials. In addition to this content, she has written business-related articles for sites like Sweet Frivolity, Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, Bloom Co and Spent.

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How to List References in a Cover Letter

Last Updated: April 2, 2019

This article was co-authored by Melody Godfred, JD . Melody Godfred is a Career Coach, Entrepreneur, and Founder of Write In Color, a full-service resume and career development company that specializes in developing compelling personal narratives and brands. With over ten years of experience, Melody has worked with clients at entertainment and media companies including Apple, Disney, Fox, Netflix, Riot Games, Viacom, and Warner Bros, among others. The Muse invited Melody and Write In Color to serve as one of its 30 trusted career counselors (out of 3,000) to provide one-on-one coaching and resume services to the platform's more than four million active users. Melody earned a JD from Loyola Marymount University and BS from the University of Southern California. This article has been viewed 29,895 times.

References are people you can rely on to provide positive recommendations for you when applying for jobs or higher education opportunities. The people you list as references should know your abilities, previous experience and skills you possess, and be willing to recommend you as a viable candidate for the positions for which you apply. Follow these steps to learn how to properly create a reference list.

Selecting Your References

Step 1 Select the people you think would make good references.

  • You could also select colleagues, peers or co-workers who can provide insight to your work ethic, skill levels and abilities. People who can provide examples detailing your positive qualities because of your work relationships are effective references.
  • Consider people with whom you've volunteered or worked with through a non-profit organization. Despite not being paid for your work, you may have shown leadership or other skills that can be valuable as a candidate for a job or higher education. People with whom you've volunteered may be able to share details about your skills.

Step 2 Ask the people you would like to use as references if it is ok to do so.

  • When asking someone to be your reference, make sure that they plan on giving you a positive recommendation. You should try to select people you know will give you an excellent recommendation.

Step 3 List your references...

  • You should not mention references unless you are asked to do so by the company or program you are applying to.

Writing Your Reference List

Step 1 Format your references in the same way as your resume.

  • If you would like to make a clear break between your header and the content of your page, add a line below your contact information.

Step 3 Create a title for your page.

  • Write down your first reference. His or her name should be in bold. Underneath his/her name, write his/her relationship to you (ie. Professor, or Boss) and the company or program that you both worked for.
  • Write down the company’s address if your reference still works at that company. If he/she does not, do not list any address.
  • List your reference’s contact information a line below your relationship to your reference. This should be the contact information they provided you--either a telephone number, email, or both.

Step 5 Write down the rest of your references.

Expert Q&A

Melody Godfred, JD

  • Only list references that you know for a fact will give you a positive review. If there is any doubt, try to come up with a different reference. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Double and triple check the spelling of your references' names. Misspelling their names could show a lack of attention to detail or disrespect on your part. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ http://uhr.rutgers.edu/worklife-balance/life-events/layoff-information/preparing-resume-and-cover-letter

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How to write a great cover letter in 2024: tips and structure


A cover letter is a personalized letter that introduces you to a potential employer, highlights your qualifications, and explains why you're a strong fit for a specific job.

Hate or love them, these brief documents allow job seekers to make an impression and stand out from the pile of other applications. Penning a thoughtful cover letter shows the hiring team you care about earning the position.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to write a cover letter — and a great one, at that.

What is a cover letter and why does it matter?

A professional cover letter is a one-page document you submit alongside your CV or resume as part of a job application. Typically, they’re about half a page or around 150–300 words.

An effective cover letter doesn’t just rehash your CV; it’s your chance to highlight your proudest moments, explain why you want the job, and state plainly what you bring to the table.

Show the reviewer you’re likable, talented, and will add to the company’s culture . You can refer to previous jobs and other information from your CV, but only if it helps tell a story about you and your career choices .

What 3 things should you include in a cover letter?

A well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out to potential employers. To make your cover letter shine, here are three key elements to include:

1. Personalization

Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name whenever possible. If the job posting doesn't include a name, research to find out who will be reviewing applications. Personalizing your cover letter shows that you've taken the time to tailor your application to the specific company and role.

2. Highlight relevant achievements and skills

Emphasize your most relevant skills , experiences, and accomplishments that directly relate to the job you're applying for. Provide specific examples of how your skills have benefited previous employers and how they can contribute to the prospective employer's success. Use quantifiable achievements , such as improved efficiency, cost savings, or project success, to demonstrate your impact.

3. Show enthusiasm and fit

Express your enthusiasm for the company and the position you're applying for. Explain why you are interested in this role and believe you are a good fit for the organization. Mention how your values, goals, and skills align with the company's mission and culture. Demonstrating that you've done your research can make a significant impression.

What do hiring managers look for in a cover letter?

Employers look for several key elements in a cover letter. These include:

Employers want to see that your cover letter is specifically tailored to the position you are applying for. It should demonstrate how your skills, experiences, and qualifications align with the job requirements.

Clear and concise writing

A well-written cover letter is concise, easy to read, and error-free. Employers appreciate clear and effective communication skills , so make sure your cover letter showcases your ability to express yourself effectively.

Demonstrated knowledge of the company

Employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in their organization. Mention specific details about the company, such as recent achievements or projects, to show that you are enthusiastic about joining their team.

Achievements and accomplishments

Highlight your relevant achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your qualifications for the position. Use specific examples to showcase your skills and show how they can benefit the employer.

Enthusiasm and motivation

Employers want to hire candidates who are excited about the opportunity and motivated to contribute to the company's success. Express your enthusiasm and passion for the role and explain why you are interested in working for the company.


A cover letter should be professional in tone and presentation. Use formal language, address the hiring manager appropriately, and follow standard business letter formatting.


How do you structure a cover letter?

A well-structured cover letter follows a specific format that makes it easy for the reader to understand your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position. Here's a typical structure for a cover letter:

Contact information

Include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter. Place your contact information at the beginning so that it's easy for the employer to reach you.

Employer's contact information

Opening paragraph, middle paragraph(s), closing paragraph, complimentary close, additional contact information.

Repeat your contact information (name, phone number, and email) at the end of the letter, just in case the employer needs it for quick reference.

Remember to keep your cover letter concise and focused. It should typically be no more than one page in length. Proofread your letter carefully to ensure it is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Tailor each cover letter to the specific job application to make it as relevant and impactful as possible.

How to write a good cover letter (with examples)

The best letters are unique, tailored to the job description, and written in your voice — but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a job cover letter template.

Great cover letters contain the same basic elements and flow a certain way. Take a look at this cover letter structure for ref erence while you construct your own.

1. Add a header and contact information

While reading your cover letter, the recruiter shouldn’t have to look far to find who wrote it. Your document should include a basic heading with the following information:

  • Pronouns (optional)
  • Location (optional)
  • Email address
  • Phone number (optional)
  • Relevant links, such as your LinkedIn profile , portfolio, or personal website (optional)

You can pull this information directly from your CV. Put it together, and it will look something like this:

Christopher Pike

San Francisco, California

[email protected]

Alternatively, if the posting asks you to submit your cover letter in the body of an email, you can include this information in your signature. For example:

Warm regards,

Catherine Janeway

Bloomington, Indiana

[email protected]

(555) 999 - 2222


2. Include a personal greeting

Always begin your cover letter by addressing the hiring manager — preferably by name. You can use the person’s first and last name. Make sure to include a relevant title, like Dr., Mr., or Ms. For example, “Dear Mr. John Doe.”

Avoid generic openings like “To whom it may concern,” “Dear sir or madam,” or “Dear hiring manager.” These introductions sound impersonal — like you’re copy-pasting cover letters — and can work against you in the hiring process.

Be careful, though. When using someone’s name, you don’t want to use the wrong title or accidentally misgender someone. If in doubt, using only their name is enough. You could also opt for a gender-neutral title, like Mx.

Make sure you’re addressing the right person in your letter — ideally, the person who’s making the final hiring decision. This isn’t always specified in the job posting, so you may have to do some research to learn the name of the hiring manager.

3. Draw them in with an opening story

The opening paragraph of your cover letter should hook the reader. You want it to be memorable, conversational, and extremely relevant to the job you’re pursuing. 

There’s no need for a personal introduction — you’ve already included your name in the heading. But you should make reference to the job you’re applying for. A simple “Thank you for considering my application for the role of [job title] at [company],” will suffice.

Then you can get into the “Why” of your job application. Drive home what makes this specific job and this company so appealing to you. Perhaps you’re a fan of their products, you’re passionate about their mission, or you love their brand voice. Whatever the case, this section is where you share your enthusiasm for the role.

Here’s an example opening paragraph. In this scenario, you’re applying for a digital marketing role at a bicycle company:

“Dear Mr. John Doe,

Thank you for considering my application for the role of Marketing Coordinator at Bits n’ Bikes.

My parents bought my first bike at one of your stores. I’ll never forget the freedom I felt when I learned to ride it. My father removed my training wheels, and my mom sent me barrelling down the street. You provide joy to families across the country — and I want to be part of that.”

4. Emphasize why you’re best for the job

Your next paragraphs should be focused on the role you’re applying to. Highlight your skill set and why you’re a good fit for the needs and expectations associated with the position. Hiring managers want to know what you’ll bring to the job, not just any role.

Start by studying the job description for hints. What problem are they trying to solve with this hire? What skills and qualifications do they mention first or more than once? These are indicators of what’s important to the hiring manager.

Search for details that match your experience and interests. For example, if you’re excited about a fast-paced job in public relations, you might look for these elements in a posting:

  • They want someone who can write social media posts and blog content on tight deadlines
  • They value collaboration and input from every team member
  • They need a planner who can come up with strong PR strategies

Highlight how you fulfill these requirements:

“I’ve always been a strong writer. From blog posts to social media, my content pulls in readers and drives traffic to product pages. For example, when I worked at Bits n’ Bikes, I developed a strategic blog series about bike maintenance that increased our sales of spare parts and tools by 50% — we could see it in our web metrics.

Thanks to the input of all of our team members, including our bike mechanics, my content delivered results.”

5. End with a strong closing paragraph and sign off gracefully

Your closing paragraph is your final chance to hammer home your enthusiasm about the role and your unique ability to fill it. Reiterate the main points you explained in the body paragraphs and remind the reader of what you bring to the table.

You can also use the end of your letter to relay other important details, like whether you’re willing to relocate for the job.

When choosing a sign-off, opt for a phrase that sounds professional and genuine. Reliable options include “Sincerely” and “Kind regards.”

Here’s a strong closing statement for you to consider:

“I believe my enthusiasm, skills, and work experience as a PR professional will serve Bits n’ Bikes very well. I would love to meet to further discuss my value-add as your next Director of Public Relations. Thank you for your consideration. I hope we speak soon.


Tips to write a great cover letter that compliments your resume

When writing your own letter, try not to copy the example excerpts word-for-word. Instead, use this cover letter structure as a baseline to organize your ideas. Then, as you’re writing, use these extra cover letter tips to add your personal touch:

  • Keep your cover letter different from your resume : Your cover letter should not duplicate the information on your resume. Instead, it should provide context and explanations for key points in your resume, emphasizing how your qualifications match the specific job you're applying for.
  • Customize your cover letter . Tailor your cover letter for each job application. Address the specific needs of the company and the job posting, demonstrating that you've done your homework and understand their requirements.
  • Show enthusiasm and fit . Express your enthusiasm for the company and position in the cover letter. Explain why you are interested in working for this company and how your values, goals, and skills align with their mission and culture.
  • Use keywords . Incorporate keywords from the job description and industry terms in your cover letter. This can help your application pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and demonstrate that you're well-versed in the field.
  • Keep it concise . Your cover letter should be succinct and to the point, typically no more than one page. Focus on the most compelling qualifications and experiences that directly support your application.
  • Be professional . Maintain a professional tone and structure in your cover letter. Proofread it carefully to ensure there are no errors.
  • Address any gaps or concerns . If there are gaps or concerns in your resume, such as employment gaps or a change in career direction, briefly address them in your cover letter. Explain any relevant circumstances and how they have shaped your qualifications and determination.
  • Provide a call to action . Conclude your cover letter with a call to action, inviting the employer to contact you for further discussion. Mention that you've attached your resume for their reference.
  • Follow the correct format . Use a standard cover letter format like the one above, including your contact information, a formal salutation, introductory and closing paragraphs, and your signature. Ensure that it complements your resume without redundancy.
  • Pick the right voice and tone . Try to write like yourself, but adapt to the tone and voice of the company. Look at the job listing, company website, and social media posts. Do they sound fun and quirky, stoic and professional, or somewhere in-between? This guides your writing style.
  • Tell your story . You’re an individual with unique expertise, motivators, and years of experience. Tie the pieces together with a great story. Introduce how you arrived at this point in your career, where you hope to go , and how this prospective company fits in your journey. You can also explain any career changes in your resume.
  • Show, don’t tell . Anyone can say they’re a problem solver. Why should a recruiter take their word for it if they don’t back it up with examples? Instead of naming your skills, show them in action. Describe situations where you rose to the task, and quantify your success when you can.
  • Be honest . Avoid highlighting skills you don’t have. This will backfire if they ask you about them in an interview. Instead, shift focus to the ways in which you stand out.
  • Avoid clichés and bullet points . These are signs of lazy writing. Do your best to be original from the first paragraph to the final one. This highlights your individuality and demonstrates the care you put into the letter.
  • Proofread . Always spellcheck your cover letter. Look for typos, grammatical errors, and proper flow. We suggest reading it out loud. If it sounds natural rolling off the tongue, it will read naturally as well.


Common cover letter writing FAQs

How long should a cover letter be.

A cover letter should generally be concise and to the point. It is recommended to keep it to one page or less, focusing on the most relevant information that highlights your qualifications and fits the job requirements.

Should I include personal information in a cover letter?

While it's important to introduce yourself and provide your contact information, avoid including personal details such as your age, marital status, or unrelated hobbies. Instead, focus on presenting your professional qualifications and aligning them with the job requirements.

Can I use the same cover letter for multiple job applications?

While it may be tempting to reuse a cover letter, it is best to tailor each cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. This allows you to highlight why you are a good fit for that particular role and show genuine interest in the company.

Do I need to address my cover letter to a specific person?

Whenever possible, it is advisable to address your cover letter to a specific person, such as the hiring manager or recruiter. If the job posting does not provide this information, try to research and find the appropriate contact. If all else fails, you can use a generic salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager."

Should I include references in my cover letter?

It is generally not necessary to include references in your cover letter. Save this information for when the employer explicitly requests it. Instead, focus on showcasing your qualifications and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the position.

It’s time to start writing your stand-out cover letter

The hardest part of writing is getting started. 

Hopefully, our tips gave you some jumping-off points and confidence . But if you’re really stuck, looking at cover letter examples and resume templates will help you decide where to get started. 

There are numerous sample cover letters available online. Just remember that you’re a unique, well-rounded person, and your cover letter should reflect that. Using our structure, you can tell your story while highlighting your passion for the role. 

Doing your research, including strong examples of your skills, and being courteous is how to write a strong cover letter. Take a breath , flex your fingers, and get typing. Before you know it, your job search will lead to a job interview.

If you want more personalized guidance, a specialized career coach can help review, edit, and guide you through creating a great cover letter that sticks.

Ace your job search

Explore effective job search techniques, interview strategies, and ways to overcome job-related challenges. Our coaches specialize in helping you land your dream job.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

3 cover letter examples to help you catch a hiring manager’s attention

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How to List References on Resumes: Strategic Guide (With Examples)

Stephen Greet

  • The Role of References in Job Applications
  • Preparing Your Reference List
  • Showcasing References
  • Real World Examples

References in Resumes FAQs

References don’t usually live on a resume—they take up too much space and typically aren’t even needed at that stage of the application process.

Be that as it may, sometimes employers may go against the curve and ask for them straight away, and when that happens, you’ll need to rearrange your resume and make room.

Of course, the trickiest thing about references isn’t where to put them, but who to choose. In this article, we’ll show you plenty of resume templates and useful tips to help you handle references like a pro!

Understanding the Role of References in Job Applications

Understanding the Role of References in Job Applications.

When employers are searching for someone to hire, there are a lot of different steps they have to take to determine whether a candidate is both technically capable and a good fit for the company . There’s the resume, the cover letter, the interview—maybe another interview, or two, or five—and the references.

You can learn a lot about a candidate from their own words, but there are certain things you can only learn from others. That’s why employers sometimes need a few recommendations from third parties as final confirmation that a candidate is a good choice.

does a cover letter have a reference

Why include references?

References often aren’t optional. When an employer asks for them, you need to hand some over or it could greatly impact your application.

If you have prior work listed on your resume but you don’t have anyone that could act as a reference, it implies that you might have been fired, or that your manager refused to act as a reference for you. Those things can happen, but some employers may not overlook that.

Instead, it’s always best to prepare your references in advance and have them ready to send whenever the employer asks for them. This is the right way to look professional since the more experienced you are, the more people you know and the easier it is for you to get a few references.

does a cover letter have a reference

Selecting the right references

There are a few rules you need to follow when it comes to picking references. There are three main types of reference and each has different relationships to you.

  • Professional references: To list someone as a professional reference, they need to know you in a professional setting. This includes current colleagues, former colleagues, and managers. Some companies also deal with references through their HR department.
  • Academic references: These are people that you know from school and college. It can include teachers, professors, academic advisors, academic counselors, and even classmates. You usually only use academic references as a fresh graduate and replace them with professional references once you get your first job or two.
  • Character references: This type of reference can be a friend or a family member, and their role is to talk about your general character and personality. These aren’t always accepted by employers, and it’s important not to list a friend or family member if the employer explicitly asks for professional or academic references.

does a cover letter have a reference

Common mistakes to avoid

Putting your references on your resume is really something you should only do if the employer asks for it directly. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid mentioning your references too early.

For most employers, checking references comes right at the end of the application process—because it would be too much work to check references for large numbers of candidates.

That’s why there’s usually no need to put your references on your resume. Some people like to put a line at the bottom of their resume saying “References available on request.” This isn’t a terrible idea, but it’s also not that necessary.

References are a requirement during many application processes so it’s assumed that anyone applying has references—it’s not something that really needs to be announced. They’ll ask you if they want them.

Preparing Your Reference List : Step-by-Step Instructions

Preparing Your Reference List: Step-by-Step Instructions

There are a lot of things you need to think about when choosing your reference list. In this section, we’ll go over the best practices for picking references, asking permission, and formatting your reference list.

does a cover letter have a reference

Choosing appropriate references

The first thing you need to think about is how many references you need. The most common number employers ask for is two or three, so it’s a good idea to prepare at least three.

The second thing to think about is reference types. If the employer asks for a specific type such as professional, academic, or character references, it’s best to comply with that request. If they don’t specify, your safest bet is to include only professional or academic references.

Now, as for who you pick, consider the following:

  • Who they are
  • What your relationship is
  • What they’ll say about you
  • How quickly they’re likely to respond

When you list someone as a reference, employers will contact them by email or phone to ask questions about you, so it’s important that they’re easy to get in contact with. If you choose someone busy like a CEO, there’s a chance they just won’t see the email or reply to it quickly enough.

does a cover letter have a reference

How to ask for permission

Once you’ve decided who you want your references to be, you need to ask them if they’ll accept to do it. No one has to write you a reference if they don’t want to and it’s not very professional to list someone without asking them first.

You may have previously inquired whether someone could serve as your reference in the future—for instance, querying a manager upon leaving a job or a professor at graduation. However, it’s still necessary to reach out again with an email to confirm this arrangement.

In the email, include a quick reminder of who you are and how you’re acquainted, and then get straight to the point and ask if they’d be willing to be a reference for you. You can tell them a little about the opportunity you’re applying for and send your resume so they’re updated on what you’ve been doing.

One more important point is to give them room to refuse. It’s generally considered a responsibility to give references when requested—but sometimes people are busy, and you’re better off keeping them happy and primed for a different favor in the future than pushing them on this one now.

Formatting your reference list

Unlike when writing a cover letter or creating a resume , formatting a reference list is straightforward and very simple. All you need to include is:

  • The reference’s name
  • Their job title
  • The company they work for
  • Their phone number
  • Their email address

A phone call is generally more inconvenient for references to take, so feel free to write “(preferred contact)” beside the email address to encourage the employer to use that.

Below the contact information, you should also add a short reference description. This literally only needs to be one sentence, explaining who they are, how you know each other, and how long you’ve known each other. Like this:

“Terry was my manager at Meta from 2019 to 2022 when I was working as a front-end developer.”

Showcasing References : Formats and Templates

Showcasing References: Formats and Templates

There are two main ways to showcase your references: directly on your resume or on a separate sheet. In both cases, however, the format largely stays the same—just contact information and a reference description.

does a cover letter have a reference

Reference List Templates

Here are some examples of how to format your reference list:

Contact Information

Reference Name:

Reference Description:

Reference Description: (In this case, use the reference’s full name)

does a cover letter have a reference

Best practices in reference format

There isn’t really anything fancy you need to think about when it comes to reference formats. All that matters is clarity and organization. Clearly state who the reference is and provide their contact information.

One way to make the reference section match the rest of your resume (even if you’re using a separate sheet) is to use the same contact info format as you have for your own contact info at the top of your resume. By matching the order, font, bolding, and use of colons or titling, you can create a nice organized reference section that doesn’t look like it was added in a rush.

does a cover letter have a reference

Tips for digital submission of references

Submitting your references digitally is often exactly the same as submitting them physically—just take the reference document you would have printed out and simply attach it to an email instead!

Some companies may have a special application portal that you’ve been using to submit other parts of your application, and if that’s the case, there might be a tab for references. The employer will likely tell you when and how to fill it in but in most cases, it will just involve filling in a contact form with the same information you’d usually provide. Just make sure to read the instructions carefully so you can fill everything in as the employer wants it.

Real-World Examples of Effective Reference Sections

Real-World Examples of Effective Reference Sections

To help you get a feel for what these sections look like and how you can write a good reference description, take a look at these resume examples . The reference list is on the second page of each example (which is recommended; there’s no need to take up valuable real estate on a resume) and closely matches the style of the resume.

Entry-Level Job Applicant

Entry-Level Job Applicant Resume

Mid-Career Professional

Mid-Career Professional Resume

Senior-Level Executive

Senior-Level Executive Resume

Sales Manager

Sales Manager Resume

School Teacher

School Teacher Resume

Java Developer

Java Developer Resume

In almost all cases, you should avoid putting your references directly on your resume because it takes up valuable space and isn’t useful in the early stages of the application. However, if the employer asks for references with your resume, you can include them—either on the resume itself or preferably on a separate sheet.

Most employers tend to ask for two or three references, so you want to have at least three you can use. This can feel like a lot for a fresh graduate or someone lacking experience but if you’re struggling, you can use academic references, ask people from part-time jobs you’ve worked at, or people you’ve volunteered with.

Family members can be used as a character reference but character references are not always accepted by employers. The easiest way to know if you can use a family member is to look at the type of reference the employer asked for. If they say “professional” or “academic” references, it means they don’t want character references.

Writing up your reference is easy, you just need their name, job title, company, phone number, and email address. Below, you can write a brief reference description that tells the employer how you know each other and for how long. It only needs to be one sentence, so make sure not to ramble!

You should ideally have at least one reference from every job you’ve had, so every time you get a new job, find a reference there and remove the oldest one you have from the list. If you’re at your first job, it could be a good idea to find multiple people in different roles to be your references so you don’t have to rely on academic references again.

In a normal situation, the best way to send your references is as an attachment to an email, when the references are asked for. If you prepare them in advance, you can shoot them over as soon as you get the email asking for them, and this will look professional and well-organized! Basically, references are something you don’t need to worry about until they’re asked for, which makes it pretty easy!

Related articles

  • Letter of Interest Examples
  • Letter of Introduction
  • How to Accept a Job Offer
  • Find Your Dream Job
  • Reasons for Leaving a Job

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Donald Trump is now a convicted felon: Can he still run for president?

does a cover letter have a reference

Donald Trump is the first former president convicted of a crime in U.S. history, but it won't stop him from running for president again. His conviction on Thursday does not bar him from seeking a return to the Oval Office in the meantime, even if his possible sentence makes that more difficult.

Twelve Manhattan jurors found Trump guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records after prosecutors showed he covered up reimbursements to his former lawyer Michael Cohen . Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about an alleged sexual affair ahead of the 2016 election. Trump denies taking part in a tryst with Daniels.

He is expected to appeal the verdict.

Live updates: Former President Donald Trump found guilty on all counts in hush money case

Can Trump run for President?

The U.S. Constitution only lists three necessary qualifications for being president: the candidate must be a "natural born" citizen, at least 35 years old and a resident of U.S. for at least 14 years. There is no requirement that the president not be a convicted felon.

Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our Voter Guide

A few presidential candidates in history have campaigned after an indictment or conviction: Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs ran for president for the fifth time in 1920 while in prison for sedition. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry ran for president alongside Trump in the 2016 Republican primary after being indicted two years earlier for abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official, but he dropped out of the race a few months into the primary.

What if Trump is in jail?

Judge Juan Merchan scheduled Trump's sentencing for July 11, and he is out free until then.

Trump will also likely to remain at liberty until the election. As a first time felon and given it is a non-violent crime, his sentence could be as light as probation. Even if he does receive a  jailtime sentence , he probably push it off until the appeal is resolved.

What happens to Trump now?

Experts say states are unlikely to succeed in passing additional eligibility requirements for a candidate to get on the presidential ballot.

The U.S. Supreme Court already rejected an effort from several states to bar Trump from the ballot based on the 14th Amendmen t, which prevents anyone who has engaged in insurrection after swearing to uphold the Constitution (by being sworn into office, for example), from holding office again.

Trump can probably vote for himself in Florida

The high court did not want a “state-by-state patchwork” of rules for Trump's eligibility.

The variety of state laws on voting rights for convicted felons could impact Trump's ability to cast a vote for himself , but not in this case. Florida, where Trump is registered to vote, gives felons the right to vote if the state where they were convicted allows it. New York only removes a felon’s right to vote while they are imprisoned, and as Trump may not receive jail time at all, let alone before the election, he will likely remain eligible.

Contributing: Natasha Lovato, Ella Lee, Karissa Waddick , Aysha Bagchi , Maureen Groppe, Bart Jansen


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  4. Should I Include References in my Cover Letter?

    If you have a mutual contact in regards to a company that you are applying to, than this recommendation should be referred to by full name in the first paragraph of a cover letter. As far as professional references that are more standard to the topic, a person should never include this information in their initial cover letter address.

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    A cover letter is a document that you send as part of your job application, along with your resume or CV. The cover letter's purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize why your professional background makes you the right person for the job. On average, a cover letter should be between 250 and 400 words long and fit neatly on one page.

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    Here's what to include in a cover letter to make your application stand out: Your name and contact information. The hiring manager's name and contact info. A salutation. Your relevant achievements. A mention of something you know about the company. Why you are the best candidate for the position. An impressive ending.

  7. Glassdoor Guide: How to Write a Cover Letter

    The cover letter is a tool to help introduce yourself in a memorable, personal way during a job application. A well-crafted cover letter goes over information on your resume and expands this information for the reader, taking them on a guided journey of some of your greatest career and life achievements.. Its purpose is to elaborate on the information contained in your resume while infusing ...

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    Begin the cover letter with your point of contact, followed by a brief explanation as to why you are the best applicant for the position. Follow this with a sentence such as: "I enclose my resume and a letter of recommendation from my previous manager, Susan Jones.". Keeping this close to the top of the letter increases the chances of the ...

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    1. Format your references in the same way as your resume. Use the same fonts, sizes, dividers, graphics and phrasing methods. Your references sheet should be a complementary piece to your resume. [1] 2. Create a heading at the top of the page. Write your name out at the top of the page in a large, clear font in bold.

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    Here's a diagrammed how to list your resume reference example: Name: List your reference's full name. Also, it's optional to include their professional title, like "General Manager" or "Professor.". Address: Add their full professional mailing address so that they may be contacted or verified. Include their business name, if ...

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    No, you shouldn't include references on a resume. The phrase "references available upon request" isn't needed and it's a thing of the past. The only time you should submit a resume with references is if it's requested in the job description. Create a separate document with your list of references.

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    Formatting your reference list. Unlike when writing a cover letter or creating a resume, formatting a reference list is straightforward and very simple. All you need to include is: The reference's name. Their job title. The company they work for. Their phone number.

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    To start your cover letter, introduce yourself. This means including your full name, your specific interest in the position and the reasons you've chosen to apply. If you got a referral to the job from another party, ensure to mention this in the first paragraph. 2. Mention your skills and qualifications.

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