The Best 20 Cover Letter Tips & Examples for 2023

The Best 20 Cover Letter Tips & Examples for 2023

A cover letter is a crucial element of the job application process. This introductory letter is your first shot at making an impression with a potential client or employer.

No, they’re not a waste of time. Yes, they do get read. In fact, when many resumes may look similar—a well-written cover letter could be what sets you apart. An impressive letter may persuade the hiring manager to interview you.

When it comes to writing a good cover letter, it’s often the little things that add up to make a big difference (and impression!). To help you craft a winning application, we’ve put together some of the best cover letter tips below.

From formatting advice to writing tips—these tips for writing a cover letter will help you get started on the right foot. Did we mention we’ve also included examples? These will help you see and understand what hits the mark and what doesn’t. Let’s dive in.

1. Choose the correct cover letter format and style

How you format your cover letter is almost as important as how you write it. A professional cover letter follows a logical structure and will include key information such as:

  • Contact section: This includes your name, phone number, and email address at the top. Follow this by including the hiring manager’s name and company contact information.
  • Greeting: Greet the hiring manager by name. If a name isn't available, use “Dear Hiring Manager” but steer away from outdated greetings such as “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Intro: Follow the greeting with a short but strong intro paragraph that highlights why you are qualified for the role.
  • Body: In the main body of the letter, go into further details about your experience and qualifications. Explain how your previous accomplishments make you the ideal person to help the company achieve its goals.
  • Call to Action and sign off: Finally, end with a paragraph that invites the hiring manager to contact you. Don’t be shy and state that you look forward to an interview.

Additionally, keep these key formatting tips in mind:

  • Font choices: Choose a professional font in size 10 or 12. No emojis, please.
  • Margins: Align your text to the left and use a standard 1-inch margin within your document.
  • Email formatting: When sending a cover letter in the body of an email, pay special attention to spacing. Add a line break between each section above.

A poorly formatted cover letter is difficult to read. Hiring managers likely receive multiple applications for each advertised role. Without a professional formatted letter, you risk being eliminated from the pool of potential hires.

Example of a well-formatted cover letter

Here’s an example of a well-formatted letter in action:

Your name

Phone number

Email address

Name of hiring manager

Company name

Company address

Dear {Name of hiring manager},

I am excited to apply for the Web Developer role open at {Company Name.} I have more than 10 years of experience in web development, and my proficiency in JavaScript and HTML/CSS in particular, align with the responsibilities highlighted in the advertised role.

In my role as Lead Web Developer at {previous or current employer/client name}, I headed the team in charge of overhauling the company website. I was able to create a faster, more modern, and responsive web experience keeping real users in mind. This resulted in a 35% reduction in the bounce rate and a 25% increase in conversion rates. I believe my hands-on experience and skills will prove relevant for your upcoming rebrand and subsequent website changes.

I am very interested in discussing your Web Developer role in more detail. I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.


{Your Name}

Tip: If you’re writing a proposal for an Upwork client, skip the contact section in your letter and jump straight into the greeting and introduction. An Upwork proposal demands a slightly less formal style of writing. However, you will still need to pack in all the right information in your letter to pitch your services to a potential client. Here’s how to write an Upwork proposal that wins jobs.


Browse & Buy Cover Letter services on Project Catalog.

2. Create a unique cover letter for each application

Having a general format in mind will give you the framework for your cover letter. However, it’s important not to take a one-size-fits-all approach to your applications. Write a unique cover letter for each new job you want to apply to.

It’s perfectly fine to recycle some of the stronger statements from your letter. However, a generic letter that doesn’t address the specific role or the organization you’re applying to is unlikely to make a good impression. It could come across as lazy and you’re missing out on an opportunity to demonstrate how you’re a great fit for the company.

To personalize each cover letter well, choose a few skills or qualifications mentioned in the job ad. In your letter write about how you demonstrate each of these skills.

How to customize your cover letter

While you might save time with a copy-paste cover letter, it might cost you opportunities. Here’s how to customize your cover letter for a specific job. Compare the two examples—which applicant stands out to you more?


Dear Mr. Smith,

I am excited about the project management role open at Organization Inc.  Your job post mentions the upcoming employee onboarding project. This particularly stood out to me as I recently wrapped up a similar project where I managed a team of four to deliver a new employee training program.


To Whom It May Concern

I am a hard-working and determined project management professional seeking an opportunity to succeed at Organization Inc. In my current position, I led a team of 10 to meet and exceed project goals. I am confident that my knowledge and experience make me a great fit for Organization Inc as well.

3. Limit the cover letter to one page

While it can be tempting to go into great detail about your work experience and qualifications in your cover letter—don’t. Short is best. It is best practice to limit your cover letter to one page—less in some cases.

Hiring managers will likely be reviewing multiple applicants. A lengthy, rambling letter is more likely to be overlooked than considered.

4. Address the hiring manager

If possible, use a name to address your cover letter. If you don’t already know who to address the letter to, a little research can go a long way. Check out the company’s website and try to find a relevant contact from the ‘About Us’ or ‘Meet the Team’ pages. You could also attempt to find the right person via LinkedIn or some good old-fashioned Googling with terms like “Company name’ hiring manager.”

  • In the contact section, use the person’s first and last name (i.e. Chris Smith).
  • In the opening greeting, use the person’s title followed by their last name.  
  • If you know the industry is more casual, feel free to drop the last name and use only the first name.

How to customize the greeting

Here’s how to personalize your cover letter with a name:

Use: “Dear Mr. Smith” or “Dear Chris.”

If you aren’t able to find the right name, use: “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Head of Accounting Department.”

Don’t use:Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.”

5. Add relevant wording or keywords

Keywords are a crucial part of your cover letter. They tell the potential employer or client about your qualifications and suitability for the role. More importantly, keywords are important for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

Most companies use automated ATS software to scan cover letters and resumes. The ATS scans your application for the right keywords before approving (or rejecting) it. Only approved applicants are then reviewed by the recruiter or hiring manager.

To avoid an ATS rejection, use keywords! Read the job description for keyword ideas from the qualifications or responsibilities sections. Focus on keywords that describe your technical skills, credentials, position names, software, and/or tool expertise. You can also Google “[industry] keywords” for ideas.

Without the right keywords in your cover letter, you risk your application falling through the ATS cracks.

How to use keywords in your cover letter

Here’s an example of what to do (and what not to) when including keywords in your cover letter:

Good: With more than 10 years of experience as an SEO Specialist, I am proficient in optimizing websites with keyword research using software such as Surfer SEO, original content creation, and planning the website architecture.”

Bad: I used my skills and software to optimize the company’s website for Google.”

Tip: Resist the temptation to include every possible relevant keyword—just to get past the ATS. Over-the-top keyword usage may get you rejected by the ATS for keyword stuffing.

6. Add some personality

Stand out from the crowd of applicants by showing your personality in your cover letter. While you should definitely keep your cover letter professional, you don’t have to sound generic.

Write in a conversational yet respectful tone. Don’t use unnaturally formal language. Granted, a cover letter for a corporate finance role may require a greater degree of formality than a marketing role at a startup. However, there is still room to be personable. Avoid using flat language like  “My name is Job Applicant Jean. I saw your job ad on LinkedIn and I am submitting my application for your perusal” to start your cover letter.

An overly formal, generically worded cover letter doesn’t tell the hiring manager much about who you are. Injecting a bit of your personality in your letter is your opportunity to show them how you’re a culture fit for the organization.

If you are unsure about the tone to use—look up the company’s website and social media channels. This will give you an idea of the voice and tone they use for their brand. You can mirror a similar tone in your cover letter where appropriate. Just remember that if a company has a cheeky tone for their brand—they don’t necessarily want to receive the same irreverent tone from potential applicants. Use your discretion and always stay professional.

How to write a personable letter

Here’s an example of how you can add some personality to your cover letter while still remaining professional:

Don’t say: I’m an accomplished copywriter with 10 years of experience writing sales copy for businesses.

Instead, say: I put my obsession with words and copywriting skills to the test by creating punchy sales copy for female-owned businesses. This has led to a 32% increase in sales (and subsequent heart-eyed emojis) for one of my clients.

7. Showcase your achievements

Hiring managers want to see the impact you’ve made on an organization. Did you improve sales? Perhaps you improved project efficiencies? Whatever your achievements—mention them in your cover letter.

Don’t be vague about your achievements. Your cover letter should make an impression. Quantify your accomplishments with numbers and facts to show a real, measurable impact of your work.

Instead of saying: Created a website that increased sales.

Say:I created a responsive, conversion-optimized website that increased web sales by 20% and mobile-web sales by 45%.

8. Stay away from buzzwords

Writing a good cover letter is all about selling yourself to the hiring manager. The right words can be powerful. The wrong words make you sound robotic and lacking in personality.

Generic buzzwords and phrases like a people person, team player, loyal, dedicated, or motivated are can be seen as empty. They usually lack evidence and don’t really prove anything to an employer.

Instead, focus on using action verbs, evidence as well as job-relevant keywords, and phrases, to demonstrate your skills and expertise.

Bad: Meaningless buzzword sentence

I am a motivated team player.

Good: Action verbs and evidence-backed sentence

I managed a team of five salespersons. Together we surpassed our sales targets for the year by 15%.”

9. Highlight your remote work experience

In an increasingly remote and hybrid work environment—if you have remote work experience, it would be appropriate to mention it in your cover letter.

Working from home requires a special set of skills and personal qualities. Use your cover letter to demonstrate your remote-relevant experience in different areas of your role.

As an experienced remote worker, you could set yourself apart from other applicants by highlighting your remote skills and tool proficiencies.

How to demonstrate your remote skillset

When writing about your remote-specific experience in your cover letter, consider what is important to your employer. If you managed a team, for example, mention how you did this remotely. If you are in a deadline-oriented role, write about your time management and organizational skills. For example:

In my current role as the social media manager at Books 123, I have worked and managed a team of five remotely for 3+ years. In addition to the necessary time management and self discipline skills, I am also adept at using crucial remote work tools such as Slack, G Suite, and Zoom for communications, presentations, and collaborative work.

10. Proofread and edit your cover letter multiple times

Once you are done writing your cover letter, it needs to be proofread. Don’t send your letter before a thorough spell check and review. Run the spell check function. Also make sure to read it over again—slowly—to keep an eye out for any errors or issues.

11. Have others review your cover letter

Before you send out your cover letter, it’s also a good idea to get another opinion on it. Ask someone you trust to review your letter. They can spot any errors or typos you may have missed. They can also read it to make sure it’s clear, professional, and paints a good picture of your suitability for the role.

12. Include links to previous work

For some roles, a live sample of your work speaks for itself. Take charge and provide a link from the onset instead of waiting for the hiring manager to ask. It helps to give them an idea of your skillset before they have even looked at your resume.

It’s a good idea to include a link to a sample of your work (if relevant) in your cover letter. If you have a portfolio website, simply link to that. If you don’t have a website, include other links that demonstrate your work.

  • If you’re a writer, you could link to previously published work.
  • If you’re a web developer, link to websites you have built.
  • If you’re a social media manager, provide links for social media profiles you have managed.

Tip: Don’t overdo the links in your cover letter. If you have a portfolio website, link to that. If not, simply provide one or two links to live samples of your work. You don’t have to include every project you have ever worked on.

How to link your portfolio in your cover letter

How do you include your portfolio and/or other links to your work in your cover letter in a professional manner?


“You can review my social media campaigns in action on [Company Name]’s social media pages here: [LinkedIn link] and [Instagram link].


Let me know if you would like to see samples of my work.

13. Add LinkedIn link

Your recruiter/hiring manager is probably going to look you up on LinkedIn. Make it easier for them by including a link in your cover letter.

Adding your LinkedIn profile to your cover letter is a one-click way to get to know you better—beyond the constraints of your resume.

Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t just be a copy of your resume. Make the most of LinkedIn features and go into more detail about your professional experience wherever relevant. Make sure your profile is up to date before you link to it.

How to include your LinkedIn profile in a cover letter

You could include your LinkedIn in your cover letter in two sections:

1. In the contact section:

Include your LinkedIn profile along with the rest of your contact info at the top of your cover letter. For example:

Your Name

Phone number

Email address

2. In the sign off

Add in the hyperlinked URL underneath your name. For example:

Your Name

Tip: If you are sending your application via email, adding the LinkedIn URL to your email signature is a great touch. It lets the hiring manager view your profile and connect with you before they have even looked at your resume.

14. Explain employment gaps

If you have a gap in your work history, be open about it in your cover letter. Explain the gap instead of leaving the employer wondering about it. An unexplained break in employment can come across as concerning.

Having a break isn’t a bad thing. COVID-19, recessions, caregiving, health issues, or even voluntary travel abroad years are all common reasons for gaps. Your job is to explain an employment break to convince them that it doesn't negatively impact your ability to succeed at your role.

How to write about a gap

What’s the best way to write about a break in your employment? Here’s an example:

During the period of July 2019 to March 2020, I was the primary caregiver for a sick family member. Since then, my family and I have managed to secure full time care for the family member, which has enabled me to begin job searching again.

15. Don’t regurgitate your resume

Your cover letter is an opportunity to expand on your resume and show off your personality beyond the bullet points. Don’t repeat your resume. Instead, explain how your experience and qualifications make you a good fit for the target role.

You don’t have to include everything that’s on your resume. Instead, focus on a few relevant accomplishments and highlight those on your cover letter.

16. Follow the instructions in the job post

The most important part of a job application is following the instructions. This shows your attention to detail.

If the job requires you to submit your cover letter as a PDF, make sure your file is in the correct format. If the ad mentions attaching your letter to the email, do so. However, if it mentions a preference for including the cover letter in the body of the email—make sure to follow that instruction.

17. Explain why you’re a good fit for the company

So far we’ve discussed that you should use your cover letter to sell yourself. This “sell” should also include explaining to the hiring manager why you’re a great fit for their organization.

Show off your professional skills to explain why you’re the perfect person for the job. However, don’t forget to also include why you’re the right person for the company culture as well.

Start by reviewing the company website. Google as much as you can about the company culture, their services, and their business model. Make notes on what you like and what resonates with you. Then use that to write about how you fit into that culture.

How to demonstrate if you’re a culture-fit

Write honestly in this section. Don’t just write a generic line or two about what you think they want to hear. Be genuine about your why.

Here’s an example of what to say:

“I am truly excited about this Marketing Specialist opportunity. I’ve personally used XYZ face cream and to put it plainly, I am a fan. I love that it is made of all-natural ingredients and comes in a plastic-free bottle. I really admire XYZ Company’s values and planet-focused goals. As a vegan and someone who is trying hard to live a zero-waste life, I believe I would be a great fit for your company.”

Here’s an example of how NOT to say it:

I’d love to work for XYZ Company because of its culture and product innovation. Since I am vegan and an experienced marketing specialist, I believe I would be a great fit.”

18. Use a professional email

Many of us have a personal email address that doesn't create the professional impression we would like. Don’t let a silly email address ruin future job opportunities.

The email address you use to send your application should be professional. The easiest and best option is usually an address that includes your first and last name. Save the unprofessional email addresses for your personal interactions.

Professional email address:

Unprofessional email address:

19. Don’t copy from the internet

A quick Google search will show you there are hundreds of cover letter examples on the internet. These are meant to serve as inspiration. Don’t just copy and paste from these internet samples.

As much of the advice above explains—your cover letter must be customized for each new application. Copy-pasting a generic cover letter from the internet is the opposite of this. Besides, if a future employer were to realize your cover letter is copied—it would create a very poor first impression!

20. Make them want to learn more

Finally, to conclude this list of good cover letter tips—end your letter with a call to action. A generic ending to your cover letter is a missed opportunity. Use this space to make your future clients or employer want to learn more about you.

This final paragraph of your cover letter should express your excitement for the role. It should also serve as a mini sales pitch where you remind them why you are a great fit for the role. Finally, demonstrate your eagerness for an interview.

The ideal call to action is assertive and confident while maintaining a polite and professional tone.

How to write a good call to action

What does a good call to action look like in real life? Here’s an example of a good (and bad) conclusion for your cover letter. Thanking the hiring manager or recruiter is important but don’t just leave it at that. Remember to end with an impact.


I look forward to hearing from you.

“I believe I am a great fit for this role. I am confident that my sales experience will enhance results at your organization, similar to the 25% increase in revenue I brought about in my current role. I look forward to discussing my qualifications and suitability during an interview at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.”

Next Steps

Writing a cover letter is a lot of work. Make no mistake about that. However, it’s important to spend this time creating a professional application. It’s how you’ll make an impression on recruiters, hiring managers and/or clients.

Once you have written, edited, and proofread your cover letter—it’s time to send your application. Whether it’s via Upwork, LinkedIn, or through email—pay full attention while sending.

If you’re attaching your cover letter as a file, make sure your file is in the correct format. PDF is usually best. Name your file ‘[Your Name] Cover Letter’.

If you are copy-pasting your cover letter into an email or into an Upwork proposal—pay attention to spacing and formatting. Add in line breaks and fix up margin or font issues if relevant.

Once you are happy that everything looks as it should, hit send.

The next step in the application process is usually an interview. Whether in-person or virtual, an interview is a fantastic opportunity to make a great impression—so make the most of it. Check out our article on interview tips for freelancers and clients as well as our tips on how to tailor your interview answers and impress clients to start preparing for your interview.

Good luck on your search!

If you are communicating with a hiring manager for a job through the Upwork platform, please note that sharing your personal contact information, such as email address, phone number, or LinkedIn profile, is not permitted in cover letters or at any time prior to the start of a contract. Additionally, all communication should take place through the Upwork Messages feature. Learn more about using Upwork Messages here, and see more details on sharing information on Upwork here.

Author Spotlight

The Best 20 Cover Letter Tips & Examples for 2023
Radhika Basuthakur

Radhika is a self-confessed word nerd and content expert with over 15 years of experience writing content for businesses around the world. She is a cheerleader for flexible work, a passionate world traveler, and spends her free time alternating between a good book and a good hike.

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