Please note that these are intended as guidelines only. The exact wording and content of your email should be tailored to each recipient based on specific circumstances.

General Notes:

IF YOU ARE EMAILING, no heading is required. Just be sure you complete the subject line according to any instructions given in the ad; or, if you are not responding to an ad, tailor your subject line carefully to the recipient, and never use all caps or unnecessary punctuation, which could land your email in a spam folder. You want to convey concisely and professionally the purpose of your email.

IF YOU ARE SENDING YOUR LETTER/RESUME/APPLICATION BY MAIL: You should follow the traditional rules for heading a letter. You can find instructions for this and a nice, clear example of correct formatting at:

I. BASIC COVER LETTER IF APPLYING FOR A POSTED POSITION: This sample letter/template is intended as a cover letter for a résumé and/or application for a posted job.

Dear [Name of Hiring Manager]:

I am writing in response to your job posting [in/on LinkedIn/Indeed/your company website…]. I am very interested in this position, and believe that my [extensive background/experience/education] would make me an asset to your team. [If possible, refer to something you have learned through your research about the company that you can use to help show how you are well-suited to the job.]

Please find my résumé [attached/below]*. OR I have completed the online application and uploaded my résumé per the instructions. OR Please find my résumé enclosed.

I hope to have the opportunity to speak with you soon, and will follow up in a week or two to ensure that you have received my application.

Many thanks for your time and consideration.

Sincere regards,

[Your Name

your email address

your phone number]

*See the instructions in the job posting. Some companies do not open attachments from unknown sources and may want you to copy/paste your résumé into the body of the email.


The above letter assumes you are writing in response to a posted ad for an available job. However, as you have learned from other parts of this ToolKit and/or from Select Center classes, your best chances of getting an interview may come from other sources: i.e., through your network, and/or through your own research using ReferenceUSA, The Book of Lists, Google, etc.

Here are two alternative brief letters geared toward those scenarios:

A. If you have a referral or mutual contact who has agreed to let you use their name:

Dear [Name of Target Contact]:

I am reaching out at the suggestion of [my friend/colleague/client…] Sam Davies. Sam is familiar both with my background and qualifications, and with the operations of your [company/team], and s/he suggested it might be beneficial to us both to have a brief conversation, so you might have me in mind for any present or future hiring needs.

I have [enclosed/attached] my résumé and will follow up in a week or so to see if we can arrange a brief call.

Many thanks for your time and consideration, etc…

B. If you are writing because you have learned something about the company through your research, you should write an email that briefly explains what drew you to the company and why you believe you belong there:

Dear [Name of Target Contact]:

Recently, I came across an article about [your company] in [name of publication], and I wanted to reach out and share with you my enthusiasm for the work you are doing, and to suggest that, with my background, I might be able to contribute significantly to your efforts.

[Here you should refer briefly and specifically to what in your background is relevant to the company’s work.]

I would very much like to have the opportunity to talk with you about the [scope/nature] of your work and how my skills and experience might be useful to your team.

I have [enclosed/attached] my résumé and will follow up in a week or so to see if we can arrange a brief call.

Many thanks for your time and consideration, etc...

(Again, if you are emailing, be sure to make appropriate use of the subject line, and if you are sending your letter/résumé by post, please refer to for guidance on heading and layout.)

Writing a good cover letter takes careful thought and effort, but it is critical that you get this first contact right. If you are emailing, you may wish to compose your letter offline, to be sure you don’t accidentally send it before you have finished it and, ideally, asked someone to proofread it for you. (This doesn’t have to be an expert; sometimes just a second set of eyes can catch an error you may have missed.) Take your time to write a letter that will save your potential employer time, by getting to the relevant points quickly, persuasively, and professionally. A great cover letter may even have them reaching for the phone before they finish reading!

Best of luck!