Land the job with cover letter templates

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Stand out from other job applicants with free, professional cover letter templates. Cover letters are a perfect complement to your resume and provide an effective opportunity to show your personality and enthusiasm for a position. Focus on writing a compelling cover letter and let a professionally designed template do the rest.

These free cover letter templates are perfect for any stage of your career, whether you're looking to land an internship or your dream job. If you're applying for a corporate position, you may want to opt for a simple cover letter template. There are a variety of other cover letter designs available, from basic cover letter templates to creative cover letter templates.

Each of these cover letter templates is customizable in Word , so you can add your own text, change design elements, and more. Print out your cover letter or download it for free to use for online job applications. Once you've customized the perfect cover letter, explore resume templates that will match your cover letter design, or download free business cards for your next networking event.

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Not Sure What to Write in a Cover Letter?

Get ideas from our database of cover letter examples. browse by industry, profession, or experience level., need a resume to boot.

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Still Got Questions? We Have Answers!

What is the free app to create a cover letter.

Freesumes offers a popular free cover letter generator with premium-like features and without any account registration requirements. Use an intuitive online interface to write, design, and download a cover letter in PDF format.

Are there any 100% free cover letter templates?

Yes, Freesumes cover letter builder comes with a choice of 6 free professionally-designed cover letter templates. We also offer several more styles as direct downloads . Each template is optimized for optimal visibility and empowers you to make a strong first impression with a potential employer.

Do companies still like cover letters?

Absolutely. Every company expects to receive at least a short cover letter alongside other requested job application documents. In fact, a cover letter is your best marketing tool. Use it to give a preview of your skills and articulate your motivation for pursuing the advertised role. 

How can I create my own cover letter?

You can effortlessly create your own cover letter with Freesumes cover letter maker. The app guides you through each cover letter section, suggesting which information to put first. Once you’re happy with the result, you can instantly download a cover letter version, packed in a selected template in PDF format.

Should you sell yourself in a cover letter?

A hundred times YES. An effective cover letter will convince a potential employer that you’re the best fit for the job by selling your skills, qualifications, and personality. Using words, you should paint a picture of the future impact you could have in the company and articulate how your past experience could help the company hit its goals.

Which template is best for a cover letter?

The choice of a cover letter template depends on your industry. If you’re applying to a more traditional company, opt for a minimalistic cover letter template in black and white or gray scale. If you’re after a job in a more hyp, startup-like company, consider a more creative template, perhaps one featuring a photo or a professional tagline on top.

What does a modern cover letter look like?

A modern cover letter is a one-page, web-friendly document, most times in PDF format. Use an appropriate professional greeting (hello, hi) and the person’s or company name, instead of the old-fashioned “dear Sir/Madam” or the trite “To whom it may concern”. Modern cover letters are also more permissive in terms of design. You can use color (as long as it doesn’t affect readability) and include a headshot and professional tagline in the header area for  personal branding purposes.

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Free cover letter examples

Use our 125+ cover letter examples and templates to learn how to best format a cover letter for your field.

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What makes Resume Builder’s cover letter generator the best cover letter tool? -

Using the Resume Builder app’s cover letter generator, you have a 33% higher chance of getting a job, and our users experience a 42% higher response rate from recruiters. You'll get expert guidance every step of the way, with professional cover letter templates and AI-enabled suggestions to write a resume that gets results.

How do I use the cover letter builder? -

With Resume Builder’s cover letter app, you’ll select and customize a template, then create your cover letter either with step-by-step guidance or by importing your LinkedIn profile. Add your experience, education, key skills, and more, aided by expert tips, suggested phrases, and an AI writer tool. Then, save your cover letter by creating a free account. You can download your cover letter by upgrading to a paid subscription.

Should I make a different cover letter for every job application? -

Yes. Tailoring your cover letter and resume is one of the best ways to get more interviews. Look at the job posting to identify what the employer is seeking. Specifically, find important words or phrases to use in your profile and key skills sections.

Does Resume Builder have cover letter examples I can look at? -

Yes. Resume Builder has 125+free cover letter examples and templates. Use these examples to get expert advice on what you should — and shouldn’t — include in your cover letter, such as common key skills and action verbs for your desired job.

Should I download my new cover letter as a PDF or text file? -

We recommend downloading your cover letter in both PDF and text format. A professionally designed PDF cover letter has a visual impact, and its appearance is consistent across computer screens and systems. But you may need a text format cover letter for some job applications, so it’s good to have both available.

How can I use the cover letter builder for free? -

With the Resume Builder app, it’s free to build your cover for free. With a paid subscription, you can download or print your cover letter. Learn more about how to use Resume Builder for free.

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The 46 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

Amanda Zantal-Wiener

Published: May 22, 2024

I’ve sent plenty of cover letters throughout my career, so I know it isn’t usually fun to write one. Fortunately, the cover letter examples I painstakingly gathered below show that it’s possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process.

 person types of a cover letter

I was shocked upon learning 45% of job seekers don’t include a cover letter when applying for a job. I definitely don’t recommend following the crowd on this matter because your cover letter is a chance to tell the stories your resume only outlines.

It’s an opportunity for you to highlight your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process.

Are you ready to showcase your unique skills and experience? Or are you looking for more tips and cover letter inspiration?

Keep reading for 40+ cover letter examples, then check out tips for cover letter formatting and what makes a cover letter great.

→ Click here to access 5 free cover letter templates [Free Download]

Table of Contents

Customizable Cover Letter Examples

Best cover letter examples, short cover letter examples, creative cover letter examples, job cover letter examples, career cover letter examples, what is a good cover letter, what’s on a cover letter, what makes a great cover letter.

In a hurry for a cover letter example you can download and customize? Check out the ones below from HubSpot’s cover letter template kit .

1. Standard Cover Letter Example

good cover letter examples, standard

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What does a good cover letter look like in practice, and how can you make yours stand out? I found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.

Note: Some of these cover letters include real company names and NSFW language that I've covered up.

4 . The Cover Letter That Explains ‘Why,’ Not Just ‘How’

You may already know how to talk about how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?

The Muse , a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story.

I advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.

good cover letter examples, explains why

good cover letter examples, short and sweet

Personalized Introduction

Begin with an introduction that’s personal. It should capture the reader’s attention and address your recipient by name. Then, add a compelling opening sentence that emphasizes your interest in the specific role.

Helpful Cover Letter Introduction:

"Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

In an increasingly digitized world, where customer-centric strategies are vital for business success, I am thrilled to apply for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Introduction:

"To Whom it May Concern,

I am applying for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot. I have some experience in marketing and can help your clients grow their businesses."

Relevant Professional Experience

It can be tempting to use the same cover letter for every job. After all, it‘s about your experience, isn’t it? But it's not enough to rephrase the work history in your resume.

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to fill a specific role, so you need to show how your experience translates to their unique needs.

So, the body of a great cover letter should showcase the specific professional experiences that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Emphasize your accomplishments and skills that directly relate to what the job needs.

To speed up this part of the cover letter writing process, start by creating a list of your transferable skills . Drafting this list can help you quickly focus on the skills to highlight in your cover letter.

Then, use AI tools to summarize job descriptions and narrow in on where your experience and the needs of the role you're applying for overlap. This post is full of useful AI assistant tools if you're new to AI.

Helpful Cover Letter Experience:

“At [Company Name], I had the opportunity to assist a global ecommerce retailer in enhancing their online customer experience. By conducting in-depth market research and customer journey mapping, I identified pain points and areas of improvement in their website navigation and user interface.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Experience:

“I also worked with an ecommerce retailer to improve the customer experience. We did some surveys and training, and they were happy with the results.”

Useful Examples

To make your cover letter stand out, add specific examples that show how you've solved problems or gotten results in past roles.

Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible, using data to give the reader a clear understanding of your impact.

Helpful Cover Letter Example:

“I lead a team of five content writers while increasing website traffic by 18% year-over-year.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Example:

“I have a great track record of leadership and achieving fantastic results.”

Research and Company Knowledge

Hiring teams aren‘t hiring anyone with the skills to do the job. They’re hiring a person they'll work alongside at their specific company.

So, to show that you‘re not just looking for any job anywhere, share your knowledge of the company’s industry, values, and culture in your cover letter.

Spend some time on the company website and take notes on what makes this business interesting to you and why you would want to work there.

Then, explain how your skills align with the company's mission and goals and explain how you could add to their chances of success. This will showcase your interest in the company and help them see if you are a good cultural fit.

Helpful Cover Letter Research:

“I was particularly drawn to HubSpot not only for its industry-leading solutions but also for its exceptional company culture. HubSpot's commitment to employee development and fostering a collaborative environment is evident in its recognition as a top workplace consistently. I strongly believe that my passion for continuous learning, self-motivation, and dedication to contributing to a team will make me a valuable asset to HubSpot.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Research:

“I have been inspired by HubSpot's commitment to inbound marketing and its comprehensive suite of solutions. HubSpot's dedication to providing valuable content and fostering meaningful relationships aligns with my own values and aspirations.”

Clear Writing

Your cover letter needs to pack in a lot of important information. But it's also important that your cover letter is clear and concise.

To accomplish this, use professional but easy-to-understand language. Be sure to remove any grammar or spelling errors and avoid lengthy paragraphs and avoid jargon or overly technical language.

You may also want to use bullet points to make your letter easier to skim. Then, proofread your cover letter for clarity or ask a friend to proofread it for you.

  • Guide to Becoming a Better Writer
  • Tips for Simplifying Your Writing

Helpful Cover Letter Writing:

"In addition to my academic accomplishments, I gained valuable practical experience through internships at respected law firms.

Working alongside experienced attorneys, I assisted in providing legal support to clients. This hands-on experience helped me develop a deep understanding of client needs and enhanced my ability to effectively communicate complex legal concepts in a straightforward manner."

Unhelpful Cover Letter Writing:

"Furthermore, as a complement to my academic accomplishments, I have garnered invaluable practical experience through internships at esteemed law firms.

Throughout these placements, I actively collaborated with seasoned attorneys to conduct due diligence and furnish clients with comprehensive legal support. Notably, these experiences fostered a profound comprehension of client necessities, whilst honing my legal acumen to articulately convey intricate legal principles within a lucid and concise framework, adhering to applicable precedents and statutes of limitations."

Genuine Interest and Enthusiasm

Find ways to convey your passion for the role and how excited you are to contribute to the company you're applying to. At the same time, make sure your interest feels authentic and outline how it aligns with your career goals.

Your ultimate goal is an enthusiastic letter that feels honest and leaves a lasting positive impression.

Showing excitement in writing doesn't come naturally for everyone. A few tips that can help you boost the genuine enthusiasm in your letter:

  • Record audio of yourself speaking about the role, then use voice-to-text technology to transcribe and add these sections to your letter.
  • Choose your words carefully .
  • Write in active voice.

Helpful Cover Letter Tone:

“I am genuinely enthusiastic about the prospect of joining [Company/Organization Name] as an accountant. My combination of technical proficiency, eagerness to learn, and strong attention to detail make me an ideal candidate for this role. I am confident that my dedication, reliability, and passion for accounting will contribute to the continued success of your organization.”

Unhelpful Cover Letter Tone:

“Honestly, I can hardly contain my excitement when it comes to reconciliations, financial statement analysis, and tax regulations! Engaging in spirited discussions with professors and classmates has allowed me to foster an unbreakable bond with the fascinating world of accounting, and I'm positively bursting with enthusiasm at the prospect of applying my skills in a professional setting.”

Memorable Conclusion

End your cover letter on a strong note. Summarize your top qualifications, restate your interest in the position, and express your interest in future communication.

Then, thank your reader for their time and consideration and include your contact information for easy follow-up.

To make your conclusion memorable, think about what parts of your letter you‘d most like the hiring manager to keep top of mind. Then, consider your word choice and phrasing. If you’re feeling stuck, this list of ways to close an email can help.

Helpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

"Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the opportunity to further discuss how my qualifications align with the needs of Greenpeace. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.

Together, let's make a lasting impact on our planet.

[Your Name]"

Unhelpful Cover Letter Conclusion:

"Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing my qualifications further and how I can contribute to Greenpeace's mission. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.

I’d like to add another stage to the job search: experimentation.

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search.

But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data I’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.

I certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will.

So, get inspired by these examples and templates. Write an incredible cover letter that shows the hiring team at your dream job exactly who you are.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure to learn more about how we use AI.

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320+ Free cover letter examples (+expert guides)

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A general cover letter example can serve as a great starting point for your application. If you’re feeling stuck, check out this copyable cover letter sample that you can copy and paste to modify for your own experience. You can also change the cover letter template at any time.

Dear Mr. North,

My experience of managing teams through change has taught me that if you put people first, everything else will fall into place. I led a team through a turbulent 18 months of downsizing at Labsworth, while a blistering period of growth at Pine Inc. provided an entirely different experience. No matter what the trajectory of the company is, there are lessons to be learned. Upon the completion of my MBA last year, I understood that I wanted to pursue a management role with an international dimension. I have never used my native Spanish in a business context and feel that your expansion into South America will allow me to employ my change management skills in a cultural setting that is familiar to me. In a start-up, it is important to employ people with both operational and commercial expertise. I have negotiated contracts worth $9.5m, improved delivery efficiencies by 12%, redesigned warehouse packing flows, overseen staff disputes, and driven profitability to industry-leading levels. In my last year at Pine, I spearheaded three initiatives to improve the net profit from 5.2% to 6.1%. Profits improve when everything is considered. I believe in letting my teams dictate the direction of their development. I have experience working with HR to design training modules, something that is particularly useful in a start-up. I enjoy the creativity and challenge of working out how to get the most out of a diverse set of professionals. 60% of my former team have enjoyed promotions over the past five years.

I cannot wait to find out more about your international expansion plans and hope that I am well-placed to assist.

Lara Fernandez

Our best sample cover letters

Check out our most popular cover letter samples below.

Internship cover letter example 

Use this Internship cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Internship positions in 2024. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.

Internship cover letter example

Accounting cover letter example 

Use this Accounting cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Accounting positions in 2024. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.

Accounting cover letter example

Graduate cover letter example

You’re a newly minted college graduate. After years of hard work, you have your diploma in hand and are ready to leap into the workforce. Congratulations! It’s time to get your job applications in order, but it can be a daunting task. Relax! Our graduate cover letter example and writing guide will make it easier to apply for your 2024 dream job.

Graduate cover letter example

Administrative assistant cover letter example

Use this Administrative Assistant cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Administrative Assistant positions in 2024. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.

Administrative Assistant cover letter example

Teacher cover letter example

You know how to introduce yourself on parent-teacher nights, but how best to introduce yourself to the principal when you want a new job? The guide below will show you how to write an A+ teacher cover letter that makes the grade.

Teacher cover letter example

Nursing cover letter example

If you're empathetic, practical, and caring, the world of nursing is calling your name. Here's how to write a nurse cover letter that will turn the hiring manager's head.

Nursing cover letter example

Software engineer cover letter example

Use this Software Engineer cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Software Engineer positions in 2024. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.

Software Engineer cover letter example

Perfect cover letter structure

The perfect cover letter should have a clear and organized structure to make sure it highlights why you’re the right candidate for the job. Here’s what you should include to impress employers and increase your chances of landing the interview:

  • Header: The cover letter header is the space at the top, or sometimes the side, of your cover letter that contains your name, contact information, and any relevant links. The header serves a vital role in identifying your cover letter and helping to create an attractive presentation.
  • Greeting: The greeting of the cover letter is the way you address the person who will be reading it. We recommend using the hiring manager’s name whenever possible to establish a friendly, yet professional tone.
  • Introduction: The introduction consists of the opening lines of your cover letter that serve to grab the hiring manager’s attention and encourage them to read the rest of your cover letter. The introduction should also include the company name and the role for which you are applying.
  • Body (middle part): The body paragraphs are the middle part of your cover letter that give you the space and flexibility to discuss your accomplishments and key qualifications for the role.
  • Conclusion & sign off: The conclusion is the final sentence of the cover letter that generally includes a call to action. This sentence expresses your enthusiasm for the job and politely encourages the hiring manager to schedule an interview.

You can also view our full guide on how to write a cover letter.

Science Teacher cover letter example

What makes a good cover letter example

A good cover letter example contains a combination of factors that work together to present you as the best possible candidate for the role. Remember that a cover letter sample is a starting point and should always be customized for your specific experience and the job you are applying to. In general, here are a few things to pay attention to that will make your cover letter stand out from the rest:

  • The right template : An attractive cover letter is more likely to be noticed by employers. The best cover letter template is one that combines your own professional personality with the brand and image of the company you’re applying to. Our adaptable cover letter sample can serve as a reference when creating your header.
  • Proper formatting : The right formatting makes your cover letter easier to read, and in turn, keeps the hiring manager interested for longer. Here are a few do’s and don’ts for great cover letter formatting .
  • Keep a balance of white space to text
  • Use paragraph breaks and proper punctuation
  • Create an attractive header at the top of the page
  • Adjust the margins to cram in more text
  • Go overboard with flashy colors unless appropriate in your industry
  • Forget to proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • A customized greeting : Your cover letter greeting should use the hiring manager’s name whenever possible. If you can’t find the name of a specific person, make sure to customize the greeting for the company or team.
  • A professional email address : Your email address should be a combination of your first and last name (with numbers if you have a common name). Unprofessional email addresses are a big mistake.
  • Clear structure : Even though a cover letter is one of the more freeform parts of your application, it should still appear organized. Use the sections of our cover letter example above as a model for your own.
  • Detailed examples : The writing of your cover letter should give concrete examples of your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments. Make sure to use numbers and statistics whenever possible.

Cover letter examples FAQs

What to write in a cover letter.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to expand on the skills and experiences described in your resume. Instead of simply repeating what’s written there, make sure to add new details and examples that are relevant for the role and will encourage the hiring manager to contact you for an interview. 

How do you start a cover letter?

There are plenty of ways to start a cover letter , including with an anecdote, a statement about your skills or passion, or your connection to the company. Check out our adaptable cover letter samples for more ideas to get you started writing your own cover letter.

What are 3 things you should include in a cover letter?

Three things that should always be included in a cover letter are:

  • Your name and contact information
  • The hiring manager’s name
  • The name of the company and the role you for which you’re applying

How long should a cover letter be?

Ideally, a cover letter's length should be between 250-400 words. A shorter cover letter may not be able to capture your skills, while a longer one may become tiresome to read. A cover letter should always fit on one page. See our adaptable cover letter examples for details.

What are common cover letter phrases?

Every cover letter should be unique but a few phrases you may find useful are:

  • I am excited to apply to the role of (Job Title) at (Company Name).
  • I am looking forward to the possibility of an interview.
  • Feel free to contact me by phone or email at (Your Phone Number) or (Email Address).
  • Sincerely, (Your Name)

What words should not be used in a cover letter?

We recommend avoiding “ To Whom It May Concern ” as it sounds impersonal and outdated. You should also avoid any language that sounds cold, arrogant, or entitled. Our cover letter samples can serve as an example of the right tone to use.

What does an employer look for in a cover letter?

Employers use cover letters to gauge whether you’re truly interested in the position and if you’ve understood the requirements. Make sure to consult the job description before writing your cover letter.

What is a simple example of a cover letter?

If you’re looking for a simple example of a cover letter, you’ve come to the right place! Here are some of our favorite simple cover letter samples:

Student cover letter example

Use this Student cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Student positions in 2024. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.

Student cover letter example

Driver cover letter example

A driver cover letter goes far deeper than the mechanics of the job. Share the personality that makes you great at what you do.

Driver cover letter example

Customer service representative cover letter example

Use this Customer Service Representative cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Customer Service Representative positions in 2024. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.

Customer Service Representative cover letter example

Free professionally designed templates

How to Start a Cover Letter To Keep Recruiters Reading

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Customers Interviewed by:

amazon

Writing a good cover letter starts with the first word, so you need to know how to start a cover letter right.

Starting a cover letter on the right note is crucial to grab the recruiter’s attention. Whether you’re struggling with a blank document or have a solid foundation, a cover letter needs a punchy opening to make an impact on the hiring team.

What are the key ingredients to starting the perfect cover letter?

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • What to include in your cover letter header.
  • How to start a cover letter greeting.
  • How to write an impressive cover letter opening paragraph.
  • How to start a cover letter off strong.
  • Examples of how to start a cover letter.

Each puzzle piece of your cover letter opener creates a detailed picture of who you are as a candidate. It proves to the recruiter that you’re worth contacting for a job interview . Make a standout first impression with your cover letter by including:

  • A header with your contact information.
  • A personalized greeting.
  • A powerful opening statement.

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What to include in a cover letter header

The top of your cover letter should include a header with your critical contact information, like:

  • Your name and professional title.
  • Your phone number.
  • Your email address.
  • Your LinkedIn profile link.

You can also include other relevant links. These could be to your portfolio website, GitHub, Medium profile, or other industry-specific resources. They will help the recruiter understand your skills.

Include the date, the recipient, the company name, and the address or location of the organization. (This will depend on whether it’s an in-person, hybrid, or remote environment.)

Below is an example of a cover letter including personal information in the header with the date and company information below. This example was created with the Jobscan Cover Letter Generator .

a screenshot of a cover letter header with personal information and contact details

Use our Cover Letter Generator to save yourself time writing your cover letter. The header section will auto-populate based on your resume, so all the details match perfectly.

How to write a cover letter greeting

If you usually start your cover letters with “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern,” it’s time to reinvent your greetings. Not only is this a boring way to start a cover letter, it can come across as lazy.

With a little investigation, it’s easier than ever to find the names of the recruiters or hiring teams. By taking a little time, you can personalize your greeting to boost your chances of a recruiter reading your cover letter from start to finish.

Beat out the 84% of job seekers who don’t find the hiring manager’s name to personalize their applications and go the extra mile.

How can you find the right person to address in your cover letter?

Turn to LinkedIn or the organization’s website.

On LinkedIn, you can either search for the company’s recruiter or talent acquisition team members. Or you can go to the “People” tab of their LinkedIn page to explore the current employees.

Suppose you’re looking for a job at PCL Construction and want to find the name of the recruiter who will likely be reading your cover letter. You can go to the search bar and find the recruiter managing that department by city.

With just a quick search, you’ll find the hiring team members in charge of the role you’re applying for!

A screenshot of a LinkedIn search for a recruiter

You can also go directly to a company’s website and look for the “Team” or “About Us” page for information.

Targeting a greeting to a specific person is easier to do in smaller organizations. If you’re applying for a role at a large company, you can still write an engaging but more general greeting on your cover letter, such as:

  • Dear [Department] Hiring Manager,
  • Dear [Department] Team,
  • Dear [Director of or Head of] Department,
  • Dear [Company Name] Hiring Manager,

How to write a powerful cover letter opening paragraph

Recruiters spend just seven seconds scanning a candidate’s application , so it’s critical to capture their attention in the first line.

Be concise in your cover letter and choose your words with the desired impact in mind. Avoid falling into the old traps of opening your cover letter by stating what role you’re applying for and how you found it. Remember, you have a precious few seconds to illustrate how you can help the organization fulfill its needs, so make every sentence count.

Read the examples below and ask which one will have a greater impact on employers.

“I am thrilled to apply for the Research Analyst position at YouGov, where my experience in leading market research projects that boosted client engagement by 25% and my expertise in data interpretation have consistently delivered actionable insights and strategic recommendations. Using my skills in analyzing primary research data, I’m looking forward to helping your organization make data-backed decisions to drive growth and profitability in your projects.”

“I am excited to apply for the Research Analyst position at YouGov, an esteemed global online research company well-known for its accurate data and market insights. With my background in managing market research projects, interpreting data, and delivering actionable recommendations, I believe I can contribute significantly to your team.”

The point of your cover letter isn’t just to restate your skills from your resume . You need to prove the impact of your skills and how you’ll bring that impact to the organization.

It’s not about you, it’s about the company’s needs.

a breakdown of a cover letter template

Tips for writing a strong cover letter opener

Now that you know what puzzle pieces you need to start a cover letter right, here are some tips to help wow the recruiter with its content.

1. Let your enthusiasm and passion shine through

Your resume illustrates your skills and qualifications , but your cover letter is the place to tell a story. Share what company qualities excite you, what draws you to the organization’s mission or values, and what direct experience you have with the company’s product or service.

Communicating your enthusiasm gives the recruiter an idea of how engaged and dedicated you’ll be to your performance.

With over five years of hands-on experience in property management, I am deeply passionate about creating exceptional living experiences for residents. Your industry-leading services and premium standards in property management systems make me excited about the opportunity to bring my dedication and expertise to your esteemed team.

2. Mention any mutual connections

If you have a professional connection in the company or were referred to a position, name-drop that connection at the top of your cover letter. A connection can help boost your chances of getting an interview, especially if that person can act as a reference.

Give your connection a heads-up if you discovered the opportunity on your own without a referral. That way, if they’re asked about you informally by the hiring team, they’ll know to expect questions.

If you want to give your cover letter a boost with a connection, you can reach out to someone in the company before you apply. Be genuine and try to connect with someone on the team you would be working with. Ask an authentic question or reach out to discuss their experience in the company. Tell them you want to apply for an opening. But don’t try to reach out to anyone just to get a name to plug in your cover letter. It can come across as disingenuous.

My interest in the Health Systems Analyst role was significantly piqued after speaking with Jane Doe, an eHealth Policy Analyst at your organization. Jane highlighted the cutting-edge technology initiatives and collaborative atmosphere within your IT department, which align perfectly with my 7 years of experience in healthcare IT, focusing on electronic health records (EHR) systems and data security.

3. Incorporate your company research

Writing a compelling cover letter requires that you do some research to show the recruiter that you’re aligned with the company’s values, mission, and culture. You need to express to the recruiter why you want to work at their specific organization .

Keep an eye on industry news and learn about the company’s latest projects. By incorporating details about what the organization is currently achieving, you position yourself as a better interview candidate over other applicants.

Your recognition as an industry leader, demonstrated by winning the Best Employer Award for three consecutive years and your successful launch of the community outreach initiative, highlights [Company Name]’s dedication to both employee well-being and social responsibility. I have a track record of increasing employee satisfaction by 20% through strategic wellness programs and look forward to contributing to your continued success.

4. Highlight your most impressive achievement

A well-written resume illustrates your achievements , but your cover letter is the best vehicle to add context and tell a compelling story to show off your impact. You can directly tie it into the role you’re applying for and help the recruiter forge connections between what you have accomplished in the past to what you can achieve for the future—particularly for their company.

In my previous role as a project manager at Apex Management Co, I spearheaded a comprehensive cost-reduction initiative that saved $500,000 annually by optimizing supply chain operations and renegotiating vendor contracts. This accomplishment directly relates to the efficiency and budget management skills required for the Operations Manager position at your organization, where I am eager to contribute to your mission of streamlining processes and enhancing operational efficiency.

5. Clearly state your unique value

In a sea of applicants, it can feel difficult to set yourself apart. But the truth is, no one has the same combination of experience or skills you do. The key to standing out is learning how to frame your unique value to solve a company’s problems. Expand on the key skills listed in the job description and draw on your research of the organization to explicitly spell out how you’ll benefit the team.

With a unique blend of creative and technical skills, I designed a user interface for the HealthCo App that increased user engagement by 40% through user-centered design principles and rigorous usability testing. I am looking forward to bringing this expertise to your organization as a UX Designer, addressing your need for more engaging and intuitive user experiences, particularly as you expand your digital offerings.

6. Keep your cover letter short

Remember that you want the recruiter to read your cover letter from start to finish, so make sure every sentence is meaningful and cut out the fluff. There should be plenty of white space to break up the text and not overwhelm the reader.

Reference our cover letter examples for inspiration on crafting the perfect cover letter.

Let AI write your cover letter for you

Jobscan’s premium Power Edit includes a cover letter generator that harnesses the power of AI to write a customized cover letter based on your tailored resume and the job description. With one click, you’ll generate a cover letter that follows best practices.

You can use it as a framework to defeat blank page syndrome and include anecdotes, details about your mutual connections, and bits of information from your research to impress the hiring team. You can make any alterations in Power Edit and download the PDF when it’s done and ready to be attached to your tailored resume.

A screenshot of the cover letter generator in power edit

Key takeaways

Your cover letter could be the key to landing the interview. By following these essential tips on how to start a cover letter, you’ll capture the attention of the hiring team from the first sentence.

Remember these cover letter rules as you start your writing.

  • Make a clear opening statement that shows passion, knowledge, and your unique value.
  • Keep your cover letter short—stick to a few concise paragraphs to make it readable.
  • Be specific and clear about what you’ll bring to the role.
  • Stay away from humor—the tone can be difficult to read.
  • Avoid reusing the same cover letter and write a custom cover letter for each job.
  • Don’t overinflate your accomplishments or lie about connections that don’t exist.

When including your contact information on a cover letter or resume, make sure to provide the following details: Full Name: Your first and last name. Phone Number: A number where you can be easily reached. Make sure your voicemail is professional. Email Address: Use a professional email address, preferably one that includes your name. Mailing Address: Include your current street address, city, state, and zip code. LinkedIn Profile: If you have a LinkedIn profile that is up-to-date and professional, include the URL. Professional Website or Portfolio: If applicable, include a link to your personal website or online portfolio showcasing your work. This ensures potential employers have multiple ways to reach you and can view your professional online presence.

A good opening sentence for a cover letter can grab the reader’s attention and introduce your purpose for writing. Here are a few examples: For a job application: “I am excited to apply for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name], as advertised on [where you found the job posting]. With my background in [your field or relevant experience ], I am eager to bring my skills and passion to your team.” For a career change: “With a strong foundation in [current field], I am thrilled to apply for the [Job Title] role at [Company Name] to leverage my skills in [new field].” For a specific achievement: “Having recently led a successful [project or achievement], I am enthusiastic about applying for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name] to bring my expertise in [specific skill or area] to your innovative team.” For expressing enthusiasm: “I have long admired [Company Name]’s commitment to [specific value or mission], and I am excited to apply for the [Job Title] position to contribute to your impactful work with my experience in [relevant experience or field].” For a networking referral: “After speaking with [Referrer’s Name], I am inspired to apply for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name] where I can utilize my skills in [specific skill or area] to further your goals.” These starters aim to make a strong first impression by highlighting your enthusiasm, relevant skills, and connection to the company.

Your cover letter opening should contain the following key elements: Your Enthusiasm for the Position: Show genuine excitement and interest in the role you are applying for. This sets a positive tone and captures the reader’s attention. Specific Mention of the Job Title and Company Name: Clearly state the position you are applying for and the name of the company. This ensures the reader knows exactly what role you are interested in. Brief Introduction of Yourself: Include a concise introduction that highlights who you are and what you bring to the table. This can include your current role, relevant experience, or a key achievement. Connection to the Company: Mention something specific about the company that resonates with you, such as their mission, values, recent achievements, or reputation in the industry. This demonstrates that you have researched the company and are genuinely interested in working there. A Hook or Key Strength: Highlight a key skill or accomplishment that makes you a strong candidate for the position. This can be a significant achievement, a unique skill set, or relevant experience that sets you apart from other applicants. Here is an example that incorporates all these elements: “I am excited to apply for the Marketing Manager position at XYZ Company, where I can combine my passion for innovative marketing strategies with my skills in digital advertising. With over five years of experience in driving successful campaigns that increased brand awareness and sales, I am eager to bring my expertise to your dynamic team. I have long admired XYZ Company’s commitment to sustainability and innovative product development, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to contribute to your impactful work. My recent achievement in boosting social media engagement by 40% through targeted campaigns is a testament to my ability to drive results and my dedication to excellence.”

To start a cover letter greeting effectively, follow these guidelines: Address the Hiring Manager by Name: Whenever possible, find out the name of the hiring manager or the person responsible for hiring. Addressing the letter to a specific person shows that you have done your research and adds a personal touch. Use a Professional Salutation: Use a formal greeting such as “Dear” followed by the person’s title (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.) and last name. Avoid using first names or informal greetings. When You Don’t Know the Name: If you cannot find the hiring manager’s name, use a general but professional greeting such as “ Dear Hiring Manager ” or “Dear [Department] Team.” Avoid Outdated Phrases: Refrain from using outdated or overly formal phrases like “To Whom It May Concern.” A modern, professional greeting is more effective. Examples: When you know the hiring manager’s name: “Dear Ms. Smith,” When you know the hiring manager’s title and department: “Dear Marketing Team Lead,” When you don’t know the hiring manager’s name: “Dear Hiring Manager,” When applying to a specific department: “Dear Marketing Team,” Starting your cover letter with a proper greeting sets a professional tone and demonstrates your attention to detail.

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Kelsey is a Content Writer with a background in content creation, bouncing between industries to educate readers everywhere.

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Examples

APA Cover Letter

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Embarking on the journey to find a job or a professional opportunity often starts with a cover letter . It sets the tone for your resume, articulating your fit and interest for the role, and is critical in making a strong first impression. One style of formatting that is common for academic or scholarly applications is the APA (American Psychological Association) format. This guide will help you understand the APA cover letter, give you the best examples, and provide step-by-step instructions to write one.

What is APA Cover Letter?

An APA cover letter is a job application document formatted according to the guidelines established by the American Psychological Association. It’s typically used for academic, scholarly, or scientific applications, and emphasizes clarity, precision, and inclusivity. The APA cover letter should be concise, professional, and clearly communicate the applicant’s qualifications and suitability for the position.

What is the Best Example of APA Cover Letter?

The best APA cover letter is one that adheres to APA guidelines, but also is tailored to the specific job or position for which you’re applying. Here is an example:

[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State, ZIP Code] [Email Address] [Today’s Date]

[Employer’s Name] [Company’s Name] [Company’s Address] [City, State, ZIP Code]

Dear [Employer’s Name],

I am writing to apply for the position of [Job Title], which was advertised on [Job Advertisement Source]. I am currently a [Your Current Job Status or Education Status] with a background in [Your Field of Expertise], and I believe I have the necessary skills and experience for this role.

In my current role at [Your Current or Previous Workplace], I [Describe a Key Responsibility or Achievement]. I am confident that this experience, along with my strong [Mention a Key Skill Relevant to the Job], makes me a strong candidate for this position.

I am impressed by [Something You Admire About the Company] and would be thrilled to contribute to [A Company Goal or Objective].

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to further discuss my suitability for the position.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

The above example serves as a basic APA cover letter that you can modify to suit your specific situation and the job you’re applying for. Remember, it’s crucial to customize each cover letter to the job and organization to which you are applying. Show them you understand their needs and demonstrate how your skills, experience, and aspirations align with the organization’s goals.

APA Cover Letter

Size: 28 KB

Free APA Cover Letters – Copy & Paste

Apa cover letter format.

Formatting is key in an APA cover letter. It usually includes four main sections: the header, the salutation, the body, and the closing. The header contains your contact information, the date, and the employer’s contact information. The salutation addresses the employer directly (if the name is known) or generally if not. The body of the letter contains an introductory paragraph, a middle paragraph (or two), and a concluding paragraph. Finally, the closing includes a polite sign-off and your name. Stick to a professional font like Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial, in 12-point size.

[Introductory Paragraph: State why you are writing, name the position for which you are applying, and mention how you heard about the opening or organization.]

[Body Paragraph(s): Give some background about your education, experience, and qualifications. Tailor this section to the job you’re applying for and highlight your most relevant skills and achievements.]

[Concluding Paragraph: Reiterate your interest in the position and the organization. Thank the employer for considering your application and suggest a follow-up.]

Apa Cover Letter Format

Size: 27 KB

Apa Style Cover Letter Example

An APA style cover letter sticks to the guidelines of the American Psychological Association. It should be typed on clean, white paper, and include a header with the page number and shortened title in the upper right corner. The letter itself should be divided into concise paragraphs, each serving a particular purpose – introduction, body, and conclusion. Language should be formal, clear, and concise, avoiding any unnecessary jargon or complex terms. An APA style cover letter also requires the use of one-inch margins on all sides of the page, and a running head at the top of each page.

While APA cover letters are generally used for academic and scientific applications, their clear and concise nature makes them ideal for various professional contexts as well. Here is another example of an APA cover letter:

I am excited to apply for the [Job Title] position, which I learned about through [Job Advertisement Source]. As a [Your Current Job Status or Education Status] specializing in [Your Field of Expertise], I am confident that my background and skills align perfectly with the requirements of this role.

During my time at [Your Current or Previous Workplace], I have gained valuable experience in [Key Responsibility or Achievement]. I have developed strong [Key Skill Relevant to the Job] skills and have consistently demonstrated my ability to [Key Achievement or Task].

Your company’s commitment to [Something You Admire About the Company] resonates with my professional beliefs, and I am eager to contribute to [A Company Goal or Objective].

Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to further discussing how my skills and experiences align with the needs of your company.

Apa Style Cover Letter Example

Size: 188 KB

APA Cover Letter for Literature Review Example

Writing an APA cover letter for a literature review requires a slightly different approach. In this context, the letter often introduces your review to the editor of a journal, explaining the purpose, scope, and significance of the review. Here’s an example:

[Editor’s Name] [Journal’s Name] [Journal’s Address] [City, State, ZIP Code]

Dear [Editor’s Name],

I am submitting a manuscript for consideration of publication in [Journal’s Name]. The manuscript is a literature review entitled “[Title of Literature Review]”. This review provides a comprehensive examination of the current state of knowledge in [Specific Field of Study], drawing from a wide range of sources.

The literature review explores the following themes: [Briefly Outline the Themes/Topics Covered]. I believe it presents valuable insights and fills a notable gap in the current literature of [Specific Field of Study].

Thank you for considering my manuscript for publication. I look forward to your feedback and the possibility of publishing my work in [Journal’s Name].

APA Cover Letter for Literature Review Example

Size: 26 KB

Professional APA Cover Letter Example

Writing a professional cover letter involves maintaining a formal tone, clarity, precision, and inclusivity as prescribed by the APA guidelines. It is also important to showcase your qualifications, skills, and experiences that make you a strong candidate for the position. Here’s an example of a professional APA cover letter:

I am writing to express my strong interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company’s Name]. I am a [Your Current Job Status or Education Status], specializing in [Your Field of Expertise], and I am confident that I am a suitable candidate for this role.

My experience at [Your Current or Previous Workplace] has equipped me with the necessary skills and experiences for this role. Here, I [Describe a Key Responsibility or Achievement]. My ability to [Mention a Key Skill Relevant to the Job] has been instrumental in my success and would undoubtedly be beneficial in this role.

Your organization’s dedication to [Something You Admire About the Company] aligns with my professional goals and values, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to [A Company Goal or Objective].

Thank you for considering my application. I am eager to further discuss my qualifications and how I can contribute to your team.

Professional APA Cover Letter Example

Size: 29 KB

APA Cover Letter for Business Example

An APA cover letter for a business position would look similar to other cover letters, but it would particularly highlight skills and experiences relevant to the business role you’re applying for. Here’s an example:

I am applying for the [Job Title] position at [Company’s Name], which was advertised on [Job Advertisement Source]. With my background in [Your Field of Expertise], and my experience in [Business-Related Experience], I believe I am well-suited for this role.

At [Your Current or Previous Workplace], I successfully [Describe a Business-Related Achievement]. This experience, coupled with my knowledge in [Mention a Business-Related Skill], makes me a strong candidate for this position.

I am particularly attracted to your company because of its commitment to [Something You Admire About the Company], and I am keen to contribute to [A Company Goal or Objective].

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to discussing how my skills and experiences can meet the needs of your business.

APA Cover Letter for Business Example

APA Cover Letter for Internship Example

Internships are crucial stepping stones in your career path. An APA cover letter for an internship would emphasize your eagerness to learn and contribute, despite having less experience. Here’s an example:

I am writing to express my interest in the internship opportunity posted on [Job Advertisement Source]. As a [Your Current Education Status] majoring in [Your Field of Study], I believe this internship at [Company’s Name] would provide an invaluable opportunity to expand my knowledge and gain real-world experience.

During my time at [University Name or Previous Internship], I gained skills in [Mention Key Skills Relevant to the Internship]. This experience, along with my academic training in [Mention Academic Achievement or Relevant Courses], make me a strong candidate for this position.

I am particularly impressed with [Something You Admire About the Company] and I am eager to contribute to [A Company Goal or Objective].

Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the prospect of joining your team and learning from professionals in the field.

APA Cover Letter for Internship Example

APA Cover Letter for Job Example

An APA cover letter for a job would typically include your qualifications, experiences, and the reasons you are interested in the job and the company. Here’s an example:

I am writing to apply for the [Job Title] position at [Company’s Name], as advertised on [Job Advertisement Source]. As a [Your Current Job Status or Education Status] with a background in [Your Field of Expertise], I am confident that my skills and experience make me a strong candidate for this position.

In my current role at [Your Current or Previous Workplace], I have [Describe a Key Achievement]. I have developed a strong ability to [Mention a Key Skill Relevant to the Job], which I believe would be beneficial in this role.

I am particularly drawn to [Company’s Name] because of [Something You Admire About the Company], and I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to [A Company Goal or Objective].

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing my candidacy further.

APA Cover Letter for Job Example

APA Cover Letter for School Example

An APA cover letter for a school position, such as a teacher or administrator, should focus on your teaching philosophy, achievements, and the skills that make you a strong educator. Here’s an example:

[Principal’s or Hiring Manager’s Name] [School’s Name] [School’s Address] [City, State, ZIP Code]

Dear [Principal’s or Hiring Manager’s Name],

I am writing to express my interest in the [Job Title] position at [School’s Name], as advertised on [Job Advertisement Source]. As a dedicated educator with [Number of Years of Experience] years of experience, I am confident in my ability to contribute positively to your school.

In my current role as [Your Current Job Title] at [Your Current or Previous School], I have [Describe a Key Achievement or Responsibility]. My commitment to [Key Aspect of Teaching or Education] has been a key factor in this success.

I am particularly drawn to [School’s Name] because of its commitment to [Something You Admire About the School], and I am excited about the prospect of contributing to this commitment.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing my qualifications further.

APA Cover Letter for School Example

APA 7th Edition Cover Letter Example

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual includes guidelines that can be applied to a cover letter. Here is an example:

[Recipient’s Name] [Company’s Name] [Company’s Address] [City, State, ZIP Code]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I am excited to apply for the [Job Title] position at [Company’s Name], as advertised on [Job Advertisement Source]. With my background in [Your Field of Expertise] and [Another Field of Expertise or Skill], I am confident that I would make a valuable addition to your team.

At [Your Current or Previous Workplace or University], I have been responsible for [Describe a Key Responsibility or Achievement]. This experience, along with my [Key Skill or Attribute], would allow me to make a significant contribution to [Company’s Name].

I am drawn to [Company’s Name] because of its commitment to [Something You Admire About the Company], and I am excited about the prospect of contributing to this.

APA 7th Edition Cover Letter Example

APA Cover Letter for University Example

When writing an APA cover letter for a university position, focus on your academic and research experiences. Here is an example:

[Recipient’s Name] [University’s Name] [University’s Address] [City, State, ZIP Code]

I am writing to apply for the [Job Title] position at [University’s Name], as advertised on [Job Advertisement Source]. As a [Your Current Position or Field of Study] with a strong background in [Your Area of Expertise], I am confident that I would make a valuable addition to your team.

During my time at [Your Current or Previous University or Workplace], I have focused on [Describe Your Key Area of Research or Work]. I believe this experience would enable me to contribute effectively to [University’s Name].

I am particularly drawn to [University’s Name] because of its emphasis on [Something You Admire About the University], and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to this.

APA Cover Letter for University Example

How do you Write an APA Cover Letter?

Writing an APA cover letter involves several key steps

1. Contact Information: Include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter. Also, include the date, the recipient’s name, and the company’s address.

2. Salutation: Always address the letter to a specific person if possible. If the job posting doesn’t include a name, try to find it on the company’s website.

3. Opening Paragraph: Introduce yourself, state the position you are applying for, and mention where you found the job listing.

4. Middle Paragraphs: Discuss your qualifications, experiences, and skills that make you a good fit for the position. Be specific and provide examples.

5. Closing Paragraph: Express your interest in the company and the role, and mention your eagerness to discuss your qualifications further in an interview.

6. Closing: End the letter with a professional closing like “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” followed by your name.

Tips for APA Cover Letter

1. Be concise: Keep your cover letter to one page. Your letter should be clear and concise, highlighting the most important information.

2. Use a professional tone: Avoid using slang or overly casual language. Be professional and respectful in your tone.

3. Customize each letter: Tailor your cover letter to each job you apply for. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job.

4. Proofread: Make sure your cover letter is free of errors. Proofread it several times, and consider having someone else look it over as well.

APA style cover letters are a professional and effective way to introduce yourself to potential employers. By following these guidelines, you can create a compelling cover letter that showcases your qualifications and demonstrates your interest in the role.

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Write a cover letter for a college student applying for an internship at an educational technology company

Form a cover letter for a high school student seeking a part-time job at a local bookstore.

He is dangerous in word, deed and action

He puts self over country, he loathes the laws we live by, donald trump is unfit to lead.

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values . It is separate from the newsroom.

Next week, for the third time in eight years, Donald Trump will be nominated as the Republican Party’s candidate for president of the United States. A once great political party now serves the interests of one man, a man as demonstrably unsuited for the office of president as any to run in the long history of the Republic, a man whose values, temperament, ideas and language are directly opposed to so much of what has made this country great.

It is a chilling choice against this national moment. For more than two decades, large majorities of Americans have said they are dissatisfied with the direction of the country, and the post-Covid era of stubborn inflation, high interest rates, social division and political stagnation has left many voters even more frustrated and despondent.

best cover letter for free

The Republican Party once pursued electoral power in service to solutions for such problems, to building “the shining city on a hill,” as Ronald Reagan liked to say. Its vision of the United States — embodied in principled public servants like George H.W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney — was rooted in the values of freedom, sacrifice, individual responsibility and the common good. The party’s conception of those values was reflected in its longstanding conservative policy agenda, and today many Republicans set aside their concerns about Mr. Trump because of his positions on immigration, trade and taxes. But the stakes of this election are not fundamentally about policy disagreements. The stakes are more foundational: what qualities matter most in America’s president and commander in chief.

Mr. Trump has shown a character unworthy of the responsibilities of the presidency. He has demonstrated an utter lack of respect for the Constitution, the rule of law and the American people. Instead of a cogent vision for the country’s future, Mr. Trump is animated by a thirst for political power: to use the levers of government to advance his interests, satisfy his impulses and exact retribution against those who he thinks have wronged him.

He is, quite simply, unfit to lead.

The Democrats are rightly engaged in their own debate about whether President Biden is the right person to carry the party’s nomination into the election, given widespread concerns among voters about his age-related fitness. This debate is so intense because of legitimate concerns that Mr. Trump may present a danger to the country, its strength, security and national character — and that a compelling Democratic alternative is the only thing that would prevent his return to power. It is a national tragedy that the Republicans have failed to have a similar debate about the manifest moral and temperamental unfitness of their standard-bearer, instead setting aside their longstanding values, closing ranks and choosing to overlook what those who worked most closely with the former president have described as his systematic dishonesty, corruption, cruelty and incompetence.

That task now falls to the American people. We urge voters to see the dangers of a second Trump term clearly and to reject it. The stakes and significance of the presidency demand a person who has essential qualities and values to earn our trust, and on each one, Donald Trump fails.

Moral Fitness Matters

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Presidents are confronted daily with challenges that require not just strength and conviction but also honesty, humility, selflessness, fortitude and the perspective that comes from sound moral judgment.

If Mr. Trump has these qualities, Americans have never seen them in action on behalf of the nation’s interests. His words and actions demonstrate a disregard for basic right and wrong and a clear lack of moral fitness for the responsibilities of the presidency.

He lies blatantly and maliciously, embraces racists , abuses women and has a schoolyard bully’s instinct to target society’s most vulnerable. He has delighted in coarsening and polarizing the town square with ever more divisive and incendiary language. Mr. Trump is a man who craves validation and vindication, so much that he would prefer a hostile leader’s lies to his own intelligence agencies’ truths and would shake down a vulnerable ally for short-term political advantage . His handling of everything from routine affairs to major crises was undermined by his blundering combination of impulsiveness, insecurity and unstudied certainty.

This record shows what can happen to a country led by such a person: America’s image, credibility and cohesion were relentlessly undermined by Mr. Trump during his term.

None of his wrongful actions are so obviously discrediting as his determined and systematic attempts to undermine the integrity of elections — the most basic element of any democracy — an effort that culminated in an insurrection at the Capitol to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power.

On Jan. 6, 2021, Mr. Trump incited a mob to violence with hateful lies, then stood by for hours as hundreds of his supporters took his word and stormed the Capitol with the aim of terrorizing members of Congress into keeping him in office. He praised these insurrectionists and called them patriots; today he gives them a starring role at campaign rallies, playing a rendition of the national anthem sung by inmates involved with Jan. 6., and he has promised to consider pardoning the rioters if re-elected. He continues to wrong the country and its voters by lying about the 2020 election, branding it stolen, despite the courts, the Justice Department and Republican state officials disputing him. No man fit for the presidency would flog such pernicious and destructive lies about democratic norms and values, but the Trumpian hunger for vindication and retribution has no moral center.

To vest such a person with the vast powers of the presidency is to endanger American interests and security at home as well as abroad. The nation’s commander in chief must uphold the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.” It is the closest thing that this secular nation has to a sacred trust. The president has several duties and powers that are his alone: He has the sole authority to launch a nuclear weapon. He has the authority to send American troops into harm’s way and to authorize the use of lethal force against individuals and other nations. Americans who serve in the military also take an oath to defend the Constitution, and they rely on their commander in chief to take that oath as seriously as they do.

Mr. Trump has shown, repeatedly, that he does not. On numerous occasions, he asked his defense secretary and commanders in the American armed forces to violate that oath. On other occasions, he demanded that members of the military violate norms that preserve the dignity of the armed services and protect the military from being used for political purposes. They largely refused these illegal and immoral orders, as the oath requires.

The lack of moral grounding undermines Mr. Trump even in areas where voters view him as stronger and trust him more than Mr. Biden, like immigration and crime. Veering into a kind of brutal excess that is, at best, immoral and, at worst, unconstitutional, he has said that undocumented immigrants were “ poisoning the blood of our country ,” and his advisers say he would aim to round them up in mass detention camps and end birthright citizenship . He has indicated that, if faced with episodes of rioting or crime surges, he would unilaterally send troops into American cities. He has asked aides if the United States could shoot migrants below the waist to slow them down, and he has said that he would use the Insurrection Act to deploy the military against protesters.

During his time in office, none of those things happened because there were enough people in military leadership with the moral fitness to say “no” to such illegal orders. But there are good reasons to worry about whether that would happen again, as Mr. Trump works harder to surround himself with people who enable rather than check his most insidious impulses.

The Supreme Court, with its ruling on July 1 granting presidents “absolute immunity” for official acts, has removed an obstacle to Mr. Trump’s worst impulses: the threat of legal consequences. What remains is his own sense of right and wrong. Our country’s future is too precious to rely on such a broken moral compass.

Principled Leadership Matters

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Republican presidents and presidential candidates have used their leadership at critical moments to set a tone for society to live up to. Mr. Reagan faced down totalitarianism in the 1980s, appointed the first woman to the Supreme Court and worked with Democrats on bipartisan tax and immigration reforms. George H.W. Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act and decisively defended an ally, Kuwait, against Iraqi aggression. George W. Bush, for all his failures after Sept. 11, did not stoke hate against or demonize Muslims or Islam.

As a candidate during the 2008 race, Mr. McCain spoke out when his fellow conservatives spread lies about his opponent, Barack Obama. Mr. Romney was willing to sacrifice his standing and influence in the party he once represented as a presidential nominee, by boldly calling out Mr. Trump’s failings and voting for his removal from office.

These acts of leadership are what it means to put country first, to think beyond oneself.

Mr. Trump has demonstrated contempt for these American ideals. He admires autocrats, from Viktor Orban to Vladimir Putin to Kim Jong-un. He believes in the strongman model of power — a leader who makes things happen by demanding it, compelling agreement through force of will or personality. In reality, a strongman rules through fear and the unprincipled use of political might for self-serving ends, imposing poorly conceived policies that smother innovation, entrepreneurship, ideas and hope.

During his four years in office, Mr. Trump tried to govern the United States as a strongman would, issuing orders or making decrees on Twitter. He announced sudden changes in policy — on who can serve in the military , on trade policy, on how the United States deals with North Korea or Russia — without consulting experts on his staff about how these changes would affect America. Indeed, nowhere did he put his political or personal interests above the national interest more tragically than during the pandemic , when he faked his way through a crisis by touting conspiracy theories and pseudoscience while ignoring the advice of his own experts and resisting basic safety measures that would have saved lives.

He took a similar approach to America’s strategic relationships abroad. Mr. Trump lost the trust of America’s longstanding allies, especially in NATO, leaving Europe less secure and emboldening the far right and authoritarian leaders in Europe, Latin America and Asia. He pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, leaving that country, already a threat to the world, more dangerous, thanks to a revived program that has achieved near-weapons-grade uranium.

In a second term, his willingness to appease Mr. Putin would leave Ukraine’s future as a democratic and independent country in doubt. Mr. Trump implies that he could single-handedly end the catastrophic war in Gaza but has no real plan. He has suggested that in a second term he’d increase tariffs on Chinese goods to 60 percent or higher and that he would put a 10 percent tariff on all imported goods, moves that would raise prices for American consumers and reduce innovation by allowing U.S. industries to rely on protectionism instead.

The worst of the Trump administration’s policies were often blocked by Congress, by court challenges and by the objections of honorable public servants who stepped in to thwart his demands when they were irresponsible or did not follow the law. When Mr. Trump wanted an end to Obamacare, a single Republican senator, Mr. McCain, saved it, preserving health care for millions of Americans. Mr. Trump demanded that James Comey, his F.B.I. director, pledge loyalty to him and end an investigation into a political ally; Mr. Comey refused. Scientists and public health officials called out and corrected his misinformation about climate science and Covid. The Supreme Court sided against the Trump administration more times than any other president since at least Franklin D. Roosevelt.

A second Trump administration would be different. He intends to fill his administration with sycophants, those who have shown themselves willing to obey Mr. Trump’s demands or those who lack the strength to stand up to him. He wants to remove those who would be obstacles to his agenda, by enacting an order to make it easier to fire civil servants and replace them with those more loyal to him.

This means not only that Americans would lose the benefit of their expertise but also that America would be governed in a climate of fear, in which government employees must serve the interests of the president rather than the public. All cabinet secretaries follow a president’s lead, but Mr. Trump envisions a nation in which public service as Americans understand it would cease to exist — where individual civil servants and departments could no longer make independent decisions and where research by scientists and public health experts and investigations by the Justice Department and others in federal law enforcement would be more malleable to the demands of the White House.

Another term under Mr. Trump’s leadership would risk doing permanent damage to our government. As Mr. Comey, a longtime Republican, wrote in a 2019 guest essay for Times Opinion, “Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from.” Very few who serve under him can avoid this fate “because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites,” Mr. Comey wrote. “Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values. And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.” America will get nowhere with a strongman. It needs a strong leader.

Character Matters

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Character is the quality that gives a leader credibility, authority and influence. During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump’s petty attacks on his opponents and their families led many Republicans to conclude that he lacked such character. Other Republicans, including those who supported the former president’s policies in office, say they can no longer in good conscience back him for the presidency. “It’s a job that requires the kind of character he just doesn’t have,” Paul Ryan, a former Republican House speaker, said of Mr. Trump in May .

Those who know Mr. Trump’s character best — the people he appointed to serve in the most important positions of his White House — have expressed grave doubts about his fitness for office.

His former chief of staff John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, described Mr. Trump as “a person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution and the rule of law.” Bill Barr, whom Mr. Trump appointed as attorney general, said of him , “He will always put his own interest and gratifying his own ego ahead of everything else, including the country’s interest.” James Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general who served as defense secretary, said , “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.”

Mike Pence, Mr. Trump’s vice president, has disavowed him. No other vice president in modern American history has done this. “I believe that anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States,” Mr. Pence has said . “And anyone who asked someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again.”

These are hardly exceptions. In any other American administration, a single cabinet-level defection is rare. But an unprecedented number of Mr. Trump’s appointees have publicly criticized his leadership, opposed his 2024 presidential candidacy or ducked questions about his fitness for a second term. More than a dozen of his most senior appointees — those he chose to work alongside him and who saw his performance most closely — have spoken out against him, serving as witnesses about the kind of leader he is.

There are many ways to judge leaders’ character; one is to see whether they accept responsibility for their actions. As a general rule, Mr. Trump abhors accountability. If he loses, the election is rigged. If he is convicted, it’s because the judges are out to get him. If he doesn’t get his way in a deal, as happened multiple times with Congress in his term, he shuts down the government or threatens to.

Americans do not expect their presidents to be perfect; many of them have exhibited hubris, self-regard, arrogance and other character flaws. But the American system of government is more than just the president: It is a system of checks and balances, and it relies on everyone in government to intervene when a president’s personal failings might threaten the common good.

Mr. Trump tested those limits as president, and little has changed about him in the four years since he lost re-election. He tries to intimidate anyone with the temerity to testify as a witness against him. He attacks the integrity of judges who are doing their duty to hold him accountable to the law. He mocks those he dislikes and lies about those who oppose him and targets Republicans for defeat if they fail to bend the knee.

It may be tempting for Americans to believe that a second Trump presidency would be much like the first, with the rest of government steeled to protect the country and resist his worst impulses. But the strongman needs others to be weak, and Mr. Trump is surrounding himself with yes men.

The American public has a right to demand more from their president and those who would serve under him.

A President’s Words Matter

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When America saw white nationalists and neo-Nazis march through the streets of Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 and activists were rallying against racism, Mr. Trump spoke of “very fine people on both sides.” When he was pressed about the white supremacist Proud Boys during a 2020 debate, Mr. Trump told them to “stand back and stand by,” a request that, records show, they took literally in deciding to storm Congress. This winter, the former president urged Iowans to vote for him and score a victory over their fellow Americans — “all of the liars, cheaters, thugs, perverts, frauds, crooks, freaks, creeps.” And in a Veterans Day speech in New Hampshire, he used the word “vermin,” a term he has deployed to describe both immigrants and political opponents.

What a president says reflects on the United States and the kind of society we aspire to be.

In 2022 this board raised an urgent alarm about the rising threat of political violence in the United States and what Americans could do to stop it. At the time, Mr. Trump was preparing to declare his intention to run for president again, and the Republican Party was in the middle of a fight for control, between Trumpists and those who were ready to move on from his destructive leadership. This struggle within the party has consequences for all Americans. “A healthy democracy requires both political parties to be fully committed to the rule of law and not to entertain or even tacitly encourage violence or violent speech,” we wrote.

A large faction of one party in our country fails that test, and that faction, Mr. Trump’s MAGA extremists, now control the party and its levers of power. There are many reasons his conquest of the Republican Party is bad for American democracy, but one of the most significant is that those extremists have often embraced violent speech or the belief in using violence to achieve their political goals. This belief led to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and it has resulted in a rising number of threats against judges, elected officials and prosecutors.

This threat cannot be separated from Mr. Trump’s use of language to encourage violence, to dehumanize groups of people and to spread lies. A study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, released in October 2022, came to the conclusion that MAGA Republicans (as opposed to those who identified themselves as traditional Republicans) “are more likely to hold extreme and racist beliefs, to endorse political violence, to see such violence as likely to occur and to predict that they will be armed under circumstances in which they consider political violence to be justified.”

The Republican Party had an opportunity to renounce Trumpism; it has submitted to it. Republican leaders have had many opportunities to repudiate his violent discourse and make clear that it should have no place in political life; they failed to. Sizable numbers of voters in Republican primaries abandoned Mr. Trump for other candidates, and independent and undecided voters have said that Mr. Trump’s language has alienated them from his candidacy.

But with his nomination by his party all but assured, Mr. Trump has become even more reckless in employing extreme and violent speech, such as his references to executing generals who raise questions about his actions. He has argued, before the Supreme Court, that he should have the right to assassinate a political rival and face no consequences.

The Rule of Law Matters

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The danger from these foundational failings — of morals and character, of principled leadership and rhetorical excess — is never clearer than in Mr. Trump’s disregard for rule of law, his willingness to do long-term damage to the integrity of America’s systems for short-term personal gain.

As we’ve noted, Mr. Trump’s disregard for democracy was most evident in his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and to encourage violence to stop the peaceful transfer of power. What stood in his way were the many patriotic Americans, at every level of government, who rejected his efforts to bully them into complying with his demands to change election results. Instead, they followed the rules and followed the law. This respect for the rule of law, not the rule of men, is what has allowed American democracy to survive for more than 200 years.

In the four years since losing the election, Mr. Trump has become only more determined to subvert the rule of law, because his whole theory of Trumpism boils down to doing whatever he wants without consequence. Americans are seeing this unfold as Mr. Trump attempts to fight off numerous criminal charges. Not content to work within the law to defend himself, he is instead turning to sympathetic judges — including two Supreme Court justices with apparent conflicts over the 2020 election and Jan. 6-related litigation. The playbook: delay federal prosecution until he can win election and end those legal cases. His vision of government is one that does what he wants, rather than a government that operates according to the rule of law as prescribed by the Constitution, the courts and Congress.

As divided as America is, people across the political spectrum generally recoil from rigged rules, favoritism, self-dealing and abuse of power. Our country has been so stable for so long in part because most Americans and most American leaders follow the rules or face the consequences.

So much in the past two decades has tested these norms in our society — the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, the failures that led to the 2008 financial crisis and the recession that followed, the pandemic and all the fractures and inequities that it revealed. We need a recommitment to the rule of law and the values of fair play. This election is a moment for Americans to decide whether we will keep striving for those ideals.

Mr. Trump rejects them. If he is re-elected, America will face a new and precarious future, one that it may not be prepared for. It is a future in which intelligence agencies would be judged not according to whether they preserved national security but by whether they served Mr. Trump’s political agenda. It means that prosecutors and law enforcement officials would be judged not according to whether they follow the law to keep Americans safe but by whether they obey his demands to “go after” political enemies. It means that public servants would be judged not according to their dedication or skill but by whether they show sufficient loyalty to him and his MAGA agenda.

Even if Mr. Trump’s vague policy agenda would not be fulfilled, he could rule by fear. The lesson of other countries shows that when a bureaucracy is politicized or pressured, the best public servants will run for the exits.

This is what has already happened in Mr. Trump’s Republican Party, with principled leaders and officials retiring, quitting or facing ouster. In a second term, he intends to do that to the whole of government.

Election Day is less than four months away. The case against Mr. Trump is extensive, and this board urges Americans to perform a simple act of civic duty in an election year: Listen to what Mr. Trump is saying, pay attention to what he did as president and allow yourself to truly inhabit what he has promised to do if returned to office.

Voters frustrated by inflation and immigration or attracted by the force of Mr. Trump’s personality should pause and take note of his words and promises. They have little to do with unity and healing and a lot to do with making the divisions and anger in our society wider and more intense than they already are.

The Republican Party is making its choice next week; soon all Americans will be able to make their own choice. What would Mr. Trump do in a second term? He has told Americans who he is and shown them what kind of leader he would be.

When someone fails so many foundational tests, you don’t give him the most important job in the world.

From top, photographs and video by Damon Winter/The New York Times (2) and Jay Turner Frey Seawell (5).

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