Careers Career Paths Cover Letter Writing Resources Share PINTEREST Email Print Career Paths Technology Careers Sports Careers Sales Project Management Professional Writer Music Careers Media Legal Careers US Military Careers Government Careers Finance Careers Fiction Writing Careers Entertainment Careers Criminology Careers Book Publishing Aviation Animal Careers Advertising Learn More By Laura Schneider Laura Schneider Laura Schneider is a freelance writer who wrote about technology career paths for The Balance Careers. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 11/20/19 A cover letter is often the first communication an employer sees, yet fewer candidates seem to be taking the time to write one, especially with the ease of dashing off a job application via email. However, a good cover letter can serve to highlight your accomplishments, call attention to special skills you possess and shine a spotlight on your excellent writing skills. The basic elements of a cover letter include: Salutation: Compose a greeting in which you address the letter to the appropriate person. Opening: Write a friendly and personal opening paragraph that indicates the ways in which your skills are an ideal fit for the job. Hook: Grab your reader's attention and interest by showcasing your past achievements and describe how they relate to the current position. Skills and abilities: Point out additional relevant and complementary skills. Close: Summarize your strengths and your desire to follow up with a meeting. Here are some of our favorite cover letter resources to assist you in creating a cover letter that grabs attention. How to Write a Cover Letter PhotoAlto/Eric Audras / Getty Images Remember that a cover letter is selling something and that something is you. It allows you to introduce yourself, create a favorable first impression and demonstrate your stellar communication skills. Here are some basic guidelines on how to compose a cover letter. This article discusses its basic components and gives some advice on getting started. Sample Cover Letter for an Entry Level Position Writing a cover letter for your first job can be tricky because you don't have work experience to draw on. But remember that academic experience, internships and volunteer work count! Here's sample cover letter for an entry level job opening which you can customize for your own use. Cover Letter Template This basic cover letter template can get you started on writing your own cover letter. Use it as a springboard and customize it to suit your experience. Remember that you don't want to send the same cookie cutter letter to everyone. It will stick out sorely and convey a lack of interest and passion for the specific position. It's important to create a personal note for each job application to demonstrate that you're truly interested in working for that company in particular. Email Cover Letter Example Here's an example of a cover letter that can be sent via email. This one happens to mention salary history which can be used if that information is requested. Note that the format and tone of an email cover are no different than if you were sending a hard copy letter. Emails can stack up or get buried, so you haven't heard anything in a week, follow up with an additional email to restate your interest in the position. You can forward a copy of your initial email with a short and simple note. Cover Letter Links A cover letter lets you introduce yourself before the recruiter delves into the details of your resume. It's also a chance to showcase your writing ability, communication skills and point out what sets you apart from other candidates. Here are links to cover letters by category - new grad, MBA, IT, etc.Links to cover letters for new grads, MBA students, IT professionals and programmers. You'll also find sample cover letters from Vault.com and ResuMagic cover letters for technical positions including software engineers, software architects and technical consultants. We round out the list with advice on cover letters do's and don'ts from Forbes magazine and more templates that can be modified to suit your needs.