General Cover Letter Sample and How to Customize (+ Free Template Download)

generic cover letter

A cover letter (or application letter) is the first introduction between a job applicant and a hiring manager. This letter is authored by the candidate to support what’s contained within the resume. The cover letter suggests reasons why the candidate is a “good fit” for the job opportunity and an open position for the potential employer.

A generic cover letter (or general cover letter) might be used for entry-level positions that require less customization and tailoring to the cover letter. Whenever possible, as a candidate, write the cover letter for the specific position being applied to. And customize the letter to the employer. This includes speaking to their company values, objectives, and goals for the role normally listed in the job description.

Writing an Effective Cover Letter

In order to make a general cover letter (or “generic cover letter”) a compelling cover letter, it’s important to speak to the job title and its needs within the company. Whether the application is for an internship, entry-level position, or senior position, speaking to the requirements in the job posting is what will make the recruiter or hiring manager feel compelled to invite the job seeker to a job interview.

For example, if the job description is requiring a specific skill, it can important to mention specific examples of work accomplishments or career accomplishments that display the use of that relevant skill. Using technology to advance the sales department, for example, is a great way to show adaptability and innovative thinking.

It may be less important to reiterate the specific job requirements to the hiring manager or recruiter as it is to display work accomplishments that the prospective employer will value.

A professional cover letter always addressed a specific person by name (the hiring manager or recruiter) and helps to “round out” the job application by explaining work situations and accomplishments that are significant achievements. This can help the recruiter or hiring manager to predict an employee’s competencies within the workplace.

Tip: There is no such thing as a "perfect cover letter". Only an effective cover letter that speaks to the potential employer's requirements and aspirations for the job title. It may be nearly impossible to predict these desires through the job description alone. Performing an informational interview, where a potential employee speaks with employee personnel to ask career advice can be helpful in receiving information about what the hiring manager or recruiter is seeking for the role. This can be an effective way to write a highly tailored or great cover letter.

Cover Letter Format

Contact Information
Phone Number
Email Address
LinkedIn Profile
(Optional) Professional Website

Dear Mr./Mrs. First Last Name (or "Dear Hiring Manager")

Opening Paragraph
The first paragraph should greet the reader and suggest an understanding of the job requirements. This paragraph should be no more than 150 words.

Second Paragraph
The body paragraph should contain relative work examples and career accomplishments that entice the hiring manager to read the resume.

Closing Paragraph
Thank the reader for their time. Suggest a desire to interview with the company as soon as possible.

Letter Closing
Sincerely/Yours truly

Typed Name or handwritten signature

Generic Cover Letter Sample

Below is a general cover letter example.

Ian Smith

May 1st, 2013

Dear Mr. Johnson —

I'm writing this letter to submit my application and the enclosed resume for the job opening. The first thing that I want to share is how much I respect the values of the company. At ZYX Company I know that innovation is valued. How innovation occurs is through collaboration between employees and embracing the game of asking questions, using data to support the thesis, then proving those innovations against customer desires. This feels like science to me and something I would love to be around on a regular basis.

In previous roles, I was able to embrace technology innovations to reduce the time required to do certain clerical jobs or tasks, as well as increase overall production by automating the simple or "mundane" tasks. This is the type of thinking I would like to bring with me to the company. And is something that I can apply to almost any job title within the organization.

I'd like to share more accomplishments with you and display my critical-thinking for the company. I'm available to interview all this week at your convenience.

Thank you so much,
Ian Smith.

Generic Cover Letter Template

free cover letter template

Generic Cover Letter Template Download

Download this cover letter letter template in Word format. Can be imported as a Google Doc. Instant download. No email required.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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