Good Basic Cover Letter

This basic cover letter can be adapted for just about any job search situation. We show you how to put together a straightforward and convincing cover letter, how to effectively communicate your relevant skills and competencies for the job and how to make sure your resume gets read.

This checklist and sample cover letter will ensure you tick all the right boxes.

A resume without a cover letter often gets no further than the trash can. Show your interest and enthusiasm for the job opportunity by taking the time to write a good cover letter.

Follow the guidelines and use the sample letter to get the right message across.

The Cover Letter Checklist

  • Always address the letter to an individual by his or her name. Do not send it to the "Hiring Manager" or "To Whom It May Concern". Contact the company and find out who the cover letter should be addressed to.
  • Clearly establish why you are writing the cover letter in your opening sentences - the position you are applying for and why you are applying.
  • Express enthusiasm and confidence that you are a suitable candidate in your introduction.
  • Highlight your competencies and summarize why you are the right person for the job.
  • Close the cover letter with a proactive request for an interview, meeting or follow-up.

What competencies should I focus on?

There are a number of competencies that are recognized as key to successful performance in nearly all job fields. The employer will be looking for evidence of these competencies in your basic cover letter. The likelihood is that you already possess and use these skills in your professional life. Go through each of these 6 key competencies and think of an example of how you use that particular behavior or competency in your work.

Communication skills - able to express your ideas clearly, able to listen actively, able to follow instructions properly and give information appropriately.

Teamwork - able to work together with others to reach a goal. Co-operative and willing to put the team's success above personal success.

Problem-solving - able to collect and analyze information to identify problems and come up with possible solutions.

Planning and organizing - able to plan and prioritize work tasks to achieve the necessary outcomes.

Integrity - honesty, respect for others, reliability, maintain confidentiality, fulfil your commitments and adhere to company policies.

Motivation - this includes energy, hard work and enthusiasm for the job. A willingness to put in extra hours and go the extra mile.

It is important to communicate these competencies to the employer in your cover letter. Remember that these behaviors apply to virtually any job situation and can be used in any basic cover letter. Emphasize those competencies that are indicated in the job posting.

You can view other key competencies that may apply to your particular job at 12 core competencies for all jobs.

Sample Basic Cover Letter

Your Name
Your Address
Your Contact details (phone and email)


Contact Name
Contact Job Title
Company Name
Company Address

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Last Name

I was excited to see your opening for an Administrative Assistant on the XYZ job website. I am confident that my background and abilities are an excellent match for the job. Please allow me to highlight my skills and competencies as they relate to your job requirements.

  • X years wide-ranging experience as an administrative assistant in a fast-paced work environment
  • proven computer skills with an in-depth knowledge of MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills used to successfully develop presentations, write reports and draft correspondence
  • recognized as a resourceful problem-solver who is able to efficiently collect and analyze information to find workable solutions
  • strong organizational and planning skills ensure that I am able to accurately and consistently meet multiple project deadlines
  • a hard worker who has built confidence and trust at all levels
  • a committed team member who is known to go the extra mile

I firmly believe that I can make a positive contribution to your company and I have enclosed my resume to provide more information on my skills and experience. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you for an in-depth discussion and I will make myself available at your first convenience.

Thank you for you review and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Joan Jobseeker

Basic Cover Letter 2

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Job Interviews > Sample Cover Letters > Basic Cover Letter

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