A cover letter, covering letter, motivation letter, motivational letter, or a letter of motivation is a letter of introduction attached to or accompanying another document such as a résumé or a curriculum vitae.[1]

For employment

Job seekers frequently send a cover letter along with their curriculum vitae or applications for employment as a way of introducing themselves to potential employers and explaining their suitability for the desired positions.[2] It is a pitch describing one's interest in the position, skills and relevant experience for the advertised job. Employers may look for individualized and thoughtfully written cover letters as one method of screening out applicants who are not sufficiently interested in their positions and/or lack the necessary basic skills.[1]

Cover letters are typically categorized according to two purposes:

According to studies, a good cover letter should:

For internship

Students are often asked to submit a cover letter for an internship application. Such cover letters should include examples of extracurricular and academic experiences. Despite this specific information, cover letters for internships should have a standard business letter format.

Other uses

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Résumé cover letters may also serve as marketing devices for prospective job seekers. Cover letters are used in connection with many business documents such as loan applications (mortgage loan), contract drafts and proposals, and executed documents.

While the resume outlines the professional journey, a cover letter allows the applicant convey their personality, passion, and potential contributions to the prospective employer.

Cover letters may serve the purpose of trying to catch the reader's interest or persuade the reader of something, or they may simply be an inventory or summary of the documents included along with a discussion of the expected future actions the sender or recipient will take in connection with the documents.


  1. ^ a b Yate, Martin John (2004). "What Is a Cover Letter?". Cover letters that knock 'em dead (6th ed.). Avon, MA: Adams Media. pp. 1–6. ISBN 978-1-59337-107-4 – via Google Books.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Cover Letters". MIT Global Education & Career Development.
  3. ^ "Cover letter types and samples". Career and Professional Development. Virginia Tech, Division of Student Affairs.
  4. ^ a b c "Writing Cover Letters". The Writing Center. Retrieved 2020-01-01.

Further reading