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How to Write Cover Letters for Government Jobs (With Template and Example)

March 20, 2020

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Cover letters are one of the first impressions hiring committees have of job applicants. With a thoughtfully written cover letter, you can stand out from other applicants and have a better chance of getting an interview. When writing cover letters for government jobs, it's especially important to pay attention to detail and convey your thoughts succinctly.

In this article, we explain how to write cover letters for government jobs and provide a template and example.

Related: Writing a Cover Letter: Tips and Examples

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Why it's important to write good cover letters for government jobs

It's important to write good cover letters for government jobs because your cover letter is a chance to show hiring teams that you are a qualified candidate. Government agencies are looking for highly skilled and professional people, so use your cover letter to show you fit these criteria. In your cover letter for a government job, be specific and straightforward rather than using descriptive language. Use it to highlight your skills, qualifications and experiences related to the position you're applying to.

Related: How to Write a Federal Resume

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How to write cover letters for government jobs

Though cover letters for government jobs look quite similar to other cover letters, it's important that you tailor them to the government job you're applying to.

Here are the steps to write a cover letter for a government job:

  1. Read the job description
  2. Research the agency
  3. Include specific information
  4. Keep it brief
  5. Proofread multiple times

1. Read the job description

Before writing your cover letter, carefully read the job posting. Identify which skills and experiences are required for the position. Think about which of these qualifications you have and how you could address them throughout your cover letter. The application may have specific cover letter requirements, so be sure to take note of them.

Read more: A Guide to Civil Service Jobs

2. Research the agency

Show hiring teams that you have similar values and goals to the government agency. Each agency will have a different mission and focus, so it's important to do research about each one you're applying to. For example, if you're applying to an environmental government job, you may want to highlight your passion for sustainability. Likewise, if you're applying to a job that involves public safety, write about how you value the safety of your community.

3. Include specific information

When applying for multiple government jobs, it's important that you tailor each cover letter to the job you're applying to. You may have a general cover letter outline and then add specific details after reading each job description. Explain exactly why you're the right candidate for the position and include experiences that directly relate to it.

Related: How to Apply for (and Land) Government Jobs

4. Keep it brief

Hiring teams only spend moments looking at all of their applicants' cover letters. Keep your cover letters for government jobs to one page to make it easier for the hiring manager to read. Try only to write between three to four paragraphs that are straightforward and only include relevant details.

Your cover letter should consist of the following sections:

  • Header: Include your contact information, the recipient's information and the date.
  • Introduction: Address the cover letter to human resources or the hiring manager. Specify which position you're applying to.
  • Professional experience: Highlight your relevant skills, experience and other qualifications.
  • Conclusion: Express your interest in the position and thank the employer for their time.

5. Proofread multiple times

After writing your cover letter, proofread it multiple times to look for any grammar or spelling errors. Make sure your cover letter is engaging and explains exactly why you are a good choice for the role. Have someone else look over your cover letter too. If you know anyone who works in a government job, they would be a good person to ask.

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Government job cover letter template

Here is a template you can use for your government job cover letter:

[Your name]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]
[Optional: Your mailing address]


[Employer's name]
[Employer's mailing address]

Dear [Employer's name],

[Introduction: Include what position you're applying for. Highlight some of your most relevant skills and accomplishments. Then, express your interest in the role.]

[Professional experience: Write about your previous experiences that make you a qualified candidate for this role. This section can be a couple of paragraphs long.]

[Conclusion: Express your gratitude for the employer using their time to read your cover letter. Explain why you are excited to apply for this role.]

[Closing statement: Sign off by telling them you look forward to hearing from them.]


[Your name]

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Government job cover letter example

Here is an example of a government job cover letter:

Allison Mayer
232 Main St.
Milwaukee, WI, 53201

March 6, 2020

Gino Wilcox
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20202

Dear Gino Wilcox,

As a seasoned educational professional, I am writing to express my intention of applying for the education program specialist position at the U.S. Department of Education. Over the span of my 20 years as an educator, I have seen great changes in our education system. I believe my experience designing curriculums will be highly relevant to this role. I am excited about this opportunity to help create the best educational system possible for future generations.

During my time as principal at West High School, I learned a lot about the needs of students from various backgrounds. It was evident that not every student learned the same way, and it was my goal to help teachers identify the best teaching methods for their classrooms. Based on 1,000 surveys collected from students, we learned that many of the students preferred more hands-on learning. I worked with my staff to adjust lesson plans to fit these needs.

After implementing these changes, the students' test scores increased an average of 15 points. Never before in my career had I seen such significant change. I believe that with my ability to collaborate, communicate and listen to the needs of students, I would make a great education program specialist. I think it is important for lessons to be more tailored to each student, and I would work hard in this role to help teachers across the nation implement more effective teaching methods.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my professional background. I am excited to have this opportunity to make an impact on students of all demographics.

I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you soon.


Allison Mayer

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