Writing a General Purpose Cover Letter: With Template

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 5, 2022 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated July 5, 2022

Published October 7, 2019

Cover letters are documents that applicants often submit with their resumes when applying for a job. Cover letters convey added detail about your experience and give you a chance to explain why you're the ideal candidate for the job. Even if the position you are applying for doesn’t require a cover letter, including one with your application can impress the hiring manager and may increase your chances of getting an interview.

In this article, we define a general purpose cover letter and provide a cover letter template, tips and an example.

Related: Cover Letter Tips - FIGS Employee

Not sure how to write a cover letter? Sometimes it's easiest to learn by example. Gabriella, a team specialist for FIGS, shares the cover letter that helped her get the job.

What is a general purpose cover letter?

All-purpose cover letters are not specific to a particular position and contain generalized information about your qualifications. A general cover letter is a tool to highlight the key points of your resume, discuss your education and skills and promote your qualifications to potential employers. A generic cover letter is useful when attending job fairs or when you’re applying to more than one position. 

Related: Cover Letter Samples and Templates

How to write a general cover letter

A typical cover letter is one page long and gives a brief description of your professional background and why you are qualified for the job. An effective cover letter for all purposes should include these elements: 

Cover Letter Format

Image description

Cover Letter Format

  1. Date and contact information

  2. Salutation or greeting

  3. Opening paragraph

  4. Middle paragraph(s)

  5. Closing paragraph

  6. Letter ending and signature

1. Begin with a professional heading

Start the letter with your contact information, the date and the recipient’s contact information. Include your mailing address, email address and phone number including area or country code. You might include a link to your online professional profile.

2. Open with a salutation

Find the name of the hiring manager or recruiter if you can, and address your cover letter to that person. Even if the letter is generic, addressing it to a specific person indicates attention to detail and consideration. Begin with a formal salutation, such as “Dear Mr. Cortez.” If the direct recipient is unknown, you can use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern.

Related: 7 Key Elements of a Successful Cover Letter

3. Summarize your career

The majority of your cover letter should state your achievements and experience. Include information about the skills you have gained on the job as well as major accomplishments. In two or three paragraphs, expand on the information in your resume and include specific examples.

4. Highlight your qualities

Talk about why you are right for the job instead of why you want the job. If you are changing careers, briefly explain why. Discuss your motivation and willingness to work, and highlight skills related to the new position.

5. Close with a thank you

Thank the hiring manager for their time and use the closing as an opportunity to sum up why they should hire you. You could also express your interest in the next steps of the hiring process. Include your printed name and signature. 

Related: How To Format a Cover Letter (With Tips and Examples)

General purpose cover letter template

Use the template below to create your own all-purpose cover letter:

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State and Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email

Date

Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Name
Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Title
Company or Organization Name
Address
City, State and Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms. [Hiring Manager’s/Recruiter’s Last Name],

[In the first paragraph of your cover letter, introduce yourself to the hiring manager and talk about why you are interested in the job. You may discuss an achievement in detail and include results to explain how your current or most recent position makes you the right choice for the role.]

[Your second paragraph should state further detail about your experience to highlight the reasons you match the job description. A general cover letter might contain a bulleted list of specific results and achievements within your position:

List management or leadership experience.
Discuss a specific improvement or goal met.
State innovations or ideas that moved the business forward.
List technical skills or abilities.
State one or two key strengths.

[The third paragraph is a summary of your accomplishments and should reiterate why you are right for the job. Add a call-to-action to prompt the hiring manager to take the next step in the hiring process. Follow this paragraph with your closing and contact information.]

Sincerely/Best regards/Thank you,
Your Signature
Your Typed Full Name

Download Cover Letter Template
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.

General purpose cover letter example

Use this sample general cover letter as inspiration to help you compose your own:

Jane Chi
705 Oleander Ct.
Portland, OR 97216
555-807-5165
jane.chi@gmail.com 

June 1, 2019

Michael Cortez
Talent Acquisition
TopTier Data Analysts, Inc. 
9307 Washington Blvd. 
Seattle, WA 98109

Dear Mr. Cortez,

I am a hard-working and determined professional seeking an opportunity to succeed at TopTier Data Analysts, Inc. In my current position with Worldwide Information Tech, I led a team to consistently meet project goals a few days ahead of schedule, and we exceeded our production quota by 7%. I am confident that my knowledge, ability and experience will allow me to deliver successful results for any company in a range of administrative positions.

Here are highlights of my key skills:

Effectively manage my time through careful planning and organization of work activities
Possess an aptitude for identifying and resolving problems efficiently
Excellent communication skills that result in positive interpersonal relationships
Consistently meet deadlines and produce detailed, complete work at a high standard
Repeatedly prove my ability to make sound decisions based on valid information
In my capacity as a leader, I learn to apply new information quickly and accurately
Strong computer skills and proficiency in MS Office

I am certain that I can be an asset in any position requiring hard work, enthusiasm and reliability. Can we schedule a meeting to discuss how I can benefit TopTier? I look forward to hearing from you shortly. The enclosed resume lists all of my relevant experience and qualifications.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Jane Chi

Related: Job Cast: Cover Letter Tips: How To Write One and When It's Necessary

This online workshop offers tools to write clear, concise and compelling cover letters that effectively communicate your value.


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