How to Write a General Cover Letter (w/ Templates & Tips!)

16 April
13 min read
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You're on the hunt for a job, and your resume is all set.

It's the perfect summary of your professional journey so far, and you’re hoping it will land you at least one of the gigs you’re applying to.

There's just one thing left - you need to write a cover letter that fits your resume like a glove.

And, as you’re applying for several positions, you likely don’t want to start your cover letter from scratch every time. Instead, you’d rather learn how to write a general cover letter that you can tweak to fit many applications.

Well, we’re here to help you learn how to do just that.

In this article, we're going to cover:

  • What Is a General Cover Letter
  • How to Write a General Cover Letter
  • General Cover Letter Examples

...and more!

Let's get started.

What is a General Cover Letter?

A general cover letter is a flexible document that’s designed to accompany your CV or resume during a job application.

Unlike a regular cover letter, a general cover letter isn’t tailored to one job.

You can personalize general cover letters without being too specific about a position and easily adapt them to suit applications for different professions and industries.

The structure of a general cover letter makes it more versatile because it includes placeholders (or ‘blanks’) that you can easily swap out for job-specific details.

For example, your general cover letter could have a blank where the company’s name or the specific industry would be written, so you can quickly modify it before sending it out with different job applications.

General cover letters allow you to strike a balance between broad appeal and leaving room for a touch of customization, so you don’t have to struggle against writer’s block every time you try to write a new cover letter during your job hunt.

Still haven’t finished your resume? Check out our full guide on how to make a resume!

General Vs Generic Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter that can be used for different job applications might make you think you should write a generic cover letter.

But there’s a huge difference between writing a general cover letter and a generic cover letter.

A general cover letter is adaptable, and you can customize it to apply for different jobs and industries. The key to a general cover letter is that it has parts that you can easily change, such as the industry you’re applying to or the title of the job you’re after.

These gaps let you quickly tailor each cover letter to the specific position you want. They also manage to show employers that you've thought about how you would fit into their company without having to write a cover letter from scratch.

A generic cover letter, on the other hand, is a cover letter that’s the same for every job application.

Generic cover letters don’t change to match different jobs or companies. Because they aren’t tailored, they rarely impress hiring managers or show them why you’d be a good match for the job.

While generic cover letters are a one-and-done job, they’re not a particularly well-done job at all. Generic cover letters come off as impersonal and forgettable, so we recommend steering clear of them during your job search and instead going for a general cover letter that you can tailor.

Want a Standout Cover Letter? Use a Template!

Making sure your cover letter leaves a good impression on the hiring manager can feel overwhelming.

You have to carefully adjust the layout, tweak the page margins, set the line spacing, choose the most appropriate font, and make sure your text never spills over to page two.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Just try one of our cover letter templates!

Each of our templates is made in collaboration with leading HR specialists to make sure your application is industry-friendly 

and stylish. You can even use our resume templates and pick a cover letter template for a matching set.

general cover letter templates

When Should You Use a General Cover Letter?

There are a few cases when you can use a general cover letter as opposed to a uniquely tailored cover letter for each job application.

These include:

#1. When You’re Applying for More Than One Position

If you’re applying for more than one position with the same employer, a general cover letter can help you showcase your interest in contributing to the company in various roles.

In this case, instead of writing a cover letter to fill in the blanks for separate job applications, you should aim for a single, thorough general cover letter that’s tailored to the different positions in the same company you’re applying for.

You can use your general cover letter to communicate your adaptability and enthusiasm for being part of the organization, not just filling a specific position, which can be a great angle for an entry-level cover letter.

Unlike a regular cover letter, which you tailor to the exact position you’re applying for, a general cover letter allows you to highlight skills and experiences that are relevant across all the roles you’re targeting. Use it to emphasize your overall potential as an asset to the company and demonstrate your ability to fit into multiple teams or projects.

Since you’re not focusing on a specific job, your general cover letter should instead show the employer how your personal and professional values align with those of the company regardless of the specific position. Focusing on your broad compatibility with the employer positions you as a valuable candidate.

#2. When You’re Attending a Job Fair

At a job fair, your goal is to present yourself as a good candidate to multiple employers.

In a dynamic setting like this, you have to interact with various companies, so a general cover letter can help you quickly adapt your approach to each potential employer you meet. If you do it right, you can highlight skills and experiences that are applicable across different industries.

A general cover letter also helps you make a strong first impression. Job fairs see their share of resumes, but having a cover letter ready to go puts you one step ahead of other candidates vying for the same job.

Instead of tailoring a cover letter for each company you might be interested in, you can focus on customizing key sections that are relevant to specific jobs or industries. For example, if you’re looking for a job as an accountant, you can easily write a general accountant cover letter and make minimal changes before applying for another job.

This can save you valuable time, and it lets you engage with more hiring managers at the job fair, so you can cast a wider net.

Not sure what to do at your first networking event? Check out these 75+ questions you can use at networking events to help break the ice.

#3. When You’re Applying Through a Referral

If you’re using your professional network to find your next job, a general cover letter can come in handy.

Applying for a job through a referral often means you don’t have a job ad to reference. So, when writing your cover letter, you should focus on your most impressive skills and relevant professional experiences.

Next, it’s time to remove all those blanks and placeholders and add details that will make the hiring manager notice your application.

The more you know about the company, the better. Researching the employer means that even if you don’t know the exact details of the job, you can still highlight what makes you a great candidate for the company in general.

Take the time to also mention your connection with the person who referred you. This can add a personal touch and show that someone who’s already part of the company thinks highly of you.

Trying to write a cover letter for your first internship? Check out our detailed guide to learn how!

General Cover Letter Text Template

If you’re not sure how to write a general cover letter from scratch, there’s no need to worry. You can borrow our very own general cover letter text template!

Just copy and paste our free cover letter text template into the cover letter builder, and swap out the variables for your details.

Free Cover Letter Template Text:

[Your Full Name]

[Your Professional Title]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Email Address]

[Your Location]

[Your LinkedIn Profile URL (optional)]

[Your Personal Website URL (optional)]


[Recipient's Name, e.g., Jane Doe],

[Recipient's Position, e.g., Hiring Manager]

[Company Name, e.g., ABC Corporation]

[Company Address]

[City, State/Country]


Dear [Recipient's Full Name],

As a seasoned [Your Profession] with [Number of Years of Experience] years of industry experience, I am eager to express my interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. With my experience in [Your Industry/Sector] and the successes I've achieved throughout my education and career, I believe I can bring unique value and creativity to your team.

In my current role as [Your Current Job Title], I've taken the lead on more than [Number of Projects/Assignments] projects, some valued up to $[Highest Project Value]. I pride myself on consistently exceeding client expectations and have successfully [Mention a Key Achievement] in just a [Amount of Time] through [Skill] and [Skill].

I've collaborated with various professionals, such as [List Roles], ensuring that all [projects/tasks] meet [relevant standards or objectives]. This hands-on experience, coupled with my dedication to understanding each [client's/customer's] vision, has equipped me to navigate and deliver on complex projects.

My key strengths include:

  • Improving [Achievement] by [%] over [Amount of Time] which resulted in [Quantified Result].
  • Optimizing [Work Process/Responsibility] which saved [Previous Employer] [Amount of Time/Budget/Other Metric] over [Weeks/Months/Years].
  • Spearheading team of [Number of People] to [Task] and achieving [Quantified Result].

Alongside this letter, I've attached my resume. My educational background, a [Your Degree] with a concentration in [Your Specialization], complements the practical skills that I'm particularly eager to share with [Company Name].

I'm excited about the possibility of contributing to [Something Notable About the Company or Its Mission]. I'd be grateful for the chance to delve deeper into how my expertise aligns with your needs.

Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.



[Your Full Name]

Steps to Writing a General Cover Letter

Now that you’ve seen what a general cover letter looks like, it’s time to write your own.

Just follow these steps, and you’ll be done in no time:

#1. Add Contact Information

At the top of your cover letter, you should include all the information required for the hiring manager to reach you.

This includes:

  • Full Name. We recommend you bold your name and place it at the top of the page.
  • Professional Job Title. If you’re applying for more than one job, you might have to swap this out regularly. Make sure it matches the specific position you're applying for.
  • Email Address. Include a professional and straightforward email address, preferably a version of your first and last name. (E.g.:, not
  • Phone Number. Make sure there are no typos in your phone number, so the hiring manager can easily contact you.
  • Location. Typically, your city and state/country are enough information. But if you're looking for remote work or are willing to relocate, make sure to specify that somewhere.
  • Relevant Links (optional). Feel free to add links to any relevant websites or social media profiles, such as your LinkedIn profile, GitHub, or an online portfolio.

Except for the job title, you don’t need to change your contact information between applications. But you also need to add the hiring manager’s contact information.

Customize this for each cover letter you plan to send:

  • Company Name. Always include the name of the company you're applying for.
  • Hiring Manager's Name. If possible, find the name of the hiring manager for the job you're interested in.
  • Hiring Manager's Title. The hiring managers for different companies will likely have different roles. Some will be head of the department you want to join, while others will be part of the HR team. If you want one less thing to swap out, you can simply keep the job title of the hiring manager in your cover letter as “Hiring Manager.”
  • Location. The general location of the company, such as the city and state/country, is enough. We don’t recommend going into more detail for your general cover letter.
  • Date of Writing (optional). Including the date you wrote your cover letter can add an extra professional touch to your application, so it’s something to consider.

#2. Address the Hiring Manager

Even in your general cover letter, you should skip the impersonal “To Whom It May Concern.”

Instead, give your cover letter a more personalized greeting. If possible, address the hiring manager by name.

You might need to do some research for that. Check the job ad, company website, or LinkedIn page to find out who’s hiring for the role you want. Then, just swap out your placeholder for their full name.

However, you might not have the time to do that. If you’re at a job fair or you just can’t find the name of the hiring manager, you don’t have to worry.

It’s perfectly acceptable to address your cover letter as “Dear Hiring Manager” or even address the company as a whole, like “Dear Company X.”

Take your cover letter to the next level by using these 21+ cover letter tips!

#3. Start with a Strong Opening

Hiring managers tend to skim through cover letters before deciding if they’re worth reading, so your general cover letter should always have an eye-catching opening paragraph.

You should start your cover letter by introducing who you are and why you’re interested in the specific position. Then, mention an impressive achievement or crucial skill that shows you would be an ideal candidate for the role.

We recommend shortlisting several of your most impressive skills and achievements and swapping them out for each other depending on what best matches the specific job you’re tailoring your cover letter for.

Just remember to keep your opening paragraph short and sweet. You’ll have the opportunity to give the hiring manager more details later.

#4. Use the Body for Details

When writing a general cover letter, you might have a hard time figuring out how to craft the body.

This is where all the details about you as a candidate and what you know about the company should go.

But don’t worry! All you need to do is follow these tips:

  1. Explain what you can do for the employer. Talk about your most impressive skills and how you can use them to contribute to the company’s work.
  2. Mention what you like about the job or industry. Focus on what you enjoy about the specific job or industry you’re aiming for.
  3. Be enthusiastic about joining their team. Express genuine enthusiasm about joining their team, as well as confidence that you can make a meaningful contribution.
  4. Use proactive language. Swap out cliche phrases for eye-catching action verbs and power words to make your cover letter pop.

Depending on how much time you have, you can research each employer in-depth and provide more details that show why you’re the best candidate according to each of these points.

Need more inspiration? Check out dozens of cover letter examples for different professions!

#5. Conclude It Professionally

Once you write the main body of your general cover letter, all you have to do is prepare a conclusion.

The end of your cover letter should leave the hiring manager confident that you’re the right person for the job.

You can do that by either summarizing your main selling points, like your top skills and most impressive achievements or by reminding them how you believe you can contribute to the company.

We recommend leaving a portion of your conclusion blank so you can tailor it for the specific job you’re applying for and leave the best impression possible on the hiring manager.

Next, include a call to action. This can be a polite prompt for the hiring manager to reach out to you and discuss your application or arrange an interview.

There’s no need to personalize your call to action—it can be simple and universal across all your applications. Finally, include a professional closing line and sign your name underneath to seal the deal on your cover letter.

Here’s an example:

Call to Action Example:

I look forward to discussing how I may contribute to your business, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at your earliest convenience.

Best regards,

Cameron Pearson

general cover letter structure

General Cover Letter FAQs

Still have some questions about general cover letters? Check out the answers to the most frequently asked questions below!

Q — 

#1. Is a generic cover letter okay?

You should never send a generic cover letter with your job application.

Generic cover letters don’t have any personalization that can show your genuine interest in the specific job or company. In fact, they come across as impersonal and show a lack of effort, which can make hiring managers reject your job application altogether.

You should always tailor your cover letter for each job so you can highlight the relevant skills and professional experiences that will impress the employer. This shows that you've done your homework” and that you’re genuinely enthusiastic about the position.

Even a slightly customized general cover letter is always going to be better than a generic cover letter.

Your general cover letter should still address the employer's needs and make a strong case for your application. It's your best tool for making a memorable first impression, and that’s something a generic cover letter simply won’t help you achieve.

Q — 

#2. Should a cover letter be simple?

Yes, as a rule, cover letters should be kept simple.

The main focus of any cover letter should be its content. Make sure you keep your formatting clean, with an easy-to-read font and plenty of white space, so the hiring manager can quickly find the essential information.

If you’re applying for a more traditional industry, like law or finance, we recommend sticking to a minimalistic cover letter template. Bold colors or flashy fonts just don’t match those professions.

However, if you’re applying to an industry where creativity is valued, such as graphic design, you can try a more customized template. A strategically placed pop of color could make your cover letter stand out.

Q — 

#3. How do you format a general cover letter?

A general cover letter is structured with blanks and placeholder information that you can easily swap out depending on the job application.

Make sure you include a place for the hiring manager’s contact information, the company’s name, the date of writing, and the title of the specific position you’re applying for.

Keep the text of your general cover letter separated into neat paragraphs so you can find and swap out the placeholders quickly and the hiring manager can easily navigate and read it later.

Q — 

#4. Do employers read cover letters?

Yes, employers do read cover letters.

Regardless of whether the job ad explicitly asks for one, you should always submit a cover letter.

Once the hiring manager goes through the initial resume screening, they might use cover letters to decide among candidates they’re on the fence about.

That said, hiring managers might not read the entire cover letter in detail immediately, which is why your opening paragraph is crucial. You want to make sure to catch their attention right off the bat, so they want to read more about you.

If they skim through your cover letter and don’t see any relevant keywords or qualifications, they might skip your cover letter, and your application could get tossed in the ‘no’ pile.

Q — 

#5. How long should a general cover letter be?

Your general cover letter can range from a half-page to one full page. On average, a cover letter should always be between 250 and 400 words.

The cover letter is your first chance to communicate who you are to the hiring manager and why you’re the right candidate for the job, using your own words. If you don’t consider the standard cover letter length, you could leave the hiring manager with a bad impression.

A good cover letter gets your point across quickly without delving into too many details the hiring manager could get lost in. If you go over the recommended length, the hiring manager might never actually bother reading your cover letter at all.

Key Takeaways

And you’ve made it to the end of our article!

Now you know all there is to know about writing a general cover letter. Hopefully, you feel confident about writing the perfect cover letter and landing your dream job!

But before we go, let’s quickly recap our main points:

  • General cover letters can usually be applied to different job openings, industries, and employers with minimal tailoring. We recommend writing one template with placeholders or blanks that you can swap out for details as necessary.
  • A general cover letter doesn’t need as much tailoring as writing a cover letter from scratch, but you should still put effort into it. Sending the same generic text to every employer is a huge mistake that could cost you a job opportunity.
  • Formatting your general cover letter can be time-consuming. Instead of spending valuable time on the layout, consider using one of our cover letter templates instead.
  • You’re most likely to need a general cover letter when applying for more than one job at the same company when applying for a job through a referral, or during a job fair.