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Ready to land your dream job? In almost all cases, you'll need to submit a resume to show how you're qualified for the position you want. But in a sea of resumes, how do you make your accomplishments stand out from the stack?

Your cover letter is a quick introduction that accompanies your resume. It's an opportunity to go beyond the format of a resume, highlight your passions, and include some details that an employer won't find on your resume. Read on for essential items to add to your cover letter.

Include your contact info

Even if you submit your cover letter with your resume, you'll want to treat them as separate documents. Make sure to add your contact info to your cover letter, including your full name and a professional email address. Don't have a good email address? Sign up for a free one at

Lead with a strong opening

When you're saying hello for the first time, it's a good idea to lead with why you're reaching out. How did you discover this position? Online? Through a friend? If you've been personally referred to this position, say so. Also, be sure to address the hiring manager by name, when possible, for a more personal approach.​

Take a tailored approach

While it can seem tedious, customizing your cover letters will make you stand out from the crowd. Customization also shows you've done your research and you understand the requirements of this job—and how you can bring value in this role. ​

Tailor the following items to this specific job:

  • The reason you're interested in this job

  • The value you can bring to the company

  • Your skills

Showcase your strengths

Imagine a hiring manager was only going to skim your resume. What highlights and achievements would you absoultely want them to see? Take your top picks and draw attention to them on your cover letter. This is a great place to go into more depth about why those achievements made a difference and to show how you can leverage those same skills to do great things in a new role.

Tell something your resume couldn't

A resume is a great place to show achievements and responsibilities, but it's harder to showcase passion. As you write your cover letter, be sure to talk about what you're passionate about—and how it relates to this opportunity. Companies want employees who are going to be happy in their roles, so help employers see how this opportunity aligns to the interests you already have.

Cover letter templates to get you started

Ready to work on your cover letter? Browse Microsoft's Resume and Cover Letters collection to find a cover letter template that's right for you.

Want more tips for finding the perfect job for you? See Land your dream job.

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