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Federal Cover Letter Example

Wherever your job sights are set in the federal government, a compelling cover letter will better your chances of success. Let Resume.io help you make a strong impression on hiring managers. Get started now, with writing tips and sample sentences designed specifically for federal job applicants.
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Federal  Cover Letter Example
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What’s not to like about an opportunity to start or continue your career in a federal government position? Better-than-average pay, benefits, working hours and job security are the usual application incentives that public service recruiters are all too familiar with. To stand out from other candidates, your federal cover letter needs to flip that around by making a persuasive “what’s in it for you if I’m hired” case.

This writing guide, along with federal cover letter examples you can adapt to your circumstances, will cover these topics:

  • The framework that all cover letters have in common
  • Ensuring each section of your federal cover letter serves its intended purpose: header, greeting, introduction, body and conclusion
  • Common cover letter errors that could thwart your chances of success as a federal job candidate
Expert tip

No matter what career background and goals you have to offer as a federal government job candidate, Resume.io has resources to help you succeed. That includes more than 125 occupation-specific writing guides and corresponding cover letter examples.

Best format for a federal cover letter

It’s crucial that everything about every cover letter you create — essentially a written introductory handshake  —  is custom-tailored to the prospective employer’s specific hiring needs. The only exception is the basic framework that all cover letters should follow. Regardless of occupation or industry, it consists of these components, never to exceed 400 words on a single page:

  • Header
  • Greeting
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Closing and sign-off

Sticking to this simple structure will ensure your federal cover letter stays on point and keeps moving along efficiently to its compelling conclusion. Each section, one at a time, reinforces the overall one-off message — that you and this particular government position are an ideal match like no other.

Expert tip

To ensure your federal cover letter looks as good as it reads, Resume.io offers extensive tips on layout, design and formatting, including the best font choices. In addition to blogs on more specialized topics, check out the advice in our comprehensive cover letter guide.

Below is a federal cover letter example that you can customize for the position and hiring organization:

Adaptable cover letter example

Dear Ms. Kilten,

Having worked in financial services PR for the past decade, the Press Administration role at the Federal Reserve would be an ideal next step in my financial media career. Working with the Wall Street press requires trusted relationships, an ability to communicate policy and a resilience required by few other jobs.

Having started my career as a broker before moving into financial journalism, I have a first-hand understanding of what the markets expect to hear from the Federal Reserve at various points in the economic cycle. Working as part of the Fed’s communication team is an honor for any financial journalist, but with the knowledge that one wrong word can move markets, it is not an honor that I take lightly. I hope that my record of journalistic integrity can point to the fact that I can handle the responsibility.

This is the first time that I have worked in a federal role, but I believe that my private sector knowledge will put me at an advantage over anyone who has only worked in public sector PR. The news cycle in financial markets is cut-throat and I have the tenacity and foresight to react first to any stories that could impact the Fed.

I am also a highly followed financial journalist on social media with over 2.4m combined followers. An ability to develop online relationships with some of the major players is key to journalistic success and I have shared countless scoops on my social channels. Many of the major online market conversations happen on my social feeds.

I enclose a portfolio of some of my most successful stories from the past few years and hope for the opportunity of an interview to discuss what I might bring to the Fed press team.

Sincerely,
Roman Frost

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Need more inspiration? Check out our other government cover letter sample. 

Cover letter header

An attractive cover letter header can be a sight for sore eyes when recruiters start experiencing job application fatigue. It can make yours stand out in a sea of others, for all the right reasons. Achieve twice the desired impact by aligning the visual elements of your cover letter and resume to create a matching pair.

Above all else, the header serves a vital practical purpose by making your name, occupation, and contact information readily visible at a glance. The moment hiring managers are duly impressed, they can get in touch without delay to arrange an interview.

Expert tip

Your cover letter header and other eye-pleasing design details can give readers pause to appreciate every carefully chosen word on the page. Consider using a cover letter template with a field-tested style that suits your occupation and the federal employer’s visual identity.

Cover letter greeting

Best-case scenario: you know who will be reading your federal cover letter, perhaps because the recipient is identified in the job application instructions. Address that person by name in your cover letter greeting. The correct form is “Dear <Dr.> <Mr.> <Ms.> Surname.” 

If no one is specified in the job application, make every effort to find out by checking the government website, or make a phone call to the department office. Failing those attempts, come up with the most specific alternative you can, along these lines: “Dear <Position Title> Recruiter” or “Dear <Department Name/Office> Hiring Team.”  

Below you’ll find the greeting from our adaptable federal cover letter example.

Adaptable cover letter greeting example

Dear Ms. Kilten,

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Cover letter introduction

Wondering whether “bureaucratese” is a new language you might have to learn if you get this job? Your federal cover letter should show no hint of such fears, starting with a dynamic introduction that cuts to the chase.

Your most relevant qualifications are at the forefront of a value proposition launched in compelling terms: clear, precise, concise and relatable. Why are you an excellent fit for this job and this government office? What motivates you the most as a serious contender? Above all, how does the federal employer stand to benefit from your contributions?

Insights into your personality and purpose should come across in these introductory statements, along with your expertise and experience.

Here’s the introduction from our federal cover letter sample.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Having worked in financial services PR for the past decade, the Press Administration role at the Federal Reserve would be an ideal next step in my financial media career. Working with the Wall Street press requires trusted relationships, an ability to communicate policy and a resilience required by few other jobs.

Copied!

Cover letter middle part (body)

The middle paragraphs, or body, of your cover letter strengthen the case you presented in the introduction to keep recruiters intrigued. Remember to still leave them wanting to dig for deeper details in your resume.

Again from the standpoint of your potential value to this federal employer, select a few directly applicable work history highlights. Express them as achievements rather than responsibilities, with measurable outcomes. Add facts and figures to illustrate, as well as comments or anecdotes that reveal your sense of dedication and fulfillment. Help hiring managers visualize your place in this government organization.

This federal cover letter sample illustrates what you might include in the middle part:

Adaptable cover letter body example

Having started my career as a broker before moving into financial journalism, I have a first-hand understanding of what the markets expect to hear from the Federal Reserve at various points in the economic cycle. Working as part of the Fed’s communication team is an honor for any financial journalist, but with the knowledge that one wrong word can move markets, it is not an honor that I take lightly. I hope that my record of journalistic integrity can point to the fact that I can handle the responsibility.

This is the first time that I have worked in a federal role, but I believe that my private sector knowledge will put me at an advantage over anyone who has only worked in public sector PR. The news cycle in financial markets is cut-throat and I have the tenacity and foresight to react first to any stories that could impact the Fed.

I am also a highly followed financial journalist on social media with over 2.4m combined followers. An ability to develop online relationships with some of the major players is key to journalistic success and I have shared countless scoops on my social channels. Many of the major online market conversations happen on my social feeds.

Copied!

How to close a federal cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

An effective cover letter closes with a call to action that encourages the employer to respond in some way, not just set your application aside. You can simply indicate you look forward to hearing back soon. It’s also not unreasonable to ask if you can follow up with a phone call, perhaps to arrange a meeting when mutually convenient. 

Try to strike the right tone — confident and hopeful, but not pushy or presumptuous. Before signing off, you might also add a concluding pitch for being an excellent hire, plus a note of thanks.

Then, simply write “Sincerely,” “Best regards” or “Best” above your name.

Below is the closing section of our federal cover letter sample.

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

I enclose a portfolio of some of my most successful stories from the past few years and hope for the opportunity of an interview to discuss what I might bring to the Fed press team.

Sincerely,
Roman Frost

Copied!

Common cover letter mistakes to avoid

Spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes have been cited as the most common reason for hiring managers to reject resumes. For the same reason, they have no place in a cover letter. But that’s not the only kind of error you don’t want to make when trying to impress a federal employer. Here are some other common cover letter mistakes that could scuttle your chances.

  • Failure to target the specific position, employer and workplace
  • Language that’s unclear, weak, repetitive or meaningless — including overused clichés and filler phrases
  • Jargon or bureaucratese that sounds unnatural, unlike human conversation
  • Documents that look sloppy, unpolished or otherwise unattractive — from unsuitable fonts to overly dense text blocks.

Key takeaways for a federal cover letter

  1. With federal government jobs being highly sought after, the bar is set high for cover letters to make a persuasive hiring case emphasizing how the employer would benefit.
  2. Each cover letter section should reflect the most relevant job requirements by addressing the federal department’s specific needs.
  3. Check out our adaptable federal cover letter sample for more ideas on creating a great page layout, so you can build your own cover letter .
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Stand out and get hired faster with our collection of free cover letter templates expertly-designed to land you the perfect position.
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