Can I use a quote in my cover letter?

I saw the following headline question in my search results, "Can I use a quote in my cover letter?" The answer is “Yes…if.” You can use a quote in your cover letter if you tie it to the wins you have had throughout your career.

Using a Quote in a Cover Letter or Resume

When using a quote in either a resume or cover letter, find one that comes from your employee evaluations, a letter, or an email from a coworker, client, or even a customer.

Rule of thumb for quotes in resumes or cover letters

Does the quote add value? If it does then put it in. If not, leave it out. What would add value?

If the quote says something about the person that would sound like bragging if it was just a bullet point. Sometimes a quote from someone else allows you to include words that you could never say about yourself. For example:

Everyone who talks about Pat, talks only in superlatives. She is in fact, the “ten-foot giant.” Her strength of character, her integrity and openness, and her optimism and generosity of spirit, are what make Pat a true inspirational leader. Her willingness to “give that away” insures a continuation of talent in business and organizations. Count me in! I for one, attribute my own career success to her. ~ AC, LCSW, CADC, BRI-I, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Chicago

Does the quote validate qualities someone brings to the organization?

Rock solid leader… hard charging, innovative, and respected by all! makes the toughest job look easy! Never stops, quadrupled our baseline instantly by securing $19M+ at end of year budget – phenomenal!” M.I Lt. Colonel, USAF


Susan has been a transformative leader within GE’s IT organization over an extended period. Susan leads with a strong sense of purpose, and her commitment to excellence is felt by her peers as well as the Leadership Program members. – Executive, Information Technology

Quotes used this way can add value and make your cover letter or resume stand out from the rest.

Can I use a quote in my cover letter from a favorite author?

If you creatively blend a quote that represents you in a cover letter, it might work.

One cover letter I wrote started with:

“Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway.” ~ John Wayne

When I started exploring law enforcement as a career, I found the above quote and realized that I could deal with anything that came my way with that philosophy.

Throughout the cover letter, we illustrated how the quote represented this job seeker. This differentiates the quote from a random quote you found on Facebook.

If you feel a quote in a cover letter adds value, yes.

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  1. Melissa Cooley on January 23, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Yes, Julie! Quotes can be very effective, but you are right that they need to be used in a way that enhances the value that a person possesses.

    I’ve used both testimonial-type quotes and quotes from famous people in my clients’ materials, and they are very helpful for bringing a focus to the documents.

  2. carol wilson on February 1, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Its good include a quote right in the text of the cover letter it could add to both the content and authenticity of your letter. With a few quotes or facts about your history and preemptively thank them for the chance to speak in person.

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Julie Walraven

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