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How to Write a Cover Letter in 2022 (With 6 Cover Letter Examples)
Posted by CV Nation on Dec 11, 2021
The ultimate guide to writing a cover letter to land jobs in 2022, with 6 cover letter examples and everything you need to know to impress recruiters.
When applying for jobs, you will usually be required to submit a cover letter. Recruiters use cover letters to assess your suitability for jobs and learn about your experiences, skills and achievements.
An effective cover letter can help you stand out from the crowd and make a positive impression on recruiters.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to prepare a cover letter for any job that does exactly that. We’ll also show you six great cover letter examples.
What is a Cover Letter?
Cover letters, often referred to as motivation letters, are introductory letters that usually accompany your CV when applying for jobs.
Cover letter are usually one-page in length, expressing why you’re applying for the job and highlighting your skills, experiences and achievements.
How to Structure Your Cover Letter
When writing your cover letter, follow our six-step process to ensure you cover all the key points and sell yourself as effectively as possible.
Take a look at the cover letter examples in this guide to see how we have used this formula to create engaging, effective cover letters.
Here is our six-step cover letter writing process:
2. overview of knowledge and expertise, 3. unique value proposition (uvp), 4. why you want to work for the company, 5. key skills, 6. polite ending and call to action.
Let’s take a look at these steps in detail:
Start your cover letter with a concise introduction that explains who you are and why you’re applying for the job.
Provide a brief overview of your knowledge, experience and expertise. Use this paragraph to draw attention to what you bring to the table.
Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is what makes you unique. Demonstrating your UVP can set you apart from other candidates and convince recruiters you’re the right person for the job.
Identify your UVP by thinking about what makes you unique, then convey this in your cover letter.
Convey why you want to work for the company. This is where you can use your research to show how you are aligned with the company’s values and culture.
Showcase a few of your key skills to show what you can bring to the table.
Bring your cover letter to a close by thanking the reader for their time and including a concise call to action. This will usually be for the recruiter to get in touch with you to discuss your application in more detail.
Cover Letter Example
One of the keys to writing a great cover letter is research. By researching the company you’re applying to work for, you’ll be able to tailor your cover letter and show how you’re aligned with the company’s culture and values.
How do you conduct research into companies?
To conduct research into the company you’re applying to work for, examine the company’s website. You may want to take a look at their ‘About Us’ or ‘Careers’ pages. This will help you learn about their culture and what it’s like to work for them.
Additionally, you could view the company’s social media accounts and the job description to learn more about their culture and values.
Email Cover Letters
If you’re submitting a cover letter in the body of an email, you will need to format it slightly different to cover letters that are attached to emails or submitted as a document.
Email cover letters do not need to include the address of the company you’re applying to work for. You also do not need to include your name at the top of the cover letter, as is demonstrated in some of the cover letter examples in this guide.
Here is an example of an email cover letter:
Email Cover Letter Example
How to Write a Cover Letter with No Experience
If you’ve got no experience in the profession that you’re pursuing a job in, focus on your transferable skills and experiences.
For example, if you’re applying for a customer service job but have no customer service experience, you could focus on your communication skills and your experiences working with customers.
Here is an example cover letter for someone with no experience:
Cover Letter Example - No Experience
How to Professionally Format Your Cover Letter
Using appropriate line spacing between paragraphs ensures your cover letter is professional in appearance and easy to read.
Letters that don’t use line spacing often appear as one huge block of text. Most recruiters won’t even read these letters, so make sure to utilise your word processor’s line spacing feature.
To add spacing to your cover letter in Microsoft Word, highlight the text, click ‘Layout’, then add 8 pt. spacing in the ‘After’ section.
This will ensure your paragraphs are easily distinguished from each other. It will also optimise your recruiter’s reading experience, which can only be a positive thing!
Margins are the blank spaces at the edges of your cover letter. The size of your margins will depend on the amount of content in your cover letter.
If you have a lot of content to include, your margins should be narrower, which would give you more space. If you have a shorter cover letter, your margins should be wider.
Ideally, you should be aiming for margin sizes of between 1.7 cm (0.66”) and 2.5 cm (0.98”).
3. Fonts & Fonts Sizes
Select a common, easy to read font, such as Calibri, Times New Roman and Arial. Avoid using overly creative fonts. Such fonts will make your cover letter look unprofessional and difficult to read.
For most fonts, including Times New Roman, Calibri and Arial, you should choose a font size of between 10.5 pt. and 12 pt.
Further Cover Letter Tips
Don't exceed one page.
Unless you’ve been specifically asked to submit a longer cover letter, don’t exceed one page in length. Long cover letters make for a poorer reading experience and recruiters may not read your cover letter if it’s too long.
Proofread your cover letter
Ensure to proofread your cover letter to iron out any spelling and grammatical errors. Errors in your cover letter can make you look unprofessional and have a negative impact on your job applications.
Give your document a professional title
When saving your cover letter, make sure to give it a simple, professional title. Examples of professional titles for your cover letter include ‘Cover Letter’ or ‘My Cover Letter’.
Avoid unprofessional titles such as ‘coverletter023432’. When recruiters see such titles on documents, they may instantly see you as unprofessional.
State that your CV is attached/enclosed
If you’re submitting your CV along with your cover letter, state that you’ve enclosed the CV. To do this, include the abbreviation ‘Enc.: CV’ at the bottom of your cover letter, as demonstrated in the cover letter samples in this guide.
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- Career Guide
The perfect cover letter 2022 – comprehensive guide with examples
How to build the perfect cover letter for any job (+ cover letter examples).
Just found your dream job and want to apply immediately? Simply send out your existing resume? Wait! To create the perfect application, you should definitely invest some time into an exceptional cover letter.
Because this is what the responsible hiring manager will scan thoroughly. Sure, it sounds like a lot of work and a big challenge at first. But don’t worry. It’s not as hard to write a good cover letter as you might think! We’ll help you every step of the way to write a professional cover letter that will blow the HR department’s mind!
What is a cover letter?
The cover letter is the first page of the application documents, which is structured like a formal letter and provides information about job seekers’ motivation and background.
With the cover letter, the candidate not only presents his or her previous work experience, but also tries to convince the employer, through clear and structured facts, that he or she is looking at exactly the application of the ideal candidate.
What should a great cover letter say?
The purpose of the cover letter is to answer these important questions briefly and convincingly:
What am I applying for, what have I learned and accomplished so far, and how will the company benefit from my skills?
The cover letter should therefore convince the hiring manager that you are the perfect candidate for the job and that you also fit in with the company on a personal level. And it’s best to do this without standard phrases in order to stand out from the crowd.
We will now give you tips on how to build your cover letter step by step.
Explain why you are the perfect candidate
The first thing that makes a strong cover letter stand out: a catchy first paragraph. The introductory paragraph ist extremely important because the hiring manager will most likely skim your documents first. That means he or she will read the introductory paragraph and then perhaps move on to the final paragraph.
In order to make him or her read your full job application, you should try to:
- Arouse the interest of the recruiter
- Encourage the reader to read on
- State your motivation
- Convince the hiring manager of your qualifications
Now you may be asking yourself, how can I fit all this into the first sentence? Seems impossible! Don’t worry, it’s not that hard to catch the reader’s attention. Before you start writing your cover letter, though, there are a few general things you should keep in mind:
✅ Dos and 🚫 Don’ts
- ✅ The correct form of greeting : “Dear Sir or Madam” quickly suggests a mass application and creates a certain distance between you and the recruiter. The fact that you have not taken the time to find out who to send the application to creates a bad impression. In most cases, the person in charge will be named, but if this is not the case, check the company website. Of course, if no specific salutation is apparent, you can’t be blamed for using a general greeting.
- ✅ Follow up on previous contact : If you have already had contact with the company, e.g. via a phone call or email, be sure to mention this in your introduction. This will make the hiring manager remember that phone call and what you discussed in it. This way, he or she will automatically engage with you more and you will be more present. In addition, it is also worthwhile to refer to a previous phone call, because this shows you are interested!
❇️ Examples for a great first paragraph
“Dear Mr. Smith,
First of all, I would like to thank you for the informative interview on February 3, 2021, in which you explained to me the specific range of tasks for the position you have advertised. I have the necessary core competencies for this particular position, because…”
The reference to a previous interview makes the introduction much smoother and easier. This way, you can point out a connection between you and the company and increase your recognition value in the application. The recruiter’s interest is aroused and you formally start your cover letter without neglecting the personal touch.
As a volunteer environmental activist, my goal for the past ten years has been to raise awareness about the consequences of pollution and preventive measures to combat it. With your resources, I could accomplish much more, which prompts me to offer my support as XY…”
With this introduction you have already attracted attention, stated the reason for your application and revealed an important qualification on your part. In addition, this form of introduction shows that you have studied the subject area and would approach the tasks of the job with ambition.
➕ Be bold! Why not start your cover letter with a question?
“What does it take to be a successful and profitable risk manager? A lot of commitment and a high level of professional competence. These are exactly the qualities I was able to demonstrate in my previous job as a junior manager at XY!”
➕ Short and concise!
In a few concise sentences, make it clear who you are and what qualifies you for the advertised position. Recruiters don’t have much time and will thank you if you get straight to the point.
➕ Tip by career experts: Have acquaintances proofread your introduction.
Most of your readers won’t be an expert, but they don’t have to be. It’s just a matter of them telling you their impression of your introduction. In doing so, you can ask the following questions:
- Would you want to keep reading after this introduction?
- Does the introduction make you curious about me as a person?
- What impression do you have of me after reading the introduction?
- 🚫 Don’t get ostentatious : Healthy self-confidence is good, but there is always a fine line between self-assurance and boasting. If you link your strengths to the requirements of the company and the advertised position, you will already seem like a suitable candidate without having to emphasize this several times.
- 🚫 Do not include any information that is not on your resume: You should definitely show transparency in all areas. What you cannot prove on the basis of your resume should not be in your cover letter either.
- 🚫 Stay away from phrases : “ With great interest I have read your advertisement …” / “I hereby apply…” / “I refer to the advertised position of…” . Don’t even try to copy prefabricated texts from the Internet – every recruiter will notice that immediately! Invest some time and think about what could make your introduction particularly interesting.
As we told you at the beginning, the hiring manager will most likely look at your opening paragraph and then move to the end of your cover letter. The cover letter ending is thus also really important and you should definitely pay attention to use the right formal closing.
You will make a lasting good impression with closing sentences that harmonize with the previous paragraphs of the cover letter in terms of tone and choice of words. It is also advantageous to align both with the job you are aiming for and the usual customs in the industry in question.
We provide you with good examples for a professional cover letter closing in our “5-step perfect cover letter for any job” guide below! And of course, you’ll get the best cover letter examples along with it.
Detailed structure of a great cover letter in 5 steps
“I want to build my perfect cover letter!”
You’ve seen this great job posting that is calling directly for specific skills you have, and you appear to be just the right person for the job. In order to put all of your relevant skills in a meaningful order, you should pay attention to the proper structure of a cover letter. If you sell your professional skills meaningfully here, you can well be the best candidate and get the new position!
#1 Open your cover letter with a proper greeting
To write the perfect cover letter, you should find out who the hiring manager of the relevant department is. Do not hesitate to use his or her job title or professional title, such as “Dr.” or “Professor” in the salutation.
❇️ Example for a complete first paragraph
“Dear Professor Smith,
I truly enjoy working in a multinational and dynamic environment. This is why I would like to apply for an internship in the field of Corporate Communications at (company name). Your company serves clients throughout the world. Therefore, it is mandatory to have employees with specialized knowledge. I can contribute my skills in project and event management as well as my high proficiency in the English and German language and my excellent communication skills. This will make it possible to enhance the company performance and also benefit my personal development.”
#2 Tell them why you are eager to join
In the second paragraph and the subsequent ones, highlight the tasks in the job description and answer the “Why” questions. To do this, don’t just type the company name into Google and read a little about their company culture. Instead, dive deep into their mission, values, and requirements and connect that to your own professional background. Answer the following questions before you start writing the body paragraphs of your cover letter:
- What is really important in the advertised position?
- Which strengths are explicitly required?
- What makes the company special?
Career experts will confirm this for you: If you state exactly why you want to join, it proves to the recruiter that the position is not just a temporary solution for you, but that you are really interested. The focus of your answer should therefore be that you want to work in this position on a long-term basis – and not just use it as a stopover.
Basically, the hiring manager pays attention to whether you are up to the challenges of the advertised position and whether you fit in with the company. These two aspects are also referred to as the “double fit” by HR specialists – and it’s important to convey this to the recruiter.
This is what the hiring manager wants to know:
- What motivates you about the company?
- What motivates you for the specific job?
- Do you know what the company does?
- What do they stand for? (And what do you stand for?)
- Where is the connection between your values and skills and the company’s activities and vision?
- What tasks and activities do you expect?
- Can you realistically assess the challenges of the position?
❇️ Example for the main part of your cover letter
“During my internship with you in the marketing department, I was fascinated and excited by the pleasant working atmosphere and the resulting creativity of the team. The collaboration was characterized by the convincing ideas of the expert team, but above all by the open and responsive dynamics of the team members. And that is not the only reason why I would be delighted to join your team: The fact that you are one of the pioneers in innovative web design solutions makes it especially interesting and valuable. Because it’s very important to me to strengthen my skills in this area.”
#3 Make your offer in the closing paragraph
The last paragraph should end the cover letter appropriately and indicate an action by the employer. Remind the recruiter what you described in the first and second paragraphs (how your experience and skills will help the company).
That’s the whole point of a perfect cover letter and also the cherry on top: a call to action. Let the recruiter know that you’re happy to come in for an interview.
But be careful: if the last paragraph is too long, it weakens your call to action.
❇️ Example for a brilliant closing paragraph
I am confident that I would be a good choice for the position. I already have international experience and I especially take pleasure in interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds. An internship at (company name) will perfectly groom me for a career in a global professional setting.
I would be delighted to receive an invitation for a personal interview.
#4 Conclude your cover letter with an appropriate salutation
“S incerely,” “Best regards,” “I’m happy to …” – all these closing words are good, but nothing is better than a simple “ Thank you very much.”
This is the most tactful closing phrase for all types of letters and emails because it expresses genuine gratitude. It’s kind and sincere. “Thank you” is the perfect ending for any general cover letter.
#5 Convince them that you are the perfect candidate
To write a well-crafted cover letter for any job, remember that your cover letter should be no longer than four to five paragraphs and should include the following:
- Your personal introduction
- The main points of your resume (those that match those in the job description) with a description of why your previous experience and skills will enable you to meet the company’s requirements. It should complement the content of the resume, not repeat it!
- A call to action – a polite way to indicate that you want to be invited to the interview
Don’t forget to include your contact information in your resume, and make sure your cover letter fits on a one-page document. Feel free to work with a word count. (That should be around 400 words for a one-page cover letter.)
We hope this guide has been useful for you, whether you are just looking for a sample cover letter, a career change cover letter or simply popular cover letter templates. Below, we have created 4 cover letter examples that you can use if you plan to write a professional cover letter that perfectly fits your job application.
❇️ General cover letter example
Your City, State and Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Name
Hiring Manager’s or Recruiter’s Title
Company or Organization Name
City, State and Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. (Hiring Manager’s/Recruiter’s Last Name),
Introduce yourself to the hiring manager and talk about why you are interested in the position. You can discuss an accomplishment in detail and include results to explain why your current or most recent position makes you the right choice for the job.
Your second paragraph should provide more details about your experience to highlight the reasons why you fit the job description. A general cover letter might include a bulleted list of specific results and accomplishments within your position:
- Management/leadership/general experience
- Specific improvement or goal met
- Technical skills/abilities
- Key strengths
The third paragraph is a summary of your accomplishments and should recap why you are the right person for the job. Include a call to action to prompt the recruiter to take the next step in the hiring process.
Your Typed Full Name
❇️ Professional cover letter example
“Dear Mr. Smith,
I am a young professional from Germany with experience in customer service operations and online marketing activities. I have been able to gain these competencies during my time as a working student at company XY and as a freelance artist. My Bachelor’s Degree in International Cultural and Business Studies has provided me with an extensive knowledge in business functions and cross-cultural communication.
I would like to apply for the position as Market Associate because I am highly motivated, have a strong “can do” attitude and a structured, results-oriented way of working. During my studies, I was able to develop an understanding of the international marketing environment and learn about international product-, brand-, and communication management. Working as an artist has enabled me to connect theory with practice. I have already organized events in Germany and South Korea and also performed as an international DJ. Promoting my projects on social media and in public has been challenging but fun and it has shown me that it is very important to be proactive and goal-oriented.
Apart from a keen interest in all travel related services, I also have a strong customer focus. At company XY, I worked in the department managing the training of the global customer service. This enabled me to gain experience in international project management as well as the creation of content, like a virtual classroom training. Even though this project required the use of a new software, I was quickly able to get acquainted to it and present results. Moreover, I was involved in the planning and implementation of international training events. Here, precise communication and team-oriented work played a major role.
My positive attitude toward change and new environments as well as a distinct cultural sensitivity have enabled me to relate to people of various personalities and backgrounds. My stays in the USA, Australia and Korea have made me tolerant, curious and appreciative of different social structures and work patterns. I am aiming for an international career and I am ready for new challenges.
I am confident that I would be a good choice for the position. Company XY serves clients throughout the world. Therefore, it is mandatory to have employees with intercultural expertise and excellent communication skills. Moreover, I can contribute my conceptual, organizational and language abilities. This will make it possible to enhance the company performance and also benefit my personal development.
I would be delighted to receive an invitation for a personal interview.”
❇️ Creative cover letter example
Electronic music is my greatest passion. As a DJ and organizer of an event series of techno parties called “Techno-Time” in Germany and Korea, I have been able to gain solid experiences on the “international dance floor.” Company XY caters to the strongly growing interest in Electronic music all over Asia. I am very interested in this process and would like to contribute and expand my skill-set.
Working in the music business requires commitment, perseverance and utter persistence. When I first started DJing at parties that we organized together as the university’s radio station team, delivering a great set to the audience was my highest goal. But soon after, I wanted to realize my own event concept and launch something that had been missing from the party scene in my university town: techno events. It was a new challenge and even though it required a lot more effort than just securing a DJ booking, I was able to create a wonderful party series. Working together with a small team, each person with their own specialty, helped immensely. While I was in charge of negotiating with club owners and conduct DJ bookings, we worked together when it came to Marketing & Promotions and also to on-location operations.
In 2015, I was booked to play at one of Germany’s biggest Techno festivals. Playing on the big stage was a huge difference from playing in a tiny DJ booth at clubs. It helped me familiarize myself with the run down and hospitality part of big events. This motivated me to take my own DJ bookings to the next level. As traveling is a great passion of mine, I combined it with my love for DJing and my previous event organizing skills and arranged my own Asia tour. In between, I stopped by in Seoul to play at a “Techno-Time” event I had organized there. The arrangement of these gigs required me to be extremely proactive, goal-oriented and highly flexible.
I really enjoy being part of something special and creating a wonderful experience for others. As I love to be on the road, I am not bound to a particular location. I am ready to face new challenges and it would be a great opportunity to be able to join the company XY family.
I would be very pleased to receive an invitation to a personal interview.”
❇️ Entry-level cover letter example
I would like to use my experience in the field of customer care and office organization to provide optimum support for the customers of your innovative company and to ensure a smooth working day.
Due to a longer stay abroad after my high school graduation, I have a very good command of French and am therefore able to communicate with your international customers in a business fluent manner. During my training as an office clerk, I perfected independent work and the use of common computer programs.
My distinctive empathy and my communicative nature enable me to always keep calm and find goal-oriented solutions even when dealing with challenging customers. In addition, I am able to quickly familiarize myself with new subject areas and am confident that I will be able to effectively handle your customers’ inquiries after only a short period of time. You can expect a high degree of commitment and willingness to perform in my entire way of working.
I look forward to convincing you and your company of me and my competencies in a personal meeting. I would be happy to send you further application documents if required.”
Tip : Are you also interested in learning how to write a formal letter? We have compiled 8 steps to a perfect letter for you!
Cover letter FAQ
#1: The first impression counts #2: Be responsive to the job posting #3: You want to sell yourself, show that #4: Create a meaningful closing sentence
Have you already created a fantastic resume? Then pay a little extra attention to the cover letter. After all, the hiring manager will probably scan that first! If you use a sample cover letter from above (choose the template that best fits your (future) job title), you’re well on your way!
A good cover letter is short and concise! Your cover letter should cover two things: your strengths and how they can benefit the company. Write your cover letter specifically to the key statements on your resume. Your resume and cover letter have the greatest impact when they complement each other. Check our cover letter examples and write the perfect cover letter in 2022!
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The 23 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right
Published: September 21, 2023
Fun isn’t something typically associated with writing a cover letter. But the cover letter examples below show that it’s possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process.
45% of job seekers don't include a cover letter when applying for a job. But this is a mistake, because your cover letter is a chance to tell the stories your resume only outlines. It's an opportunity for you to highlight your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process.
Are you ready to showcase your unique skills and experience? Or are you looking for more tips and cover letter inspiration?
Keep reading for 20+ cover letter examples, then check out tips for cover letter formatting and what makes a cover letter great .
5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Five fill-in-the-blank cover letter templates to help you impress recruiters.
- Standard Cover Letter Template
- Entry-Level Cover Letter Template
- Data-Driven Cover Letter Template
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
Cover Letter Examples
- Standard Cover Letter Example
- Data-Driven Cover Letter Sample
- Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
- The Cover Letter That Explains 'Why,' Not Just 'How'
- The 'We're Meant for Each Other' Cover Letter
- The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.
- Short-and-Sweet Cover Letter Example
- The Short Story
- The Bare Bones Cover Letter
- The Breezy Follow-Up
- The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
- The Internship Cover Letter
- The Brutally Honest Cover Letter
- The Pivot Cover Letter
- The Graphic Design Cover Letter
- Consulting Internship Cover Letter Example
- Nonprofit Referral Cover Letter Example
- General Email Inquiry Cover Letter Example
- Post-Phone-Call Cover Letter Example
- Mission-Driven Graduate Cover Letter Example
- Short Recommendation Cover Letter Example
- Professor or Research Position Cover Letter Example
- Director Cover Letter Example
- Editorial Cover Letter Example
- Promotion Cover Letter Example
- Law Cover Letter Example
Customizable Cover Letter Examples
In a hurry for a cover letter example you can download and customize? Check out the ones below from HubSpot’s cover letter template kit .
1. Standard Cover Letter Example
Download a Customizable Copy of This Cover Letter Example
This standard cover letter hits all the right notes: It includes a space to give a brief summary of your experience, as well as a space to delve in-depth into the specific responsibilities of your current role. You also have the chance to describe the challenges you’ve mastered in previous roles, showing that you’re capable of facing any problem that comes your way.
Why We Love It
We love this cover letter because it allows you to describe the high points of your career while still being professional, personalized, and succinct.
2. Data-Driven Cover Letter Sample
Numbers are worth a million words — or that’s how the saying should probably go (if only we could include pictures in cover letters). Citing data and statistics about your achievements at your current company is an assured way to capture a hiring manager’s attention. Most hiring managers don’t read the entire letter, so a bulleted summary of your achievements can be a powerful way to increase the effectiveness and scannability of your message.
We love this cover letter because it’s adaptable to any role. Even if you don’t work in a data-centric role, you can include any enumerable achievement. If you’re in a creative industry, for instance, you can include the number of creative assets you designed for your current company.
3. Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
Applying to your first job can be stress-inducing, to say the least. You can increase your chances of getting that first interview by including a cover letter that explains how your education can help you succeed in the role you applied for.
Look no further than this example from HubSpot. While other cover letter samples give experienced professionals the opportunity to share their experience at length, this one gives you the chance to describe your personal and professional attributes. You can then convey how you can use your knowledge to help your target company reach its goals.
We love this cover letter because it’s easy and simple to use for a student who has little experience in their target industry — including those who haven’t yet completed an internship.
Looking for more? Download the entire kit below.
5 Professional Cover Letter Templates
Fill out the form to access your templates., best cover letter examples.
What does a good cover letter look like in practice, and how can you make yours stand out? We found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.
Note: Some of these cover letters include real company names and NSFW language that we've covered up.
1. The Cover Letter That Explains 'Why,' Not Just 'How'
You may already know how to talk about how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?
The Muse , a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story. We advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.
Here’s another instance of the power of personalization. The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, that probably would eventually be revealed in an interview.
Make sure your story is nonfiction and relatable according to each job. While we love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company. But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, we’d find that fitting.
If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.
Why This Is A Great Cover Letter
This example shows how effective personalization can be. The writer is passionate about the employer, drawing from her own childhood experience to communicate her enthusiasm.
Further reading: Sales Cover Letter Tips
2. The 'We're Meant for Each Other' Cover Letter
This cover letter example is a special one because it was submitted to us here at HubSpot. What does the letter do well? It makes a connection with us before we've even met the letter's author.
"Content Marketing Certified" shows the applicant has taken the content marketing certification course in our HubSpot Academy (you can take the same course here ). Our "records" indicate he/she did indeed give an interview with us before — and was a HubSpot customer.
The cover letter sang references to a relationship we didn't even know we had with the candidate.
The letter ends with a charming pitch for why, despite him/her not getting hired previously, our interests complement each other this time around.
(Yes, the applicant was hired).
This cover letter example does an excellent job of building rapport with the employer. Despite not getting hired for previous roles they applied for at HubSpot, the writer conveys exactly why they are right for this role.
Read more: Customer Service Cover Letter Tips
3. The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.
HubSpot has a lot of H.E.A.R.T. — Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent. Our Culture Code is the foundation of the company's culture, the driving force behind our mission to help millions grow better , and serves as the scaffolding for our hiring practices. Recruiters at HubSpot look for applicants that demonstrate how they embody the Culture Code and job description, paying extra attention to cover letters that are super custom to HubSpot.
In another HubSpot submission, a HubSpot applicant writes about how she found out about HubSpot, why she likes the company, and how her professional experience aligns with H.E.A.R.T.
HubSpot's recruiting team was impressed with her dedication to the company and how she went beyond what was asked for by linking her portfolio in her closing paragraph.
Featured Resource: 5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Download our collection of 5 professional cover letter templates to help you summarize your professional journey and land your dream job – whether it's at your first or fifth company.
Short Cover Letter Examples
4. the short-and-sweet cover letter.
In 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, " The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received. " That letter has three complete sentences, as follows:
One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question. But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.
"The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me," writes Silverman. "Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on."
When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:
- Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under "reports to." Address your letter to that individual.
- Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.
The key to this standout cover letter is research — by looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you can create solutions for them.
Read here for more tips on how to land your dream job .
5. The Short Story
Basha Coleman began her cover letter with a short story. The goal of this short story is two-fold:
- Detail the experience she already has with the organization.
- Stand out to the hiring team.
You'll notice that her short story follows a typical narrative arc: It has a conflict/obstacle, a turning point, and a positive outcome, all created with a goal to emphasize a theme or point. In this case, Coleman is emphasizing her existing affinity with the brand and her triumphs within the program so that she can continue on her career path.
Like the second example in our list, this cover letter does an excellent job of conveying the applicant’s existing affinity for the brand. If you are applying to a company you love, don’t be shy about showing it and explaining why.
6. The Bare Bones Cover Letter
In today's job market, cover letters aren't always necessary. Even though many recruiters won't ask for or even read them, cover letters can still be effective and convey personality to a reader. Writing a strong cover letter can help you better convey your interest in the position and company.
This template from The Balance Careers puts together the essential components of a short cover letter: excitement about the position, your qualifications, and a call-to-action for the recruiter to follow up with you. Combining these central aspects in a well-written, compelling narrative will go a long way in convincing readers to hire you.
This letter is organized and concise. The inclusion of bullet points to highlight key skills and help the recruiter skim the document is a nice touch.
Check out this post for more useful cover letter tips .
7. The Breezy Follow-Up
In this cover letter, Amanda Edens is following the instructions the hiring manager gave by forwarding an email with resume and writing samples attached.
Not only does Amanda include links to relevant writing samples that are live on the web, but she also closes with a strong final paragraph that:
- Summarizes the expertise she has relevant to the posting
- Emphasizes that she doesn't want to simply get a job but rather help the organization accomplish their goals
- The reader gets everything they need in an organized and thoughtful manner.
8. The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
In this cover letter the candidate, Michelle, plays up her prior music industry experience to build a connection with Epic Music Group. If you have specific industry experience for the role you are applying for, be sure to highlight that.
It’s clear that she’s passionate about not only the music industry, but Epic as a whole. She’s done so much research on the company that she knows what software programs they use, and happens to be proficient in it to help convey value to the hiring manager.
This example further illustrates the importance of research. Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.
In just three short paragraphs, the applicant uses their company research to drive home why they are the perfect fit for the role — emphasizing industry experience as well as software knowledge specific to the company. All of this communicates that she’d be able to start with very few hiccups while getting up to speed.
Further reading: 15 Cover Letter Templates
9. The Internship Cover Letter
Maybe you’re just getting started in your career and looking to land the right internship to gain experience in your field. In this case, you’ll need to highlight more of your educational background and transferable skills since you won’t have as much professional experience to highlight.
The cover letter above is a great example of how to emphasize your skills and accomplishments when applying to internships or entry-level positions. A few things the applicant does well:
- Highlights relevant extracurriculars and affinity networks. In this case, the applicant is applying for a business analyst position, so mentioning their involvement in a FinTech group makes sense.
- Previous internships in relevant fields: Our applicant points out that they’ve interned as a Business Analyst at another firm. Pointing out that they’ve done the role before will help make their case for fit.
- Highlight other useful skills: This applicant is fluent in both English and German. If an international company or an organization needs bilingual support, knowing multiple languages is an asset.
This cover letter example illustrates how you can leverage your education and background to get the gig even when you don’t have much working experience. Highlighting previous internships or experience in related fields can go a long way in convincing hiring managers you’re the perfect candidate for the role.
Further reading for recent graduates:
- How to Find a Job After College
- Writing a Cover Letter for an Internship
Creative Cover Letter Examples
10. the brutally honest cover letter.
Then, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form. Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example " the best cover letter " (which he received while he was with Squarespace):
As Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company. But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.
"Remember that I'm reading these all day long," Hertzberg writes. "You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out."
The applicant did their research on the company’s culture and executed this cover letter flawlessly. It’s funny and shows off the applicant’s personality all while making it clear why they are a good fit for the role.
- How to Stand Out and Get Hired at Your Dream Company
- How to Find Your Dream Job
11. The Pivot Cover Letter
Making a career switch? Your cover letter can be an excellent opportunity for you to explain the reasoning behind your career change and how your transferable skills qualify you for the role.
Since the role she is applying for is more visual, it’s important to both show and tell why you’re a good fit.
This cover letter strikes the perfect balance between creativity and simplicity in design while putting the applicant's career change into context. The copy is clean, with a creative font choice that isn’t distracting from the content, but still demonstrates the applicant’s knack for design.
12. The Graphic Design Cover Letter
When applying for more creative roles, the design of your cover letter can say just as much as the words on the page. Take the graphic designer letter example below.
It’s got so much going for it:
- Pop of color
- Clean layout
- Interesting fonts
Besides the style elements, this example also doesn’t skimp on the key skills recruiters are looking for. Using metrics, the applicant proves their value and why they would be a great fit.
This cover letter thoroughly conveys the applicant’s skills and qualifications using a variety of visual elements and emphasizing their greatest achievements.
Pro tip: If you're applying for a graphic design job, share a link to your graphic design portfolio website , even if it's not an application requirement.
Job Cover Letter Examples
Next up, let’s go over some classic cover letter examples for jobs, especially if you’re applying to internships or only have a few years of experience. The below cover letters follow the golden rules and don’t deviate too much from the standard — which is ideal if you’re applying to positions in more traditional industries.
13. Consulting Internship Cover Letter Example
Many internship applicants are early on in their careers or are still in college. That means they’ve yet to gather enough experience to offer tangible proof of their ability to do the job. That means that a cover letter is the place where an internship applicant can shine.
This cover letter example highlights the applicant’s skills in a bullet-point format. That makes it easier for an overburdened hiring manager to get the essence of her points, quickly, if they’re only skimming cover letters. Not only that, but this applicant personalized the letter in every single sentence. She shares information about her prior conversations with some of the company’s employees and mentions the company’s name at every turn.
While she only has one prior consulting job, she deftly mentions the skills she developed in that role and ties them into her desired position at Quantcast Product Group.
This cover letter example does a fantastic job advertising the applicant’s soft skills in a highly scannable format — while still going heavy on the personalization. Don’t be shy to lightly play with formatting to get your point across and to imbue the letter with your passion for a company.
14. Nonprofit Referral Cover Letter Example
This cover letter example for a nonprofit job hits the ground running by right away inserting the name of one of the nonprofit’s Superintendents. That’s an excellent way to get a recruiter’s attention and make you stand out from the slush pile, even if you’re only just out of school, as is the case for this applicant.
If you’ve received an internal recommendation for a position, you’d be wise to open your letter with that information. Don’t worry about it feeling too stilted or strange — remember, hiring managers only skim letters. Your goal is to make sure they get information about you that they otherwise won’t get from your resume.
With only three full paragraphs, this cover letter example is short, sweet, and to the point. No time is wasted, and it also goes over the critical basics, such as skills and experience.
This nonprofit cover letter includes a recommendation from an internal employee at the target organization, making it more likely to stand out from the slush pile. We also love that it doesn’t skimp on the basics, such as skills, enthusiasm, and experience.
15. General Email Inquiry Cover Letter Example
Even if a job opportunity isn’t available at an organization yet, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be. You can always send a general inquiry cover letter, like the one in this example.
This email cover letter for a political campaign internship is short and sweet, but includes the critical information the campaign coordinator needs to consider the applicant for any new positions that may open up.
The best part about this cover letter is that it can be easily customized from one political campaign employer to the next. While it does include a level of personalization, it’s brief and can be easily changed to address the specific political candidate.
When sending general inquiries like this one, it’s essential to make the personalization aspect as pain-free as possible for yourself. That may mean including only one sentence or two, knowing that a general inquiry might not be replied to.
This email cover letter example hits all the right notes while keeping it brief and to-the-point. While we don’t recommend choosing this format for a formal cover letter, it works if you’re sending a general inquiry to an employer over email. It’s also a good example to follow if you’re still in college or have very little experience.
Read more: How to Write a Letter of Interest
16. Post-Phone-Call Cover Letter Example
If you get a phone call from a potential employer and they invite you to send your resume, pat yourself on the back — that is such a win. In your cover letter, be sure to mention that right away, like this example does.
A hiring manager or an executive at a company likely has a lot of tasks on their plate, which means that they may forget about your call from one week to the next. That is totally okay, which is why this example starts with a reminder that the applicant and the letter recipient spoke back on January 31st. It also has a few more details about why they started speaking in the first place.
Aside from leveraging the phone call that’s already occurred, this cover letter also does an excellent job explaining why the applicant is an ideal choice for the job. It goes into detail about skills and previous experience with a high level of enthusiasm, and includes a promise to follow up at the end.
This cover letter example includes two things that will immediately draw the recipient’s attention: A phone call they’ve already had, and a mutual contact at their organization. The job and internship search can be grueling; never be afraid to use everything you have at your disposal to improve your standing over other applicants.
Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter
17. Mission-Driven Graduate Cover Letter Example
This cover letter example from a recent B.A. graduate wowed us from the first sentence. The applicant right away explains her attained degree and her specific career interests, then dives into the aspects of her experience that make her such a great candidate.
It's so personalized to the employer’s own mission that it’s difficult to stop reading it. Even if the hiring manager isn’t a science or health professional, they would be able to effectively gauge the applicant’s suitability for the role by the expertise she shows in her cover letter alone. The applicant explains at length why she’s excited to work for that specific hospital. The organization serves Aboriginal populations, which aligns with her own values and research interests.
In the last paragraph, she summarizes what she knows about the employer in one sentence, then describes how each of her experiences supports the employer’s mission. That is an exceedingly clever and meaningful way to align yourself with an organization at a deeper level.
If you’re applying to a mission-driven organization, don’t be shy about showing your excitement and expertise. You don’t need a lot of experience to show that your values align with those of your target organization. This cover letter example is especially good inspiration if you’re making a career change, have only just a few internships under your belt, or are graduating from college.
18. Short Recommendation Cover Letter Example
Referral or recommendation cover letters don’t need to be too long, and this is a great example of that. It immediately leverages a mutual connection at the company. The mutual connection recommended that the applicant contact the hiring manager for a role, which is a piece of information we always recommend you frontload in your letter.
This specific cover letter comes from an applicant with little experience, making it a good example to follow if you’re switching careers or just out of college. Instead of talking about their experience, the applicant uses anecdotal evidence to convey their enthusiasm for working at that company.
The writer also goes over their most salient skills, such as being able to speak multiple languages. They also explain how their degree directly applies to the target role. We love that the candidate highlights their leadership abilities and makes that an effective selling point for being hired.
This cover letter doesn’t go on for too long, which we love. It’s simple and sweet and provides all the information the hiring manager needs to look more closely at the applicant’s resume and make an interviewing decision.
19. Professor or Research Position Cover Letter Example
Academic or research position cover letters might require a little more information than the typical cover letter — and this is one such example. Why is it okay to go a little longer? Because the letter is not only a way to supplement the PhD candidate’s academic CV, but to provide a writing sample for the search committee.
We love this cover letter because it expresses the candidate’s enthusiasm for teaching and explains her instructional ethos, such as providing out-of-the-classroom opportunities, championing communication, and encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone. The applicant also suggests courses she may be able to teach at the target institution, and expresses her interest in developing new courses as needed.
She also suggests how she can enhance the college’s extracurricular programming by offering study abroad courses, which shows not just an interest in teaching but adding to the school’s overall culture.
While this letter goes for a little longer than recommended, it serves as a fantastic writing sample and explains the applicant’s research background at length. If you’re applying to academic or research roles, don’t be afraid to go into detail about what most excites you in terms of research interests.
20. Director Cover Letter Example
This cover letter example — for a Director of Catering position at a university — doesn’t waste any time. The applicant right away says that they’re a strong candidate for the role, then jumps right into three salient qualifications that make him a great fit.
We love how the applicant uses bullet points and bold text to guide an overburdened hiring manager through the cover letter — and to give them permission to scan it, if needed. If the hiring manager would like more information or actual examples of the skills, they merely need to read the rest of the bullet point paragraph.
As mentioned, light formatting can be beneficial to your cover letter, as it draws the recruiter’s eyes and prevents them from having to fish for the information they’re looking for.
This short, sweet cover letter includes the critical information a hiring manager or high-level executive needs to make an interview decision. We love the use of formatting that doesn’t stray too much from regular cover letter conventions, and we like that the applicant kept all other paragraphs extremely brief.
21. Editorial Cover Letter Example
Applying for an editorial or journalistic position? Like a cover letter example we shared earlier, you can take a more storytelling approach to capture the hiring manager’s attention. This cover letter example does that effectively by telling an anecdote that directly mentions the newspaper where they’d like to work.
This immediately draws the reader in and tells them that this application isn’t random at all; the applicant would like to work at the newspaper because they’ve read it every morning. Not only that, but they have a favorite reporter on the newspaper’s staff. The applicant then jumps into the specific reason they want to take an editorial position at the Baltimore Sun.
The cover letter includes all pertinent information, such as how previous positions have equipped the applicant to take on this job. It closes with enthusiasm after keeping the reader rapt every step of the way.
The applicant uses storytelling to — you guessed it — apply for a position that needs storytelling skills. If you’re applying for a data-driven position or a graphic design position, why not showcase those skills in the cover letter itself? We like that this letter doesn’t diverge too much from cover letter conventions while still differentiating itself.
22. Promotion Cover Letter Example
In this cover letter example, the applicant already works for the employer and wishes to apply for the next position to move up in their career. We like that the letter cites the applicant’s extensive knowledge of the organization, which will no doubt give them an advantage over external applicants.
Not only that, but the applicant also references their experience before they started working at the employer and uses that information to make their candidacy even more desirable.
Lastly, this letter includes a healthy level of enthusiasm for the university and the position — something that is never extra in a cover letter.
This cover letter example does an excellent job showing the candidate’s knowledge of their current organization while stating why they’re a natural fit for the promotion. Plus, the letter includes information on the applicant’s relevant activities outside of work — if you’re involved in any organizations that might help you do your job better, be sure to include them.
23. Law Cover Letter Example
This law cover letter example jumps right into personalization, a bold move that will serve you well if you’re genuinely interested in a company and want to stand out. The applicant cites the recipient’s recent article on bond litigation, then ties that into the role they’d like to get at the law firm.
The applicant then goes into his skills and the feedback he’s received from past managers. This is an excellent way to introduce your skills without sounding dry — or even unfounded. By citing positive feedback you’ve received, you’ll imply that others have praised you for having those skills, and that you’re not only "tooting your own horn." (In cover letters, it’s absolutely okay to toot your own horn — that’s what they’re for. But if you can cite others’ remarks, that also helps.)
At just two and a half paragraphs, this letter is exceedingly short but no less effective. It’s an excellent example of how to personalize your letter quickly while still conveying the essentials of a cover letter.
This short cover letter example keeps it brief while still creating high impact. The applicant personalizes the letter immediately, cites external feedback, and conveys enthusiasm. This letter proves you don’t need to write a novel about an employer to sway the hiring manager into giving you an interview.
Now that we've shown you some excellent examples, let's talk about how you can create the best cover letter for your dream job.
What is a good cover letter?
A cover letter is used to show your interest in the role, passion for the company, and the impact you've had in previous positions. Good cover letters should include a standout opening, relevant skills and qualifications, and a strong finish with a call-to-action — all within one page and unique to each application.
What’s on a cover letter?
Before you start writing your cover letter, let's cover a few basic must-haves you'll want to include. If you’re looking for more detailed instructions, check out this guide to writing a cover letter .
Add a simple, but pleasant greeting to address the recruiter or hiring manager.
- Dear Sir or Madam Alternatives
- Cover Letter Greetings
Write a catchy introduction that explains why you’re interested in the role.
- How to Write an Introduction
- Tips for Writing a Good Introduction Sentence
This is the heart of your cover letter. It outlines your relevant experience and why you’d be a great fit for the role. You can highlight special skills, experiences, professional achievements, or education to help make your case.
- How to Write About Your Professional Background
- Professional Bio Examples
- LinkedIn Bio Examples
In this paragraph, add a call-to-action by expressing interest in an interview. Offer your contact information and sign off.
- Email Closing Line Examples
- Tips for Writing Conclusions
What does a cover letter look like?
Besides showing off your skills and qualifications, cover letters give you the opportunity to present a clear, concise, and compelling writing sample. It shows off your personality and your ability to convey ideas.
That's a lot of information to include on a single page, so it can help to have a clear structure to start with.
Check out our fillable cover letter templates to see how you should organize the content of your cover letter.
What makes a great cover letter?
A cover letter is personal, but it also needs to help you reach a goal and help the hiring team understand how you could perform that role with their company. This complexity can make cover letters really tough to write.
Because cover letters are difficult to write, many come off as boring, basic, or confusing for hiring managers to read. But the tips below about the qualities that make a cover letter great can help you take your cover letter from basic to bright.
Start with this quick video, then keep reading for more tips:
Begin with an introduction that's personal. It should capture the reader's attention and address your recipient by name. Then, add a compelling opening sentence that emphasizes your interest in the specific role.
Helpful Cover Letter Introduction:
"Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],
In an increasingly digitized world, where customer-centric strategies are vital for business success, I am thrilled to apply for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Introduction:
"To Whom it May Concern,
I am applying for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot. I have some experience in marketing and can help your clients grow their businesses."
Relevant Professional Experience
It can be tempting to use the same cover letter for every job. After all, it's about your experience, isn't it? But it's not enough to rephrase the work history in your resume.
Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to fill a specific role, so you need to show how your experience translates to their unique needs.
So, the body of a great cover letter should showcase the specific professional experiences that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Emphasize your accomplishments and skills that directly relate to what the job needs.
To speed up this part of the cover letter writing process, start by creating a list of your transferable skills . Drafting this list can help you quickly focus on the skills to highlight in your cover letter.
Then, use AI tools to summarize job descriptions and narrow in on where your experience and the needs of the role you're applying for overlap. This post is full of useful AI assistant tools if you're new to AI.
Helpful Cover Letter Experience:
"At [Company Name], I had the opportunity to assist a global ecommerce retailer in enhancing their online customer experience. By conducting in-depth market research and customer journey mapping, I identified pain points and areas of improvement in their website navigation and user interface."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Experience:
"I also worked with an ecommerce retailer to improve the customer experience. We did some surveys and training, and they were happy with the results."
To make your cover letter stand out, add specific examples that show how you've solved problems or gotten results in past roles.
Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible, using data to give the reader a clear understanding of your impact.
Helpful Cover Letter Example:
"I lead a team of five content writers while increasing website traffic by 18% year-over-year."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Example:
"I have a great track record of leadership and achieving fantastic results."
Research and Company Knowledge
Hiring teams aren't hiring anyone with the skills to do the job. They're hiring a person they'll work alongside at their specific company.
So, to show that you're not just looking for any job anywhere, share your knowledge of the company's industry, values, and culture in your cover letter. Spend some time on the company website and take notes on what makes this business interesting to you and why you would want to work there.
Then, explain how your skills align with the company's mission and goals and explain how you could add to their chances of success. This will showcase your interest in the company and help them see if you are a good cultural fit.
Helpful Cover Letter Research:
"I was particularly drawn to HubSpot not only for its industry-leading solutions but also for its exceptional company culture. HubSpot's commitment to employee development and fostering a collaborative environment is evident in its recognition as a top workplace consistently. I strongly believe that my passion for continuous learning, self-motivation, and dedication to contributing to a team will make me a valuable asset to HubSpot."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Research:
"I have been inspired by HubSpot's commitment to inbound marketing and its comprehensive suite of solutions. HubSpot's dedication to providing valuable content and fostering meaningful relationships aligns with my own values and aspirations."
Your cover letter needs to pack in a lot of important information. But it's also important that your cover letter is clear and concise.
To accomplish this, use professional but easy-to-understand language. Be sure to remove any grammar or spelling errors and avoid lengthy paragraphs and avoid jargon or overly technical language.
You may also want to use bullet points to make your letter easier to skim. Then, proofread your cover letter for clarity or ask a friend to proofread it for you.
- Guide to Becoming a Better Writer
- Tips for Simplifying Your Writing
Helpful Cover Letter Writing:
"In addition to my academic accomplishments, I gained valuable practical experience through internships at respected law firms.
Working alongside experienced attorneys, I assisted in providing legal support to clients. This hands-on experience helped me develop a deep understanding of client needs and enhanced my ability to effectively communicate complex legal concepts in a straightforward manner."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Writing:
"Furthermore, as a complement to my academic accomplishments, I have garnered invaluable practical experience through internships at esteemed law firms.
Throughout these placements, I actively collaborated with seasoned attorneys to conduct due diligence and furnish clients with comprehensive legal support. Notably, these experiences fostered a profound comprehension of client necessities, whilst honing my legal acumen to articulately convey intricate legal principles within a lucid and concise framework, adhering to applicable precedents and statutes of limitations."
Genuine Interest and Enthusiasm
Find ways to convey your passion for the role and how excited you are to contribute to the company you're applying to. At the same time, make sure your interest feels authentic and outline how it aligns with your career goals.
Your ultimate goal is an enthusiastic letter that feels honest and leaves a lasting positive impression.
Showing excitement in writing doesn't come naturally for everyone. A few tips that can help you boost the genuine enthusiasm in your letter:
- Record audio of yourself speaking about the role, then use voice-to-text technology to transcribe and add these sections to your letter.
- Choose your words carefully .
- Write in active voice.
Helpful Cover Letter Tone:
"I am genuinely enthusiastic about the prospect of joining [Company/Organization Name] as an accountant. My combination of technical proficiency, eagerness to learn, and strong attention to detail make me an ideal candidate for this role. I am confident that my dedication, reliability, and passion for accounting will contribute to the continued success of your organization."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Tone:
"Honestly, I can hardly contain my excitement when it comes to reconciliations, financial statement analysis, and tax regulations! Engaging in spirited discussions with professors and classmates has allowed me to foster an unbreakable bond with the fascinating world of accounting, and I'm positively bursting with enthusiasm at the prospect of applying my skills in a professional setting."
End your cover letter on a strong note. Summarize your top qualifications, restate your interest in the position, and express your interest in future communication.
Then, thank your reader for their time and consideration and include your contact information for easy follow-up.
To make your conclusion memorable, think about what parts of your letter you'd most like the hiring manager to keep top of mind. Then, consider your word choice and phrasing. If you're feeling stuck, this list of ways to close an email can help.
Helpful Cover Letter Conclusion:
"Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the opportunity to further discuss how my qualifications align with the needs of Greenpeace. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.
Together, let's make a lasting impact on our planet.
Unhelpful Cover Letter Conclusion:
"Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing my qualifications further and how I can contribute to Greenpeace's mission. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.
We’d like to add another stage to the job search: experimentation.
In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search. But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data we’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.
We certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will.
So, get inspired by these examples and templates. Write an incredible cover letter that shows the hiring team at your dream job exactly who you are.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure to learn more about how we use AI.
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The Best Cover Letter Format [3 Sample Templates]
Mike Simpson 0 Comments
By Mike Simpson
Before I give you all of my secrets for the perfect cover letter format (and trust me, you want to keep reading because this is going to really help you), I have to ask you a question.
Have you ever heard the phrase “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?”
Of course you have. So what’s the point? Bear with me for a moment.
Let’s say you’re at a party and meeting people for the very first time. You want to look your best, right?
FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET : Get our "Perfect Cover Letter" Cheat Sheet that gives you a Step-by-Step Process that will help you produce a perfect cover letter.
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You put on your favorite outfit, double and triple check your hair, brush your teeth five times, roll on your strongest deodorant and pack your pockets full of mints.
You’re doing everything you can to make sure you’re ready to go.
Okay so here’s another question: When people meet you for the first time, how long does it take for them to form an opinion about you based on their first impression.
Ready for this?
Seven seconds?! Are you serious?
That’s right, just seven fast seconds. As soon as you meet someone for the first time, their brains are processing everything about you at a rate of thousands of decisions a second:
Are you someone they want to talk to? Do you look friendly? Are you approachable? Do you look interesting? Is that spinach in your teeth?
Of course, most of these thoughts and decisions are made on the subconscious level at lightning speed and before you can fully get your name out and shake hands, that person has already decided whether or not they want to continue the conversation or move onto the next person to talk to.
Did you know the exact same thing happens in the job marketplace? It’s true.
Okay, so maybe you’re not meeting at the buffet line both contemplating the last shrimp puff, but when it comes to applying for a job and getting that interview, you need to treat it just like you treat your party, and that means getting everything exactly the way you want it to be for that first, crucial, first impression.
Hang on, how is that possible? Are you saying I have to dress up just to apply for my dream job? All I’m doing is sending in my paperwork…do I have to put on formal wear just to type it up?
In job interviews, just like our party, first impressions are everything, which is why we always encourage you to make sure you’re looking and sounding your best in every possible way, and in many cases that starts with your cover letter.
Oooh! My cover letter! But didn’t we already go over those?
Yes, we did! But this article is more than just how to write a cover letter . In this article we’re going to get down and dirty with the actual formatting of your cover letter.
Formatting? You mean there are different formats? I thought it was just a basic introduction and blah blah blah, here are my qualifications…hire me?
In a nutshell, yes, but remember, you only get one chance to make that first impression…so why run the risk of making the wrong one?
Why The Format Of Your Cover Letter Is Important
Let’s start with why cover letter formatting is so important.
As we’ve already said, first impressions are everything. You want a hiring manager to look at your cover letter and be so intrigued that they not only read it, but they call you in for an interview.
Chances are they’re going to be slogging through hundreds, if not thousands of cover letters and odds are the majority of those are going to be tossed in the trash after nothing more than a quick glance or two.
So, how do you make sure your cover letter (and attached resume) don’t get “filed under G” (for garbage… see what we did there)?
By making sure it’s not only the best first impression it can possibly be, but also the right impression.
Let’s get started.
How To Format A Cover Letter
To begin, let’s get some basics out of the way.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a quick way for you to summarize who you are, what position you are applying for and what skills and knowledge you have.
But can’t they just get the majority of that information from my resume?
Yes, but at the same time, a cover letter is a great opportunity for you to introduce information that’s not in your resume!
Most people fail to realize this and just use the cover letter as an opportunity to regurgitate everything that’s in their resume. Not only are they just doubling up useless information, they’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage a potential employer as well as showcase other skills or outside experiences that might not be on their resume but which are perfect for the position.
You don’t need to include every skill you possess in your cover letter, rather you use your cover letter to specifically target both the job and employer .
Using the cover letter as a way to express to your potential employer what it is about the position that appeals to you and why you want to work for them is a great way to both introduce yourself and get them curious enough about who you are to keep reading.
Think of your cover letter as the “laser pointer” highlighting exactly why you’re the Perfect Candidate .
So how long should my cover letter be?
A well written cover letter should never be longer than a single page .
No hiring manager wants to read a five page letter. Remember, they’re busy! Keep it short and sweet.
That’s it?! That doesn’t seem so hard!
Slow down there, turbo. It might not seem hard, but before you go rushing off to type yours up, we’re going to break it down even further… including the three different types of cover letter formats . Once we get those explained, we’ll circle back to actual formatting including fonts, margins, paper, etc.
Different Types of Cover Letter Format
There are three basic types of cover letter format you need to be aware of, and we like to call them:
The Paragraph cover letter The Specific Needs cover letter The Grocery List cover letter
PARAGRAPH COVER LETTER
The Paragraph cover letter is the most common form of cover letters and is probably the format you’ll end up using the most often, especially if you are just starting out in the job market or don’t have a ton of experience yet.
Paragraph letters allow you to engage your reader with direct story telling style utilizing a series of three to four short paragraphs.
People who would benefit from using the Paragraph Letter are:
High school grads College grads Entry Level Workers People with Gaps in their Work History People Making Career changes Individuals with extensive experience Executives Specialists Anyone!
But what does each paragraph contain?
Well, let’s take a look.
Your first paragraph is your introductory paragraph.
You use it to quickly tell a prospective employer who you are and why you are writing to them. You can include information here about things like your areas of expertise and your career goals and how they align with the company.
This is also where you let them know what position you’re specifically applying for as well as how you heard about it.
Your second and third paragraphs are all about what skills and knowledge you have that is specific to the job you’re applying for and will be bringing with you should they offer you the position.
Make sure you highlight your qualifications and how they fit in with the open position. Use words directly from the job description .
Again, this isn’t the time to just repeat your resume…use this space as an opportunity to really show them how you’re the employee they’ve been looking for all along and how you’re perfect for the job they’re currently hiring for.
When a company posts a job opening, they’re posting what they need. What skills, abilities, knowledge and experiences are they looking for?
Use this paragraph to highlight how you fill that need. This is also where you can fill in any information that might not be on your resume but which will help show why you’d be perfect for the position.
Your final paragraph is your conclusion. Wrap up your letter by thanking them for taking the time to read your letter and considering you for the position.
Don’t forget to include how they can contact you as well as your plans to follow-up with them.
All in all, a traditional paragraph letter looks like this:
Your Name Your Address Your City, State, Zip Code Your Phone Number Your Email
Name Title Organization Address City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
I'm writing to apply for your Corporate and Events Planning Director position at Big Top Bash, Inc. I have spent the past six years working exclusively in the event planning industry and bring with me both extensive experience as an event planner and an organized and detail-oriented work ethic to the position.
As an event planner, I have organized and executed hundreds of corporate events. Group sizes have ranged from small intimate gatherings to large-scale galas. My clients not only include corporations, but also include politicians interested in organizing fundraising and networking opportunities, weddings, retreats, anniversaries, and everything in between, including international events. I am also skilled in finding the appropriate venues, entertainment, security, transportation, vendors, and promoters.
I am also an experienced contract negotiator and am proud of my ability to secure economical solutions to fit the needs of my clients without compromising quality. I am skilled in working with budgets and guest lists of any size and am proud of my ability to deliver high quality results both on time and on budget. I am creative in my approach to problem solving and cool under pressure. I am confident in my crisis management skills and my ability to anticipate and proud of my long list of satisfied clientele.
I have enclosed my resume and will call within the week to see if we can arrange a time to speak. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, Signature First Name Last Name
THE EMPLOYER SPECIFIC NEEDS COVER LETTER
The specific needs cover letter (also known as the “T-Format” cover letter) is a little bit different from the paragraph letter. Yes, you still start out with your introductory first paragraph, and wrap up with your final concluding paragraph…but the real difference is how you format the middle of your letter .
Rather than writing it out in paragraph form, you go straight to what the employer is looking for and addresses each one in turn with your own matching qualifications using a dual column format.
That style looks like this:
This is a great format to use when you want to instantly show an employer that you have specific skills that are a direct match for what they are looking for.
People who would benefit from the Employer Specific List of Needs letter are:
Individuals with extensive experience Executives Specialists
THE SHOPPING LIST COVER LETTER
The Shopping List cover letter is a hybrid of the two other types of cover letter formats, the paragraph letter and the specific needs letter.
Just like the previous two letters, you start out with your opening paragraph and close with the same concluding paragraph, but much like the specific needs letter, it’s the central paragraph that’s a little different.
Rather than doing a two column comparison or a story style paragraph, you list out exactly what the employer is looking for and respond with your own matching qualifications.
Pretend that the employer is going to the grocery store to find the Perfect Candidate. It’s up to you to show them that you fill their shopping list!
People who would benefit from the Shopping List Letter format are:
People with Gaps in their Work History People Making Career changes who have relevant experience that might not be on their resume Individuals with extensive experience Executives Specialists
It looks a bit like this:
I'm writing to apply for your Corporate and Events Planning Director position at Big Top Bash, Inc. I have spent the past six years working exclusively in the event planning industry. I bring with me both extensive experience as an event planner and an organized and detail-oriented work ethic which I believe apply directly to your job requirements including:
Experience – With over six years of practical hands on experience as a Senior Events Planning Director I have been responsible for successfully organizing and coordinating hundreds of events.
Attention to Detail – During my time, I’ve organized and executed events ranging in size from small intimate gatherings all the way up to political fundraising galas for over 1000 guests. No matter the size or budget, I approach each event with the same level of dedication.
Ability to Remain within Budget – I am comfortable working with both budgets and guests lists to ensure client satisfaction. I am also skilled at negotiating with vendors, venues, entertainment, security, transportation and promoters and am proud of my ability to secure economical solutions for my clients without sacrificing quality.
Ability to Work Well under Pressure – I am confident in my crisis management skills as well as my ability to anticipate potential problems before they arise. I am creative in my approach to problem solving and cool under pressure.
I have enclosed my resume and will call within the week to see if we can arrange a time to speak. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Signature First Name Last Name
Not only is a cover letter like this easy to write, but it allows you to quickly list your relevant skills and accomplishments and can instantly show a potential employer that you are a perfect match for the available position.
This is also an excellent format for someone who is in the middle of a career change or transitioning as you can showcase exactly how the skills and experience you possess relate to the position, regardless of your work history.
Okay, all this is great, and I’m really excited to start writing my cover letter, but before I do…what about cover letter formatting specifics, like paper and margins and fonts?
Best Cover Letter Fonts, Margins & Paper
When writing your cover letter, you should follow the same rules you use when formatting any professional letter.
Let’s start with fonts.
Open your word processing program and take just a second to scroll through your font choices. If you’re like me, it seems as though there are a hundred different styles to choose from…so which one is the right one?
Yes, you want to stand out in a sea of other applicants, but remember, before you go selecting that font with all the swirls and loops that rule number one when typing up your cover letter is: legibility.
Making sure your cover letter is readable is step number one.
You want to make sure that a potential employer can easily read it regardless of if it’s printed out or on a computer screen. Speaking of computer screens, not everyone is on the same operating system which means a unique or quirky font on your screen might show up as code or nonsense on someone else’s.
Your cover letter, just like all documents you send to a potential employer, is a professional representation of who you are, and as such, should look professional.
Try to avoid any font or typefaces listed as a Serif. Yes, they look nice and they’re certainly legible, but Serif fonts are fonts with added embellishments and stylizations which, when run through a scanning program or software, can result in the program rejecting it.
Remember, many companies these days use an automated applicant tracking software to first pre-qualify candidates and the last thing you want to do is you’re your application rejected because the computer program didn’t recognize your font or had difficulty reading it.
So what fonts should you use?
Sans Serifs fonts are fonts which are clean, crisp, sleek, and most importantly, scanner-friendly! They’re also “eyeball-friendly” which means a hiring manager reading it won’t have any issues trying to figure out what they’re looking at or run into eye-strain.
Stick to classic fonts like Arial , Verdana , Trebuchet MS , Century Gothic , Gill Sans MT (but NEVER Comic Sans), Lucida Sans and Tahoma as well as our personal favorite, Helvetica. It’s a flawless blend of style and clarity.
Another thing to keep in mind with fonts is the size you’re using. Shrinking everything down to the size of an ant just so you can fit it all onto a single page won’t win you any points. Again, you want to ensure that your cover letter is readable.
Try to stay between 10.5 and 12 points . Any smaller and it’s hard to read.
MARGINS AND SPACING
When you format your cover letter you want to make sure that your leave enough margin space to allow for printing .
Try to resist the temptation to adjust your margins, even if you’re trying to fit more into your page. Just because it prints out on your printer doesn’t mean it will all print out exactly the same on an employer’s printer. Adjust your margins too much and you run the risk of critical information being cut off if an employer prints it out.
Inversely, making your margins too large will leave your cover letter looking boxed in and squished.
The general rule is to set your margins at one inch on all sides.
When you turn a cover letter into a potential employer, you want to make sure you’re using paper that helps convey the message that you’re a professional.
Of course, if you’re using an online submission system, you don’t get to choose what sort of paper an employer might potentially print your cover letter out on, but in the instances when you’re physically turning something in, it’s a good idea to put some extra time, thought, and a little bit of money into the paper you’re using.
Yes, it’s a little more expensive to pick up a package of high quality paper, but think of it as an investment – in you!
Look for paper rated at around 24lb weight. Anything lighter is intended for bulk copying and will come across as cheap and flimsy. If you’re using paper with a watermark, make sure it’s facing the correct way relative to your cover letter.
When selecting the color of paper you’re using, it’s always a safe bet to stick to white or neutrals. Off-white, cream, ivory and light gray are acceptable for most professional jobs.
Finally, make sure you’re always using 8 ½ x 11 paper.
LENGTH AND SPACING
As we mentioned earlier, no matter which of the three formats you decide to go with, your cover letter should fit neatly onto one single sided page without crowding.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and in some (rare) cases (career changes, highly advanced technical fields, or individuals at the senior/executive level), a slightly longer cover letter is acceptable.
Keep in mind this isn’t your autobiography!
In terms of the spacing, keep your cover letter to single-spaced with a blank line between each section of your content.
5 Common Cover Letter Format Mistakes to Avoid
1. spelling and grammar mistakes (and typos).
THIS IS A PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENT…which means, ALWAYS proofread your cover letter before you send it out! This includes double checking your contact information.
It won’t do you any good if you have the perfect cover letter and employers who want to hire you if they keep calling the wrong number or emailing the wrong email. Double check! Then…check again!
2. Not Tailoring Your Cover Letter
Stop me if you’ve heard us mention “tailoring before”. By now, you should have. After all, it’s the backbone to our whole job-getting strategy!
Blanketing the job market with a one-cover letter-fits-all approach not only makes you look lazy, but it shows an employer that you’re comfortable doing the bare minimum rather than going the extra step to make sure your cover letter is tailored to the job you’re specifically seeking.
Do your research beforehand and make sure the letter you’re sending out not only highlights your skills and experiences, but shows an employer that you’re the Perfect Candidate for not only the job but the company you’re applying to!
NOTE: This includes the greeting/salutation of your letter. It should be “addressed” to the hiring manager (full name if possible). Be sure to read our “how to address a cover letter” article for step-by-step instructions.
Keep in mind your first impression rule. Submitting a cover letter that’s long, rambling, confusing or poorly organized isn’t going to get you anything except dumped.
This includes padding your cover letter with unnecessary information. Keep your cover letter tailored, clear, concise, and clean. A short letter that’s straight to the point and laser focused is far more powerful than a long letter filled with big words and confusing sentences.
4. Personal Information
Religious affiliations, social security numbers, personal social media contact, birthday (or age), marital status, or anything else that’s personal has no place on your cover letter.
This also includes photos or headshots. All a potential employer needs to know is what your name is, how to contact you, and why you’re the perfect candidate based off of your skills, experience, and qualifications.
5. Salary Information
Save that for a personal discussion with the hiring manager a little further down the road. Putting your salary requirements on your cover letter is never a good idea. Check out the article we wrote on “How to Negotiate Salary During the Job Interview Process” here.
Top 5 Cover Letter Formatting Tips
1. Keep your format simple: Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Presenting a hiring manager with a cover letter that’s overly crowded, hard to read, confusing or just plain messy isn’t going to get you the job…it’s going to get you thrown out.
2. Keep it professional: Avoid cute fonts, gimmicks, scented paper, glitter, odd shapes, or anything that could potentially make an employer look at your cover letter and question your sanity. Don’t print on cheap paper. Show an employer you’re serious about the job. Save the stickers and smiley faces for your holiday letters you send home to family.
3. Focus on the job description and how you satisfy what the hiring manager is looking for. Read the job description and then read it again. What does the hiring manager need? How do your skills and experiences fill that need? Make sure when you’re writing your cover letter that you’re using words specifically used in the job posting and relating your skills directly to those that the hiring manager is looking for.
4. Make sure you’re selecting the cover letter format that best reflects who you are, your work history, and the job you’re applying for. Remember a cover letter is a great way to introduce yourself to an employer and explain away any questions they might have about you based on your resume information . Make sure you’re selecting the right format cover letter (paragraph, employer needs, shopping list) and that the information you include is relevant to the position you’re applying for.
5. Be honest: I know we’ve said this again and again in multiple articles on this site, but it’s a sentiment that bears repeating. Be honest. Don’t pad your cover letter with jobs or duties you’ve never held or exaggerate ones you have just to impress an employer. The last thing you want to do is get a job you can’t do. Not only will you look bad, but it’ll haunt you down the line with other future potential employers. Be honest!
Putting It All Together
We promised you a much deeper look into cover letter format and I think we’ve managed to deliver just that!
A cover letter is intended to introduce you to your potential future employer and show them who you are in the best possible way…and now, thanks to this article, you shouldn’t have any problems! Who needs a second chance at a first impression if you do it right the first time?
Of course, reading about it is one thing, but seeing how these cover letters look is another. If you’re interested in seeing examples of how these cover letters look in person, head on over to our 12 Great Cover Letter Examples article.
Just make sure, no matter which format you choose, that you’re tailoring it to the job you’re applying for, making sure to include relevant information, and that you’re using specific key words from the job posting and relating your skills directly to the needs of the employer.
And as always…good luck!
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Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.
His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others.
Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .
About The Author
Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .
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