How To Write An Amazing Cover Letter

Traditional cover letter wisdom tells you to start a cover letter with something to the effect of:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to apply for the position of Marketing Manager with the Thomas Company.

We say: The days of cookie cutter cover letter intros are long gone.

Here’s the thing: Your cover letter is the best way to introduce to the hiring manager who you are, what you have to offer, and why you want the job—but you have an extremely limited amount of time to do all of those things. So, if you really want to get noticed, you’ve got to start right off the bat with something that grabs your reader’s attention.

What do we mean? Well, we won’t just tell you, we’ll show you—with 31 examples of original cover letter introductions. We don’t recommend copying and pasting them because, well, your cover letter should be unique to your stories, background, and interests, but you can most definitely use them to get inspired for your next application.

Don't worry—we've got you covered.

Career Coach to the rescue!

Start With a Passion

Many companies say that they’re looking for people who not only have the skills to do the job, but who are truly passionate about what they’re spending their time on every day. If that’s what your dream company is really looking for (hint: read the job description), try an intro that shows off why you’re so excited to be part of the team.

  1. If truly loving data is wrong, I don’t want to be right. It seems like the rest of the team at Chartbeat feels the same way—and that’s just one of the reasons why I think I’d be the perfect next hire for your sales team.
  2. I’ve been giving my friends and family free style advice since I was 10, and recently decided it’s time I get paid for it. That’s why I couldn’t believe it when I found a personal stylist position at J. Hilburn.

  3. After about three years of trying out different roles at early-stage startups around San Francisco, watching more “find your passion” keynotes than I’d like to admit, and assuring my parents that, yes, I really do have a real job, I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I’m only really good at two things: writing great content and getting it out into the world.

  4. When I was growing up, all I wanted to be was one of those people who pretend to be statues on the street. Thankfully, my career goals have become a little more aspirational over the years, but I love to draw a crowd and entertain the masses—passions that make me the perfect community manager.

  5. When I graduated from Ohio State last May, my career counselor gave me what I consider to be some pretty bad advice: “Just get any job, and figure the rest out later.” While I think I could have gained good transferrable skills and on-the-job experience anywhere, I wanted to make sure my first step gave me opportunities for professional development, mentorship, and rotations through different departments. Enter: Verizon.

  6. The other day, I took a career assessment, which told me I should be a maritime merchant. I’m not quite sure what that is, but it did get me thinking: A role that combines my skills in business development with my lifelong passion for the ocean would be my absolute dream. Which is how I found this role at Royal Caribbean.

Start With Your Love for the Company

Similarly, many companies want to hire people who already know, love, eat, and sleep their brand. And in these cases, what better to kick off your cover letter than a little flattery? Bonus points if you can tell a story—studies show that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.

Of course, remember when you’re telling a company why you love it to be specific and genuine. Because, um, no one likes an overly crazed fangirl.

  1. I pretty much spent my childhood in the cheap seats at Cubs games, snacking on popcorn and cheering on the team with my grandfather. It’s that passion that’s shaped my career—from helping to establish the sports marketing major at my university to leading a college baseball team to an undefeated season as assistant coach—and what led me to apply for this position at the Chicago Cubs.
  2. Most candidates are drawn to startups for the free food, bean bag chairs, and loose dress code. And while all of those things sound awesome coming from my all-too-corporate cubicle, what really attracted me to Factual is the collaborative, international team.

  3. It was Rudy, my Golden Retriever, who first found the operations assistant opening (he’s really excited about the prospect of coming to work with me every day). But as I learned more about Zoosk and what it is doing to transform the mobile dating space, I couldn’t help but get excited to be part of the team, too.

  4. When I was seven, I wanted to be the GEICO gecko when I grew up. I eventually realized that wasn’t an option, but you can imagine my excitement when I came across the events manager position, which would have me working side by side with my favorite company mascot.

  5. When I attended Austin Film Festival for the first time last month, I didn’t want to leave. So I decided I shouldn’t—and immediately went to check out job openings at the company.

  6. If I could make the NYC apartment rental process better for just one person, I would feel like the horrors of my recent search would all be worth it. So, a customer service role at RentHop, where I could do it every day? I can’t think of anything more fulfilling.

  7. Having grown up with the Cincinnati Zoo (literally) in my backyard, I understand firsthand how you’ve earned your reputation as one of the most family-friendly venues in the State of Ohio. For 20 years, I’ve been impressed as your customer; now I want to impress visitors in the same way your team has so graciously done for me. (Via @JobJenny)

  8. I was an hour out from my first big dinner party when I realized I had forgotten to pick up the white wine. In a panic, I started Googling grocery delivery services, and that’s when I first stumbled across Instacart. I’ve been hooked ever since, so I couldn’t help but get excited by the idea of bringing the amazingness of Instacart to shoddy planners like me as your next social media and community manager.

  9. Though I’m happily employed as a marketing manager for OHC, seeing the job description for Warby Parker’s PR director stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been a Warby glasses wearer for many years, and have always been impressed by the way the company treats its customers, employees, and the community at large.

Start With an Attribute or Accomplishment

The unfortunate reality of the job hunting process is that, for any given job, you’re going to be competing with a lot of other people—presumably, a lot of other similarly qualified people. So, a great way to stand out in your cover letter is to highlight something about yourself—a character trait, an accomplishment, a really impressive skill—that’ll quickly show how you stand out among other applications.

  1. My last boss once told me that my phone manner could probably diffuse an international hostage situation. I’ve always had a knack for communicating with people—the easygoing and the difficult alike—and I’d love to bring that skill to the office manager position at Shutterstock.
  2. Among my colleagues, I’m known as the one who can pick up the pieces, no matter what amount of you-know-what hits the fan. Which is why I think there’s no one better to fill Birchbox’s customer service leader position.

  3. Last December, I ousted our company’s top salesperson from his spot—and he hasn’t seen it since. Which means, I’m ready for my next big challenge, and the sales manager role at LivingSocial just might be it.

  4. After spending three years managing the internal communications for a 2,000-person company, I could plan a quarterly town hall or draft an inter-office memo in my sleep. What I want to do next? Put that experience to work consulting executives on their communications strategy.

  5. While you won’t find the title “community manager” listed on my resume, I’ve actually been bringing people together online and off for three years while running my own blog and series of Meetups.

  6. If you’re looking for someone who can follow orders to the T and doesn’t like to rock the boat, I’m probably not the right candidate. But if you need someone who can dig in to data, see what’s working (and what’s not), and challenge the status quo, let’s talk.

  7. Ever since my first job at Dairy Queen (yes, they DO let you eat the ice cream!) I’ve been career-focused. I completed my first internship with a professional football team while I was still in college. I was hired full-time as soon as I graduated, and within six months I was promoted into a brand new department. I thought I knew it all. But as I’ve progressed in my career, I finally realized…I absolutely do not. Shocker, right? Enter The Muse. (Via @Kararuns729).

  8. You might be wondering what a 15-year veteran of the accounting world is doing applying to an operations role at a food startup like ZeroCater. While I agree the shift is a little strange, I know you’re looking for someone who’s equal parts foodie and financial guru, and I think that means I’m your guy.

  9. Over the last 10 years, I’ve built my career on one simple principle: Work smarter. I’m the person who looks for inefficient procedures, finds ways to streamline them, and consistently strives to boost the productivity of everyone around me. It’s what’s earned me three promotions in the supply chain department at my current company, and it’s what I know I can do as the new operations analyst for SevOne.

Start With Humor or Creativity

OK, before you read any of these, we feel we have to stamp them with a big disclaimer: Do your homework before trying anything like this—learning everything you can about the company, the hiring manager, and whether or not they’ll appreciate some sass or snark. If they do, it’s a great way to make them smile (then call you). If they don’t? Well, better luck next time.

  1. I’m interested in the freelance writer position. But before I blow you away with all the reasons I’m going to be your next writer, I would like to tell you a little about myself: I didn’t grow hair until I was about five years old, which made everyone who crossed my stroller’s path believe me to be a boy (my name is Casey, which definitely didn’t help). Hope I got your attention. (Via @CaseCav)
  2. Have you ever had your mom call five times a day asking for a status update on how your job search is going, and then sounding incredulous that not more progress has been made since the last phone call? That’s my life right now. But I’m hoping that soon my life will revolve around being your full-time social media manager. The good news is, I bring more to the table than just an overbearing mom. Let me tell you more.

  3. Thank you so much for offering me the marketing manager position at Airbnb! I wholeheartedly accept. OK, I know we’re not quite there yet. But if we were, here are just a few ideas of what I would do once in the role.

  4. You’ve slept on it. You’ve made lists of pros and cons. You’ve talked to your life coach, your hairdresser, and every barista on your block. So why haven’t you made your decision yet? When you’re looking for advice, what you need is not more, but better. If you’re constantly plagued with tough career decisions and presentation-day butterflies, you need an advocate, a listener, and sometimes, a kick in the pants. You need Rachel Elizabeth Maley. (Via @RE_Maley)

  5. I considered submitting my latest credit card statement as proof of just how much I love online shopping, but I thought a safer approach might be writing this cover letter, describing all the reasons why I’m the girl who can take STYLIGHT’s business to the next level.

  6. I never thought that accidentally dropping my iPhone out of a second story window would change my life (it’s a funny story—ask me about it). But thanks to my misfortune, I discovered iCracked—and found my dream job as an expansion associate.

  7. If we were playing “Two Truths and a Lie,” I’d say the following: I’ve exceeded my sales quotas by at least 20% every quarter this year, I once won an international pie-eating contest, and I have an amazing job at Yext. The last, of course, is the lie. For now.



Have you seen an amazing way to start a cover letter? Tweet us!

By Mike Simpson

There comes a time in nearly every job seekers life when you plop yourself down in front of the computer and say to yourself…

“Okay, it’s time to find a couple good cover letter examples I can use to help me start writing my cover letter…” 

So you do a quick Google search, grab the first three cover letter samples you can find, copy a paragraph from each one, and then you’re off to the races feeling like now all you have to do is “click send” a few times and the interviews will simply start rolling in.

Consider this a gentle wake-up call.

Why Your Cover Letter Is So Important?

In this ultra-competitive job market, it’s just not good enough to “Frankenstein” together a cover letter from the various bits and pieces you find online.

Why?

Because hiring managers have “been there, done that.” In other words, they’ve seen it all before.

Not only that, but they want to find candidates that are unique, interesting, and take the time and make the effort to present the best version of themselves.

Your cover letter is your first impression, and therefore, you want to craft the best darn cover letter your hiring manager has ever seen.

So you want to take the time and select the cover letter example that is “tailored” to your situation… in other words, the example cover letter that fits your personality, skills and abilities the best.

Example cover letters are kind of like shoes.

Sure, you might absolutely love that pair of Air Jordan IV’s that are still fresh in the box in your closet from 1989, but you might want to have a second thought before you consider wearing them to a wedding with a tuxedo.

Or perhaps you’ve got a pair of high heels that make you feel like you could walk into a business lunch at the Four Seasons and walk out having sold your company for a billion dollars?

Would you feel the same way if you showed up at the start line for the half marathon you signed up for with those same heels on?

Okay, ridiculous examples aside, I hope you can begin to see my point.

There is not one example cover letter for every situation… no “one-cover-letter-fits-all” solution.

You have to carefully evaluate your situation and decide which cover letter example is going to suit you the most.

What kind of work are you looking for?

Full-time?  Or part-time?  There’s a cover letter for that.

Are you sending a cover letter in the mail or by email?  There’s a cover letter for that too.

There are all kinds of situations that warrant a slightly different cover letter, and it’s imperative that you figure out which one fits you best.

But don’t worry.  To help, we’ve compiled a list of 12 of the most common cover letter examples and provided you with an example of a cover letter for each one.

So take a look at the examples and carefully decide which one fits your situation the most.

Before you dive in, a word to the wise…

Don’t just grab the one that fits you best, change the contact information and then start sending it out. As I said before, hiring managers are pretty smart and will be able to tell that you haven’t taken any time to make it your own.

If you want to get job interviews from your cover letter (and at some point, job offers as well!), you need to “tailor” the cover letter to demonstrate your skills, abilities and relevant experience.

Mike's Tip: Once you find a cover letter example that fits your situation, head over to our article How To Write A Cover Letter 101 and use the article to make sure that your cover letter contains all of the important things that hiring managers look for. We'll help you make sure that your cover letter is so irresistible that you'll get an interview from almost every application you submit!

12 Common Cover Letter Examples

Without further ado, here are 12 of the best cover letter examples for nearly every situation you could find yourself in along with a brief description of what makes the style of cover letter unique.

1. Cover Letter Sample For Part-Time Work

If you have no intention of applying for a full-time position, it is very important that you let the hiring manager know this in your cover letter.  After all, if you don’t mention this right up front, anything that comes after this will be a total waste of time, and hiring managers value their time more than anything.

On a side note, you should never really be applying for a full-time position when you are only available as a part-time worker.  The company has very specific needs, so don’t think they are going to change the entire nature of the position to accommodate your availability.

2. For A New Graduate

Cover letters for new graduates can often be tricky, because generally speaking, new graduates don’t usually have much experience.

So how can you still put yourself forward as a good candidate without experience?  You want to focus the cover letter around your skills and abilities, the extra-curricular work you’ve accomplished and your knowledge of the company (and passion for the industry) you’re applying to.

3. When You Have Been Referred

There isn’t anything overly difficult about writing a cover letter when you have been referred by someone else, but the most important thing to know is where you should bring up the referral.

Generally speaking, it is always best to mention your referral in the opening paragraph, because it acts as an attention grabber for the hiring manager.

You’re hoping they’ll think to themselves something along the lines of, “Oh, this person was referred by Jim.  I like Jim…he’s a straight shooter. If this person is good enough for Jim, he’s good enough for me. I’m going to bring him in for an interview…”

4. Cold Call Cover Letter Example

The cold call cover letter is appropriate when you are applying to a position that is not necessarily listed on a job board or advertised anywhere.  And for that reason, it can be a little tricky.

You really need to blow the hiring manager away in order for them to grant an unsolicited interview request, so there a re a few key things to remember.  Most importantly, you really have to do your research and demonstrate that you know the company and position inside out.

After that, it really pays to address the letter to a specific person.  Simply writing “To Whom It May Concern” is a great way to have the letter filed under G (for those keeping track that’s the Garbage).

Finally, this letter needs to be all about “pizazz”. Since the reader wasn’t expecting to receive this, you really need to catch their attention and sell yourself, but most importantly, quickly demonstrate how you will add value to their company.

5. For An Email Submission

Please please PLEASE be careful with this one.

Just because a job posting says “submit your cover letter and resume via email”, doesn’t necessarily mean that you can just put these documents in the body of an email.

More often than not, the posting will give further instructions that include attaching your cover letter and resume to an email.  Anyone who doesn’t follow this step has a ZERO chance of being brought in for an interview.

Why?  Because you can’t follow simple directions.

Now, if there is no stipulation and you determine that using the email body to send your cover letter is okay, then general cover letter writing rules apply.

Where you want to focus your energy is on the subject line.  Don’t just write whatever comes to mind as a throwaway and whatever you do, don’t leave it empty!  Be clear and concise about what is included in the email and identify the position you are applying for.

6.  For A Recruiter

Recruiters are no different than hiring managers, in that they are essentially looking for the same things from your cover letters.  What impresses a recruiter the most is when you take the time to tailor your cover letter to a specific posting rather than simply sending them a general letter inquiring about “miscellaneous opportunities”.

7. Someone Changing Careers

Generally speaking, if you are changing careers, you’ll be short on experience.  So similarly to the “New Graduate” cover letter, you’ll want to put the focus on your reasons for making the career change along with your relevant skills and abilities and how your experience in your past career will translate to your new career.

And remember, enthusiasm goes a long way. Hiring managers get excited about applicants that really show a desire to succeed in the role and industry they are applying to.

So make sure you do your research and know the position and industry inside out so that you are easily able to show how enthusiastic you are about the opportunity and how determined you are to get started on your new career path.

8. A Great Example of a Cover Letter For An Academic

The trick with an academic cover letter is to avoid rambling on and on and on about everything you’ve accomplished.  The reality is, you still need to fall within the “one-page rule” (although some institutions will allow for a second page, you better make darn sure that this is the case!), so the trick is to be clear and concise and highlight your accomplishments without coming across as an encyclopedia.

One other thing to consider is the nature of any research you have done and how you want to convey that in your cover letter.

Quite often people spend too much time talking about what it is they study or plan on studying without ever getting into the “why” of it all.

Be specific about your intentions and don’t assume that the person on the other end of your cover letter is an expert in your field.

9. For An Internship

There really isn’t a huge difference between writing a cover letter for an internship and writing a cover letter for a job opening.  You still need to list your qualifications, skills and abilities.  You still need to explain how you add value to the company.  You still want to sell yourself.

But one thing you want to keep in mind, is even though this internship might be a springboard to YOUR career or education, you don’t want this to be the focus of your cover letter.

The name of the game is still to put the company’s needs ahead of your own.

You’re not their first intern and you won’t be their last, so don’t write your cover letter thinking that their concern is how the internship will help with your placement in your next opportunity.

Add value. Period.  This is what they really want to hear from you in your cover letter.

10. Direct Mail

A direct mail cover letter is similar to a cold call cover letter, the main difference being you are not applying to a single company with a single position in mind.  Instead, you are “blanketing” as many companies you can at once and therefore trying to send out a general cover letter that can work for them all.

Because of this, we don’t recommend this strategy to our students.  It is generally pretty ineffective and a waste of your time or resources.

There is rarely a time when “tailoring” your resume to a specific company and position is not the most effective strategy.  However, if you are really short on time (and possibly ambition), here is an example of a direct mail cover letter you can reference.

11. Responding To an Advertisement

The only really distinguishing feature of this type of cover letter is that the opening paragraph generally includes a statement such as “I’m responding to your advertisement I saw in the…”

The rest of the cover letter generally follows the principles of other successful cover letters.  However, if you find yourself going through the classifieds in your local newspaper and simply sending off cover letters to whomever has an ad posted, do make sure that you do some research on the company before you send out your cover letter.

Sending one cover letter out for multiple advertisements is a good way to ensure that you won’t be getting too many interviews in the coming days or weeks.

12. When You’re Unemployed

The worst thing you can do when writing an cover letter after you’ve been unemployed for some time is to lie.

Why?  Because eventually, the lies you tell in the cover letter will come home to roost at some point in the interview process, meaning you’ll just end up having wasted everyone’s time.

Having said that, if there are some less-than-attractive reasons for your unemployment, don’t make those reasons the focus of your cover letter. You want to keep it positive.

It’s okay to admit fault in certain situations if you can show that you’ve have learned from the tough times and have changed for the better as a result of these struggles.

Transition to focusing on your skills and abilities, and more importantly, your passion and desire for re-entering the workforce. If you have experience from your past that will clearly add value to this new position, than don’t be afraid to clearly demonstrate the connection.

And if you spent your time being unemployed trying to better yourself (for example, taking a class or volunteering), then shift the focus to that.

Putting It All Together

So there you have 12 good cover letter examples for 2017 that will help you get started on crafting a winning cover letter.

Remember that the most important thing for you to accomplish with your cover letter is to demonstrate how you add value to the company you are applying to, and you want to make sure this never gets lost when you get caught up in trying to sell yourself.

And remember, you’re not on your own! Once you’ve chosen your cover letter example you can head over to How to Write a Cover Letter 101 and get great tips on how to right all parts of your cover letter.

Best of luck to you!

Please be kind and rate this post 🙂

 

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12 Great Cover Letter Examples for 2018

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