How to choose the right cover letter example
Using professional cover letter examples as a guide can help you create the best version of an interview-winning cover letter, whether it’s your first time writing a cover letter or you’ve written hundreds in the past.
A well-chosen cover letter example can help you:
Set the correct tone for your cover letter.
Decide what information to include.
Pick the best design template for your needs.
Find the proper words to express your interest and ability to do the job.
There are seven key factors to consider when choosing which cover letter example to use:
The job you’re applying for
Your experience level
Your goals and job path
Your desired industry
Your resume format
Your cover letter template
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors and why they are important.
Think about the job you’re applying for.
One of the best ways to ensure your cover letter is noticed by hiring managers, resume expert Kim Isaacs says, is to customize it for the job.
Consider your experience.
Your cover letter should always reflect where you are in your professional life. A seasoned professional should include quantifiable achievements that are significant work experiences that didn’t make it into your resume. Those accomplishments should provide insights into your qualifications for the position and should compel the hiring manager to want to read your resume for more insight. An entry-level worker should include experiences, both volunteer and work, that showcase the relevant skills required for the position helping the hiring manager envision you as a good fit.
Focus on your goals and job path.
Find cover letter examples that speak to your specific goals and professional journey. For instance, if you aim to move into a higher position or a different role, explain in your cover letter the reason why you’re making the move and why you’re the right fit. And, if you’ve changed jobs often, took a long break, or retired but want to rejoin the workforce, then a great cover letter is your chance to provide insight and make clear you’re ready to return to work and truly want the job.
Keep your industry in mind.
Your cover letter should reflect your knowledge of the industry you want to work in. One way to convey expertise in a field is to write your cover letter in a tone appropriate to the industry. For example, your wording for a government job should reflect civic office norms, but if you’re applying for a job in a graphic design agency, you might consider being a bit creative with your language, as long as you keep it professional and suited to the company. When you find a cover letter example that matches your industry in the right way, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
Review your skills and achievements.
An attention-grabbing cover letter always mentions the job seeker’s top skills and achievements in a way that matches the job. Transferable skills are especially important if you are applying for a new type of job, a different industry or an elevated position. Make sure you choose cover letter examples that show how to highlight these skills to your advantage.
Check your resume format and design.
A cover letter and a resume should complement each other like a great pair of shoes and a well-tailored suit: The two should work together to paint an attractive picture of your professional competence. While you don’t want your cover letter to repeat the contents of your resume, it should be written with the same header, in the same font, and it should be one page only. Make sure your cover letter example is in a format and style consistent with your resume.
Choose a template.
A good cover letter template provides a framework you can adapt for different jobs. It ensures your cover letter is formatted properly, is professionally designed and contains the right keywords. Plus, it allows you to choose a style that works for the job you’re applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job in a conservative industry, such as medicine or law, you should choose a traditional layout. Your chosen cover letter example will help you pick the right template so you can craft a job-winning cover letter.
How to use a cover letter example
Once you’ve found an example, it’s time to put it to work. Here’s how to get the most out of your chosen cover letter example:
Get inspired! It’s OK to be a little creative when writing your cover letter. After all, you don’t want to bore the hiring manager with bland, overused phrases — you want to stand out. According to experts at job search site Indeed, adding a little bit of flair to your cover letter in the form of humor or a charming anecdote is perfectly fine as long as it’s in line with the company’s culture and values (do your research!) It also needs to be short and to the point. Review how it’s done in your cover letter example and then work your own magic.
It’s crucial to research the company before you write your cover letter. In her book “Resume Magic: Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer,” Susan Britton Whitcomb cites a survey that shows a whopping 91% of employers give more consideration to applicants whose cover letters show they’ve researched the company over those who show less interest.
Learn from it! Professionally written cover letter examples can teach you how to showcase your skills and achievements; format a cover letter; give your cover letter personality; and show yourself in the very best light. When you learn from well-structured and deeply researched cover letter examples, you’ll find many useful tidbits of information you might not have thought about.
Customize it! You’re crafting a cover letter to get a specific job, so it stands to reason your cover letter should be customized for that job. Still, many hiring managers sift through hundreds of generic cover letters per job opening, so a customized cover letter is your opportunity to shine among a large pool of applicants. Customize your resume example by rewriting every section in your own words, and with your own experience and audience in mind.
Adding a personal touch to your cover letter is a must. You can do this by:
Mentioning a shared connection, if you have one.
Adding words and phrases from the job description or company’s mission that apply to your experience.
Showing with examples how you can help the company meet its goals by highlighting past achievements.
Finding and using the hiring manager’s name when addressing your cover letter. LinkedIn, Google and the company’s website are great places to start.
Complement it! Cover letters go hand in hand with resumes. According to experts, a resume is an absolutely necessary companion to a cover letter, because its specific purpose is to outline the details of your qualifications for a job in a short, easy-to-read format. And that’s exactly why it’s important to complement the information included in your cover letter with the content of your resume. As noted previously, both documents work in harmony to give employers the full picture of your professional history, goals and achievements.
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Cover letters for uncommon circumstances
We’ve focused so far on standard cover letters, also known as application letters, which are traditionally used to find a job opening in the most straightforward way: through a job ad or an online job board. But did you know that special circumstances call for variations on the classic cover letter? It’s true. Check out the examples below of cover letters that are written for uncommon circumstances:
Cover letter examples by Job title
Cover Letter Examples by Industry
A smartly written cover letter can be the difference maker when competing for a job. A perfect cover letter completes and improves your job application. Use a professional cover letter template from our library to start writing about your impressive parts of your career. Each cover letter template offers popular, eye-catching ideas for layout, design, and paragraph content.
- Accounting Cover Letters
- Administration Cover Letters
- Administrative Assistant Cover Letters
- Advertising Cover Letters
- Business Development Cover Letters
- Computer Science Cover Letters
- Customer Service Cover Letters
- Electrical Engineer Cover Letters
- Engineering Cover Letters
- General Cover Letters
- Graphic Designer Cover Letters
- Human Resources Cover Letters
- Internet Cover Letters
- Internship Cover Letters
- Legal Cover Letters
- Management Cover Letters
- Medical Cover Letters
- Music Cover Letters
- Nursing Cover Letters
- Product Management Cover Letters
- Project Management Cover Letters
- Sales Cover Letters
- Web Designer Cover Letters
- Web Developer Cover Letters
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Commonly asked questions about cover letter examples
What are cover letter samples?
Cover letter samples are industry-specific examples that show you what to include in a cover letter. They establish guidelines for formatting, content, and tone, in addition to other tips applicable to a variety of jobs. They help you avoid common pitfalls and mistakes.
Where can I find cover letter samples?
You can find professionally written cover letter samples online at the cover letter builder and our other partner sites featuring job search aids. Campus career centers or hiring agencies may also offer options.
How do you write a cover letter?
Are cover letters necessary?
Cover letters are not necessary for jobs that specifically say, "No cover letter." Otherwise, you should include a cover letter every time. They help employers choose which candidates to interview and give you a chance to introduce yourself. Use the builder and cover letter examples as a guide.
Do I need a cover letter for an agency?