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Irresistible Cover Letter

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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Think of your internship cover letter like a handshake: A firm one grabs the recipient’s attention, while a limp grasp can leave something to be desired.

Similarly, your cover letter is a hiring manager’s first impression of you, so it’s important to do what you can to stand out from the crowd. If they like what they see, they’ll move on to your resume, and before you know it, you could be interviewing for your dream job.

And, yes, hiring mangers still read resumes. While not every cover letter is read—and many only get 60 seconds of a reader’s attention—they are still highly relevant to the job search process. According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 73% of HR professionals still consider the cover letter to be somewhat to very important. Additionally, 81% said it was somewhat to very important for cover letters to be tailored to each job.

To help you write an internship cover letter that amplifies your resume, NerdScholar asked the experts for advice.

Before you begin writing your internship cover letter…

 

1. Talk to someone at the company before you apply, then reference them.

Hiring managers don’t usually see every submitted application, so to increase the chances that your resume is read, talk with a current employee at a networking event, career fair or even over LinkedIn. You are creating a connection with someone within the company who “can help the hiring manager with the decision,” says Troy Hopkins, director of undergraduate and accountancy career counseling at the University of Houston. “It also shows that the applicant cared enough to take the extra step of finding out more about the position and company from someone on the inside before they applied.”

2. Address the letter to a specific person.

The simple act of using a name instead of a generic greeting establishes a connection right off the bat. You also demonstrate that you did your research. “Try to find a contact — an actual person — that you can address at the top of the letter. ‘Dear Sir or Madam / To Whom It May Concern’ should be avoided if at all possible,” Hopkins says.

3. List the job’s required skills and match your skills to the list.

Before you write, review the required skills for the position and jot down a time when you used those skills, says Marilyn Santiesteban, assistant director of career services at Texas A&M University. If you can list the results you achieved while using that specific skill, your list will be even stronger. When you write, she adds, you may choose to use the two-column, or T-style cover letter (see image), which you can pull directly from your list.

During the writing process…

 

4. Start with an attention-grabbing sentence.

Get the hiring manager’s attention quickly by, for example, beginning your internship cover letter with company news, Santiesteban says. For example, say: “’Congratulations on being selected one of the best places to work. Your commitment to employees is just one of the many reasons I want to intern at Acme.’” Keep the rest of the paragraph short and avoid flowery language, Santiesteban advises. Avoid an opening such as, “‘It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I submit my application for the XX internship.’ Unless you really speak that way, replace that with ‘I’m applying for the XX internship,’” she says.

5. Tell a story with specific examples.

“Using academic and extracurricular experiences are key for internship cover letters, but it’s necessary to pull specific examples and tell a story that really shows the potential employer how you have gained or developed skills,” says Anna Young, assistant director of career services at the University of Richmond. For example, describe an event you planned from start to finish, she says. Make sure to illustrate your skills instead of just listing them. Avoid vague language such as, “My experiences as psychology major and student leader on campus have equipped me with the skills to communicate effectively, manage my time, and think critically,” Young says.

If you’re stumped on how to describe your skills and accomplishments, seek help. “All of your work history is developing professional skills and experience. As such, your institution’s career center can help you to write descriptions of seemingly mundane tasks both professionally and accurately,” adds Jennifer Williamson, director of the Academic and Career Advising Center at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

6. Don’t undersell yourself.

Do not write: “While I may not have any relevant experience…”. Instead, talk about your transferrable skills and how they will enable you to perform in the internship, Young says.

“Although you may have not worked in this industry before, be sure to highlight what you have done that may be transferrable,” says Dave Tirpak, assistant director of career and employment counseling at Howard Community College. Consider all areas from where you may draw experience: academics, campus organizations, research projects, volunteer work, athletic involvement, hobbies, or even your social media expertise, he says.

7. Tell the employer how you can help them.

“The best thing a candidate can include in their cover letter to catch a potential employer’s eye is a story about their employment experience that features ways the candidate will add value to the organization,” says Kim Whiteside, manager of the career services center at Bellevue University. “All cover letters (and resumes as well) are not really about the candidate. They are about the employer, specifically the employer’s business objectives and challenges. Moreover, cover letters (and resumes) demonstrate how the candidate’s skills and experience will help an employer meet its objectives and overcome its challenges.”

When you’re ready to submit…

 

8. Include references to show your commitment, even if they don’t ask.

“Even if not specifically sought in the position notice, continuing to include some references that can be contacted anyway upon initial submission can sometimes decrease processing time, as well as demonstrate commitment and responsibility,” Erin Hornbeck, assistant to the chair at Binghamton University, says.

9. Upload everything into one document.

“If you are submitting multiple documents, such as a cover letter, resume and references, scan all three documents into one for submission so the employer only has one document to open, review, save and/or print,” McNeese State University internship coordinator Mary Kaye Eason says. “The employer will appreciate your efficiency!” Lastly, it’s best to submit your application as a PDF file with the file name as “your name–cover letter” to make it easy for the employer to save and locate your file.


Handshake photo via Shutterstock.