We get it – writing a cover letter is a tough job! And, can you imagine doing it without a cover letter sample to draw inspiration from? Mission impossible.
Cover letters are so notoriously dreaded among job applicants, that you aren’t alone in asking yourself if recruiters actually read them. (Heads up, they do!)
Even though just about 18% of jobs require you to write a cover letter, most frequently, it’s the job positions that are in upper and C-level management that do. Furthermore, traditional sectors like banking and law require you to submit a cover letter to even be considered for the job.
That’s why we’ve prepped over 80 cover letter examples, some of which got Enhancv users hired at Spotify, HotJar, and Tesla.
What you’ll learn:
- What a cover letter is
- How to write a cover letter
- Types of cover letters
- Cover letter examples by industry
What is a cover letter and what does it contain
A cover letter is a letter of introduction that you attach to your resume when you apply for a job. Oftentimes, job ads call it a covering letter, letter of motivation, or a letter of introduction – it’s all the same thing.
Ideally, you should aim at half-page to full-page. Its purpose is to introduce you to a potential employer and tell an inspiring story of your career and why you should be their next hire. Here’s a full guide on cover letter length that we’ve prepared.
A good cover letter can be separated into five different segments: salutation, opener, body, call to action, and closer. When appropriate, you can cover any gaps in employment, your availability, and if you’re ready to relocate.
Now, let’s dig deeper into the sections that a good cover letter includes.
1. Cover letter salutation
Writing the proper cover letter salutation is about 50% of the struggle. Nothing seems appropriate. The time-proven, trusty cover letter salutations seem a bit cliché and outdated.
The secret to writing a suitable greeting is to be relevant. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I know who the hiring manager/recruiter is?
- Did someone recommend me for the job?
- Have I communicated with the recruiter before?
If you can answer one out of these three questions with “yes”, then feel free to use the recruiter’s name in the salutation. And if you feel like it’s inappropriate to call the hiring manager by name, rest assured, it’s absolutely alright. It shows that you’ve done your research, and people love it when someone’s put in the effort.
Good cover letter greetings to use when you know who the hiring manager is, include:
- Dear [First and Last Name],
- Dear Dr. [Last Name],
- Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms [Last Name],
With that being said, “Dear” is as professional as you get in the world of cover letter salutations. However, if you’re applying for a job position in a creative agency where competition is fierce, and you need a cover letter to stand out, but the overall vibe is far more relaxed, feel free to start your cover letter with “Hello”.
If you have no idea who’ll be reading your letter of motivation, you can use a generic greeting. They’re far less enticing, but they get the job done. Generic cover letter salutations include:
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear [Job Position],
2. Cover letter opening
A cover letter opening paragraph has one purpose – hook the reader, so they read your letter all the way through. That’s why you should keep the first sentence fairly short and straight to the point.
Here’s an example of a good opening:
Summarize your biggest professional achievement in a single sentence. Show the impact you’ve had at your previous job. This makes it clear to the recruiter that you mean business.
3. Cover letter body paragraphs
The body of the cover letter is the longest section. It consists of three to four paragraphs telling the story of your professional life.
Resumes showcase facts, cover letters tell stories.
Your best bet is to thoroughly research the company you’re applying to. Check their website, social media, PR coverage, and even their Crunchbase profile to see if they’ve had recent funding rounds.
Try to identify possible problems they may be facing and direct your cover letter in the directions of how you and your skill set can help them. Speak through your actions and results.
Don’t just say you’re good at something – prove it.
4. Cover letter call to action
A call to action is a vital and strategic part of any cover letter. It’s important to phrase it in a way that shows your excitement for the position but isn’t too pushy on the hiring manager.
Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. They’ve read your letter this far. The recruiter knows that you’ve done the research. They can see you’re a great fit, so don’t leave them hanging – give them the next steps.
5. Cover letter closer
Now that you know how to craft a great call-to-action sentence, it’s time to talk about the closer.
To be exact, we’re talking about the complimentary close. As a cover letter requires a degree of formality, it’s best to keep the complementary close simple. Here’s a list of our favorites that you can use:
- Thank you,
Followed by an empty line and your first and last name.
On another note, if you’re applying at a company where you know the hiring manager or the overall culture is informal, you can opt for a more relaxed complimentary close. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Warm regards
- Yours truly
- Have a wonderful day
Keep in mind that those should be saved for the right occasion, and we recommend going with a more professional closer. If you aren’t sure, nothing beats a “Thank you,”. 🙂
Creative cover letter example
Dear Mr. John,
Having recently completed my Master of Arts degree in Gender, Feminist, and Women's Studies, I am a passionate advocate for advancing the scholarship, publicity, and works of marginalized communities and underrepresented women of color.
I was excited to see the Publicity and Digital Marketing position at ACME Inc. because it fits well with my PR and communications experience and skills in gender advocacy, social issues, and political science.
With 4 years of experience in social media management and public relations for SaaS companies, here is what I can offer specifically to ACME Inc.:
Using social media, I can bolster the reach and visibility of promotional events and digital media coverage. As the previous communications lead of a gender advocacy center, I can engage young adult demographics by bringing products and events to life using strategic marketing plans and innovative channels.
I can analyze and harness social media analytics to reach demographics most likely to resonate with the ideal ACME customer.
Lastly, my academic experience in political and social sciences has given me a strong attention to detail, research skills, and precise communication skills.
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how I am the best person for the Publicity and Digital Marketing position at ACME Inc.
Why this is a great creative cover letter example?
Creatives are among the most sought-after employees. They’re usually the people who come up with original ideas that give companies a competitive advantage.
In the cover letter above, Jack has done a great job explaining his background in gender advocacy, social issues, and political science – all venues much needed in modern-day companies.
Furthermore, Jack has a detailed explanation of how he can help the company, focusing on solid examples and channels he considers to be his strengths. From social media to analytics, he’s done a great job of helping the hiring manager picture Jack as one of the team.
Finally, the call to action and closing paragraphs are spot on, giving the hiring manager a nudge to give him a call.
Career change cover letter example
Dear Hiring Manager,
My name is Nicholas and for the past 5 years, I’ve been the general manager for Coffi&Biscuits where I managed to increase the YoY revenue of the shop 10x in the past three years.
I was excited to see the Business Development Manager position for Bootstrap IO, as it is a career change that I’m looking forward to making.
Managing a team of 15 taught me a lot about budgeting, planning, and organizing the workload. I can help you with expanding your team in the next quarter and reach your goal of launching your new product across the United States.
I’d love to jump on a Zoom meeting with you to further discuss joining the team. I’m available at your disposal.
Why this career change cover letter is good
Taking a closer look at Nicholas’ cover letter, you’ll see that he was concise, went straight to the point, and most importantly explained how his current skill will help the company grow.
Writing a career change cover letter is all about showing the hiring manager how your skills can help them overcome challenges the business is facing.
Nicholas has done a great job explaining his skills. Furthermore, he’s done the research and knows what the future plans of the company are.
His call to action section further drives the point that he’s convinced of his skills and that he can help the company.
Entry-level cover letter example
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am applying for the position of Drug Research Specialist (Entry Level) that I came across at PANDA Corp. I believe that my academic experience matches your requirements.
During my studies, I have gained experience in the field of medicine and pharmaceuticals. Moreover, during my master’s program, I’ve completed my diploma in Pharmaceutical Research, which helped me in better understanding the processes and best practices in drug development.
Additionally, under the ImunoHelp program, I have undergone various professional and self-development training. Each training permanently added to my skill set.
Having spent the last seven years of my life outside the United States, my home country has made me multicultural. My vibrant experience traveling and studying at different institutions, in UAE, USA, Portugal, and France have undoubtedly contributed to my open-mindedness, creativity, and adaptability, as well as working in a diverse and multilingual team.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to discuss how my skills can help your company grow. I’m available for an interview at your convenience.
Why this entry-level cover letter example is good
When you’re applying for an entry-level position, there’s a high chance that you’ll be competing with a lot of people that don’t have a lot of experience on their resume.
Most likely, you’re about to graduate, and you’re looking for your first job. Taking a look at Anna’s cover letter, you can immediately see that she’s focusing on her studies.
When you’re writing a cover letter for an entry-level position, focusing on your strengths is vital – after all, the hiring managers know that you won’t have years of experience behind your back. That’s why you have to show your strengths. Add what you’ve studied, any additional courses or training that you’ve been a part of, with a focus on what you’ve learned there.