cover letter tips and examples.

2/06/2020

Looking for work in the age of COVID-19 is an experience like no other. As it remains difficult to meet face-to-face, connecting with hiring managers is a process that job-seekers will need to reassess. That’s where the cover letter comes in.

While sometimes it seems like there’s no point writing a cover letter, not taking the time to do so means missing out on the biggest opportunity you have to stand out from the sea of other candidates. Cover letters allow you to infuse your own personality and connect with hiring managers in a way that resumes simply don’t. If you’re serious about making that oh-so important first impression and securing an interview, knowing how to write a cover letter is essential.

the do's and don'ts

do's

Unless you’re writing under special circumstances (like returning to work from a redundancy or career break), there’s a few basic steps to writing a cover letter.

  • Address the hiring manager (by name if you can), the job you’re applying for and where you found out about the job.
  • Introduce yourself by outlining your immediate professional background (your role, industry, years of experience or qualifications if you’re a student or recent graduate) and explain how the skills gained from this background make you the best person for the job.
  • Explain why you want to work for this company specifically - possibly by referring to a project or campaign they’ve been involved in - and convey that this isn’t just a job to pay the bills (even if it is).
  • Bring it back to why you’re right for this company specifically and what you can contribute towards their business objectives, vision and culture.
  • Thank the hiring manager for considering your application and include a call to action, as well as how you might be reached for a follow up.

don'ts

  • Don’t send out the same copy-and-paste cover letter for every role. Take advantage of this opportunity to personalise and prove that you’re the best candidate on the market. 
  • Steer clear of the dreaded ‘to whom it may concern.’ Try your best to find out the hiring manager’s name and title - usually posted on the job listing, company website or LinkedIn page. 
  • Remember that short and sweet is the way to go with cover letters as hiring managers usually don’t have the time to read more than a page max. Make sure that what you’re writing is relevant and structured. In the same vein, resist the temptation to recycle chunks of your resume - instead, see this as a separate space where you can impress from a different angle.
  • Check your formatting as well as your content. Typos and grammar issues are an easy way to discredit yourself. Read over your work yourself and don’t rely purely on automated checks.

cover letter examples

standard cover letter: for candidates with some experience, looking to transition into a similar role.

Dear (hiring manager’s name)

I am writing to apply for the position of (job role) at (company name), as advertised at (place where you found job listing).

I believe that I would be an ideal candidate for this position, having had five years experience working as (previous job role) in (relevant industry). In my previous position, my responsibilities included managing a team of six in the (relevant department), organizing communication for both internal and external purposes and creating content for company-wide promotion. In doing so, I demonstrated my creativity, communication skills and organisational skills, all while coordinating other outputs on a mass scale. During my time in (previous job role), I was able to boost online engagement by 12 per cent and was responsible for managing the highly successful (project or example of work).

My resume, enclosed within, speaks to my compatibility with (company name). I have been following your organisation for some time and have found (company name)’s work very stimulating - particularly recent projects like (example). My own interest in (relevant interest, skill or experience) aligns closely with (company name)’s objectives within (relevant industry) and I believe this shared vision will allow us both to prosper. The role of (job title) at (company name) is something that excites me and I am certain that I can be a valuable asset for your organisation.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to discussing the opportunity with you further. I can be reached at (your contact information).

Sincerely,

(Your name)

career change cover letter: for candidates looking further afield and hoping to switch up their career.

Dear (hiring manager’s name)

I am writing to apply for the position of (job role) at (company name), as advertised at (place where you found job listing). Please find my resume enclosed for review.

With four years of experience in IT, I wish to transition into a communications role, having had the opportunity to develop my interest in my previous position. Although as (previous role title), my duty was internal management of company IT systems, I was responsible for company-wide resources and co-ordinated across various state departments. In fact, I received three commendations for excellent interpersonal support from the executive board and was vital in spearheading (previous company’s name)’s ‘Ask an Expert’ campaign.

I believe that the organisational, managerial and interpersonal skills I developed in IT - coupled with my interdisciplinary perspective - make me uniquely qualified for the role of (job title). I am additionally convinced that (company name)’s vision of increasing the accessibility of online education makes it the perfect place for me to transfer my knowledge and skills into a communications role. In doing so, I will be a genuine asset to your organisation. Recent ventures, like (company example), have me excited about the future of (company name) and how I could contribute towards it.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to discussing the opportunity with you further. I can be reached at (your contact information).

Sincerely,

(Your name)

company focused cover letter: for bolder candidates interested in a particular company that isn’t currently advertising any vacancies.

Dear (hiring manager’s name)

I am writing to inquire about any possible job openings at (company name). I have been following the company for some time and recently found their (example of work) to be very stimulating. I am interested in a career in (relevant industry) and was hoping to learn more about any potential opportunities at your organisation. Please find my resume enclosed for review.

I am a recent (degree name) graduate that is working in the (industry name) field and looking to further my career. During my time as a (job title), I have regularly exceeded targets, helping to boost company revenue by 5 per cent last year. I also demonstrated organisational ability when co-ordinating the company conference and leadership skills when chairing meetings between members of the graduate staff. I believe that the drive and creativity that I have shown in my career so far would prove a valuable asset at your company.

My resume, which is enclosed, illustrates my determination to have a successful career in (industry name). I have found that the work being carried out by your organisation is particularly appealing, with recent projects like (example 1) and (example 2) closely matching my interests. If there is a potential opening within the (area or field) team at your organisation, I would not only be extremely grateful for consideration, but believe that my experience and skillset can help the company continue to prosper.

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you any possible vacancies at (company name) and to provide additional information regarding the benefits I could bring to the organisation. Thank you for your time and I look forward to speaking with you further.

Sincerely,

(Your name)

career break cover letter: for candidates looking to re-enter the workforce after a career break.

Dear (hiring manager’s name)

I am writing to apply for the position of (job role) at (company name), as advertised at (place where you found job listing). Please find my resume enclosed for review.

I believe that my nine years of experience as (previous role) with (past company) have given me the skills needed to thrive in this position. My past duties included liaising with business partners, organizing internal and external events, managing the company calendar and supervising a team of nine employees across the (relevant department). In this position I cultivated my organisational and managerial abilities, and was awarded as employee of the month five times. I was also responsible for securing a partnership with PartyPlanners.Ltd, which boosted (past company)’s output by 14 per cent, and managed the launch of (past company)’s website in 2017.

From 2018 to 2019, I elected to take a professional break in order to consider the future of my career. In that time, I travelled through Europe and vastly expanded my cultural awareness, communication skills and ability to negotiate challenging circumstances. Of note was the time I spent volunteering as an English support teacher in France for two months. I am confident that these experiences have contributed towards my status as a well rounded employee and team-member.

For some time I have been following your organisation with interest. The prospect of (job role) at (company name) has me especially excited to return to work and to utilise my updated skillset to the benefit of (company name). I believe that my international experiences will contribute towards your organisation’s global mindset and expanding, culturally diverse market. International projects that (company name) has been involved with recently, like (example), are particularly stimulating. 

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to discussing the opportunity with you further. I can be reached at (your contact information).

Sincerely,

(Your name)

redundancy cover letter: for candidates dealing with a recent redundancy.

Dear (hiring manager’s name)

I am writing to apply for the position of (job role) at (company name), as advertised at (place where you found job listing). Please find my resume enclosed for review.

With more than three years’ experience in the (relevant industry), I believe that I would be an ideal candidate for this job. In my previous role as (job name), I demonstrated the organisational skills, creativity and drive that would be well suited to your company. My duties involved liaising with video and graphics departments to coordinate multimedia content, relationship building with external clients and overseeing our marketing output.

Unfortunately, I was recently made redundant along with several of my colleagues working in the (department or team name) department at my previous job. Financial difficulties at the company ultimately led to this decision, which was in no way a reflection on the quality of my work. I believe, however, that this role offers me the perfect chance to return to work and will enable me to utilise my skillset and experience to the benefit of your organisation.

During my time as (job role), I was responsible for increasing company turnover by 15 per cent, implementing a number of new measures to boost revenue and cut expenditure. I believe that I can display similar financial acumen at (prospective company name), while furthering my knowledge of economic principles.

I believe that I can bring the expertise and determination required for (company name) to continue its success both in (relevant country) and abroad. The role of (job title) is not only one that makes me excited to return to work, but also one that I believe is a great fit for my skillset and experience. I am available to start immediately.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to discussing the opportunity with you further. I can be reached at (your contact information).

Sincerely,

(Your name)

school leavers cover letter: for candidates who’ve recently graduated or left school.

Dear (hiring manager’s name)

I am writing to apply for the position of (job role) at (company name), as advertised at (place where you found job listing). Please find my resume enclosed for review.

As you can see from my resume, I have recently completed my (exam name), where I achieved (overall grade) while studying (relevant subjects). I believe that the skills acquired during my studies make me an excellent fit for this role. During my time in education, I demonstrated time management skills by juggling exam revision alongside my prefect duties, while I also showed leadership skills as part of my role as captain of the school rugby team. What’s more, I believe that the ambition and drive I showed when spearheading the Summer Fete charity effort makes me a viable candidate for a position at your organisation.

My work experience role at a local newspaper furthered my enthusiasm for a career in media. As part of this role, I demonstrated my attention to detail by proofreading copy, as well as my own ambitious character by pushing for greater responsibility. This was ultimately rewarded through the opportunity to write a small news piece for the paper’s website. I believe that my achievements here, as well as the teamwork skills I demonstrate as part of my charity volunteer work, would serve me well in the role of (job name) at your organisation.

Aside from my professional and academic achievements, my passion for writing would also be helpful for this position. I am a regular online blogger, writing about (subject), which I believe shows the level of creativity I could bring to your company. Although only a hobby, I put a great deal of time and effort into each of my posts, and have furthered my knowledge of online web design as a result.

With my academic and professional achievements so far, I believe that I can add a great deal of value for (company name). The role of (inset job title) is one that excites me and I am sure will provide the perfect starting point to my career in (industry name).

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to discussing the opportunity with you further. I can be reached at (your contact information).

Sincerely,

(Your name)