During any job search, you’ll be tasked with writing a cover letter. But knowing what to write and how to express yourself in a clear, concise manner and win over a potential employer can be tough.
A good cover letter isn’t just about getting the formatting and content right. Above and beyond expressing interest in the position, a cover letter details why you’re the right candidate to hire.
Part of what can make a cover letter stand out is its narrative. The ability to draw the reader in and make them want to know more. The idea is for your cover letter to serve as a stepping stone between reviewing your resume and getting a call for an interview.
But, a longer cover letter isn’t necessarily a better cover letter. You want to be concise and to the point, so it’s imperative that you edit thoroughly to ensure that you aren’t overusing any generic terms or phrases.
For example, instead of listing your desirable skills, choose to use examples of your work experience that display the traits you want to highlight.
Recruiters and hiring managers see hundreds of cover letters pass across their desks, so catching their eye with your story is a must. The more cover letters you read, the more inspired you will be with ideas for how to draft your own cover letter tailored to your personal experience and optimized for the role you hope to land.
Take a look at these samples of the best cover letters from across the web to help you know how to approach your own.
Career change cover letter
When it’s time for a career change, understanding how to explain the way that your skills transfer from one industry to another is crucial. To prove that you’re the right candidate to hire, you’ll need to stand out from applicants who are not changing fields, which can be tricky if you’ve never seen it done before.
Career-specific cover letter
Sometimes, instead of reading sample cover letters tailored to your employment circumstances, it can be helpful to use your career field as the distinguishing feature. If you need inspiration for a cover letter that is career-specific, Indeed has an entire archive of cover letter samples for different careers. On this page, you can browse sample cover letters by searching for your specific job type or field to see several top examples.
Monster has a similar bank of sample cover letters filtered by career type. Some more notable examples are job seekers transitioning from military service to civilian life, hospitality industry roles, and several different examples for different health care providers.
Traditional cover letter
A traditional cover letter that highlights key skills and related previous experience to what is written in the job description is sometimes what hiring managers in larger, well-established businesses will request from applicants.
Internal application cover letter
Sometimes, the job that you’re applying for might be within the company that you already work for. Typically, applying for this type of role would mean that you’re seeking promotion based on the merits of your work so far with the same company.
This sample cover letter on Resume Genius for an internal position application covers all the bases. It ties in specific experience, draws on a commitment to the company, and gratitude for the opportunity to continue supporting their business within this new role.
Email body cover letter
If you are emailing a resume or job application directly to a recruiter or hiring manager, sometimes it’s appropriate to write your cover letter directly into the body of an email. This type of cover letter uses a more conversational tone for you as an applicant to introduce yourself and highlight why you’re seeking a new role.
This email cover letter example from Jobscan can be used as inspiration when you won’t be attaching a formal cover letter in a separate document. While still covering background and experience as it relates to the position at hand, this sample cover letter focuses on making a connection with the hiring manager first and foremost.
Short and sweet cover letter
To really stand out from the crowd, sometimes less is more. If you have a knack for writing and can make a short cover letter captivating and enticing, you’re sure to catch the eye of the reader and make them want to know more.
This short cover letter example from The Harvard Business Review was touted by business writing professor David Silverman as “the best cover letter” he ever received. Instead of re-capping your entire resume, this cover letter sample sticks to a few simple facts and expresses enthusiasm to speak further with the hiring manager. It’s worth noting that with a short cover letter, you should take extra care to take on a tone that’s confident without being arrogant, as this can land your application directly in the “no” pile.