Cover Letter Examples by Job Title - Free Download [2020 Updated]

cover letter examples

Writing a cover letter can feel like a painful task. But using our database of more than 500 cover letter examples can expedite the process. A cover letter isn't something that is going to guarantee your job placement. And most job seekers have that firmly planted in their minds, causing them to lack conviction in their cover letter writing process. So why do we have to write one? And why should we spend the time writing an effective, targeted cover letter for our future employer if they aren’t going to read it?

While these are all valid concerns, with science and data to support that your future interviewer won’t read your cover letter, there’s a chance that they might. And by not including a cover letter, you could risk your chances of landing the job entirely.

In this writeup, we’re going to cover why you should write a cover letter, what a cover letter is, how to write an effective one, and provide expert tips on writing your cover letter faster, with more effective outcomes.

Let’s jump right in.

common cover letter questions by job seekers

Cover Letter Examples for 2020

Find your cover letter example by job title and industry listed below. Looking for more cover letter examples? Search our cover letter template database.

Popular Cover Letter Samples

Accounting Cover Letter Samples

Administration and Office Support Cover Letter Samples

Advertising, Arts, and Media Cover Letter Samples

Banking and Financial Services Cover Letter Samples

Call Center and Customer Service Cover Letter Samples

Community Services and Development Cover Letter Samples

Consulting and Strategy Cover Letter Samples

Education and Traininge Cover Letter Samples

What Is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a business letter that is written to your future employer during your job application process. This is a letter where you get the opportunity to speak to your hiring manager, interviewer, future manager, or CEO.

In this letter, you get the opportunity to present yourself. You can present who you are, what you’ve accomplished, why you are a good fit for the position, and attract the company to inviting you to interview.

The cover letter is considered one of the basic requirements to all job applications, including your resume. Additional assets like letters of recommendation or professional references, are assets that are in addition to these baseline required materials.

administrative assistant cover letter example

Sample Cover Letter

Ian Smith
ian@smith.com
639-555-9984
Sales Associate

May 1st, 2013

Dear Mr. Johnson —

I have always been told that I have a strong personality. One that is approachable, sociable, and more. This is why I feel like I'll be a perfect fit for your open Sales Associate position. I understand that the needs of the job are more than simply selling. But being a domain expert as well.

During my tenure as a previous Retail Associate I was able to:

  • Learn the inner workings of a highly detailed product and be able to sell it to customers.
  • Manage a sales floor as well as interact with customers and deal with customer support issues.
  • Collaborate, direct, and communicate efficiently to other retail and sales associates.
I look forward to interviewing with you. If there is any information that you'd like to see that I didn't include in my application, please feel free to contact me and I will return that to you as soon as possible.

Sincerely,
Ian Smith
free cover letter template

Free Cover Letter Download

Download this cover letter letter template in Word format. Can be imported as a Google Doc. Instant download. No email required.

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Why Are Cover Letters Required?

OK, so 90% of hiring managers aren’t going to read your cover letter. Then why write a cover letter? There are a few reasons why you need to write a cover letter.

It shows your commitment to the job

If your cover letter sounds generic, doesn’t include any mentions or support to what the Human Resources team listed within the job description, then you might come across as simply copying and pasting your cover letter to multiple job applications.

This shows that you don’t have an honest passion for wanting to work with the business. It shows that you simply want a job. For the employer, this helps weed out those who are simply looking for employment versus having a passion for their business.

It shows you take the time to present yourself

Writing a cover letter will take time. And it will take effort. By having this asset as part of your job application, it shows your hiring manager that you are willing to dig into the work and spend the time trying to produce something of quality.

For your hiring manager, this is a way of measuring your work ethic before they get an opportunity work with you.

It is a requirement

This is a good reason. Most job application portals won’t let you submit your application without a cover letter.

Why Don’t Hiring Managers Read Cover Letters?

This is a tough question. And one that’s impossible to truly answer. Studies have suggested that cover letters, for a long time now, haven’t been the most effective in measuring how well a candidate is going to perform.

90% of the applicants who are hired are often heavily recommended by a close business colleague, a business colleague within the hiring managers network, or have a significant number of recommendation letters from important business leaders.

This validating network effect is much stronger in terms of quickly finding a job placement than crafting a perfect cover letter.

If wagers had to be made why interviewers, hiring managers, and human resource groups don’t read cover letters, it would be:

This would make sense. Imagine you were trying to do your work and you were asked to read 45+ cover letters. If each cover letter was about 600 words, it might take you at least half of the day to get through those cover letters.

And at the end of it, after reading through all of them, it still might not provide you a great indicator for which 5 of the candidates you should invite to interview.

This is why the cover letter alone, is not an effective vehicle to ensuring your employment. But the strategies listed in this guide can ensure that if one of your future colleagues does read your cover letter, it stands out, speaks to them, and draws a level of intrigue that promotes wanting you to move into the first round of interviews.

marketing director cover letter example

What Should Go Inside a Cover Letter

If you don’t have the experience to know what goes inside of a cover letter, you aren’t alone. There are some basic requirements for this business letter to be considered a cover letter.

Your contact information

Towards the top of the page, ideally not inside of the page header, should contain your full name, phone number, email address. If you are curious as to whether or not you should include your LinkedIn URL or personal website, the answer is yes. These can be helpful pieces of information for your hiring manager to learn more about you before you interview.

The date

While this isn’t entirely necessary, it can be helpful to include the date of which you wrote your cover letter or the date of which you submitted your job application.

The date should look like this, “May 1st, 2020”

A formal salutation

Avoid things like “To Whom It May Concern” as a way of starting your letter. A formal salutation opens your cover letter and greets the other business person. The best way to make sure this impactful is to greet the reader by their name. For example, “Dear Mr. Smith”.

It may be nearly impossible for you to know who is going to read your cover letter. As a backup, you can greet the team or department you are applying to. For example, “Dear Creative Team”

Your opening paragraph

Without a strong opening paragraph, your cover letter doesn’t have meaning. Ideally, you grab the reader's attention by providing them unique insights about your background. Avoid repeating statements that you might make on your resume. For example, within your executive summary.

Bullet points supporting why you should be considered for the position

The best way to position your cover letter is to have it be an extension of your resume summary. Can you speak to business scenarios that encapsulate the desired skills or qualities that your employer is seeking? If so, utilize those prior experiences as a way to stand out. Mention achievements in the workplace that are significant. Were you able to increase sales? Did you increase efficiency? Did you complete a number of high-profile projects? Name those in brief bullet points.

Your closing paragraph

A closing paragraph is a way to ensure that your reader feels appreciated for taking the time to read through your letter. Remember, they might be reading hundreds of cover letters. This is time-consuming. If you can thank them for the time they spent, you’ll show empathy and team collaboration that could be valuable assets to your employer.

Your closing salutation

Are you going to end your business letter by saying, “see ya later guys”. No, you shouldn’t. Every formal business letter needs a formal goodbye. The best way to write yours is to use something like, “Thank you so much” or “Sincerely” as part of your goodbye. Then, simply print your name and include a handwritten signature if you can.

Top Cover Letter Writing Mistakes to Avoid

Some of the best cover letters are often ruined by making some of these common mistakes.

Not making your cover letter unique

Having a cover letter isn’t enough. If your cover letter appears as though you used it for multiple job applications, it’s going to feel generic. And lack personality and personalization that is going to attract your hiring manager to respond.

common cover letter questions by job seekers

Not speaking directly to the reader

Using generic openings to your cover letter like “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Reader” can be a great way to make your cover letter appear generic and lack personalization. Instead, list the hiring manager of the department you are applying for, which can easily be found through LinkIn, on their company page.

If you can’t find the hiring manager's name, address the department instead. Something like, “Dear Sales Team” or “Dear Creative Team” will suffice and be better than addressing someone in an unknown fashion (like “To Whom It May Concern” incidentally does).

Going over 600 words

Your cover letter should be one-page. And terse. Meaning, as little words as possible. Make it impactful but easy to read. Ideally, keeping your cover letter under 600 words and forcing yourself to have more clarity with that amount of space will be beneficial to the effectiveness of your business letter.

Having poor grammar

Similar to going over one-page, it’s not hard to ask a friend or family member to read your letter for clarity and for grammar. If you wrote your cover letter and sent it within a few hours, it’s probably not proofread.

Failing to speak to business scenarios

If your cover letter is simply stating why you want the job, that’s not enough. Your employer doesn’t truly want to hear about that. What they want to hear is what makes you a great candidate for the position, what you’ll be able to bring to the company that can create business results, and why you are a standout candidate.

The way to achieve that is to speak to what you’ve been able to accomplish within prior work positions, even if the position isn’t the same job title.

Not exporting your cover letter as a PDF

Sending a word document? Don’t! Many computers can’t open word documents. And many times you may export your word document to a different version of Microsoft Word, which may make it incompatible to the reader's machine. Instead, export your cover letter as a PDF. This is universally more easy to open.

download as pdf

Improving Your Cover Letter Effectiveness

Here are some ways to improve the effectiveness of your writing and ultimately produce a great cover letter.

Include your personal website or LinkedIn URL

Yes, including your personal website, link to your portfolio, link to a website that contains work achievements, or your LinkedIn can be a great way for your future employer to learn more about you. Include this as part of your contact information towards the head of your cover letter.

personal website on your cover letter

Exclude your mailing address

If you are running low on space, exclude your mailing address. All Human Resource departments will ask you for your mailing address when you interview. This should save you two lines on the page, which can mean up to two more sentences.

Include relevant links to your work

Did you launch something? Did you build something? Your cover letter doesn’t have to be text only. If you were part of a team that was working on a particular product or service, try to place a relevant link to that in the cover letter. This will engage the reader more and provide helpful context for what you’re discussing in the letter itself.

Tell stories of your business experience

This can’t be told enough. Your interviewer wants to know about you. But they would prefer to learn about you through your work experience. What have you accomplished? What have you worked on? What significant work events made an impact on your career?

Think through these scenarios and present them in a way that speaks to their desired talents for the position (as normally referred to in the job description).

common cover letter questions by job seekers

Tell the reader you comprehend the job requirements

Don’t simply state, “I can do this job.” Speak to the skills, duties, processes that are required to bring excellence into the position.

Cover Letter Formatting Tips

Many job seekers think that the way to stand out is to create a unique cover letter. One that visually stands out. While that may seem like a bold move, it’s incorrect. It will appear less formal and ultimately less professional. Follow some of these formatting tips to ensure your cover letter stays professional and unique.If you're ever in doubt, follow one of our cover letter examples in the database.

Keep your font size to a 10-point maximum. If you aren’t sure what it looks like, print your letter and then read it in printed format. Anything above 10-point appears too large and doesn’t give you enough space to work with.

Don’t include any images

Including images seems like a bold move. And one that would make your cover letter more fun to read. But it looks bad. Don’t try to include any imagery. That includes placing your profile photo on the cover letter.

Best sans-serif fonts to use

It’s okay to use a sans-serif font. But you want something that’s legible and is going to be readable. The best sans-serif font to use is Helvetica, not Arial. Other great options are Proxima Nova or Circular.

Best serif fonts to use

The best serif fonts to use are Calibri, Times New Roman, Century Schoolbook, and Georgia. Calibri is still one of the best fonts to use. But Times New Roman is also a great contender. This is a legible, professional typeface.

Build your cover letter in Google Docs

While we’re discussing fonts, most tools like Microsoft Word make it difficult for you to export your cover letter to a PDF and make it difficult to use beautiful fonts like the ones mentioned. Use Google Documents to write your cover letter. It is free with every Gmail account.

Cover Letter Tips and FAQ's

Below are common questions job seekers have regarding their cover letter and resume.

What's the benefit of using your cover letter examples?

The main benefit of using cover letter examples is that you get an idea of how to position yourself for the job you're applying for. While the cover letter examples won't be exactly what you need in order to write your own cover letter, it can be a great starting point. In each of the cover letter examples, you'll be able to see what bullet points to think through when writing your own and how to start and end your letter altogether.

What is a resume cover?

A resume cover is a cover letter. Be sure to use one of our cover letter examples to get an idea of what this looks like so you can clarify any differences you might have in your mind.

What's one piece of advice you would give to a job seeker who is writing a cover letter for their job search?

Think about what the hiring manager might want to know about you. And try to encapsulate that quite quickly. Remember, it is not about who you are. But what you can bring to the company. Focus on results you've been able to provide to previous jobs and then highlight those as a way of introducing yourself.

Will I need a curriculum vitae? And how is it different than a resume? Do I need a cover letter with that?

A curriculum vitae is more suitable for academic professionals, it includes your life accomplishments both in work and in your personal life that is related to your work. So for example, a professor who is studying archeology and uncovered a discovery, that discovery being printed in a science journal. That would be included in a "CV". Generally speaking, if you are emailing a job application using a CV, you will still need a cover letter.

What is an email cover letter?

This is what professionals might refer to as a cover letter that is in the email body as you submit your job application. This is not technically a cover letter. Instead, read out guide on emailing a job application.

Should I think about my cover letter and resume in tandem?

Yes. The strategy of what you speak to on your cover letter should join or match how you position yourself in your resume. For example, if you reference your qualifications in your cover letter, you should reflect those same qualifications in your resume.

What's the most effective cover letter?

The most effective cover letter are ones that use very little language around "why" you should be hired and show statistics, metrics, and achievements that your prospective employer will find valuable.

Why do so many jobs ask about interpersonal skills?

Communication and interpersonal skills are the bones of getting great work accomplished. Being able to speak to your colleagues or customer effectively is what constitutes great interpersonal skills.

Should I include my social media accounts on my cover letter and resume?

This depends on the type of position you're applying for and what you speak about on those social media accounts. If for example, you're applying to a recruiting position, and you speak to hiring and training on your Twitter account. Then you may want to include that social media account on your cover letter. Your manager or prospective employer might use this as a tool to learn more about you.

Should I reference my internship on my cover letter?

Only if you do not have enough prior work experience to be able to reference.

How can I show my employer I'm their ideal candidate?

Try to align the skills and qualifications the job posting mentioned with your prior work accomplishments or experiences. This will show your manager that you're their ideal candidate.

What should my cover letter design look like?

Try not to go overboard. Your cover letter design should focus on the writing. Avoid imagery, custom fonts, bright colors, and other unrelated visual effects.

How do I highlight my skills without keyword stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is when you mention a word that isn't fitting to the message. This happens when candidates reference their skills too much. Instead, you should show your skills through work experiences. For example, explaining how you worked through a difficult transition using your communication skills for the team. This shows your manager that you have leadership abilities. Use examples, don't use keywords.

Am I sending my resume and cover letter to a hiring manager or manager? And what's the difference?

A hiring manager may be a manager but someone who is in charge of hiring for the position. Or it may be someone on the HR team who is assisting in the hiring process. Regardless, consider them a manager that you might report to when writing your job application assets.

How important is work experience in my professional cover letter?

It is very important. Work experience is the number one qualification your hiring manager will look for when determining your fit as a candidate. If you lack work experience, you'll need to make a great argument for why they should consider your application. Use your professional skills and personal skills to help make the case for yourself.

What if I'm a student and trying to write a cover letter without any previous job experience, what should I do?

You'll need to think very carefully about your introductory paragraph. You need your potential employer to feel compelled to want to read through your passion for wanting to work with them. Include relevant coursework or side projects that are unique to you. And use that as a method of trying to "hook" your recruiter or hiring manager. In this first paragraph, you'll need to support the reason why you're interested in the job opening. It needs to be compelling. Speak to your uniquely specific skills and speak to a relevant skill which you feel is going to make you unique for this role.

Should I say "dear hiring manager" as my opening phrase?

No. You should address a specific person in your cover letter opening. If you don't have the name of the recruiter or hiring manager then speak to the CEO. Use their name. There's no better way to ruin your opening paragraph than by not addressing someone by name in your salutation. By using a name, it immediately gets the employer's attention. And helps them to want to continue reading your letter. Even if you have a strong cover letter, an improper salutation can ruin the entire letter.

What happens after I submit my application with my cover letter?

You might be asked to have a phone interview, then an informational interview. After that, you'll need to ask the hiring manager about the hiring process in total.

Should I mention in my cover letter that I'm attaching my resume?

No. Saying something like "I've attached the enclosed resume" is not necessary. It takes up valuable space in your cover letter. Every career expert will tell you that it's not something you need to include in your application letter.

Do I need to include the specific position I'm applying to in my cover letter?

No. You don't. The hiring manager and recruiter have processes in place for this. They know what role each job applicant is applying for without you needing to place it in your cover letter. This can take up valuable space and turn a good cover letter into a bad one.

What can each letter example be used for?

You may find that you need each formal letter example provided in this guide for another job type. They can be used for:

Should I use a cover letter builder?

Generally speaking, it's not required. You can use a letter sample from the above guides and mold them to fit your needs. Change each paragraph to suit your personal style and preferences. And have a friend read over it for accuracy.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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