Cover Letter Examples and Writing Tips

100+ Free Professional Cover Letter Examples

Hands on keyboard
••• Huchen Lu / E+ / Getty Images

Do you need to write a cover letter? When applying for a job, a cover letter should be sent or posted with your resume or curriculum vitae. A cover letter is a (typically) one-page document that explains to the hiring manager why you are an ideal candidate for the job. It goes beyond your resume to explain in detail how you could add value to the company.

It can be very helpful to look at cover letter samples when writing your own. A sample can help you decide what to include in your letter, and how to format the letter.

This collection of free professionally written cover letter examples will help you get started. Below you'll find both hard copy and email examples, for a variety of different types of employment inquiries and job applications including general cover letters, cold contact cover letters, referral letters, customized cover letters, job promotion letters, networking outreach letters, and letters to inquire about unadvertised openings.

Cover Letter Examples and Templates

These samples, templates, ​and examples of different types of cover letters will give you ideas and suggestions for your letter. Read through some samples, and then customize your own letter so it shows why you should be selected for an interview. Review examples of cover letters and email cover letter messages for a variety of circumstances.

Applying for a New Job

Applying for a new job can be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. However, writing a cover letter that really “sells” the qualities you have to offer an employer is a great confidence-builder – you’ll know your letter is perfect when you read it and think, “Hey – I’D interview me!” Here are some examples of how effective cover letters are structured.

Applying for a Transfer or Promotion

When you’ve worked for an employer for a while and know, through both your own impressions and strong performance reviews, that they value your work, it may be time to ask for a promotion or a transfer to a better position. Be proactive – companies don’t always have upward career tracks, and may not automatically award a promotion unless this is requested.

Email Cover Letter Examples

While cover letters that are emailed do not have as conservative a format as traditional “snail mail” cover letters, there is still a specific structure one should observe when drafting and sending them. Here’s how to make sure your email cover letter gets read.

Inquiry and Networking Letters

Applying to officially advertised positions isn’t the only way to land your dream job. Often opportunities can be discovered through strategic networking; more than one person has been offered a position because they made their availability and interest known to employers who were not actively hiring.

Cover Letters With a Referral

One of the best ways to “get your foot in the door” at a company you would love to work for is to mention a professional connection to one of their current personnel. Here’s how to ask someone to serve as a referral for you and how to drop their name in your cover letter.

Cover Letter Formats and Templates

Review more examples of professional formats, layouts, and templates to use to apply for jobs, keeping in mind that you should tailor any cover letter template you decide to use as your model to reflect your own circumstances and personality.

Examples Listed by Type of Applicant

The ideal content and format of cover letters depends both upon the type of position they are soliciting and the applicant’s amount of relevant experience. Thus, the cover letter of a seasoned professional will emphasize experience, whereas that of a recent college graduate is best focused upon training and potential. Similarly, a cover letter for a sales position will use more aggressive marketing language than one designed for a social work role. The following cover letter samples are for candidates who are applying for a specific type or level of position.

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

Tailor each letter to the job. It takes a little extra time, but be sure to write a unique cover letter for each job. Your cover letter should be specific to the position you are applying for, relating your skills and experiences to those noted in the job posting. Here’s how to write a cover letter in 5 easy steps.

Use keywords. One useful way to tailor your letter to the job is to use keywords from the job posting. Circle any words from the job posting that seem critical to the job, such as specific skills or qualifications. Try to use some of these words in your letter. This way, at a glance, the employer can see that you match the requirements of the job.

Explain how you will add value. Think of concrete ways to prove you will add value to the company. Include examples of specific accomplishments from previous jobs. For example, if you helped reduce turnover by 10% at your last company, or implemented a filing strategy that reduced file errors by 15%, include this information. Try to quantify your successes when possible to clearly demonstrate how you could add value at the company.

Look at cover letter samples. Check out a few sample cover letters before writing your own.

Samples will give you an idea of what information to include in your cover letter, and how to format the letter. However, never simply copy and paste a sample cover letter. Change the letter to fit your specific skills and experiences, and to target the job you are applying for.

Edit, edit, edit. Your cover letter is your first, and best, chance to sell the hiring manager on your candidacy for employment, so make sure it's perfect. Read through your letter, proofreading it for any spelling or grammar errors. Ask a friend, family member, or career counselor to read it as well. You want to make sure the letter is polished before submitting it.

What Else You Need to Know: How to Write a Cover Letter in 5 Easy Steps