Cover Letter Examples and Writing Tips

100+ Free Professional Cover Letter Examples

Businesswoman Working In Her Office.
••• vgajic / Getty Images

When applying for a job, a cover letter should be sent or posted with your resume or curriculum vitae. Typically, a cover letter is a 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 daunting to write a cover letter that really emphasizes the qualities you have to offer an employer. Taking stock in your value and then working to highlight those traits succinctly in a well-written letter can be a great confidence-builder. You’ll know your letter is perfect when you read it and think, “Hey, I would interview me!”

What to Include in a Cover Letter

Keep in mind that your cover letter doesn't have to be boring. Taking some time to showcase your personality and how it will be an asset to the employer can help your application get noticed. Follow these tips on how to write an effective cover letter.

Tailor Each Letter to the Job Using Keywords

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.

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.

Demonstrate 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 if you 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 to the company.

Edit Your Letter

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.

Professional Cover Letter Examples

Check out 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 it. Although you never want to simply copy and paste a sample cover letter, you can modify it to fit your specific skills and experiences and to target the job for which you are applying.

Below, you'll find some hard copy and email examples, along with links to other helpful information for a variety of different types of employment inquiries and job applications.

Read through these samples, and then customize your own letter so it shows why you should be selected for an interview.

Cover Letter Template to Download

Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word) or see below for more examples.

Cover letter sample
 ©TheBalance 2018

Cover Letter Sample (Text Version)

Joseph Q. Applicant
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
555-212-1234
josephq@email.com

September 1, 2018

Jane Smith
Director, Human Resources
Fit Living
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Ms. Smith:

I’m writing to apply for the position of Social Media Manager for Fit Living, as advertised on your website careers page. I have three years of experience as a Social Media Assistant for Young Living, and I believe I am ready to move up to the manager position.

In your job posting, you mention that you want to hire a Social Media Manager who understands the Internet and social media trends. During my time at Young Living, I was given the responsibility of increasing follower numbers on Instagram. I explained to my manager that I would be happy to do so and that I would also work hard to increase follower participation because engagement has become an important metric.

Within six months, I increased our followers by over 50 percent and increased engagement by 400 percent. I’m very proud of that accomplishment. Currently, I’m working to build a following with the best influencers in our niche.

When I saw the job opening, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to offer you both my social media marketing skills and people skills. I’ve included my resume so you can learn more about my educational background and all of my work experience. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Please feel free to email me or call my cell phone at 555-555-5555. I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Joseph Q. Applicant

Email Cover Letter Examples

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

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 Letters for a Transfer or Promotion

When you’ve worked for an employer for a while and know 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.

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.

Letters Listed by Type of Applicant

The ideal content and format of cover letters depend 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 of position.

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.

1:52

Watch Now: 9 Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid