Job searches are a not a walk in the park, and writing custom cover letters for each posting doesn’t make that walk any easier. Every job is different, embodies a unique culture, and requires different tasks. As an applicant, it’s your job to convey to the hiring manager (through a competent cover letter) that you’re the one for the job. And depending on the position and company, there could be dozens to hundreds of people vying for the position.
In such a competitive role, your cover letter is the best chance you have of standing out. The following cover letter examples show you how others have succeeded in this role. Use these as a guide for the type of cover letters you should write, but remember — stay true to yourself and your personality. Nix the cookie cutter cover letter, and you’ll do better.
Director, Customer Care at Squarespace
The cover letter talk is best discussed over real examples of cover letters that worked. This cover letter was sent to Jesse Hertzberg, COO of Squarespace, and according to him, it was one of the greatest cover letters he’s ever received. For Hertzberg, equally as important as letting your personality shine is explaining why a particular interview is good for you. Here’s a piece from the cover letter Hertzberg holds to the highest standards:
You will not find a better fit for the particulars of this job, as you’ve defined them, certainly not in a Portland native. Why? Because I started out and grew-up with the darling of the Silicon Valley all through the dot.com era; I was fire-hardened through many years living & working in Manhattan and now am barrel-aging in Portlandia. I’ve done stints in support, technical sales and management and I know what works and what doesn’t. I’ve built support programs & teams from the ground up.”
Head Coach, University of North Dakota
This cover letter is a perfect example of how passion can trump experience — especially when executed well in a cover letter. Christopher “Chuck the Pigskin” McComas had no coaching experience when he applied for a Head coach position at the University of North Dakota. In addition to a passionately humorous article, complete with a detailed Powerpoint on how he intended to succeed in this role. The extensive resume was printed in local papers, and garnered endorsement from other publications. You can check out the cover letter in full here.
Newspaper Admin Job
It can be difficult for candidates to explain how they can do a particular job well, especially if the job description is fairly straightforward and simple. One recent grad landed a newspaper admin job based on her ability to demonstrate enthusiasm for otherwise menial tasks. Some of the language she chose includes:
I’m energetic, eager, willing to learn, and not above doing anything. If that’s not enough, I’ve listed some of the qualities a newspaper needs and explained why I fit the bill in the table below.”
The applicant then included a table that explained how she fit desirable qualities listed in the job posting. The additional table also helped demonstrate her willingness to commit to the position.
Customer Service, RentHop
Telling your personal stories as it relates to the position or company can go a long way. And that’s exactly what this customer service rep did for a position at RentHop. This is a perfect example of how speaking from personal experience can even even glorify otherwise seemingly simple positions like a customer service representative. The cover letter intro began with:
If I could make the NYC apartment rental process better for just one person, I would feel like the horrors of my recent search would all be worth it. So, a customer service role at RentHop, where I could do it every day? I can’t think of anything more fulfilling.”
Human Resources Assistant
Writing a cover letter as a recent grad can be difficult. In this situation, you experience a classic catch-22: you don’t have enough experience to get you the job, but you need experience to be able to strengthen your resume and get a good position. The second paragraph of this cover letter read:
After completing a business degree from Rutgers University in May, I enrolled in a human resource development program to enhance my credentials in my chosen field. Course highlights include: Leadership in an Organizational Setting, Performance & Task Analysis in Human Resource Development, and Technology in HR Settings.”
The candidate then went on to describe how they intended to use their knowledge of technology to improve individual and organizational performance. Demonstrating how highly relevant, targeted courses, internships, or extracurriculars apply to the job is a great tactic for getting noticed.