By CRAIG KUNCE
Your cover letter is one of the most important pieces of your job application packet. Be sure to inject some of your sparkling personality into the conversation. Your cover letter is an introduction to yourself. It has to make a solid first impression.
You may not have needed a cover letter before. Going forward you'll need one. A cover letter will help you appear professional and help you land an interview. I believe that a cover letter is a necessity for all serious job applicants.
I always like reading applicants' cover letters. It allows me to begin to get to know them and get to know what type of person, and employee, they may turn out to be. A cover letter is an important piece of the hiring process. Take it seriously.
Cover letter tips & guidelines
One page and done
I've seen many different types of cover letters. Some are long, some are short, and some are medium length. I prefer the medium length cover letters. I like the letters that take up about three-quarters of a single page. They tend to be succinct enough to make me want to read it, and long enough to introduce me to each person applying and allow me to get to know a little about them and their personality.
Email and phone is fine
Security and privacy are on everyone's minds these days. It's okay to leave your address off your cover letter and resume. A phone number and email is perfectly fine. No modern company is going to snail-mail you a letter asking for an interview.
Address your letter to a real person
Don't use the old, "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam" or "Ladies and Gentlemen." Use the name in the job posting. If there isn't one, pick up the phone and call the company and ask the receptionist who you should address the letter to. A little resourcefulness will go a long way. Be sure to get their name and position.
Now, if the posting doesn't list a person's name or a company, I would suggest using the most common title for a person who usually manages the department you want to work in. For graphic designers, I'd address it to Art Director. For a sales person, I'd use Sales Manager. You get the picture.
Lastly, call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to receive a cover letter addressed like this, "Dear Mr. Kunce,". I like the personal touch of "Dear" and I like the respectful touch of "Mr." I usually don't use a person's first name until I've met them face-to-face or over the phone.
Inject some of your personality into the letter
Have you ever been told to just be yourself? Well, for most of us, that is the last thing we should do. In trying to teach this concept to my children, I tell them that they have two kinds of a Dad. At-home-Dad, who can be funny, quirky, or loud. Then there's at-work-Dad, who has to be professional, level-headed, and a collaborative, team-player. So my point here is that whoever you are at home, make sure that your at-work personality shows up in your cover letter. There is nothing wrong with a little snappy, clever humor, or a passionate statement about your chosen career field. Just make sure it sounds professional and not over-done. How do you know the difference? Have someone else read it who will give you an honest opinion.
Try to expand on your resume
You can never say everything you want to in a one-page resume. So the cover letter is a perfect place to elaborate and inject some personality. Tell them what you're doing right now—a job, college, just graduating? Highlight your experience and try to be specific. If your field has specific skills it's know for, list them and tell how you use them. Tell them what you can do. Tell them what you've done. Tell them you're skilled and technologically savvy. Tell them you're up-to-date and social media savvy. You might have to make a list for some skills. That's okay, just don't over do it.
Show some enthusiasm!
Whenever I interview a candidate I want to see that they are excited with the possibility of landing the job they applied for. I don't want to see them doing cartwheels, or dancing for joy, but I do expect some level of enthusiasm to resonate through to me during their presentation and our conversations. Without this, I am really turned off. How am I expected to get excited about hiring you if you aren't excited about getting this job? Smile, vary the level of your voice, use your hands when you talk, speak passionately about your portfolio—this makes me want to hire you.
Talk about your goals
We all want to be somewhere better in 3–5 years. Tell them where that might be—but make sure it fits with the position you're applying for. If you are applying for a entry-level sales position tell them your goal is to continue to grow with the company and be sales manager one day. Don't tell them you want to get a few years of experience under your belt and move on to a bigger or better company. Don't tell them you play the lottery and hope to be on a beach in five years. Enough said.
No "form" letters please
Many web articles state that you should never send a "form" cover letter. Each should be written specifically for the job you are applying for. First of all, I agree with that advice, but I also have to say that in 20+ years of hiring people, I have never received a "form" cover letter. So either the word has gotten out, or I have just been fortunate. Which ever it is, be sure to write each cover letter for each specific position you are applying for.
In my experience, most people know which specific field or industry they are going into, and they write one cover letter for that field or industry and tweak it slightly for each company's open position. I think all those articles warning about using a "form" letter are really targeting people who are applying to job openings in many different fields and are incorrectly using the same cover letter for all of them. I wouldn't do that.
A cover letter is a form of professional business correspondence used to apply for a job. It is your first impression—so make it count. You are a professional graphic designer now, so the way you apply for a job should be professional as well. Businesses will be expecting a cover letter to accompany your resume. Most will ask for it directly in their job posting.
Your cover letter is your opportunity to show your personality and to communicate your skills, abilities, interest, and enthusiasm for the job. It elaborates on your resume, and It helps to differentiate you from other candidates.
A great resume will get you not-rejected, a great cover letter will get you hired. - DHH, Founder of Basecamp
The cover letter. Not since the resume have words struck so much confusion and fear into the hearts of job seekers. The cover letter is for some employers, more important than the resume. It is the other half of the 1-2 punch of the resume/cover letter combination.
That’s why we(VisualCV) have included our best cover letter examples below for you to submit with your cv, email or resume. We recently updated our examples for 2017 so whether your looking for a cover letter example for a job application or for an internship, our examples can be adapted for your particluar situation.
We’re hoping to add more categories such as examples for students, engineering, interns, retail, customer service, nursing, teachers, sales and receptionists but our existing examples below should help a lot with crafting the perfect cover letter.
A cover letter isn’t black magic - it is writing a few paragraphs that tell an employer exactly why you are the right person for the job.
The formal cover letter - A PDF attached to the job application with a classic 4 paragraph layout - is quickly becoming obsolete. However, it is being replaced by the “introductory email.” A short note explaining to the hiring manager or recruiter why you are the perfect fit. I use the term cover letter interchangeably with introductory email in this article.
A good cover letter is a marketing pitch - it draws the reader in, and encourages them to read more. We’ve compiled all of the best cover letters on the internet and from our own personal network.
Copying these cover letters will not be effective for you. A cover letter/intro email is a personal document that depends on the employer, the target contact, and your own skillset. If you’re a very qualified candidate - a short sentence can suffice. If you’re a young, ambitious recent graduate - you might need more real estate to sell yourself.
We have compiled various examples below that you can use as inspiration for your next cover letter.
Design cover letters
Design cover letters should focus on the things that matter most when it comes to design. Namely, the designs. However, a good designer needs to communicate well as they will be working with different members of company teams, or external clients. Design cover letters should also of course link to an online portfolio or project that shows their skill. Here are some great examples of design cover letters.
Cover letter for a product designer at Crew
This is a perfect introductory email. It takes the tone of the job post in question, and matches the company vibe. It then outlines Luke’s passion for the position, and that he studies his craft extensively. He also includes links to his online portfolio/resume. You can view the full cover letter, and more examples at the blog post by Michael Cho of Crew at the following blog post: Why I didn’t look at your resume.
Cover letter for a design director at 37 Signals
This cover letter matches 37 Signals Philosophy nicely. It explains Jamie’s beliefs about design, and why he is unique compared to other designers. He also made a sample work project to share with the team. You can view the full cover letter at the following link.
Cover letter for a graphic designer at 37 Signals
This online cover letter has a nice balance of explaining who Jason is, what he know about the company (and why he is passionate about working for them), and his skills. The full letter can be found here.
Customer support cover letters
The key to a customer support role is a great personality and communication skills. The cover letter is an opportunity to first express those communication skills to your next employer. Note that these letters vary in tone, from professional to more casual. The applicant must make the judgement call based on what they know about the company.
Cover letter for a customer happiness concierge
Marlee’s cover letter gets the tone right - you can tell she is a happy, personable, and effective person. She outlines why her past experience makes her a great fit for the job, and her personal habits that will ensure her success in the role. The full cover letter can be found here.
Cover letter for a Director of Customer Care
This is an expert from a blog post from the CEO at LiveStream, who said it was the best cover letter he has ever received. It is funny, honest, and confident. Note the applicant takes a few risks with the language and tone - but clearly understands his audience. You can read the full cover letter (along with the job description), at this link.
Cover letter for customer support
This cover letter gets to the point, and shows deep understanding of what a customer support role is. As it clearly states, “customers want to communicate with a human” - it is clear there is a human behind this letter. View the full letter here.
Cover letter for customer support
Jason clearly shows his writing skills and passion for the job in this cover letter.
Cover letters for community management positions must understand what a community manager role is. To be a successful community manager, one must be a great communicator, an enthusiastic personality, and a dialed-in social media guru. Here are the best examples of community manager cover letters we found.
Cover letter for a community manager
The tone perfectly matches the company that Joanne is applying for. It outlines her enthusiasm, passion, and how her past experience applies to the job.
Cover letter for a web developer
This cover letter shows that an effective introductory email doesn’t have to be long. It efficiently lays out the skills that Thomas has, and piques the company’s interest about what he can bring to the table. In a hot market for engineers, this is enough to get the interview. It is also from Mikael’s article.
Cover letter for a front-end developer
This cover letter is also for Mikael Cho’s company, Crew . It emphasizes links to Dan’s portfolio and best work - very important for a web developer.
Cover letter for a marketing position at google
For creative positions, a creative cover letter is necessary. This cover letter mirrored the marketing materials at Google, and got the interview. View the full article here.
Sales & business development
Cover letter for a business development/product specialist
Rodolphe shows how persistence and hard work can convince an employer to hire you in this cover letter to work at Buffer - a fast growing social media management platform. The full exchange is worth reading on the Buffer Blog.
Cover letter for a sales coordinator
This cover letter for a sales coordinator position is closer to a traditional cover letter than the other examples. It does a fine job of outlining experience and passion for the job. View a full before-and-after analysis of this cover letter on the Ask a Manager Blog.
Remember, the key to a good cover letter is personalization. You must market to your audience. Do the research, write well - and go get hired!
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