5 Examples of Good Cover Letters
Your cover letter is your first impression when applying for a job. In many cases it’s your make or break moment.
And in this ultra-competitive job market, it’s not good enough to quickly whip together a few generic paragraphs on why you are the best person for the job. You need to put a little bit more thought into each cover letter that you send.
You can’t simply Google ‘good cover letter examples’ and pull a few paragraphs from each. A good cover letter highlights the specific skills employers are looking for and is personalized to the job that you are applying for.
When we talk about personalization, we mean beyond replacing the title and company name in each cover letter that you send out. Use your cover letter to not only demonstrate your amazing skills and experience, but also to share your passion for the company that you are applying to work at.
Why is your cover letter so important anyway?
Your cover letter needs to knock your potential employers socks off. Or they won’t even bother reading any further into your application. Don’t bother putting a killer resume together if you aren’t putting any thought into your cover letter. It’s a waste of time as it won’t get read.
It’s your first introduction to the person who may hire you, which makes it so important to make sure it is as memorable as possible. It also serves as a chance to present a clear, concise, and compelling writing sample that shows off your personality and ability to convey ideas.
Good cover letter examples: 5 things that they all include
It’s easy enough to Google examples of cover letters and simply copy them directly into your cover letter, changing a few details here and there. But that’s a cookie-cutter approach, and at Wanted we are anything but cookie cutters! That’s why we aren’t going to feed you generic cover letter examples, but rather guide you down the road to figuring out how best you can write your own cover letter.
So, instead, we are drawing your attention to five points that all good cover letter examples include. Points for you to keep in mind as you start to craft your own cover letter for your next job application.
1. Be specific to your industry
For maximum wow-factor, you need to build a cover letter that highlights your industry-specific experience, credentials and accomplishments.
It’s important to also adjust your tone to suit the industry that you are applying to. If it’s super corporate then keep your letter professional, perhaps dropping in some lingo that you know will impress the reader. If you’re applying for something more creative, or in the advertising industry, then you could probably be more relaxed and show off a bit more of your personality. A law firm is looking for your qualifications, while a tech startup is looking to see if your level of geekiness will fit in with the rest of the team (along with your qualifications and experience, of course).
2. Personalized to the company you are applying for
Not only should your cover letter be industry specific, but it should also be personalized to the company that you are applying at. Do your research on the company and make sure to show this in your cover letter.
How can you help this company – list specific examples that you know are relevant to them. This indicates that you are serious about the position as you actually took the time to read up on them.
You can also adjust your tone specifically towards the company you are applying with. For example, if you’re applying to work at a vegan food company, perhaps sign off with ‘Yours in hummus, X’.
It’s small, simple additions to your cover letter that really show what kind of person you are as well as what kind of employee you will be.
3. Cover all requirements listed in the job advert
If you are applying for a job based off a job advert, then make sure that your cover letter includes all the listed requirements. They included these requirements for a reason, so make sure that your cover letter makes it clear that you fit all of them. If a job ad receives hundreds of applications, then the first thing the recruiter will check is whether the applicant meets the requirements. If even one requirement is missing, your application will likely be tossed into the ‘reject’ pile.
4. Tell your story and be unique
Include relevant stories about your career. It’s a great way to demonstrate your skills while showing more insight into your personality or work style. This can include how you tackled a certain problem in your previous job or how you managed to get a company from point A to point B. Again, make this specific to the company that you are applying for. If the company is looking for someone who can set up their lead generation system, tell them a success story of how you’ve done just that for another company. Just keep your story brief (more on that in the next point).
Try using words that aren’t the generic cover-letter words. Say that you’re imaginative rather than creative, or inventive rather than innovative. Be tenacious, not determined. And reliable rather than hard working. This shows that you think differently to the rest. Which can only be a good thing, right?
Also, always be honest. If you don’t have a certain skill that they require, be upfront about it and list ways that you are willing to learn the skill.
5. Keep it brief and well formatted
Imagine receiving hundreds upon hundreds of job applications in your inbox and having to go through each and every one of them. You’re probably going to skip past the super long ones, promising that you’ll ‘come back to them later’. But you probably won’t. As others will catch your attention and you’ll completely forget about that longer pile…
This is the reality of job recruiters. Make your cover letter appealing to read by keeping to short, sweet and well-formatted. Use paragraphs, bullet points and neat, embedded links (NEVER paste long, messy links).
A good cover letter should include:
- Simple subject – don’t get too creative here, keep it simple.
- A memorable introduction – this is where your creativity can come out with a clever, memorable opening line/paragraph.
- Specific, organized examples of relevant work done – remember to include all job requirements.
- Concise conclusion with a strong call to action – keep it to the point.
That’s all – cut the fluff in between.
Lastly, all good cover letter examples are proofread several times. Don’t make the mistake of quickly editing certain paragraphs when customizing each letter and not rereading the full cover letter once you’re done. Mistakes creep in and suddenly you’re calling Richard, Susanne in the last paragraph and talking about a completely different company. Awkward…