Cover Letters For Job Searches

Cover letter examples by industry

A good cover letter highlights the specific skills employers are looking for. Check out these cover letter examples for a variety of industries.

A great cover letter will show that you're the right candidate.

If you're wondering how to write a cover letter, you're in the right place! It doesn't matter what level you're at in your career—to get noticed by potential employers, your professional cover letter needs to knock their socks off. Your cover letter is much more than friendly greeting; it's a tool that lets hiring managers know that you're the candidate they've been hoping for.

Recruiters and hiring managers have seen every type of cover letter format imaginable. For maximum wow-factor, you must build a cover letter that highlights your industry-specific experience, accomplishments, and credentials. 

Steps to write a cover letter

  1. Start with the proper greeting: Address your cover letter to the person who will be reading it. 
  2. Introduce yourself with an opening: Write a personable, inviting opening paragraph that highlights how your skills are a perfect fit to the company and position.
  3. Get them interested with a compelling hook: Highlight your past achievements as they relate to the job you're applying for.
  4. Promote your skills: Highlight your additional relevant skills, such as computer languages or certifications.
  5. Thank them in the close: Briefly recap your strengths as a candidate, thank the reader for their time, and include your contact information.

If you need cover letter help, check out these cover letter templates for various careers and career levels in the following industries:

Administrative/Support Cover Letter Examples

Art/Design/Media Cover Letter Examples

Business Cover Letter Examples

Education Cover Letter Examples

Engineering Cover Letter Examples

Finance/Accounting Cover Letter Examples

Health Care Cover Letter Examples

Human Resources Cover Letter Examples

Job Search Cover Letter Examples

Law Enforcement and Legal Cover Letter Examples

Marketing and PR Cover Letter Examples

Military Cover Letter Examples

Nurse Cover Letter Examples

Restaurant and Hospitality Cover Letter Examples

Retail Cover Letter Examples

Sales Cover Letter Examples

Science Cover Letter Examples

Student Cover Letter Examples

Technology Cover Letter Examples

Trades Cover Letter Examples

Transportation and Warehousing Cover Letter Examples

Help hiring managers find your cover letter

When your cover letter is in good shape, don't let it just sit on your computer. You need to get it out there! Could you use a little help getting your cover letter in front of hiring managers? Join Monster today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume and cover letter—each customized to the kinds of jobs you're interested in. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Make it easier for them to find you, and for you to find a job.

Let’s be honest: almost no one likes writing cover letters. As a result, most cover letters are boring, generic, and poorly done. There’s a lot to get right when learning how to write a cover letter, and when you do get it right, you greatly improve your chances of standing out in a pool of applicants, and hopefully, snagging an interview. Read on and and pick up cover letter tips that will show you how to write one that will transforms your job search.

Cover Letter Tips: The Basics

A cover letter has a single goal: to pique the interest of a recruiter or hiring manager, and make them want to continue on with the reading of your attached resume. Learning how to write a cover letter means you get a chance to tell your story—about where you’ve been, where you hope to go, and what you’ve done in other positions that will allow you to flourish in the role you’re applying for.

Even though your cover letter will contain information that’s on your resume, it should not be a reiteration of your resume. While it should focus on relevant accomplishments, use the cover letter to showcase your personality and the skills that specifically apply to the position. A cover letter should be much shorter than a resume, and have a conversational (yet professional) tone.

Your cover letter also has another purpose: to show that you can fit in with the company culture. Your industry—and your research of the targeted company’s culture—will dictate how far you can go with taking creative chances with a cover letter (for example, colored fonts). In creative fields, you can take a few more risks, but in conservative fields (think finance), you need to keep it straight and simple. Classic cover letter fonts to consider using include Times New Roman, Arial, and Cambria. You need to make your cover letter easily readable; using a font like Bauhaus 93 won’t accomplish that goal! Let’s look at some basic cover letter tips to keep in mind when sitting down to write.

Cover Letter Tips: Common Mistakes

Bad email subject line

David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising,” famously said:

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

This is just as true if you replace “headline” with “cover letter email subject line.” If you are sending a cover letter via email, the cover letter can’t achieve its goal if the recipient doesn’t even open it!

I once surveyed dozens of recruiters for the most effective email subject lines—the ones that convinced them to quickly open the cover letter email, and there were two trends: either a direct mention of a resume for an intended position, or a clever, curiosity-building line that hooked the reader in.

Over-reliance on a standard cover letter

Most people have a standard cover letter that they use for each position they apply to. Unfortunately, employers and recruiters can spot generic letters from a mile away. This is one of the many reasons why you must school yourself in how to write a cover letter! A generic, one-size-fits-all cover letter is one of the surest ways for your application to end up in a wastebasket.

While it’s okay to have a cover letter template to start with, you must personalize/customize each cover letter to the job you’re applying to. This is one of the crucial cover letter tips! For example, do whatever it takes to avoid using the opening salutation “To whom it may concern” by instead researching (via LinkedIn) the hiring manager’s name, or the department head’s name.

A boring read

Sadly, most cover letters are boring. You want to get the hiring manager’s attention, not put him or her to sleep! This is one of the key cover letter tips to keep in mind. You don’t need to tell jokes in your cover letter, or print it on neon paper, but do make sure that it is readable, and relates to real information that they care about—in particular, what you can bring to the role, and what you can do to do to help the company succeed. If the job description asks a question—like what’s your proudest career accomplishment—answer it. Show that you read the job description, and show that you put real thought into your cover letter.

Cover Letter Tips for Transforming Your Job Search

Use the Job Description as a Guide

Luckily, almost every job comes with a guide regarding what to cover in the cover letter: the job description. Read it carefully, and then write a cover letter that is a direct response to the description, addressing the key requirements listed. Focus on the requirements that you can tie directly to past or present job experiences.

Talk about Why You Chose the Company

If there is a specific reason you want to work for this company or organization, make note of that in your cover letter, especially if it is particularly compelling or original. Just don’t go overboard: your application should ultimately focus on how the employer will benefit from you, not how you will benefit from your employer.

Talk about Your Relevant Skills

This has been touched on already, but one of the most important things you must do when learning how to write a cover letter is write about the skills you have in your arsenal, how they tie to the job, and how they will help you succeed in the job. Since you can’t just reiterate what’s in your resume, go deep on one or more of your skills, and write about how you became a better employee—how you learned something new about yourself and what you’re capable of, and how that helped you grow. Tell a compelling, interesting, relevant story, and you’re bound to make the cover letter reader sit up and take notice.

Cover Letter Tips on Length

Cover letter length is something that many novices get wrong when learning how to write a cover letter. Experts agree you should try to keep your cover letter to around 3-4 paragraphs, tops. Recruiters and hiring managers have many, many cover letters to read—most on an almost-daily basis—and do not have time to read novel-length cover letters. Keep your cover letter succinct and to-the-point so that it can quickly communicate that you’re right for the job.

Try to think of your cover letter as being an asset to your application rather than a silly requirement. Learning how to write a cover letter can transform your job search by getting you noticed. Hopefully, all the cover letter tips we’ve profiled have given you the ammo you need to write a stand-out, five-star cover letter!

LiveCareer has several tools to help you get on the right path. Get some inspiration by taking a look at the cover letter examples from a wide variety of fields. Then, try the cover letter builder to create a cover letter that could transform your job search! LiveCareer also has a terrific article dedicated entirely to how to write the first paragraph of your cover letter. Check it out!

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