The first thing a potential employer sees in your job application is the cover letter. This doesn't just support your CV – it's an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and persuade the recruiter to put you through to the next round.
Be wary of spending hours on perfecting your CV at the expense of your cover letter. If you need some inspiration on what to include and what format to use, here are our helpful guides – just remember not to copy them as exact templates.
1. Standard, conservative style
This is ideal for sectors such as business, law, accountancy and retail. For more creative sectors, a letter like this might be less appealing, and could work against you.
Dear Mr Black,
Please find enclosed my CV in application for the post advertised in the Guardian on 30 November.
The nature of my degree course has prepared me for this position. It involved a great deal of independent research, requiring initiative, self-motivation and a wide range of skills. For one course, [insert course], an understanding of the [insert sector] industry was essential. I found this subject very stimulating.
I am a fast and accurate writer, with a keen eye for detail and I should be very grateful for the opportunity to progress to market reporting. I am able to take on the responsibility of this position immediately, and have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of it.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
2. Standard speculative letter
This may vary according to the nature of the organisation and the industry you're applying to.
Dear Mr Brown,
I am writing to enquire if you have any vacancies in your company. I enclose my CV for your information.
As you can see, I have had extensive vacation work experience in office environments, the retail sector and service industries, giving me varied skills and the ability to work with many different types of people. I believe I could fit easily into your team.
I am a conscientious person who works hard and pays attention to detail. I'm flexible, quick to pick up new skills and eager to learn from others. I also have lots of ideas and enthusiasm. I'm keen to work for a company with a great reputation and high profile like [insert company name].
I have excellent references and would be delighted to discuss any possible vacancy with you at your convenience. In case you do not have any suitable openings at the moment, I would be grateful if you would keep my CV on file for any future possibilities.
3. Letter for creative jobs
We've used the example of a copywriter but you can adapt it for your profession. The aim of a creative letter is to be original and show you have imagination, but understand what the job entails. Balance is essential: don't be too wacky, or it will turn off the reader.
Dear Ms Green,
· Confused by commas?
· Puzzled by parenthesis?
· Stumped by spelling?
· Perturbed by punctuation?
· Annoyed at the apostrophe? (And alliteration?)
Well, you're not alone. It seems that fewer and fewer people can write. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who can read. So they'll spot a gaffe from a mile off. And that means it's a false economy, unless you're 100% sure of yourself, to write your own materials. (Or to let clients do it for themselves.)
To have materials properly copywritten is, when one considers the whole process of publishing materials and the impact that the client wishes to make, a minor expense. Sloppiness loses clients, loses customers.
There is an answer. Me. Firm quotes are free. You can see some of what I do on my multilingual website at [insert web address]. If you'd like, I can get some samples out to you within 24 hours. And, if you use me, you'll have some sort of guarantee that you can sleep soundly as those tens of thousands of copies are rolling off the presses.
Luck shouldn't come into it!
With kindest regards
Other helpful resources
•How to write a perfect CV and cover letter
•Applying for jobs without experience? How to build and sell your skills
•Five steps to the perfect graduate CV
•School-leavers and graduates: how to write your first CV
•How to write a personal statement for your CV
•CV templates to fit every stage of your career
Looking for a job? Browse Guardian Jobs or sign up to Guardian Careers for the latest job vacancies and career advice
Curious to see how a cover letter in your industry should look? We provide dozens of cover letter examples from over 15 different industries. Find your industry below and download your favorite samples. Plug in your own information and you’re ready to send off your application.
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If you are looking for free downloadable cover letter templates, click here. Or, you can learn How to Write a Cover Letter
SEE ALSO > Resume Examples by Industry
Cover Letter Samples Sorted By:
Job & Industry
Food Service Industry Cover Letter Samples
Waiter, Waitress, Server
For the food service industry, cover letters should highlight the candidate’s customer service abilities, their knowledge of a particular type of cuisine, and their adherence to food safety and sanitation guidelines. If you are able to demonstrate these key attributes, restaurant owners will certainly call you in for an interview.
Customer Service & Retail Industry Example Cover Letters
Call Center, Phone & Support
Hotel, Hospitality & Transportation
Since customer service is such a broad category, we offer a variety of letters from different areas of the field. The key to getting a job in customer service is to showcase your ability to upsell and retain customers. Click on any of the samples above to learn how to display these abilities in your cover letter.
Office Worker & Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Examples
Assistants & Office Managers
The responsibilities of administrative assistants and office workers are often quite similar across different companies. So the challenge is to find a way to differentiate yourself from other candidates. One way to do this is to emphasize your organizational skills through measurable achievements, such as the money or time you saved with your initiatives in a previous position. Take a look at how the examples above accomplish this.
Housekeeping Industry Example Cover Letters
We provide two versions of a cover letter for a housekeeper: one for a candidate with experience and one for an entry-level housekeeper. So no matter how much experience you have, our examples will help you get started.
Janitor & Maintenance Worker Samples
Janitors must demonstrate their concern for safety and accident prevention in order to be considered for the position. Use our experienced and entry-level examples to guide you on how to include these traits in your letter.
Nursing & Healthcare Cover Letter Samples
Nursing & Social Care
Whether you want to get a job in nursing, dentistry, or pharmaceuticals, we have a sample that applies to your career path. Careers in the healthcare industry require a wide range of experience and education. Technical skills, licenses and certifications, and the ability to communicate effectively are a few of the top qualities to include in your cover letter.
Marketing & Sales Example Cover Letters
If you’re applying for a job in marketing or sales, you’ll need to highlight key performance metrics. Employers will be looking for you to elaborate on the projects that were mentioned in your resume and the results that were produced.
We offer samples for 4 different kinds of engineers. Find your career track and discover how to best format your own letter. No matter what engineering track you are on, your cover letter needs to highlight problem solving skills and the ability to meet quality standards.
Teaching & Education Example Cover Letters
Our teaching and education samples are great for job seekers who are just starting their career or for those that need help showcasing their wealth of experience. Although our sample is for an english teacher, the format can be used for a teacher of any subject.
Construction Industry Examples
Working in construction usually entails being able to use a wide variety of tools and equipment while also having knowledge numerous construction techniques. Make sure you mention the equipment you have used and the different techniques that you are familiar with.
Accounting & Finance Cover Letter Samples
We offer five different examples within the accounting and finance industry. Quantifiable/numerical achievements are extremely important when it comes to applying for an accounting job. Check out the samples to see how the candidates discuss their accomplishments.
Driver & Transportation Examples
A truck driver cover letter should focus on the years of driving experience, the type of vehicles you have operated, and your specific state and national licenses. Click the sample above to see how our job candidate lists this information.
Whether you are just starting your career as a librarian or are looking for a senior position, we have a sample that will help you tailor your own cover letter. Click on the position above that applies to you.
Information Technology (IT) Cover Letter Examples
When applying for an IT job, you will likely need to get through an HR representative who might not be well-versed in the technical aspects of the position. Keep this in mind when writing your cover letter and consider toning down the technical language.
Art and Music Samples
Art & Design
Writing a cover letter for an industry as abstract as music and entertainment can be difficult. Instead of focusing on numerical achievements, you’ll have to focus your letter towards a portfolio of specific projects or performances. Use our letters above for inspiration.
C-Suite & Executive Cover Letters
C-Suite executives have extensive industry experience and their cover letters must go beyond a list of duties and facts. Their cover letters must reflect an ability to fit within an organization. Our cover letter examples and tip sections will help you communicate a strong profile to boost to your candidacy.
Real Estate Industry Examples
For a job in real estate, you’ll need to highlight your ability to market to prospective home owners as well as your drive to reach sales quotas. Our real estate agent letter does all of this and much more. Click the link above to learn how to write your own.
Law Enforcement, Security & Fire Cover Letters
Law Enforcement & Security
In this section we offer cover letters for those in the legal space and law enforcement. Click the position that you are in and learn about exactly what you can highlight in your cover letter to make you an outstanding candidate.
Student and Internship Cover Letters
Students often have the hardest time writing a cover letter because they lack professional experience. The key for students is to focus on relevant coursework, internship experience, and skills you might have gained from working a part-time job.
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