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The 12 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

Fun is not something typically associated with writing a cover letter. However, with a few tweaks, writing one doesn’t have to be a burden.

The cover letter examples below demonstrate that it is possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process.

→ Click here to access 5 free cover letter templates [Free Download]

It may be true that only 35% of recruiters admit that cover letters do not materially influence the hiring process for them, but that doesn’t mean yours has to contribute to that statistic. In fact, it might be that cover letters are deemed insignificant because so few of them stand out. Here’s an opportunity for you to exercise your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process.

Personalization, after all, goes beyond replacing the title and company name in each letter you send to recruiters.

What’s on a cover letter?

Before you can get started writing your cover letter, there are a few components you must have.

Greeting: A simple, but pleasant greeting to address the recruiter or hiring manager.

Opener: Write a catchy introduction that explains why you’re interested in the role.

Summary of Skills/Qualifications: This is the heart of your cover letter. It outlines your relevant experience and why you’d be a great fit for the role. You can highlight special skills, experiences, professional achievements, or education to help make your case.

Closing: In this paragraph, provide a call-to-action by expressing interest in an interview. Provide your contact information and sign-off.

What does a cover letter look like?

In addition to showing off your skills and qualifications, cover letters give you the opportunity to present a clear, concise, and compelling writing sample that shows off your personality and ability to convey ideas. Check out our template below to see how you should organize the content of your cover letter.

HubSpot Cover Letter TemplateWhat does that look like in practice, and how can you make your cover letter stand out? We found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.

By the way — We’re hiring.

Note: Some of these cover letters contain real company names and NSFW language that we’ve covered up.

Best Cover Letter Examples

Featured Resource: 5 Free Cover Letter Templates

Cover-Letter-Templates

Download our collection of 5 professional cover letter templates to help you summarize your professional journey and land your dream job – whether it’s at your first or fifth company.

1. The Cover Letter That Explains ‘Why,’ Not Just ‘How’

We’ve already covered the importance of addressing how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?

The Muse, a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story. We advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.

cover letter that explains "why" with a story about a childhood experience with the chicago cubs

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Here’s another instance of the power of personalization. The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, that probably would eventually be revealed in an interview.

Make sure your story is nonfiction and relatable according to each job. While we love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company. But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, we’d find that fitting.

If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

This example demonstrates how effective personalization can be. The writer is passionate about the employer, drawing from her own childhood experience to communicate her enthusiasm.

2. The ‘We’re Meant for Each Other’ Cover Letter

This cover letter example is a special one because it was submitted to us here at HubSpot. What does the letter do well? It makes a connection with us before we’ve even met the letter’s author.

We're meant for each other cover letter submitted to HubSpot

“Content Marketing Certified” indicates the applicant has taken the content marketing certification course in our HubSpot Academy (you can take the same course here). Our “records” indicate he/she did indeed give an interview with us before — and was a HubSpot customer.

The cover letter sang references to a relationship we didn’t even know we had with the candidate.

The letter ends with a charming pitch for why, despite him/her not getting hired previously, our interests complement each other this time around.

(Yes, the applicant was hired).

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

This cover letter example does an excellent job of building rapport with the employer. Despite not getting hired for previous roles they applied for at HubSpot, the writer conveys exactly why they are right for this role.

3. The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.

HubSpot has a lot of H.E.A.R.T. — Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent. Our Culture Code is the foundation of the company’s culture, the driving force behind our mission to help millions grow better, and serves as the scaffolding for our hiring practices. Recruiters at HubSpot look for applicants that demonstrate how they embody the Culture Code and job description, paying extra attention to cover letters that are super custom to HubSpot.

In another HubSpot submission, a HubSpot applicant writes about how she found out about HubSpot, why she likes the company, and how her professional experience aligns with H.E.A.R.T.

cover letter that details experience according to hubspot values: humble, empathy, adaptability, remarkable, and transparent.

 

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

HubSpot’s recruiting team was impressed with her dedication to the company and how she went beyond what was asked for by linking her portfolio in her closing paragraph.

Short Cover Letter Examples

4. The Short-and-Sweet Cover Letter

In 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, “The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received.” That letter contained three complete sentences, as follows:

Short and sweet cover letter example with only three sentences

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One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question. But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.

“The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me,” writes Silverman. “Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on.”

When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:

  • Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under “reports to.” Address your letter to that individual.
  • Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

The key to this standout cover letter is research — by looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you provide solutions for them.

5. The Short Story

Basha Coleman began her cover letter with a short story. The goal of this short story is two-fold:

  • Detail the experience she already has with the organization.
  • Stand out to the hiring team.

short cover letter example from basha coleman that starts with a short story about her existing experience with pepsi

You’ll notice that her short story follows a typical narrative arc: It has a conflict/obstacle, a turning point, and a positive outcome, all created with a goal to emphasize a theme or point. In this case, Coleman is emphasizing her existing affinity with the brand and her triumphs within the program so that she can continue on her career path.

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

Like the second example in our list, this cover letter does an excellent job of conveying the applicant’s existing affinity for the brand. If you are applying to a company you love, don’t be shy about showing it and explaining why.

6. The Bare Bones Cover Letter

In today’s job market, cover letters aren’t always necessary. Even though many recruiters won’t ask for or even read them, cover letters can still be effective and convey personality to a reader. Writing a strong cover letter can help you better convey your interest in the position and company.

This template from The Balance Careers puts together the essential components of a short cover letter: excitement about the position, your qualifications, and a call-to-action for the recruiter to follow up with you. Combining these central aspects in a well-written, compelling narrative will go a long way in convincing readers to hire you.

short cover letter example with summarized bullet points

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Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

This letter is organized and concise. The inclusion of bullet points to highlight key skills and help the recruiter skim the document is a nice touch.

7. The Breezy Follow-Up

In this cover letter, Amanda Edens is following the instructions the hiring manager gave by forwarding an email with resume and writing samples attached.

short cover letter example from Amanda Edens with bullet points and breezy languageEdens knows that the body of the email is prime real estate to get the hiring manager’s attention, but she also doesn’t want to overwhelm the recipient with too much information since a cover letter was not requested. This short cover letter is the result. You’ll notice that she uses casual and breezy language to convey personality and enthusiasm, and she keeps her paragraphs succinct.

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

Not only does Amanda provide links to relevant writing samples that are live on the web, but she also closes with a strong final paragraph that:

  • Summarizes the expertise she has relevant to the posting
  • Emphasizes that she doesn’t want to simply get a job but rather help the organization accomplish their goals
  • The reader gets everything they need in an organized and thoughtful manner.

8. The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

In this cover letter the candidate, Brenda, plays up her prior music industry experience to build a connection with Epic Music Group. If you have specific industry experience for the role you are applying for, be sure to highlight that.

Cover Letter Example: Admin Cover Letter

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It’s clear that she’s passionate about not only the music industry, but Epic as a whole. She’s done so much research on the company that she knows what software programs they use, and happens to be proficient in it to help convey value to the hiring manager.

This example further illustrates the importance of research. Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

In just three short paragraphs, the applicant uses their company research to drive home why they are the perfect fit for the role — emphasizing industry experience as well as software knowledge specific to the company. All of this communicates that she’d be able to start with very few hiccups getting up to speed.

9. The Internship Cover Letter

Maybe you’re just getting started in your career and looking to land the right internship to gain experience in your field. In this case, you’ll need to highlight more of your educational background and transferable skills since you won’t have as much professional experience to highlight.

Cover Letter Examples: Internship Cover LetterImage Source

The cover letter above is a great example of how to emphasize your skills and accomplishments when applying to internships or entry-level positions. A few things the applicant does well:

  • Highlights relevant extracurriculars and affinity networks. In this case, the applicant is applying to a business analyst position, so mentioning their involvement in a FinTech group makes sense.
  • Previous internships in relevant fields: Our applicant points out that they’ve previously interned as a Business Analyst at another firm. Pointing out that they’ve done the role previously will help make their case for fit.
  • Highlight other useful skills: This applicant is fluent in both English and German. If an international company or an organization needs bi-lingual support, knowing multiple languages is an asset.

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

This cover letter example illustrates how you can leverage your education and background to get the gig even when you don’t have much working experience. Highlighting previous internships or experience in related fields can go a long way in convincing hiring managers you’re the perfect candidate for the role.

Creative Cover Letter Examples

10. The Brutally Honest Cover Letter

Then, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form. Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example “the best cover letter” (which he received while he was with Squarespace):

Brutally honest cover letter example

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As Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company. But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.

“Remember that I’m reading these all day long,” Hertzberg writes. “You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out.”

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

The applicant did their research on the company’s culture and executed this cover letter flawlessly. It’s funny and shows off the applicant’s personality all while demonstrating why they are a good fit for the role.

11. The Pivot Cover Letter

Making a career switch? Your cover letter can be an excellent opportunity for you to explain the reasoning behind your career change and how your transferable skills qualify you for the role.

Cover Letter Example: Creative Pivot Cover LetterIn this cover letter example, the applicant is pivoting to a career in UX. Not only does she make the case for why she should be hired, she shows the recruiter by using a simple, but effective design scheme that shows off her skills. It’s clean but effective.

Since the role she is applying for is more visual, it’s important to both show and tell why you’re a good fit.

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

This cover letter strikes the perfect balance between creativity and simplicity in design while putting the applicant’s career change into context. The copy is clean, with a creative font choice that isn’t distracting from the content, but still demonstrates the applicant’s knack for design.

12. The Graphic Design Cover Letter

When applying for more creative roles, the design of your cover letter can say just as much as the words on the page. Take the graphic designer letter example below.

Cover Letter Examples: Grpahic DesignImage Source

It’s got so much going for it:

  • Pop of color
  • Clean layout
  • Interesting fonts

In addition to the style elements, this example also doesn’t skimp on the key skills recruiters are looking for. Using metrics, the applicant demonstrates their value and why they would be a great fit.

Why This Is A Great Cover Letter

This cover letter thoroughly conveys the applicant’s skills and qualifications using a variety of visual elements and by emphasizing their greatest achievements.

Take Cover

We’d like to add another stage to the job search: experimentation.

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search. But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data we’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.

We certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will. That’s why it’s important not to copy these examples. That defeats the purpose of personalization.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Professional Cover Letter Templates


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