Cover Letter Examples for Every Situation

By Kristin Kizer and Experts - Aug. 31, 2020

Find a Job You Really Want In

The 2020 job market is bleak at best, scary at worst.

In June, The Washington Post published an article that summed up the dire situation, despite some recent job gains they warn that job seekers are not in the clear and a “fiscal time bomb” may be on the horizon.

If you’re in the job market right now, predictions probably don’t matter much to you. You need to find a job and you need it now, but how do you do that when the market is flooded with people who are desperate to find a job?

The answer is in a well-written cover letter that stands out.

How do you do that? The following tips will help you take that first step toward getting a new job.

Cover Letter Basics

Your cover letter is your introduction to a potential new business partner. It’s your first impression to someone you hope will be your new employer. There are basic elements every cover letter should include and then there are tips for making your cover letter better.

Make sure your cover letter includes:

  1. Heading, which is your name and address and possibly some other contact information

  2. An inside address, which is the person who you are writing to and their address or contact information

  3. Salutation, say hello in your most professional way

  4. Introduction, state why you’re writing, what job you’re interested in, where you saw the job posting, and express your interest

  5. The second paragraph is the place to list your qualifications, share some results or related experiences and really highlight why you’re the best candidate

  6. The third paragraph is your chance to explain what you know about the company and how you’re a perfect fit for them

  7. Closing, this is where you leave them with a desire to know more — hopefully. Be clever, tell them why they absolutely need you more than anyone else, sell them on your talents. A well written close to a cover letter can make the deal for you.

You want to get all of the basics in there but include some personality and something that makes you a professional stand-out. The trick is finding a good balance that gets employers excited about you.

Basic Cover Letter Tips

Before we look at some cover letter examples for 2020 and beyond, let’s go over a few basic tips. Even if you’re using a cover letter template, there are still areas where you’re going to want to shine and appear different and these tips will help you get there.

  • Tailor each letter to the job. It pays to do your research and know a bit about the company so you can weave it into the letter

  • Use keywords. No, this doesn’t have to be a cover letter that’s optimized for the internet, but it does have to hit them hard with the keywords they associate with the position

  • Explain how you add value. Too often, people get caught up telling a potential employer why they want the job. To be frank, the employer doesn’t care, they only want to know what you can do for them — so tell them

  • Edit and proofread. Don’t assume you wrote it right the first time, the second time, or that you even know how to edit. Ask friends and family to give your cover letter (and resume) a critical read-through

Okay, let’s dive in and look at different situations and some cover letter samples to make you a stand-out in the 2020 job market.

Sample Cover Letter for Student/Graduate

This is not the best time to be entering the job market for the first time, but that doesn’t mean you have to shy away from letting employers know that you’re just starting your career. An entry level cover letter can still be an impressive front runner, especially if you list your achievements related to the position. Here’s a college student cover letter example:

Lulu Paige
333 First Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90001
(000) 111-2222
Youremail@address.com

January 1, 2020

Adam Smith
Hiring Manager
TopNotch Company
111 West Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

Dear Mr. Smith,
I am interested in applying for your Social Media position that I saw advertised on Zippia.com. As a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from the University of California Berkeley, I believe my background makes me the ideal candidate for this position.

While studying communications at Berkeley, I worked in the school’s administration office managing their social media presence. During my time in that position I was responsible for the following:

  • Managing our presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram

  • I boosted engagement by 50% during my year in that position

  • Proposed adding TikTok to our social media line-up and kicked off that initiative

  • Established a training guide for my replacement(s)

I see that TopNotch Company has a moderately active social media presence and I believe I could help you take it even further with more engagement and a strong company voice.

I’ve attached my resume and references and would be open to learning more about the position and discussing how I could benefit your team. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have further questions or if you’d like to set up a meeting time. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Lulu Paige

Sample Cover Letter for Middle Management

Let’s be honest, you’ve got your work cut out for you in 2020, but with a little finesse, you can do it. It’s important that you set yourself up at the beginning with a great open. Your cover letter opening needs to be direct, relevant, and make you seem like an obvious choice. You do this by letting them know how you’re a great fit and showing them your enthusiasm for their company.

Lulu Paige
333 First Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90001
(000) 111-2222
Youremail@address.com

January 1, 2020

Adam Smith
Recruiter
TopNotch Company
111 West Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

Dear Mr. Smith,
I am interested in applying for your Social Media Manager position that I saw advertised on Zippia.com. After contributing to the growth and success of my last employer’s presence on Facebook and Instagram, I am seeking new challenges with a company that is looking for someone with exceptional leadership and management abilities.

As you will see in my enclosed resume, while serving as a Social Media Intern, I was tasked with onboarding of new employees and managing their publishing schedules as well as coming up with content for my own calendar. My ability to juggle these different tasks reinforced my desire to advance in my career and step into a management role.

I know my proven leadership skills, strong commitment to growing a social media base, and flexibility with regard to assignments would allow me to make a significant contribution to TopNotch Company. I welcome the opportunity to discuss how my qualifications could be beneficial to your company’s continued success.

Sincerely,
Lulu Paige

Cover Letter Sample for Management

Once you’ve reached a significant level of achievement in your job, you should have an easier time finding a new position — you’ve got experience on your side after all. The problem often tends to be little mistakes and a cover letter that’s generic and not speaking directly to the company you’re reaching. Instead of flooding the market, make sure you customize your cover letter to the employer(s) you’re targeting.

Lulu Paige
333 First Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90001
(000) 111-2222
Youremail@address.com

January 1, 2020

Adam Smith
Human Resources Manager
TopNotch Company
111 West Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

Dear Mr. Smith,

As an accomplished Operations Manager with more than 10 years’ experience, I read about your opening with great interest. My professional experience aligns well with the qualifications you are seeking, in particular my role as Operations Manager at LowNotch Company has given me experiences in leadership, organization, and problem solving that I am certain would make me a valuable addition to your organization.

In my current role, I manage a team of 20 people in a variety of different positions. Balancing their busy schedules with our targets and team goals is a significant portion of my responsibilities and I have managed to guide us to achieving our goals 90% of the time, a 50% improvement over previous managers. In addition, my on-the-job skillset has grown immensely over my tenure with LowNotch Company, and I now have problem solving abilities that someone who has not had a similar position would not possess. I know I can exceed your benchmarks and deliver exceptional results to Top Notch Company.

Highlights of my achievements include:

  • Boosted goal achievements by 50%

  • Increased productivity by 80%

  • Reduced head counts by 20%

  • Maximized efficiency by reorganizing floor processes

  • Solved a large time delay by switching vendors

Please review my attached resume for additional details regarding my professional experiences and career achievements. If I am offered this position, I will be immediately ready to start working with your company to exceed your expectations for success.

Sincerely,
Lulu Paige

Sample Cover Letter for PhD Applicant

You’re in an interesting spot, you’ve got the experience and education level of someone with management abilities, yet you may find yourself in the position of a new graduate without a lot of professional experiences to bolster your resume. Your letter will be very detailed and specific to your educational pursuits and the position you’re looking for — make sure you customize, it’s vital.

Lulu Paige
333 First Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90001
(000) 111-2222
Youremail@address.com

January 1, 2020

Dr. Adina Smith
Chair, English Department Search Committee
Mount Mary University
2900 Menomonee River Parkway
Milwaukee, WI 53222

Dear Dr. Smith,

I am writing to apply for your advertised position of Assistant Professor of English and Communications. I am a Dean’s Fellow and Ph.D. candidate at the University of California Berkeley, currently revising the final chapter of my dissertation with an expected graduation date of May 2020. I am confident that my teaching experience combined with my research interests makes me the ideal candidate for your position.

Over the past four years, I have taught a number of courses at Berkeley, as well as two semesters in abroad teaching in London at the Richmond University. In addition to teaching American and Classical Literature, I have also taught several writing courses. One course I’m particularly proud of was an Introduction to Television Writing, which I helped develop with the Communications Department of Berkeley. The class was very successful and doubled in size after the first semester.

I pride myself in creating a classroom that provides high-level learning in a way that’s easy for my first-year students to grasp. I enjoy the challenge of finding literature that speaks to them while also encouraging them to tackle the more difficult and demanding classics by Joyce, Faulkner, and Burroughs. My most satisfying experiences come from seeing students grasp difficult concepts and then translate them into modern circumstances that have relevance to them. This is where I’ve been able to weave in a television writing course with great success and some fascinating student projects.

Not only does my teaching experience suit your position, but my research interests are a great fit for your school and the department. My dissertation “The Portrayal of the American Mother in Family Sitcoms in the Twentieth Century” not only examines how the female character has developed over time, it also delves into their importance in the family and in the plots of modern television. I argue that the 1950’s housewife was actually seen as a more integral part of plot development in the era than her counterpart in the 1980s.

Please review my attached resume for additional details regarding my expertise and career achievements. I will follow up to request an appointment to discuss my background and how it meets your Assistant Professor needs. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Lulu Paige

Cover Letter Sample for Senior Executive

You’re going for a job at the very top, which means you need to be spot on with accuracy and come across as an effective leader. Your cover letter needs to be concise while still exuding confidence and experience. It’s no longer about what you’ve done, your resume will speak to that, but about what you can do.

Lulu Paige
333 First Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90001
(000) 111-2222
Youremail@address.com

January 1, 2020

Adina Smith
Head of the Hiring Committee
TopNotch Company
111 West Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

Dear Ms. Smith,

With this letter and the enclosed resume, I would like to express my interest in your open Senior Executive position. As a successful business leader with more than 30 years of experience in a variety of Senior Management roles, I am well-suited to be the next Senior Executive of Marketing Strategy at TopNotch Company.

My expertise lies in successfully taking LowNotch Company from number 40 in sales nine years ago to a consistent top 10 contender for the last decade. This was done through a concerted marketing effort with a distinctive voice that resonates with today’s younger audience. Our products have not changed at all, which further highlights the value of the marketing strategy I created and implemented.

Other professional highlights include:

  • Shattered previous sales goals and records

  • Developed a loyal social media base

  • Found a product voice that’s beloved and frequently shared across social platforms

  • Realized a loss in expenses by trimming our team

  • Recruited top influencers to get on board with our message

  • Was voted top Manager by Forbes Magazine

My proven dedication to marketing strategy and business success, along with my long background and passion for this industry will make me a valuable member of your team. I look forward to discussing how I can be a positive addition to your company.

Sincerely,
Lulu Paige

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Author

Kristin Kizer

Kristin Kizer is an award-winning writer, television and documentary producer, and content specialist who has worked on a wide variety of written, broadcast, and electronic publications. A former writer/producer for The Discovery Channel, she is now a freelance writer and delighted to be sharing her talents and time with the wonderful Zippia audience.

Expert

Matt Warzel, CPRW, CIR

Matt Warzel a President of a resume writing firm (MJW Careers, LLC) with 15+ years of recruitment, outplacement, career coaching and resume writing experience. Matt is also a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing Focus) from John Carroll University.

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