Sample Cover Letters for Job Seekers

Nicole Fallon Taylor | August 24, 2016

Your resume may be the first thing hiring managers look at when you apply for a job, but many candidates tend to forget about another important part of the application process: the cover letter.

Matthew Rowles, business development manager at staffing firm Kavaliro, noted that employers don’t always read cover letters due to the massive volume of applications received for each job opening. However, some will use it as the next step in candidate screening after reading resumes.

“People [who read cover letters] do it after the fact,” added Jeff Oddo, president of building maintenance management company City Wide Maintenance. “They look at your skills first on your resume, and then read the cover letter [to decide] if they want to bring you in for an interview.”

Oddo, who is involved in the hiring process for his company, noted that cover letters tend to be ignored when they’re generic and template-style. Rowles agreed, noting that each new application should come with a new, unique cover letter outlining why you are qualified and the best fit for that specific position.

“Do not simply send the same generic cover letter for every position,” Rowles told Business News Daily. “Recruiters and HR managers will recognize those cover letters and skip right over them. If you want your cover letter to be read, make it uniquely suited for that particular role.”

In addition to using your cover letter to expand on your key qualifications, you can also address unique topics, such as employment gaps on your resume, a willingness to relocation or the desire for a career change, said Crystal Wittman, head of global recruitment center at talent acquisition and management firm Alexander Mann Solutions.

“If there’s a need to relocate, use the cover letter as an opportunity to point out that you’re open to relocation, especially if you already have a connection to the area through family or school,” Wittman said. “This will help alleviate any apprehensions that a hiring manager has about hiring someone who is new to the area. If you’re changing careers or industries, relate examples of your experience that will help you prepare [for the change] and are relevant to the new job.”

Wittman also advised including information about any internal connections or referrals from current employees at the company early on in the letter. Do this by including the person’s name and department. For example, you could write, “A former colleague of mine, (name), is a director in your marketing department. She alerted me to a new role in your sales organization for which my skills and experience would be very well-suited,” Wittman said.

Finally, before you submit your cover letter, be sure to check it over for spelling and grammatical errors and take the time to convert the document to PDF format, which makes it easier for the hiring manager to access and forward your letter.

“We like PDFs,” Oddo said. “Often, I am mobile when I’m reading these applications, and sometimes phones don’t open documents the same way a tablet or computer would.”

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