Types of Cover Letters With Samples
When you are job hunting, it's important to choose the appropriate cover letter for the letter's goal. There are different types of cover letters, including the five most common types: application letters, referral cover letters, letters of interest, networking, and value proposition letters.
The cover letter you use will be determined by whether you are applying directly for a job or simply seeking job search help from individuals in your professional network.
Select the Right Type of Cover Letter
Be sure to choose a type of cover letter that reflects how you are applying for the job or the type of job search assistance you are requesting.
Your cover letter should be designed specifically for that particular purpose. If it is a cover letter attached to a resume in a job application, it should be customized for each position you seek. Hiring managers can recognize when an applicant’s cover letter is a generic one that he or she has used to apply for multiple positions. Such cover letters, which show a lack of care or of deep interest in a company, may result in your resume being passed by without a glance.
General Types of Cover Letters
- Application Letter. An application letter is written to apply for a specific job opening (sample cover letters). This is a traditional cover letter that is sent with a resume to apply for a job.
- Referral Cover Letter. A referral cover letter mentions the name of a person who has referred you to a job (sample referral cover letters). This can be a great way to gain an employer’s interest, particularly if the individual providing the referral is known to the company you are interested in working for.
- Letter of Interest. A letter of interest, also known as a prospecting letter, inquires about possible job openings at a particular company (sample letters of interest).
- Networking Letter. Networking letters request job search advice and assistance (sample networking letters). These can be addressed to colleagues, to individuals you have met at professional conferences or other industry events, or to people to whom you connected through professional social networking sites like LinkedIn.
As mentioned above, your cover letters should be targeted to the potential jobs you are interested in. This means that, before writing an application letter, a referral cover letter, a letter of interest, or a value proposition letter, you need to do your homework and research the company you are sending your letter to. Armed with this knowledge, you can then demonstrate in your letter how your skillset and work experience would strongly contribute to the organization should they hire you.
Cover Letter Examples for Job Applications
When creating a letter of application for a job, be sure to include details about how your professional experience relates to the qualifications and requirements listed in the job posting. This makes it easy for the hiring manager to determine that you're a good candidate. You should also try to echo as many of the keywords listed in the job description as possible, in both your cover letter and your resume.
Some employers use automated parsing systems programmed with these keywords to glean through a wave of job applications; cover letters and resumes that incorporate these keywords are more likely to “make the cut” and earn review by a human eye than those that do not.
Example Letters to Inquire About Openings
Your dream company may not advertise a job opening, and there is a chance that they're always seeking talented individuals. Take the initiative and send a letter with your resume to let them know that you're available and interested in working for them.
More About Cover Letters: How to Write a Successful Cover Letter | Cover Letter Examples
Sample Career Change Cover Letter
If you are looking for a position in a different industry or career field, your cover letter is a huge factor in your likelihood of getting the job. Since your resume may not contain the relevant experience that hiring managers are looking for, you need to capitalize on your cover letter as an opportunity to demonstrate why you are a good fit despite lacking the specific employment history that may be an important factor in getting the job.
Read below for tips on how to write a strong cover letter that convinces the reader that your work experience is a strength rather than a weakness. Also, read a sample cover letter for someone switching careers.
Tips for Writing a Career Change Cover Letter
Any good cover letter explains why you are qualified for the specific job. However, a cover letter written during a career change needs to go beyond that. You must touch on three important points, which will help you rise above candidates who have more direct experience in the industry. These three points are listed below:
Emphasize Your Transferable Skills
Most importantly, focus on the transferable skills you have that you can use in the new position, rather than the specific skills you have that are related to your current position. Analyze the job description for the position you’re applying to, and look at the skills that the role calls for.
Choose the ones that best match your own skills or experience. Then, if possible, use specific anecdotes, from your work or academic history, to illustrate some of these strengths in action.
Highlight Your Superior Performance in Previous Positions
Other candidates may have the relevant experience, but if it is a mediocre experience that cannot be backed up by strong references or tangible achievements, you may actually be better off.
In your letter, do your best to explain how you succeeded in previous roles, and connect that to a summary of how you would also add value in this new position. Make sure your references will corroborate your statements.
Express Your Passion for the Company
Include your passion for the company. This is another way to stand out from qualified candidates. Employers may be more interested in someone who is especially excited about their organization and the job opportunity, than someone who just wants a job and doesn’t care about much beyond that. In your cover letter, make it clear that you’re familiar with the organization and enthused for the opportunity to be a part of it.
Be sure to thoroughly research the company before writing your cover letter, so you can convince the employer that you understand the company and why you want to be a part of it. You don’t necessarily have to cover all of these topics in order or in distinct paragraphs. The aim is to make sure you communicate these points throughout your letter.
Read a sample cover letter below, which you can use as a framework for writing your own career change cover letter. However, be sure to edit the sample to fit your personal experiences and the job for which you are applying.
Sample Career Change Cover Letter
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Hiring Manager Name
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Hiring Manager:
This letter is to express my special interest in discussing the Senior Customer Service Manager position posted on the XYZ Company web site. The opportunity presented in this listing is very appealing, and I believe that my experience and education will make me a competitive candidate for this position.
Although I have been working primarily as an Operations Manager, in this capacity I have interfaced frequently with customers, in addition to vendors and staff. This has instilled multi-dimensional communication skills and an ability to recognize, act upon, and fulfill customer wishes and needs in order to ensure their continued, and positive, relationship with the business.
In fact, in my most recent job as Operations Manager for ABC Company, I received an ‘Excellence in Customer Service’ recognition due to my ability to coordinate complex logistics in order to keep customers happy even when issues arose that were beyond the control of the organization. Again, this involved not only managing operations but communicating directly with customers. As a result, I believe my combined ability to successfully manage operations while also effectively interface with customers makes me a prime candidate for this role.
The key strengths that I possess for success in this position include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Provide exceptional contributions to customer service for all customers.
- Strive for continued excellence.
- Strong communication skills.
- Eager to learn new things.
You will find me to be well-spoken, energetic, confident, and personable, the type of person on whom your customers will rely. I also have a wide breadth of experience of the type that gives you the versatility to place me in a number of contexts with confidence that the level of excellence you expect will be met. Please see my resume for additional information on my experience.
I hope that you'll find my experience and interests intriguing enough to warrant a face-to-face meeting, as I am confident that I could provide value to you and your customers as a member of your team. I am very excited about this opportunity to work for XYZ Company. I connect with your mission to “deliver the ‘five star’ factor” to both your staff and your customers. This tenet is reflected in my own professional, and personal values, and I believe this alignment strongly supports my candidacy for this role.
I can be reached anytime via my cell phone, 555-555-5555. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you about this employment opportunity.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Update Your Resume to Reflect Your New Goals
When you're seeking a career change, it's important to refocus your resume to reflect your new goals. Here's are six tips for writing a powerful career change resume that will help you get started.
How to Send an Email Cover Letter
If you're sending your cover letter via email, list your name and the job title in the subject line of the email message. Include your contact information in your email signature, and don't list the employer contact information. Simply start your email message with the salutation.