Cover Letter Examples and Best Practices

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover helpful tips and best practices for writing your cover letter. Learn from different cover letter examples for specific jobs and positions in this guide.

[Featured Image] A job seeker sits at a laptop in her kitchen, writing a cover letter.

A cover letter is essential when submitting a job application because it allows you to elaborate and point out critical and essential details about your resume, showing why you are qualified for the job and should be hired. Only 47 percent of people applying for jobs include a cover letter, but 53 percent of employers think it's not enough to submit just a resume, reports Zety. You would be doing yourself a disservice by ignoring the cover letter. There are different cover letter examples for specific jobs and positions, some of which are discussed within this article.

Why is a cover letter important?

A cover letter is usually a one-page official document that should accompany your resume when submitting any job application. The cover letter elaborates on your soft and transferable skills, points out reasons why you are the most qualified for the job, and how the company can benefit from your services if you are hired. Cover letters are professional documents for your potential future employer.

A cover letter should be unique to just one applicant and stand out in order to influence the hiring process positively. Writing a good cover letter gives you the opportunity to exercise your relevant skills and creativity before getting hired. A cover letter should not be transferable. This means you cannot (and should not) re-use cover letters from other applications. Write cover letters for each individual job you apply for, and tailor it to the company and job requirements.  

When writing a cover letter, it gives you, as the job seeker, the space to highlight your relevant skills in a clear narrative, which would align with the role you are applying for. This is a step up from a resume, which is rather limited in format and space. You may feel your resume covers all the essential information about your professional and educational background, but your cover letter can highlight pertinent skills you possess for the job, explain gaps in work history, talk about how you can add value to the specific company, and more.

What are the elements of a successful cover letter?

Oftentimes, you may have come across cover letter examples online with most of them looking similar with just a few points that make them stand out from each of them. Let's discuss some of these elements essential for a perfect cover letter, elements that every cover letter is supposed to possess, notwithstanding the type of cover letter.

An opening line

For every cover letter, you should have an opening line or statement that would be a deciding factor whether to attract the reader to take a second glance at what has been written or to throw it out. The opening line should be engaging and not one that points out to the employer that it is generic. 

The body of the cover letter

Immediately after the salutation and opening line, state your intent with the company. This is not a friendly letter to your friend or family, but an official letter for a job placement. Explain in a few paragraphs the position you are applying for and how you intend to contribute positively to the growth of the company if hired.

A closing line

The closing line should be just like the opening one: clear and straightforward. Statements like, "I look forward to discussing this role further with you" can be adopted. Thank the hiring manager for the time and consideration and end your letter.

A template of a general cover letter



Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Opening Line (Introduction)


The cover letter should include an introduction about yourself, your level of experience, where you found the job posting, and why you want to be hired for the position.


The Body of the Cover Letter

This is the second paragraph and should respond to the job description by stating past job experience, skills, and how you intend to impact the company positively. Make use of keywords and exact phrases relating to the job description throughout your cover letter.

Still, in this part, you can list out your achievements and skills and how you can help the company solve some of its pending problems relating to your job role.


The Closing Paragraph

This part should contain a call to action letting the hiring manager know that you wish to speak further concerning the role in the form of an interview. It is necessary to provide your contact details in this section and thank the hiring manager for the consideration. 


Your Name

What you should know when writing a cover letter

When writing your cover letter, try your best to find out the name of the hiring manager, and address them by name.

Specific keywords aimed at the company and the job title or role make your cover letter ‘pop’ among the hundreds of others.

 Include your contact information, such as phone number and email address, in the cover letter so you can be contacted for further discussion.

How to get started writing a cover letter

Begin writing your cover letter by identifying the role you are applying for. Prioritize quality over quantity because most hiring managers will not sit down to read one that is too wordy and not to the point. Ensure that every word in your cover letter counts and that you are able to elaborate on it at the interview. 

Research the company you are applying to. Knowledge of the brand, the company’s values, mission, markets of operation, and milestones can be the difference between a call-back and not hearing from the hiring manager. When writing your cover letter, you can mention some of the things you have learned about the company and how you fit in its corporate culture with your skillset, experience, and career objectives. 

There are courses online on cover letter writing that can help you write effective cover letters. Signing up for a cover letter writing course on Coursera can give you valuable skills you can put to good use.

Cover letter examples for jobs

Let's take a look at some cover letter examples below and see how you can tailor them to fit your job description.

The traditional cover letter

The traditional cover letter is short and straight to the point, stating achievements and future endeavors. This type of cover letter is also written for specific roles such as those in health care, law firms, or as an accountant in a bank. With the traditional cover letter, you can input some keywords relevant to the particular job.

The impact cover letter

The impact cover letter highlights your achievements, which are related to the job application. This type works best for sales job applications and roles that need you to deliver results around a particular quota. The impact cover letter allows you to point out ways in which you have tackled such roles and projects in which a great result was generated. In this cover letter, skills such as Microsoft packages and other soft skills can be omitted so that there would be space to highlight relevant job experiences.

The writer's or creative cover letter

For writers, communication is very important, and it is one of the skills necessary for engaging readers and listeners. In this cover letter, you must be able to show clear and passionate reasons why you are qualified for the job. Writing clearly and eloquently is a very important skill set for a writer. This cover letter sample can be utilized for copy editing, reporting, and PR job applications. 

The career change cover letter

Writing a career change cover letter requires more time and strategy to highlight the transferable skills and how you can implement them in your new job role. You can also emphasize the reason why you are making a change in your career and experiences and job responsibilities you had to handle in the past. Similar to the impact cover letter, the career change cover letter can highlight skills that you can bring to the company, making use of keywords specific to the job role.

Entry-level cover letter 

The entry-level cover letter is suitable for recent graduates who have no job experience yet. In this type of cover letter, applicants can highlight relevant skills related to the job role and their preparedness to learn while on the job. Getting a job as a recent graduate may not be easy because not all employers are ready to take the risk. It is therefore the job of the applicants to show readiness by showing the soft skills and professional skills that would be used when hired.

Final thoughts

With the cover letter examples above, hopefully you will be able to write and edit your own cover letter to suit any job application. Take your time to learn about the different types of cover letters and it will become easy to edit and send to as many companies and job applications as you want. But remember, make every word in your cover letter count.

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