Written by Laura Riley
Updated April 17, 2017
Laura Riley is a writer who specializes in career advice and professional development. She has a Master’s degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Miami University.
The thought of how to start writing an outstanding cover letter can be overwhelming.
Whether you’re applying to twenty companies or just one, I’m sure you’re asking:
How can I stand out from all the other applicants with my cover letter?
Believe it or not, differentiating yourself in a cover letter is actually quite simple. And better yet, a well-written cover letter can help you get your dream internship or job.
In this article, I’ll show you four great cover letter examples. I’ll also explain what to write and how to tailor your cover letter to each company and position.
While there is no one-size-fits-all cover letter that’s suitable for every position, these examples will give you a solid place to start. Use them as a guideline, but don’t forget to infuse your personality and highlight what makes you unique. The last thing you want to do is submit a generic, template cover letter.
Let’s start by looking at this pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces.
After putting the pieces together, what do you think this puzzle will look like?
A scenic landscape? A medieval castle? A tropical bird?
Although you can pick out different colors and shapes, it’s difficult to imagine what the big picture will look like. But when you put the pieces together, the image is unmistakable. It’s clearly a scenic landscape.
What is the purpose of a cover letter?
A cover letter is very similar to our example above. Here’s how:
The purpose of a cover letter is to bring seemingly separate pieces of information together—just like a puzzle. You ned to connect your qualifications and achievements to the requirements and responsibilities outlined by the job description. Essentially, you need to connect the pieces so the recruiter can clearly (and quickly) see the big picture.
So, what’s the big picture?
When you write a cover letter, the big picture is why the company should hire you.
In your cover letter, you need to explain what makes you a well-qualified applicant for a specific position with a unique company. This requires a thorough reading of the job description. It’s important to know what qualities the employer seeks in an applicant.
See Also >>> How to Write a Cover Letter
The content will also vary based on the type of position you’re applying for. Do you have your sights on a full-time position, a part-time job, or an internship?
To illustrate the differences, I’ll show you four different cover letter examples along with even more cover letters by college major:
- Cover Letter for an Internship
- Cover Letter for a Part-time Position (not an internship)
- Cover Letter for an Entry-Level Position (postgraduate)
- Cover Letter with No Relevant Experience
- Cover Letters by College Major
I’ll demonstrate exactly how to write a cover letter tailored to an internship, a part-time position, and an entry-level position. I’ll also show you how to market yourself, even if you don’t have the oh-so-dreaded “relevant experience”.
Every cover letter—regardless of type—should answer the following questions:
- Who are you?
- Why are you writing?
- Why are you interested in the specific position?
- Why do you want to work for the specific company?
- What makes you qualified for the position?
- What specific experiences (i.e. student organizations, courses, internships) prepared you for the role?
As you can see, you must answer company and position-specific questions. This means each cover letter must be unique. If you’re submitting the same exact cover letter to multiple positions:
You’re doing it wrong.
The examples below highlight places where the content should be tailored to the position. Focus on what is most relevant to the organization.
1. Internship Cover Letter
As a college student, you’re probably familiar with internships and cooperative education experiences (co-ops). By definition, an internship is a position in an organization where a student can gain work experience. A co-op is quite similar. A co-op provides hands-on experience to complement your coursework in exchange for academic credit.
While companies don’t expect interns to possess years of experience, they want interns who are eager to learn. Because of this, a cover letter for an internship must explain what you want to learn and why you want to learn it.
At the same time, you still need to explain how you’ll bring value to the organization. Tell the organization how you can contribute to their company and how the internship or co-op will prepare you for your desired career.
Let’s look at an example:
INTERNSHIP COVER LETTER TEMPLATE
Dear [HIRING MANAGER’S FULL NAME],
When I discovered the [POSITION TITLE] internship with [COMPANY] on Internships.com, I was immediately drawn to the opportunity to join an innovative organization. I am excited by the chance to gain [CAREER] experience by [RESPONSIBILITY 1 FROM JOB DESCRIPTION] and [RESPONSIBILITY 2 FROM JOB DESCRIPTION]. As a [YEAR IN SCHOOL] majoring in [MAJOR] at [UNIVERSITY], I am passionate about [RELEVANT PASSION]. My [QUALIFICATION 1], [QUALIFICATION 2], and [QUALIFICATION 3] make me a well-qualified applicant for this position.
- [QUALIFICATION 1]. [1 SENTENCE PROOF OF SKILLS].
- [QUALIFICATION 2]. [1 SENTENCE PROOF OF SKILLS].
- [QUALIFICATION 3]. [1 SENTENCE PROOF OF SKILLS].
I am excited by the chance to contribute to your organization and am prepared to engage in continuous learning. As described by the internship description, I would enjoy [LIST 2-3 RESPONSIBILITIES] with [COMPANY].
My enclosed resume expands on my coursework and [RELEVANT SKILLS]. As I prepare for an exciting [INDUSTRY] career, I am eager to gain a more detailed understanding of the field by collaborating with an experienced team. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
[APPLICANT’S FULL NAME]
>>> Download the "Internship Cover Letter" template here
This is a great example because the applicant explains what they’re excited to learn and also describes how they will contribute to the organization. The cover letter is tailored to the organization and position, and the highlighted qualifications are relevant to what the company seeks in an applicant.
2. Part-time Position Cover Letter
According to a study conducted by Georgetown University, approximately 40 percent of undergraduate students work at least 30 hours each week. If you need to secure a part-time job to pay for your education, or simply want to make some spending money, you’ll typically need to write a cover letter.
Just because the position is part-time doesn’t mean you should spend less time writing your cover letter. You need to put the same time and effort into your cover letter as you would when applying for an internship or full-time position.
Here’s an example of what to write:
PART-TIME POSITION COVER LETTER TEMPLATE
Dear [HIRING MANAGER’S FULL NAME],
I am interested in the part-time [TITLE] position at [COMPANY]. After reviewing the posting on your website, I am confident my experience would be valuable to your company.
I am a full-time student at [UNIVERSITY] studying [MAJOR]. My [RELEVANT SKILL 1], [RELEVANT SKILL 2], and [RELEVANT SKILL 3] are assets I have utilized in previous positions. In my last position, I excelled at [ACCOMPLISHMENT 1] and was recognized for my contribution of [ACCOMPLISHMENT 2].
I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you regarding this position. I am primarily available for evening and weekend shifts. I appreciate your time and consideration and look forward to discussing the opportunity to join your company.
>>> Download the "Part Time Job Cover Letter" template here
3. Entry-level Position Cover Letter
If you’re preparing to start a full-time job upon graduation, this section is for you. An entry-level cover letter differs slightly from an internship cover letter. While it’s still important to communicate how the position aligns with your professional goals, you need to place an even larger emphasis on how you’re qualified for the position.
Chegg CareerMatch has a growing list of cover letter samples for recent college graduates that shows you just how to do that.
Entry-level positions are undoubtedly competitive. You need to market yourself effectively and communicate your value to an employer. In short, convince them to hire you!
Here is a great example of what to write:
ENTRY-LEVEL COVER LETTER TEMPLATE
Dear [HIRING MANAGER’S FULL NAME] and Search Committee,
When I discovered the [TITLE] position with [COMPANY], I was excited by the chance to align my skills with a rewarding opportunity. I am drawn to the position because it combines my passion for [RELEVANT PASSION] with my [INDUSTRY] knowledge. I am motivated by the opportunity to assist [COMPANY] in [RELEVANT RESPONSIBILITY]. I am qualified for this position based on my experience [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 1], [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 2], and [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 3].
In [MONTH AND YEAR], I will graduate with a [DEGREE] in [MAJOR] from [UNIVERSITY]. I have experience [RELEVANT SKILL 1] and [RELEVANT SKILL 2]. In my current position as a [TITLE], I [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 1]. As a result of my work, the company achieved [RESULT].
In addition to [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 1], I also have extensive experience [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 2]. Most recently, I [ACCOMPLISHMENT RELATED TO CORE RESPONSIBILITY 2]. Given the results of my [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 2], I [QUANTITATIVE RESULT] for the company.
Lastly, [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 3] is vital because it results in [END GOAL]. In my current position, I work with a team of [INDUSTRY] professionals. I focus on [ROLE 1] and [ROLE 2]. As a result of these efforts, the company [ACCOMPLISHMENT RELATED TO CORE RESPONSIBILITY 3]. I am confident in my ability to achieve similar results with [COMPANY].
My experience [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 1], [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 2], and [CORE RESPONSIBILITY 3] have prepared me well for the [TITLE] position with [COMPANY]. I am very interested in this opportunity and look forward to speaking with you soon. Thank you for your consideration.
>>> Download the "Entry Level Job Cover Letter" template here
4. No Relevant Experience Cover Letter
I’ve heard it time and time again:
“I can’t get a job without experience, but I can’t get experience without a job.”
Even if you don’t think you have “relevant experience,” you’re still qualified. This is where transferrable skills come in.
What’s a transferable skill?
Transferable skills are applicable from job to job. They are relevant regardless of the position you’re applying for. Common examples of transferable skills include listening, collaboration, time management, communication, and leadership.
Here’s an example of what you could write in your cover letter:
NO RELEVANT EXPERIENCE COVER LETTER TEMPLATE
Dear Ms. Wilson,
When I discovered the [TITLE] position with [COMPANY], I was excited by the chance to align my skills with a rewarding opportunity. I am drawn to the position because it combines my passion for [RELEVANT PASSION] with my [INDUSTRY] knowledge. I am motivated by the opportunity to assist [COMPANY] with [RELEVANT RESPONSIBILITY]. I am qualified for this position based on my experience [TRANSFERABLE SKILL 1], [TRANSFERABLE SKILL 2], and [TRANSFERABLE SKILL 3].
- [TRANSFERABLE SKILL 1]. [1 SENTENCE PROVING SKILLS].
- [TRANSFERABLE SKILL 2]. [1 SENTENCE PROVING SKILLS].
- [TRANSFERABLE SKILL 3]. [1 SENTENCE PROVING SKILLS].
As a member of [STUDENT ORGANIZATION], I collaborate with my peers to [RESPONSIBILITY 1] and [RESPONSIBILITY 2]. In addition, as a [CURRENT POSITION] at [COMPANY], I work with a team to ensure high-quality service and satisfied guests. I enjoy [RELEVANT SKILL] and would appreciate the opportunity to learn alongside your team of experienced [INDUSTRY] professionals.
My [TRANSFERABLE SKILL 1], [TRANSFERABLE SKILL 2], and [TRANSFERABLE SKILL 3] experience have prepared me well for the [TITLE] position with [COMPANY]. I am very interested in this opportunity and look forward to speaking with you soon. Thank you for your consideration.
Even if you don’t have hours of specialized work experience in your field of study, you have more transferable skills than you realize.
>>> Download the "No Relevant Experience Cover Letter" template here
Whether you’re applying for an internship, part-time position, full-time job, or a job where you lack relevant experience, the above examples will set you up for success.
Every cover letter you write should explain who you are, why you’re writing, why you are interested in the position and company, how you’re qualified, and what specific experiences have prepared you.
See Also >>> 13 Cover Letter Tips and Tricks to Achieve Greatness in 2017
The samples in this article are just a stepping stone for you to start writing. Be sure to read our cover letter format guide which takes you to the next step of the cover letter writing process - formatting and editing.
Just remember: You are a qualified applicant.
Prove it in your cover letter.
More Cover Letter Examples by College Major
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