Cover letters are essential for most job applications, and they may help you to better promote yourself to the hiring manager. If you are searching and applying for jobs, it can be helpful to know which cover letter format to use and how to use a cover letter template to develop your own. In this article, we discuss the different types of cover letters, explain how you can customise your own cover letter, and provide you with free cover letter templates for each type.
Different types of cover letters with cover letter templates
Here are the three most common types of cover letters along with the corresponding templates:
Application cover letter
An application cover letter is the most common cover letter that you can send along with your resume when you apply for a job. You can write the application cover letter for a specific job and include your skills and qualifications for the job. This cover letter type serves as a way for you to promote yourself as a good candidate for the positions you apply for.
Sample application cover letter template:
Dear Hiring Manager,
I would like to communicate my sincere interest in the [position] posting with [company name] that I found on [how you found out about the position]. While reviewing your company website, I noticed that your firm is an [compliment them on awards, philanthropy, innovation, being an industry leader]. I am particularly interested in working with you because I also find [what you find interesting or inspiring about the company].
My keen [skills] are well demonstrated in my over [how many years you've worked] in [areas you've worked in]. Currently, I work as a [position], focusing on [important projects] where my attention to detail and [other skills] were essential to the success of my team and [project, challenge, task].
I have acquired an understanding of [concepts or responsibilities required in job description], as well as how to meet and exceed [goals, standards] set by the companies I have had the pleasure of working for.
I believe I am prepared to handle the exciting challenges this position presents, and I hope you allow me to further discuss my qualifications with you in an interview. I have attached a copy of my resume to this application for your review. Please let me know if you require additional information.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Prospecting cover letter
A prospecting cover letter is best if you are inquiring generally about open positions at a company you are interested in. You may also send these letters with your resume, or you may choose to send your resume when the employer responds with their open positions.
Sample prospecting cover letter template:
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am writing to you to inquire about open positions at [company name]. I learned of your company through [reading a journal, online search, other] and I found [what is interesting or exciting about their work or why you want to work at this company] fascinating. The [position you are interested in] at your company interests me. Do you know of any upcoming job openings for this position?
I believe my skills and qualifications would be a good fit for your company's needs. I have [education or experience] in [your industry] as well as [years of experience] in [another skill or industry relevant to the job]. I received [compliments, promotion, award] at one of the companies I worked at for my [skill] and professionalism.
I am enclosing my resume for your consideration and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the position further with you at a time that is convenient for you. You can reach me via my mobile phone at [your phone number].
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to discussing open job positions with you.
Networking cover letter
Networking cover letters may be used to ask for career-related advice and job opportunities within your professional community. These letters are usually more casual and short since you can often send them to friends, colleagues, mentors, and other contacts.
Sample networking cover letter template:
Dear Ms./Mr. [Recipient's name],
I am a colleague of [name of mutual contact], who suggested that I reach out to you regarding the [position] you have open at your company. My goal is to enter an innovative and professional company as a [position]. I have over [years of experience] in [area you have experience in] and I believe I meet all of the qualifications outlined in the job description.
I am enclosing my resume for your review. I believe my skills and qualifications would be a good fit for your company's needs. I have [education or experience] in [your industry] as well as [years of experience] in [another skill or industry relevant to the job]. I received [compliments, promotion, award] at one of the companies I worked at for my [skill] and professionalism.
If you are looking for a [description of what you bring to the company] professional who is willing to [adapt, lead, etc.] I would love the opportunity to discuss the position and your company's needs further. Please feel free to reach me via [your email address] or my mobile phone at [your phone number].
Thank you for your time and consideration.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is your first communication with a potential employer, and therefore it is important that when writing a cover letter you make it compelling and professional from the very first line, differentiating you from other candidates. A good cover letter allows you to showcase your written communication skills and let the employer know why you are the best person for the position.
You can also customise a cover letter according to the position you are applying for. This demonstrates that you have invested time and effort into your application. You can also use your cover letter to highlight any specific skills or experience that you cannot fully describe in your resume. You can send your cover letter in a professional business letter format or simply in the body of your email, depending on your preference.
Related: How To Write A Cover Letter
How to customise cover letters
You can customise each cover letter you submit depending on the position that you are applying for. Most people, including hiring managers, can tell if you've written a generic cover letter and might interpret it as a lack of genuine interest. Instead of using a universal approach, use a template as an outline and fill it in with information that's unique to the company and position.
Here are some steps you can take to customise your cover letters and give them a personal approach:
1. Show honest interest and enthusiasm
In the introductory paragraph of your cover letter, state why the specific company or position you are writing about interests you. Also, include a sentence that conveys your passion for the organisation's mission, product, culture or other attributes. Show the manager why you want this opportunity and why you think you are perfect for the position. For example, if you are a fresh graduate applying for a research laboratory assistant in a cosmetics company, you might include the following background in your introduction:
"As a graduate majoring in Applied Chemistry, I have developed critical thinking and practical skills in the laboratory through the modules that I have taken in university. And as an individual, I personally have a strong passion for the beauty and wellness industry, especially in skincare. I am deeply inspired by ABC Company's innovative projects in creating sustainable and eco-friendly cosmetic products and I would be thrilled to offer my expertise to your team.”
2. Share relevant skills and experience
Write about your skills and experiences that match the job requirements in the body paragraphs of your letter. In order to write well for this section, you need to review the job description and really understand what the hiring manager is looking for. For instance, if you are writing about an accounting role that requires knowledge of a specific bookkeeping software program, then you can write about a time when you have used the same or similar software to work on a successful project. Every skill or experience you include in your cover letter can be related to the job requirement.
3. Include a clear call to action
Consider what you want to happen as a result of your letter and include a request that makes sense for the intended audience. Depending on which type of cover letter you are writing, you might encourage the reader to review your resume, schedule a call, reply to your email, or agree to meet with you in person or virtually.