You’ve spotted the listing for your dream job. You’ve had your resume polished to a fine sheen. You sit down at your computer to write your cover letter and send the application out.
Then, nothing. Any writer can tell you that the scariest thing in the world is the blank page.
The modern job applicant will likely need to complete dozens of cover letters each time they look for a new job. They may even need to complete multiple kinds of cover letters depending on the types of jobs they’re applying for.
So to help you put some ink on those blank pages, we’re here to talk about five different kinds of cover letters. In addition to helpful tips, we’re including a PDF download with each of these samples to help you start your own. See below for download links.
Let’s dive in to demystify the different kinds of cover letters you’ll need on your next job search.
Solicited cover letter
Let’s start with the basics. Solicited cover letters are the ones you send in for job openings that are posted online.
They’re the ones you write and rewrite and perfect when looking for your next job in a field you have experience in. You’ll know exactly what the employer expects from the position because they’ll describe it in the job post.
Here’s the twist: most of the cover letters you write won’t be read. 90% of hiring managers admit that they don’t read cover letters. But that’s no excuse to skip the cover letters. 55% of hiring managers say they still prefer when one is included.
The solution, is to develop an efficient way to write your cover letters that works, but doesn’t take too much time. A template like the one we’re including below for a Rocketeer position at Acme Rocket company is a great way to get started.
Greetings Acme Rocket Team,
I’m a strong believer that the keys to great performance in a career are passion and experience. That’s why I’m confident that I’m a great fit for the position of Rocketeer at the Acme Rocket Company.
I fell in love with rockets at an early age after spending weekends watching rocket launches with my parents. Now, I’m dedicated to contributing to the rocket industry because of my firm belief that humanity should be exploring nearby stars and planets.
Not only am I dedicated to making a positive impact on humanity as a rocketeer, I have the experience to excel in the job. As an intern at Space Y, I gained hundreds of hours of simulator experience on modern rockets. Since then, I’ve spent three years blasting around the solar system for Green Origin. Now, I’d love to use that experience to help Acme succeed.
Thanks for taking the time to review my application. I look forward to hearing back soon, and am excited to discuss how we can work together.
If the solicited cover letter is a conservative running play in a football game, the prospecting letter is the hail mary pass. It’s a letter you send with a resume to a company you love that hasn’t posted the job you want.
You’re trying to convince a company you’re the special ingredient they didn’t even know they were missing. But maybe it’s not actually that hard. After all, 70% of jobs openings are never posted online. If there’s a company you would kill to work for, sending them a letter of interest might be worth it.
For this tactic, avoid sending resumes to a company’s “general application” section. They won’t be seen amongst the teeming thousands. Instead, find a person who works in the department you’d want to work for and try to message them directly.
The key to this cover letter is persuasion. You need to create a need out of thin air.
I’m a huge fan of Acme Rocket Company, but I noticed that Acme does not currently employ a rocketeer.
In my experience, that’s a huge mistake.
Did you know that rocket companies who employ at least one rocketeer experience 40% fewer cataclysmic explosions? Not only that, professional rocketeers are a great resource for guiding rocket design philosophy.
In short, hiring a professional rocketeer would be almost guaranteed to help Acme improve its safety record and rocket designs.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to put out a call for a rocketeer. If so, I’d love to be the first applicant. I have 5 years of professional rocketeering experience at companies like Space Y and Green Origin. I’d love to turn my passion for Acme Rocket products into a career.
Please see my attached resume to learn more about my experience, or you can reach me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
Thanks for considering!
First job cover letter
The journey of a million job applications starts with a single, somewhat empty cover letter.
Yes, it’s tough to prove that you have the experience necessary for a job when you, well, don’t. So a cover letter is a great tool for new entrants to the job pool to prove that they’re excited to learn.
Whether you’re a new grad or you’re jumping into a new industry, this is the sample cover letter for you.
Greetings Acme Rocket Team,
I’m a recent graduate from the Rochester Rocket University looking for my first position in the rocket industry. I was inspired to take up a major in rocketry after watching an Acme rocket launch, so I was very excited to see a position open up at Acme!
I hope that a position as an entree-level rocketeer at Acme will help me launch a long career in the industry. I can think of no better place to do so. And I know that, with hard work and dedication, I have the ability to become one of the greats.
Acme stands to benefit from extending me this opportunity as well. I graduated at the top of my class at RRU. I was also the president of the RocketBall team, and a part-time associate at the on-campus rocket store. You won’t find another candidate that can describe the principles of rocket aerodynamics or land a training rocket better than myself.
Thanks for taking the time to review my application, and for considering me for the role. I’m excited to make up for my lack of experience with tenacity and a love for learning.
The abbreviated cover letter
Shakespeare famously wrote that, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” The same could probably be said of cover letters. And fortune cookies.
But let's focus on the cover letters. It’s increasingly common for applications to request paste-in cover letters rather than attached PDFs. These sorts of forms invite shorter-form cover letters, often as few as 100 words.
It’s not like longer cover letters were always better anyway. 70% of hiring managers want a cover letter less than a page, and many think that shorter is always better. So with that in mind, check out this sample of an abbreviated cover letter. You can use it to write your own.
Hi Acme Team,
I’m a great fit for the position of Rocketeer at the Acme Rocket Company because of my passion and experience.
I fell in love with rockets at an early age and am now seeking an opportunity that lets me help humanity to explore the universe.
Thanks to my years of experience at Space Y and Green Origin, I know I have the experience to help Acme do exactly that.
Thanks for your time!
Referral cover letter
Hard work is great, but sometimes it really is about who you know. In fact, did you know that 78% of recruiters find their best candidates from referrals? If you know anyone at the company you’d like to apply to, one of those could be you!
Applying for a job through a friend invites a unique opportunity to use a friendlier tone with your hiring manager.
After all, you’re friends of friends. Practically best buds! And that gives you a leg up over the competition. Next time you get the chance, try a cover letter like this.
This is Randy, Satellite Sandy let me know you were looking for a new Rocketeer at Acme and passed me your email.
I wanted to reach out because I’m an expert rocketeer with five years experience, and I’ve just recently left a similar role at Space Y.
I’ve been an admirer of the Acme team ever since your big pluto expedition last year. I’d be proud to lend my skills to your next big mission.
I attached my resume to let you know a bit more about my experience. If you have some time, I’d love to hop on a call or grab a cup of coffee to learn more about the position.
Let me know!
A place to start
Cover letters aren’t works of art or standardized tests. Life’s too short to agonize over every detail and turn of phrase. Sometimes, all you need is a few words to get you started, and you’ll find yourself typing out the last sentence before you know it.
That’s what we want to provide with these well-designed sample cover letters. They’re a place to start. With some tweaking, you can turn them into your very own custom cover letter in no time.
And with these tools, you have everything you need to submit those applications you’ve been putting off. Just make us a deal—if one of these helps you nail that dream job, share them with a friend!