Why Your Cover Letter Isn’t Working – Examples of Cover Letters That Get Jobs

Sample Cover Letters

Effective cover letters can accomplish a number of getting-you-noticed purposes in a job search. If you want to write a cover letter that employers actually read then you need to craft it in a way that inspires intrigue. This can be done by following a few proven principles. In this article you will learn from three different experts how to write a compelling cover letter.

Sample Cover Letters

Here are 7 tips for writing cover letters that work:

by Joyce Lain Kennedy

1. Customize and use names: 

The era of the generic cover letter is gone. Customize each cover letter you send — not only in content, but addressed to the specific hiring manager (if you can find the name by calling the company or through research) instead of “Dear Sir/Madam.”

2. Speak the right language:

Consider the recipient of your information. If the organization is conservative and traditional, keep the presentation of your information conservative and traditional. By contrast, when the targeted organization is creative and entrepreneurial, the addition of a splash of gifted words or a flourish in design tempts the doorkeeper to let you in.

3. State the reason you’re writing: 

Always tell the reader why you’re writing, but be tactical about it. To reply to an advertised job, name the position title and where you saw the ad, but don’t squander valuable real estate doing so in the opening paragraph. Instead, accomplish the same thing by positioning the information in the subject line “regarding” space.

4. Explain why you’re a top candidate:

Your basic message should be: “Here are examples of work I’ve done and accomplishments I’ve achieved that match what you’re looking for.” Because you research the company online, you’re able to show why your skills and competencies are right for the job and can benefit the company. You explain any gaps in a positive way.Accomplishments are job-offer magnets. Employers hire for results, not responsibilities. And they like numbers — percentages, dollar amounts, or other key measures wherever possible to quantify achievements and accomplishments.

5. Tell them why you admire them: 

You needn’t gush with insincere praise when explaining why you’d like to work for a company, but intelligent compliments are a staple of effective cover letters. You won’t be believable unless you get a line on the company before writing your letter. Why bother? Because your appreciation of the workplace where he or she toils makes the hiring manager feel important.

6. Declare what’s next: 

In closing your letter, reprise your enthusiasm, confirm your desire for an interview, and state what the next step will be. Preferably, you use an action close, telling the recipient that you will follow up and when that will happen. In some instances, you will have to wait for them to contact you.

7. Read and reread: 

Go beyond using your computer’s spell checker tool to review your cover letters for typos and grammatical errors. Ask a friend or mentor to look over your letters as a backstop. Your words are going out into the hiring world as your only representative. If they don’t go out in first-rate order, you never get to show off your stuff in person.


Harvard Business Review Sample Cover Letter Article

  “The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received.”


“…here’s the best cover letter I ever received:

Dear David:

I am writing in response to the opening for xxxx, which I believe may report to you.

I can offer you seven years of experience managing communications for top-tier xxxx firms, excellent project-management skills, and a great eye for detail, all of which should make me an ideal candidate for this opening.

I have attached my résumé for your review and would welcome the chance to speak with you sometime.

Best regards,

Xxxx Xxxx

 Here’s what I like about this cover letter: It’s short. It sums up the résumé as it relates to the job. It asks for the job.

The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me. Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on.

And that means the writer isn’t just showing me skills related to the job, he’s showing me he’ll be the kind of employee who offers up solutions — instead of just laying problems on my desk.



Interview Mastermind Video Tutorial on What To Write In a Cover Letter. 

There is some really great stuff in this very well put together video.


10 Cover Letter Tips To Make You Irresistible To Employers



Did you know that Microsoft cover letter templates are available as a free download for Microsoft Word users, or are available within your Word program, to use to create cover letters.

To access these cover letters from your computer:

Open Microsoft Word, then click on:

  • File
  • New
  • Templates or New from Template

Click on either:

  • Templates on Office Online (browse a large selection) or
  • Templates on My Computer
  • Letters (a variety of cover letter templates)
There are also a large variety of templates available for download online: I have included a link for you Here

Now Go Get That Job and Remember: 


“The resume focuses on you and the past. The cover letter focuses on the employer and the future. Tell the hiring professional what you can do to benefit the organization in the future. ” 

― Joyce Lain Kennedy, Cover Letters for Dummies

Sample Cover Letter Resources: 

If you are looking for some further inspiration and along with examples of the best cover letters out there I recommend the following books.

101 Best Cover Letters


No-Nonsense Cover Letters: The Essential Guide to Creating Attention-Grabbing Cover Letters That Get Interviews & Job Offers (No-Nonsense)


The Resume and Cover Letter Phrase Book: What to Write to Get the Job That’s Right

For overall career advice and the best book you will ever buy on the subject I recommend:


48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal 

I hope this article has helped you develop a solid understanding of exactly what employers are looking for in a cover letter and feel confident in what to include in yours.

If you found this post helpful please pass it on.

Also if you have any other suggestions for what to include in cover letters please leave a comment below. 
Sample Cover Letters pin


  • What a great post! I’ve been reading a lot of my friend’s cover letters & this was really helpful & will allow me to give better feedback in the future. I LOVED the, “The resume focuses on you and the past. The cover letter focuses on the employer and the future” quote!

  • Thanks Leeza! I’m glad this was helpful.

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