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Examples of Cover Letters Part 1

Updated Aug 7, 2021

How to Write a Cover Letter Part 1

By Matthew

Although not all employers will review a cover letter or factor it into their hiring decision, many say they do, and some certainly will without knowing it. Writing a cover letter is your opportunity to situate your resume and yourself in your would-be employer’s context.

There are many guides for how to write a cover letter and templates of cover letters, but I want to show you precisely what separates a cover letter that feels flat, selfish, and dry from a compelling cover letter that will make the hiring manager excited to meet you. By first looking at concrete examples of cover letters, we can derive principles for effectively paraphrasing the one you’ve already written or writing a new one entirely.

Consider the following cover letter written for a job managing content writers:

To whom it may concern,

I attached my resume to you in response to your job posting online. It is my goal to get a position in the educational area of your company as a content manager. I received my Masters of English after completing my degree in Comparative Literature. I have worked for many years and have an extensive background. I would be very interested in working for your company because it would allow me to utilize my English and writing background. My knowledge of writing, composition theory, tutoring, and English as a Second Language has been developed during my five years of study. I am working as a writer for a content management firm. Working in a content firm allowed me to become a more committed writer, a team player, a detail oriented worker, and a better communicator who is not afraid to develop and implement effective content creation strategies. My responsibilities include responding to customer support inquiries, writing and editing blog posts, and annotating data for machine learning models. I have more than one working experience, including being a recruiting manager and call center employee in Mumbai. When you interview me, you will see that I am a hard worker and a team player. My educational and employment background is highlighted in my resume. I have a copy of my resume for you to consider. Do not hesitate to contact me at any time for an interview. I am certain that you will find it of great interest to meet me because of my natural verbal qualities, work ethic, and solid experience in your business.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Let’s walk through this segment by segment, improving it as we go.

Section 1: The icebreaker

I attached my resume to you in response to your job posting online. It is my goal to get a position in the educational area of your company as a content manager.

These first two lines are about as bland as they could be, as it should be obvious that the resume is attached. This is a wasted opportunity, which the applicant should use to show awareness of what the position requires and an eager desire to satisfy those requirements. We’ll need more than a paraphrase for this section; we’ll need to introduce more material and remove some material. Let’s try the following as our starter:

Punchier Section 1:

I know how to produce high quality content on budget and on time.

This tells the hiring manager immediately that the applicant is qualified for the practical aspects of the job. Note that applicant does not and need not say that they want the job; that is a given. Rather, the applicant focuses on what the hiring manager needs and wants--an applicant that can deliver high quality on budget and on time. Let’s move on.

Section 2: Education

I received my Masters of English after completing my degree in Comparative Literature. I have worked for many years and have an extensive background. I would be very interested in working for your company because it would allow me to utilize my English and writing background. My knowledge of writing, composition theory, tutoring, and English as a Second Language has been developed during my five years of study.

This is just a list that largely repeats what is likely already in the resume and is pretty boring to have to review again. What is needed instead is a short bullet point for each of these kinds of areas. Let’s start it off with a signal that we will highlight meaningful parts of the resume:

Section 2 Summarized:

The details of my background are listed in my resume, which is attached. Here are the highlights:

I have developed expertise in writing, the theory of composition, and English as a second language, thanks to my five years of study.

Section 3: Work Experience

I am working as a writer for a content management firm. Working in a content firm allowed me to become a more committed writer, a team player, a detail oriented worker, and a better communicator who is not afraid to develop and implement effective content creation strategies. My responsibilities include responding to customer support inquiries, writing and editing blog posts, and annotating data for machine learning models. I have more than one working experience, including being a recruiting manager and call center employee in Mumbai.

This continues the ramble, and we can break it up with a few more bullet points.

Section 3 Bulleted:

Customer support, content marketing, and data annotations are just a few of the areas I have worked in. I became a more committed writer, a team player, a detail oriented worker, and a better communicator when I worked in a content firm, as a manager in recruiting agency, and as a call center employee.

Section 4: Summation and Follow Up

When you interview me, you will see that I am a hard worker and a team player. My educational and employment background is highlighted in my resume. I have a copy of my resume for you to consider. Do not hesitate to contact me at any time for an interview. I am certain that you will find it of great interest to meet me because of my natural verbal qualities, work ethic, and solid experience in your business.

This language assumes too much, that in fact this candidate will be interviewed. It is also presumptuous, second-guessing how the interviewer will feel about the candidate. The candidate mentions again that they have a resume, and is again (in the last few words!) presumptuous, suggesting that they have solid experience in the hiring manager’s business!

Here’s something a little more humble and yet confident at the same time.

Section 4 Paraphrased:

I support my team and work hard to do so. I have the skills and knowledge to help your company succeed. I will make myself available for an interview if you contact me during the day or evening.

Thank you for taking the time to think about it. I hope to meet you soon.

Below is the full rephrased version.

Dear Hiring Manager, [or real name if you can find it on Linkedin]

I know how to produce high quality content on budget and on time. The details of my background are listed in my resume, which is attached. Here are the highlights:

I have developed expertise in writing, the theory of composition, and English as a second language, thanks to my five years of study. Customer support, content marketing, and data annotations are just a few of the areas I have worked in. I became a more committed writer, a team player, a detail oriented worker, and a better communicator when I worked in a content firm, as a manager in recruiting agency, and as a call center employee.

I support my team and work hard to do so. I have the skills and knowledge to help your company succeed. I will make myself available for an interview if you contact me during the day or evening.

Thank you for taking the time to think about it. I hope to meet you soon.

Sincerely,

Your Name

In this post we have completely revamped a cover letter and derived the following principles for writing one:

Be explicit and immediate about the value you are bringing to your potential employer Focus on your would-be employer needs, not that you want the job State your experience and training clearly and succinctly; do not bore your reader Exercise humility while expressing confidence; suggesting that you are confident you can “help” the company succeed is the right line to take

Although we weren’t able to paraphrase everything, as some segments required outside context, paraphrasing your original will take you a long way, and we encourage you to use our paraphrasing tool to handle a lot of the muckwork of rephrasing sentences to make them more appealing.

To learn more, check out this paraphrase how to guide; it's always good to see examples of paraphrase, so you know what to expect.

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