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  3. Types of cover letters: Chose the best one for your job application!
Types of cover letters: Chose the best one for your job application!

Types of cover letters: Chose the best one for your job application!

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • What is a cover letter?
  • Why use a cover letter
  • Types of cover letters
  • Job application cover letter
  • Referral cover letter
  • Email cover letter
  • Networking cover letter
  • Prospecting cover letter
  • Key takeaways

Cover letters aren’t just for job applications! If you want to know more about how and when to use one, explore this blog where we list the different types of cover letters and their uses.

When you’re submitting a job application, it’s helpful to add a little spice so that recruiters notice your resume. One of the best ways to do this is by including a cover letter, also known as a cover page. This is a short professional letter that introduces you and expresses your interest in the open position.

While cover letters usually accompany resumes, they can also be used in many other circumstances. They can serve as a letter of introduction to other professionals in your field or help you locate professional opportunities.

While cover letters normally use similar formats, the exact details of your letter may vary based on its purpose. In this blog, we’ll help you sort out these differences by explaining the types of cover letters and their uses. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • What is a cover letter? 

  • Why use a cover letter?

  • The different types of cover letters, including job application letters, referral letters, email cover letters, networking letters, letters of interest, and prospecting letters

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a short document that introduces a candidate and describes their qualifications. It usually begins with a statement of intent, followed by a brief overview of the applicant’s skills, experience, and accomplishments.

Many people use cover letters to expand on the information contained in their resumes. Unlike a resume, which is concise and direct, a letter allows professionals to describe their personal experiences in a more personal way. It gives them space to make a personal connection with the reader and describe why their experience might make them a good fit for the open job.

Why use a cover letter

In short, writing a cover letter is a good way to make your application stand out. It shows that you are heavily invested in getting the job and that you’re willing to put in some extra effort. It also allows you to introduce yourself, not only as a professional but also as a person. The letter format allows your personality to shine through in a way that a resume alone doesn’t.

When you’re trying to get a job, it can be challenging to convey the extent of your expertise in a dry list of bullet points. If you use a cover letter, you have the opportunity to include information that doesn’t fit on your resume. This could include a story that illustrates your skills or a description of why you want to work for the company in question. Basically, you’ll have the opportunity to make the case for your hiring on your terms.

Types of cover letters

There are many different types of cover letters that you might use, depending on your goals. Here are some of the most common cover letter variants and their uses:

Job application cover letter

The job application cover letter is a classic and it’s what most people think of when they hear the term “cover letter”. As described above, these documents allow job candidates to sell themselves to recruiters more effectively. Many professionals submit cover letters alongside their resumes when they apply for jobs online.

A job application cover letter usually includes a few important sections. The first is a header that lists the applicant’s name, contact details, and website. After the heading comes a polite salutation and a statement of intent that describes why the candidate is writing the letter.

In most cases, the body of the letter describes the candidate’s professional experience, skills, and certifications. This complements the information in the resume and shows why the writer is a good fit for the recruiter’s open position. A job application cover letter usually ends with a statement of gratitude, a call to action that encourages follow-up, and a polite goodbye.

Referral cover letter

A referral occurs when an employee recommends a friend or acquaintance for an open position within their company. For many people, referrals are an important tool that gives them a leg up during the application process. Recruiters are often willing to give more attention to applicants referred by trusted employees, especially if they have many applications to review.

If an acquaintance refers you to a recruiter or manager at their company, it’s often a good idea to reach out with a letter. This allows you to introduce yourself and your qualifications and gauge interest before submitting an application. It also allows you to collect further details about the role and its requirements.

When writing a referral letter, be sure to introduce yourself in a friendly but professional way. Mention your acquaintance at the beginning to grab the reader’s attention and mention the referral in the subject line of the email. While it’s important to mention your qualifications, you don’t have to include a ton of detail until you formally submit your application. Simply state your interest and invite the recruiter to contact you if they’re interested in moving forward.

Email cover letter

Nowadays, most job applications take place entirely online, often by email. When you’re writing your cover letter, make sure and find out the preferred submission format. Some companies might prefer a PDF, while others may want to communicate via email. 

If you decide to email a cover letter to your contact, it’s important to make sure that it’s properly formatted. Most email exchanges are relatively brief, so it might be helpful to shorten your letter. It’s also important to write a subject line that grabs the attention of the reader and informs them of the email’s content.

Networking cover letter

A network of professional contacts is indispensable when looking for new job opportunities. If you have a group of knowledgeable acquaintances in your industry, it might be useful to reach out and ask for help. in these cases, you can use a networking cover letter.

Unlike a standard cover letter, a networking letter is often less formal and sometimes shorter. If you know the recipient, you can address them in a more casual and friendly way, just like you might when emailing a friend at work. Be sure to describe the types of opportunities you’re looking for and provide any personal details that might help them in their search.

In closing, be sure to thank the reader for their time and effort and invite them to reach out with any leads. If it’s helpful, you can also provide additional contact information so they can drop you a line.

Prospecting cover letter

Do you dream of working for a particular company? If so, a prospecting cover letter might be just the ticket. Professionals use these letters when inquiring about open positions at a particular company or set of companies.

Before you write a prospecting cover letter, it’s important to do your homework. Do some research and find out as much as you can about what the company does, what its values are, and what types of people it employs. It’s also vital to find a contact at the company so that you can address them by name. 

When writing a prospecting letter, use the standard format for professional letters, including a header with your contact details. In the body of the letter, introduce yourself and explain why you want to work for the company in question. Include a description of how your unique skills and experience could contribute to the firm’s success and ask about open positions. In conclusion, reiterate your interest and invite your contact to follow up with you if they’re interested in your services.

Key takeaways

  1. A cover letter is a short document that introduces a candidate and makes a case for why they should be hired.

  2. Using a cover letter allows you to get the attention of recruiters and flesh out the details contained in your resume. 

  3. A referral cover letter is ideal if an acquaintance recommends you for a position at their company.

  4. Networking cover letters come in handy when you’re reaching out to colleagues in search of leads or job opportunities.

  5. If you want to inquire about open jobs at a particular company, you can use a prospecting cover letter to describe why you’d be a great fit.

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