You’ve scoured the job sites, found a great role to apply for and dusted off your resume or created one from scratch. Now what? Before you hit ‘send’, it’s important to make sure your cover letter is polished, professional-looking and personalized to that specific company and role.
After all, an impressive resume is only as good as the introductory letter or email that accompanies it. Often, this will be the first thing recruiters see, even before your CV. If it doesn’t immediately show them why you’re the perfect fit for the role, it may result in your resume being cast aside without being looked at.
You have one chance to make a first impression with your cover letter, so it’s important to make it a great one. But, how do you do that, exactly? While your cover letter should be unique to you and your experience, you can also take inspiration from the work of others.
From beautifully-designed letterheads to interview-winning writing, here are 25 inspiring cover letter examples you can learn from.
Via Venngage As with any piece of writing, a compelling headline helps to immediately capture the reader’s attention. You can see this in action in the above resume for Sandra Barnes. She has used bold typography to highlight her name, accompanied by a succinct tagline. This bold text is mirrored in the sign-off at the end, which draws the reader’s eye down the page and encourages them to keep reading.
Want to use this eye-catching effect in your own cover letter? Canva’s Orange Modern Fashion Designer Personal Letterhead template includes a striking heading and tagline you can easily make your own.
Your resume and a cover letter are a package deal that work together to show off your expertise. This should be reflected in your design! In the above example, the same letterhead has been used across both documents to give them a polished and consistent feel. You can use this strategy in your own job application by using the same header, fonts and color scheme in both your cover letter and CV.
Via Job Hero Sometimes, you will be required to write a cover letter in an email rather than an attached document. The good news is, you can still make it stand out against the pack in this format! In this cover letter example, you can see how a few basic design strategies elevate an otherwise simple email. Using a logo in your letterhead, some hints of color and including the date and hirer’s address are all easy ways you can give your cover letter a professional edge.
Via Resume Genius One of the best ways to show a recruiter you mean business is by including a logo in your letterhead. As can be seen in the above cover letter template, this helps show them that you take your personal brand seriously (and that they should too!) It also adds to help some visual interest to an otherwise pared-back document.
You don’t need an elaborate logo to personalize your logo—it can be as simple as the letters of your name in a circle or other shape. Canva’s White Formal Law Firm Letterhead template will help give you the look.
Via Pinterest “To indent or not to indent?” This is a common question when it comes to letterheads of any kind. While you don’t necessarily have to use indentation (when your text is shifted to one side of the page), in your cover letter, it can be a wise choice. Not only can it help you fit in a few more words without looking overcrowded, but it can also make your cover letter stand out.
In the above cover letter for Matt Player, you can see how he has paired an indented margin with graphics to ‘flag’ the sections. These give his cover letter a unique look while still appearing professional.
Via Day Job Using colors in your cover letter design is a delicate balancing act. While they can help make it more dynamic and engaging, going overboard can appear unprofessional. One great way to strike the right balance is by layering similar colors.
In the above resume for Michelle Richardson, you can see how a cobalt blue has been paired with a lighter blue. This helps to create an almost-gradient effect and gives the cover letter more visual depth. The key here is to use it sparingly and to stick to no more than two colors.
Sometimes, the role you’re applying for affords you to be a little more experimental with your design. Perhaps you’re seeking a job in a creative industry, or at a more laidback startup. In this scenario, a great way to add more creative flair is with colors, shapes and lines.
In this example, you can see how pops of teal and abstract, grey shape patterns have been used to take this letterhead to the next level. The result is a cover letter that’s hard to miss in the pile!
Via Venngage Modern industries call for modern cover letters. If you’re applying for a role in a newer field like digital or media technology, it’s best to leave the stuffy and beige cover letters on your desktop.
A contemporary-looking resume like the above example for a content marketer helps show you’re a forward-thinker with your finger on the pulse. Some great ways you can do this is through including a logo, adding pops of trending colors and including your signature.
Via Kick Resume Remember, many hiring managers read hundreds of cover letters every single day. So, to catch their attention, it pays to be different. One way you can do this is by flipping the traditional cover letter format on its head.
In the above example by Dave Auskabelis, he skips the pleasantries and gets right into answering the recruiter’s key questions. In doing so, he shows that he’s bold, daring and proactive—positive attributes that many hirers look for. This also allows him to address up-front any concerns that might prevent him from scoring an interview.
Via Venngage There’s no reason you have to stick to using only words on your cover letter. As you can see in the above example, using graphics can be a great way to set your cover letter apart. Educator Sophie Dawson accompanies a headshot with graphics that visually represent her skills and experience. While these also work well in resumes, including them in your cover letter shows creativity and gives you a point of difference.
Via Resume Genius It might sound obvious, but it’s important to clearly include your contact details on your cover letter—especially if you’re submitting via email. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to invite you in for an interview.
So, instead of burying your contact details somewhere in the paragraphs, consider instead taking a leaf out of the above applicant’s resume. They’ve used a coloured bar to display their contact details along the top of the resume. Accompanied by the use of icons, they’ve eliminated any friction the employer might experience in contacting them.
This cover letter ticks all the right boxes. It’s clean, professional-looking and includes plenty of negative space. Subtle touches have also been incorporated to prevent it from looking too boring—such as the use of the diving lines and bold typefaces to highlight certain words. Their references have also been laid out in a visually-interesting way, through the use of boxes. All in all, it’s a winning cover letter design that does the applicant justice.
Via CV2Resume Don’t be afraid to let your unique personality and experience shine through in your cover letter, as Abbie Wilson has above. As a software engineer and web developer, she has given her cover letter a futuristic feel that is fitting for her industry. This is conveyed through the blocky text and the modern logo.
The golden rule for making your cover letter your own? Make sure it’s still appropriate for the role, industry and company you’re applying for.
Via Venngage This letterhead proves that with the right design, cover letters can be anything but boring. Owen Hernandez has used a striking, editorial-style layout to bring his to life. He’s created a design that wouldn’t look out of place in a magazine—which is fitting given his line of work.
The good news is, you don’t have to be an art director to get a similar aesthetic. Simply layering your text over an image (ensuring it has plenty of white space so it’s readable) and centring your text can help you achieve this stunning look.
Via Day Job While a border is a simple visual device, it can be just the thing you need to prevent your cover letter feeling too flat and one-dimensional. In the above example, Mandy Hopkins has used a trending color, peach, to give an otherwise plain resume a contemporary feel. It’s a wise choice for an interior designer, who are often hired for their aesthetic taste.
Want to add a pop of peach to your own cover letter? Canva’s Salmon and Orange Illustrative Letterhead template is the perfect place to start.
Via Kick Resume When you’re spending all day looking at job applications, a little bit of novelty doesn’t go astray. Karoline Durstschi uses this to her advantage in this striking cover letter. She has used asymmetrical patterns as borders for her document to create an effect that’s sure to catch the recruiter’s eye.
Sometimes, to get your cover letter noticed, you need to go the extra mile. One great way to do this is by adding a hint of luxury. That’s exactly what this designer has done. They’ve created not only a cover letter, but an entire set of branded collateral including a resume, business card and envelope. To further add to the personalized experience, you could send your application via mail or even deliver it in person.
Keen to give your own cover letter that extra ‘wow’ factor? Canva’s Gold and White Simple Artist Letterhead template is perfect for adding that touch of luxury.
Being taken seriously doesn't always have to mean being subdued. This cover letter example shows how vibrant colors can still look professional when paired with an otherwise neutral color scheme. To get the look in your own cover letter design, try picking just one accent color to highlight important sections.
Design isn’t everything in a cover letter. But, when everything is arranged intentionally, it makes it far more appealing to look at. It also makes it far easier for the recruiter to quickly locate and absorb the information they need.
This cover letter for interior designer Roland Francisco is the perfect example. From the logo to use of shapes and lines, his strong uses of symmetry and harmony create an aesthetically-pleasing cover letter.
In this cover letter, designer Aaron Corvett truly lets his typography do the talking. The opening statement in large, bold type stands out against the rest of the cover letter and immediately piques the reader’s attention. Paired with the creative ‘I am’ paragraph, he’s created a cover letter that’s truly a delight to look at and read.
This is a cover letter that has clearly been designed with the reader’s experience in mind. From the eye-catching header to the top bar with contact details and use of contrasting typography, it combines many of the elements we’ve touched on in previous examples. But most importantly, it brings them together in a way that is visually harmonious and easy to digest. It would likely be a sight for sore eyes after a long day of reading cover letters!
Via Venngage This cover letter for developer Bradley Chu pairs two unexpected colors—an almost purple-grey and a light, rusted orange. And yet, together they just work. There’s a good reason behind this. Sitting opposite each other on the color wheel, orange and purple are complementary. This means they create a contrasting effect that is pleasing to the human eye.
The takeaway? If you’re going to use bold colors in your cover letter, be sure to do so with color theory in mind.
Teal and light peach is another striking complementary color combo for your cover letter. Take it for a spin with Canva’s Green Peach Minimalist Botanical Creative Letterhead template.
Including a photo of yourself in your cover letter is one of the best ways to give it a more personalized feel. It helps the recruiter put a face to your name (and experience!) and feel more connected to you on a personal level. In this cover letter example, the designer has done so in a subtle and modern way by layering a gradient effect over the top of the photo. Combined with the ‘hello!’ greeting, his smiling face instantly gives the cover letter a friendly and personable appeal.
You don’t necessarily have to choose between a serious and stylized cover letter. As can be seen in the above cover letter example, it can simultaneously be both! It’s all about combining a well-structured and thoughtful letter with unexpected visual elements, like the pops of color and wave graphic at the bottom of the letterhead.
Want to incorporate striking pops of blue into your own cover letter? Start with Canva’s Blue Simple Triangle Shape Professional Letterhead template.
Sometimes, you just want to play it safe with a tried-and-tested cover letter format. In this situation, you can’t go wrong with something clean, minimalistic and modern. As you can see in the above resume example, this is a foolproof formula that will help present your skills and experience in the best possible light.
Canva has hundreds of sleek yet simple cover letterheads you can make your own, like Canva’s Black and White Minimalist Artist Letterhead template.
You’ve likely spent years honing the skills and talents that make you perfect for the role you’re applying for. But, you only have a few hundred words to get that across to a recruiter—so it’s important to make them count! This means communicating your professionalism and unique point of difference through both strong writing and design. By taking inspiration from these effective cover letter examples, you can set your application up for success.