The Top 3% – Cover Letter Examples

Posted by Julie • March 8, 2016 (Last modified January 19, 2023) • 3 min read

You’re looking for a new job. You decide to apply online to a company you’re interested in.  But, you don’t have any connections at the company, and you want your resume to stand out.  Can you get the attention of the hiring manager?

Yes, you can!

Write a great cover letter, set yourself apart from the crowd and get an interview.

But what does a great cover letter look like? Forbes suggests your cover letter should make hiring managers smile. We agree!

Your cover letter should specifically address interest in the job that is posted. It should connect your experience to the job being offered, and it should reflect your enthusiasm for the company and the position.  

Out of 100 applicants, each of these three unknown candidates rose to the top and got an in-person interview with a great cover letter, putting each one in the top 3%!

Cover Letter Example #1

Notice this applicant was “highly interested” in the position.  The applicant started by saying he/she wanted to be a part of a team (team first!) The applicant connected previous work experience with the specific opportunity, described how he/she wished to continue being successful, and wanted to grow.

1st paragraph, Cover letters

In the first paragraph, this applicant established FIVE positive character traits:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Team minded spirit
  • Prior (successful) experience
  • Bringing new perspectives
  • Desire to learn and grow

Take aways:

Use words to show your interest and connect yourself with the specific opportunity. Read the job description, research the company and describe why you might be a fit.

Note: This applicant was scheduled for a phone interview, did a great job, and continued on to an in-person job interview – all without any prior connection to the organization.

Cover Letter Example #2

In this second example, you’ll love this candidate’s enthusiasm — for helping others! Since the position was for customer support, it may seem obvious, but the hiring manager wants someone who *likes* customers (ever had a rep on the phone who thinks customers are the problem?) This candidate’s words also show dedication to improving processes and a strong desire to have an in-person conversation.

2nd paragraph, Great Cover Letters

Within this paragraph, the traits specifically seen were:

  • Patience
  • Determination
  • Process-orientation

Take aways:

Use words to show the personal traits that connect you with what’s required on the job.  Show that not only are you qualified, but you’ll enjoy the work.

Note: This applicant stood out above others did both a phone interview and an in-person interview.  Great job, applicant!

Cover Letter Example #3

In this last example, the told a one-sentence story connecting his/her experience to the position. Notice the line about being the sole person responsible for 1200 tickets/month.  This example created a visual for the hiring manager – both of hard work and relevant experience.

3rd paragraph, Great Cover Letters

In this paragraph, you can see:

  • Prior experience
  • Work ethic

Take aways:

A short example can act as a story, animating your story for the hiring manager.  This visual picture helps you stand out in a group.

Note: This applicant scored both a phone interview and an in-person interview.

Good luck with your next cover letter!

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