Samples of Resume Cover Letters that Show How to Sell Yourself

Resume letter

Looking at sample cover letters can help you see some common elements that you should use when crafting a cover letter to submit with your resume. The three printable letters provided here focus on very different positions, but you'll see that they have quite a bit in common. Review these samples to get ideas, then download the one that best meets your needs and customize it to your situation.

Three Example Cover Letters

Simply click the letter you want to use and it will open in a separate window or tab as a PDF document. If you have questions about working with the document, see this guide to printables. Once the file is open, click anywhere in the highlighted area to edit. Use the toolbar or File menu commands to save and edit.

1. Letter to Apply for an Internship

It can be a good idea to start your cover letter with an objective. While it's not required, it's a good way to give the hiring manager an overall feel for why you're seeking the position. (If you'd prefer not to use an objective, simply delete that part.)

How to sell yourself sample letter 1
Sample internship cover letter

If someone referred you to apply for the job, mentioning their name up front is an excellent way to build rapport with the hiring manager. You also want to use your cover letter to describe your skills using specific terms and keywords. Finally, if you have any specific considerations, you should make sure to mention them.

2. Letter Highlighting Your Achievements

This letter is an excellent example of selling yourself and your skills because it shows you how to list out your accomplishments to highlight them in a cover letter.

Sample resume letter how to sell yourself
Achievement focused cover letter

Whenever you showcase your accomplishments, you want to focus on very specific, quantifiable things that you did. This cover letter, for instance, talks about '450 clients' and '30 percent savings.' You can make this even stronger by adding specific dollar amounts describing your impact.

3. Letter Highlighting Company Research

Besides stating specific, dollar-focused accomplishments, this cover letter shows the power of researching a company before applying.

Sample resume letter how to sell yourself
Cover letter highlighting company research

Being able to state the company's goals and express how you can help them meet the challenge is a very impressive way of showing that you're prepared. If you can find information about a company's direction or mention a recent news item that features the company, your cover letter will be sure to stand out.

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter That Sells You

As a prospective employee, you are selling the employer on the fact that your skills and talents will help them accomplish the goals of the position you're applying for. It's important to follow key guidelines for writing an effective cover letter, but you also need to focus on selling yourself. It's what you say and how you say it that makes your application shine.

Use Keywords

More and more applications are being processed online, and it's important to use keywords in both your resume and your cover letter. One of the best places to find keywords to use in your cover letter is in the job description itself.

If the job description contains specific industry-oriented terms, skills, or job duties, see what you can do to put those words into your cover letter. Obviously your cover letter should still be engaging and easy to read as well, so don't go overboard!

Highlight Specific Accomplishments

Your resume should include specific achievements and awards that you've received in your various work positions, and you should highlight the most relevant of these in your cover letter.

If you have more than one accomplishment you intend to highlight, be sure to include a bulleted list in your cover letter that is easy to scan. Don't forget to point out how your successes relate to the job you're applying for and make you the best candidate.

Get Feedback

Once you've got a draft of your cover letter ready, ask a trusted friend or family member to read it and give you feedback. They may notice things that you overlooked, or they may have additional ideas about what skills and traits you can focus on.

Remember that every cover letter should be unique and customized to the position you're applying for - don't use a generic cover letter for every job if you want to stand out.

Use Powerful Words

The types of verbs you use make a big difference. You don't want to say "I did" and "I was able" over and over. Instead, use impactful verbs like the words in the list below.

accomplished achieved acquired adapted addressed
administered advised administered advised allocated
analyzed applied appointed appraised approved
arbitrated assembled assessed assigned assumed
assured audited authored awarded
briefed broadened budgeted built
calculated chaired changed charted coached
combined communicated compiled completed composed
computed conceived conceptualized concluded conducted
consolidated constructed consulted contracted controlled
converted convinced coordinated corrected counseled
created cultivated cut
debugged decreased defined delegated delivered
demonstrated designated designed detected determined
developed devised diagnosed directed discovered
dispatched distributed doubled drafted
earned edited effected elicited eliminated
empowered endorsed engineered enhanced enlarged
enlisted ensured entered established estimated
evaluated examined exceeded executed expanded
expedited explained explored expressed extended
find filled financed flagged focused
forecast formulated found founded
gathered generated granted guided
halved handled headed helped hired
identified ignited implemented improved incorporated
increased indexed influenced initiated innovated
inspected installed instituted instructed insured
interviewed introduced invented inventoried invested
investigated issued
joined justified
launched learned leased lectured led
licensed lobbied
maintained managed manufactured matched measured
mediated met modified monitored motivated
named navigated negotiated
obtained opened operated ordered organized
overhauled oversaw
participated patented perceived performed persuaded
placed planned posted prepared presented
presided processed procured produced proficient
programmed prohibited projected promoted proposed
provided published purchased pursued
qualified quantified questioned
raised ranked rated received recognized
recommended reconciled recorded recruited redesigned
reduced referred regulated rehabilitated reorganized
repaired replaced replied reported represented
rescued researched resolved responded restored
revamped reviewed revised
saved scheduled screened selected served
serviced shaped shared showed simplified
sold solved sorted sought sparked
spoke staffed started steered streamlined
strengthened stressed stretched structured studied
submitted substituted succeeded suggested summarized
superseded supervised supplied surveyed systematized
tackled targeted taught terminated tested
toured traced tracked traded trained
transcribed transferred transformed translated transported
traveled treated trimmed tripled turned
uncovered understood understudied unified unraveled
updated upgraded utilized
vended verbalized verified visited
waged weighed widened won worked

Resources for Additional Sample Letters

For additional sample cover letters and to get more ideas on what to say and how to say it, take a look at these resources:

  • has sample cover letters by industry for over 20 different industries, from accounting to construction to technology.
  • has a good example of how to write a cover letter if you're currently unemployed.
  • has a selection of cover letter examples for students and recent graduates, including options for summer jobs and part-time employment.

Stand Out With a Great Cover Letter

Human resource professionals are extremely busy and get dozens and dozens of applications for every opening. The best way to stand out is to carefully follow the application instructions, customize each cover letter for the job you're applying for, and include a cover letter even if it's optional. When you share your accomplishments and discuss why you're the best fit for the company and the job, you'll dramatically improve your chance of getting hired!

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Samples of Resume Cover Letters that Show How to Sell Yourself