The most common job search letter is a cover letter, but it's important to be aware that there are other letters that you may use in the course of a job search. For most college students, letter writing has been reduced to short e-mail messages, quickly written and quickly sent. This is not acceptable when in the midst of a job search. Communication skills are critically important in your career and your job search letters will be one of the first samples employers will have of your competence in this area. All correspondence with a prospective employer will be carefully critiqued to screen out candidates. Be sure your job search letters have no typos, are grammatically correct, follow standard business format, and present you as the best candidate for the internship or job!
To have your job search letters critiqued, come to drop-in hours at the career center or meet with a career counselor.
Below are some common types of Job Search Letters. Be sure to sign the original hard copy letters and to keep copies for your records.
A cover letter accompanies a resume when you send it through email, U.S. mail, or when you are completing an online application. It is not required when you hand a resume to a recruiter at a career fair, presentation, or interview. Write a persuasive letter in a conversational format to market yourself for the particular job you are seeking. Identify your experiences, education, and skills which are most directly related to that job. This is your opportunity to help an employer see how and where you fit into the organization.
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View sample cover letters - print
View Seven cover letter don'ts
This letters or email is sent to individuals requesting information about a career or company. It's a great way to reach out to other UK alumni to prospect for possible job openings. Be sure to focus on broader fields, industries when describing your qualifications. Normally, a resume is not attached to this type of letter because the focus is on generating information not generating job offers! It's also used to ask for an informational interview.
View a sample Exploratory/Networking letter
This is one of the most important yet least used letters in a job search. A thank-you letter is used to establish goodwill and express appreciation. It can be sent to a potential employer, a contact that's assisted you, or an interviewer. The general rule of thumb is that if someone has spent more than 10 minutes of his/her time, then a thank you would be appropriate. A thank-you letter should always be sent with 24 hours of an interview, informational interview, etc. A handwritten thank-you note is the more traditional form; however, you must take into consideration the person to whom it will be sent. Use your best judgment. If you have been communicating via email, it might be more acceptable to send an emailed note of thanks.
View a sample Thank-you letter
A letter requesting the status of your application while noting your continued interest in the position. You should also offer to provide any additional information that would assist the employer in making a decision. Due to time sensitivity, this letter is often emailed.
View a sample Follow-up letter
Congratulations if you've made it to this stage in the job search! This letter is sent to an employer when an offer has been made. Use it to accept the offer and confirm the terms of employment (start date, salary, medical examinations, etc.). It's an excellent way to positively reinforce the employer's decision to hire you.
View a sample Acceptance letter
A letter sent to formally decline an offer of employment or to remove yourself from consideration as a candidate. Rejecting an employment offer must be done thoughtfully. Indicate that you have carefully considered the offer but that it was not the best job fit for this stage in your career. Do not say that you have obtained a better job. You want to express your thanks while keeping the door open for future contact.
View a sample Withdrawal letter
General Job-Search Cover Letter Samples & Templates:
Note: The cover letter samples below are in PDF format and require a program such as Adobe Acrobat Reader to be opened and read:
Mid-Manager and Higher Job-Search Cover Letter Samples:
- Cover Letter Sample #16. Cover Letter for Sales Manager: Defense Sales: In his cover letter, the job-seeker employs a bulleted list of his top sales accomplishments.
- Cover Letter Sample #17. Cover Letter for Consumer Marketing, Trade Marketing, Channel Marketing Executive: In this invited cover letter, the job-seeker relates her qualifications to the requirements of the advertised position.
- Cover Letter Sample #18. Cover Letter for Human Resources Director: The job-seeker shows a firm grasp of the human-resources field and the employer’s needs in his letter.
- Cover Letter Sample #19. Cover Letter for Executive General Manager: The job-seeker draws a clear connection between his qualifications and the employer’s needs.
- Cover Letter Sample #20. Cover Letter for Senior Operations Executive: In her concise letter, the job-seeker paints a powerful picture of what she could bring to the employer.
- Cover Letter Sample #21. Cover Letter for Senior Director of R&D: The job-seeker uses word bullets to emphasize her value proposition.
- Cover Letter Sample #22. Cover Letter for Information Technology Senior Manager: The job-seeker uses a cover-letter format that enables her to showcase testimonials from her current boss.
- Cover Letter Sample #23. Cover Letter for Information Technology Senior/Executive Manager: The job-seeker conveys his personality and working philosophy in this letter.
- Cover Letter Sample #24. Cover Letter for CIO/Information Technology Executive: The job-seeker’s letter is a followup to earlier communication with the recipient. He connects himself with the employer through his past association as a student in the university system.
- Cover Letter Sample #25. Cover Letter for Venture Capital/Private Equity Associate: The job-seeker’s uninvited letter leverages his knowledge of current events affecting his targeted company.
- Cover Letter Sample #26. Cover Letter for Offshore Banking/Investments Executive: In this uninvited cover letter, the job-seeker effectively uses a bulleted section.
- Cover Letter Sample #27. Cover Letter for Training Executive: The job-seeker amplifies her resume’s testimonial format in her cover letter.
- Cover Letter Sample #28. Cover Letter for Training Manager: The job-seeker carries his branding through to his cover letter, with the letter’s design echoing, though not replicating, his resume design.
- Cover Letter Sample #29. Cover Letter for Healthcare Trainer: The job-seeker relates her qualifications specifically to the requirements of an advertised position by using verbiage directly from the job posting in a bulleted list.
- Cover Letter Sample #30. Cover Letter for Executive Director for Tourism: The job-seeker employs an unusually direct format of mostly bullet points for attention-getting and user-friendliness.
- Cover Letter Sample #31. Cover Letter for Executive Director of Statewide Board: The job-seeker uses the effective two-column format to vividly display his qualifications.
- Cover Letter Sample #32. Cover Letter for International Trade Executive: The job-seeker draws a clear connection between his background and the requirements of an advertised position.
- Cover Letter Sample #33. Cover Letter for Legal Counsel: The attorney’s cover letter amplifies her resume’s effectiveness in positioning her for the desired job.
New College Grad Internship, Grad School, and Job-Search Cover Letter Samples:
- Cover Letter Sample #34: International investments cover letter: This college grad makes a strong case for his Unique Selling Proposition in his cover letter.
- Cover Letter Sample #35: Medical-equipment sales cover letter: This college grad uses her cover letter to tell the employer what she seeks.
- Cover Letter Sample #36: Public-relations cover letter: This college grad uses her cover letter to convey her enthusiasm for public relations. Note that she makes a smart connection between her Spanish-language skills and the employer’s location.
- Cover Letter Sample #37: Healthcare consulting cover letter: This grad conveys his passion for the healthcare sector in his letter.
- Cover Letter Sample #38: Financial services cover letter: This college grad shows his knowledge and appreciation of the targeted employer in his cover letter.
- Cover Letter Sample #39: Summer analyst internship cover letter: This student focuses on his applicable skills and experience.
- Cover Letter Sample #40: Travel consultant cover letter: The new grad uses an attention-grabbing cover-letter opener and a reader-friendly bulleted style. The wording in the bullet points reflects wording in the ad to which the letter responds.
- Cover Letter Sample #41: Artist cover letter: A solid understanding of what is needed in the targeted job distinguishes this cover letter.
- Cover Letter Sample #42: IT programming cover letter: This college grad explains that she plans to relocate to the employer’s city.
- Cover Letter Sample #43: Customer-service cover letter: This grad does a great of blending his unusual language fluencies with his interest in customer service.
Storied Cover Letter Samples:
- Cover Letter Sample #44: Storied cover letter: Sample cover letter that uses Attention — Stimulate Deires — Reinforce with Reasons method for storied cover letter.
Please note that additional sample cover letters can be found in our cover letter tutorial, as well as in various other articles and tutorials on this site.
Other Sample Job-Search Letters for Job-Seekers:
Sample job interview thank-you letters are located in our Sample Thank-You Letters section of Quintessential Careers. Sample letters for networking, requesting an informational interview, and for other post-interview follow-up are located in the Sample Job-Search Letters section of Quintessential Careers.
Other Key Cover Letter Resources for Job-Seekers:
Go back to the Cover Letter Resources for Job-Seekers section of Quintessential Careers, where you will find a collection of the best cover letter tools and resources, including articles, tutorials, and more.
Go to Job-Hunting Samples and Examples for Job-Seekers, where you’ll find free samples of just about every job-search tool you’ll need to be successful.