Your cover letter is supposed to catch a prospective employer's eye, but that's easier said than done when it's buried under a pile of applications. As a result, nearly every professional has his or her own advice when it comes to writing one of these formal introductions and bids for employment.
There's a typical formula many follow, but some job hopefuls have tried more inventive techniques to get their applications noticed. While success isn't guaranteed, these individuals chose more creative paths on the road to employment.
See also: No Resume, No Cover Letter — Instagram Scored the Job
Whether you're looking for ideas to improve your job search, or you just want to see what people are willing to do to get an interview, here are six impressive cover letters that can inspire you to up your application game.
1. The Direct Approach
Lindsay Blackwell wanted to be social media director of the University of Michigan. Instead of typing up a typical cover letter, the tried and (sometimes) true method, she created a website with a video directed at Lisa Rudgers, the university's vice president for global communications and strategic Initiatives.
While Blackwell didn't ultimately get the job, she did land an interview for the position — an impressive feat on its own.
2. Using the Changing Communication Landscape
Video: YouTube, Graeme Anthony
Graeme Anthony, a PR practitioner looking for a job, uploaded his professional information to YouTube rather than creating a traditional cover letter and resume. Anthony's interactive video application included a breakdown of his skills and timeline for potential employers. It showed his video-producing and editing knowledge as well as his ability to use online resources.
In the end, it helped him land a job at Manc Frank. If a simple series of videos is enough to get you noticed, the sky's the limit.
3. The Power of Being Honest
Sometimes employers appreciate sheer honesty above well-written prose and assertions of dedication and passion. An unnamed applicant applied for a summer internship on Wall Street with a short but honest letter.
Whether the lack of embellishment helped secure the position for the student is unknown, but it made quite a splash online and proved that honesty really can be the best policy.
4. A Little Design Goes a Long Way
Image: Alice Lee
With a company as geared to the visual as Instagram, it can take more than a well-worded letter to catch the team's attention.
Twenty-year-old Alice Lee used her design skills to create an interactive website, complete with an Instagram stream with the social network's API. Instagram didn't end up hiring Lee, but she did get to speak to CEO Kevin Systrom, and Lee's site eventually led to an internship with another company.
5. Using the Product Itself
Video: SlideRocket, Hanna Phan
If the company you're interested in makes a specific product, integrating it into your cover letter will show that you're not only familiar with the company, but also that you're resourceful.
For Hanna Phan, the product she needed to use was a slideshow creator. Her imaginative cover letter for SlideRocket incorporated their technology and her style to create an engaging cover letter. If anything, Phan proves that all it takes is a little extra effort and knowledge of a product to make a lasting impression on potential bosses.
6. Using Ads to Your Advantage
Video: YouTube, Alec Brownstein
Most of us have Googled ourselves at least once or twice, if only to make sure that nothing strange turns up with our names. With that in mind, Alec Brownstein decided to buy ads that would appear when specific people searched for creative directors' names, or more importantly, when said directors Googled themselves.
The ads led to Brownstein's site with a message that simply read, "Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too." Brownstein now works at Y&R New York, and the ads only cost him $6. It isn't exactly a cover letter, but it isn't a bad strategy.
Image: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
Cover letter for internship
Writing a cover letter to help you land a great internship? Here's an example of a pitch that hits all the right notes.
Use these cover letter tips to get an internship.
Writing a cover letter to get an internship can be intimidating. By using well-chosen words, you can make a good impression. While your letter needs to be customized to individual circumstances, this sample cover letter below can help an aspiring intern's cause.
For additional writing tips, join Monster today, so the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service can help you impress employers with a high-impact resume and cover letter for an internship.
451 Highland Ave. #45 | Sometown, TX 75000 | (555) 555-5555
Jan. 5, 2017
Mr. James Crowley
555 W. Applegarth Blvd.
Anytown, TX 75000
Dear Mr. Crowley:
Two of your former interns, Brian Hodges and Martha Smith, suggested I contact you regarding finance internship opportunities. They are familiar with my background and felt I would be an excellent match for your summer internship program.
Currently a junior majoring in finance at UNT, I have demonstrated strong academic performance in all finance courses, maintaining a 3.5 GPA in my major. The courses I have completed have given me a solid foundation in the tools, processes and methodologies involved in the successful analysis and management of portfolio-investment strategies. I have a proven ability to learn challenging concepts quickly and have developed competencies in diverse areas, including:
In addition to my analytical strengths, I bring to the table advanced computer skills (with cross-platform exerptise in Windows and Mac); expertise in the MS Office suite of products; and familiarity with programming languages including SQL, HTML and VB.
Since starting college, I have worked part-time (summers/holidays/evenings) as a clerk at Wal-Mart. In this position, I have earned a reputation for consistently exceeding company and customer expectations. Wal-Mart's store manager has asked me to return this summer, but I yearn to gain corporate finance experience. I am impressed by Acme's innovation and success, and I would very much like to be part of such a winning company.
The enclosed resume provides more details of my skills and achievement track record. If you agree that I would make a valuable addition to your team, please feel free to call me at (555) 555-5555 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know you are busy, so thank you for your time, and I look forward to speaking with you.