There is a big difference between writing a regular cover letter and writing a creative cover letter to send with your resume. For one thing, a creative cover letter is much more informal. It is, in a sense, spunky and fun, and that's a big part of how you can get your job application to stand out. Sometimes this style of writing is used when applying in more creative fields, such as the arts and entertainment industries.
Just like any cover letter, when writing an attention-grabbing cover letter, you should aim to keep it to one page. The aim of the cover letter is to introduce yourself, provide several pointers or highlights, and end it; nothing more and nothing less.
This logically aligns with the letter's three main parts: the opening, the body, and the conclusion. Allow us to share some tips for each of these three components.
Aside from the return address, date, recipient address and the greeting, a creative cover letter begins with a great hook and a brief introduction. Mention what compelled you to inquire about the open position. Here's an example of someone applying for a position at a film studio:
As a savvy administrative professional who has seen all the studio's movies (yes, all of them), I was excited to see the job posting for Publicity Assistant position with ABC Film Company.
Notice how this creative cover letter opening sentence is brief, excitable, and personable. This helps your introduction work as an attention grabber. Just as a movie has a memorable tagline, so should your cover letter have a memorable introductory statement.
The folks over at Forbes wrote this:
If your first line reads: "I am writing to apply for [job] at [company]," I will delete it and suggest a swap every time. (Yes, every single time.) When a hiring manager sees that, she won't think, "How thoughtful of the applicant to remind me what I'm reading!" Her reaction will be much closer to, "boring," "meh" or even "next!"
Here are three examples they suggest:
I've wanted to work in education ever since my third grade teacher, Mrs. Dorchester, helped me discover a love of reading.
My approach to management is simple: I strive to be the kind of leader I'd want to work for.
In my three years at [prior company], I increased our average quarterly sales by [percentage].
After the introduction comes the real meat and potatoes of the letter. The body of a creative cover letter is your sales pitch. This is where you flaunt your skills that are important for the job in question. Remember to be brief, as your cover letter should be no more than about four paragraphs in total.
Highlight your best professional points or achievements, ensuring they are relevant to the position. That is, describe what you do best in your particular field of work. Here's an example:
My colleagues will tell you that I am a self-starter and a go-getter. I need to be, as I currently support three executives in creating and distributing marketing materials in a fast-paced, start-up environment. I have recently been entrusted with pitching to media outlets and have already secured several stories and interviews.
As a self-proclaimed film addict, I was president of the media society on my campus and I have coordinated film screenings both on campus and in my local community. My friends call me Netflix!
As you can see from the above example, the purpose of the body of the letter is to focus the attention on your previous experience within the field, whether as part of your job or outside work. Highlight your accomplishments and what makes you such a dynamic candidate and the right fit for the position.
Hubspot selected the below sample as the "we're meant for each other" cover letter. The applicant must be applying for a writing position where the company is looking to add more content and increase their leads:
After freelance writing for two marketing agencies, I spent three years at ABC Company, where more than five household names became thought leaders under my editorial management. And, between ABC Company and XYZ Company, I authored content strategies for clients that loathed fluff and expected organic growth every month. I applied that sense of urgency to DEF Company, where we're applying numerous topic clusters to several ancient service pages, validating all of the mega-technical blog content I've written for these pages over the last year.
The closing paragraph should be short and sweet. Limit this paragraph to two or three brief sentences. After the closing remarks are the closing salutations with your name typed and signed.
If you're looking to add someone to your team whose general enthusiasm will be infectious while producing solid work, then I'm your gal. My natural love for all things ABC Film Company, paired with my communications degree make us birds of a feather. What do you say we take flight today? If it be your pleasure, I'd be delighted to speak with you further about the position and my well-aligned qualifications.
The Muse offers a few "do this, not that" scenarios when it comes to crafting the perfect cover letter. Here are two examples:
Do this: "I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I can contribute."
Not this: "I will call your office in a week to schedule an interview."
Being forceful and presumptuous isn't the way to land an interview!
Do this: "I'm excited to offer my expertise in…"
Not this: "Through this position, I hope to gain…"
Remember to make it all about them. Catch their eye. Explain what you can offer to their department.
If you're moving on to your resume next, check out these Best Tips for Writing a Professional Resume.
If you really want to make your creative cover letter stand out try putting it in a different format than a standard letter or email. Depending on the industry you're applying to, a mockup of a web page or ad, a slideshow, or a brief video can be the attention-grabber you need. It may not guarantee you a job, but it will guarantee you will be remembered.
Once you've snagged that coveted interview, here are some smart questions to ask. They'll indicate you've done your research, both on the company and the role.