Basic Cover Letter Writing Guide & Examples

Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW
By Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: February 22, 2024

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Short and sweet, a basic cover letter can be just as powerful as a lengthy one. Our tips and examples will help you make the most of your limited space so that you can impress employers with a succinct and straightforward document. 

In this guide, you’ll find:

  • Reasons to write a basic cover letter
  • Advantages of basic cover letters 
  • Five impressive short cover letter samples 
  • How to write a simple cover letter for your resume

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Why write a basic cover letter?

A basic cover letter that succinctly and clearly communicates your qualifications can make a great first impression, especially when the hiring manager is short on time. 

Here are a few scenarios when a simple cover letter could be more impactful than a more complex one:

  • You want to make a strong impression on the hiring manager and stand out from other applicants with a succinct yet compelling cover letter.
  • You’re applying to multiple jobs, and a short cover letter allows you to save time while still customizing it to each position.
  • You have limited work experience or qualifications, and a short cover letter allows you to focus on your most relevant skills and achievements.
  • You’re applying for a position in a field where concise communication is valued, such as journalism or technical writing.

What are the benefits of short cover letters?

Basic cover letters are beneficial because they are concise and focused and can quickly grab the attention of the hiring manager by highlighting your most relevant qualifications and enthusiasm for the job. 

Here are some of the key benefits of a short cover letter: 

  • Shows you value the employer’s time by being direct. Hiring managers don’t have much time and by going straight to the point, you’ll save them time. 
  • Showcases your personality and skills. You’re about doing, not talking. A short cover letter allows you to directly highlight what you bring to the table. 
  • Speeds up your application writing process. You’ll spend less time looking for words to include and more time focusing on how to build a great job application. 

5 simple cover letters (and why they work)

To get inspired, take a look at the simple cover letter samples below. Each example showcases the applicant’s qualifications and enthusiasm for the job in 250 words or less.

Data Analyst Cover Letter Example

In this simple cover letter template, the job seeker gets right to the point stating what skills they will bring to the table. The straightforward body paragraph touches on a few key responsibilities from past roles, and the closing touches back on how their skills align with the job.

Photographer Cover Letter Example

In this example, the job seeker grabs the employer’s attention right away with a quick value proposition about what they can bring to the team. The closing statement is brief and impactful with a clear call to action to see the job seeker’s resume for further details.

Registered Nurse Cover Letter Example 2

In this sample short cover letter, the body is action-oriented, connecting the dots between the job seeker’s experience and how those experiences make them a great fit. The closing is brief while still maintaining a professional tone.

Staff Accountant Cover Letter Example

This basic cover letter effectively conveys the job seeker’s key value without going overboard. It is especially impactful due to the measurable accomplishments peppered throughout the content.

Civil Engineer Intern Cover Letter Example

This basic cover letter example for an internship succinctly and clearly demonstrates the student’s skills and goals. The student briefly touches on key coursework that is relevant to the internship, which is more impactful than getting into lengthy descriptions of coursework that do not directly relate to the role.

Learn how to format a cover letter, of any length, with the help of our Cover Letter Format guide.

Basic cover letter writing guide

When it comes to writing basic cover letters, there are a few key tips to keep in mind that can help make your application stand out and increase your chances of landing the job.

 

  • Don’t skip the business letter format. The brevity of a short cover letter relates to content but not to format. It’s important to still use the business letter format to convey your professionalism and attention to detail.
  • Only include job-relevant information. This is where the employer explains what they look for in a candidate. It’ll help you write a simple short cover letter with the right information. For instance, instead of detailing multiple projects from past roles, you can focus on one that is highly relevant to the job description.
  • Open with a succinct value proposition. Open by explaining why you are a great candidate and why you want to work for this employer. A value proposition is more impactful than simply stating, “I am excited to submit my application for the position of…”, which can come across as impersonal and take up unnecessary space on the page.
  • Add context to your resume. Expand on results and experience rather than repeating it. You can choose one job and expand it in one or two sentences. Or focus on a relevant project that you did not discuss in your resume.
  • Use bullet points. Bullet points are an excellent tool for presenting information in a clear and concise way in your basic cover letter. Consider incorporating a bulleted list of your most relevant accomplishments that directly align with the job description.
  •  Incorporate action words. Rely on action verbs for stronger, shorter sentences. Action verbs are powerful and concise, using them will help you write a great short cover letter.
  • Proofread carefully. Check your grammar and spelling. You have the right information to draw the hiring manager’s interest, yet a careless mistake could cost you an interview. Use an extra pair of eyes, a grammar-checker, a writing aid service, or all the above for a great simple short cover letter.
  • Consider an email cover letter. In some cases, you might choose to send an email cover letter if a formal cover letter is not requested in the job description. Email cover letters are more concise than traditional cover letters, allowing you to introduce yourself to the hiring manager right in the body of an email.

Key takeaways

  1. Basic cover letters are short and to the point, making them easy for hiring managers to read and understand quickly. 
  2. A simple cover letter should still use the standard business letter format unless you opt for an email cover letter. 
  3. Remember to customize your cover letter to the job description and focus on one or two key roles are projects that are highly relevant. 
  4. Action verbs and bullet points are helpful space-saving tools for writing a basic cover letter that stands out from the competition. 
  5. You might opt for a basic email cover letter depending on the requirements detailed in the job description.

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