Close this search box.

Creative Cover Letter—Painting a Perfect (Self)Portrait

A hiring manager sitting pensively at her computer in an office


Out-of-the-Box Job Hunt—Should You Leave Your Creative Cover Letter Inside the Box?


You know you are not the only person applying for a particular job. You have to compete with dozens of other candidates, many of whom are equally qualified. You need to stand out, and a creative cover letter is a way to do it. 


Given that hiring managers receive piles of applications, it’s only natural that they all start to merge into a single blob of white background and black swirls of repetitive phrases. If you want to distinguish yourself from others and make the hiring manager remember you, you must do something different. A unique cover letter may not necessarily get you the job, but it could increase your chances of getting noticed. It will show the company that you have a passion for their organization and that specific role. Interesting cover letters demonstrate drive and talent—something that employers always love to see. 


This article will show you:


How To Use Your Creativity in a Cover Letter? 


If you want your cover letter to be fresh, it should contain a mix of traditional structure and elements that showcase your personal style or brand. 


An innovative cover letter features an exciting story or cleverly depicts why the company should consider a particular candidate for the position. If you make the hiring manager laugh, know that they will definitely remember your name. Incorporating visual elements suitable for the culture of the company you are applying to is also an option. Images and graphic design do look attractive, but you should be careful with them. If a company uses applicant tracking software (ATS), anything that isn’t plain text in your cover letter will be undetected.


The purpose of a cover letter is to get you the interview. If it doesn’t get past the software and the hiring manager never lays their eyes on it, the pretty design will mean nothing. Of course, the content of your cover letter should also be in line with the style of the job posting. If you’re applying for a job at a super-traditional place, being goofy just won’t do. Always refer to the job ad and evaluate the tone in which it is written.  Also, keep the company you’re applying for in mind. You don’t want to end up throwing a heist movie reference when applying to be the next bank security officer.


What Can a Cool Cover Letter Do for You?

A female hiring manager and candidate having a meeting

Source: Amy Hirschi


The main advantage of submitting clever cover letters is that they will make you noticeable. Just like any other letter of application, a creative one needs to:


  • Highlight the skills and qualifications that make you a suitable candidate
  • Provide insight into your personality and humanize you
  • Exhibit the passion you have for the role and the company
  • Emphasize the value you can bring to the company if hired


The best creative cover letters also grab the hiring manager’s attention and keep them engaged and entertained from the very first words until the end. You can’t do that with a generic cover letter.


How To Write an Interesting Cover Letter


Although you want to write a creative cover letter, you should stick to the standard outline. Like the traditional cover letter, the creative one should also consist of specific elements:


  1. Header—include your name, cell phone number, email address, date, company name, company address
  2. Greeting—address the letter to the hiring manager directly or use a generic greeting if you don’t know the manager’s name
  3. Opening paragraph—say why you are applying for the role
  4. Main paragraphs—explain why you are an ideal candidate and demonstrate why you and the company are a perfect fit
  5. Closing paragraph—express enthusiasm for the position and the company and say that you are looking forward to hearing from them
  6. Complimentary closing—add a professional closing phrase and your full name

All parts of your cover letter should fit on one page


Some parts of your cover letter can always be the same—the header, greeting, and complimentary closing. If you are considering creating a template, these are the elements you can always copy-paste. Everything else requires adapting to the specific role and company. 


An Amazing Cover Letter Begins With a Catchy Introduction


The opening sentence of your cover letter serves as bait—the best chance you’ve got to capture the hiring manager’s attention and make them read the rest. You can take several approaches:


  1. Begin by expressing your passion for the role—shows interest in the company
  2. Hit the center of the target immediately with a notable accomplishment—impresses the reader from the get-go
  3. Incorporate some humor—says a lot about your personality and shows you have a positive attitude; it’s a perfect way to stand out
  4. Tell a short story—explains how you got interested in the subject matter in a fun and unexpected way
  5. Shift the focus from yourself to the company—helps you express admiration for the company


Check out some great industry-specific examples:


Industry Example
Sales Having felt the rush of boosting the sales of highly expensive printers by 30% during the first six months on the job, I knew I didn’t want to do anything else
Management A good leader should be not only capable of doing anything they ask their team to do but also be willing to do it. That’s how I ended up removing weeds from around the office building
Technology I wrote my first code at the age of 12. Since that moment, it has been my dream to work for XYZ Technologies


A Unique Cover Letter Shows What Made You Interested in the Role


An over-the-shoulder shot of an HR team interviewing a young, female candidate

Source: Tim Gouw


Hiring managers are used to reading about why someone is a great fit for the role and how their skills and experience will help them perform well. A section describing what you love about the company and the mention of the unique values the company has will show that you have done your homework. It is a signal that you are eager to join their team. Employers want candidates who will stay with them for a long time. A paragraph expressing why you want that particular position in that specific company will show that you are such a candidate. 


Take a look at a perfect example of such a section:


I have always been impressed by your conservation work. Being a nature lover myself, I have dreamed of working for an organization dedicated to protecting wildlife. I was thrilled when I saw an open position in your organization. 


The Best Creative Cover Letters Are Composed for the Specific Role


All cover letters have something in common—they list the candidates’ skills, achievements, qualifications, and experience. The catch is to include the information relevant to the role you are applying for. 


You want to achieve two things with your creative cover letter:


  1. Show that you composed the letter specifically for the coveted role
  2. Do so in a fun and different way


None of the hiring managers like to see that you have a ready-made cover letter that you send to every company. It tells them nothing about you except that you haven’t really made much effort. Do you even want that particular job, or are you sending applications left and right? You are, of course, but put yourself in the hiring managers’ shoes.


Anyone can list everything they have ever done in their life without giving it a second thought. The real skill is picking the experience and knowledge related to the job and using them to prove you are the right person for the role. 


Fun Cover Letters Highlight What Sets You Apart

Two women working on a laptop

Source: Brooke Cagle


Imagine you are applying for an entry-level position. You and who knows how many other candidates will all seem the same to the hiring manager. You lack the experience, which is expected. Still, uniform cover letters explaining that you are a fast learner, hard worker, and out-of-the-box thinker eager for new experience will not help the employer pick you as the most suitable candidate. An eye-catching cover letter should tell the employer that you are the one they should invite for an interview. You may not have work-related experience, but you have a lot of relevant qualities you can highlight. 


It is the same if you are a seasoned professional. You will compete with many other candidates who will also have impressive resumes to present. Your cover letter is the way to stand out from the crowd. Think about projects you worked on. Consider your greatest achievements. Then, present them as an anecdote. 


Check out these examples for different industries:


Industry Example
Creative writing My first article published in the university magazine was a result of an interesting conversation I had with a customs officer—when all the answers I provided to his questions were the wrong ones
Film industry As a self-diagnosed film buff, I was elected president of the media club on campus, and I directed several projects
Accounting While I pride myself on being a creative soul, creative accounting is not on the list of my professional skills. I helped my clients make smart investment decisions and grow their wealth in a perfectly legitimate way


An Impactful Creative Cover Letter Ends With Confidence

A hiring manager sitting in an office canteen and looking at his notes

Source: AllGo

If you have started your letter in a fun and clever way and kept the same tone throughout, you need to finish in the same manner. The closing paragraph can be short and sweet—a couple of sentences to seal the deal will suffice.


You should emphasize the value you can bring to the company, thank the hiring manager for their consideration, and suggest scheduling a meeting to discuss the position more. 


Remember to keep the entirety of the cover letter more focused on the company and what you can do for them. Don’t dwell on what the company can do for you and your career.


Here are some examples of closing lines suitable for specific industries:


Industry Example
Sales A good salesperson knows when it’s time to end their sales pitch. Feel free to contact me if you need any more information or to schedule a meeting.
Digital marketing With sincere hope that my next formal email to you will express my enthusiasm for accepting the position of a social media marketing manager, I enclose my resume with this letter.
Customer support My friends once told me that my communication skills have the power to resolve a hostage situation. I’d love to bring those skills to your team as your next customer support specialist. 


Formatting and Optimization in a Witty Cover Letter


Creative or not, your cover letter has to be appropriately formatted and optimized. Optimization is necessary because an ATS has to recognize your cover letter as relevant. Formatting is important because a cover letter that is hard to read will get you nowhere. 


An Amazing Cover Letter Gets Past the ATS Screening 


How to write a unique cover letter that is optimized to get past HR bots? Simple—incorporate key phrases from the job description in the wording. You can do it when you talk about your skills and qualifications. Doing so will signal the software that your application is pertinent to the role you are applying for. If the job ad requires you to submit your application through a form, you can be confident that it will go through the ATS screening first. In that case, you will have to avoid:


  • Images
  • Tables
  • Graphs


An ATS can’t read these.


An Impactful Cover Letter Is Easy To Read


Hiring managers have to read numerous cover letters, so you have to make it easy for them to spot the most critical parts. Formatting is the key to accomplishing that.


Although you are writing a creative cover letter, the font you choose shouldn’t be fun. You must stick to something professional-looking and easy to read, such as Roboto, Arial, or Times New Roman.


Other things to avoid are:


  • Colored text
  • All caps
  • Exclamation marks
  • Blocks of text


To make specific sections easy to spot, use the bold option and bulleted lists. Here is what you can put in a list:


  • Skills
  • Notable projects
  • Qualifications
  • Professional accomplishments


To make your text even easier to read, use wide spacing between paragraphs. You should also align the text to the left. Doing so makes the text more readable, and besides that—people, in general, pay more attention to the left side of the page


Mistake-Free Amazing Cover Letters 


A young Black female hiring manager holding a file and making notes

Source: Christina @


You can write the best creative cover letter, balance the humor and professionalism perfectly, and hit all the right spots— but write “irregardless,” “preemptory,” or “excetera” once, and you’re out.

Mistakes will distract the reader from your skillful storytelling, cast a shadow on your accomplishments, and prompt the hiring manager to think, “Let’s just keep this resume on file” (and we all know what that means). Proofread what you have written several times. Read the letter out loud—it will help you catch mistakes and sentences that should be rephrased. Sleep on it and reread it. Switch to a different device, and read it on your phone or tablet. You may also want to ask a friend to check it for potential errors.


Once you are confident you have eradicated all the mistakes, you can hit the Send button.


Finding a Great Job Opening Calls For Some Creativity, Too


When you start looking for a job, you may start feeling confused. You might think that submitting an application is the easiest part of the process, but you would be mistaken. It may be weeks before you come across a job opening for which you would be a great candidate. 


Once you do— yes, your perfectly balanced, appropriately creative cover letter is what most hiring managers expect to receive. Research showed that about 26% of recruiters decide whether to invite you for an interview based on your cover letter.  But note that only 2% of candidates actually get invited. What are you going to do? Keep on jumping from one job board to another? Scroll through hundreds of ads? Open dozens of them? 


It soon becomes tiring. 


Thankfully, Lensa can help you find a company that matches your preferences. Besides allowing you to filter job ads based on location and salary range, Lensa uses AI to pair you with an employer that suits your cultural and professional background. When you sign up for Lensa, you will:


  • Gain access to multiple job boards
  • Learn how ATS-friendly your resume is
  • Play the Workstyle Game to get a deeper insight into your professional strengths
  • Receive personalized job suggestions


How To Register


Registering with Lensa takes a few quick steps:


  1. Go to the Lensa website
  2. Specify a job title and location
  3. Click Search 
  4. Add your email address and click Submit


Immediately upon registration, you can start browsing job ads, play the Workstyle Game, and personalize your account. Here’s how to customize your profile:


  • Provide your phone number to start receiving job recommendations

  • Specify the desired salary range
  • Add your education level and work experience
  • Upload your resume


When you customize your profile and provide more demographic data, you will receive job recommendations tailored to your preferences. It will make your job hunt a much more pleasant experience. 


Featured image source:

Picture of Team Lensa
Team Lensa
Team Lensa is a group of HR specialists, career counselors, and tech enthusiasts dedicated to helping job seekers navigate the employment landscape through actionable tips and insights.

Recommended posts