Creative Cover letter Ideas?

Hi Heroes,

Recently, I came across few recruiters who were interested in the Cover letter more than the Portfolios. I am well aware that Cover letter is in document format and revolves around your Introduction/skills/experience etc but Is anyone aware of any format/template using which we can make it a bit creative. Since, we are designers, I feel the cover letter should manifest our creative persona too. Any suggestions or ideas?

4 Replies
Dave Cox

Hi Ashi,

I'm not an expert on this, but I've had several discussions with recruiters about what they like. Above and beyond anything else, you want to get their attention. Recruiters skim thousands of resumes and cover letters, and many never make it to the hiring manager. And of those that do, they only get a few moments view before the manager moves on to the next one. So it is key to get their attention in the first sentence. Not only do you need to grab their attention, but you need to grab their interest, and hold it long enough to get your point across. You cover letter is a marketing tool, much like a commercial. Make it interesting, to the point, and close quickly. 

I hope that helps. If you know a marketing person or a recruiter, that is the perfect person to get some insight from.

Bob S

Hi Ashi,

Your cover letter can't help you get past the Applicant Tracking System if you are applying blindly. But if you are going through a recruiter it can help get noticed by the Talent Acquisition team at the employer itself.

As someone who has dabbled in the Talent Acquisition field and still interacts with TA professionals on a daily basis, I can tell you that Dave has this mostly correct.   Not sure I would say thousands, but it's not unusual for internal recruiters to look through dozens (or rarely) hundreds of resumes for an opening before reaching out to phone screen just a small number. 

Specific suggestions...

  1. First remember what the cover letter is and isn't designed to do. It's about getting noticed so they spend a few more seconds (literally) reviewing your resume before moving on.
  2. Think visuals.  Especially in a creative field such as L&D, you want to break with boring "business standard" and create something that stands out visually.  Make the visual fit the (not so) subtle message you want to convey.... Are you a problem solver?  Do you want them to think you are  a team player?  Would you rather they focus on your breadth of experience?    Just as you would when designing a course, choose visuals that communicate and reinforce the key message.
  3. You tweak your resume for each specific role and employer right? So you are going to do the same for your cover letter..... right?  Whenever you have the chance, use what you learn from the job posting or company history to tweak your package accordingly. This may mean different visual treatments and/or text to suit the need.
  4. Finally, be bold..... no, I mean BOLD!  Even if you want to temper it with a more traditional resume, your cover letter is an opportunity to take chances.   How about a cover letter that's entirely an Info-graphic listing your best attributes?  If it's a progressive company that touts hip culture, how about a graphic novel style cover letter?  Again, remember point #1.... you have little to lose and everything to gain by going bold on your cover letter.  Even if it's too over the top, they are still likely to review your resume more closely, even if just out of curiosity if nothing else. 

Hope this helps and good luck!


Nancy Woinoski

Most recruiters don't even look at the resume beyond a superficial glance. They really only look at the cover letter and in it they want a clear summary of your skills as they pertain to the position they are currently trying to fill. So write a different cover letter for each job you are applying for and try to position  your skills using the same language the recruiter uses so that they don't have to compare apples to oranges.