More tips – cover letters that have broken rules

by K B , updated on April 28, 2011

These cover letter examples break all the cover letter rules I wrote

Google cover letter tips and you’ll see hundred of rules around cover letters – including this one rule book post I wrote. Sometimes however rules are worth breaking. I broke a few cover letter rules of my own about brevity, structure and length with these cover letters below, but they still worked and landed my clients an interview.

Cover Letter Example 1 – too long?

It is with great pleasure that we present our application for the position of live in management couple advertised on X. We wish to outline the skills that we bring after over twenty years of successfully combining our talents in various businesses.

We are particularly interested in this role as we have enjoyed the challenges presented in managing our most recent property X. Similar to X this is a four star fifty-unit establishment with a large restaurant and conference centre. Within our first year we increased revenue, reduced costs and improved profitability across all areas of the property.

We are strongly commercially focussed and bring extensive experience in hospitality, hotel and motel management. Proof of our  skills are in the results we have delivered through tight budgeting, supplier, staff cash flow and cost management, plus increasing marketing and improving revenue. Below is a snapshot of the results we have achieved:

Significantly increasing revenue (in a recession) while retaining customer loyalty within the first 3 months at X; increasing net room rate by 6% and gross turnover by 8%

– At X was pivotal in driving the success of the award winning X Cafe

– Successfully establishing the highly popular and successful X, a 160 seat restaurant to become an icon of the local area

– Delivering profit within first 3 months of employment for X managing licensed clubhouse, shop, restaurant, fast-food outlet and sandwich bar. This business had previously suffered significant losses

Having owned and managed a real estate agency, we have experience in managing leased units and trust accounting. In our time at X Real Estate we doubled the number of properties we let through  regular reporting, responding efficiently to the requests of our landlords and managing the maintenance and letting of their properties to generate the best yield.

Our customers describe us as warm, welcoming and quick to anticipate their needs. We enjoy inspiring such an ethos in the teams we manage and we are proud of our history of recruiting, training, managing and retaining loyal teams.

Having spent many years in Queensland we miss the outdoors and space. Your resort located near X and surrounded by X sounds like a delightful location where we can apply our talents to improve profitability of your business.

Please find attached our resume. We very much look forward to discussing our application in more detail. You can contact us on.

Cover Letter Example 2 – even longer?

I am very keen to be considered for the position of a Customer Service Advisor at X. As one of Australia’s biggest employers I know you offer an exciting and challenging work environment and interesting careers.

You will see from my resume that my background is unusual. However I believe this makes me a stronger applicant. I’ll explain why below.

I am highly motivated. Having arrived in Australia as a refugee I have needed to settle into a completely new culture and carve out a life for myself. I practiced as a science teacher for many years in Zimbabwe. Despite extremely difficult circumstances I was able to lead my students to achieve strong academic results.

I have excellent communication skills. Like children anywhere, children in Zimbabwe do not like science. In every class I taught children with a range of abilities. I was able to communicate difficult topics to make science simple and enjoyable. Furthermore as Head Teacher I frequently resolved misunderstandings, even conflicts, between parents and the school.

I enjoy helping people so I know I would love customer service. My referees describe me as someone with strong empathy who is able to quickly bring people onside.

I also enjoy working as part of a team. As a Head Science teacher I motivated my staff, mentored newer teachers and adopted the philosophy of leading by example. I am just as happy working as part of a team as I am leading it. In Australia I have worked as part of a team in a factory where we needed to work effectively together in a pressurised environment to ensure that we meet our turnaround targets.

These are all the practical reasons you should consider my application, but I mentioned at the start of my letter, my unusual background makes me a stronger candidate.

The main reason is this. As a refugee to Australia I would love to give something back to the country that has offered me so much safety and protection.  I feel thankful every day that I am now a permanent Australian resident. Working for X with your ethos of helping people in need, will provide me with an amazing opportunity to give something back.

Cover Letter Example 3 – too casual?

I wish to apply for the position of Sister City Coordinator as advertised in X on X. The job reference number is ABC.

Ever since my first trip to Japan, I have been a big fan of cultural exchanges.

I have recently returned to Sydney after living and working as a training professional in Osaka, Japan for the last ten years.  My first trip to Japan was part of a “home stay.” I had just graduated from University and found it an exhilarating experience – just overcoming the day to day difficulties of language barriers, food differences and understanding a different culture, made the ordinary seem exciting.

My overseas experience was character building and gave me an entirely new outlook, not just to a different Asian culture, but also to appreciate my home town of Sydney much more.

I would now love to be involved in a program that creates such opportunities.

I have enclosed my resume to provide you with an overview of my experience and training. Please contact me at the above address so that I can provide you with any additional information you may require.

The Cover Letter Bottom Line

If these cover letters are too long or too casually written, why did they succeed?

They show that the applicant had done their homework on themselves and the organisation, and had put in an effort. In fact so many people now, don’t bother doing cover letters now, that a small effort may go a long way.

The client in example 2 would not have made any impact with just his resume. As a school teacher, he was not a match for the role. His cover letter pulled it all together for him and described his motivations. He made his point of difference a strength.

The bottom line here is, don’t overlook a good cover letter, it might just get you over the line.


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Elena April 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Hi, Karalyn.

What is your opinion on another way to find a job (for an entry level position) – cold calling? is it an appropriate method of job seaching in Australia. What are the chances of success if a job seeker calls to potecial employers directly and even if the job opening is not yet advertised? And would it be considered as impolite if a job seeker calls to a small-to medium sized employers for asking whether they have a job opening for a position that intersted me?

Thank you

Karalyn May 1, 2011 at 1:09 am

Hi Elena,

Thanks for your question. Will write this one up in a blog post.


Aaron Cruikshank May 2, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Hi Karalyn,

I really like your cover letter tips. I’ve got a format that I’ve been sharing with my friends/loved ones and I’d be interested in getting your comments on it:

Too short? Too brief?
Always trying to improve the craft and would appreciate your feedback.

Ps. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed and am looking forward to reading your blog in months to come. 🙂

karalyn May 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Hi Aaron, Thanks for the comment. I quite like what you have done for an entry level type role and do believe that you should not go over a page. I would put more detail in a senior letter though.


@raulmarcus October 21, 2011 at 5:03 am

Examples of rule breaking cover letters that have still worked

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