Cover letters when applying for ID job

Hi everyone, I am a recent Industrial Design Graduate and have been making a list of places to apply for. What I noticed is alot of companies require a cover letter. I don’t really know what they look for in a cover letter and most examples of coverletters online are not design related let alone industrial design related.

Could anyone give me insight on what makes up a good cover letter?
How it is structured?
Key things to mention or talk about?
The usual length?
Should it look plan text format or have graphical design elements to it?

Thank you in advance for your insights, I think this is a topic alot of young designers want to know more about.

Here’s the last one I wrote. Not really sure what else to say but I got the job. Might be worth noting I’ve identified areas I want to progress in too, not just said “I can do everything”!

I think I copied a couple of paragraphs into the email I sent my teaser/taster portfolio on the back off. Don’t make unnecessary work for yourself!

Damn, download failed, I’ll edit this post tomorrow, sorry!

ok great, I look forward to seeing it, thank you very much

My cover letter for any job:

Paragraph 1:
Introduce myself

Paragraph 2:
Why I want to work for them and how my experience relates to this. Depending on the job, maybe what I’m hoping to learn in the position.

Paragraph 3:
Point for point explanation of how I have the skills and/or experience listed in the job description, structured into a coherent and flowing thought.

It’s worked well so far.

Do a search here on the boards. I know this has been asked and answered before. Key points-

  1. Address it to someone specific if you can (do your research).
  2. Be sure to proof well and have no typos or slang.
  3. Make it specific and relevant to the position and job (don’t write about your UI experience if you are applying for a furniture design job).
  4. Highlight your personality, goals and experience in a way that compliments your portfolio/application.
  5. Think of it as your 30s elevator pitch.
  6. Basic format-

Dear X,

My name is Y, and I’m interested/applying for Z position.

General bio (student of/graduate of/years experience in).

General overview of why you are a fit for the job.

Highlights of experience.

Specifics of why your experience is a good fit for the company/job, ie. what specifically you can offer that would relate to the position given your experience.

Mention of attachments, when you follow-up, what you expect/hope to happen next.



These days most cover letters are the body of an email, not a separate attachment.


Thank you for taking the time and sharing this. It is very helpful.

Three paragraphs quick and easy:

  1. This is who I am and this is what I’m applying for
  2. This is why I’m awesome
  3. This is why you should hire me

Then add a line with your available start date, willingness to relocate if necessary, and contact information. This should never ever go beyond one page, they don’t want to read a novel. If they want to know more they’ll call you/bring you in for an interview.

For design jobs, your cover letter should graphically match your resume. For instance I have a column on the left side of my resume with my contact information and I kept the exact same column for my cover letter template and just replaced the resume content with my cover letter text. Same colors, fonts, etc.

And please, for the love of God, double and triple check you are sending the correct cover letter to the correct company when applying if you’re sending it out to multiple companies.

I’ve updated my earlier post, sorry for the delay!

As leezard mentioned, this matched the font used elsewhere in my portfolio, and was sent landscape format as the first page of a .pdf containing my CV and work examples.