You need to show you understand the company and position in your cover letter. From formal to casual, creative to technical, here’s how to nail your cover letter tone for six different industries.

By: Alexis Sicklick | Resume Writer for Let’s Eat, Grandma


Have you ever seen a public speaker who really inspired you? They were eloquent and entertaining, but most importantly, they persuaded you to take action. Whether it was donating to a cause or starting a new passion, they convinced you to make a change.

How did they do it? What was their secret? They knew how to speak your language. 

They didn’t just come up with some great words off the top of their head — they learned about what people like you need and how they can fix it. They not only understood the kind of problems you were facing, but they also explained to you that their solution was correct using language that made sense to you.

Just like a public speaker needs to know their audience, you need to know your dream company. You know that you’re qualified for the job you want, but you have to understand the company’s mindset and convince them to make the decision to hire you. You need to present a case for yourself by speaking their language and showing them that you understand what the position requires inside and out.

So how do you do this? With a tool you might not expect — your cover letter.

Nailing Your Cover Letter Tone Can Land You The Job

Though they’re often underappreciated, a cover letter can actually be the secret weapon in a job seeker’s tool belt. 

As important as your resume is, there’s only so much it can do to show off your personality and communication style. With full sentences and a more personal tone, your cover letter is where you can show the company who you really are on a deeper level. It’s a chance to persuade a company by stating exactly what it wants to hear without merely restating your resume.

Writing a cover letter in a tone that matches the position won’t just supplement your resume with your human appeal – it will also help you speak the company’s language in your answers in the job interview.

While each company and job is unique, there are some general points to remember for your cover letter tone when trying to get them to notice you are the one. 

Here are examples for six different industries. Find your niche in this list, then use our unique tips to choose the most appropriate cover letter tone:

How To Show Them What You’re All About: Examples for Six Different Industries

The Adventurer (Startups/Change Agents)

A graphic with a compass icon and the title "The Adventurer",  illustrating 1 of 6 cover letter tone profiles.

These companies/positions are bold, taking risks to put themselves on the map and bring something new to the table. They need to prove they are competent and not afraid to get a little beat up along the way to success, never giving in to the pressure to quit.

Your cover letter should include strong language to demonstrate that you too know how to make a bold impression. It should also feature stories of challenges you overcame to show that you are persistent and willing to struggle to succeed. These companies and positions want people who are go-getters, collaborative, resourceful, and persuasive.

Your tone will be professional but with a little extra ‘oomph’ and personality to show that you want to be taken seriously, you have something new to bring to the table, and you know how to get others to believe in your ideas.

The Entertainer (Designers/Artists/Chefs/Performers/Fundraisers) 

A graphic with a paint pallete icon and the title "The Entertainer",  illustrating 1 of 6 cover letter tone profiles.

These positions are looking for people who bring ideas to life. They want someone who is creative, thinks outside of the box, and can produce something tangible while relating to others. Writing skills aren’t as essential as the focus is more on the artistry.

A casual, more playful tone that showcases your passion for innovation and connection is expected.

The Technician (Engineers/Builders/Analysts/Scientists)

A graphic with a protractor icon and the title "The Technician"

Similar to above, hard skills are more important in these fields. Your success stems from what you can physically produce, and these companies are more focused on hands-on work. 

Your tone should be casual but serious and detail-oriented. These roles require a great deal of hard, meticulous work, and they want someone who understands the significance of their labor and knows how to get it done. You can showcase your creative side a bit as well – you are solving complex problems in these roles, and that often requires some inventive thinking.

The Informer (Marketers/Writers/News Outlets/Educators/Researchers)

A graphic with an icon of pencils writing on a notebook and the title "The Informer"

These positions require a mastery of the English language — they are ‘the ones with the words’ who know how to express themselves better than anyone else. 

Your tone needs to be professional and eloquent for obvious reasons, and you need to be articulate in your word choices. But you can also be the storyteller that you are, just in a concise manner. You are expected to convey messages, stir up emotions, and inspire action in your audience if you hold these roles, so your cover letter should take the reader on a journey. Make them know and feel that you are the perfect person for the job.

The Professional (Doctors/Finance/Lawyers)

A graphic with an icon of scales and the title "The Professional",  illustrating 1 of 6 cover letter tone profiles.

These professions don’t have time for dawdling, and they are much stricter in their rules. Your tone should be highly professional, serious, and straightforward. Give exactly what is needed and nothing extra. 

The work in these industries is also very time-consuming, so you need to demonstrate that you attack everything head-on, efficiently, and with a well-informed opinion. You need to come across as intelligent, critical, focused, and, though you might not think it — personable. These professions often require direct interactions with clients/patients, so you need to also demonstrate that you can clearly communicate with people; use language that shows your approachable side as well.

The Big Boss (Executives)

A graphic with an icon of a person leading three others and the title "The Big Boss," illustrating 1 of 6 cover letter tone profiles.

These are the people in charge. Everything ties back to them. They hold down the fort. They can see things with a big-picture perspective, and they know how to bring everyone together to keep things running. 

Your cover letter must come across as clear, mature, and powerful. You are going to be the commander, so demonstrate that you deserve that respect. Use a very professional tone, but don’t be afraid to tell some stories as well. You’ve had a long career — show how far you’ve come and that you have many lessons to share. You take control, have the utmost standards, and can lead a high-achieving, committed team; your writing must be proper, dynamic, intriguing, and inspiring.


No matter what industry or position you’re applying to, pay close attention to your cover letter tone. As these examples show, every job, industry, and company is different from one another (an accountant is always an accountant, but an accountant for a manufacturing corporation will have a very different personality than an accountant at a non-profit theater company).

You need to focus on portraying why you’re the best candidate for each specific scenario. Demonstrate this in your communications, and you’ll be much more likely to win them over and land the job.

If you need more help with your cover letter, we’re happy to help out. Schedule a free phone consultation with us on our homepage to find out how our business writing experts can assist in landing your dream job.

Happy job hunting!

Love,

Grandma