Learn how to write a compelling cover letter that can increase your chances of landing the graphic design job that you want. Understand what to include, what to avoid, and tips to personalize and maximize your cover letter.

Key Insights

  • A well-crafted cover letter for a graphic design role sets the tone for your portfolio and allows you to highlight your specific skills and experiences. It's a critical component of the job application process.
  • Key elements in the cover letter include personal information and greetings, an introductory paragraph outlining your talents and experiences, a summary of your design background and experience, specific appeals to the position, and a professional conclusion.
  • Make your cover letter personalized for the job in question by researching the job description and the hiring firm. This helps to show that you understand the nature of the projects you would be working on.
  • Word economy is crucial in a cover letter. Ensure to include important information in a concise manner avoiding lengthy and unnecessary explanations.
  • Feedback on your cover letter from professionals in the field, such as teachers and instructors, can be vital for improving clarity, noticing typos, and ensuring the letter effectively communicates your intended messages.
  • Noble Desktop offers a career-certificate course that provides professional feedback on cover letters, as well as graphic design classes to further equip students with necessary design skills for a career in graphic design.

Paired alongside the resume, the cover letter is one of the first things that prospective employers will see when they begin looking through designer applications. These short letters provide context for your resume and allow you to sell yourself and your talents to the design firm you are applying to. The best way to think of it is to imagine a cover letter as a preview of your interview and portfolio, a quick way for an employer to gauge your interest in the position and your ability to do the necessary work. These letters tend to be short, often less than 500 words in length, but they are significantly important because they are one of the first things that hiring managers look at when faced with a large number of job applications.

How to Write a Graphic Designer Cover Letter

Writing your first cover letter is often fairly difficult because the genre is one that you don’t often write in. Trying to appeal to a hiring manager for a job in a brief letter can be difficult, and it will probably take a few tries to get it right. However, there are a few things you’ll want to include in all of your cover letters to improve your chances of success.

Personal Information and Greetings

Despite all of the oddities of the format, a cover letter is still a letter and should begin with a formal greeting. You should start by calling the hiring manager by name, if applicable, or by simply addressing the letter to a “hiring manager or committee.” Then, you should introduce yourself and state that you intend to apply for a posted job. This might seem redundant, as it may feel clear that you are applying for a job, but it is important to include this formal introduction.

Introductory Paragraph

After introducing yourself and announcing your intent to apply for the job, you’ll want to hook your readers with a brief introduction to your talents and experiences as a designer. This can be a brief summation of the major points of your resume, or it can be an introduction to your own history as a designer. It should be brief and to the point since the broader elements of this history and design philosophy will be on greater display in your resume and, if it comes to the point, in your interview.

Design Background and Experience

Since you are summarizing elements of your background and design history, you’ll want to use this space to functionally narrate how you want a hiring manager to read your additional job materials. This can take a lot of forms, but the cover letter is a good place to direct your readers’ attention to elements of your resume and job materials that may not be obvious without additional context. For example, you may have a line in your resume detailing a particular job assignment you worked on or a professional accolade you received. The job letter is a way to give context to your CV lines and help your reader understand why it matters.

Specific Appeals to the Position

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In the later part of the cover letter, you’ll want to explain exactly why it is that you want the specific job to which you are applying. You’ll want to spend a significant amount of time explaining to your prospective employer exactly why you are a good fit for the job in question. It is important that prospective employees use this specific space to demonstrate that they have paid special attention to the job listing in question and they have shaped their letter to the job rather than simply repurposing an existing job letter.

Ending and Professional Conclusion

At the end of the letter, you should professionally thank the hiring manager/committee for their time and consideration. This should be brief since it is a concluding part of a relatively short letter, but it is important to politely conclude the letter. You should also sign the letter, even if it is a digital signature.

5 Graphic Designer Cover Letter Tips

Cover letters can be fairly difficult to write, given that they are supposed to contain a great deal of important information in a relatively short amount of space. You’ll want to introduce yourself, explain your qualifications for the position, contextualize important elements of your other job materials, explain your availability, and conclude with a formal letter. Since there is so much at stake in these letters, a few things are worth considering to help make your letter as successful as possible.

Tip #1: Direct your Readers' Attention Toward your Job Materials

One of the most important aspects of a job letter is to give the hiring manager a series of signposts to help them understand the rest of your job materials. If you want to highlight your professional accolades in your resume, your letter should spend a decent amount of time discussing how your professional accolades demonstrate their strengths as candidates. Suppose you want to draw your readers to pay greater attention to your portfolio materials. In that case, your letter should explain how you see individual projects in your portfolio demonstrating your qualifications for work. This will change from job letter to job letter, but you must use the space of the letter to guide your reader to the parts of your application that you want them to focus upon.

Tip #2: Don’t use this space to apologize for your Resume

Since a key part of your letter involves contextualizing aspects of your resume and providing employers with information that isn’t going to be obvious, it may be tempting to use the space of the letter to explain away something like a gap in employment or a concern regarding your formal training. This is a poor use of space in the letter and will put your reader in a less positive frame of mind as they are reading and may draw their attention to those issues. It is useful to consider how you will address these gaps or absences, but this is something to consider during the interview process when you may be specifically asked about these concerns. You want to use the letter as a space to put your best foot forward rather than using it as a space to discuss the deficiencies in your other job materials. 

Tip #3: Make your letter as personalized as possible

One of the most important parts of writing a cover letter is ensuring that it is personalized for the job in question. You should research the job description and the hiring firm to discuss the kinds of projects that they will have you working on or the kinds of projects you are most likely to be assigned. If the firm commonly works in print advertising design, you’ll want to explain in your job letter how you are ready to start doing this work. If the firm has a more eclectic collection of clients, you’ll want to convince the hiring manager that you are prepared to work in an environment where your assignments are constantly changing. This is, obviously, going to vary from job letter to job letter, but it is important to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you took the time to personalize your letter for the job.

Tip #4: Maximize your Word Economy

For most positions, a job letter will be no more than five hundred words long, and that is before headings, introductions, and conclusions are factored in. This means that words and space are at a premium, and prospective employees should consider how they can get as much value out of the space as possible. This can be as easy as running a letter through a grammar-checking machine to help clean up overly wordy sentences. It can also be as involved as selectivity choosing the kinds of information you will include and maximizing how much you can tell a prospective employer in as few words as possible. You shouldn’t cut a strong selling point of your candidacy for the sake of sparing words, but you should consider how an overly-long story or explanation may be less useful than two equally strong selling points.

Tip #5: Get Feedback

You will want to ask teachers, instructors, and professionals you know for feedback on your letters. There are a few reasons that this is vital. The first major reason is that most new Graphic Designers will have never written something like a cover letter before, so they will want to get specific advice from professionals who have written these letters successfully. A second major reason for getting this feedback is that it lets you get another perspective on whether the letter communicates the ideas you want it to communicate. It is easy to think that something is obvious to you but is harder to make sense of for your readers. The final reason that this is ideal is that it lets you get another set of eyes who may notice typos, awkward sentences, or writing tics that you can clean up in your work.

One place to receive this kind of professional feedback is in a career-certificate course offered through Noble Desktop. Among the professionalization services provided by these classes are one-on-one career mentoring sessions during which students can receive help and feedback on the shape of their cover letters and the direction that they are taking their job materials/

Learn the Skills to Become a Graphic Designer at Noble Desktop

If you want to start a career in graphic design, the graphic design classes offered by Noble Desktop are an excellent place to start. Students can take all their classes remotely or in-person at their Manhattan campus. For students who want to start slow by just learning one popular design program, Noble offers an Adobe Photoshop Bootcamp, an Adobe InDesign Bootcamp, and an Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp. These beginner-friendly courses take just a few days to complete and will provide students with foundational design skills.

For those who feel ready to dive into a more comprehensive program, Noble Desktop’s Graphic Design Certificate might be a better fit. Students will complete hands-on assignments using popular design programs, including Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. This program is ideal for those hoping to start a career as a Graphic Designer. Certificate students at Noble Desktop receive individual career mentorship, where experts in the design industry help craft resumes and portfolios and provide helpful tips for finding lucrative employment. 

If a class isn’t feasible for your current schedule, Noble Desktop has a host of resources on its website to help start your graphic design career. You can browse their collection of articles about Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign if you’re curious about how each program works. You can also review information about other design tools to see if another field might interest you more.