A cover letter introduces you, and your resume, to a prospective employer. It provides them with important information concerning who you are and why you are applying for a particular position. It focuses on your skills, knowledge, interests, experiences and work habits related to the position sought. Use a block style business letter format and keep it to a single page.
- Introduce yourself and identify the exact position that you are applying for. Identify how you found the job opening.
- Explain why you are writing to the employer.
- Keep this section to 3-6 sentences. This paragraph is a basic introduction.
- Use this section to “sell yourself” to the employer.
- Describe your skills, employment history, academic research, community service ventures, leadership opportunities, and more as they relate to the position.
- Provide examples – Make sure that you provide the employer with enough information concerning your significant skills, experiences, and qualifications.
- Make sure that you indicate the correlation between your experiences and the job position.
- Explain to the employer why they should hire you. Highlight your potential.
- Use this section to identify your next step. Close the letter with a strong interest in pursuing the next step in the application process (i.e., employment interview, informational interview, and/or additional information for the application process).
- A cover letter should ALWAYS accompany a resume or application (unless the employer/job description notes otherwise).
- Keep your cover letter to one page (3-5 paragraphs). Prioritize your most relevant and positive experiences.
- Use the professional format for closing, “Sincerely,” with your name (typed) and your signature between the two.
- Place the word “Enclosure” at the bottom of your cover letter, to indicate that you will attach a resume or application to your cover letter.
- Write to a specific person, ideally the one who actually makes the hiring decision. If the job description does not list a specific person, do your research – Go online and find the appropriate contact individual. You can also contact the Front Desk Receptionist or the Human Resources Office within that particular company, if you still cannot find the appropriate contact person.
- If you try all of the options above and still end up without a specific contact individual, write to an appropriate position title. For example, address your letter to the “Sales Manager” when applying for a Sales position.
- Create a separate cover letter for each job. Generic letters do not impress employers! Employers might interpret a generic cover letter as lack of interest or passion for the job position.
- Print your cover letter on the same type of paper as your resume. Furthermore, maintain side margins of approximately one inch with even space at the top and bottom of the page.
- Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure that you have 2-3 people review your cover letter, before you send it to an employer. Grammatical errors are unacceptable!
To download the cover letter booklet click here.
- Monday - Friday (9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) - Meet with a Peer Career Ambassador for a 15-minute “Drop In” question-answer session.
- Monday - Friday (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) - Schedule a 60-minute appointment/counseling session with a Career Counselor, in order to obtain more information about this subject.
Please note: some items require the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe web site.