Cover Letters

 

When initially contacting an employer about a job opportunity, it is recommended that you accompany your resume with a cover letter (also known as a letter of application). A cover letter should be prepared just as carefully as your resume because it contributes to the first impression you will make on an employer. One of the benefits of a cover letter is that it allows you to expand on information in your resume and how it specifically relates to the position for which you are applying. It also illustrates your written communication skills.

 

The guidelines found on this page will help you put together your own individualized cover letter. Please also reference the following sample cover letters below:

Sample Cover Letter 1
Sample Cover Letter 2
Sample Cover Letter 3
Sample Cover Letter 4
Sample Cover Letter 5
Sample Cover Letter 6
Sample Cover Letter 7

 

Remember! Once a cover letter is written, it can serve as a basic framework and then be tailored to other positions for which you apply.

 

Cover Letter Format

  • Header - Use the same header (your contact information) for your resume, cover letter, and references page
     
  • Length - Limit your letter to one page with three to five paragraphs (10 point to 11 point font looks best)
     
  • Paper - Use white or pastel colored paper - use the same paper for your resume, cover letter, and references page

 

Remember to check your grammar, spelling and capitalization. It MUST be ERROR FREE!

 

Cover Letter Content

Include the date, employer's name, title, employer and address as with any business letter.

Address your cover letter to a specific contact person/person hiring if possible, or if that information is not available, to "Dear Human Resources Director," "Dear Hiring Manager," "Dear College Recruiter," or "Dear Search Committee Chair."

  • Sentence structure - DO NOT start every sentence with "I", be sure to vary the sentence structure.
     
  • Select highlights from your educational and work experiences that speak directly to the position instead of repeating all that's on your resume.
     
  • 1st paragraph - State how you learned of the position, and you should mention the position title and company or organization name. NOTE: If you are applying for any position for which you may qualify, you may state this.
     
  • 2nd paragraph - Summarize your recent accomplishments, including getting your college degree, what you learned in your program of study, special course projects worked on, and skills developed from these experiences.
     
  • 3rd paragraph - Discuss highlights from your work experiences, student organization memberships, internships, and/or volunteer experiences that are relevant to the position for which you're applying.
     
  • 4th paragraph - Indicate WHY you want to work for this particular company/organization. Base this statement on knowledge of the company/organization you acquired through your company research. See How Do I Research Companies? to get started!
     
  • Final paragraph - Tactfully suggest your availability for an interview as well as where and how you can be reached.