You are here:

 

A strong cover letter can be as important as the resume in a job search. Your resume will state the facts and the cover letter will create interest in the resume and bring your qualifications to life.

 

Formatting Basics

  • Keep it to a single page.
  • Use business letter format including text flush left, the date, and the company's contact information.
  • Select a professional font consistent with your resume.
  • Spell check always. 

General Outline

Header/Salutation

  1. Use the same header as your resume. 
  2. Include the date followed by the company's name and address. 
  3. Address the letter to a specific person. If you can't identify the contact, address the letter to the company or division. 

Opening paragraph

  1. Lead with a "hook" to attract the reader's interest.  This hook should focus on your passion for the field, interest in the company, and/or previous experience.
  2. Provide an introduction and context for your application. Mention your degree and major as well as the job title that you are applying for. If you have a referral, now is the time to mention it. 
  3. State your interest in the specific position and/or company. Don't focus on what the company can do for you, but emphasize how you can contribute to the company. 
  4. Give a general outline for the body of your letter by mentioning the specific skills/strengths you will highlight.

Middle paragraph(s) 

  1. Go into detail about each skill/strength/experience that you introduced. 
  2. For each, illustrate with an example and apply to the company/position. 
  3. You should use experiences from your resume, but be careful not to simply reiterate everything on it. Elaborate, go into more depth, and provide context on how that experience relates to the company.

Closing paragraph 

  1. Thank the employer for their time and consideration.
  2. Reiterate interest in the company/position.
  3. Invite the company to follow-up or contact you regarding an interview. 

FAQs

Answer the 6 "W's":

  • What position are you applying for?
  • Where did you hear about the position?
  • Who are you, in terms of your education?
  • Why are you interested?
  • Why should the employer consider you for the position?
  • Where may you be contacted (phone/email)?

You can attach both your resume and cover letter to the email. In the body of the email, state that “I’d like to apply for the ___ position. Attached please find my cover letter and resume." Be sure these documents are both formatted as PDFs.  

Do not use 'To Whom it May Concern' as it this sounds inpersonal and generic. Address the letter to the company or division. For example, "Dear XYZ Company Human Resources" or "Dear Job Title Hiring Manager". 

Write a draft and schedule a review with your Career Coach!

Last Updated: 4/3/17