Cover Letter

Your cover letter serves as your first writing sample and an opportunity to communicate your enthusiasm and professional strengths to a prospective employer. A successful cover letter will capture the attention of the reader in a professional manner, direct the reader to the strongest points of your resume, and persuade the reader to invite you for an interview. Like your resume, your cover letter must be free of typographical and grammatical errors.

Prepare your cover letter using the same "letterhead" as used for your resume, and address it to a specific individual whenever possible. Avoid addressing a letter "to whom it may concern." Be sure that the recipient's name, title and address are correct. The body of your cover letter should consist of three main sections (but should not be labeled as such):

Introduction 

Begin with a brief description of who you are, the purpose of the letter, and the name of the position for which you are applying. Refer to your attached or enclosed resume (and any other materials you included). Tell how you learned about the position or the employer. If someone has referred you, mention that person by name.

Qualifications & Interests 

This section may be one or two paragraphs in length. This section should emphasize your work experiences that are most relevant to the position.  Avoid clichés and rehashing your resume. Instead, expand on your resume with a focus on how your skills meet the employer's needs. Demonstrate that you have done your research and understand the organization. 

Conclusion 

Briefly reiterate your interest in the position and passion for the application of your skills. Thank them for their consideration of your candidacy, and let them know that they should feel free to contact you if they require additional information.

  • Always use a cover letter when applying. A resume alone is not effective (unless there is a specific request for a resume only).
  • This is your first chance to make an impression. Be sure it's smooth, readable and error free. The recipient's name, title and address must be correct.
  • Use impeccably correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and no jargon
  • Use direct words instead of qualifiers and intensifiers
  • Be concrete - provide details and avoid vague generalities about accomplishments. Be specific about activities. Explain your skills without providing tedious detail
  • If your cover letter contains mistakes the prospective employer will move on to the next applicant
  • Be accurate and honest
  • Thank the reader and request an interview in the closing paragraph
  • Be friendly and professional, but never pushy
  • Proofread! And then have someone else proofread - they may catch a mistake you overlooked
  • Avoid clichés
  • Tailor your cover letter to the particular company and position and revise your cover letter for each application
  • Address your cover letter to a specific person, if possible
  • Keep a record of each application. This will help if you are contacted for an interview.