Cover Letters


This is your first opportunity to make an impression!


Specific Types of Cover Letters

  • Letter of inquiry: letter written about opportunities or request general information about a company.
  • Letter of application: letter written to apply for a position within the company.

General Guidelines

  • Use block or modified block business letter format; keep the wording professional.
  • Send each letter to a specific person; make it personal.
  • Individualize the letter by incorporating information you have acquired through researching the company; do not use a form letter.
  • Laser print the letter on high quality paper that matches your resume.

Purpose of a Cover Letter

  • Gives you the opportunity to convince an employer to read your resume.
  • Allows you to express your interest and enthusiasm in the position and the possibility of working for the company.
  • Enables you to target your resume and highlight your transferable skills.
  • Strengthens your chances of securing interviews.
  • Demonstrates your written communication skills.

Parts of a Cover Letter

Introductory Paragraph

  • Briefly give some background information about yourself.
  • Be sure to capture the employer's interest in the first few sentences.
  • If sending a letter of application: state the specific job title of the position for which you are applying and mention how you heard about the job opening.
  • If sending a letter of inquiry: specify your reason for writing; indicate if you are inquiring about employment opportunities and indicate your knowledge and/or interest in the organization.

Body Paragraphs

  • Mention how your career plans, skills, education, and/or experience are relevant to the position and/or how they coincide with the organization's needs.
  • Highlight your strengths and qualifications. Use specific examples to provide evidence of skills, experiences, and accomplishments.
  • Make a good first impression; this is your chance to sell yourself!
  • Avoid restating your resume.

Concluding Paragraph

  • Indicate what actions you would like to happen next.
  • State your desire for a personal interview, if that is your intention.
  • Express your appreciation for the employer's time and consideration.

The Next Step

Be sure to contact the organization within 2-3 weeks. This is to ensure they have received your materials and it will remind them of your interest in their organization.

General Outline of Cover Letter

Use complete title and address. If possible, address it to a particular person.



Opening Paragraph: State why you are writing, name the position or type of work for which you are applying and mention how you heard of the opening or organization. Make the addressee want to read your resume, be personable and enthusiastic.

Middle Paragraph: Explain why you are interested in working for this employer and specify your reasons for desiring this type of work. If you have had relevant work experience or related education, be sure to point it out, but do not reiterate your entire resume. Emphasize skills or abilities you have that relate to the job for which you are applying. Be sure to do this in a confident manner and remember that the reader will view your letter of application as an example of your writing skills.

Closing Paragraph: You may refer the reader to your enclosed resume (which gives a summary of your qualifications) or whatever media you are using to illustrate your training, interests, and experience. Have an appropriate closing to pave the way for the interview by indicating the action or steps you will take to initiate an interview date.


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