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Cover Letters

What opportunities are provided by your cover letter or other professional correspondence?

  • The opportunity to introduce yourself and to state your objective
  • A more personalized résumé
  • The ability to highlight information that addresses the needs and interests of the employer

Cover Letter Tips

  • No longer than one page and no more than four paragraphs
  • Tailor each letter to the company and position. Know your reader and his or her organization
  • Address your letter to a specific person. Use “Hiring Manager” or “Human Resources Manager” only as a last resort. Call and ask to whom you should address your letter
  • Your letter should be easy to read, printed neatly on a single page of good quality paper and free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
  • Write each letter in your own words
  • Do not just list your skills and strengths. Use concrete examples of how you have developed your skills and used your talents
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread! Then have someone else proofread it for you
  • Send a cover letter with all résumés


  • Format

    Your Street Address
    City, State Zip Code
    Month Day, Year

    Mr./Ms./Dr. Full Name
    Name of Organization
    Street or P.O. Box Address
    City, State Zip

    Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Last Name:

    Opening Paragraph – Tell why you are writing. Name the position, field or general career area about which you are inquiring or applying. Tell how you heard of the opening, the company or organization (mention a contact name, if you have one) and basic information about yourself. Highlight a reason you are applying, something about them or something about your past experience that is important for the position.

    Middle Paragraph – Mention the qualifications you believe are of greatest interest to the employer. If you have related experience or specialized training, point it out. Do not repeat what is on your résumé, but customize your skills and experiences to the employer’s needs. This is the place to highlight your skills and abilities to a potential employer. Document your claims with statements to show evidence of your skills. (Examples are key!) Tie your past experiences to what the employer is looking for and give examples of how you've done what they are looking for. End the paragraph with a statement indicating your confidence in your ability to perform in the position.

    Closing Paragraph – Refer the reader to your enclosed résumé or application. If this is a letter of inquiry, request an application or other informational materials and an interview. If this is a letter of application, state what you will do to follow up, such as telephone the employer within two weeks to check on the status of the application (optional- but make sure to do follow up). Include your phone number and state that you would be glad to provide any additional information needed. Thank the employer for their consideration of your application/résumé.

    (Your handwritten signature)
    Your typed name