Cover Letter

Types of Letters

  • Application/Cover - Applies to a specific job or internship
  • Prospecting - Seeks to identify possible vacancies
  • Networking - Designed to generate informational interviews
  • Thank-you - Establishes goodwill and expresses appreciation
  • Acceptance - Accepts job offer, confirms terms of employment
  • Rejection - Declines job offer

Purpose of a Cover Letter

There are specific reasons for including a cover letter when submitting a resume to a prospective employer. These include:

  • Identifying your reason for writing the employer
  • Linking major job requirements with your related past performance and experience
  • Demonstrating what you can do for the employer

Craft your letters to reflect what is appropriate for your audience and respond to the specific requirements of the position.

Characteristics of a Strong Cover Letter

  • Addressed to a specific individual and position
  • Verified correct spelling of recipient's name and title
  • Organized and visually pleasing
  • Clear and concise in articulation of skills and interests
  • Technically correct in grammar and spelling; error free
  • Presented on high quality paper/envelope
  • Ideally one page with careful editing

Components of a Cover Letter

Top of Page

  • Date
  • Salutation (Dear Mr. Jones)
  • Your Contact Information

Introductory Paragraph (You)

  • Specify why you are writing
  • Identify the individual(s) who referred you
  • Note a previous point of contact and pay a compliment
  • Provide an overview of the remainder of your letter
  • Make a connection between you and the reader

Body of Letter (Me)

  • Do some personal marketing - elaborate on your strengths as they relate to the employer's needs
  • Be honest - provide specific examples that demonstrate your knowledge and experience
  • Refer to your enclosed resume and/or portfolio
  • Wrap-up by identifying your potential contributions to the organization

Conclusion (We)

  • Reiterate your interest in the position and the organization
  • Suggest an action plan - request an interview
  • Identify the next step - your plans or your request for them
  • Indicate you will call during a specific time period
  • Provide additional contact information
  • Express your sincere appreciation and enthusiasm

Layout Tips

  • Try blocking a short list of accomplishments for emphasis; use bullets
  • Underline a few important phrases for emphasis
  • Unless you are applying for an artistic position, do not be too creative with your layout 
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