Career Development
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Cover Letters

A cover letter should always accompany each resume that is sent out, whether it is by online, snail mail, fax or job website.  Cover letters can personalize your application for employment, sometimes making the difference between getting an interview or not.   Since the person who reads your letter probably reads many letters every day, you should be direct, courteous and brief.

GUIDELINES FOR THE COVER LETTER

First Paragraph: WHY YOU ARE WRITING?

In your initial paragraph, state why you are writing the letter, name the specific position or type of work for which you are applying, and indicate from which resource (career center, website ad, newspaper ad, friend, or employment service) you learned of the opening. Highlight your basic skills or experience that relates to the job described.

Second Paragraph: WHY YOU? -- HOW ARE YOU QUALIFIED?

Indicate why you are interested in the position, the organization, its products or services- and above all what you can do for the employer. If you are a recent graduate, explain how your academic background makes you a qualified candidate for the position. If you have some practical work experience, point out your specific achievements or unique accomplishments. Try not to repeat the same information the reader will find on your resume. Attempt to identify what the potential employer is looking for and describe your abilities, skills and accomplishments as they relate to the job.

Third Paragraph: WHY THEM?

The cover letter should also reflect your knowledge and understanding of the organization. Know who they are and what they do. Add a few lines to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and connect how you would be a good fit for their organization.

Fourth Paragraph: ASK FOR THE INTERVIEW.

In the closing paragraph, indicate your desire for a personal interview and your flexibility as to the time and the place. Repeat your phone number or email address in the letter. Finally, close your letter with a statement or question, which will encourage a response. For example, state that you will be in the city where the company is located on a certain date and would like to set up an interview. Or, state that you will call on a certain date to set up an interview. Or, ask if the employer will be visiting in your area, or it desires any additional information or references. Thank them for their time and consideration.

For assistance with cover letter writting, contact  the Center for Career Development to meet with a Career Counselor.

Sample Cover Letter

Sample Cover Letter - Using Personal Contact

Cover Letters Channel on Candid Career
View videos of employers giving advice on cover letter writing.

 

Updated 9/2015