Write a Cover Letter

A cover letter is like a resume in that they both highlight the relevant skills and experiences you have that the employer seeks. The main difference is that while a resume showcases your qualifications, your cover letter showcases your personality and genuine interest in the position and company.

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The cover letter is your chance to show you’ve done your research on the company or organization and to demonstrate the value you offer. Ultimately, you are explaining why you are a good fit for the specific position (with your skills and qualifications) and company or organization (with your values and work style).

  • Use one page with a maximum of three or four paragraphs.
  • Use the same header (your contact info) as your resume. Think of it as branding.
  • Format with balanced margins (0.5” to 1”) and good balance of text to white space.
  • Choose an easy-to-read, professional font in 10- to 12-point size.
  • Address the letter to a specific person such as the hiring manager or recruiter’s name listed on the job announcement. Use “Hiring Manager” or “Hiring Committee” only as a last resort.
  1. First paragraph: Why this company or organization?

    • Describe which position you are applying for and how you learned about it, including the name of any referrals or if you met during a job fair or other event.
    • Highlight why you are applying to the company and why you are interested in it, demonstrating that you have completed research on the company’s service/products, their mission/values, etc.
    • Include a “thesis” statement: the top two or three reasons you’re qualified. You will expand on these in the next paragraph.
  2. Middle paragraph(s): Why you?

    • Prove your thesis statement with concrete examples demonstrating your skills and experiences.
    • Discuss specific work, academic or project experiences that directly relate to what the employer is looking for.
    • Bonus: Close with a summary sentence that shows how these examples will benefit the employer.
  3.  Last paragraph: Next steps

    • Reiterate your interest in the position and company.
    • Thank the employer for reading your cover letter.
    • Let the employer know you look forward to speaking with him or her soon.
    • End with a professional salutation, such as “Respectfully”, “Sincerely” or “Regards.”
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