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Cover Letters

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter will accompany your resume, C.V., and/or application and introduce you to a prospective employer, graduate school program, etc. Because readers will gain their first impression of you from your cover letter, it is important that the letter is well-written and to-the-point. In your cover letter you should:

  • explain any important experiences and skills that show your potential and ability for the position
  • show the reader that you are taking the time and effort to individualize your application
  • demonstrate your written communication skills

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

  • Create a header that includes: the address of whomever you writing, the date, and your contact information.
  • Address the letter to a specific person.
  • Clarify the position you are applying for.
  • Detail your experience and qualifications without repeating your resume or simply listing off items.
  • Write in a formal, professional manner.
  • Proofread several times for spelling and grammatical errors and organization.
  • Avoid contractions.
  • Try to close with a reminder of your strengths as a candidate and a request for a follow-up response or interview.
  • Provide your contact information again.
  • Type your name at the bottom of the letter, and sign and print your name by hand between the closing and your typed name.
  • Limit the letter to a length of one page, with one paragraph of introduction, one-three paragraphs detailing your qualifications, and one conclusion paragraph.

Formatting a Cover Letter

  • Use a standard font type and size, and standard margins (1-1.25 in.).
  • Leave spaces between the addresses and date in the heading.
  • Single-space the letter.
  • Align the paragraphs to the left (you don't need to indent the first line of each paragraph) and leave a space between each paragraph.

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