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.