Stand Out Through Your Cover Letter
A cover letter is your opportunity to demonstrate to an employer your fit and enthusiasm for the role. Simply by taking the time to write a tailored cover letter, you are showing the employer that you are an eager applicant. A well-written cover letter will show the employer how your experience and skills connect with the job description.
- Tailor your letter to the position. Each cover letter should be tailored to the position and organization to which you are sending it. Keep in mind that the cover letter is often a prospective employer’s first impression of you.
- Be clear. Your cover letters should clearly and succinctly connect 2-3 of your key qualifications to the job description.
- Show, not just tell. Use specific examples to show the employer how you gained each qualification.
- Keep it short. Your cover letter should be no longer than one page and should include your contact information at the top, the date, and the organization’s address.
- Proofread. Proofread your letter multiple times to make sure there are no typos and that details such as the organization name and position title are correct. Have your cover letter reviewed by 1-2 others for both content feedback and another layer of proofreading.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, can be used to enhance your cover letter. Read our best practices for appropriately leveraging AI in your application materials.
How to Write a Strong Cover Letter
Though each cover letter should be tailored to the position and organization to which you are sending it, every letter will contain the same components. The goal is to motivate the reader to invite you for an interview and the best way to do that is to write a unique letter that focuses on that specific position and organization. That said, you will likely be able to reuse examples across letters.
Follow the steps below to write a strong cover letter. Use this worksheet to help you plan and develop your resume content.
Once you have a draft of your cover letter, stop by our office during weekly drop-in hours for a 15-minute cover letter review. No appointment needed!
Drop-Ins are not available until the Fall.
Formatting Your Cover Letter
Your Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Person, Title
City, State, Zip Code
Introduction: Explain why you are writing and how you heard about the opening (if applicable). Mention the job title by name. If you have a personal connection to the organization, mention that person’s name. In 1-2 sentences, demonstrate your knowledge of the organization and why you want to work there. Based on your research, what is something unique about this organization that appeals to you? Convey your excitement and genuine interest in the organization and the opportunity to work for them. Briefly explain why you are a good match—the skills/experiences you bring that you will elaborate on in the next couple paragraphs.
2-3 Body Paragraphs: Cover the 2-3 skills or qualifications you identified from the job description. This is where you will spend the most time creating content. Using examples from your resume (without repeating your resume verbatim), tell a brief story about the experiences that best qualify you for the role.
Closing: Restate in one sentence your enthusiasm for the role and how you can add value to their organization. Then write out your calls to action (share how they can contact you, politely request an interview, thank the employer for their time, and refer them to your attached resume.)
Enclosure / Attachment