The principal purpose of a cover letter is to both persuade the employer to review your resume and to spark interest in interviewing you for a position. You will want to send a cover letter with each resume.
The CDO created Developing Your Cover Letter, which contains helpful hints and examples, many of which are reproduced below. You can download the Letter Writing Guide in Adobe PDF Format.
As with résumés, our career counselors are available to meet with and go over cover letters. Just schedule an appointment online!
The following are suggestions for writing your cover letter:
Keep this section short! State the position you are applying for, how you learned of the opportunity, what you respect about the organization and ask for consideration based on the related skills and experiences you have to offer. If you are applying through a contact, be sure to mention the contact’s name in the first few sentences. Express your interest in both the company and the position, and mention something unique about the organization that prompted you to apply. Be careful about disclosing interests that might appear too self-serving; instead, use research that’s of equal interest to you.
In one or two paragraphs, establish the connection between the organization’s needs and your background and skills. This brief summary should emphasize what you have to offer, not what you want from them, and why what you have to offer matters to THEM. Try not to restate your résumé; instead, expand upon your educational, leadership and work experiences that relate to the position for which you are applying. Make a stronger impression by limiting your focus to one or two of your experiences, and by providing specific results.
Restate your interest in the organization and position and end your letter by initiating the next step – your commitment to action. Request an interview, or tell the reader that you will contact him/her soon in order to schedule a mutually convenient time to meet. It really is OK to follow through with a potential employer; it shows your initiative and enthusiasm for the job. Finally, thank the reader for his/her time and/or consideration.