Cover Letters

Coverletters 1500x500

Tell your story

You have a less than one page to convey your interest and qualifications. Tailor your message and be specific.

Cover letters are a tool to introduce yourself, serving as a bridge between your resume and the specific job to which you are applying. Therefore, there isn’t a “one size fits all” cover letter. A cover letter is also a reflection of your writing skills, so take time and care to proofread and review your document. It needs to be specific to the organization and position -- a generic cover letter will not help you.

When should I send a cover letter?

  • Applying through Handshake or another online database and the employer has requested it
  • Responding to a job posting
  • Sending a response to a referral provided by an alum, friend, or acquaintance

What content should I include in a cover letter?

An effective cover letter includes three paragraphs:

  1. Why you are writing.
    • Responding to an advertised opening
    • Inquiring about a possible opening
    • States WHY you are applying to, or are interested in, this employer
    • Company’s training program
    • Company’s product or service
    • Demonstrate your company research
    • Mention your contact/referral if you have one
  2. What qualifications you bring to that specific position at that specific company/organization
    • Highlights two or three experiences or academic achievements that directly relate to the qualifications the employer is seeking
    • Proves through examples of experiences and activities that you have key skills for the position—i.e., leadership, communication, problem-solving ability, and analytical skills
    • May close with a summary sentence of your qualifications and a confident statement that you can make a contribution to the organization
  3. What you want (i.e. an interview or an opportunity to further discuss your qualifications)
    • May reference your enclosed or attached resume
    • Thanks the person and indicates that you look forward to speaking to or meeting with him/her, but indicates flexibility as to time and place
    • Optional: You may want to share that you will call the contact person at a certain time/day to discuss scheduling a meeting or an interview

Sample Cover Letters

Examples 1-2: Mary Flint and Peter Smith

Examples 3-4: Julie Smith and Anthony Hermann