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:
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
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
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