Academic and Career Advising

Cover Letters

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Specific Types of Cover Letters

  • Letter of inquiry: a letter written about opportunities or request general information about a company.
  • Letter of application: a letter written to apply for a position within the company.

General Guidelines

  • Use block or modified block business letter format; keep the wording professional.
  • Send each letter to a specific person; make it personal.
  • Individualize the letter by incorporating information you have acquired through researching the company; do not use a form letter.
  • Laser print the letter on high-quality paper that matches your resume.

Purpose of a Cover Letter

  • Gives you the opportunity to convince an employer to read your resume.
  • Allows you to express your interest and enthusiasm for the position and the possibility of working for the company.
  • Enables you to target your resume and highlight your transferable skills.
  • Strengthens your chances of securing interviews.
  • Demonstrates your written communication skills.

Parts of a Cover Letter

Introductory Paragraph

  • Briefly give some background information about yourself.
  • Be sure to capture the employer's interest in the first few sentences.
  • If sending a letter of application: state the specific job title of the position for which you are applying and mention how you heard about the job opening.
  • If sending a letter of inquiry: specify your reason for writing; indicate if you are inquiring about employment opportunities and indicate your knowledge and/or interest in the organization.

Body Paragraphs

  • Mention how your career plans, skills, education, and/or experience are relevant to the position and/or how they coincide with the organization's needs.
  • Highlight your strengths and qualifications. Use specific examples to provide evidence of skills, experiences, and accomplishments.
  • Make a good first impression; this is your chance to sell yourself!
  • Avoid restating your resume.

Concluding Paragraph

  • Indicate what actions you would like to happen next.
  • State your desire for a personal interview, if that is your intention.
  • Express your appreciation for the employer's time and consideration.

The Next Step

Be sure to contact the organization within 2-3 weeks. This is to ensure they have received your materials and it will remind them of your interest in their organization.


Take the Next Step

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