Purpose of Cover Letters
Well-written and informative letters/emails are extremely important during the job search process. They are your opportunity to grab the employer's attention and to share pertinent information. This page contains advice on how to structure and create letters that are appropriate for your job search.
- Understand the value that you bring to the organization
- Know the purpose of the letter
- Know your audience: Who is reading this letter? What kind of skills is the department looking for?
Content Considerations and Other Tips
1. Determine the purpose of the letter
- Why are you writing?
- What relevant skills, experience and education are you selling?
- Are you getting to the point quickly?
2. Show a familiarity/understanding of the department and why your background would be of value to the role that you’re targeting.
3. Customize/personalize letters – generic cover letters are not as valuable; always address the letter to an individual, not “to whom it may concern,” unless you are unable to determine this information.
4. Be concise and focused – 1/2 to 2/3 of a page is ideal; letter should be no longer than one full page
5. Proofread – any mistakes or typos provide an easy path to elimination.
6. Be positive and contribution-focused.
Specific Name of Hiring Manager
Title / Department
City, State, Zip Code
Tell why you are writing, naming the position, field or general career area to which you are applying. Mention how you heard of the opening or the organization if appropriate. Have at least one sentence about the organization and explain why you are interested in this job and/or organization.
Talk about your qualifications. Do no repeat information from you resume word-for-word, but highlight areas of particular relevance. The key components are education, skills and experiences. Tell them about the skills you have acquired through your education and various jobs. Point out related experience and training. Use as much language as you can from the job description.
Refer the reader to the enclosed application form or resume. Point out that you would be happy to provide any additional information concerning your background and interests upon request. Close by making a specific request. Usually this means a request for an interview. Make sure your closing is not vague, but requires specific action from the reader. Offer your thanks for the time and consideration.
(Your handwritten signature)
- or -
Your typed name