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How to Write a Cover Letter

Whenever a resume is not hand delivered, it should include a cover letter that introduces you and your qualifications. The cover letter also serves as a writing sample. After developing a base cover letter, customize it to each potential employer.

Elements of an Effective Cover Letter:
  • Cover letters can be likened to love letters. You want to start by telling the employer that you are interested in them and why, move on to describing how you are right for the role, and then move toward action (request an interview or conversation). To do this effectively, you can never use the same letter twice, so do your research and use the language included in the job description - that way you will earn your way into the employer’s heart.
  • If printing, use block letter format
  • Address your letter to a specific person or job title. If you don’t have the name of a contact, address your correspondence to “Search Coordinator” and the title of the position for which you are applying.
  • Tips on content:
    • Cover letter Introduction: Following an engaging opening, indicate the role for which you are applying and how you learned about the opportunity.
    • Body: Answer the question, “Why should I hire you?”
      • Identify your skills and qualifications in your pitch.
      • Incorporate keywords from the job posting’s position description.
      • Include why you are interested in working for this employer.
      • Demonstrate that you have researched the organization.
      • Be mindful of paragraph and sentence structure.
      • Use a free online platform like to weed out spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Your closing 
    • Thank the potential employer for their time.
    • Include next steps such as when you will follow up with them, or that you are waiting to hear from them.
    • Sign off.

Cover Letter Critique

Career Development will perform a thorough review of the content and the format, and make suggestions to strengthen the document, within three business days of submission.

Email the cover letter to in a Word or .PDF format (Word format is preferred).