Office of Career Development & Experiential Learning Services 

Cover Letters 

Cover Letter Tips

Cover letters, like resumes, are a reflection of you.  They should not repeat the resume; they should elaborate on specific topics and show the connection between the job you seek and the skills you offer.  Remember, a cover letter should always accompany your resume and each must be tailored to the position in which you are applying.


Opening Paragraph

The goal of this paragraph is to catch the reader's attention.  Various experts suggest introducing yourself and stating how you heard of the job opening (newspaper, referral, website, etc.).  This is fine.  However, in writing an unsolicited letter or in responding to a listed job posting, the office suggests you grab attention by being succinct:

·         Explain why you are writing

·         State what you'll bring to the position (write in terms of skills and accomplishments)


Second and Third Paragraph

Since the opening paragraph is succinct, the second and third paragraphs elaborate on your introduction.  Do not repeat verbatim the information on your resume.  Give good examples of how your skills have been demonstrated.  Remember from a potential employer’s perspective, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  As a result, describe your past accomplishments and how they predict success in future endeavors.  Be sure to refer to the CAR Method (circumstance, actions, and results) to better tell a story that illustrates how you have used your skills in the past.


Closing Paragraph

The closing paragraph provides a smooth transition.  Skills are not the only factors that determine success; personal characteristics and the ability to interact with others are equally important.  Therefore, complement the skills you highlight by describing personal qualities which will enable you to perform well.  Also, refer the reader to your resume and tell the employer that you will follow up with a telephone call.  A job search is a communications process.  You initiate the process and YOU must follow up.


Putting it all Together


·         Always write to an individual.  If no name is given on a position announcement, contact the organization to get the contact person's name – avoid “to whom it may concern”

·         Have your letter word-processed on quality paper and laser-printed. It should sound and look original, not mass-produced

·         Do not overuse the personal pronoun "I"

·         Be succinct; gear the letter to the needs of the reader

·         Make sure your letter "looks" good with no typographical errors or mistakes; edit it and proofread carefully.


Example Cover Letter


Additional Job Correspondence Examples:

 Application Letter 1  Application Letter 2
 Internship Letter 1  Prospecting Letter 1
 Networking Letter 1  Referral Letter 1
 Withdrawal Letter 1  Acceptance Letter 1
 Thank-You Letter 1  Rejection Letter 1

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