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Cover Letters

What is a cover letter

A cover letter is means to introduce yourself to the organization that you are applying to. It should highlight your career path and show why your background/experiences make you an ideal fit for the position. To do this effectively, you can start with a cover letter template.

How to craft your cover letter

Cover letters should be tailored to each position that you are applying for. Keeping that in mind, follow the tips below to craft an impressive cover letter.

Tell Your Story and Be Passionate

Your cover letter should be personalized; it is the best way to introduce yourself. Tell the employer what you have to offer and why you want the job. Show enthusiasm.

Cover letters should be customized to each position and directly address the job description and responsibilities.

Establish a brand

Your resume, cover letter and any other documents should match. This demonstrates that you have the ability to craft an entire brand identity and that you can be consistent.

Ask not what your company can do for you

Tell your potential employer what you have to offer them, not the other way around. Cover letters lend your resume a voice, transforming a list of bullet points into a person—a person the company should hire.

Do your homework

Address your cover letter to a specific person. Nothing will turn off a hiring manager more than reading “Dear Sir or Madam,” or “To whom it may concern.”

Elaborate, don’t reiterate

Don’t rewrite everything that’s on your resume. The body of your letter should describe your most recent and relevant experience, the skills you’ve learned and experiences you’ve gained from them and how you’d apply those skills and insight to the position you’re applying for. You’re telling a story, so don’t be afraid to incorporate your personality in what you write.

Set yourself apart

Avoid clichés and vague descriptions like “I’m a people-person.” Show the hiring manager what makes you different from the rest. Focus on your strengths, not areas you need to grow in.

Be brief

Keep your cover letter to a single page. Concise cover letters are respect the time of recruiters and hiring staff.

Cover Letter Template

Below you can find a template to guide your next cover letter. Use this template as a starting point, and be sure to incorporate the tips above.

Name Heading (same as resume heading with Name, Address, Phone etc. –or- traditional address block)

<1 Space>

Month, Date, Year

<2 Spaces>

Name of Organization
Street or P. O. Box Address
City, State Zip Code

<4 Spaces>

Dear Hiring Manager: (specify name, if possible, or “Dear Human Resources”, or “Dear Hiring Manager” etc.)

<2 Spaces>

Opening Paragraph: State why you are writing, the exact name of the position you are applying for, how you heard about the position, and very basic info about yourself. If you are a current student or recent graduate this is a good spot to mention this, especially to justify lack of relevant job experience.

<2 Spaces>

Body Paragraph 1: Explain why you are interested in the employer and how your skills match the employer’s best interest.  Demonstrate that you know enough about the employer or position to relate your background to the position. Expand on past experience or narrate example(s) of accomplishments made in previous work/internship/volunteer situations that would relate to the new position you are applying for.

<2 Spaces>

Body Paragraph 2 (optional): Set yourself apart from the rest; tell the employer why they should hire you. This is also an excellent opportunity to show that you have researched the company and understand their needs. You could also use this section to briefly narrate a major accomplishment that brought favorable results to a past company/student club.

<2 Spaces>

Closing Paragraph: You may briefly indicate personality traits may make you a good fit for the company and show that you are a team player. Indicate that you would like the opportunity for a personal interview with (company name) to learn more about the position and to discuss in further detail what you have to offer. Thank the employer for her/his time and consideration.

<2 Spaces>

Sincerely or Respectfully,

<4 Spaces for handwritten signature>
Your Handwritten Signature (Blue ink preferred, never any color other than black or blue ink)

Your Name (Typed)
Enclosures (In parenthesis, Number of Documents attached, such as resume, application, reference sheet etc.)