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. Cover letter
writing is an art.
On this page you will find information about:
The goal of this paragraph is to catch the reader's attention. Numerous books
suggest introducing yourself and stating how you heard of the job opening
(newspaper, referral, etc.). This is fine. However, in writing an unsolicited
letter or in responding to a listed job posting, we suggest you grab attention
by being succinct:
- Tell why you are writing.
- Tell what you'll bring to the position (talk in terms of skills and
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. The best
predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Thus, describe your past
accomplishments and how they predict success in future endeavors.
Be sure to refer to the CAR Method to better tell a story that illustrates how
you have used your skills in the past.
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 an advertisement, call to
get the contact person's name.
- 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.