Cover Letter Tips
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a formal letter that accompanies your résumé. Use it to introduce yourself to potential employers, and to convince them that you’re the right person for the job.
Your cover letter doesn’t simply re-state your résumé—it offers some new information, and it highlights the skills you have that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Cover Letter Format:
A cover letter is typically a 3 paragraph letter that is to address three main objectives:
- To introduce yourself, identify the position you are applying for, and explain how you found out about the position
- To explain how you are qualified for the position and why you would be a great fit for the job
- To request an interview and thank the employer
Body of Cover Letter
The body of your cover letter lets the employer know what position you are applying for, why the employer should select you for an interview, and how you will follow-up.
First Paragraph: WHAT?
The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing. Mention the position you are applying for and where you found the job listing. Include the name of a mutual contact, if you have one.
Middle Paragraph(s): WHY?
The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Mention specifically how your qualifications match the job you are applying for. Remember, you are interpreting your resume, not repeating it.
Final Paragraph: HOW?
Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow-up. Summarize!
Top-10 cover letter tips
- Do your homework. Learn what you can about the company or organization you’re applying to, so you can tailor your cover letter and really show the employer that you could be a good fit.
- Follow instructions. Be sure to include any information that was requested in the job posting. If the posting asked for the amount of hours a week you are available to work, be sure to answer that question in the cover letter.
- Don’t just restate your résumé. Use your letter as an opportunity to make a great first impression. Most employers read the cover letter first, so you want to catch their attention by describing your impressive skills. That way, they are more likely to read your full résumé.
- Personalize your letter. When possible, address your cover letter to a specific person. Use their name and title, and make sure the spelling of the name is correct.
- Tailor your letter to the job. Make sure the skills and experience you highlight in your cover letter are clearly connected to the job you’re applying for.
- Presentation counts. Use a font that’s easy to read, like 12-point Times New Roman or Arial. Using 8.5 x 11-inch white paper is usually a smart choice.
- Break it down. Make your cover letter easier to read by breaking the text down into short paragraphs.
- Use a professional tone. Be sure to use professional and respectful language when writing your cover letter.
- Be brief. Your cover letter should be no more than one page long—the best strategy is to keep it short and to the point.
- Proofread. Review your cover letter several times; don’t just rely on spell-check. Ask someone else to proofread it as well.
Please click here to get a sample of a cover letter.