Cover Letters

When you apply for a job, the purpose of a cover letter is to get the hiring manager to read your resume. The cover letter should highlight specific reasons why you would be a good fit for the position and how you align with the organization.

Tips for Writing a Good Cover Letter

  • Address it to the person who will interview candidates, by name if possible.
  • Match the font style and size to your resume.
  • Keep your cover letter short (one page) and to the point. If you are writing a cover letter for a position in academia, it may be two pages.
  • Make your cover letter focused on the employer. Talk about how you can meet their needs, not how they can meet your needs.
  • Prepare each cover letter individually; don’t use a form letter.

Cover Letter Template

Your Street Address
Your City, State ZIP Code
Your area code and phone number (optional)
Your email address (optional)

Today's Date

Name of Recipient
Job Title of Recipient
Street Address
City, State ZIP Code

Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Last Name [if you are unsure of gender, omit salutation and write full name] or Dear Hiring Manager:

Begin by saying why you are writing. Include the position title you are pursuing and how you found out about the opening. If you were referred by an alum or other contact, mention that here, as well as any other interaction with representatives from the organization (fairs, information sessions, etc.). Tell the employer briefly in one or two sentences why you are interested in this position and their organization. State the one to three things that you believe qualify you for the position; these will serve as the basis for your next paragraphs.

Use this section, typically one to three paragraphs, to describe the top three skills you have to offer this employer. Be specific in outlining how your qualifications match the position you are applying for. Mention hard skills and transferable skills that you have developed through work experiences, internships/co-ops, coursework, volunteer experiences, extracurricular activities, etc. Do not merely provide a list of things you have done, as this can be easily gathered from your resume. Instead, make your case for what you have to offer and why you want to offer it to this particular organization.

Conclude by thanking the employer for their time and consideration. Express your interest in an opportunity to discuss the position and your experiences in greater detail. Finally, share your phone number and email address so the employer knows how to contact you.


Your Name Typed

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