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Cover Letters

Crafting an effective cover letter

If you think of a cover letter as just one more formality of the job search, you’re missing a great opportunity to make an even more powerful impression on prospective employers. Cover letters can highlight your qualifications and emphasize your interest in an organization and a position.

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Introduction to Writing a Cover Letter handout

Download and Go: Check out our tips for creating an effective cover letter.

Consider these guidelines as you start crafting a customized cover letter:

Personalize your cover letter

Make sure you personalize your cover letter to the hiring manager. If the name of the hiring manager has been provided to you, address the letter or email to that person to add a more personal touch. 

Provide a one-paragraph introduction

Provide a one-paragraph introduction that includes the following information:
  • The specific position you are interested in and where you heard about the opportunity
  • A brief introduction to you (i.e. your major, current job, etc.)
  • Why you are qualified for this position​

Craft one to three paragraphs in the body section

Craft one to three paragraphs in the body section that emphasizes:
  • Why you are interested in the position
  • How your academic background and experiences make you a qualified candidate for the position
  • Specific, relevant achievements or qualifications 
​​Try not to repeat the same information the reader will find in your resume. And, be sure to refer the reader to the enclosed or attached resume or application, which should summarize your qualifications, training and experience.

Communicate your desire to connect

Communicate your desire to connect in the conclusion:
  • Indicate your desire for a personal interview.
  • Repeat your phone number in the letter and offer any assistance to help in a speedy response.
  • Close your letter with a statement or question that will encourage a response. For example, you might s​ay that you will be in the city where the organization is located on a certain date and would like to set up an interview.