Cover Letter Guide
OFFICE OF CAREER SERVICES
WHAT IT IS
A cover letter is a way of introducing yourself to a prospective employer. It serves three basic purposes.
An effective cover letter is a:
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL — it accompanies your resume to a prospective employer.
LETTER OF INTRODUCTION — it introduces you and your background to the employer. It lets
the employer know a little bit about you and what position you are applying for.
SALES LETTER — it gives you an opportunity to sell yourself to an employer. An effective cover
letter will convince the employer to turn the page and read your resume.
ALWAYS include a cover letter when you mail or fax your resume to a prospective employer. You do not
need a cover letter when you personally hand a resume to someone, but it never hurts to have one handy
just in case.
A cover letter should always be no longer
Write with enthusiasm and interest regard-
than one single page. Make it brief, but infor-
ing the possibility of working with this employer.
Project warmth and friendliness.
Use a separate cover letter for each em-
It has been said, “He that tooteth not his
ployer. Do not merely change the names. Em-
own horn is not tooted.” Without being arrogant,
ployers can spot a generic letter a long way off.
confidently lay out your qualifications, skills and
value to this employer.
Structure the cover letter with an opening
explaining why you are writing; a main body
Try to mention one thing about you that is
that lists two or three of your major accomplish-
unique. Set yourself apart from the crowd!
ments; and a closing which expresses a desire
for future communication.
This is a good place to expand on experi-
ence or abilities that cannot easily be described
Always address your letter to the person
on your resume.
who could hire you. Never write “to whom it
may concern,” “sir” or “madam.” You can obtain
The cover letter is an example of your writ-
this information by calling a secretary or recep-
ing style and ability. Make sure it represents
tionist. Make certain the name is spelled cor-
your best efforts.
Whether there is a position available at the
Show that you know a little about their com-
moment or not, you want to a face to face
pany and are interested in them.
meeting with them. Say in your letter that you
current activities, problems, interests or priorities
would like a short meeting to introduce yourself
involving the company that you are aware of.
and get to know more about their organization.