Cover Letter Guide _ _______________________________________________________________
The cover letter or letter of intent is a key part of any job application. Setting you apart
from the rest of the applicant pool, it gives you an opportunity to express to an employer that
you have done your research on their organization, and are the best candidate for the
position. Below are some guidelines to help you get started.
Be Specific .
Use the title of the job you are applying for in the first paragraph. Draw on examples of your
past experiences in order to express why you are the best candidate. Reference specific
programming or opportunities that you see in the organization where you can contribute. Use
a direct tone, action words, and skill categories to express yourself concisely.
Research the Organization.
Employers will respond to the enthusiasm and knowledge that you express about their
organization. Demonstrate that you have spent some time familiarizing yourself with the
organization’s mission, philosophy, and unique traits so that when you write the cover letter,
you can reference these points. Be genuine. Think about the skills you have to offer and how
they might best function within this specific organization. Follow the directions on how to
apply for the position. This is very important. Many employers don’t even review
applications that are submitted in word format if they were asked for as pdfs.
Spell and grammar check your letter. Write clearly and concisely, and avoid run‐on
sentences. Be very direct. Be original. Have at least two readers give you feedback before
submitting it to an organization. Remember that this is your opportunity to express your skills
in communication‐ a very important part of any work setting. All job application materials
should be formatted in to a PDF that is attached to an email. Use formal writing even in the
email. Cover letters, letters of interest, and resumes should NEVER be sent in the body of an
email as they lose their formatting.
Design it Well.
Use the same font that you use on your resume. Stay consistent in formatting style. If you
center your name on your resume, do so on your cover letter as well (see sample). Your
cover letter puts your resume in context, and as you are most likely submitting these to an
aesthetically minded audience, it’s important to present a strong design statement.