How to Write a Winning Cover Letter
Whenever you mail a resume or application to an employer, it should be
accompanied by a cover letter. However, cover letters are not necessary
when you present your resume to an employer you do not have an
appointment to see, or when presenting your resume at a career fair such as
The cover letter is often the first contact you have with a prospective
employer. Its purpose is to create a favorable, professional impression while
you introduce your background and interest in employment opportunities. It
is called a "cover" letter because you always put it over your resume, and
fold them together to go into one envelope. It is also used to "cover" the key
elements of your background that you want an employer to consider.
Keep the following points in mind as you prepare your cover letter:
The cover should be typed neatly on a single page of stationery that
matches the paper of your resume.
Fold them together and mail in a matching envelope or, because
employers are increasingly scanning resumes, it may be more
appropriate to send your cover letter and resume unfolded in a large
Address the letter to a specific individual. The SIRC office can help you
locate contact names for various employers.
Keep in mind that your cover letter is also a writing sample. Show the
employer your best "simple and direct" writing style.
Include the following information in your letter:
How you learned of the opening (or why you are writing)
What special elements of your education or experience would
enable you to do an outstanding job
What attracts you to this particular opportunity
What action you would like the employer to take in response to
Have someone read over your letter for content and style.