University of Michigan
School of Art & Design
Cover Letter Writing
Traditional Cover Letters
Traditional cover letters introduce you to potential employers, gallery owners, art dealers, etc.
Whenever you send a resume to a potential employer you must also send a cover letter. Also,
when sending an artist packet to a gallery owner, part of the packet will be a cover letter. Both
cover letters and resumes are fluid documents that need to change to meet the needs of the
position for which you apply. Below are some general guidelines about how to write a cover
letter, and then some examples of cover letters.
Helpful advice: A well written letter will not get you a job but a poorly written letter will
guarantee you will not even get an interview.
The heading of a cover letter includes your name and address, and if appropriate, other contact
information. If you have personalized stationery that contains this information make sure to
change it when you move or change telephone numbers. Some people print the information
horizontally across the top or bottom of the page and others print this information in the top right
or left hand corner (see examples). Below your contact information place the name, title if
appropriate, and address of the person to whom you are writing. The date upon which you are
writing also needs to go in the heading. Remember! Spell the person’s name correctly.
The opening paragraph serves as an introduction stating who you are and why you are writing. If
possible, start with something catchy to gain the reader’s attention, but use common sense as
Use the second paragraph to draw the reader’s attention to selected information on your resume
relevant to the position or person. If you are using the cover letter as part of an artist packet,
demonstrate to the reader how your art is appropriate for the gallery or show.
If appropriate, write a third paragraph explaining how your experiences and skills make you not
only qualified for a position but a stand out in the mind of the reader. If you are using the cover
letter as a part of an artist packet, you may wish to use a short version of your artist’s statement
as the third paragraph.