OSU-Cascades Career Development Center
A cover letter or letter of application is a one page professional letter that emphasizes your interest
in the position, specifically relates your skills and experience to the job, and displays your written
Cover Letter Guidelines
Format your cover letter similarly to your resume, with the same header, margins, and font size
A cover letter MUST be no longer than one page, no exceptions
Each cover letter should be tailored to the exact job that you are applying for - employers can easily identify
a generic letter that you have used for multiple applications but just changed the company name
Summarize certain experiences and skills from your resume, DO NOT copy what is already on your resume
Be concise and avoid run-on sentences
Watch your “I”s, do not start every sentence with “I”
Proofread to make sure that your cover letters are error free – you cannot always trust spellchecker!
Who Should I Address My Letter To?
If the job posting does not list a contact person for the position, DO NOT address your letter “To Whom it May
Concern:”. You have a couple of additional options:
1. As long as the posting does not say “no calls please” you have the ability to call the Human Resources
department of the company, introduce yourself, let them know what position you are applying for and ask
if they would be able to let you know who you should address your letter to. Sometimes you will get a
name, sometimes you won’t. But if you do, the hiring manager will know that you did something extra to
find out who they are.
2. If the posting asks you not to call or if Human Resources won’t give you a contact name, you can choose to
address your letter to “Dear Hiring Manager:”, “Dear Recruiter:”, or “Dear Internship Coordinator:”.
Whichever you feel makes the most sense for the position that you are applying for.
How Should I Submit My Cover Letters?
When submitting your application onto an online system or uploading it electronically, you want to upload it as a
Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx). The applicant tracking systems that you upload your resume and cover
letter into are computer programs that will scan your application for keywords that relate to the job that you are
applying for. These systems can only scan Word documents, not PDF files.
If you are emailing your application to an employer, include your cover letter in the body of the email and attach
your resume to the email as a PDF file. This way your resume will look the same no matter who opens it and on
what device. You can also attach your cover letter as a PDF so that it is easy for the employer to print. Label your
attachments as “Last Name Resume, Title of Position” and “Last Name Cover Letter, Title of Position” so that your
application is easy for the employer to find later on.
If you are planning to print out your resume and cover letter to drop off copies in person at companies, or to hand
to recruiters during career fairs and interviews, it is best to print your resume and cover letter on resume paper.
You can purchase resume paper at OfficeMax, Staples, or any other office supply store.
O S U - C a s c a d e s C a r e e r D e v e l o p m e n t C e n t e r