experiences in a variety of settings – academic, personal, professional, and extracurricular- and
your goal is to convey this information effectively and persuasively to a prospective employer.
Step Two: Market Research
Once you have assessed your interests and skills, it is critical to conduct
Employers are seeking individuals who fit their organization and culture well. Your letter should
demonstrate a thorough understanding of the position and the needs of the employer.
Step Three: Analyzing the Job Description
Now that you have a thorough understanding of your skills and target market, review the position
posting thoughtfully. Employers usually enumerate qualifications in order of importance. Use
the primary information listed under Responsibilities & Qualifications in the job description to
guide the theme(s) of your cover letter.
Cover Letter Composition
1. Format: Follow basic business-letter format in composing your letters.
2. Electronic Submittals: Submit the cover letter as a PDF attachment. This assures that
formatting and/or text will not be lost through electronic submittal. In certain circumstances,
you can use your email as the cover letter with your resume as an attachment.
3. Hard copies: If providing a hard copy of your cover letter, use high-quality matching bond
paper for your resume, cover letter, and envelopes in white or ivory. Please contact the CDO
Administrative Coordinator for resume and cover letter paper.
Cover Letter Structure
Date and Return Address
In addition to traditional formatting, students have also become accustomed to creating personal
letterheads to match their cover letter and resume. In either approach, include the following
information in the heading:
Recipient’s Address and Greeting
Avoid using the generic “To Whom it May Concern.” While it is not always possible to secure
this information, it demonstrates initiative and may help you get an interview. Attempt to
identify the hiring manager or overseer of the hiring process through the organization’s website.