Write an Effective Cover Letter

Cover Letter Template


Date

Employer Contact Information

Name, Title

Company

Address

City, State, Zip Code


Salutation

Dear Mr. /Ms. Last Name (if there is no name available use “Hiring Manager” or “Greetings”),


First Paragraph

The first paragraph of your letter should clearly articulate that you are enthusiastically interested in the position. Specifically mention the name of the position for which you are applying. Include the name of a mutual contact, if you have one.


Middle Paragraph

The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer and should make the case that your skills and experience match the job for which you are applying. Start with an introductory sentence or two, then three bullets outlining specific experience, abilities and skills that are relevant to the position. Remember: you are interpreting your resume, not repeating it. Convince the reader that they should grant the interview or appointment you requested.


Final Paragraph

Conclude your cover letter by re-stating your interest in the position and thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Write that you will be happy to follow up within the week (and then mark your calendar to remind yourself to do so!).


Complimentary Close

“Thank you for your consideration” or “Sincerely”

Use an actual, handwritten signature for a mailed letter, or type your name if you are submitting the letter electronically.




Parts of a Cover Letter or Letter of Inquiry

A Cover Letter or a Letter of Inquiry is a one-page document (or email) that clearly articulates your interest in a position—and most importantly—outlines your specific experience and skills that relate to this position! This letter should communicate, “I’m exactly what you are looking for, and here’s why!”


First Paragraph: The Purpose

  • The name of the position

  • Where you found out about it (website or personal referral)

  • Indicate why you are interested in the position and/or the company

  • Show evidence of research about the company/organization

Middle Paragraph: The Proof (This is the most important paragraph!)

  • Cite specific skills that the organization is looking for

  • Cite specific accomplishments relevant to the job description

  • Highlight any unique skills, experience and background which might not appear on your resume (projects, coursework, collaborations)

  • Do not repeat what is already on your resume; re-interpret!

Last Paragraph: The Close

  • Acknowledge what is enclosed (resume, writing samples, references only if requested)

  • Indicate your interest in an interview or phone discussion about the position

  • Specify when you will follow-up with a phone call or email (but then you have to do it!)

  • Thank the person for their consideration of you and this request

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