A cover letter is a one-page document that, along with your resume, is sent with your job application. A cover letter is your chance to tell a potential employer why you’re the perfect person for the position and how your skills and expertise can add value to the company. The letter should be professional but personal, and serve as a sort of introduction of yourself to the employer.

  • Create a well-written, tailored cover letter targeted to a specific job, field or organization.
  • Entice the prospective employer to review your resume by highlighting major points relevant to the position you are seeking.
  • Do not rehash your resume.
  • Set a professional, yet engaging tone. Get to the point soon after the salutation. Be brief, pertinent, and accurate.
  • Illustrate the qualifications and skills that make you unique and a good fit for the position. Avoid generic language.
  • Focus on how you can contribute to the employer, not how they can help you.
  • Hone your sentences so each word counts and keeps the prospective employer’s attention.


  • Greeting. Address your cover letter to a real person. If you do not know the name of the person to address, use their title.
  • Do not use “To Whom It May Concern” if possible. A little research goes a long way toward a positive first impression, so try and research the name of the person you are writing the cover letter for.
  • Middle paragraph(s). Draw a connection between your qualifications, experiences and the employer’s requirements for the position. Researching the organization and analyzing the job description will help you tailor this section. Use examples of how you have demonstrated skills they need.
  • Do not address the person as Sir or Ma’am if possible. Some
    individuals prefer not to be address by gender specfic nouns.
  • First paragraph. Refer to the position and how you learned
    about the opening. If you were referred to the position by a mutual acquaintance, this is the place to use it. Include the formal title
    and location.
  • Closing paragraph. Establish your next step. Take a proactive approach and ask when an interview can be arranged.
  • Thank them for their time and consideration.


  • Keep your cover letter to one page.
  • Use the same header from your resume. Use the same font style and size as your resume.
  • Customize your letter to include the company name, job title, and industry.
  • Use clear, concise phrases and avoid vague descriptions.
  • Vary the sentence structure. Do not begin every sentence with “I”.
  • Maintain correct verb tense and a consistent voice.
  • Do not include personal information such as age, marital status, health status, etc.
  • Do not state salary requirements unless requested in the job announcement.

Make It Happen

  • Double check for grammar and spelling errors. Review for consistency.
  • Make sure there are no misrepresentations and you have authored an authentic cover letter.
  • Schedule an appointment with a Career Services professional for review or additional assistance.
  • When sending a printed copy, print on quality resume paper and sign your name in blue or black ink.
  • When sending electronically, do not attach your cover letter to an email; use your cover letter as the body of the email