Cover letters

You may be wondering if you need a cover letter. The answer is “Yes!” whenever it’s requested or optional. Cover letters are a very important part of “getting in the door”. In many instances, it’s how you make your first impression and show your interest in the position/company.

If a position asks for a personal statement, philosophy statement, or diversity statement along with your application materials review our personal statement resources.

How to write a cover letter

A video guide for writing your cover letter

Different types of cover letters

Remember with cover letters there is no “one size fits all” as every letter should be tailored towards the employer and the position. The following samples are suggestions of how a cover letter can be formatted:

Steps in writing a cover letter

Essential outline of a cover letter

Sample cover letter outline (PDF)

Sample Full-time job cover letter

When applying to full-time jobs

Sample full-time cover letter (PDF)

Sample internship cover letter

When applying to internships

Sample internship cover letter (PDF)

More cover letter tips

Don't send a resume without a cover letter. Don't make the reader guess what you are asking for; be specific: Do you want a summer internship opportunity, or a permanent position after graduation; are you inquiring about future employment possibilities?
Examples could be: a posting on Handshake, the employer's website, a recruiter you met at a career fair, or a family friend who works at the organization. It is also appropriate to mention the name of someone who suggested that you apply.
The cover letter may be seen first. Therefore, it must be very well written and targeted to that employer.
Education, leadership, experience – that are relevant to a position you are seeking. Be as specific as possible, using examples.
Personality, motivation, enthusiasm, and communication skills can be demonstrated through your letter.
If they ask you to address a specific question in your cover letter be sure to include that as well as anything else that might not be covered in your resume, such as availability date, or reference to an attached writing sample.
In a letter of inquiry, ask about the possibility of an opening – don't assume the employer will contact you. You should say something like, "I will contact you in two weeks to learn more about upcoming employment opportunities with [name of organization]." Then mark your calendar to make the call.