Resumes, Letters & Interviews

Cover letters

Cover letters

You may be wondering if you need a cover letter. The answer is always "Yes!". Cover letters are a very important part of 'getting in the door'. In many instances, it's how you make your first impression.

How to write a cover letter

Write an effective cover letter that will score you an interview. Remember with cover letters there is no "one size fits all" as every letter should be tailored towards the employer and the position.

Tips to write a cover letter:

Sample cover letters:

Other sample letters:


Explain why you are sending a resume

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?

Tell specifically how you learned about the position or the organization

A flyer posted in your department, a website, a family friend who works at the organization. It is appropriate to mention the name of someone who suggested that you apply.

Convince the reader to look at your resume

The cover letter may be seen first. Therefore, it must be very well written and targeted to that employer.

Call attention to elements of your background

Education, leadership, experience - that are relevant to a position you are seeking. Be as specific as possible, using examples.

Reflect your attitude

Personality, motivation, enthusiasm, and communication skills.

Provide or refer to any information specifically requested

In a job advertisement that might not be covered in your resume, such as availability date, or reference to an attached writing sample.

Indicate what you will do to follow-up.

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.