What is a cover letter?
A cover letter helps you to stand out to employers. It is an opportunity to expand on the skills listed on your resume through providing examples and expressing your unique voice and interest in the position.
When should I include a cover letter?
A cover letter should always accompany a resume. Even if the employer doesn’t specify that they would like a cover letter, include one if you would like to be seriously considered for a job.
Your Cover Letter should:
- Be tailored to the job description
- Express your passion and purpose for the position, industry, and company
- Illustrate your writing skills – be clear and concise!
- Be formally-formatted, see templates in the Quick Links for examples
Want cover letter feedback emailed to you?
Email your cover letter to email@example.com
Subject line: “Cover Letter Review"
Be sure to include the job posting and your resume so we can help you tailor your cover letter. We will have someone look at your cover letter and send it back to you with feedback.
COVER LETTER FAQS
You should tailor a cover letter for each employer and job description. Generic templates are easily identified and could indicate a lack of interest in that particular opportunity. Most employers will not consider a resume unless it comes with a cover letter that tailored to that position.
Do everything you can to discover the name and gender of a specific individual. You could search LinkedIn for a specific person or even call the organization to inquire about the hiring team. When in doubt use “Dear Hiring manager” or “Dear Search Committee”. If you are not sure of someone’s gender due to ambiguity or cultural difference, you can Use “Dear First Name Last Name” which is 100% accurate, if a bit awkward.
Not usually. Information about your age, marital status, or health history should be omitted. Often, a uniquely personal part of your resume (hobby, creative jobs, travels) could get you in the door, so you could expand on that information in your cover letter.
To be selected for any position, you must demonstrate that you can help solve the organization’s problems. Research the organization, make inquiries by networking, and brainstorm about what kinds of problems a person in that role at that organization might handle. Then, target the content of your cover letter according to your skills and abilities as they offer solutions or address specific requirements of the role.
Ideally, your cover letter would be 3-4 concise paragraphs on a single page. There are exceptions such as required statements of philosophy or cover letters that accompany a C.V. for academic positions.
A cover letter is where you expand on your experience in your resume. You can reference your resume experience, but then expand upon your success in that area and what you will bring to the position that you are applying for.