Cover letter tips

 

Cover letters are not optional

A cover letter provides an opportunity to sell yourself and reveal your personality. A resume and cover letter should be part of your “marketing package.” Include a cover letter unless specified otherwise.

Reasons to write a cover letter

A cover letter allows you to highlight your strengths, demonstrate your writing ability and include information that would be out of place on a resume, such as the name of a mutual contact or an explanation for a change in career.

Basic rules for cover letters

Keep cover letters brief and concise, customize your letter to the job and employer, and “show, don’t tell” – give examples of skills instead of listing vague terms such as “hard worker” or “quick thinker.”

The beginning

Include your contact information at the top of the cover letter as well as the date and the contact information of the employer/receiver.

The introduction

Learn who the letter should be addressed to by calling the company or visiting their website. Avoid dated terms such as “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To whom it may concern.” When in doubt, use “Dear Hiring Manger” to begin your letter.

Opening statement

Introduce yourself and inform the employer about the position you are applying for. (Example: I am a senior accounting major at Southern Adventist University and I am interested in the assistant manager position at ABC Company.)

Middle paragraph

Mention your resume. Highlight quantifiable skills from your resume without repeating (complement without restating). Briefly expand on your experience and how your qualifications fit their job description. State how you believe you would be a good addition. (Example: My skills in ________ and _______ would be a valuable asset for ABC Company.)

Conclusion

Offer thanks for consideration and reiterate interest in the company. Politely request an interview.

Formatting tips

One-inch margins with 11- to 12-point font. One page only. Save document as PDF. Proofread carefully. Avoid long sentences and paragraphs. Use a similar look on both the resume and cover letter.

 

If you would like assistance with creating a cover letter, call Career Services at 423.236.2069.