Cover Letter

What is a cover letter?

Some job applications might ask for a cover letter or a letter of interest. A cover letter allows you to express your interest and enthusiasm in the position and the organization.

Cover letters also:

  • Highlight skills or experiences that are especially relevant to the position
  • Demonstrate your written communication skills
  • Strengthen your chances of securing an interview

General structure

Our Cover Letter Guide shows how the guidelines below can be applied.

Cover Letters follow the follow header format:

Your Address

 

Date (Month Day of Month, Year)

 

Employer Name

Employer Address

 

The sample cover letter linked above demonstrates this formatting. Avoid making the document's margins too narrow or else some of the information at the top/bottom of the page may be cut off when printed. 

A strong introduction will catch the employer's interest:

  • Briefly state why you’re writing
  • Mention the specific job title and how you heard about the opening
  • If you have a personal connection to the organization mention that person’s name
  • Mention something you know or respect about the organization

Show your research:

Let them know what you like about the organization and why you want to work there.

  • State how your skills, education, or experience match the requirements of the position.
  • Use one or two specific examples and short stories to provide evidence of relevant skills, strengths,and accomplishments, without repeating your resume word for word.
  • Mention how the experiences you wrote about will let you help the employer.

What is a skill you want to highlight and what is an example or story that demonstrates that skill?

For example:

Skill to highlight = Ability to work in a team

Example = Student research experience in a lab with seven other peers

The closing paragraph is a great place to remind the employer who you are and your interest: 

  • Refer to the enclosed resume and provide your phone number and email address to make it easy for them to contact you.
  • Express your appreciation for the employer’s time and consideration.