Career Center

Cover Letter Writing Tips

  • Your cover letter may respond to a specific job advertisement or may inquire about current or future openings in your area of interest.

  • Each cover letter should be individually written or typed in order to show focus and commitment. Form letters are a turn-off to employers.

  • Address your letter to the person who has the power to hire you. If you do not know the name of the person, call the company or someone else who might be able to give you a name.

  • If you are unable to find out the appropriate name, address your letter to the Personnel Manager, Principal, Director or other appropriate title. Don't use the salutation "Dear Sir or Madam." Dear Hiring Office is the most neutral greeting.

  • In the body of the letter be sure to address all the qualifications listed in the advertisement or job description. Feel free to include new or additional information in your letter to supplement your resume.

  • If you are applying to a job in which you do not meet all the stated qualifications, emphasize related abilities or experiences. Be sure to give concrete reasons why you feel you can handle the job. Focus on what you have and DO NOT mention what you lack.

  • Avoid vague, boastful claims. Support all statements with specific examples.

  • If you are currently employed, be sure to explain why you wish to seek a new position.

  • Strive for a professional yet personal touch.

  • Convey enthusiasm, desire and commitment.

  • Be assertive and confident.

  • Avoid a "just give me a chance" tone.

  • Avoid dull or overused expressions like "I like to work with people."

  • Don't begin every sentence with "I".

  • Keep it short and sweet. No longer than one page. Three or four paragraphs will usually do.

  • If you know someone within the company who has recommended that you submit a resume, mention that person and your conversation in the opening paragraph of your letter.

  • Use the same paper for both your resume and cover letter.

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