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Career Services

Effective Cover Letters

  • Address the employing officer by name and, if possible, by title.   Make sure name and title are spelt correctly.

  • Verify the name of the employing officer using resources such as the company website and public library.

  • Speak to the reader as an individual.

  • Write with an active voice.  Use no cliches and write in short paragraphs.  The cover letter should be no more than 1 page.

  • Emphasize what you can do, not who you are.

  • Your cover letter should not repeat everything that is in your resume. Its objective is to provide the recipient with a reason to read your resume with a degree of positive anticipation.

  • Respond to the qualifications sought in the ad, but don't use their words to do so. Say the same thing, using different words at different times.

  • Stress the part of your background that will portray you as a qualified candidate for the position.
  • Catch the employer's attention by opening your letter with a strong statement.

  • Use the center of your letter to intrigue the employer with stating brief facts about your accomplishments.

  • Include clues that hiring you will lead to higher production, greater efficiency, and better performance by focusing on the self-interest of the person to whom you are writing.
  • Try to include a challenging thought that will cause the employer to feel that meeting with you would be worthwhile.

  • Be direct in requesting an interview or state that you will call to arrange a meeting.

  • Plan on mailing a group of letters all at the same time. When all the letters are completed, mail them.

  • When mailing a batch of letters, or even one, try to think when your letter will arrive so as to receive maximum attention. Most employers receive their heaviest mail on Mondays. Fridays may be too close to the weekend.