In addition to your resume, cover letters and other professional correspondence (e.g. thank you letters, networking emails, etc.) are your tools to make and maintain a positive impression. While resumes provide an overview of your qualifications, education, and experiences, cover letters and professional correspondence introduce you as a candidate, establish relationships, and nurture lasting relationships between you and the organization or your contact.
For our detailed guide to writing cover letters and other professional correspondences, click here.
What is a Cover Letter?
Cover letters are your opportunity to provide more depth to your skills and experiences on your resume, while also connecting those skills and experiences to the opportunity you are seeking. A well-written cover letter is tailored to the specific opportunity you are seeking, presenting you as a qualified and unique candidate and encouraging the reader to offer you an interview.
How to Write a Cover Letter
Effective cover letters are personalized and tailored to the specific opportunity for which you are applying. By taking the following steps before and while writing your cover letter, you can help your cover letter set you apart from those of other candidates.
For more detailed information about cover letter writing, see our Cover Letter and Professional Correspondence Guide.
1 – Review the Position Description
Read the description carefully to ensure you know the organization’s expectations and the requirements of the position. It is often helpful to print the description, highlight and annotate it, and review it while writing.
2 – Research the Company
Take the time to research the mission, background, and activities of the organization. Doing so not only allows you to make sure your background and interests fit the organizational culture, but also helps you personalize and tailor your cover letter and other application materials.
3 – Connect Your Skills and Experiences
Draw upon your previous work and internship experiences, volunteer work, class projects, campus involvement, etc. to demonstrate how you have the desired qualities and would be a good fit for the opportunity and/or organization.
4 – Format Your Cover Letter Properly
Cover letters should be a maximum of one page in length, in the same font as your résumé, and in business letter format. Purdue OWL is an excellent resource to learn more about business letter format. We also provide a cover letter outline.
5 – Ensure Your Cover Letter Is Free Of Spelling and Grammar Errors
Cover Letter Samples
- Internship Cover Letter
- Full-Time Position Cover Letter 1
- Full-Time Position Cover Letter 2
- Letter of Inquiry
Professional Correspondence Samples