The cover letter formally introduces you and your resume to the employer. It is often the first writing sample you will submit to an employer and, as such, you will want it to reflect your best abilities. Cover letters should reflect sound writing practices and promote your candidacy. You must communicate your value to a prospective organization in an understandable, brief, and positive way. The cover letter should be one page in length and should include three to four paragraphs. It is important to include a cover letter with every resume you send. Remember to address the letter to a specific person, along with his or her title, and to sign your name at the bottom. Before you send your cover letter, be sure to proofread, checking for any grammatical or spelling errors. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
- Design your letters to be work-centered and employer-centered, not self-centered.
- Your letters are marketing tools that should address the need of employers and should inspire a desire to learn more about you.
- Never delegate responsibility for your job or internship search to anyone else. Do all the writing yourself, and take responsibility for following up with employers.
- Always address your letters to a specific individual with his or her correct title and business address.
- If you are mailing your cover letter, be sure to use high quality stationery and envelopes.
- Keep the letter to one page. Eliminate extraneous words and avoid rehashing material from your resume.
- Tailor your letter for each employer. Generic, mass-produced letters are unprofessional.
- Show appreciation to the employer for considering your application and for granting you an interview.
- Always keep your reader in mind. Make the letter easy to read and attractive.
- Be honest. Always be able to support your claims with evidence and specific examples from your experiences.
THANK YOU LETTER
After you have reviewed the Career Development Center's Guide to Interviewing, you will have learned that after an interview, it is proper to send a thank you letter. Remember that during the interview, you should get a business card from each person you meet so that you may send a thank you e-mail, typed letter or handwritten note within 24 hours after the interview. This can be done by either email or a handwritten note or both.
To learn how to write a thank you letter, please refer to the samples below.
INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW REQUEST LETTER
One strategy that can be particularly helpful in terms of learning about majors and career fields is “informational interviewing.” The primary purpose of this conversation is to gather information, not to get a job. By talking with people who are already in a major, or who are working in your career field of interest, you can gain “insider’s” knowledge and understanding as to what a particular major or career field entails. In addition, you will hopefully have engaged in a relationship with someone who can assist you with future decision-making and networking.
To learn more about informational interviewing, please refer to the Career Development Center's Guide to Informational Interviews.