Cover Letters

A cover letter is a one page, 3-4 paragraph "cover page" for your application and a writing sample for the employer. Your cover letter's main goal is to convince the hiring manager that hiring you would benefit the organization. Its content must be interesting and grasp the employer's interest enough to make them want to read your resume.

Even if it is not required, you should submit a cover letter specifically tailored to each position you apply for.

Cover Letter Outline

  • Opening paragraph: Statement of Purpose
    • Open with a captivating introductory sentence, name the position you're applying for, and how you learned about the position.
  • Middle paragraph(s): Explanation of Qualifications
    • Part 1: Write about why you're applying to this organization. Include the organization's purpose and/or goals and how the position relates to them.
    • Part 2: Explain why you're a great candidate for the position. List the reasons you're interested in the position and how your relevant skills will allow you to fulfill the responsibilities in the job description.
  • Closing paragraph: Conclusion
    • Begin with one or two strong lines that summarize your qualifications, thank the reader for their consideration, and express your enthusiasm about meeting with them to discuss the opportunity.

Cover Letter Checklist

  • No spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Does not exceed one page.
  • States what I'm applying for and how I heard about it.
  • Focuses on skills relevant to the position.
  • Demonstrates I've researched the employer and/or position I'm applying for.
  • Addressed to the hiring manager (or selection committee).
  • Minimal usage of 'I' statements.
  • Good reflection of writing abilities.
  • Does not restate your resume. Focuses instead on how your skills match the job description.


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