Cover Letter Guide

When applying for a job or internship, your cover letter should introduce you to the organization, express your interest in the position, and match your skills and experiences to the role. A well-written cover letter shows employers that you have taken the time to craft a personal response to their specific job opportunity and that you are serious about the position.

The tips below will help you create a strong and compelling cover letter that will catch the reader’s interest and grant you an interview.

COVER LETTER SAMPLES
Preparing to Write

Before you begin writing, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the position and organization you are applying to.

Examine the job description and ask yourself:

  • which of your past experiences have prepared you for this role?
  • what skills does the job require?
  • which of those skills do you have, and what have you done that proves you have those skills?
Organizing and Writing

Opening paragraph

  • state your reason for writing (“I am writing to apply for…”)
  • explain how you found the position
    • if a person at the organization referred you and you have permission to use their name, mention them here
  • why you are interested in the position and why you would be a good fit for the organization
    • be specific and reflect on why you are applying— what is it about the role or organization that you connect with or feel strongly about?

Body paragraph(s) (1-2)

  • state your major(s)/concentration(s) and relevant academic background
  • connect a few past experiences to the 3 or 4 most important qualifications for the position
    • give examples of specific skills and how they would transfer to the position
  • why should the organization hire you?

Closing paragraph

  • briefly summarize your interest in the role and show how much you would like to become part of the team
  • state that you hope to hear from the organization and look forward to speaking with them further
  • thank the reader for their time and state how they can reach you
Formatting

All cover letters generally follow a similar format and style.

  • no more than one page
  • don’t indent paragraphs
  • single spaced, with a space between paragraphs
  • use a well-known font such as Times New Roman or Arial
  • size 10-12 font
  • heading should include the date, name of contact person, organization, address, and phone number
Drop in to the Piper Center and meet with a Peer Advisor for more help.
After your initial critique, schedule an appointment on Handshake with a Piper Center Career Coach specializing in your field for the finishing touches.