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.
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
- 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?
- 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
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