Developing your Cover Letter

Segment 1: Developing your Cover Letter

The Cover Letter is your introduction to a prospective employer. Create a brief and purposeful cover letter using clear and direct sentences. Use the job posting announcement to tailor your cover letter to the specific position for which you are applying. The heart of your cover letter is the middle paragraph describing how your qualifications are a good match for the employer’s requirements.

Your cover letter should consist of:

  • 1st Paragraph

Introduce yourself and name the position for which you are applying and how you learned of the opening or organization. If an individual made you aware of the opening, be sure to use their name and affiliation.

Example: “Dr. Jane Kwan at CSULB suggested I forward my resume in response to your posting for a Research Assistant.”

  • 2nd Paragraph

Tell the employer why you are interested in the organization or position. Discuss qualifications that would be of greatest interest to the employer, using positive statements about skills and abilities. Indicate any related experience, educational background, or specialized training that might increase your employability.

  • 3rd Paragraph

Reiterate your interest. Refer the employer to your enclosed resume. Close by requesting an interview and provide your phone number and email address, or indicate when you will follow up.

Tips for a Professional Cover Letter:

• One page, 8½“ x 11” document size. If printing for traditional mail, use white or off-white stationery paper

• Use a standard business letter layout or use the same banner that you have created for your resume.

• Your cover letter should be in the same font as your resume, ranging from 11 to 12 point in such type as Arial, Courier, Helvetica, or Times.

• Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible. Sometimes you will need to contact the employer’s offices to determine the name of the person to whom the letter should be addressed.

  • Give care and attention to spelling and grammar, including the spelling of names. For some reading on grammar, check out this post, Five punctuation traps to avoid at work. Also, to help with sentence structure check out this post, 13 Clunky sentence structures that weaken your writing.
  • If you are submitting both your cover letter and resume by email, you will have two options. Attach both as documents with a brief note in the body of your email. Use a clear subject line, such as “Human Resources Assistant Posting – Resume of [your name]”. Or, you may paste the content of your cover letter into the body of the email and attach your resume. If the employer has given you explicit instructions on how to submit your cover letter, and resume, follow them.

Lastly, every contact you have with the employer, including your cover letter, serves as material for their evaluation of you as a candidate. Remember, this is your one chance to make a great first impression! Good Luck!!

Check out my episode “Podcast 8: I am my Sister’s Keeper” 💞 PODCAST 8: Your Resources for your Professional Development: This week – Developing your Cover Letter


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