You are writing for a specific audience. It is important that you use your cover letter to connect your skills and traits with those needed for the job. Your letter should be personal, professional and persuasive. The best way to know what matters is to research. Find out as much as you can about the position you are applying for and the company that is offering it.
Use your professional network, the company's website, professors that have worked in the specific industry and any other resources you have. Include relevant keywords in your cover letter. View similar positions at other companies to find the important skills for this industry and write down important notes about the application process or things you might want to remember.
General Cover Letter Writing Tips:
- research a name to properly address your cover letter
- if you cannot identify the person to whom you should address your cover letter, contact the human resources department and ask
- use the space on your page wisely, be concise and to the point
- write in the first person and convey how you fit the company and description
- use the same paper, heading, font and margins as your resume and references
- demonstrate interest in the position by being knowledgeable about the position and the employer
- show your personality by using words and a tone that reflects you
- describe a unique accomplishment
- read, edit, re-read, re-edit
- bring your cover letter to the Career Center for a final review
A cover letter has three fundamental sections.
The introduction is typically one paragraph with 2-4 sentences.
This is where you make your very first impression. Tell them how you heard about the position and what interested you about the opportunity.
The body is typically 2-3 paragraphs, each with 3-5 sentences. You may include a bulleted list.
Here, you explain what makes you uniquely qualified for this position and how will your experiences will benefit the company. Show that you have done your research by making sure to connect your experience with important key words.
Explain a few experiences in depth and describe how you fit the job and the company. This is your chance to talk about relevant things that aren't already on your resume.
What happens next? Thank the employer for his or her time and give yourself an opportunity for a follow-up.
For example, “If I do not hear from you within two weeks, I will call you.” If you know your interview date, “I look forward to interviewing with your company on August 29th.”
The closing is typically one paragraph with 2-4 sentences.