Writing a Cover Letter
Limit your cover letter to 3 to 4 brief paragraphs, with a total length of one-half to three-quarters of a page. It should not exceed one page. The text should be aligned to the left margin with no indentations. The paragraphs should be single-spaced with double-space between paragraphs. Leave three or four blank spaces in which to sign your name. Refer to our cover letter format sample for how it should look.
Print out a clean, fresh, copy to send. (Avoid white out and erasing.) Use the same paper as your resume and envelope. Sign your cover letter using blue ink. This implies that the letter is original. Make a copy of the cover letter you send for your files.
Make sure your envelope matches the same professional look of your cover letter and resume. Avoid handwriting the mailing address on your envelope.
A cover letter should indicate that you have a clear understanding of your career goals and job objectives. Put some thought and research into this process.
Be specific when describing abilities, skills, honors, activities and experience. Use examples when necessary. Fill in the "blanks" your resume leaves out. Your cover letter provides the employer with additional information about who you are and what you've done. Emphasize skills or experience that closely relate to those the employer included in the job description.
Things to avoid:
- Using the pronoun "I" when beginning every sentence.
- Using slang terms, jargon or exaggerating when writing your cover letter. Keep the language professional.
Here are some key points to keep in mind when writing your cover letter:
- Use an outline system to organize your thoughts before writing
- Typed: Use the same font as your resume, and typed on the same paper that matches your resume and envelope
- Addressed to a specific person (call for a specific contact name/person)
- Positive, professional, confident and enthusiastic sounding
- Original (avoid mailing the same exact letter to multiple employers)
- Error free (check the spelling and have someone proofread it)
- Brief and to the point (keep it to one page with no smaller than 1/2 inch margins)
- Reference job code or # if mentioned in the ad