Cover Letter Tips

Who Needs a Cover Letter?

  • You do! Everyone who sends out a resume does! A cover letter provides you with the opportunity to state what value you will be to a company. If an interviewer is going to invest their time in you, they want to know, “What’s in it for me (my company)?” Emphasize what you have to contribute. Always tailor your letter to the specific company you are applying to.

What makes a Good Cover Letter?

  • Keep it to a few paragraphs on one page. Your cover letter is your first opportunity to show your written communication skills. If it contains spelling or grammatical errors, your resume may never get read.
  • Through networking and researching find out who will be making the hiring decision and address your letter to that person. Be sure the name is spelled correctly and the title is correct. A touch of formality is good: address the person as "Mr.," "Ms.," "Mrs.," "Miss," "Dr.," or "Professor."
  • Write it in your own words so that it sounds like you and not like something copied out of a book. This is your first chance to sell yourself. Show that you understand what the position is and that you have the skills to do the best job of any candidate. Show that you know something about the company and the industry. Use terms and phrases that are meaningful to the employer gleaned from your industry research.
  • If you are applying for a position posted on the Internet or advertised in the paper or other print media, state your skills in response to the requirements given. Example: If they are asking for “minimum 5 years experience using C#/ASP.NET; excellent communication skills; ability to work in a fast-paced environment; familiar with JavaScript and Silverlight.” Your cover letter could say: “My six years of using C#/ASP.NET on a daily basis makes me an ideal candidate. During that time, I worked on multiple projects simultaneously while also utilizing JavaScript and Silverlight. I became team lead for my group and often updated the client on the progress of their project.”