The cover letter is your introduction to an employer on paper. It is designed to accompany a resume when you apply for a job. The goal of the cover letter is to tell the employer why you are appropriate for this position, and why they should review your resume for further consideration. Write the letter to sell yourself for the particular job you are seeking. Identify your experience, education, and skills that are most directly related to that job. Highlight items covered in your resume, but DO NOT repeat your resume. You want the employer to READ your resume so only give the most important pieces of information from your resume, written in concise sentences that tell the SHORT story of you. Continue to use the key words from your resume to focus on your skills.
A cover letter should be no more than one page. You MUST INCLUDE:
- What position you are applying for
- How you found out about the position
- Why you want to work for THIS company
- Why you are the RIGHT person for the
- How your education and area of study fit with the position
- How your past experience has prepared you for this position (focus on SKILLS)
- How to contact you
- Be sure your letter is individually tailored for the job (never a form letter).
- Address it to the contact individual by name (call and find out the name if you do not know it), including his or her correct job title, company name, and address. As a last resort, use the title given on the job description such as “Dear Intern Coordinator” but please do NOT use “To whom it may concern”.
- Write in your own words in a conversational style with short sentences.
- Start with an introduction paragraph, followed by one or two paragraphs covering your education and experience, emphasizing the skills you have that match the position.
- Close with a summary statement about your qualifications and interest and a request for action (ask them to contact you). Include both your phone number and email address as forms of contact and end with a “thank you” for consideration.
- Remember to sign the letter. When online applications are preferred, try to use an electronic signature or scan a copy of your letter with a true signature.
- When emailing your application, attach both the resume and cover letter. DO NOT write the cover letter in the body of the email. The body of your email should say something like, “Please see the attachments as my application for the policy analyst position.”