Writing a Cover Letter
Check out this Cover Letter and References Guide for tips and best practices to use when creating your cover letter and references pages.
A cover letter can be a terrific supplement to a resume. It gives you a chance to introduce yourself more personally and describe your qualifications in more detail than a resume could. Even more so than a resume, a cover letter should be precisely tailored to the company and position you're applying for, as it gives you more freedom with word choice and qualification descriptions.
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Below is the format that a standard cover letter follows. Yours may differ depending on your experience and situation.
- Your street address
- Your city, state, and zip code
- Date on which the letter was written
- Addressee's name and title
- Company name
- Company's street address
- Company's city, state, and zip code
The salutation of your cover letter should be specific to the contact person of the job you're applying for. Write "Dear", the person's prefix (Mr., Miss, Mrs., Dr., etc.), and their last name, followed by a colon (e.g. Dear Mr. Smith:) If the contact person is not known, it is appropriate to use phrases like "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Hiring Manager".
Inform the employer why you're writing. Explain why employment with this particular company interests you.
Awaken the reader's interest in you. Explain how your academic background makes you a qualified candidate for the position. If you have had some practical (related) work experience, point out your achievements or unique qualifications. Do not summarize your resume, but rather, expand it.
Refer the reader to the enclosed resume or application. Indicate your desire for a personal interview and your flexibility as to the time and place. Repeat your phone number and offer any assistance to facilitate a timely response.
Express your appreciation for the reviewer's time.
Write a closing (sincerely, regards, etc.), sign your name below the closing, and type your name below your signature. When emailing your cover letter, it is recommended to put your contact information below your typed name.
Below are some tips to keep in mind while writing a cover letter. Contact Career Services at 801-626-6393 for more information.
- Address your cover letter to a specific person, if possible
- Don't copy and paste information from your resume. Rather, supplement the information by explaining key aspects in further detail.
- Proofread your cover letter so that it is free of errors and sounds professional
- Try to match the font and layout with your resume
- Consider adding a web address to your LinkedIn account
- Be confident in your writing. Employers look for someone that will fit seamlessly into the position required, so write as though you are sure of getting the job.
- Have one of our career counselors look over your cover letter. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.
Examples of Cover Letters
Unsure of where to begin? Take a look at some of the samples of cover letters below to get some ideas.