Cover Letter Content and Format

Content, Format and Style  

Content

First Paragraph: This is your opportunity to connect with the employer. State your reason for writing, mention the specific position you're interested in and how you learned about it. Include the name of a mutual contact if you have one.

Second Paragraph: Briefly describe your experience, your strongest qualifications, and why you're a good fit for the position. Recent graduates can explain how their academic background has prepared them for the position. If you have some work experience, point out how your specific achievements or experiences qualify you for the position. Everything in the letter should relate to the needs of the employer. Try to not repeat what is already in your resumé.

Third Paragraph (optional): You can indicate specific quantifiable examples of how your skills/experiences have benefited your current or former employers.

Final Paragraph: Indicate your desire for a personal interview and your flexibility as to the time and place. Close your letter with a statement or questions that will encourage a response or indicate that you will follow up on a specific date. Then, be sure to follow up when you said you would.

Format

  • Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, at a 10 to 12 point size
  • Margins should be at least 1”
  • Single space paragraphs, double space between paragraphs
  • Use standard 8.5" x 11” paper
  • Mail in a 9 x 12 envelope or tri-fold in a business-sized envelope
  • Do not staple or paperclip the cover letter to the resumé

Style

  • Clear and concise. Avoid personal information not relevant to the job qualifications
  • Polite, confident, professional
  • Use action words for more interest
  • Always back up general information with specific facts or examples
  • Never misrepresent yourself by exaggerating your background or qualifications