Career Services

career services

Cover Letter Content

The typical content of the application cover letter is fairly prescribed but needs to be tailored to specific opportunities. It is a one-page document, generally consisting of three or four paragraphs.  If you are very confident in your writing skills, you can prepare a more creative, marketing-oriented cover letter, but the standard cover letter will serve you well in most instances.

  • The first paragraph clarifies why you are writing, establishes a point of contact, and expresses enthusiasm about the opportunity.
  • The middle paragraph (sometimes two paragraphs) highlights the aspects of your experience, skills, and education that are most useful to the employer; match the qualifications outlined in the job posting, and establish you as a near-perfect fit for this particular position at this particular organization. Some writers include a bulleted list to draw attention to experiences and qualifications closely aligned to the employer's needs.
  • In the final paragraph, you refer to enclosures, suggest a formal interview, provide contact information, and express gratitude for consideration for the position.

Potential employers are likely to view your cover letter as a sample of your best writing. Write well. Be sure to address the qualifications desired by the employer. Think about what you want to communicate. Use variety in sentence construction to avoid overuse of "I."  Proofread the letter carefully.