A cover letter should accompany every resume you send to a potential employer.A good cover letter indicates specifically what type of position you are seeking, entices the employer to learn more about you by reading your resume, further details your experience and potential fit with the company/organization, shows how you express yourself and indicates what you will do to follow-up. The cover letter should not restate exactly what is on your resume, but should elaborate on some of the experiences on your resume and how your experience makes you the best candidate for the position in which you’re applying. The cover letter’s main objective is to get the employer to review your resume.
The cover letter is an area where you can really spotlight skills you have gained in home, school, work, volunteerism, service-learning, athletic, or cocurricular activities. Many people use the cover letter as an avenue to expand on specific details that would not fit in the confines of a resume. If there are specific skills you gained from on-campus involvement that you are unable to highlight on your resume, this is a valuable opportunity to do so.
Overall, remember to do the following:
- Be concise; limited to one page
- Do not overuse first person “I” to begin sentences and paragraphs
- Avoid using qualifiers (i.e. I feel, I think, I believe, in my opinion, etc.)
- Sentence and paragraph structure should be well thought out and easy to read
- Be sure the reader immediately understands the purpose of the letter
- Does not restate exactly what is on your resume
- Customized to a specific position–shows how your qualifications match their requirements
- Letter is employer focused throughout using the job description to focus on employer needs
- Reflects research and knowledge of the company
- Printed on the same paper as your resume
- Letter is signed
- Convert to .pdf or .rtf document if sending electronically to eliminate compatibility errors