Writing a Cover Letter

Yay! You’ve found a job that you want to apply for. Now you have to write a cover letter.

Why write a cover letter?

Great question! The cover letter provides prospective employers with a brief intro to you. It’s your first chance to make a great first impression!

There are usually two ways you can apply for a job. Some jobs want you to fill out an online application and some want you to email them a copy of your resume. If you are filling out an online application, they may or may not want you to include a cover letter. The online application will let you know

If you are sending an email, you’ll want to include a cover letter. There is a lot of debate over whether you should include the cover letter as an attachment, or as the body of the email. Every website you consult will tell you something different. It can be very frustrating!

So what should you do? You have two options. No one way is better than the other. You can…

  1. Include cover letter as attachment. In the body of the email write something like, “I’d like to apply for the ___ position.
  2. Copy and paste your cover letter into the email. Do not attach the letter.

Now that you’ve picked what you want to do with your cover letter, let’s get down to writing the letter.

Look at the job posting

Before you start writing your cover letter though, read the job posting very carefully. I recommend printing the job posting and highlighting what skills, education, or experience you have that match the job description.

highlight any skills or education in this resume that you have

Now you can start filling in your cover letter using the information from the job posting.

Writing the Letter

Cover Letters generally have three paragraphs.

The first paragraph states how you found out about the position (from indeed.com, the career center at your school) and state that your skills, education, or experiences match the job posting.

The second paragraph shares your qualifications and major strengths for this positon. If specifics are mentioned in the job posting, use them. For example, if the job posting states that you must have an Associate’s Degree in Business, then you might write “Your job posting stated that you are looking for a candidate with an Associate’s Degree in Business. I recently graduated from Stark State with an Associate’s Degree in Business.”

The third paragraph, asks for an opportunity to interview and thanks them for their time.

Use some of the examples below to help you write your letter.

Examples of paragraph one (choose 1)

From Indeed.com, I recently learned about your need for (position). I am very interested in this position at (name of company), and believe that my education and experience are appropriate for the position.

The (name of position) posted on (website) on (date) caught my attention. My skills including __________, _____________, and ____________ match the job responsibilities you list (include skills listed directly from the job posting).

Having learned of the (position) opening through (how you learned about it) on (date), I believe that my previous work experience and training make me an excellent candidate for this position.

Examples of paragraph two (choose 1)

Your job posting states that you are looking for _____________ and ____________. While working at (name of previous employer), I ……..

My experience includes work in ……… This experience has taught me ….(list skills related to the job you are applying for, taken from the job posting).

Example of paragraph three (choose 1)

I look forward to talking with you regarding the (position) at (name of company). Please contact me at (phone number) or (email). Thank you for your time and consideration.

I am available at your convenience to discuss my qualifications. I may be reached at (phone number) or (email). Thank you for your time.

Putting it all together

Let’s look at what the cover letter looks like. Notice the highlighted portions below came directly from the job posting (above).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s next to read? Formatting your cover letter.