Writing a Cover Letter

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Starting to write a cover letter can be very intimidating. Let’s break it down step-by-step.

1. Look at the job posting

Before you fire up Microsoft Word or Google Docs, 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.

2. Write 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 position. 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 (name of 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).

Your job posting states that you are looking for _____________ and ____________. I have experience/education yes

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.

3. Putt 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).

Now that you know what to write, let’s make it look nice. Check out Formatting your cover letter.

Want some other ideas for writing cover letters? Check out the balance, UVA’s Career Center, Indeed.com, and Monster.com. You can find cool templates here  and other ideas here.

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