Graduation Guide
Writing a Cover Letter

Every resume you send out should be accompanied by a cover letter. A lot of job listing will not ask for one, but it is always expected. Every savvy job seeker knows to send a cover letter, even if it does take a little more time.

The purpose of a Cover Letter is to Convey to Employer the Benefit of Hiring You

Key Point 1

Don't tell the employer in your cover letter what the company can do for you instead of what you can do for the company. This mistake is particularly common among new college graduates and other inexperienced job-seekers. In most cases, employers are in business to make a profit. They want to know what you can do for their bottom line, not what they can do to fulfill your career dreams. Tell the employer how you can meet his or her needs and contribute to the company.

Key Point 2

Spelling errors could cost you the job. If you have errors in your cover letter or resume, the employer will think that there is a distinct possibility that you will make the same kinds of mistakes on the job. You do not want misspelled words and poorly structured sentences to be the first and possibly only impression you leave on a potential employer. Have several friends, mentors, teachers, etc... review and edit each cover letter you send.

Key Point 3

Every resume you send out should be accompanied by a cover letter. A lot of job listing will not ask for one, but it is always expected. Every savvy job seeker knows to send a cover letter, even if it does take a little more time.

Key Point 4

Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Where do I find the best job? Websites? On campus? More?

Great Cover Letters Get Resumes Read


The purpose of a Cover Letter is to Convey to Employer the Benefit of Hiring You.

Don't tell the employer in your cover letter what the company can do for you instead of what you can do for the company. This mistake is particularly common among new college graduates and other inexperienced job-seekers. In most cases, employers are in business to make a profit. They want to know what you can do for their bottom line, not what they can do to fulfill your career dreams. Tell the employer how you can meet his or her needs and contribute to the company.

Don't be lazy.

Making one version and sending with every resume sounds like an efficient way to save on time and get more cover letters and resumes out the door. In reality, when you do not customize each letter, it appears that you're lazy. Address every cover letter to a specific person. If you don't know who the hiring manager is, call and ask the receptionist. Always avoid addressing your letter “To Whom it May Concern.” It takes minimal effort to find a direct contact, but it will make a good impression. You also need to address the specific company and job posting. In the opening paragraph of your cover letter, try including something you know about the company or at least something from the job ad or description. For example, mention that you read that the company is number one in its industry or that it was recently named one of the top 50 places to begin a career. Managers and recruiters will be impressed that you have done your research. I’ve caught myself several times saying, “at least he/she search our website.”

Brevity is best!

The length of your cover letter should never be more than one page. Employers give each cover letter approximately 15-20 seconds, so long length is not an option. When possible, avoid using the full page. It is best to keep paragraphs brief, never using more than three to four sentences per paragraph. Remember: The purpose of the cover letter/resume is to get an interview, you can tell the rest in your interview.

What about email Cover Letters?

Shorten email cover letters even further so that the entire letter is no longer than what can be captured on a computer screen.

Personalize Cover Letters

To stand out be as specific as you possibly can. Address the letter to a specific person, mention the specific job you are applying for and mention specific skills you have that make you the right candidate for the job. The purpose of a cover letter is to answer the employer's question of “What's in it for me?”

Use a professional to stand out.

If there is a doubt and you are not satisfied by what you have put together and you have exhausted your Career Resource Center then there are professional resume and cover letter writing service you can go to. Be sure to check the references and go to a reputable company and make sure you receive your work on a disk so you can continually update your resume and tweak your cover letters.