Cover letters

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a document that accompanies your resume and provides greater detail about your educational and professional history. Cover letters can serve as a means of setting you apart from other candidates. It provides an opportunity for you to give the employer a deeper look into your professional experience and what makes you the best candidate for the position. It also allows you to formally request an interview. The cover letter has three main sections, divided in paragraphs:

  • Section 1: The first section tells the reader what position you’re applying for and where you learned of the position. It may also provide an avenue for you to provide information if you were personally referred to the position by a current or former employer of good repute. This may increase your chances of securing an interview. Here, you will also state what you know about the company, why you’re applying, and what you hope to contribute.
  • Section 2: Here, you will choose two or three projects that you have worked on that specifically highlight how you have successfully demonstrated skills that are listed in the job description. Elaborate on the major bullet points in your resume.
  • Section 3: This section allows you to reiterate your interest and excitement in the position. You will also invite the reader to review your resume, request an interview, and thank the employer for their time and consideration. Don’t forget to provide a closing with your signature.

Note: The cover letter is a formal introduction to the employer. Be sure to put your best foot forward. Do this by ensuring that your document is written in Standard English with clear, but elevated language befitting a college student/graduate. The cover letter should be free from grammatical and punctuation errors. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.

Download the Cover Letter Guide