Creating a Cover Letter


When an employer asks for you to send your resume, always send an introductory/cover letter along with it. If you are applying for a position, and you are not in the presence of the individual to whom you are submitting your resume, always send a letter introducing yourself and your resume to the employer.  Read the guidelines below to write a basic cover letter, then stop by the ACPC to have your letter and resume reviewed.

Cover Letter Basics


Your Present Address

City, State Zip Code

Date of Letter

Individual's Name (including Ms../Mr.)
Employer                  (call organizations for correct spelling
Street Address               of name and title, if necessary)
City, State Zip Code


Dear Ms./Mr. _____________:

Opening Paragraph.  In your initial paragraph, indicate the reason for writing, the specific position or type of work for which you are applying, and how you learned of the opening.  (Academic & Career Planning Center, news media, friend, employment service, organization's Web site)

Middle Paragraph(s).  Mention (briefly) why you are interested in the position, the organization, its products or services; above all, indicate what you can do for the employer.  Tie yourself to the organization.  If you have had some practical work experience, point out the specific achievements or unique qualifications that relate to the advertised position.  If you have little experience, explain how your academic background makes you a qualified candidate for this position.  Refer the reader to the enclosed resume or application blank that summarizes your qualifications, training, and experience.  You want the employer to see you as the best person to fill the position.  Tell them how you can benefit their company and what you can bring to them.  Do not tell the employer what they can do for you.  ("Your firm is exactly what I am looking for in an employer.")  They do not care about that.  They want to know what you can do for them.  If you have two strong ideas to present, break this into two shorter paragraphs.  Shorter items are more likely to be read; longer ones get skimmed or even skipped altogether.

Closing Paragraph.  In the closing paragraph, indicate your desire for a personal interview.  You may want to suggest alternative dates and times or simply offer any assistance to help in a speedy response.  Finally, close your letter with a statement or question that will encourage a response.  For example, state that you will be in the city where the organization is located on a certain date and would like to set up an interview, or state that you will call on a certain date to set up an interview.  You could ask if the company will be recruiting in your area, or if additional information or references are desired.  Finally, indicate the best time to contact you and remember to include your phone number and e-mail address.


(Your Handwritten Signature)

Type your name



Adapted from NACE Job Choices