Cover Letter Content

In your cover letter, you want to grab the employer's attention within the first few sentences. Explain why you're writing the cover letter—be sure to name the position and organization and express your enthusiasm for both.

The goal is to communicate what YOU can do for the organization, so market yourself! Include specific examples of skills and accomplishments relevant to the position you're applying for, but keep it brief. You can discuss how past work experiences demonstrate your goals, motivation, and potential to be a great employee.

Be sure to research the organization ahead of time, and use your letter to demonstrate that you are familiar with it. For example, you could highlight how your goals align with the organization's mission statement, or mention something from a recent annual report. If you have recently made contact with someone who is respected within the organization, be sure to mention their name!

  • Address the letter to a specific person, using Ms. or Mr. Be sure to spell the name correctly!
  • Research the company and use industry terminology—the prospective employer will be familiar with this language.
  • Only include information relevant to the position & organization to which you're applying.
  • If necessary, explain anything about your resume (gaps in employment history, changes in your career path, etc.).

Language & Style

  • Avoid generalities and cliches.
  • Proofread! Spell check! Proofread! Some employers will throw away a cover letter with even one spelling error.
  • Check for grammatical errors and awkwardly written statements.
  • Avoid using under-confident phrases, such as "I believe," "I feel," or "I hope." Instead, use phrases like "I am confident that...," or "I strongly believe that..." Be confident and positive, but don't overstate your confidence either.