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Cover Letters

Your cover letter is an opportunity for you to make a detailed, persuasive case for your employment—so that you can land an interview and, ultimately, an offer for the position itself.

You’ll use your cover letter, in conjunction with your résumé, to succinctly present your qualifications, personality, and enthusiasm for the position you’re pursuing. 

Words are powerful. And we can help you harness them to create cover letters that are convincing and compelling!

Why Bother with Cover Letters?

Whenever you apply for a job or an internship, you should send a cover letter along with your résumé, whether it’s required or not, unless a posting specifically tells you not to. 

Why? 

Well, for starters, most employers simply expect to see a cover letter accompanying your résumé. So practically speaking, not including a cover letter with your application materials really isn’t a choice.

But don’t think of your cover letter as a mere obligation. It’s actually an opportunity. 

Your cover letter gives you yet another chance to make a favorable impression on a prospective employer. Best of all, it allows you to go into a bit more detail than you can on your résumé, and you can let your personality and passion show a little more too.

In short, your cover letter has the potential to help you land the interview—and, ultimately, the job.

Your Cover Letter Needs to Grab the Reader’s Attention Quickly

On average, you’ll have about 20 seconds to impress an employer with your cover letter. It’s essential to write it well.

The Benefits of Cover Letters

Writing cover letters—especially targeted, customized letters that will actually grab an employer’s interest—takes time and energy. Lots of it.

The investment is well worth it though since a convincing and compelling cover letter:

  • Serves as a writing sample, as well as a true example of your overall communication competency in a situation that matters.
  • Allows you to convey your motivation and your interest in the position and/or organization you’re pursuing.
  • Gives you the chance to describe aspects of your experience or identity more fully; you can elaborate on your values, for example, or demonstrate your personality.
  • Helps you get started with interview preparation by developing relevant stories and examples to share.
  • Lets you directly address any potential barriers you may be facing (e.g., gaps in employment, relocation, being unavailable during certain phases of the hiring process).

Drop-In Cover Letter Reviews: Available to All CLA Students

Do you want help getting started on your Cover Letter or looking for feedback on your Cover Letter draft? Visit Drop-ins for guidance!  Virtual Drop-ins are offered Monday - Friday: 9am - 4:30pm: z.umn.edu/clacareerdropins. Simply go to the link and someone will greet you to begin your drop-in.