Cover Letter Guide

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When you apply for jobs or internships, be sure you include a cover letter with your resume. Write a different cover letter for each position you apply to. Tailor your cover letter to the position—don't use one generic cover letter for everything.

On average, you'll have 20 seconds to impress the employer with your letter. Therefore it's essential to write it well. Use your cover letter to succinctly present your qualifications, personality, and enthusiasm for the position. In most cases, your cover letter is the first extension of your personality an employer will see.

Your cover letter should NOT simply restate the information on your resume! They should work well together and not be repetitive.

Writing Your Cover Letter

Sending Your Cover Letter & Resume Via Email

First, make sure you use an appropriate subject line. Review the position's applications instructions to see if they tell you what to put. If they don't specify, use a simple and appropriate phrase like "Experience Art History Grad for Exhibitions Manager."

Include a greeting, and keep the body of your email short, unless the application instructions say otherwise. Ideally, type no more than 1 or 2 short paragraphs. Introduce yourself and state that your resume and cover letter are attached.

Review the application instructions to see exactly how they would like you to submit your documents. Are they supposed to be attachments or pasted into the body of the email? Do they specify what type of documents to send? If nothing is specified, attach your resume and cover letter to the email, using either PDF or Word documents.

Finally, remember to include a closing (followed by your name) within your email. Contact the organization you are applying to if you have specific questions.

  • Spell check and proofread everything!
  • Email a text version to yourself before sending the final email. Check that the text looks normal and that all attachments open.