A cover letter has several purposes – to identify the position to which you are applying, to convince the employer why they should invite you to an interview, and to inform the employer how you will follow-up. Your cover letter should answer the question, “Why should you hire me?”.
Cover Letter Do's:
- Be concise and clear in your request. Keep your letter to one page.
- Demonstrate confidence - use words such as “confident", “certain", and “positive” rather than “think", “feel", & “believe".
- Make sure the overall tone is quite upbeat and enthusiastic.
- Show that you have taken time to research the company and the position and that you have put effort into your letter.
- Demonstrate that you meet or exceed the requirements of the position.
- Use several short paragraphs (consider using bullet points in the middle section) - it makes your cover letter easier to read.
- Personalize your letter by addressing it to the appropriate contact person, either the employer or a human resources officer. Use their name and title, and double-check the spelling.
- Proofread your letter and ask someone else to read it as well. Use your cover letter as an example of your written communication skills.
Cover Letter Don'ts:
- Repeat your resume in your cover letter.
- Send a résumé by regular mail without a covering letter.
- Use the same cover letter to apply to every position.
Standard Format For a Cover Letter
Address & Contact Information
(Your personal letterhead from your resume)
Salutation i.e. Dear Mr./Ms. (Last Name only):
First Paragraph: (2 -4 sentences)
Middle Section: (can be 1 or 2 paragraphs)
Complementary Close (i.e. Sincerely)
Your Signature (if mailing a copy) - leave 4 blank lines for this
Your Name (typed)
Western Student Cover Letters
The majority of cover letters included below represent actual documents of real students who have been offered an interview.