Writing Effective Cover Letters

Learn how to write a brief, concise, and convincing cover letter that is well-organized and can accompany your resume. See cover letter examples in the WSDM - Career Communication Guide.pdf

cover letter


  • Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible. Call the employer to get the correct name and spelling, the title, and address, email, or fax number. If no name is available, use a generic title such as Human Resoures Manager.
  • Write each cover letter specifically for the company and/or position you are seeking.

Opening Paragraph

  • State the position for which you are applying and how you found out about it.
  • If you were referred by someone indicate by whom, using the name of a contact or mutual acquaintance.

Middle Paragraph(s)

  • Tie your qualifications to what you know about the position or organization. Focus on your skills, education, and experience from your resume. Emphasize your strongest attributes that relate to the position. If you have any directly related experience or education, summarize it hear so that the reader can be looking for it in your resume.
  • Tell them why you are interested in this field or company.

Closing Paragraph

  • Restate your interest in the position and demonstrate how your unique qualifications fit the position. Request an interview appointment, or tell the reader that you will contact him/her to see if you can schedule a mutually convenient appointment.
  • If possible, indicate that you will contact the addressee at a specific date or time to arrange a mutually convenient appointment time.
  • Thanks the reader for his/her time and consideration


  • Use business letter format, block style, with everything beginning at the left margin.
  • If mailing, use the same good quality paper as your resume.  Also use the same font as your resume.
  • Keep it brief and concise.
  • A cover letter is a writing sample. Proof well.