Tips for Writing a Cover Letter
A well written cover letter may accompany your state application and/or resume. Its purpose is to introduce yourself, highlight one to three key achievements or skills as it relates to the job description, and explain why you are interested in that position/division/organization.
Before Writing Your Cover Letter
- Know the employer
- Research the organization/division to see how your experience, skills, and abilities meet its needs. In your cover letter, show why you are a good fit.
- Address the letter to the identified person listed on the vacancy announcement whenever possible; otherwise, use “Dear Members of the Selection Committee,” or “Dear Hiring Team.”
- Read the job description
- Carefully review the position responsibilities and qualifications. Design your cover letter to match these as much as possible.
- Sometimes position listings may be vague. In these cases, draw from your experience of similar positions to infer which skills and abilities might be required or research similar positions online.
- Analyze your background, skills, and experience
- Think about your background in relation to the position responsibilities and qualifications. Ask yourself, “What have I done that is similar to what this position entails?” Consider courses taken, classroom projects, work experience, summer jobs, internships, volunteer experience, extracurricular involvement, and travel.
- To paraphrase JFK – tell not what the company can do for you, tell what you can do for the company.
A Good Cover Letter
- Opens with a compelling paragraph that tells a story about your skills and experience and catches the reader's attention and indicate what position you're seeking.
- Connects your experiences and qualifications with the desired qualifications of the employer.
- Includes specific information about why you want to work for the employer.
- Exemplifies clear and concise writing skills with NO grammar/spelling errors.
- Demonstrates your knowledge of the position AND the organization.