Cover Letters

Cover letters serve as a direct response to the position you are applying to. Therefore, your cover letter should NOT be generic. A cover letter is also an example of your written communication skills. If you need help proofreading, please schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor to have your cover letter reviewed before you submit it. 

Cover Letter Examples

Do's And Don'ts


  • Write the letter yourself and have someone else proofread it for grammar, syntax, and spelling.
  • Keep the letter to one page only, with 3–4 paragraphs. For email, keep it shorter with 2 paragraphs. Make it attractive and easy to read.
  • Use the same header from your resume (with your name and contact information) so that your resume and cover letters are consistently formatted and look uniform.
  • Address the letter to a specific individual using the person's full name with the correct title and business address.
  • Pay close attention to the job posting to see who the position you’re applying for reports to, and/or do research on LinkedIn to find out who to contact.
  • If you’re unable to find the name, then address to “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Selection Committee.”
  • Tailor your letter for each job! It needs to be clear to employers why you are applying for THEIR company, and how you are a good fit for the position and team.
  • Mention the name of the person who referred you, if applicable.
  • Write a letter that is work-centered and employer-centered, not self-centered.
  • Mention something you know about the company that is related to the position for which you are applying. Also mention a personal interest you have in the company, its location, service or product.
  • Tell the reader why you are qualified for the position, using the active voice and action verbs.
  • Make sure to save the final copy as a PDF, if submitting electronically. Use high quality, matching stationery, if submitting a hard copy.
  • Be honest. Be positive. Be direct. You are your own advocate!
  • Write clearly and simply; incorporate industry-specific keywords.
  • Make sure your phone and email are included so they can contact you for an interview!
  • Sign your cover letter in blue/black ink (or type your name if you are submitting electronically).


  • Use a general/template letter and just change the company name.
  • Give a summary of your life, values, goals, longer than 50 words, or repeat your resume verbatim.
  • Describe, at length, your admiration for the company’s history.
  • Overuse the pronoun “I.”
  • Explain why you left your last job or want to leave your present one.
  • Begin the letter with “To whom it may concern,” or mis-gender the recipient.
  • Include your salary history or current salary.
  • Inflate or exaggerate your experience and qualifications.
  • Hint that you are interested in virtually ANY JOB with that company/organization.
  • Say anything negative about your previous employer(s).
  • Expect the reader to figure out what job you are best qualified for.