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A cover letter is a professional letter that accompanies your resume. It tells the employer what job you're applying for and a little bit about yourself. A good cover letter answers two questions: "Why should I hire you and why do you want to work here?" For every application, rewrite your cover letter to fit the organization's missions and values.

Cover Letter Guide

Guidelines

As you write, be sure to address the following questions. Download our cover letter guide for tips on how to answer these questions.

  • What are you applying for?
  • Why are you the best person for the job?
  • Why do you want to work for the organization?
  • Why do you want to work for the organization/company?
  • Did you use proper spelling, grammar and professional writing?

Body of a Cover Letter

  • Opening paragraph: Try to grab the reader's attention by clearly stating why you are worth interviewing. Mention a name of someone at the company who referred you.
  • Middle paragraph(s): Answer the question of "Why should we hire you?" Describe your skills and experiences through stories of what you accomplished at previous jobs. State why you want to work for their organization and how you fit their organizational mission and values.
  • Closing paragraph: Wrap up your letter with a powerful close. Restate why you are a worthy candidate. If appropriate for the position, consider teasing out an idea that you have for their organization. Make sure they know how to reach you.

Format

  • Layout: Use a business letter format.
  • Contact information: You can follow the business letter format for including your contact information and the contact information of the recipient, or use the same layout you used in your resume.
  • Salutation: Try to find out who will be reading your application. If the application does not have a direct contact, use "To Whom It May Concern" or " Dear Hiring Committee".
  • Closing: Use a professional close, such as "Sincerely".
  • Signature: Leave four return spaces between Sincerely and then type your name. In the blank space, you can either hand sign the document and scan it back to your computer, or use an electronic signature. Look to our Cover Letter Guide for examples. 

Resources

How to Write a Cover Letter Video

Cover Letter Guide with samples

Other examples: