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Structure of a Cover Letter

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DOs and DON'Ts
Structure of a Cover Letter
Sample Cover Letters
Career Resource Manual
Articles related to Cover Letters
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Cover Letters
When you apply for jobs or for specific internships you should attach cover letters to your resumes and/or job applications. It basically bridges the gap between you and your resume and tells your story. Because of this it is very important to write about what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.

A cover letter is important because it:
• Introduces you and your resume
• Explains why you are a good fit for the opportunity
• Promotes your candidacy for the job
• Can make the difference between landing an interview or having your resume discarded.


DOs

  • Use the same color, paper, and font you used in your resume
  • Address your cover letter to a specific individual or hiring authority
  • Your cover letter should not exceed three or four paragraphs or be more than one page
  • Be sure to check for typos, proper grammar, and accuracy. If possible ask an ICC staff member to critique your cover letter before you mail it

DON’Ts

  • Use a generic, “one size fits all” cover letter. You should write a cover letter that is targeted to a specific job/organization.
  • Write a long, wordy cover letter; one page in length is adequate. Use the cover letter to expand upon skills and experiences beyond information contained in your resume
  • Exaggerate your skills or experience

Structure of a cover letter:
Use a professional heading (see sample below) that includes your name and address, date, and the name, title, and address of the person and company you are sending the letter. Also, close professionally with your name, signature, and enclosure if you have any.

In the first paragraph, explain how you heard about the job opening and/or the name of the person who told you about the position Mention the specific job title and say that you are enclosing a resume that shows how you are qualified for the job.

In the second paragraph, analyze your background and skills in relationship to the job description Show how you make a “good fit” with this job/organization and how you can contribute Give examples of related experience from your past work, classroom, or extracurricular activities.

In the third paragraph, tell how you will follow through. For example, “I am eager to meet with you to discuss this opportunity I will be available for an interview at a time convenient to you.”

Return Address
City, State ZIP
Telephone with area code

Date

Name, Title
Company Name
Street Address
City, State Zip code


Paragraph 1

Paragraph 2

Paragraph 3

Sincerely
Sign your name here with the use of a script font
Type your name here
Enclosure (refers to your resume)


See Resources below for sample cover letters.
ICC Career Resource Manual Examples
About.com Cover Letter Samples

Articles related to writing cover letter

Have your Resume and Cover Letter Reviewed
Grammar Galore
The Importance of a cover letter
Writing an Effective Cover Letter

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