Cover Letter Quick Tips


Target your message.
Describe how your skills, expertise, and accomplishments can benefit the employer. Highlight one or two of your accomplishments or abilities that show you are an above-average candidate for the position. Stressing one or two attributes will increase your chances of being remembered by the recruiter and securing an interview.

Be purposeful. Every cover letter is different, but many effective cover letters provide evidence of the following: company knowledge, technical knowledge, enthusiasm, communication skills, leadership, teamwork, comfort with deadlines, responsibility, ability to learn quickly, maturity and self-starting.

Show your interest. Gain an extra edge by showing that you have specific knowledge about the company or industry. This shows that you are genuinely interested in the job and not just blindly sending out hundreds of resumes. More importantly, the employer will view your interest as an indication that you are likely to stay within the company for a substantial period of time if you are hired.

DO NOT MASS PRODUCE. It is especially important to relate your skills and experience to a specific position in a specific organization. Spotlight your accomplishments and measurable results. Consider that each potential employer is looking for different skills and qualities in each candidate.

Send to specific individual. Ideally, your cover letter should be addressed to the person making the hiring decisions. It may take some resourcefulness on your part to identify this person, but you will make a better impression in the long run.

ALWAYS send a cover letter with your resume. Even if the job advertisement reads "send resume," be sure to include a cover letter as well. It is not professional to send a resume without one.


General Tips

  • Limit your cover letter to one page.
  • Cover Letters should be brief - only 3-4 paragraphs.
  • If applicable, state how and where you learned about the position.
  • Be honest and always be able to back up your claims.
  • Don't rehash your resume. Use it to highlight the aspects of your resume that are relevant to the position.
  • Invite the reader to review your resume.
  • Close by indicating you will follow up--not wait to hear from the employer.
  • If mailed with your resume, use the same quality resume paper.
  • Use same font size and type as your resume.
  • Do not staple cover letter and resume together. Use paperclip if necessary.
  • You will not use a cover letter for job fairs, expos, interviews, etc.
  • Remember to sign it.
  • And always proofread for typos and grammatical errors.


Cover Letter Openers

Students 

  • In six weeks, I will be finishing my second year at Eastern Illinois University. I am interested in working for your company as an intern during the summer because…

 

  • I am a fifth semester Recreation major looking for some real-world experience during the summer break. I am very interested in becoming one of your summer interns.

  • Eastern Illinois University's department chairperson for (name of department), (name of chairperson), has suggested that I contact you regarding the availability of (job title) openings. Graduating with extensive training in this field, I am most eager to discuss future employment opportunities with (name of company or school).

  • As the summer season approaches, I know you will be looking for extra help.

  • Recently, I have been researching the "_________" industry. My search has been for companies that are respected in the field and that provide ongoing training programs. The name _________keeps coming up as a top company.  

 

Alumni 

  • The state of the art in __________ changes so rapidly that it is tough for many professionals to keep up. I am the exception. I am eager to make my experience available to your company.

 

  • I would like an opportunity to put my (# of) years of experience to work for (company).  

  • My professional colleague at your company has recommended that I contact you about the ________ opening.  

 

General 

  • I read with interest your vacancy notice published on the Eastern Illinois University's Career Services' website. I have the qualifications you can use.

  • Within the next few weeks, I will be moving from Chicago to St. Louis. Having researched the St. Louis companies/schools in my field, I know that you are the people I want to talk to.

  • Jim Gold, your office manager and my neighbor, suggested I contact you about the upcoming opening in your accounting department.  

  • Your advertisement in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, October 7, 2012 for a (job title) caught my attention. My educational background and experiences match the requirements you are seeking.