Dept. of Experiential Education & Career Management

Cover Letter Tips

Your cover letter is the first chance you get to make an impression on a potential employer, and sending a professional, well-written letter can really make your application stand out. 

Your cover letter serves many purposes, including introducing yourself, presenting your intentions to the employer, highlighting your qualifications and availability, and giving the employer a ready-made writing sample.

Follow these tips for a successful cover letter:

  • Your letter should not exceed one page
  • Print your letter on quality bond paper - the same paper you print your resume on
  • A personalized cover letter should go out with every resume. It is time-consuming, but 10 well-written, personalized cover letters will have a greater effect than 50 impersonal form letters.
  • Use the word "I" carefully. You can reduce overuse by making activities and outcomes the subjects of sentences. For example, instead of saying, "I took classes in marketing..." say, "Marketing prepared me to..."
  • Show a quiet tone of confidence. Do not understate your abilities and accomplishments, but do not appear egotistical or presumptuous.
  • Check and double-check you have the contact person's name and title correct.
  • Do your homework and show you know something about the company. This demonstrates you are really interested in them and not sending out resumes and letters for every opening.
  • Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! Make sure your letter is absolutely perfect.
  • If you are emailing a resume you should still include a cover letter. Either make the email your cover letter, or attach one the same way you would your resume.

For additional help, view Cover Letter Samples and a Standard Cover Letter Template.

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