Student Life

Cover Letters

Parts of a Cover Letter

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Tip: Print your mailing envelopes using a computer just like your cover letter and résumé. Handwriting looks less professional. Use a LARGE envelope so that you avoid folding your documents.

Full Name
Address
Phone Number with Area Code
E-mail Address

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Tip: You can copy and paste your name and contact information from your résumé. This way, both documents look like a matching set.

Date
Contact Person
Title
Company/Organization
Address
City, Province
Postal Code

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Tip: Write a unique cover letter for every prospective employer;
(although you may likely use much of the same content). A cover letter should no longer than one page. It should be clear, focused, and never longer than absolutely necessary.

Dear Contact Person:

Contact Person: Names and Titles

  • Using the hiring person's NAME if you know it.
  • If you are unsure if the person is male or female, just use "Dear." EX: Dear Jamie Jones.
  • If you don't know the name use their job title, EX: Dear Director of Finance
  • Use "Mr." for a man and "Ms." for a woman. Only use "Mrs." If you are certain the person uses this title. EX: Dear Ms. Jones

What position are you applying for?
Why did you choose THIS organization?
-1 paragraph

  • State the position that you are applying for
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the Organization's products, services, or the industry

Talking about the organization demonstrates sincere interest and shows that you have done your research. Unfortunately, most job seekers often leave this 1st element out, and end up talking only about themselves.

Why should the organization consider hiring YOU?
-1 to 3 short paragraphs

  • Arouse the employer's curiosity by summarizing brief facts about your academic background, relevant work experience and appropriate personal qualities/transferable skills that will make you stand out.
  • Fulfill the requirements for the position in terms of your experiences. State a specific skill or ability required for this position – use key terms.
  • Be brief and focus on the position.
  • Balance warmth, enthusiasm, confidence and professionalism.

In the 2nd element, you are making a case that you are a GOOD FIT for the job. So whenever you mention a specific skill, GIVE A CONCRETE EXAMPLE of how and/or when you obtained that skill or ability.

Let’s Get Together!
-1 paragraph

  • Take the initiative - request an interview!
  • State when you are available and how you can be reached (always use your phone number).
  • Be assertive but not overconfident.

The closing paragraph is the last impression you leave in the reader’s mind Finish by making a call to action, and re-stating briefly how your talents are the best match for the job.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Your Signature
Full Name

Don’t forget to say thank you. This is not only polite but demonstrates that you acknowledge the reader’s effort in taking the time to read your letter.

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Tip: Make sure your letter does not include any spelling or grammar errors. Proof-read your letter very carefully.

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Tip: When sending a print letter sign your name in blue or black ink. Don’t use a signature when sending e-mail letters. Never use fonts that look like handwriting!

Sample Letters

Thank You Letters

  • A thank you letter should be written immediately after you complete a job interview.
  • You will want to be brief but yet touch upon some of the most pertinent facts form the interview.
  • You will want to reinforce your interest in the position and your ability to do the job.
  • You may want to write a conventional letter to send through the US mail. You may also opt to send a "Thank You email", (this is becoming more popular), or even send a thank you card. Whichever method you choose, sending a "thank you follow-up" shows that you are a professional.
  • Sample Thank-You letter

Contact Info

Career Development Center
Memorial Hall 125
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455

Email: careers@wiu.edu
Phone: (309) 298-1838