Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences - Careers

Skills - Cover Letter Writing

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  • Skills - Cover Letter Writing

Your cover, or application, letter is one of your most important job-search documents. An effective letter can get you an interview response, but a poorly written application letter usually spells continued unemployment.

Because it is your prospective employer’s first impression of you, it should be as favorable and represent as accurate a picture of you as possible. It should make you stand out as unique so the employer will remember your letter among the dozens—or possibly hundreds—which are received in application of a given position.


Cover letters are, in every sense, sales letters. You attempt to sell yourself (the product) to a prospective employer (the buyer), by highlighting the ways in which your education, experience, and attitudes can fulfill company needs.

Your Cover/Application Letter Should:

  • State what you can do for your prospective employer
  • State why you feel you are qualified for a specific job
  • Interpret important points in your résumé as they relate to job requirements
  • Focus on what you can contribute to employer rather than vice versa
  • Ask specifically for an interview
  • Always be addressed to a specific individual
  • Always be signed
  • Never have a typo!

In just a few paragraphs—three to five—you must sell yourself to your reader to the degree that s/he wants to know more about you and, therefore, schedules an interview. The difference can be a matter of how you handle a few key points. The link list on this page offers additional tips to help you develop the perfect cover letter.

Note: Correctly formulated sample cover letters and complete writing guides are available in CAS 125.]

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