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Your cover letter or other professional correspondence provides the opportunity to:

Cover Letter Tips

Cover Letter Rubric

Cover letter should get you noticed

Cover letter is ordinary and average.

Cover letter needs significant improvement

Professional format and overall quality of writing

Uses correct professional format with date and addresses on top and a signature on the bottom. It is clear and concise and, grammatically correct. There are no spelling errors.

There are minimal grammar and spelling errors. This letter is decent in content but does not convince an employer to call. There are minor issues with formatting.

Professional formatting not used. The letter is not signed. There are multiple grammar and spelling errors. The content of the letter does not make sense to the reader.

Paragraph 1: Introduction

This section identifies what position you are applying for, the reason you are sending the letter, how you heard of the opening, and that you are genuinely interested. Grabs the employer’s attention quickly.

This section defines the position you are seeking. Does not describe how you heard about the opening. You vaguely describe why you are interested in this job. Might not catch someone’s attention.

Does not clearly identify what position you are seeking. No description of how you heard about the position or why you are interested.

Paragraph 2: Identification of skills and experiences related to the position

This paragraph identifies one or two of your strongest qualifications and clearly relates how these skills apply to the job. This letter explains specifically why you are interested in this position, company, and how you can benefit the company.

This paragraph identifies one of your skills, but it may or may not be related to the position at hand. This paragraph does little to explain your interest and vaguely connects your skill to how you can benefit the company.

This paragraph does not discuss any relevant qualifications or skills. It does not explain your interest in the position, company, and/or location and does not connect your skills to how you can benefit the company.

Paragraph 3: Closing

This paragraph refers the reader to your resume or any other enclosed documents. It thanks the reader for taking time to read it. You are assertive as you describe how you will follow up with the employer.

This paragraph may or may not thank the reader for taking time to read this letter. You do not refer the reader to your resume or application materials. This letter is not assertive and assumes that the employer will contact you.

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers

This paragraph does not thank the reader for taking time to review this letter. There is no reference to a resume or other materials. It does not include any contact information and is not assertive about following up after a given amount of time.

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers

Cover Letter Format

Your Street Address
City, State Zip Code
Month Day, Year

Mr./Ms./Dr. Full Name
Name of Organization
Street or P.O. Box Address
City, State Zip

Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Last Name:

Opening Paragraph – Tell why you are writing.  Name the position, field or general career area about which you are inquiring or applying.  Tell how you heard of the opening, the company or organization (mention a contact name, if you have one) and basic information about yourself.

Middle Paragraph – Tell why you are interested in the company/organization, or specific type of work.  Mention the qualifications you believe are of greatest interest to the employer.  If you have related experience or specialized training, point it out.  Do not repeat what is on your resume, but customize your skills and experiences to the employer’s needs.  This is the place to “sell” your skills and abilities to a potential employer.  Document your claims with statements to show evidence of your skills.  End the paragraph with a statement indicating your confidence in your ability to perform in the position. 

Closing Paragraph – Refer the reader to your enclosed resume or application.  If this is a letter of inquiry, request an application or other informational materials and an interview.  If this is a letter of application, state what you will do to follow up, such as telephone the employer within two weeks to check on the status of the application.  Include your phone number and state that you would be glad to provide any additional information needed.  Thank the employer for their consideration of your application/resume. 


(Your handwritten signature)

Your typed name


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