Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

A well written cover letter may accompany your state application and/or resume. Its purpose is to introduce yourself, highlight one to three key achievements or skills as it relates to the job description and explain why you are interested in that position/division/organization.

Before Writing Your Cover Letter

  1. Know the employer
    • Research the organization/division to see how your experience, skills and abilities meet its needs. In your cover letter, show why you are a good fit.
    • Address the letter to the identified person listed on the vacancy announcement whenever possible; otherwise, use “Dear Members of the Selection Committee,” or “Dear Hiring Team.”
  2. Read the job description
    • Carefully review the position responsibilities and qualifications. Design your cover letter to match these as much as possible.
    • Sometimes position listings may be vague. In these cases, draw from your experience of similar positions to infer which skills and abilities might be required or research similar positions online.
  3. Analyze your background, skills and experience
    • Think about your background in relation to the position responsibilities and qualifications. Ask yourself, “What have I done that is similar to this position’s duties?” Consider courses taken, classroom projects, work experience, summer jobs, internships, volunteer experience, extracurricular involvement and travel.
    • Highlight what you can do for the company and how your experience makes you qualified for the position.

A Good Cover Letter

  • Opens with a compelling paragraph that indicates what position you’re seeking and tells a story about your skills and experience. The first paragraph should catch the reader’s attention.
  • Connects your experiences and qualifications with the desired qualifications of the employer.
  • Includes specific information about why you want to work for the employer.
  • Exemplifies clear and concise writing skills with no grammar/spelling errors.
  • Demonstrates your knowledge of the position and the organization.