Writing a Cover Letter

Cover Letter Review

Our librarians will review and proofread your resume or cover letter and offer feedback on recommended edits and changes, including grammar, formatting, and overall layout.

All the ins and outs of a cover letter, including a step-by-step breakdown and a sample that you can use to recreate your own!

Why Include a Cover Letter?

  • Like the resume, it’s a great selling tool.
  • Informs the reader (employer) why you are interested in this specific position for this specific company.
  • While the resume is usually generic (can be sent to multiple employers), the cover letter is tailored to a specific job opening and specific company.
  • Makes the employer want to read your resume.
  • A summary of your best qualities and skills in relation to the specific job you are applying for.

Cover Letter Basics

  • Your name and contact information:
    • Formatted the same way it is in your resume.
  • Who you are and what you do (or hope to do):
    • Introduce yourself and inform the reader of your reason for writing.
    • Include the job title and job code, if applicable.
  • Why you are writing:
    • State that you hope to gain an interview.
    • Example: “I am confident that my skills and experience will grant me an interview.”
  • Indicate where the resume is located:
    • Attached to an email? Uploaded separately? Enclosed (hard copy)? Indicate this.
  • Signature:
    • If supplying a hard copy, make sure to sign it. It looks professional!

Elements of the Cover Letter

  • Your contact information (header)
  • Date
  • Company contact information under header
  • Re: line:
    • Great place to put job name and code.
  • Address line–“Dear [name]”:
    • If the name of the reader is known, use it!
    • If not, “Dear Hiring Manager.”
  • Introduction:
    • A concise paragraph summarizing your interest in the position and your qualifications.
  • Body:
    • 1-2 short paragraphs highlighting your qualifications and accomplishments.
    • Choose these based on the job posting.
    • Do company research! Based on your experience, what specifically would benefit the company’s mission?
    • Can do this in a bulleted list, but DO NOT copy/paste from the resume.
  • Conclusion:
    • 1 paragraph
    • Indicate where your resume is located.
    • Why you are writing (usually to get an interview).
  • Close the letter.
    • “Respectfully”; “Sincerely”

Formatting the Cover Letter

  • 1 page
  • 1” margins
    • If necessary, 0.5” margins are okay, but on left and right ONLY)
  • 10-12 point font size
    • Formal font type (Times New Roman; Arial)
  • Paragraph style
    • Single spaced lines with a space between paragraphs
    • Keep sentences short but informative
  • If bullets are used, these should only be for part of the body. Be sure to conclude with a paragraph.
  • Header (your contact information) should match the resume header.

Formatting a Cover Letter Using Google Docs

Your Cover Letter: Key Points

  • A brief letter (3-4 paragraphs) highlighting your qualifications and accomplishments.
  • Tailor the cover letter toward the specific position and specific company.
  • Don’t regurgitate the resume. Be sure to select those qualifications and accomplishments that best match the specific position.
  • Do company research. Describe how your unique experience would benefit their unique company mission.
  • Be sure to indicate the specific job title (and job code, if applicable), the reason you are writing (to get an interview), and the location of the resume.

techclass@mcl.org | 609-882-4050