Writing an Effective Cover Letter
While a resume gives a clear picture of your education and your past experience, while a cover letter should give a more personal and specific view of your background, strengths and goals.
Your cover letter should help explain exactly why you are perfect for the position. It should highlight key points from your resume, but not repeat any part of your resume word for word. And since it is typically the first document read by a prospective hiring manager, it should be interesting enough to make him or her want to read your resume.
Below are some suggestions for writing an effective cover letter:
- Whenever possible, address your letter to an individual and include his or her title and address. If you don't know who the recipient is, address the letter generally to "Hiring Manager," followed by the company name.
- Write your cover letter on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with 1 inch margins on all sides. If you are sending your cover letter via post, it should be printed on quality paper that is the same color as your resume.
- Make sure your English is proper, your sentences are complete and your spelling is accurate.
- Each paragraph should contain an introductory sentence, a closing sentence, and 1 to 3 supporting sentences in between.
- Insert a blank line between each paragraph, but do not indent the first line of the paragraphs.
- Mention your education, any experience you have that is relevant to the position (even if it is not on your resume), personal strengths (i.e. hard worker, organized, cooperative), and skills that specifically relate to the position. You can also include personal goals, goals for the internship (what you hope to learn), and long-term career goals.
- Spell check the cover letter at least two times, using an English spell check program. Once you have completed your own edits and corrections, have someone else review your letter for mistakes.
Sample Cover Letters
Below are links to some sample cover letters that are targeted to different industries and follow the recommendations outlined above: