Tips to Writing a Cover Letter

A cover letter is the first thing a prospective employer reads about you. The letter allows you to show the relationship between the job and your résumé. Take the time to explain why you are perfect for the job and impress employers with your writing skills. Each cover letter should be tailored for the specific job and employer to help set you apart from the competition.

A cover letter is made up of four basic parts: the introduction, paragraphs two and three, and a conclusion. Remember, your letter should not be longer than one page and formal writing should be used.

  1. Introduction

In the introduction you want to state why you are writing and give a brief introduction; it is also acceptable to include where or how you found out about the position. Mentioning someone the employer knows might increase your chance of receiving an interview. Include your contact information and address the employer by name to show that this letter is personalized for the specific position.

  1. Paragraph Two

In this paragraph you want to introduce yourself to the employer and show them how you meet the criteria of the job. Tell them a little bit about your background and experiences. Do not put your entire résumé in this paragraph; instead, choose the experiences and education you have had that would equip you to complete the job well. Consider including volunteer experience, education and skills that you feel are relevant.

  1. Paragraph Three

In the previous paragraph you talked about yourself; now talk about the company. Research the company, what they stand for, who they work with and their mission statement. Show the employer why this is the company you want to work for. Do not be afraid to include information you found while researching the company. This shows that you put time and effort into understanding where you would be working.

  1. Conclusion

Finish your letter by thanking the employer in advance for the time they have taken to read your cover letter. Tell the employer you have included your résumé for them to read when time allows; mention that you are very interested in the company and tell them that you are excited to hear back. Remember to sign the letter before mailing it to the employer.

The most important step in writing your cover letter is editing. The letter allows employers to see your writing skills, shows if you pay attention to detail and gives them a first impression of what you are like. Ask a few people to read over your letter before sending it to an employer.

*Information curated from Indiana University Bloomington and University of Wisconsin.


Hannah Morris and is a current senior public relations major. She serves as secretary for the Waynesburg University PRSSA Chapter and as co-director for our Chapter’s first regional conference – “Caffeinate Your Career” taking place April 8 and 9, 2016. As an emerging public relations professional, Hannah is interested in pursuing a career with higher education. She currently works with Waynesburg alumni in the Office of Institutional Advancement, and is active in musical groups on campus. Hannah also enjoys music, tea and swing dancing.r

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One response to “Tips to Writing a Cover Letter

  1. This is awesome! SO helpful. When applying for a job this is always something I struggle with. In class we always focus on our resumes, and linkedin profiles, however not once have we been “taught” how to write a proper cover letter, or even just how long it is supposed to be, so thank you for this!

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