Cover Letters and Follow Up

If you think of a cover letter as just one more formality of the job search, you’re missing a great opportunity to make an even more powerful impression on prospective employers. Cover letters aren’t just an address label for your resume—they’re a way to highlight your qualifications and emphasize your interest in an organization and a position.

Cover Letter Samples

Elements of a Successful Cover Letter

  1. Personalize your cover letter to the hiring manager
    • If the name of the hiring manager has been provided to you, use that name to personalize the letter/email accompanying your resume.
  2. Introduction – one paragraph
    • What job are you interested in and where did you hear about it?
    • Introduce who you are, i.e. your major, current job, etc.
    • Why are you qualified for this position?
  3. Body - one to three paragraphs
    • Why are you interested in the position?
    • Explain how your academic background and experience make you a qualified candidate for the position
    • Point out specific, relevant achievements/ qualifications in your work experience
    • Try not to repeat the same information the reader will find in the resume
    • Refer the reader to the enclosed or attached resume or application, which summarizes your qualifications, training, and experience
  4. Conclusion - one paragraph
    • Indicate your desire for a personal interview
    • Repeat your phone number in the letter and offer any assistance to help in a speedy response
    • Close your letter with a statement or question that will encourage a response
      Ex. Say that you will be in the city where the organization is located on a certain date and would like to set up an interview

Thank You and Follow Up

After your interview, it’s always a good idea to follow up with a thank you note. Doing so reiterates both your professionalism and your interest in the position. In most cases a professionally written thank you email is appropriate, and is especially important if the employer is expected to make a quick hiring decision. You may also follow up with a hand-written, mailed card.

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