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Online Writing Lab

Creating a Cover Letter

Use the following structure to create a well-organized, clear and professional cover letter:

NAME OF DECISION MAKER or Hiring Committee


Dear NAME or Hiring Committee,

Thank you for this opportunity to submit my qualifications for the JOB TITLE position currently open within your organization. I perceive a strong match between my experience and accomplishments and your position requirements:

List one of their top requirements here, in bold, using their keywords; then respond with a sentence or two about what you have to offer in that arena. Write as if you were speaking directly to them, as in “My background includes 10+ years’ experience working directly with the public to understand and respond to their needs. In my last position, I received top ratings for “Customer Service Effectiveness” on my performance review for three years in a row.”

Next, list another one of their top requirements here, again, using their keywords – Again, respond with a sentence or two describing your background in that area. It’s a good idea to list the position requirements in the order that best matches your expertise and lead with your strongest qualification. When possible, list a specific achievement—it helps you stand out from the competition. For example, “In November 2010, I received a certification of advanced training Microsoft Excel 2010 and would be able to be productive quickly using that program in your position.”

Again, list another of their top requirements – You don’t need to respond to every requirement listed, and it’s okay to lump some of them together if they’re similar. It’s also okay for your cover letter to run more than one page to ensure you are covering all relevant information.  Do not, however, make the cover letter more than two pages. 
Example: “Further details about my background are provided in the enclosed resume. I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you further about your position requirements, and my ability to support your organization in the role of JOB TITLE. In the next few days, I will follow up with you to confirm receipt of these materials and to determine a logical next step. Thank you in advance for your consideration of my qualifications and interest.”


( be sure to sign the letter if you send a hardcopy!)

Examples of cover letters:  sample cover letter 1  sample cover letter 2