What is a Cover Letter?
The purpose of a cover letter is to convince an employer that your skills and background make you worth interviewing. While a resume summarizes your experience, a cover letter persuasively relates that experience to the specific job to which you are applying. Although a cover letter is not always required, when it is, it gives you the opportunity to explain why you're interested in that particular company, making you a more attractive candidate to that employer.
A good cover letter will demonstrate:
- Knowledge about the job, the company, and the industry
- The effort you have put into your job search and enthusiasm for the job
- Writing and organizational skills
- Understanding about yourself, your skills, and your potential contributions
TIP: It’s true that some employers barely glance at cover letters; however, many others review them attentively. View it as an extra opportunity for you to promote yourself, and increase your chances of getting an interview by sending a well-written cover letter with every application when asked.
Cover Letter Guide and Checklist
- Read our Cover Letter Guide for a more comprehensive explanation of cover letters and how to write one.
- Already have a written Cover Letter? Check if it contains all important components! Cover Letter Checklist
Cover Letter Samples
Please note that the samples below intend to provide you with the information on how to target your Cover Letter, so refer to them from the content perspective only and keep in mind that the actual format of the Cover Letter is described in the Cover Letter Checklist above.
- Internship Sample
- Co-op Sample
- Entry Level Sample
- Gap Year/Non-Profit or Service Sample
- Advanced/Experienced Sample
- Advanced Career Changer Sample
Workshops and Webinars
Click below to check upcoming Cover Letter Workshops
Click below to watch a recorded Cover Letter Webinar in the Career Management module of the CareerX E-mini Course
Additional Job Search Correspondence
Write a networking letter or e-mail to request an informational interview or a meeting with a professional contact. Check out the Networking and Informational Interviewing page.
Thank you notes
After the interview, send a thank-you note within 24 hours by e-mail or postal mail to the person who interviewed you. If multiple people interviewed you, be sure to send each person an individual thank you note. To really stand out, reference something that you talked about with each person in each individual note.
Click here for a Thank You Note Sample
Should you decide to leave a position, a letter notifying your employer should be sent well in advance of your departure so as to maintain a respectful work relationship and give the employer time to adjust to the change by looking for a replacement.
Click here for a Resignation Letter Sample
You will need a list of three or four references to take with you to interviews. Use the same header as your resume.
List 3 references that can speak about your qualifications:
- Job Title
- Relationship to you
- Phone Number
Bring your drafts to drop-in hours (M-F, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. 103 Stearns) for a critique!