Career Development Center

Resumes/Letters/Portfolios

Cover Letter Guide

A cover letter serves as an introduction to a resume. It’s a professional business letter that should speak to the specific needs of an employer. Cover letters should be concise and neatly typed without grammatical, typographical or spelling errors. A well-written cover letter can demonstrate thoughtfulness and human qualities rather than a clone-like appearance. A cover letter should not repeat exactly what is found in a resume but rather provide information relevant to the employer’s needs, which can not be adequately detailed in the resume. A cover letter is not always required. There are times, when hand delivering a resume, that a verbal introduction is sufficient. A resume sent by mail should always be accompanied by a cover letter.

Types of Letters
Click on each letter type to see a sample letter. These sample letters are meant to offer guidance and not to be copied. Do your best to prepare cover letter drafts of your own and schedule a critique session with a career counselor for feedback.

Correct Style for Cover Letters
This is a template to help you prepare your cover letter/application letter.

Inquiry Letter 
With a letter of inquiry, you are writing to inquire about the potential availability of a position matching your background to the needs of an organization.

Application Letter 
With a letter of application, you are writing to apply for an actual opening of interest. In this type of letter, you would indicate how you heard about the opening.

Networking Request Letter
In this instance, you are telling the employer that you wish to meet with him/her to gather information about the nature of the job market and to gain advice regarding various aspects of your current search for a challenging new work opportunity. You stress that you don’t expect a job, but rather information, which will help lead you to a job.

Thank You Letter
You thank the employer for his/her time during a networking informational interview meeting or an actual job interview.

Additional Cover Letter Tips

  • Use good quality paper that matches the paper used for the resume and corresponding envelope. Type quality should match that used in the resume.
  • Address your letter to the person who has the power to hire for the kind of work that you want to do. Include the person’s title as well. Try your best not to address the letter "To Whom It May Concern."
  • A proactive stance is best. Don’t end the letter by saying you look forward to hearing from the person to whom you addressed the letter. This leaves you waiting for the phone to ring. Indicate that you will soon be calling so as to follow-up on your correspondence.
  • Keep copies and records of all correspondence.

Rivier's Major Options Button  

Smart Social Networking Button  

Alumni Career Success Profiles Button  

Riv Grads Jobs Button  

Alumni Report Button