Career Development


Cover Letter Checklist

A cover letter is used to introduce yourself, summarize your skills and abilities as it relates to the position, and gives evidence of your written communication skills.  It should be tailored for each application and pique the interest of the reader.  A cover letter should be written for every resume sent, unless instructed not to.

• Use same personal information header as resume
• Date letter is sent
• Contact person’s name, title, organization name and address
• Font style and size matches resume
• Margins .5 – 1 inch, white space balanced with content
• Single spaced, double spaced between paragraphs
• Does not exceed one page
• Greeting is addressed to a person not “To Whom It May Concern”

Opening Paragraph:
• Provide an opening statement that grabs his/her attention and entices the reader
• State the name of the position and how you learned of the opening
• If referred to the position, mention the person’s name and title
Main Paragraph:
Purpose: Demonstrate the value you bring to the position/organization
• Give specific examples of the skills and abilities you have developed, link those to the skills
and abilities mentioned in the position description
• Expand on your resume, as opposed to repeating your experiences/skills stated in your
• Demonstrate what you know about the organization and the value you would bring
• Bullet statements (if used) are concise
Conclusion Paragraph:
• Thank the person, express appreciation for the person’s time and consideration
• Indicate follow up time and state the reason for the follow up
• Conclude with: “Sincerely,” your full name and signature

Overall Considerations:
• Letter is concise; and to the point, ­well organized and free of irrelevant information
• Free of spelling and grammar errors that Spell Check software missed, especially the
spelling of names and organizations
• Utilized powerful action verbs and phrases
• Used keywords from the industry and/or job description
• Persuasive rather than narrative­
• Tailored to the company’s specific wants and needs, as indicated in the job description
• Focused on your strengths and abilities, personal attributes, and recognitions
• Utilize the Writing & Resource Center, if necessary