Cover Letters

When to use a cover letter

Many employers will require a cover letter as part of your application. There may be other times when a cover letter is also appropriate. Include a cover letter with your resume when you cannot present it in person, for example if sent through U.S. Postal Service or email. Remember, whatever you write in your email IS your cover letter. A cover letter is not necessary when you deliver your resume to a potential employer at a career fair.

 

The purpose of cover letters

The purpose of the cover letter and resume package is to motivate the employer to take action and invite you for an interview. When delivered together, the two documents should be complementary and work together to accomplish your purpose. The appearance of your resume/cover letter package will be enhanced if both documents are printed on the same high-quality bond paper.

The most important aspect of a cover letter is employer focus. Present the employer with indications of your personality and style along with your skills and abilities. Highlight your qualifications for the specific position you seek, clearly stating your interests and qualifications relative to the employer’s needs.
 

Tips

  • Avoid starting every sentence with “I” or “my.”
  • Avoid extraneous words and wordy phrases, such as “in order to” and “for the purpose of.”
  • Use simple sentence structure. Read your cover letter allowed to check for fluency.
  • Keep paragraphs and sentences short.
  • Watch out for weak or overused words.
  • Keep font sizes between 10 point and 12 point.
  • Avoid nondescript phrases such as “I was a computer lab assistant.” Instead, say: “I provided technical assistance”. “I conducted research activities using observation and data analysis skills while…” instead of “I worked as a research assistant”.

 

Cover Letter Format

Your Address

Date

First and Last Name of contact person or "Human Resources Manager" if name is unknown

Title of Contact Person

Employer Contact Information

 

Dear <insert name>:

 

Paragraph 1
why you are writing, what position you are applying for, how you learned about the position, who referred you (if applicable)
Body
why you are interested in the position, what you can contribute, how your qualifications would benefit the organization, how your skills and experience match their needs
Last Paragraph
 
Refer to documents enclosed or available such as list of references, give the phone number and time that you can be reached or when you will contact them, thank them for their time and consideration of your application

“Respectfully”,

Type your first and last name

Leave four spaces so you can sign your name in ink after it is printed.

Leave only one blank line and type your name for emailed cover letters.

1234 Main Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66046
September 20, 2013

Ms. Betty Smith

Human Resources Director
Big Time Software
678 Madison Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66212

Dear Ms. Smith:

It is with great interest that I apply for the position of sales representative for the Midwest territory. At the recent University of Kansas career fair, I met Joe Job, Chicago sales representative for Big Time Software, who told me about the position. My extensive sales and leadership experience as well as strengths that include a committed work ethic, strong motivation to succeed and a demonstrated record of exceeding goals would make me an excellent fit for your company.

After speaking with Mr. Job and researching Big Time Software, I am impressed with the innovative software your company is developing for the health care industry. Your recent release of Super Special Software version 5.0 represents a significant advance in technology and should be well received in the home health field. This rapidly growing segment of the industry is creating unique opportunities to acquire new clients. I have a consistent record of achievement in building customer relationships that generate sales while working on a team and meeting deadlines. During my summer internship at Union Sales, I exceeded the monthly sales quota by 30 percent – the majority of those sales were to new clients. At The University Daily Kansan, I consistently surpassed the sales goal of $500 in advertising per week.

As chief membership officer of Pi Alpha Pi, an academic honors organization, I pioneered a recruitment program that brought in over 20 new members, increasing our membership base by 52 percent. At the Chicago Grill Restaurant, I was selected to train all new hires on proper serving techniques and was entrusted with closing the restaurant after only three months of employment. These experiences demonstrate that I am a highly motivated and goal-driven leader who strives for excellence in everything I do.

I look forward to the opportunity to interview with you and have attached my resume as requested. I will contact you next week to schedule a time when we can further discuss my qualifications.

If you have any questions, I can be reached at (785) 555-1234 or by email at jayhk@ku.edu.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jay Hawk

Tips

  • Avoid starting every sentence with “I” or “my.”
  • Avoid extraneous words and wordy phrases, such as “in order to” and “for the purpose of.”
  • Use simple sentence structure. Read your cover letter allowed to check for fluency.
  • Keep paragraphs and sentences short.
  • Watch out for weak or overused words.
  • Keep font sizes between 10 point and 12 point.
  • Avoid nondescript phrases such as “I was a computer lab assistant.” Instead, say: “I provided technical assistance”. “I conducted research activities using observation and data analysis skills while…” instead of “I worked as a research assistant”.

 

KU Career Connections is an online platform to connect KU job seekers and prospective employers.


 

785-864-3891
 
1410 LEEP 2
1536 W. 15th St. 
Lawrence, KS 66045
 
Open 8 to 5 Monday - Friday
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