Cover Letter FAQ

What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is an introduction, a sales pitch, and a proposal for further action all in one. It gives the reader a taste of what's to come. A well-written letter is the first opportunity you have to talk to a potential employer, and is used by many employers as a screening device.
Why use a cover letter?
It is your opportunity to demonstrate that you can organize your thoughts and express yourself clearly and appropriately. It reflects your communication skills and some extend, your personality.
What should a cover letter include?

  • Your cover letter should include a similar heading, if not the same, that is on your resume. Include the following parts:
  • Opening - Tell employers who you are writing and how you heard about organization or specific opening.
  • Sales Pitch - Get right to the point! List in either paragraph from or as an actual list of bullet points-the reasons why the employer should see you as a viable candidate. Try to start with a statement that provides an overview of your qualifications, then go into them more specifically, using examples you identified before you started writing.
  • Flattery - This is the "why them" section of your letter. It is where you flatter the reader a bit by commenting on something positive about the organization and letting them know why you would want to work there.
  • Request for Further Action - Don't think of this last paragraph as a closing, but more of an opening to further contact. Suggest how to proceed, usually by saying that you will contact the employer to follow up and see if a meeting can be arranged. End the letter in an assertive but courteous way by taking the initiative to follow up.

How do I put a cover letter together?
Follow this step-by-step guide to complete your professional cover letter. If you need further assistance contact Career Services, located in Building E-201, or call 815-224-0502. Career Services offers resume/cover letter writing software to assist you in the creation of your cover letter.


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