Cover letters may be a drag to write, but they are critical to the job hunting process! A cover letter allows the hiring manager to understand why your qualifications and experiences would be a good fit for the position.

It is important to emphasize how your skill set can benefit the organization. It is not enough to just say what you did in your previous positions, but rather how it relates the position itself.

Who should I address the cover letter to?

It is important to do your research! Take the few extra minutes to identify the person who should be addressed for your cover letter. If you cannot find anyone, it is okay to address the letter to Chair of Search Committee or Hiring Manager.

General way of organizing your cover letter:

1st Paragraph

  • State the name of the position and how you heard of the position
  • Describe why you are applying to the position
  • Explain why you are a good match for the position and the organization

2nd & 3rd Paragraph

  • Describe 2-3 skills sets that you possess and that are required by the position
  • Highlight your work/volunteer experiences, leadership experiences, research experiences, etc.
  • Emphasize skills that you have developed and provide concrete examples
  • Identify specific ways your expertise can benefit the organization

4th Paragraph

  • Write 1-2 sentences that summarize your assets and benefits you would bring to the organization
  • Reiterate your interest in the position
  • Express your interest in an interview
  • Thank your reader for their consideration


Additional Resources

Sample Cover Letter

Sample Cover Letter

Sample Cover Letter

Susan Ireland– Highlighted in “What Color is Your Parachute? 2016”

UW Madison – Writing a Cover Letter

The Muse– How to Write a Cover Letter: 31 Tips You Need to Know