What is the purpose of a cover letter?

The purpose of a cover letter is to tell a prospective employer what you can do, why you are interested in them, and why you feel you are qualified.  A good, well-planned cover letter is just as important as an impressive resume or CV; and together they form an important resource in your job search.  Send a cover letter anytime you submit your resume or CV for a position.

Quick tips when writing a cover letter

  • A cover letter should ALWAYS accompany a resume or application (unless the employer/job description notes otherwise).
  • Keep your cover letter to one page (3-5 paragraphs). Prioritize your most relevant and positive experiences.
  • Use the professional format for closing, “Sincerely,” with your name (typed) and your signature between the two.
  • Place the word “Enclosure” at the bottom of your cover letter, to indicate that you will attach a resume or application to your cover letter.
  • Write to a specific person, ideally the one who actually makes the hiring decision. If the job description does not list a specific person, do your research – Go online and find the appropriate contact individual. You can also contact the Front Desk Receptionist or the Human Resources Office within that particular company if you still cannot find the appropriate contact person.
  • If you try all of the options above and still end up without a specific contact individual, write to an appropriate position title. For example, address your letter to the “Sales Manager” when applying for a Sales position.
  • Create a separate cover letter for each job. Generic letters do not impress employers! Employers might interpret a generic cover letter as lack of interest or passion for the job position.
  • Print your cover letter on the same type of paper as your resume.  Furthermore, maintain side margins of approximately one inch with even space at the top and bottom of the page.
  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure that you have 2-3 people review your cover letter before you send it to an employer. Grammatical errors are unacceptable!

Cover Letter Guide