Overview: Purpose of a Cover Letter
A cover letter is a brief letter that introduces your resume to the company or organization to
which you are applying. Your cover letter should emphasize why you want to work for that
particular organization and why you would be a good fit. An effective cover letter engages
the reader and encourages him or her to invite you for an interview.
A resume should always be accompanied by a cover letter. It serves as the first sample of
your writing ability and attention to detail.
Getting Started: What to Include in your Cover Letter
• Address your cover letter to a named individual, whenever possible.
• Make it brief - one page or less, with ample margins.
• Use an adequate font size – no smaller than font size 10.
• Include pertinent personal data: name, address, email and phone number.
• Proofread for spelling or grammatical errors.
• State why you are writing and for what position you are applying.
• Demonstrate energy and enthusiasm for the position.
• Highlight or expand on key information from your resume, but do not simply repeat
what is listed.
• Actively sell your unique qualities and tell the reader why he or she should choose you.
• Target your skills, interests and experience to the needs of the organization.
• Show you have done your homework; emphasize why you want to work for that
• Encourage the reader to take a closer look at your resume.
• Be clear and concise.
• Use powerful action verbs and phrases to describe your skills, interests, and abilities.
• MIT Career Development Workbook Sample Cover Letters:
• Smart Resume, Cover Letter & CV Workshop:
• The Chronicle of Higher Education, cover letter advice: