General Cover Letter Template
Your first and last name
City, State ZIP
Dear (Address target formally-Mr., Mrs., Professor, etc. – unless you were instructed to use first name):
Introduce yourself by explaining briefly why you are interested in this person, company, or position. Do not begin with, “Hi. My name is ____.” Make a closer connection by stating how you heard about the person, company, or position by referencing a referral, an article, or an industry event, for example. For the body paragraph, give your background briefly. Make sure it applies to why you are interested in this person or company. State what you want from the recipient. For example, I would like fifteen minutes of your time to discuss _______. Explain that you’d be very appreciative of their valuable time and advice.
The closing paragraph should offer a specific action for following up. For example, “I will call your assistant to see if I can schedule an appointment with you.” If you state a specific action, make sure you follow through with it.
Thank the recipient for his or her time and attention.
Your signature in blue or black ink
Your printed name
- Avoid rewriting your resume in your cover letter. Only include specific things you would like to highlight about your experience as it relates to the desired position.
- Keep it simple. Avoid long, drawn out sentences with complicated vocabulary.
- Be accurate. Address the right people and check spelling. Avoid generic letters.
- Limit your cover letter to one page with three to five targeted paragraphs.
- Use some of the words included in the job description when writing a cover letter.
- Proofread your letter. Have other colleagues check for mistakes as well.
- Be confident in yourself and your skills.
- When emailing a cover letter to a potential employer, make sure you paste the letter in the body of your email. Never send a cover letter as an attachment. It’s doubtful that a busy hiring manager will take the time to open it.