Cover Letters

If you’re applying for a position that’s been posted online or in a newspaper, you’ll most likely need to prepare a cover letter to introduce yourself and demonstrate the fit between your background and the position to which you’re applying. Use the cover letter to (1) draw the reader’s attention to the match between your skills and the position’s requirements; (2) emphasize what you can bring to the organization; and (3) convey enthusiasm for the position.

Opening Paragraph

State immediately the position you are pursuing and how you came to know of the opening. Tell the employer briefly (one or two sentences) why you are interested in this position.

Paragraphs 2 and 3

Target your message. What skills have you gained as a graduate student and how do they relate to the duties of the position you are applying for? Describe how these experiences will make you successful in the position. Highlight accomplishments that will make the reader want to learn more, which will lead them to your resume. The goal is to show the employer that you have confidence in your ability to succeed in the position.

Paragraph 4: State that you’d welcome a personal interview to further discuss this opportunity. You might mention that if you do not hear anything from the potential employer in two to three weeks time that you’ll call to follow up this letter to see where they are in their process. Finish by thanking them for their attention and express a desire to meet them sometime in the near future.

Close the letter with a standard valediction such as Sincerely or Best regards, and be sure to sign the letter.