Basic Cover Letter

Date

 

Name
Title
Organization
Address
City, state, zip                                                   

Dear Mr./Ms./Dr./ last name:*

paragraph 1:  This paragraph is brief; 2-3 sentences.  Tell the reader why you are writing.  State the specific position for which you are applying.  (If unknown, describe the type of work you seek.)  Mention how you learned about the opportunity or the organization.  If the position is out of town, state your interest in their location. 
[Your goal: make an immediate connection with the reader.]

paragraph 2:  This paragraph is longer, 3-6 sentences.  Show your knowledge of the employer by matching your background with their needs.  Highlight specific skills, experiences, interests, or personal qualities that present your qualifications in the best light.  If you have the benefit of a job description, show you meet the requirements.  Convey energy and enthusiasm for your field and this opportunity.  Refer the reader to the attached resume which will provide additional details. 
[Your goal: show you are a great match for the position.]

paragraph 3:  This paragraph is brief, 1-2 sentences.  Close by stating your genuine interest in this opportunity and in obtaining an interview at their convenience.  Thank the reader for their time and consideration. 
[Your goal: convey your sincere interest and appreciation.]

Sincerely,                                                           

(signature)

Your typed name
Address                                                   
City, state, zip
Enclosure


* If name is unknown – choose a manager in your field or individual in H.R.  For example:  Marketing Director, Engineering Manager, Human Resources Representative … or simply Representative.  Avoid “To whom it may concern” and “Sir/Ma’am”.