The cover letter is your chance to elaborate on your qualifications and showcase your fit for the organization and the position. Here are tips for composing cover letters created for you by the Career Center at the University of Idaho.
Cover Letters vs. Letter of Qualifications
- The most common job search letter is the cover letter. It is typically one page and will briefly elaborate on your best qualifications for the job. It is your chance to add a little more detail and context to the information found on your resume.
- A letter of qualification is similar to a cover letter, but will address each item of qualification in the job description. It is often longer than one page. Some companies or organizations, such as Human Resources at the University of Idaho, require letters of qualification.
Writing and Formatting a Cover Letter
- The letter should be concisely targeted to the position desired.
- To really stand out, connect your skills to the company’s needs and wants. Show (do not just tell!) how what you offer matches what they seek. In order to do this well, you will need to do a bit of research on the company.
- Support each skill or qualification you address with a specific example of education or experience.
- It should be formally written. Use the language of your field and key words from the job description. However, make sure the letter is understandable to any reader and not just those from your field.
- Avoid informal language, such as slang, contractions and acronyms.
- Be confident, but do not exaggerate or be overly boastful.
- Check and double-check spelling and grammar. Get at least two other readers, such as a Career Advisor and someone from your field.
- Use standard business letter format (see examples below).
- Use the same font and paper as your resume.
- If it is printed, be sure to sign it in ink. If it is sent electronically, just type your name.