COVER LETTERS

 

PURPOSE OF A COVER LETTER

 

A Cover Letter:

  • Introduces you and your resume to an employer

  • Explains why you are writing or applying for the job

  • Details why you are a good match for the organization and the position

  • Demonstrates your abilities and helps to establish your credibility

  • Draws your readers' attention to specific qualifications

  • Provides a sample of your written communications skills

  • Explains when you plan to contact your prospective employer

Formatting Your Cover Letter

Remember that the basic format of a cover letter follows that of a business letter. As you design the page, think about the following:

Length

  • Keep to one page
  • Write one paragraph of introduction, one to three paragraphs to highlight your skills, and one paragraph to conclude 

Spacing

  • Single-space your cover letter.
  • Leave a space between addresses and dates in the heading.
  • Leave a space between your heading (contact info) and greeting
  • Leave a space between each paragraph.
  • Leave at least three spaces between your complimentary close ("Sincerely,") and typed name.
  • Sign your name in ink between your complimentary close and typed name.

Margins and Alignment

  • Use standard margins (one-inch margins, usually).
  • Align all paragraphs to the left of the page.

Example Cover Letter Formatting

FORMAT HEADER & SAY HELLO

HEADER: Display your name, address, phone number and email address in the same format as your resume.

DATE: Include the date you print and mail (or email) the letter.

RECIPIENT’S NAME AND ADDRESS: Left-align this information and include an individual’s name if possible.

SALUATION: Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Last Name (if you’re unsure of the recipient’s gender or you want to be gender neutral, write their full name).

INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU WANT

Immediately state the position for which you are applying and how you heard about it. If you are not applying for a specific position, indicate your area of interest.  

Mention if you were referred by someone (like an alumni or other contact).

Introduce yourself by stating your major and graduation or anticipated graduation date.

Mention why you find the company/organization compelling and why you want to work for them.

DESCRIBE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS & WHAT YOU WILL BRING

Point out the relevant skills you have developed through your coursework and experiences in order to show the hiring manager that you are a good fit for the position.

Expand on the experiences that support you are a “match” for the positions. Use KEYWORDS from the job description if  possible.

Describe how you would apply the skills and knowledge you gained from your experiences to the position for which you are applying.

WRAP IT UP & SAY THANKS

Thank the employer for their time and consideration.

Offer to provide any additional information.

Provide your email and phone number in the last sentence.

END YOUR LETTER WITH

Sincerely,

Your signature (leave 3-4 spaces)

Career Cover Letter Template
Job and Career Accelerator

NAU also has great resources such as the Job and Career Accelerator Cover Letter Builder to assist in building a great Cover Letter.  

Log into the Job and Career Accelerator (JCA):

  1. Log into the Job and Career Accelerator here.
  2. Register or Log in; please follow the steps below or click on The Tutorial to Learn How to Register.
    • For new users register at the top right or by clicking on “Register” 
    • For existing users log in at the top right or click on “Login”
  3. Next click on the drop-down labeled “Resources” and click on “Tools to Get Hired”. 
  4. Then click on the “Launch” button next to “Build Your Letter”. 
  5. Then click on “Add a Letter” to get started. 
  6. The cover letter wizard will walk your through each step of building a cover Letter.
  7. Once you are complete reminder to save your work. The cover letter will save onto the “My Career Dashboard” on the JCA.   
  8. You also have the option to download your cover letter into the file of your choice by clicking on the blue download arrow.   
Cover Letter Help Videos

Click here to view the Cover Letter Help Videos