Center for Career Success

Cover Letters

The examples of professional correspondence provided should be used as just samples. The Center for Career Success is here to help you craft your original business correspondence that highlights your unique writing style. Just like your resume, there are no straight-cut rules about what to write in a letter. Some guidelines are important to consider, such as formatting for a cover letter, salutations, and follow-up procedures. Additionally, all correspondence should be tailored to each individual employer.

  • The purpose of a cover letter, like a resume, is to make a prospective employer want to interview you.
  • A cover letter is about how you can benefit the organization, not how the organization will help you.
  • Keep the letter brief: one page, 3-4 paragraphs.
  • A cover letter is the bridge between the resume and the job description. Find relevant commonalities between your experiences and the job posting, and highlight these in your letter.
  • Give specific examples that expand on your resume. Instead of mentioning that you were involved in a club or held a position, describe your skills and accomplishments that would benefit the company if you were hired.

First paragraph: Identifies the job and you – be brief, to the point, and direct. Express your genuine interest in the position. This paragraph should give a snapshot of who you are and how you are qualified. When possible, mention a connection to the organization (perhaps you have spoken with someone in the organization, have interned/worked there before, etc.).

Second/third paragraph: Discuss some special skills, attributes, or experiences that make you the right candidate and worthy of consideration by the employer. Highlight key accomplishments from your resume and describe how your experiences and skills will meet the organization’s needs. Be specific!

Last paragraph: Reiterates your eagerness to pursue this position. A measure of assertiveness is helpful in asking for an interview, and your telephone number and/or email address will be included in-text in the last paragraph.


  • Include the name of the hiring manager whenever possible.
  • Remove phrases like “I believe” and “I feel,” so you sound confident:
    • “I feel that my experience is valuable because…” vs. “My experience is valuable because…”
    • “I believe I am a strong leader…” vs. “I demonstrated leadership skills in X experience…”
  • Be positive. Avoid phrases like “While I have no experience in the field…” or “Although I am not a strong student…” Emphasize your positive qualities and highlight your accomplishments!

This sample cover letter may be helpful in providing ideas for developing your own letter. This example is not perfect, but may serve as a guide for you. Remember, it is not ethical to copy from this letter or use the same wording on your own document. Once you have created a draft of your unique cover letter, the Center's staff is happy to review it with you.

Thank-You Letters

Although often overlooked, thank-you notes are just as essential as any other part of the interview. Thank-you letters are an extra element of exposure during the interview process. Thank-you notes are most effective if written within 24-48 hours of the interview.

Should I email or send a note by mail?
Consider the time frame. If you know they will be making a decision about the next round of interviews in a few days, email is best, but if you won’t hear back for a month, you might consider sending a handwritten or typed note. Also, consider the formality of the organization – email is informal, while a mailed, typewritten note is more formal. There is no right or wrong answer; the most important thing is to write one!


  • Write a separate note for each person you met with on your interview, and personalize when possible.
  • If you feel insecure about how you answered a question, a thank-you note gives you the opportunity to articulate and/or clarify your response.
  • Be future focused (e.g., “I look forward to hearing from you.”).

Your Street Address
City, State Zip

January 17, 20XX

Full name
Hiring Manager
Facility Name
Street Address
City, State Zip

Dear [enter full name]:

Express your appreciation. Individualize this letter; employers will sense if you are using a template for a thank-you letter.

Refer to something that was discussed during the interview. Reiterate your interest in the position/organization.

Thank them again for their time, and mention your interest in speaking with them again in the future. Here is a good place to provide any other information that wasn’t previously given, or to ask a question (for example, if you aren’t sure about the time frame for future interviews).


[4 spaces if mailed or faxed, 2 spaces if emailed]
[Handwrite signature if mailing or faxing]

Your Typed Name [include for all formats – mailing, faxing, or emailing]