Cover Letter Tips

An effective cover letter is just as important as an effective resume. The cover letter accompanies the resume - it is the piece of paper that the prospective employer sees first. You should write a cover letter even if the employer/recruiter does not require one.

The cover letter is an opportunity to:

  • Direct the resume to a specific person.
  • Describe briefly what you know about the job and employer.
  • Provide key qualifications that relate to the specific position for which you are applying.

Pain Free Cover LetterPDF File - A Step-by-Step Guide

Utilize grammarly@edu, a free CSUF student resource, to help with your grammar and  writing style for your cover letter. 

Writing a Cover Letter

Part 1: "Make the Match" - A Brief Introduction Statement

If you have been referred by someone known to the company, (an employee, alumnus, a professor, etc.) use that person's name in your opening paragraph, and indicate why the contact referred you to that particular company or position opening. If you do not have a personal referral, the introduction should include why you are writing, much like an objective or profile summary on a resume.


Part 2: "Make the Case" - Why Should They Hire You?

This section of the cover letter is where you build an argument for why you should be hired by highlighting your key strengths and skills. Do not repeat the content of your resume, but point to the skills and experience in your resume that relate to the position. You can provide examples and details that support your qualifications. If you are able to make a compelling case for your candidacy in this section, the employer will look at your resume for confirmation of your claims.


Part 3: "Make the Close" - Finish Strong

The last section "closes" the letter by recapping what you have to offer and how you are a fit for the position. It suggest that the reader look at your resume, give it positive consideration, and schedule you for an interview. Also, state what your own next action will be.

Follow-Up & Thank You Letters

  • Follow-Up Letter
    • An appropriate way to maintain contact with the interviewer. These letters should be brief and should express your appreciation for the interview and confirm your interest in the company.
  • Thank You Letter
    • Send a thank you letter for every contact. It can be an email or a handwritten letter.
    • Write it on the same day as the interview if possible.
    • Be personal, specific, and genuine in your thanks.
    • Correct any significant misunderstanding you may have realized after the interview.
  • Rejection/Decline Letter
    • There are different ways to decline an offer, depending on the history of your contact with the employer or recruiter. If the offer comes in an email or a voice mail message, your best option would be to respond promptly. It is important that you display your professionalism throughout all stages of the job search, even if you are not interested in the job.