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Cover Letters

Cover letters allow you to introduce yourself and tell a brief story to persuade an employer how well your skills, abilities, and attributes match the organization’s needs.

If you are pursuing a specific job or position, customize the cover letter for that position and the employer.

If you are pursuing employment with a particular business or organization, but you don’t have a specific position in mind, customize the cover letter for that employer.

If a job posting asks for a cover letter as part of the application, you must submit a cover letter (along with all other information the employer specifies). If you do not submit everything, the employer will not consider your application complete.

Paragraph 1: Say why you are writing

Dear [Employer’s Name],

  • Identify the position you are applying for, if you are targeting a specific position.
  • Mention how you heard about the organization or the job opening.
  • If you and the reader have a mutual acquaintance, and that person has given you permission to use their name, mention the connection.
  • Demonstrate that you have researched the company by mentioning a new project the company has taken on, their organizational mission or management philosophy, or news item you have read.

Paragraph 2: Connect the dots

  • If you are applying for a specific position, consider using the format in Example 1 (below) to show how your abilities (including personal effectiveness and leadership skills) and experience meet or exceed the position’s requirements.
  • If you are targeting an employer or occupation but using a more genetic cover letter, summarize your most important skills and accomplishments that are relevant to either the employer or the occupation.

Paragraph 3: Wrap it up

  • Express confidence that your experience and capabilities will enable you to contribute to the employer’s success.
  • State that you look forward to discussing the contributions you can offer in an interview.


[Your signature]

Type your name
Phone number
Email address

Example 1: Cover letter for a specific position



135 Oak Street
Riverton, NJ 07777


July 1, 201X


Mr. William O'Hara
Personnel Director
Expedited Distribution Services
5678 Industrial Parkway
Trentonville, NJ 08888


Dear Mr. O'Hara,

I am applying for the position of Warehouse Associate posted on your website. From what I’ve learned by researching your organization, it sounds like your fast-paced environment and emphasis on teamwork is an ideal place for me to apply the skills I’ve acquired in a variety of previous jobs.

The following list outlines how my experience aligns with the requirements of the Warehouse Associate position.


            Your Key Requirements                                    My Experience


Follow safety and standard operating     Three years of successful and accident-
procedures                                                   and injury-free performance in 
                                                                       hazardous workplaces.


Retrieve, pack, and secure items for       Boxed a variety of materials and loaded
shipment                                                     and unloaded trucks, permitting fast and
                                                                      damage-free shipment of a wide variety
                                                                      of products and equipment.


Utilize teamwork, problem-solving,       Worked effectively with diverse groups
and organization skills                              of coworkers in a variety of workplaces,
                                                                      and accomplished all assigned tasks
                                                                      despite challenging and constantly
                                                                      changing conditions.


I look forward to meeting with you to learn more about the position and to discuss how my experience can contribute to the success of Expedited Distribution Services.




Alex Cook
(609) 555-5555


Example 2: Cover letter for unspecified job with a specific employer



222 Oak Street
Monmouth City, NJ 07999


July 1, 201X


Mr. William O'Hara
Personnel Director
Expedited Distribution Services
5678 Industrial Parkway
Trentonville, NJ 08888


Dear Mr. O'Hara,

While exploring the Expedited Distribution Services website, I was impressed by your organization’s belief that talented people are the cornerstone of your success. Ten years of supervisory experience in a variety of companies has led me to the same conclusion: that the right people with the relevant skills and the proper support can accomplish almost any task they are given.


Mr. Richard Lewis, a supervisor in your shipping department, and I have been discussing some of the growth opportunities Expedited is pursuing. I’m confident that my ability to supervise, support, train, mentor, counsel, discipline, and guide associates in any of your operating departments can help you successfully achieve your goals. 


I have attached my resume to this email; it describes in more detail some of the capabilities and experiences that I can draw upon when I join the Expedited team.


I’m available to meet with you and other members of the Expedited leadership team to explore ways that I might be able to contribute to Expedited’s quest to become the nation’s leading logistics firm. I will follow up by phone next week to see if we can arrange to meet in the near future.




Tracey Waters
(609) 555-5555


Short Checklist

  • If you can find out  the name of the hiring manager or director of Human Resources, use it in the cover letter.
  • Do the font and format of your cover letter match those on your resume?
  • Did you remember to spell-check the letter?