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Tips for a Successful Cover Letter

By Cami Mathews on January 10, 2019 in

Campus Resources

2018-11-center-for-diversity-and-inclusionWhether sent via email or written in a traditional letter format, cover letters are essential parts of the quest for an interview. Southern Utah University’s Career Center offers these tips for a successful cover letter.

Before You Write

  • Keep the cover letter between a half and full page.

  • Match the cover letter and resume in appearance.

  • Do research about the specific job and company - this will also help when asking questions in interviews.

  • Choose the right cover letter format to make the best impression. Make sure the design and feel of your template mirrors the company’s image or branding.

  • Make a list of keywords from the job description to use inside your cover letter.

While You’re Writing

  • First Paragraph: Mention the position being applied for, including how the opening was found. Seize attention by including a short, bold sentence that lays out your exact hopes. To perk interest, grab the attention of the reader by telling them how their name was found (include referral’s name if they know the manager).

  • Second Paragraph: Get down to business and show your qualifications for the job. Explain your interest in the position and why this job is the best and most relevant. This paragraph offers a preview of the qualifications and invites the reader to learn more in the resume. Not all accomplishments are relevant so only present information that relates to the reader’s decision-making regarding the application.

  • Third Paragraph: Always end the cover letter with appreciation and gratitude. This is the chance to thank the employer for their time and consideration. Ask for an interview and set a follow-up date or restate the current follow-up date.

After You Write

  • It is imperative that your application material is looked over by a few different people. A resource at SUU is the Writing Center. Set up an appointment with a writing tutor to look over the cover letter and offer feedback.

  • Verify everyone’s contact information. Whether it’s in your header, signature, or both, make sure your phone number and email are correct and the company’s name and information is listed correctly.

  • Choose the right file format. It’s best to send .doc or PDF formats to ensure your file can be easily read by an Applicant Tracking System.

  • Proofread multiple times. Read through your letter silently, out loud, and backwards, starting from the last sentence and working up through the letter. Reviewing the details shows your commitment to excellence that hiring managers will appreciate.

The Career Center offers cover letter examples and more tips through their Cover Letter Resources.


    

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