3 Pieces of Advice for a Great Cover Letter

How can you tailor your cover letter to the opportunity to which you are applying? I recently held a session on Cover Letters (Ask me Anything Series on Career Preparation for International Students). Here are some of the main action items you may want to consider when writing an effective cover letter.

  1. It is important to personalize each cover letter. You can achieve this by reviewing the job/internship description and incorporating keywords when you possess the skills and qualifications the employer seeks. You can also research the position and company before writing your cover letter to learn what seems to be of greatest importance to the role and the company.
  2. Avoid writing general statements regarding your desire to work for the organization. Flip this idea around and explain what you can add to the company and position. Elaborate from examples in your résumé, however, refrain from simply repeating your résumé. Indicate how your experiences directly relate to the job posting.
  3. Be mindful of the format of the cover letter. Here are some formatting tips.
  • Keep it to one page
  • Include an opening paragraph and one to two middle paragraphs, a closing paragraph, and a signature
  • Take the time to try and identify the name and title of the person to whom you are writing. This strategy is more effective than writing “To Whom It May Concern”
  • Avoid starting with “Hello, my name is….” Or “I am applying for X position”
  • Do not indent your paragraphs

One final note – always proofread your cover letter. Students are encouraged to set up a career coaching session with the Center for Career Development and visit UConn’s Writing Center to have their cover letter reviewed.

Wishing you success as you prepare your materials for your job or internship search. 

The Ask me Anything Series on Career Preparation for International Students occurs throughout the year. In addition to the session on Cover Letters, topics include Résumé Bullet Point Development, Networking on Linkedin, Virtual Interviews, and Résumé Compatibility with Applicant Tracking Systems. Follow the Center for Career Development’s International Student Affinity Page to learn more about programming tailored to your community.

By Desiree Martino
Desiree Martino Career Coach