UC San Diego Jobs Site

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Writing Effective Cover Letters

  • Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible. If you are unable to access the name, use a generic title such as Human Resources Manager, Hiring Leader or the specific job title that is typically responsible for an area, such as Nursing Director.
  • Write each cover letter specifically for the company and/or position you are seeking.
Opening Paragraph
  • State the position for which you are applying and how you found out about it.
  • If you were referred by someone indicate by whom, using the name of a contact or mutual acquaintance.
Middle Paragraph(s)
  • Tie your qualifications to what you know about the position or organization. Focus on your skills, education, and experience from your resume. Emphasize your strongest attributes that relate to the position. If you have any directly related experience or education, summarize it here so that the reader can be looking for it in your resume.
  • Tell them why you are interested in this field or company.
Closing Paragraph
  • Restate your interest in the position and demonstrate how your unique qualifications fit the position. Request an interview appointment, or tell the reader that you will contact him/her to see if you can schedule a mutually convenient appointment.
  • If possible, indicate that you will contact the addressee at a specific date or time to arrange a mutually convenient appointment time.
  • Thanks the reader for his/her time and consideration
  • Use business letter format, block style, with everything beginning at the left margin.
  • If mailing, use the same good quality paper as your resume. Also use the same font as your resume.
  • Keep it brief and concise.
  • A cover letter is a writing sample. Proof well.
Example Cover Letter