Total Duration:

  • Approx. 2 hour

Estimated times:

  • Read time: 15 minutes
  • Work time: 2 hours

Contents:

  1. Getting started
  2. Resume outline
  3. Completion checklist

THe purpose of a resume

A cover letter serves to introduce yourself and convince an employer to read your resume. Hence it’s important that you present resume to communicate that you have the basic qualifications to do the job. 

 

About this guide

This guide will inform you on advanced cover letter structure, and some basic formatting. As with the resume, we will provide a check-list to facilitate your final drafting process. We assume you have a basic understanding of what a cover letter is and hence, this document is meant to enhance your work.
If you completed the previous guides, you should have a good idea of what the employer is looking for and have a (near) completed resume to refer to. Having a resume at hand will help you describe some of your qualifications in your cover letter, and so we recommend completing your resume before you write your cover letter.

GETTING STARTED

> DRAFTING

> Following our resume outline below, create a draft of your cover letter based off your accomplishment statements.
> Make use of the editing process, by writing and re-writing to bring focus to the most important aspects of your application.

> DESIGNING

> With your text draft, format your cover letter to appear aesthetic and professional.
> Review our checklist to guide you through basic formatting requirements.
+ Make sure your resume and cover letter match. Your resume and cover letter should have the same header and the same font. 
+ Microsoft word or Google docs are reasonable choices, but you should be finalizing your cover letter in the same software as your resume.

COVER LETTER OUTLINE

Use the outline and guidelines below to draft your cover letter content

COVER LETTER STRUCTURE

  • Introduction: How are you a potential applicant?
    • Focus on the basics from the employer’s perspective: How would you be a good fit for their needs and expectations?
    • Which role(s) are you interested in and applying for?
    • Make a mention of why you’re interested in the role and organization. 
  • Body 1: Do you have the skills WE need?
    • From the perspective of an employer, describe your technical skills and how you’ll be able to do the work required of you.
    • The employer needs to know that you can get the bare minimum of work done. Use specific examples to prove your competence to get your work done
    • **Due to limited space, you don’t need to go into too much detail (that’s where the resume comes in). It’s usually enough to mention how you applied said skill(s) across one or more experiences.
  • Body 2: What else do you bring to the position?
    • Focus on your soft skills, or any other transferable skills you feel are relevant
    • Use specific examples to prove that you have experience with these skills.
  • Conclusion: Convincingly restate and emphasize your potential.
    • Describe how you and the organization could be a good fit for each other.
    • Restate your interest and request an interview.
    • Mention any preferences on how you can be contacted – specifically, which email you prefer, and if you’re comfortable with us calling you. 

General GUIDELINES

  • Length: Cover letters should stay within 1 page, to give a brief description of your most important qualifications. 
  • Font: Body text should be either 11pt or 12pt, You should also use a professional font that’s uniform across your resume and cover letter. Standard fonts include {Ariel, Veranda, Cambria}

COMPLETION CHECKLIST

Use the check list below to help guide your design and final edits.

FORMATTING

  • My cover letter is within 1 page.
  • I used matching document headers for my Cover letter and resume.
  • I used line spacing consistently.
  • I used bold and underlined text consistently for my section titles/headers.
  • I used a type 11 or 12-point font size for my body/content text.
  • I added at least 2 empty lines after my last paragraph and my closing “sincerely, X”.

CONTENT:

  • I emphasized the contribution I can make to their organization/project. 
  • I considered the employer’s perspective as I introduced and explained myself. 
  • In the opening paragraph, I expressed my motivations and interest in the role and organization. 
  • In the body paragraphs, I clearly explained my technical and soft skills relevant to the position. 
  • In the closing paragraph, I thanked the employer and stated how to best contact me.
  • I checked and edited my sentence structure to avoid using too many “I” statements.
  • I checked that my abbreviations/contractions are consistent “I’m” vs “I am”.
  • I checked that I wrote clearly and intelligently, avoiding using unnecessary jargon
  • I checked the grammar and punctuation on my cover letter.
  • I described my results using quantitative measures as much as possible.