Demystifying Cover Letters

By: Brittany Walker, Graduate Assistant, Career and Professional Development Center
In Celebration of International Career Development Month

What is it?  

Aren’t cover letters obsolete? What do they convey to employers that the resume can’t? Worry no more! Your guide to demystifying the relevance of a cover letter is here! Here are three important tips to remember when you’re prompted to create a cover letter for a position or you’re proactive in sending one to employers to complement your resume.

Three types of Cover Letters

All cover letters are not created equal. From communicating your interest in a position to requesting career advice, a cover letter’s intent and purpose range much like a resume. It is crucial that as an applicant, your cover letter’s structure best reflect your professional goal. There are three notable types of cover letters: letters of application, letters of inquiry, and networking letters. Letters of application are written as a result of a job posting in which the applicant is specifically expressing desire for that position. Letters of inquiry are used to express one’s interest in a position that has not been publicized on the company’s website or job board. Lastly, networking letters are used to ask for job search advice or potential employment opportunities.

Celebrate the Company

The cover letter is not only an opportunity to demonstrate why you’re an excellent candidate for the position, it’s also a time to prove that you’ve done your research. Be sure to compliment the company on a recent innovation or effective strategy that you’ve seen being implemented. Even mentioning some of their recent news or updates can demonstrate your interest in not only the position but the well-being of the business.

Universal Cover Letters Don’t Exist!

Cover letters are designed to be as specific as possible in relation to a job posting or an employer. They should include the hiring manager’s information as well as the company’s formal address. Be sure to make connections between your skills, talents, and abilities and what the position requires to illustrate how you’re a perfect fit!

Watch: The Cover Letter

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