UIC Office of Career Services

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UIC Office of Career Services
Student Services Building,
Suite 3050
1200 West Harrison Street
(M/C 099)
Chicago, Illinois 60607-3344
Phone: (312) 996-2300
Fax: (312) 413-0383

EMAIL:
ocs@uic.edu

OFFICE HOURS:
M-F : 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m..

WEBSITE:
http//careers.uic.edu

Contact Us

CREATING CONVINCING COVER LETTERS


COVER LETTER GUIDELINES
COVER LETTER DOs
COVER LETTER DON'Ts
HOW TO FORMAT A COVER LETTER
HOW TO FORMAT AN E-MAILED COVER LETTER



COVER LETTER GUIDELINES


  • Use business letter format.
  • Include 3-4 paragraphs (Opening, Middle, and Closing).
  • Use the same type of paper, font size/style, contact information heading, etc. as for your resume.
  • Address the letter to a specific person (call the human resources department to inquire if the hiring manager is not listed). May write "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Human Resources Director" if unavailable.
  • Be brief, but be sure to make your point clear. Use succinct and direct language.

COVER LETTER DOs


  • If the letter is in response to a specific job posting, make sure to highlight your fit using the same keywords they used in the job posting.
  • Research the organization and its mission, and mirror back their message through the language you use, incorporating key words and phrases.
  • If you are thinking of relocating and have a strong interest in a particular city, consider including some reasons for that interest or why you would be willing to relocate for that organization.
  • When writing to nonprofit organizations, give examples of your recent volunteer work or community outreach experience to demonstrate your commitment to a particular cause.
  • When e-mailing a cover letter, the cover letter is the body of your e-mail, so that the potential employer needs to open only one attachment: your resume - see below for format.

COVER LETTER DON'Ts


  • Do not exceed one page in length.
  • Do not simply repeat your resume - try to summarize from specific experiences to skills you have acquired from those experiences.
  • If modifying a previously-sent cover letter, don't forget to change the date and the company!
  • Don't forget to ask them to take the next step - schedule an interview.

HOW TO FORMAT A COVER LETTER

Heading
(Use same as resume with your name, address, etc.)
Date

First and Last Name
Title
Company/Organization
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms. (Last Name):

Opening Paragraph:
The purpose of this paragraph is to introduce yourself and grab the employer's attention. Begin by stating your reason for writing the letter and how you learned about the organization/position (specifically name the person who referred you, if any). Include specific items that demonstrate your level of interest and knowledge about the organization. Conclude this paragraph with a persuasive statement about what makes you the ideal candidate for the position (state your strongest qualifications/most relevant skills).

Middle Paragraph(s):
The body of your cover letter may consist of 1-2 paragraphs that serve as your sales pitch to the employer. Use these paragraphs to elaborate on the qualifications/skills you mentioned in the opening paragraph. Provide a few concrete examples that demonstrate your mastery of those skills (but try not to go overboard with examples). Show the employer why you are an excellent candidate by emphasizing what you could contribute to the organization (may address specific qualifications listed in the job description).

Closing Paragraph:
In the last paragraph, you close the letter. Reiterate your interest in the position, thank the employer for his/her consideration, and request an opportunity to discuss your qualifications further in the future. Additionally, indicate how the employer can reach you for follow-up (phone number and/or email).

Sincerely,
(4 spaces)

Your Name (First and last name typed)
(Include your signature above your typed name when submitting by mail)

Enclosure: Resume.



HOW TO FORMAT AN E-MAILED COVER LETTER

TO: contact@employername.com

SUBJ: Highly qualified applicant for Market Research Associate position #2375

ATTACHMENT: yournameresume.doc


Dear Mr/Ms. Employer Last Name:

(insert opening/middle/closing paragraphs; create and save in Word, paste into e-mail)

Sincerely,

Your First and Last Name
Your phone number


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