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Writers' Center

Eastern Washington University

Application Materials

Cover Letter Tips

WHAT IS A COVER LETTER?

A cover letter is attached to your resume as a note to introduce you, your purpose, and to briefly highlight and add detail to your relevant skills and experience.

GET IT TAILORED

You should edit and tweak your cover letter for each job application.

Mass emailing the same cover letter to 20 difference companies shows lack of interest on your part.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM?

Research the company and position; make sure you know what skills and qualifications they are looking for.

With this knowledge, tailor your cover letter to explain how you will help the organization meet its goals.

CAN’T THEY JUST READ MY RESUME?

Your resume is short, to-the-point, and meant to be scanned quickly. This is your chance to expand on its most relevant highlights.

What do you want to emphasize and make sure employers don’t miss on your resume?

Don’t plagiarize your resume word-for-word—that would get really boring.

THINK YOU’RE AN AWESOME CANDIDATE? WHERE’S YOUR EVIDENCE?

Use action verbs to avoid sounding like a monotone job posting. Emphasize your actions rather than your position:

Weak: I worked as an assistant manager at Subway.

Strong: As an assistant manager at Subway, I increased foot traffic by 25% and improved efficiency by introducing a streamlined cashier procedure, all while overseeing four employees.

HOW LONG DOES THIS HAVE TO BE?

Good News…. Your cover letter should only be one page, SINGLE SPACED.

THE “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN” FAUX PAS

Make sure you address the letter to an actual person (preferably the interviewer). Don’t know? Call and ask.

IS THAT A TYPO?

Proofread carefully…multiple times. Then proofread again before hitting “send.” Grammatically-clean letters show you care (about how you present yourself, your seventh grade language arts teacher, and the job at stake).

Click HERE for some proofreading strategies. 

Sample Cover Letter