Write an engaging cover letter

Résumé and cover letter paper documents

Your cover letter should never read like a form letter! It's your first introduction to an employer so be sure that it is targeted, outlines your skills and experience as they relate to the particular job and leaves a good impression with the reader.

The ultimate goal of your cover letter is to represent you in a way that entices the employer to read your résumé.

Your cover letter should…

  • be tailored to the company and position to which you are applying;
  • be professional and written in a standard format for business correspondence;
  • make specific reference to the ways in which you meet the skills and experience requirements specified in the job posting (or clearly indicate why the skills and experience you do have would make you a success in the position);
  • highlight some key points from your résumé, particularly those that demonstrate your fit for the position;
  • raise points that aren't obvious on your résumé, like why you're interested in the position, what you like about the organization, what you hope to bring to the job, and why you should be considered a strong candidate; and
  • never be longer than one page.

Resources to assist you in writing a strong cover letter

Career Cyberguide: videos filled with strategies and tips to help you write cover letters.

Résumé & Cover Letter Writing workshop: Write résumés and cover letters that stand out from the crowd.

Cover Letters: types and samples: an assortment of cover letter samples from Virginia Tech Career Services.