Career Center M30

Cover Letters

Questions?

  • Career Center
    202-885-1804
    Fax: 202-885-1861
    careercenter@american.edu
    Butler Pavilion, Room 5th Floor

    Monday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Tuesday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
    Wednesday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
    Thursday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Fernando, Gihan S
    Executive Director-Career Center

Mailing Address

The purpose of a cover letter, which should always accompany your resume, is to introduce yourself and compel an employer to learn more about you through your resume. Capture an employer’s attention by following the actions below.

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PERSONALIZE

The statement “To Whom it May Concern” is concerning! Always address your letter to a specific person. If you do not know who should receive your letter, research the organization’s Web site or call the main number and ask for the appropriate person’s name and title.


RESEARCH

In addition to determining the recipient’s name and title, research the organization so that you can convey an appreciation for its mission and an understanding of the duties and qualifications of the position for which you are applying.


CONVINCE

Articulate how your skills and experiences uniquely qualify you for the position and demonstrate why you are a good fit for the organization. Be clear and concise and limit your cover letter to one page. Additionally, maintain a professional tone while providing insight into your personality so that your letter leaves an employer with a sense of wanting to learn more about you.


PROOFREAD

A poorly written or error-laden letter is a surefire way to end your candidacy. If you want an employer to spend additional time reviewing your resume, you must make time to proofread your letter and ensure that your grammar and spelling are perfect.

Cover Letter Format

Your street address
City, state, zip code
Your cell phone number
Your e-mail address

Date

Ms./Mr./Dr. recipient’s first and last name
Title
Organization name
Street address
City, state, zip code

Dear Ms./Mr./Dr. Last Name:

Paragraph 1: State why you are writing, how you learned of the organization or position, and basic information about yourself. If you are writing at the suggestion of someone who knows the recipient, say so.

Paragraph 2: Demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the organization, and use specific examples to show how your background and skills qualify you for the position.

Paragraph 3: This paragraph is optional and is recommended for elaborating on particularly relevant or impressive details included in your resume.

Paragraph 4: Indicate that your resume and other supporting materials are enclosed. Reiterate your interest in the position and your desire to meet for an interview. State your plans to follow up via e-mail or phone within a certain period of time and invite the employer to contact you to request additional information. Lastly, thank the employer for his/her consideration.

Sincerely,

Your signature (on a hard copy letter)

Your name (typed)

Enclosure(s)

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