Cover Letters

There is really only one job: problem-solver. And to be hired for any job, you must demonstrate you can solve the employer’s problems. Figure out what problems the person in the position must handle. Research the organization and the department to which you are applying. Look at annual reports, press releases, leadership bios and industry analyses. Use your network to get any information you can. Learn about the strengths and issues the company faces.

How can you use your capabilities and experience to contribute to a solution? Use your answer to construct your targeted cover letter.

A cover letter is your personal “movie trailer” – the coming attraction – for your resume. The purpose of a cover letter is to entice the employer to read your resume.

  • Usually, cover letters should be brief
  • Exceptions to the “be brief” rule include:
    • letters that accompany C.V’s for academic positions
    • letters that include a required statement of philosophy
    • other circumstances when the position requires additional information or explanation
  • Bullets, placement and white space will draw the reader’s eye to the areas you want to emphasize
  • Use targeted words to grab the reader’s attention
  • Use short sentences

Need Additional Tips and Resources?

  • Sample Cover Letter: An example with annotations from an ACS career advisor explaining the strategy for formatting and wording.
  • Plenty of advice on writing powerful cover letters plus many examples.

Electronic vs Print

Electronic Cover Letter and Resume
We recommend using .pdf formats for all attachments.

  • Attach the cover letter and resume to your email as one file (our preference) OR
  • Attach the cover letter and resume to your email as separate files OR
  • Have your cover letter be the email submitting your resume.

Printed Cover Letter and Resume

  • Include the word “enclosure” or “encl.” at the bottom of the cover letter.