Cover Letter Tips

In many cases, employers would want to recieve a Cover Letter attached to your Resume. 

The Cover Letter gives you a chance to elaborate to the potential employers on the Skills and Experiences you wrote on your Resume.

Key Elements

Writing a cover letter/inquiry is like writing a brief persuasive essay. With the cover letter, you are able to write about your skills and qualifications as they directly relate to a position to which you are applying. In an inquiry letter, you are speaking to your experiences and skills but in a more general sense with the intent of demonstrating your fit, match, and/or candidacy for a possible future opening with a company or organization. In either of these documents, you will make a thesis statement or a claim about something, back up that claim with evidence and then draw it to a close. Once again, the key elements are your:

  1. Thesis statement: In this case, it would be that you are an excellent candidate for a given opportunity (i.e. job description of your choice) because of your specific skills, abilities, experience.
  2. Evidence: Support your thesis statement with brief, specific examples of relevant skills, abilities or experiences that make you an excellent candidate.
  3. Closing statement: Affirm your interest in the opportunity, request an interview or say when and how you will follow-up, and thank the employer for considering your application. 

Remember that cover/inquiry letters build a bridge between your resume and the opportunity at hand. Focus on the  most relevant, strongest skills you bring to the employer.


  • Be simple and brief. Say what you mean without verbosity. Keep it to one page, 3-5 paragraphs long consisting of 2-5 sentences each. You should use terminology and buzzwords of the career field to display your familiarity with the profession, but do not overdo it.
  • Only make statements that can be verified. You should be able to cite specific examples that demonstrate your skills.
  • Identify yourself as a good solution to the employer’s needs. Relate your strengths to the requirements of the position and explain how you meet the qualifications. Stress what you can contribute to the position, not what you want out of it.
  • Highlight important aspects of your resume. Use key phrases to bring your reader’s attention to the major achievements and talents that make you a good candidate.
  • Research the company before you write. Review websites, brochures, and conduct an internet search to glean pertinent information that can inform your approach to the letter.
  • Use active, descriptive words.  At the bottom of this page, there is a list of dynamic active and descriptive words to help you develop your cover letter.

Most Common Errors

  • Sending a generic letter to all employers. Tailor each letter to the specific needs and characteristics of each organization. Try to create an industry-specific cover/inquiry letter that is easily adaptable so you do not have to completely rewrite each time.
  • Neglecting to double (and triple) check that the person/company to whom you have addressed the letter is the same as the person/company to whom you refer in the body of the letter. 
  • Writing to negate your “weaknesses” instead of focusing on your strengths. Focus on matching your skills to the job description and/or the organization/company’s vision. Avoid beginning sentences with “although.”
  • Stating that you are willing or able to do “any or every job.” Instead, show that you have direction and are self-aware by being specific in what you want to do and for whom (i.e. the company or organization to which you are applying).
  • Using superficial or flowery terms such as: “hardworking,” “loyal,” “love,”, “perfect,” or “passionate.”
  • Submitting the document with errors and/or typos. Do not rely solely on the computer’s spell-check function. Proofread and edit thoroughly. Ask a friend, relative or CDC staff member to do the same.
  • Sending an unsigned letter.  Letters sent by email need not be signed. However, if you are sending a hardcopy or faxed letter, be sure you sign it.


How to Write an Effective Résumé

What is a resume? 

  •  It is a professional advertisement about yourself that translates what you have done in the past into what you can accomplish in the future.
  • Your resume should captivate the reader and answer the question, "Why should the employer want to interview me?"
  • Think of your resume as a 30-second personal commercial.

What Makes a Good Resume? 

  •  Your resume should be visually pleasing, attention grabbing, as well as clearly and concisely written.
  • Spelling, grammar, and neatness are of paramount importance. Research shows that spelling or grammatical errors in a resume can be fatal to employment chances.
  • Neatness and organization are a projection of your personality on paper.
  • Remember that potential employers are skimming resumes (a few seconds each!) and sorting through dozens, sometimes hundreds of resumes for one job opening!!

Getting Started with your Resume:

Make a master list of all your experiences:

  • Include activities, courses, all jobs, internships, and volunteer work.
  • Write as: Title, Name of the Organization, city, state, dates.

Identify your accomplishments in these experiences and the skills gained:

  • Refer to the list of action verbs (included on the last page of this handout).
  • Choose action verbs that stand out when skimmed down the page by first word only.
  • If printing a hard copy, use high-quality, light-colored resume paper.

Refine what you have written:

  • Be sure descriptions are very strong and very clear.
  • Do not leave out any relevant skills.
  • Keep the information visually organized and well-spaced over the entire page.

Proofread, proofread, and proofread!

  • Check spelling, word usage, punctuation, address, and phone number.

Prioritize your Resume Content:

  • Target your resume to meet the needs of the employer and/or the industry.
  • Research the position and organization to determine the skills, experience, knowledge and personal attributes required to excel in the positions for which you are applying. (Do they value leadership more than technical experience? How important are communication skills?).
  • Limit your resume to one page.
  • Have more than one version of your resume highlighting the skills, experiences, and strengths for each field to which you will be applying for jobs.

Resume Content Overview:

  • Your name: Make it visible! Center, capitalize, or bold the letters of your name at the top of the page.
  • Your address, phone number & email address: Place your present and permanent contact information (if different) at the top of the page.
  • -Be sure to have a "professional" sounding voicemail greethild an p: 0at: p-ongre tARyan p: 0at,:6vh a comp -Be sure to havs thabsp;
  • siences, and smportant arox; padin-bottomsox; pa/px; pay for a possible futunygin(firstAi> - fe oncng>es,emtem16.x; margin-bottom"color: #33333-height:s, courses, all e tARyanral" obs, internships, and voyle="marginnteer work. (li> employe explo; margin(first word only. 0px;ed
  • Youan.png" aDto gleaWthat 3333>Have mle futpng" alt="EmaPp;00ff;ir="iclass=" to Have %20%26%20png" %20lt="Em%20Pp;00ff;ir=.pdf
    remetionfigour ;in qua 0px; e to the posie ofmarg ou are a.value 0px; margin-bottom"color: #33333-height:oo'fn-boaveme3333;

    ng>Thesis margin-, anp><>Be su3; lihon that "I," gme," gmy," galso," gfeel," gnts are," “du Res skills gch yomarg“ map

    n appor
  • Wrsure sualmail ye exer that : 0px; padnput">Wrma )pan-right: reyour Res hop: -bottom: position Thle="marokrcial.that out"mmatcru ald the letmbe
  • esumcitiglei>Ne> -n-bottuthstricdge and personal attributes required to excel in the positions for which you are applying. (Do they value leadership more than technical experidden #0(firstAi> - f your chowant to C//Du> <Neftog spend oal a00080oquiice" g>, prooout"mp;and organding-top:tcge and personal attributes required to excel in the positions for which you are applying. (Do they value leadership more than technical experidOut"mprentight: 0px; (firstAi>ngiv> ; paMali stntighe).d, margiubli>r: #3totrong>in-surmployer marge suskills gaelsttan ige and personal attributes required to excel in the positions for which you are applying. (Do they value leadership more than technical experidI t thnblur=al.goliandidlihonmployercle="me at ru ortaclasspecific examid beg the talize, ormom: pay your familiariu oal ur skir chge and peht: 16.796875px;"Out"mpoliandid of your resume highlighting the skills, experiences, and strengthhe en:HR Temai
  • &had v> : I margin-bottom"color: #33333-height: experiddial.e at: 0px; padntioning your apong>(firstAi> < the >r:ding-toposition :tcg,he on-surearchwn insplaiting t-coveve

    . ny bi>remetionfigour ;in qua 0px; differeto the pos,owant to e at33; lin="jaeopl em selvis.d, paMali stfie pagsgiublish.d, margdollafylbng>u shrong>: I margin-bottom"color: #33333-height: experidReanedurong>&nb marmllintite/images/systway(firstAi>&nb marmlin-top: 0px!n-top: 0px!nTypotrongorganm extiva,nm eoofread er fo0080oasle="m 0pxge and peht: 16.796875px;"Cor: #33b marmlldisplgetTemaarlos!ion
     g st more gstyle=/p>i>Have mtalizei>Think looe itTee/images/systb3le. Byour r marmlld Experiting ; paMali stme can marmllrnity (i. Thonmparmlld vabeld bay your famiid becolor: #33nmparmllot leave appai of yourral" G aboutlf, sparmlg>&nbstwo thesing,d="ja-comparmllSug>&n cholass=op: 0px shrong>: Ing>&nb marmllintblyourthe pn -botur skir0pt; cou style Thsplgosional to the lettesmmercial shrong>: IBe su morebottom ;in"maddo : I: I : Ires sn Wriunu lea escri>res shrong>: I: I: Iog sthat poten tofe
  • : I

      me aetnyfontnn.png" altnfve g>&nbf your ch. mendoz fitployer="metali styldo itfromliteistys="ja-oicr="m groxcExperiaim with enquiry 1000pi stmargif6.79peri the p="m ogResfo0080arokg>nal bo forehavioout 0080turnespecy lesh rates what ge > gS = Seerauaoe O = Ownion gPg>ogRes hilil.e ach beiic letterarge  gS = Seerauaoe Bing i> Submierci in to tr whomrcial.togethyle"e Aprofes(Sli ht: seer ): "I w.Submierci inkeepperi bs. gO = Ownionng>Thle="mis ha conylns a gA = Aarfixe Ps ayle=e atearfix"loyer="ok 00al ellintterarg, it0px; w yoexepr “w10ptg stse on detaigge "I one relrali>Promeong>Samp; efve 0psputere atinpudingtwo eopl eI k twatr w, acial.togethyleeI gng>&n atiiamg>Submierify yof /tmbe00ff;eminpuo displ mx;">iing t alsosbodriamauir e posi -rigthat :l>  gR = Raarlose G on n at10ptures ssume Coearfix"ge "Th: 0p baypx, exow.Submierify yof /tmw. g6875px;"KNOW/span>PO CONIALa>ER cl gIfve sn-tostLontnn. g experidIn class="STYLEu-ti gC, ti cholve 0="/our-se 7b6ecRes 3; ld the letmates whatryargintoferos, bing)hat ssuyargintingslorle="im with shaEl> yargiuuet tu oal uates whatral adverolve professend oal astLontnntle=yeogany de am mployern gre="ml ewhirfe the=op:oyer6ecethiyle Th and pecm of tyargintf i:ng> of yourBehavioout ompolrnespecy Besh inrong>: I: I:ht: 16.796875px;"Duualile atI gFtyle=Ip>i> &eng,, exozeldie=tutheen>Thp=tuink of sure
    &r appair/li> ave ntivn urea.pmll rald candinioves shrong>: Is whatrtance. Reseion verear s&ae=e opest- ave n ans to ear pies whatpo, suroyern g,tingst demonent cf, it w. Out"mwir a s tntan i theear pies whatpopTh a -sehusiaadvcfos,/f, it fo0080rald! Dy your familiaripits eexiv> rem, judgr-se,re statis>Thl. mnee aboutp: 0pxites whatey rewaressyperie oyerough.eexeembrimtss>Thle="mget-a/spanthat out"mm> Thesis ave > s ssu abot: 16.7yae ivae Th aal adversima -absp;inmployeoutionintingf styv> C//Du> <0080adj: 0toyerouargiuoationp id begeyrmom: psly rcru ali0einbarms> ogRes."golivipadnoyeroites whatey ssume Coe your chobl 0cethispantobtheaddossut demonsong>&n.kch iour alur fog-reout"mm> bodriaycie rohfosrig0080aeto thdd ollhfos 0080rurexperie, acial.v> ogRes.tance. ReseP are n ylatkit 10pt; col profe! mendosioorkiontnnr apbonud ouir "ltpl profesalicklf. mendoz ur rmine the stplpafry t 0080rurp verbanatesstagletm profestIuroyerghly.i stylimlinag>Wri <“uhhsed t0080“ummsed tbl 0pr: perinle=al adver,aevaperi“Nowfog-t.mllseeh you are I am glae g>&essk rehop: al adverr/li>
  • T &ae=i thyral adverolsrmine the . E thyr profesg>&ee anp minlf dossudie=ites whatg th io;nquiry cial.t0s.&nin-bce aesuroyerls an &nbs: 0px; margicemaalpx;">Your name: of yourTial.mll. 10ptoyerugh.. (Bassp;00fundnal eai,al adver!olorrdin apageyl 0tydon claimsoundi"marginyylofernout"m.aWthur fiauyhu arwt candidafineDine .aptivni employer n yle=tionoye' ilucolor: #3333yve >ces wunding ld cadployerjudgf diffetributuanreso dosferentight: 0px; &been?olorldfaigages?olorldtributdisamauir e pos? (lorrong>&nin havs drofescolorrddworkiong>&ninoie verba">Ariloyerarre tio? emendployerevan: 0p 16.arre tio? (G on unity (id anand pers>eterdie g>&els andiffeprevious=tio? em cadie g>&eget-10ptoeds&efontnn.png" altrugh.? em caw.W)=tio(s)? emendie g>&e-bce aetnyfonon cl?e and pers>ld ca morspg>&et translb6.ar__________?aree and pers>ld ca 16.t <
  • ldyn>Think we=hiriloye?e and pers>ld ca morspg>&et translb6.ar___________ ?e and pers>eterur rg>&e-operiv> diffep 0a
  • ld caout"mp &elooessayir o?e and pers>ld cadployermportaanslget-10ptoeddiffef="/ca?e and pers>ld caequirementsa=tionfr < ld caur rg>&ld ollg>nal t ld cai tg>&nbr &aeeexirentight: 0px;="codte&fo0080wh;?e and pers>ld cadployerc csndidlislb6.g>&ete addre?e and pers>ld cadployerc csndidlislb6.g>&feuht: 0px?e and pers>eterim abog>&e-> rineu shrong>: I:">Bmonsio. Avove e> nale padC//Du> ?e and pers>eterim abog>&eovenbog>&rou 16.tir andand pers>Tial.mll. 10ptt &etthur ntioep 0apagege and pers>Dine&ro o t at mh caJob-goligba"- Iip: 0pxsiob of yourldynur rg>&epies eexer ng, 0 thfttom? Ttid o0ld cadployerylatkioye'ltyle=-operiv> <000080t dedployerefer iea veruld be able ? thank ld cadployerylatkieat; map

    ng>Thesientsa=__________ ur ? thank ldendployerylatkioye'rptuaixer nal __________? thank Note:apta">&ro drofesce and pers>eterdployerjudgf y letter, d a p; csur rlooessay3333a=tio?e and pers>In6.79pdverotpls Th r &eare n fie script 10ptus? em caong>&; csuad, ryl 0am? T"marginong>&; csapld caong>&; cs 0pxbt 10ptiffef, tiomgnoydnedurpo C/onyl,scrisnditoedstents that i"mauldtrt&o -—i refgazss><, at TV> :tcg?e and pers>In6g>&ro 0a
  • ld cadployerc csndidlislb6.t < ld capicemaal rong>

    ur rneresoar whichuanreso ng, 0 thfttom?e and pers>ld cai tg>&nbuntio the pagper, 0 the p: 0px?e and pers>ld r rdployeraedn>&nbtop: 0pxg class=?e and peity on pa6bouargi.
    &nbs0 resu about Ql adverhsiob of yourtle">HR Teonl invsizeoyerisl;">< ys itrpstroper,imtss>Samp; enquiry sangtper, eopl eeruualile atp> i>&> :tcgolor: #33333ong>&bureaork<000"ltplwhahawetra1n ( maaients eopl p: 0eitrp: #33333,tinp

    to thun> :tcg)nmployern grtrotue , 0 the esstagletyl,se on-t0s.Wure ref maryve >ces w maryercial.Thle="me="ml eliarch sho, tfe&o :l> profesg>&ee anp: 0e=ites whatey ef thyrcial.Yourand peity on pa6em: experidRech sho, 0e=Iies whatalil ruresorrew to j: 0tnal t nal oyerisl-bce aesuroyerls an &nbs: 0px; marg spellingQl adverhrisl pudduualile atIies whatsion
     of yourldahakie scyou wrmaryr rg>&elooessay333?e and pers>Pleeshafineng>Thesienal ument with er>eterofxan yr roictalizpadoreviewsce and?e and pers>ld cadployerdh io; ld caur rg>&ldtribut map

    ng>Thesi?e and pers>ld cadployerdra/lnqui?e and pers>etermunen0s. Tedployertthurio; Beyompl &nbport froml=tt"mpporti?e and pers>Hfnur anbport yt dnaeub thellingmargc csn er b wui?e and pers>ld caa"lthAran r runenpstrsihichiieti>ldoaur rg>&ldt ld caim abog>&eoaynur rthld cadployerls ant ld caur rthld cadployerylatkia"lthralile atport io; Your>&nbs: 0em: experidx;">Your name:&nbs: x;">Your>&nb;

    dresand ="leadinC aptaes/hr-cdiv class="leading leading-0">