What is a cover letter and why do I need one?
The cover letter is a sales pitch that you write to promote yourself for a job, internship, or scholarship. The cover letter gives you an opp
to elaborate on the experiences listed on your resume or CV, express your excitement about the job you are applying for and explain any
challenges that you did not have a chance to describe in detail on your resume, such as working while going to school or being the first ir
family to attend college. The cover letter is your way to introduce yourself and start a relationship with a potential employer.
A cover letter should be about one page long. This letter is independent of your resume and other application materials, so it is importan
include contact information on all documents in case they become separated. A cover letter can be sent as the text of an email message bu
also be attached as a .pdf document for reference. It’s important to save your cover letter as a file that has your name and the date in the f
(e.g., Morrison_ Jim_ Coverletter011520).
The cover letter should be specific to the organization or person that you are applying to, so be sure to personalize it for each application.
find out to whom you should address the letter if possible. If you cannot locate the individual by title, then address the letter to “Dear Selec
Committee”.
Start out your letter by stating the position you are applying for. For example, you might begin, “I am excited to apply for the Breitenbucher
Memorial Scholarship” or “I would like to submit my application for the Behavioral Analyst Undergraduate Internship”. Next, introduce you
and state why you would be good for the position. Specifically, address how you are qualified for the position. For instance, begin this sectio.
with, “My strong work ethic and critical thinking skills are reflected by my strong GPA”.
Then, specifically address how you meet the desired qualifications for the job, without just listing your skills. If a scholarship committee is lo
for candidates who have community service experience, something like My experience volunteering at the downtown mission for the past ye.
has provided me with the opportunity to work with a team of volunteers to plan, manage and implement meal schedules with our clientele” w
be more effective than “I volunteered in my community for 1 year.”
Only include experiences that are relevant to the position. For example, if you are applying for a position to work in a psychology laboratory o1
campus, you don’t need to mention your experience waiting tables at a local cafe. However, if you gained skills waiting tables that transfer to
working in a laboratory or other position that you are applying for, then do highlight those. For example, if while waiting tables it involved hav.
morning team meetings with other servers, then include that you have experience with collaborating with a team.
Finally, show proper consideration for the recipient’s time by thanking them for reading your letter. For example, you might write, “Thank you
your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.”
What if you do not yet have any experiences to highlight and haven’t completed any volunteer work or extracurricular activities that relate to the
position that you are applying for? If you are lacking any concrete work or volunteer experiences, your commitment and passion that you convey
in your letter may qualify you for many scholarship and employment opportunities. For example, “Taking a psychology course has helped me
understand the developmental milestones in language and social skills and this background would help me working with the children in your
after-school program.” It’s also important to remember that if you don’t have any experiences, it is never too late to start.