Writing a Cover Letter

What is a cover letter?

It introduces you to a possible employer. It is an opportunity for you to show that you can research, think and write. It invites the employer to read your resume and portfolio materials.

How do you write a cover letter?

At the most basic level, a cover letter needs to be well-written: clear and concise. It needs to be targeted to a specific job and employer.

The beginning should attract the attention of the employer. The middle highlights what you can do. This is the place to address specific job requirements that you found in the advertisement or where you explain why you are sending your resume to the employer. The end typically reflects what you expect from possible employment.

A cover letter should let the employer know that you have researched the company and what it does. For example, a letter to a newspaper editor might mention a recent story from the newspaper; a letter to a public relations firm might mention a well-known client. You should explain why you want to work for this company. You should provide clear reasons why the employer should hire you.

Tips for winning letters

  • Address the letter to a specific person.
  • Be sure content is accurate.
  • Triple check spelling and grammar.
  • Edit, edit, edit.
  • Show your writing abilities.
  • Be creative but make sure it fits your audience.

Read a good cover letter that landed a Chico State journalism student a job at one of the nation's best newspapers. Read it here....