Cover Letter Guidelines

Job search letters, including letters of inquiry, thank you notes, academic cover letters, and cover letters are essential to a successful employment search. The Purdue Owl Job Search Letters site addresses each in detail and provides step-by-step guidance in crafting persuasive correspondence.  An overview of the cover letter and its parts is as follows:  

Cover Letter Formatting and Parts

FORMATTING: The basic format of a cover letter is that of a business letter.  Standard margins, aligned to the left.  Indent first line of each paragraph. 

Length: Keep to one page. 

Spacing:

  • Single space your letter
  • Leave a space between addresses and dates in the heading
  • Leave a space between your heading (contact info) and greeting (Dear ...)
  • Leave a space between each paragraph
  • Leave at least three spaces between  your complimentary close (Sincerely...) and typed name
  • Sign your name in ink between the complimentary close and your typed name

PARTS: Four basic parts of a cover letter: Heading, Introduction, Argument/Body, Closing. 

Heading:

  • Your contact information
  • Date you are writing the letter
  • Address of the company

Introduction (Paragraph 1): 

  • Greet the specific person with whom you are corresponding
  • State the position for which you are applying and where you heard about it
  • Name drop if you have a good connection
  • State why you believe you are a good match, including 2-3 key qualifications you will address in the rest of your letter (that will also match your resume)

 Argument/Body (Paragraph 2 and MAYBE 3):

  • Tailor cover letter for each job application.
  • Focus each paragraph on one qualification that shows you are a good match for the job and organization.
  • Give specific examples to prove where you got these skills and how you have used them before.
  • Tell a story; do not just list your skills.
  • Refer to your resume; do not repeat it.
  • Do not use contractions.

Closing (Final Paragraph)

  • Close with a strong reminder of why you are a good match for the job and the organization.
  • Request an interview in some way.
  • Provide contact information.
  • Thank the person for reading your material.
  • Sign your name and print it underneath.

 

News

Our Kids at Heart: The Evangelizing Power of Catholic Education

"You bring me a letter of acceptance to a Catholic school for your child, and I promise your child will attend Catholic school." This is the promise Father Mark Hamlet, BA '68 MBA '70, makes to his congregation at every Mass. The pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Austin, Hamlet has spent much of his ministry advocating for Catholic school education through his nonprofit foundation, Our Kids at Heart.

+ Read More

Junior Computer Science Major Interns at Google

This past summer, Yeabkal Wubshit, BA '20, earned the internship that every computer science major dreams of: a position at Google -- and spent the summer working on infrastructures for Google Service Accounts at Google's office in Sunnyvale, California.

+ Read More

Distinguished Alumni Excel in Human Endeavor

The University of Dallas will celebrate the extraordinary achievements of four alumni with its 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards. Award recipients Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, MTS '00, Laura Felis Quinn, BS '86 MBA '18, Judy Kelly, BA '63, and John Parker, BA '83 MBA '89, will be honored for their contributions to their professions, communities and the University of Dallas.

+ Read More