Cover Letter Sample

Your name with middle initial

Box 123345
Williams College
Williamstown, MA 27708

Today’s Date

Contact Name, Title
Company Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs./Dr. Last Name:

Paragraph 1: What prompted you to write this letter? You should indicate that you have done enough research to know what shared interest you have with this employer. Is it the industry, this organization, or the job description? Did a friend have a good summer experience and recommend you write? Will this employer participate in on-campus recruiting? Maybe you learned something special from a Williams alum or at an information session. What did you see on the website for this employer that interested you? Emphasize what you can do for the employer, not what you can take. “I am looking for an opportunity to see what business is all about” is backwards. Read the letter as if YOU were the employer or contact.

Paragraphs 2&3: This is your chance to BRAG! What makes you unique and a special candidate for this employer? This is not hard if you have done your homework. Every sentence in this section should be positive and reflect your unique strengths. You may want to use two paragraphs, depending on how you have selected your special strengths for this employer. This is where you tell the story behind the skeleton outline of your resume. You want to go into detail about a few things but don’t repeat everything on the resume. The employer can read the headings but wants to know the story behind the outline. Describe why you chose to do something, chose your major, elected a certain combination of courses, your role in a group, etc. Never apologize! “I know I don’t have a computer science major” immediately explains why you should not be hired.

If you have lots of experience and courses, talk about this combination. Did you have a special impact on an extra curricular activity or a class project team? If there is a published job description, the reader will be looking for responses that come as close as possible to the defined requirements. No one will have all of them!

You may want to talk about why you elected certain courses and why this combination makes you unique. This paragraph may give the reader a good idea of how you make decisions: The phrase “in math 3 1 I was exposed to” is a waste of words. First, no one outside Williams is likely to know what math 31 is, and you can be “exposed” to something like chicken pox and not like it!

Paragraph 4: This is where you state your actions or expectations. If you will be home for break, you indicate you will call from Williamstown to arrange an interview. Maybe you would prefer to call the office to schedule a preliminary interview on the telephone. For interviews on campus, you can always say, “I look forward to seeing you at Williams in . . .” Or, you can simply say, “I will call your office to be sure you received my letter and to find out about next steps.”

Sincerely,

[signature]

Typed name with middle initial

Encl: resume