Background Image

Cover Letters

Remember:

  1. The reader may read countless letters and statements.
  2. Avoid creating a generic application letter or personal statement.
  3. Use distinctive details to create a letter that no one else could write.
  4. Visit the Writing Center and work with a tutor to develop an effective letter or statement.

The Writing Process:

[1] List Your Strengths [2] Select, Analyze, & Draft [3] Organize & Revise [4] Check Format & Style


Explore and List Your Strengths

  1. List every good quality on paper/computer.
  2. Add academic, volunteer, summer, and other work experience/skills.
  3. Include terms that friends, professors, and employers would use to describe you.

Select, Analyze, & Draft

  1. Describe transferrable skills from past experience
  2. Discuss value of relevant previous or current research
  3. Explain usefulness of extra-curricular experience
  4. Describe short and long-term goals

Organize & Revise

  1. Assume the reader's point of view and read your draft
  2. Delete least relevant information
  3. Have a lively first paragraph that introduces your purpose
  4. Arrange the paragraphs logically (chronological? categorical?)
  5. Check coherence of each paragraph. Does each sentence connect clearly to the next? Do all sentences relate to the paragraph topic? Include specific examples.
  6. Make the relationships between pargraphs obvious
  7. Conclude by requesting the next action, such as an interview or request for admission

Check Format & Style

With a Writing Center Tutor, check that your letter or statement has: 

  1. Formal but personal "voice"
  2. Specific, relevant details
  3. Active, confident tone
  4. Clear purpose and contact information
  5. Error-free sentences

To view a draft version of a cover letter click here.

or

To view a draft interview follow-up letter click here.

 

Back to "Essays, Labs, Letters, and Resumes"

Side Conference