5 Steps to a Compelling Cover Letter

By Erin Collier-Plummer
August 17, 2023

Crafting a cover letter that captivates and convinces requires finesse and precision. Your cover letter is more than just a supplement to your resume; it's an opportunity to forge a compelling narrative, bridging the gaps and addressing the questions that may linger in the mind of a prospective employer. In this blog, we're delving into the art of constructing a stellar cover letter that commands attention. Whether you're a seasoned professional or stepping into the world of job applications, these five tips will guide you through the process, ensuring that your cover letter shines with the essence of your skills, experience, and enthusiasm. 



 The Basics

  • Keep your letter short and sweet containing no longer than 4 paragraphs. 
  • The tone of your letter should be business-oriented, keeping in line with the values of the company you’re applying for 
  • Be Active. Avoid past tense and use active voice with action verbs


   Proofread, proofread, proofread.

  • It’s easy to miss mistakes in your own writing. Don’t be afraid to share your letter with a friend to look over.  
  • Your cover letter should all fit on one page and if it doesn’t then edits need to be made. 



  • Your opening should be 2-3 sentences max. 
  • It’s a good idea to start by telling them how you heard about the position. This is helpful for an employer to know where people are finding their openings. 
  • Follow up with your excitement to work there and why you chose to apply. 


 Sell Yourself 

  • In 1 - 2 paragraphs match your experience and skills to the position and explain to employers specific examples of how you used your expertise and how successful they were it.  
  • A smart choice would be to pull keywords from the job description (especially when it refers to the “ideal candidate”) when writing about yourself. 


The Wrap-up

  • Always start your wrap up by thank them for considering you for the position and thank them for their time. This is a nice gesture and can mean the difference between you and another candidate. 
  • End with a statement about “look forward to hearing back from them”.
  • Don’t forget to provided your contact information including: phone number and email.


Library Resources

For more resources to help with building resumes, job searching, interview help and more visit our Career Development Resource Page

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