Effective Cover Letter Tips to Showcase Your Talent

Writing a cover letter doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Associate Director of Outreach, Engagement & Professional Development Raquel Arredondo shares her top five tips to writing a cover letter that perfectly complements your resume and highlights why you’re the perfect fit for the position.

A cover letter is a simple way to highlight your skills and qualifications while gaining the interest of the hiring manager. The proper approach and correct formatting can be all you need to write an effective cover letter. Though the process may seem daunting at first, keeping key concepts in mind can make it easier.

MLA Cover Letter Formatting and Structure

Ensuring your cover letter is clear, professional, and easy to read is crucial to ensuring that hiring managers go beyond the date on the page. Adhering to the formatting recommendations of a system such as MLA will ensure your cover letter appears as professional as possible.

Follow the MLA-style business letter format and maintain consistency with the format of the resume.

What Should the First Paragraph of a Cover Letter Include?

The first paragraph of your cover letter should be used to express your interest in the position, how you learned about it and why you’re a great fit. Be sure to reference the job title and if you have any professional connections that led you to inquire about the position, mention them.

What Should the Second Paragraph of a Cover Letter Include?

While in the first paragraph you are asserting that you’re a good fit, the second paragraph is where you support that claim. Matching job experience with the various aspects of the job description and highlighting specific accomplishments that relate to the job description or function, make the connection for the reader that this is the job for you.

What Should the Last Paragraph of a Cover Letter Include?

Cover letters should be easy to read and relatively brief. The third paragraph should be used as a summary of the first two paragraphs, reaffirming your interest in the position, reiterating your qualifications, and asking for your interview.

Proofreading and Editing a Cover Letter

The most well-written cover letter in terms of style and content means nothing if it’s filled with typos and grammatical errors. Be sure to proofread and edit your cover letter several times before submitting, asking a friend or trusted colleague to review your letter prior to submission.