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Cover Letter Tips

At some point in your job search, you are going to need a cover letter. While not every job posting has a cover letter requirement (some do), the inclusion of a well-crafted, targeted letter can certainly elevate your candidacy. It’s an effective way to supplement the information on your resume, showcase your writing skills, and demonstrate your interest in the organization.

A cover letter tells the story of your qualifications as they relate to the position for which you are applying. Let the job description be your guide when considering which experiences to share. Use keywords and qualifications in the description to reflect on areas in which you have experience or transferrable skills. The more customized your cover letter is to the job; the easier it is for the employer to see you performing the job!

8 Tips for Writing a Strong Cover Letter

  1. When possible, address the letter a specific person by name, followed by a colon.
    1. If you are not able to obtain a name, address it to the job title of the individual receiving your application, such as “Dear Human Resources Director” or “Dear Hiring Manager”. Don’t use antiquated terms such as “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern”.
  2. Mix up how you start each sentence and avoid beginning every sentence or paragraph with the word “I.”
  3. Attract the employer’s attention by beginning your cover letter with a strong statement. Many employers receive hundreds of applications and you want yours to be one that is remembered. To do this, develop a bridge or common bond between yourself and the employer. Tell how you learned of the company/organization and/or the vacancy, or use a mutual contact when possible.
  4. Explain why you are interested in the employer. Indicate what you can do for the employer rather than what the employer can do for you. You can combine this with your first paragraph when you are gaining their attention, or this can be a separate paragraph all on its own.
  5. Use the center of your letter or next paragraph to arouse the employer’s curiosity by stating brief facts from your resume about your education, experience and accomplishments. Highlight your talents and particular points in your background that complement the type of job you are seeking. The employer will be looking for skills that you posses to benefit the organization.
  6. Always thank the employer for their time and consideration.
  7. Always sign your letter. If sending electronically, make sure you type “Sincerely” and print your name. An electronic signature is not expected.
  8. Proofread to correct all spelling and punctuation errors. Both the cover letter and resume must be free of mistakes.

Paragraph 1

Indicate the job you are applying to and how your background makes you a good fit for the position. Address the letter to a specific person, when possible. Otherwise, use ‘Dear Hiring Manager” (do not use “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”).

Dear Ms. Anderson:
I am writing to express my interest in the Material Design position that was recently posted in NC State’s ePack system. I first learned about this opportunity while speaking with Mr. Jon Adams, Product Lead for VF, and he suggested that I contact you directly. As a graduating senior majoring in Textile Engineering, I am hopeful that my related coursework, demonstrated leadership, and related internship experience make me a competitive candidate for this role at VF.

Paragraph 2

Fit. Give concrete examples of experiences or skills you have that make you a good fit for the position. Use keywords or qualifications from the job description, and demonstrate your knowledge/interest in the organization:

In addition to maintaining a 3.7 GPA and being named to the Dean’s List every semester, I also had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience as a product development intern at Under Armour this past summer. In this role, I worked to create a hybrid elastic fabric prototype to be used in children’s protective athletic gear. I was tasked with leading a team of 4 other interns through the process of testing fatigue, moisture absorption, and deterioration. The internship culminated with our team delivering a final presentation to several executives at UA and receiving very positive feedback. This experience gave me a first-person perspective of the product development life-cycle, and I am excited about the possibility of bringing my experience, positive attitude, and growth-mindset to VF.


Reiterate your interest by indicating that you would like to request an interview and thank the employer for their time. Did You Know? Strong written communication is a top skill employers seek. A well-organized cover letter that articulates your thoughts clearly and concisely is your opportunity to demonstrate a mastery of this skill.

I am thrilled about the possibility of joining VF and continuing my work in product design and development. I have had the opportunity to engage with several former classmates and current VF employees over the past year, and every communication I have has furthered my interest in becoming a member of this forward-thinking and innovative organization. I welcome the opportunity to speak with you in further detail about how my skills, career interests, and experience align with this role. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at 919-555-5555 at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time.

Anita Job