Career Resources

Craft a Compelling Cover Letter

12 tips to create a compelling cover letter.
Journalism Scholarship


A cover letter accompanies your resume and provides additional information about your skills, experience, and qualifications. Its purpose is to convince the hiring company to invite you for an interview. Your cover letter should demonstrate why you are a great fit for the role! Like a resume, your cover letter should be catered to the job description and values of the company/organization. A cover letter expands on your resume by highlighting your specific qualifications for the position, and includes more details about your qualifications. Most cover letters have a 3-4 paragraph format and should generally be no more than 1 page in length. Unlike a resume, a cover letter is where you can let your personality, values, and soft skills (‘hard working,’ ‘team player,’ etc.) shine! It also serves as a writing sample, so be sure to show off your flawless editing and grammar.


Keep to one page and use business letter writing style.

Essential Components

Body paragraph
Closing paragraph
Ending and signature

Research the Company

Before writing your cover letter, research the company and the position you are applying for. Look for information on the company’s mission, products/services, values, and culture, and tailor your cover letter to show how you align with them.

Address the Hiring Manager

If possible, address your cover letter to the hiring manager. This is sometimes listed in the job description. It’s best to use their full name (for example, “Dear Chelsea Romero”) and avoid using Mr./Ms./Mrs as you may not know their gender identity or pronouns. If you don’t know the name of the hiring manager, then you can write “Dear Hiring Manager.” If the hiring manager uses professional titles such “Professor” and “Doctor”, be sure to include those.

Start with a Strong Opening

Start your cover letter with a strong opening sentence that grabs the reader’s attention. Use a personal anecdote, a relevant quote, or a bold statement to show your enthusiasm and interest in the position. The first paragraph should also include the position you’re applying for, the department (if relevant), and name of the organization/company.

Highlight Your Relevant Experience

Use the body of your cover letter to highlight your relevant experience and skills. Focus on the qualifications and requirements listed in the job posting and explain how your experience makes you a strong candidate for the position.

Show Your Passion

Show your passion for the job and the company by highlighting why you are interested in the position. Explain how your skills and experience align with the company’s mission and values and that you are excited to contribute to their success.

Use Examples

Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and professional work or internship experience as it relates to the job description.

Address Potential Concerns

If you have any potential concerns affecting your candidacy, address them in your cover letter. For example, if you are switching careers, explain why you are interested in the new field and how your skills and experience transfer.

End with a Strong Closing

End your cover letter with a strong closing that reinforces your enthusiasm for the position and the company. Thank the reader for their time and consideration and express your interest in meeting with them to discuss your qualifications further.

Proofread and Edit

Before submitting your cover letter, make sure to proofread and edit carefully. Ask a friend or colleague to review your cover letter to provide feedback and catch any mistakes you may have missed.

Looking for inspiration? Here are a few sample cover letters.