The Catholic University of America

Letters to Employers

      The importance of drafting and submitting appropriate letters of application as part of the internship and job search process is essential.  Developing skill sets through academics and work experiences that illustrate abilities through cover letters to employers is one of the first steps in the job search process. Click here for a pdf version of "Letters to Employers."

Cover Letter Guidelines

  • • What Is A Cover Letter?

    A cover letter is your opportunity to explain to an employer:
     
    ♦What you can contribute to the organization
    ♦How your skills fit with the advertised opening
    ♦Why you want to work for the organization

    ♦Demonstrate your interest in the position

  • • Why Do Employers Request Cover Letters?

    Employers ask for a cover letter for many reasons:

    ♦Some want to assess your ability to communicate in writing

    ♦Some just want an overview of how you see yourself and your skill set

    Regardless of why it is requested, it is an important tool that helps you describe how your experience, skills and abilities match up with the position available.

    Remember: it is not the employer’s job to find your skills in a cover letter, it is your job to make them clearly visible.

 

How Do I Write A Cover Letter?

  • • Start By Looking at the Position Description

    Here are typical qualities an employer might want in a potential intern or new hire:

    ♦Ability to work independently and as part of a team
    ♦Ability to work in a fast-paced environment exercising professionalism
    ♦Must be extremely organized and detail-oriented
    ♦Excellent written and oral communication skills
    ♦Willing to adapt to new, different or changing requirements
    ♦Ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously and efficiently
    ♦Ability to follow through and complete projects in a timely manner
    ♦Ability to work unsupervised and set own priorities

    ♦Excellent customer relations skills

  • • Highlight the skills you feel are important to the position

    ♦Ability to work independently and as part of a team
    ♦Ability to work in a fast-paced environment exercising professionalism
    ♦Must be extremely organized and detail-oriented
    ♦Excellent written and oral communication skills
    ♦Willing to adapt to new, different or changing requirements
    ♦Ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously and efficiently
    ♦Ability to follow through and complete projects in a timely manner
    ♦Ability to work unsupervised and set own priorities

    ♦Excellent customer relations skills

  • Include Activities (volunteering, Sports & Academic Teams) that show an employer what you can do

    Group writing assignment for class – worked on assigned section and then coordinated combing all four sections into a single, coherent paper and added bibliography; finished ahead of the turn-in date

    ♦Shows ability to work independently and as a team member
    ♦Follow through and complete projects in a timely manner
    ♦Written communication skills

    ♦Organized and detail oriented

    Interned on Capitol Hill with a member of Congress– greeted visitors, answered phones, handled inquiries, addressed constituent concerns

    ♦Shows ability to work in a fast-paced professional environment

    ♦Demonstrates customer service skills

    Work as a camp counselor two summers – handled a changing group of daily activities for groups of children grades 1-4; promoted to lead counselor second summer

    ♦Adapt to changing situations
    ♦Work unsupervised and set priorities

    ♦Shows ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously

  • • Research the Company

    A cover letter will make a stronger impression if it tailored to the company and the opportunity,. Since you have matched your skills to the job, take some time to investigate the company. Go to their website and look for the following:

    Does the company have a mission statement?

    ♦If so, how do your background and interests fit with that mission?

    Is there a different version of the position description on the website? (Some organizations post more detailed job descriptions on their website.)

    ♦What are the organization key achievements?

    ♦What are some facts about the organization?

     

    If you know someone who work or have worked there, ask him/her what other qualities they think the company wants in interns or new hires.

     

  • Basic Cover Letter Format:

    Now that you understand how to show an employer your skills and you have researched the organization, use this basic format to construct your cover letter:

     

    Your Return address (without name)
    City, ST, Zip

    Today’s Date

     

    Mr./Ms./Dr. Name
    Title
    Name of Organization
    Address

    City, ST, Zip

     

    Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Last Name: (use a specific contact whenever possible--use “Dear Sir or Madam” if no name listed)

    Opening Paragraph

    Why you are writing and how you became aware of the position

    ♦Demonstrating enthusiasm: why this position and organization are of strong interest – use your research about mission statements to help you (approximately 3-5 sentences)

    Qualifications and Interest in Organization (2nd paragraph)

    Evidence of your qualifications, i.e., specific examples of how your experience, skills, and knowledge relate to the position and its requirements

    ♦Why the organization’s activities and mission are a great fit for your interests and job/career goals

    Focus on how you can help the organization meet their needs, not what the organization can do for you (approximately 5-8 sentences)

    Your Desire for an Interview (Closing Paragraph)

    ♦Assertively but respectfully declaring your desire to interview
    ♦Willingness to provide additional information/materials (e.g., references, writing sample, portfolio, etc.)

    ♦Providing contact information to assist employer in reaching you

    Closing Statement

    ♦Thanking the employer for his/her time and consideration of your qualifications

    ♦Expressing anticipation of upcoming contact (approximately 5 sentences)

    Signature

    Sincerely

    Signature

    Your full name

     

    Writing An Eye-Catching Cover Letter