Cover Letters

A cover letter is a "first impression." It gives you the opportunity to introduce your resume to a potential employer. You can use the cover letter to showcase your skills and give your resume personal appeal. A well-written cover letter may also help to facilitate a meeting between you and the employer. There are different types of cover letters:

  • Inquiry: This method is used when you are not applying for a posted position. You are contacting the employer about the possibility of employment at their company.
  • Application: This type is designed to respond to a posted job listing. It should accompany your mailed or emailed resume.
  • Conversational: This format will be less structured and emphasize your personality by becoming more relaxed. This style is only recommended if you are strongly qualified for the job. Remember that this style should have a professional tone.
  • Skills listing: When you have numerous skills that relate to the qualifications of a job, it is a good idea to use this type to highlight those attributes.

Click here for tips on Addressing Difficult Issues in your cover letter.


  • Heading and greeting: Include your name and contact information, as well as the date. Whenever possible, address the letter to someone specifically. If this information is unavailable, use "Dear Sir/Madam."
  • Opening paragraph: Explain who you are and your reason for writing, including how you found out about the position. Use this introductory paragraph to create interest in you!
  • Second paragraph: The second paragraph is how you set yourself apart from other candidates. Sell your skills and abilities. Explain how you are an exceptional match for the job (use the posted qualifications or your own experience). Keep this paragraph to about 3-5 sentences.
  • Closing: To help facilitate a meeting, tell the employer how to contact you. You should politely thank the employer for taking the time to consider you for the job.

For more in-depth information on cover letters, visit one of our PA CareerLink® locations or view our upcoming schedule of free workshops for cover letters.