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Cover Letters

Just like your resume, your cover letter is an example of your work product. Your goal is to convince the employer to interview you.

The cover letter should be no more than three or four paragraphs in length. Use one paragraph to explain why you are interested in a position with the employer. In this paragraph, show that you are familiar with the employer's business. Use the middle one or two paragraphs to make a convincing case about why the employer should consider you for this position. Highlight your accomplishments, and prove why you will add value to the employer's practice or other business. Don't simply repeat what is in your resume; instead, try to use specific examples to illustrate why you are right for the position. Finally, use a concluding paragraph to thank the employer for consideration, and to request an interview at the employer's convenience.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Consult a dictionary and a manual of style to check punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Be sure there are no typograpical errors. Have someone else help you proofread your letter.
  • Cover letters should accompany your resume whenever you mail it in response to a known opening or as part of your direct contact with an employer.
  • Cover letters should reflect a little of your personality while getting your message across clearly and succinctly.
  • Avoid using "gimmicks" in your letters. Strive for a letter that is warm, personalized, yet businesslike in its approach.
  • Personalize each cover letter. You will lend credibility to your request if you make specific references to the recipient's practice. Personalizing the letter also will reflect the time you have spent analyzing what the employer does and how your skills fit into their overall picture.
  • Cover letters should be no longer than one page and no longer than three or four paragraphs.
  • For hard copies, cover letters should be printed on 8 1/2" by 11" neutral-colored bond paper (preferably white or cream). The paper used for the cover letter should match that used for the resume. Use a printer to generate an address label for each envelope; don't hand write the address. Envelopes should match the paper used for your resume and cover letter.
  • For letters to be sent by email, use pdf format whenever possible. Print a copy of the pdf to be sure there are no spacing problems after the document conversion. If you send a leter in a word processing format, be sure to remove metadata.
  • Address your letter to a specific person (ideally, the individual who has the power to hire) by name and title. Avoid addressing letters to "Dear Sir/Madam" or "To Whom it May Concern," unless you are responding to a posting that does not have specific contact information. Correct spelling and verification of title can be checked online, or by phoning for this information.
  • Let the letter reflect your individuality by describing what is particularly appealing to you about the organization, i.e., practice areas, geographic location, size, etc.
  • Keep copies of all letters you send, as these can be valuable for any future action. For example, if you wish to send a thank you note or a second letter to a different department or individual of the same organization, referring to your earlier correspondence can be helpful.
    • For additional cover letter pointers, see this blog post from PSLawNet.

Contact Information
CDO OFFICE: 254.710.1210
Angela Cruseturner
Assistant Dean of Career Development
Daniel Hare
Director of Career Development
Employer Relations


Monica Wright
CDO Office Manager
Career Development Student Advisory Council
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