Cover Letter FAQs
- Can I use my cover letter for all of my job applications?
You should tailor a cover letter for each employer and job description. Generic templates are easily identified and could indicate a lack of interest in that particular opportunity. Most employers will not consider a resume unless it comes with a cover letter that tailored to that position.
- To whom should I address my letter?
Do everything you can to discover the name and gender of a specific individual. You could search LinkedIn for a specific person or even call the organization to inquire about the hiring team. If in doubt use “Dear Hiring manager” or “Dear Search Committee”. If you are not sure of someone’s gender due to ambiguity or cultural difference, you can Use “Dear First Name Last Name” which is 100% accurate if a bit awkward.
- Should I talk about my personal life?
Not usually. Information about your age, marital status, or health history should be omitted. Often, a uniquely personal part of your resume (hobby, creative jobs, travels) could get you in the door, so you could expand on that information in your cover letter.
- How do I decide what skills or experiences to highlight?
To be selected for any position, you must demonstrate that you can help solve the organization’s problems. Research the organization, make inquiries by networking, and brainstorm about what kinds of problems a person in that role at that organization might handle. Then, target the content of your cover letter according to your skills and abilities as they offer solutions or address specific requirements of the role.
- How long should my cover letter be?
Ideally, your cover letter would be 3-4 concise paragraphs on a single page. There are exceptions such as required statements of philosophy or cover letters that accompany a C.V. for academic positions.
- My resume already lists all of my experience. What do I include in a cover letter?
A cover letter is where you expand on your experience in your resume. You can reference your resume experience, but then expand upon your success in that area and what you will bring to the position that you are applying for.