A cover letter is an important tool to use when applying for a job because it:
- Introduces you to the prospective employer
- Highlights your enthusiasm for the position
- Describes your specific skills and qualifications for the job or internship, and clearly explains why you are a good fit
- Confirms your availability to start a new position
You should always include a cover letter when applying for a job unless you are specifically told not to by the employer. We recommend that you write a cover letter (aka letter of intent) after you have drafted and tailored your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) for a particular job description. For academic faculty and teaching positions, see cover letter instructions in Masters, Ph.D.'s and Postdocs section. When applying online and limited to uploading one document, you can create a single PDF document that includes both your resume and cover letter.
What to Include in a Cover Letter
Use the cover letter template and planner to get started. When drafting your cover letter, keep the following DO’s and DON’Ts in mind:
- Limit the cover letter to one page if possible, unless applying to academic faculty, teaching or research positions.
- Use the same font and formatting in the cover letter as you use in your resume.
- You might also want to use the same header in both a cover letter and resume. See header formatting examples.
- If providing a printed copy, use the same type of paper for both your cover letter and resume. Resume paper can be purchased at the UC Davis Bookstore or at an office supply store.
- Many tech companies prefer the cover letter not be attached, but uploaded as text in an email with the resume attached.
- Use formal, professional language in a cover letter. This is true when sending your cover letter as text in an email (above point).
- Personalize each cover letter to the specific position you are applying to.
- Address your cover letter to a specific person or the hiring manager whenever possible. If you don’t know their name, use one of the following examples:
- "Dear Hiring Manager,"
- "Dear [insert department here] Hiring Team,"
- "Dear Recruiter, "
- “Dear Search Committee Chair and Committee Members:” (used for academic teaching positions)
- "To Whom It May Concern: " Note, this last one uses a “:” not a “,”
- Check for typos, proper grammar and accuracy.
- Use spellcheck, but do not rely on it to catch all errors.
- Have multiple people review your application materials.
- Make an appointment with an ICC adviser to review your application materials before you apply.
- Unless told explicitly not to, you should always include a cover letter in your application.
- Don’t use text abbreviations or emoticons if you are using email.
- Don’t be too wordy or write just to fill the entire page.
- Don’t submit a generic “one size fits all” cover letter; tailor your cover letter to fit each position. Thus, none of your cover letters will be exactly the same, though a lot of content will be similar in each.
- Don’t repeat or summarize your resume in your cover letter. Instead, focus the cover letter on your enthusiasm for the job, excitement about working with that organization, to highlight unique skills that make you qualified for the position and a good fit for the employer.
- Don’t overuse adjectives or superlatives, especially subjective ones (e.g. “You are the best company in the world” or “I am the most hardworking student intern you will ever meet.”).
- Quantify when possible. "I've helped organize three club events, including two successful initiatives attended by 25 people" is a better descriptor then "I've helped organize several club events, including a couple successful initiatives attended by many people."
- Don’t exaggerate your skills or experience.
- Don’t use UC Davis letterhead, logo, or UC seal in your cover letter. [NOTE: For graduate students and postdocs, some departments allow use of department letterhead for tenure-track faculty applications. Check with your department before using.]
The cover letter template pack on this page is for a human resources professional with 6 years of experience. The applicant is seeking a HR manager position in a large corporate office. The cover letter below has been written based on a real HR resume sample hosted on our website.
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SEE ALSO > How to Write Your Resume
Human Resources Cover Letter
The cover letters below are based on the human resources resume example on the left. Click on the image to get tips on how to write a resume that supports your cover letter.
The candidate below emphasizes their ability to maintain a positive working environment, target recruitment programs, and mediating employee disputes. These are important qualities that all HR professionals should target in their cover letters. Download the template pack below and choose your favorite style — Park, Elegant, or Classic. Use the samples to help you format your own cover letter.
Click Here to Download Our
HR CL Template Pack
[341 Company Address
Company City, State, xxxxx
Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. (Manager’s Name),
I’m contacting you regarding your advertisement for the Human Resources opening listed on your website. My interest in this position stems from my belief that I have the right combination of relevant staffing experience, communication skills, and high levels of organization that make me a superb candidate.
To date I feel my strongest abilities are:
- Increasing employee retention by rigorously maintaining a positive work environment
- Developing targeted outreach recruitment programs to recruit the best talent and meet all departmental hiring requirements
- Creating user-friendly application forms and questionnaires to be used by the organization during staff recruitment and interviewing.
- Arbitrating labor disputes in collaboration with the legal department.
I consider myself to be a dedicated and dependable individual who possesses excellent verbal and written communication skills. I feel that a relationship with your company would be mutually beneficial, as my educational background, HR experience, and qualifications would make me a perfect fit for your Human Resources position, and would also allow me to refine my skills in a new working environment.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your time and attention, and I hope to have the chance to discuss the opening with you in person.
SEE ALSO > Free, Downloadable Resume Template Packs
Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? For information on how to write your cover letter from scratch check out this guide that walks you through the steps here.