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Career Center, Santa Clara University

Cover Letters

Cover Letters


A cover letter is your chance to communicate what makes you, you. It is additive, though not consistently required, as part of your application package to an internship or a job. But remember, employers can spot a form cover letter a mile away. So, while it’s important to highlight your experience, accomplishments, and skills, it’s essential that you research the company and connect your qualifications, passion, and interests to their needs.




  • Research the intended recipient thoroughly and understand the nature of the organization’s products or services before you begin writing.
  • Keep your letter short, no more than 1 page.
  • Prepare a specific letter for each employer, when it is required (the job description will specifically ask for a cover letter).
  • When possible, address each employer by name and be mindful of pronouns. 
  • Open your letter with a strong sentence that will encourage the employer to keep reading.
  • Unlike resumes, cover letters are written in the first-person perspective
  • Statements should not be copied and pasted from your resume, rather provide more description and/or context of a skill or experience. 
  • Be sure to demonstrate how you can support the organization rather than how you hope to benefit from the job.
  • Tailor your letter to the interests and needs of the person to whom you are writing. Focus on the outcomes that will help solve the employer’s problems.  
  • Check carefully for grammatical and typing errors. Have someone else proofread your letter before sending. Remember that your cover letter is evidence of your communication and writing ability.


While companies are moving more toward focusing on your portfolio and social media presence, cover letters are still an important element in the job application process, especially if the job posting specifically asks for one. It is important to research the company and industry you are applying to and include specific details.

No, not all companies require a cover letter. Be sure to follow the specific instructions of the position you are applying for. When given the option to submit a cover letter, we always recommend submitting one. For those who are applying to opportunities that may not directly align with their majors or past experiences, have seemingly scattered experiences, or are in process of making a pivot, cover letters can be helpful in communicating your interests, intent, and transferable skills.

Although both the cover letter and resume outline your job history/experience, the cover letter draws more of an explicit connection to the why and offers a more in-depth, behind the scenes look into your specific experiences.

Although ChatGPT is an excellent resource to generate ideas, you should always edit and revise your own work. Keep in mind a cover letter is an opportunity to provide your personal flair and stand out, something only you can create.

You should always be confident in your cover letter but try to avoid phrases such as “the best candidate” or “perfect fit.” Be sure to provide specific examples of your experience and quantify your claims.

Yes, in your opening paragraph make sure to mention how you heard about the position and if it is a personal connection, state their name here. If it is not a referral, make sure to include your connection to the community.


Feel free to reference the following cover letter samples and tailor yours accordingly. Note that there are different styles and ways to communicate the same information. Remember to make a copy of the guide before editing/adding notes. These are all “view only” documents.


Examples by Style:

Examples by Major: