Cover Letters

Why are Cover Letters so Important?

Too often cover letters are hastily written, almost as an afterthought. However, a cover letter introduces you and your application packet to the employer, so it’s likely that it will be with your cover letter that you make your first impression. This makes it a very important document and one that deserves a reasonable amount of time and thought.

While your CV is an opportunity to show the employer your past qualifications and accomplishments, the cover letter is your chance to show the employer the connection between your skills and their needs for the position you are seeking. Wherever possible, then, it makes sense to tailor your cover letters to highlight those.



TiPPS for Writing and Tailoring Cover Letters (revised 2016)

TiPPS cover letter evaluation task (PDF file)



Vick, J. M., Furlong, J. S., & Lurie, R. (2016). The academic job search handbook. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. [This excellent book is available online for University of Hawaii at Mānoa faculty, staff, and students.]

Beatty, R.H. (1989). The perfect cover letter. New York: John Wiley & Sons. [NOTE: the copy of this book that exists in Hamilton Library is missing some pages, but still has a lot of useful information in the chapters on characteristics of good and bad cover letters.]

Formo, D.M. & Reed, C. (1999). Job search in academe: Strategic rhetorics for faculty job candidates. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, Inc.



The Basics of Cover Letter Writing, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Another excellent read on the topic of cover letters. A nice bulleted list of advice and a sample letter that illustrates this advice in action.

Purdue University Online Writing Lab on Academic Cover Letters

A clear and thorough look at academic cover letters and the importance of tailoring your letters to your audience, plus a sample letter that illustrates their main points.

University of Wisconsin at Madison: Writer’s Handbook:  Writing cover letters

A concise collection of tips for writing your cover letter.

“Your CV Should Inform. Your Cover Letter Should Persuade.” (Chronicle Vitae)



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