Quick and Easy Steps to Building Your Cover Letter

Do you ever find yourself avoiding the process of writing a cover letter?  Are you procrastinating or wondering how to begin?  Walden Career Services makes cover letter writing quick and easy by providing templates, tips, and videos to create tailored, impactful letters in less time.  Follow these steps to create letters that stand out to employers:

Step 1: Save time on formatting by using templates.

Did you know that OptimalResume has letter templates that you can use to quickly format your cover letter?  Simply log into OptimalResume using your Walden credentials, select the Letter Builder module, and create your letter using one of the many templates available in the system.  For additional formatting tips, review the Cover Letter Outline available on the Resumes & More tab.

Step 2:  Create an impactful introductory paragraph.

Writing your first paragraph becomes easier when you have done your research on your target organization and position.  Before you write your first paragraph, learn about the organization’s mission, services, employees, and challenges.  Ask yourself, “Why am I interested in this position and what do I have to offer?”  Communicate this in 3-4 sentences to grab the employer’s attention.  Click on the Structure button on the Resumes & More tab for more ideas on what to include in your first paragraph.

Step 3:  Share academic and professional achievements.

Use the middle paragraphs to share academic, professional, and community-oriented accomplishments that are most relevant to your target position.  If you are transitioning fields, start with highlighting achievements, skills, and projects you completed during your Walden program.  If you have substantial experience in the field you are targeting, start with your prior work experience.  Maybe you gained valuable experience through volunteering or internships? Take time to expand on the contributions you made and what you learned.  Be sure to show your potential employer what you can do and what you have to offer.  Want to learn more about how to communicate to employers that you are the most qualified candidate? Watch the video, Marketing Your Qualifications Through Resumes and Cover Letters.   

Step 4:  Add a conclusion.

Conclude your cover letter by briefly mentioning your enthusiasm for the position.  Refer to OptimalResume templates for ideas on how to end your letter in a clear and professional manner. 

Step 5:  Check your formatting, grammar, and spelling.

Finally, double-check that all the information in your cover letter is well-formatted, accurate, and grammatically correct.  You want to ensure that your document has a professional look with no grammar or spelling errors.  We recommend using Grammarly.com to help flag any typos before sending letters out to potential employers. 

A well-written, focused, and tailored cover letter can help improve your chances of landing that dream job.  For additional help, visit the Resumes & More page or schedule an appointment with a career advisor for cover letter feedback.

Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services