George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Cover Letters

Cover letters generally accompany a resume as an additional tool to express your interest in a company and sell your qualifications for a particular job. A cover letter should inform your reader the purpose of your writing and highlight important information found in your resume. An effective cover letter should:

  • Introduce you and your resume
  • Summarize pertinent aspects of your education and experience
  • State how your qualifications relate to the job/company
  • Be brief and to the point


Cover letters should contain 3 or 4 paragraphs and be no longer than one page. Before you write your Cover letter, be sure to do research on the company and position. You will want to create a unique document for each position you apply to.


Address your letter to a specific person, ideally the person who will be interviewing you. Look for the person’s name in the company publications or call and ask for the hiring manager’s name. If you are not able to find the person’s information, address the cover letter to the position’s search committee.


Your first paragraph should state why you are writing the company (letter of application—a response to a specific position OR a letter of inquiry—a show of general interest in the company). You will want to capture the reader’s attention and create interest in your candidacy. Tell the reader how you heard of the opening or company and the benefits you would bring to the organization or why you are interested in the position.

The Main Body

The next one to two paragraphs should address why a company should consider you by highlighting your relevant experience and skills. You should not summarize or reiterate your resume but state your strongest qualifications and how these will benefit the employer. Include specific, credible examples and use details where appropriate. You can also include how the organization/job matches up with your values and why you wish to work for them.


Your closing paragraph should refer the employer to your enclosed resume if you have not already mentioned. Express your interest for further discussion on your qualifications and provide information on how the employer may contact you. Restate your interest and thank them for their time and consideration.


  • Include your name and contact information from your resume at the top
  • Research the company or position and personalize your letter
  • Be positive, natural, and interesting
  • Be direct in your desire to work for the company or position
  • Avoid being repetitious of your resume
  • Be brief and concise
  • Use correct punctuation, spelling, and grammar
  • Proofread before sending to an employer

Cover Letters Samples

For more information, log in to the Career Management Organization under the "organization" tab in your Blackboard account. If you still have questions or want assistance in choosing the correct type of resume, please meet with a Career Consultant or email mycareer@gmu.edu.