Cover Letters

Any time your resume is not going to be hand-delivered (either through a networking contact or at a job fair), it should be submitted with a cover letter. A cover letter is a one-page letter that identifies the role you’re applying for and how you learned of it, summarizes your qualifications, and expresses your interest in that specific opportunity.

Writing Your Letter

Writing Tips

  • †Cover letters should be unique to each employer based on the skills and qualifications of the position and the uniqueness of the employment setting. Once you develop a strong base cover letter, you can use it to guide future letters.
  • Your cover letter should introduce your resume, not repeat it.
  • Write about your personal qualities as a way of introducing your skills:
    • “I am a dedicated worker as demonstrated not only in my clinical assignments but also in my experience with the Student Nursing Association, where I served as a committee chair.”
    • “I am a fast learner as demonstrated through my med surge rotation, where my supervisor indicated I was able to _____ procedure faster than any other nursing student she had supervised.”
  • Incorporate language from the job posting into your cover letter as employers often do keyword searches to search for candidates.
  • Use a standard business letter format: block (left-justified throughout) or modified block (indents).
  • Use traditional fonts that are easy to read like Times, Arial, or Calibri.
  • Proofread to ensure your resume is free of grammatical and/or typographical errors. Your cover letter should demonstrate your writing ability.


When writing your cover letter, consider the following questions:

  • Why does this position appeal to you? If the answer is location or pay, consider the next level of appeal for you — is there anything else about the role that appeals to you? If not, what is it about this type of work that appeals to you?
  • How did you learn about the opportunity?
  • What specific requirements mentioned in the job description do you fulfill? If you’re applying without a job posting, what requirements do you anticipate that you can fulfill?
  • How do you fulfill those requirements?
  • What steps are you going to take to follow up with the employer after sending your resume and cover letter?

Use this cover letter model and sample based on a real job posting to help you write your own.