Cover Letter Examples Umich Ctools

Your cover letter should include 3-4 paragraphs with the following information:

First Paragraph

The main purpose of the first paragraph is to introduce yourself and tell why you are writing. You want to grab the employer’s attention: why you are interested in this position and/or why this organization. Use your community: if someone has referred you to the organization (a current employee, friend, family member) include his or her name in the first sentence.

Second/Third Paragraph

Tell the employer your story: describe your qualifications for the type of position you seek using specific examples from academic, work, volunteer, and/or co-curricular experiences. Connect your accomplishments, skills and knowledge directly to the type of position, organization and/or field. Avoid repeating facts outlined on your resume by focusing on key concepts.

Final Paragraph

Summarize or give a final statement of interest/qualifications. Thank the employer for his/her time and consideration. Plan to follow up with the employer with a phone call or email.

In this section you may cite your awards and recognition in the order that you choose. 

  • Provide the full name of the award as well as the entity that issued the award.
  • Show first the ones that most closely tied to your objective.
  • Follow next with the most prestigious.
  • Group those awards given by the same organization to avoid repetition.
  • Spell out acronyms, or provide explanations for Greek organizations, or other honors that are not universally recognized.

If you have only a few honors, leave out the "Honors" section and combine with "Activities and Memberships", or list under "Education."  An exception would be if the honors were quite impressive.

Activities & Affiliations
This section of your resume is very important to the employer as an indicator of your leadership, professional interests, contributions and social skills.

  • Professional associations.
  • Campus organizations.
  • Use the header "Leadership Activities" if your section includes a number of executive board or supervisory positions.
    • Include the position, followed by the organization (Ex: President, Student Organization Name; UM-Dearborn).  
    • Expand under particularly important positions, include bullets detailing your accomplishments or responsibilities.  
  • Do not list "member."
  • Dates do not need to be included, but may be to show longevity with organization.

Community Service 
This section can demonstrate your commitment to service, the community, and is another opportunity to highlight relevant or transferable skills.  

Things to consider for this section: 

  • Service agency name.
  • Title is only needed if you are called something beyond "volunteer."  
  • Detail your tasks (in bullets) if relevant to the employer.  
  • Dates do not need to be included, but may be to show longevity with organization.  

Special Skills

  • Foreign language(s)
  • Security clearance level
  • Computer skills
  • Laboratory equipment/procedures
  • Certifications 

Do not include personal information including height, weight, age, marital status, hobbies, or social security number on the resume.

If religious activities or political functions are included, it is recommended that specific denominations or parties not be identified to reduce the potential for bias.


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