Writing Effective Cover Letters


Notorious for causing headaches and procrastination among job hunters, having an effective cover letter is not only important, it’s a critical element to a successful transition.  Cover letters are often times the first opportunity to set yourself apart from the other applicants.  These short, conversational documents are designed to introduce yourself, showcase your enthusiasm for the opening and  highlight how your skills, experience, and achievements can add value to the organization in the role you are applying for.

As a veteran, this is the perfect opportunity to immediately differentiate yourself as someone with military experience and let hiring managers know your future plans and timelines for transition.  To help you get started on drafting an effective cover letter, we put together a template below:

Formatting A Cover Letter

Your Name

Mailing Address

City, State, and ZIP Code


Email Address

Today’s Date

Addressee’s name

Professional Title

Organization Name

Mailing Address

City, State, and Zip Code


Dear Mr. (or Ms.) last name,


INTRO:  Begin with a statement that establishes a connection with your reader, a probing question, or a notable quote. Briefly say what job you are applying for.

BODY:  The body should be one to two short paragraphs that make relevant points about your qualifications. Do not summarize your résumé! Choose some qualifications that really target the position you are interested in, but fight the tendency to oversell at this point.

CLOSE:  Your closing should initiate action by explaining what you will do next (e.g., call the employer) or instigate the reader to contact you to set up an interview. Always close by showing appreciation.


Sincerely Yours,


Your Signature (handwritten)

Your Name (typed)

Enclosure: Resume


A Sample Cover Letter

Using the template above, format a cover letter like the one below using your own personal information and the actual job you are applying for.