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San Diego State University

Career Services

Cover Letters

What is a cover letter? A cover letter is often your earliest written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression. A cover letter should complement, not duplicate, your resumé. Its purpose is to interpret the data-oriented, factual resumé — and add a personal touch.

Are cover letters necessary?

The increasing popularity of faxed, emailed, and web-based resumés have people wondering if cover letters remain a relevant tool in today's job search. Generally, a cover letter should accompany each resumé. The cover letter allows you to demonstrate your ability to write and offers the first statement of why you feel you should be hired.

 

What is the best way to email a cover letter?

If an employer requests that you send your cover letter and resumé via email, you have several alternatives. You can:

  1. Send your cover letter and resumé as attachments (e.g., Microsoft Word documents)
  2. Copy your cover letter into the body of your email message and attach your resumé
  3. Cut and paste your cover letter and resumé into the body of your email message (which eliminates your formatting)

 

Image: sample cover letter