#STEMSaturdays: Tips For Your Ever Important Cover Letter


You’ve read the #STEMSaturdays article about polishing up your resume (and how It differs from a CV) and you’re ready to start sending a few of these babies out. But wait! While you can get away to giving them to some professionals without an important component, if you’re applying to a job, internship or volunteer opportunity, you can’t miss out on this essential part: the cover letter.


No resume (or CV) is truly whole without the cover letter. This is what should give an employer an overall first taste of who you are, why you’re applying, and how you can possibly be an asset to the team. A cover letter, which is no more than a page in length, is an important component of making you stand out amongst the others, so it’s not only important to have an eye-catching and professional cover letter, but to tailor it to each and every unique opportunity.


Cover letters are where you, in essence, sell yourself to potential employers. Here, you want to talk about why you are the best person for the job (i.e. what experiences, skills and qualifications make you qualified for the job).


You want to talk about examples of those qualifications at work (for example: “In just two years working at ‘x’ I increased data entry efficiency by 95%).


You also want to talk about how those skills are linked to what the employer has asked for (i.e. the job requirements) in your cover letter. Focus on what you have to offer the company/organization, which will make employers interested in reading the rest of your resume/CV and ultimately reaching out to you for an interview.


Protip: Make sure you do your research on the company/organization and talk a little bit about them in your cover letter, too! 



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  1. To tie the cover letter in with your resume/CV, think about having the same style throughout all documents.

  2. Have your name and contact information available for employers in case it gets separated from your resume/CV.

  3. Address your letter to the person who will be reading the cover letter/resume. If unsure of whom that is, reach out to employer to see who to address it to.

  4. Keep your cover letter to no more than one page long!

  5. Be professional and friendly; do not regurgitate your resume/CV into the cover letter. Do not start every sentence or paragraph with "I".

  6. Use clean, white, A4-sized paper.

  7. Use an easy-to-read font (e.g. Georgia, Helvetica, Arial and Times New Roman).

  8. End by thanking them for the consideration and that you are willing to provide more information.

Using these tips, try writing your own cover letter! 


About the Author:

Melissa C Marquez is a marine biologist and science communicator based in New Zealand. She is the founder of the Fins United Initiative.  You can find her twitter here, and support her on Patreon here