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The Importance of Cover Letters

Recently, I have heard some people spread a rumor that “cover letters are no longer important”. Whichever group is perpetuating that myth must be trying to get rid of their potential competition for jobs.  Despite these rumors to the contrary, please know that cover letters are alive and well and very important for your job search.

Too many people send really boring and generic cover letters.  Those cover letters don’t work. Take a little time to customize a targeted cover letter, and you’ll have much more success finding and landing a job. Make sure to personalize your cover letter for the organization you are targeting. I call the first paragraph of the cover letter the “passion paragraph”. That means you should say why you want to work for that particular organization. It should be about them, not you.

Intro Paragraph Example

Dear Hiring Executive,

I am writing to respond to your __ position opening. My background and experience meet your stated qualifications, and I’m highly interested in working for ___ (name of that organization) because of the work you do to ___ (fill in the blank from information you glean from the website).

Body of Cover Letter

Highlights of my experience include (start each bullet with an action verb)

*Established a ___

*Ran ___

*Drafted __

*Organized ___

Close of Letter

Thank you very much for considering my letter of interest, and I very much look forward to hearing from you.


You can find cover letter samples online. A former university librarian wrote the “Riley Guide” (now called “My Perfect Resume”) which offers “A-Z” job search advice including cover letters. Check out this information online

GSPM Students/Alums may share cover letter drafts via email for review with GSPM’s Career Director, Mag Gottlieb,

Margaret “Mag” Gottlieb is the Career Director at the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University. Connect with Mag by email at and on LinkedIn at

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