Cover Letters and Other Correspondence
Use no less than 11 point font, with 1" margins on all sides.
Note: This format spans two pages due to inclusion of instructions.
A standard cover letter should be no more than one page, three to five paragraphs.
Be sure to target each cover letter to the position and organization that you are applying to.
Do not use a generic cover letter to apply for multiple positions.
Your Street Address
City, State Zip
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
Name of Recipient with Courtesy Title (such as Dr., Mr., Ms.)
Title of the Individual in the organization (such as Director of …)
Name of Company or Organization
City, State Zip
Dear Name of Recipient, as written in the address above (such as Dr., Mr., or Ms. Last name). Do not use "Sir or Madam". If you do not have a contact name, use "To Whom It May Concern".
The first paragraph should mention the position to which you are applying, how you heard about the position and your general qualifications for the job. This section should be two to three sentences long.
Example of First Paragraph:
In May 2008 I will graduate from the Yale School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health degree and a concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology. I found the position of Research Analyst posted by The Center for Health Care Strategies on the Yale Public Health Employment Resource site and would like to be considered for this opportunity.
The body of the letter should be one to two paragraphs where you discuss, in detail, how your most relevant experience and background qualifies you for the position. You should not repeat your resume, nor should you summarize it. Rather, use specific examples of the skills or experiences mentioned in your resume to show why you are a strong candidate in relation to the nature of the job that you are applying for. Never use clichés such as "can think out of the box ", "am a quick learner", "am an independent thinker", or "I work well on teams". Instead, show, through example, how you have exhibited such qualities, using action verbs and concise writing.
Example of Body of the Letter:
My coursework has included a number of health policy and epidemiology classes, which have been augmented by a community project involving maternal/child health and interventions related to chronic disease. This spring I plan to enroll in additional classes in health care management and the evaluation of community health programs at the Yale School of Management. The MPH program at Yale is an interdisciplinary degree that has allowed me to apply my educational experiences in local and international arenas. Last spring, I worked with the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Northern Metro Chapter, to produce a perinatal needs assessment for Fairfield County, CT. This experience strengthened both my analytical and communication skills as I presented my recommendations to the decision makers who presided over the project. For 12 weeks during the summer I traveled to Peru, where I assisted in a community intervention trial based on an immunization and nutrition program. Here, I further developed my ability to analyze the effectiveness of intervention strategies in place.
The conclusion of the letter fuses your skills with the needs of the company and states the next steps you will take with respect to your goal of obtaining an interview. This can include requesting an interview or mentioning that you will follow up with a phone call in the near future.
Example of Conclusion:
With growing concerns over health care costs, it is clear why so many HMOs are choosing to invest in health promotion programs as well as disease intervention methods. I believe that my education and prior work experience will enable me to make a significant contribution to CHCS. Enclosed is a copy of my resume, which provides additional information on my background and work experience. Thank you in advance for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
"Sincerely" is a good way to close your letter, and remember to sign your name.
Example of Closing:
We encourage you to meet with an Office of Career Services staff member for further feedback on your personal cover letter.