Home Campus Directory | A-Z Index

Cover and Correspondence Letters

The job search process begins and ends with professional letters.

Letters in the job search process include:

  • Cover Letters
  • Inquiry Letters
  • Thank You Letters
  • Acceptance Letters
  • Letters of Regret
  • Emails


Cover Letter and E-Mail Writing Tips

  • Write it yourself, in your own words. Use sample letters only as a guide.
  • Decide your purpose in writing and plan accordingly.
  • State your intent in the first paragraph, then use facts to support your interest giving value to your request.
  • Keep your letters warm, but professional. Avoid being overly familiar in tone. Remember that business letters are formal.
  • Write clearly and simply. Keep your thoughts focused and concise.
  • Be positive in content, tone, word choice and expectations.
  • Use an active voice and action verbs in your writing.
  • Keep the font standard and always check for errors prior to sending.


Candidate Skills and Qualities

Employers rate the importance of candidate skills/qualities:

5-point scale: 1=Not important; 2=Not very important; 3=Somewhat important;
4=Very important; and 5=Extremely important

• Communication skills (verbal) 4.65
• Strong work ethic 4.61
• Teamwork skills (works well with others) 4.59
• Analytical skills 4.56
• Initiative 4.50
• Problem-solving skills 4.48
• Communication skills (written) 4.48
• Interpersonal skills (relates well to others) 4.40
• Computer skills 4.38
• Flexibility/adaptability 4.37
• Detail-oriented 4.18
• Technical skills 4.16
• Organizational skills 4.05
• Leadership skills 4.04
• Self-confidence 3.96
• Tactfulness 3.84
• Friendly/outgoing personality 3.72
• Creativity 3.70
• Strategic planning skills 3.35
• Entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker 3.19
• Sense of humor 2.99

Survey done by NACE, The National Association of Colleges and Employers


For examples of professional correspondence letters go to the Penn State Career Guide

Penn State Graduate Student Career Guide