Career Development

Covers Letters and Follow-Up

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to the employer and entice the employer to choose you for an interview. Cover letters should:

Demonstrate the fit between your strengths and the job’s requirements
Employers will eliminate from consideration those candidates who submit generic or form letters that demonstrate a lack of research or interest.

Serve as a positive writing sample 
Employers will eliminate from consideration those candidates who submit cover letters that are not well written, error free, and succinct.

Provide, as necessary, information not on the resume 
Employers want to know if you’ve been referred by someone, have ties to the city or other information relevant to granting an interview.

Emphasize the strongest aspects of your resume
Employers have limited time to review resumes. Call out in your cover letter those aspects of your resume that you really want an employer to know. For example, you may want to mention your undergraduate record at an Ivy League institution or that you maintained a high GPA while playing a collegiate sport or that you worked on Wall Street prior to law school, etc.

Move the hiring process to the next step
Employers seek candidates who ask for the interview and take steps to make it happen.


  • Create an original introduction.
  • Avoid the repetitive pattern of beginning each sentence with “I have, I am, I want.”
  • Do not start a cover letter with “My name is….”  Employers will know your name from your signature line.
  • Individually address each cover letter and check spelling of names and correctness of title.
  • Use plain bond paper that matches your resume paper.
  • Individually sign each letter.
  • Retain a copy of all position descriptions, cover letters, and follow-up correspondence. Nothing is more frustrating than being called for an interview and not remembering the specifics of the position or employer.

Watch video recordings of hiring attorneys discussing what they look for in a cover letter and how a cover letter can eliminate a candidate from further consideration.
View Cover Letter Format
Thank You Letters
View Sample Letters