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Cover Letters

An effective cover letter can help you expand on some of your experiences to help an employer understand how you would be an asset to the agency or organization.

What is the purpose of the cover letter?

A cover letter informs an employer what job you’re applying for and answers the question, “Why should the employer hire you?”

What are some cover letter basics?

  • Use a basic business letter template
  • Keep it short, concise, to the point
  • Do not cut and paste bullet points from your resume into your cover letter
  • Cover letter should be a cohesive narrative/”story”
  • Carefully review the job description, identify the qualifications needed for the job and then write about how you meet them and how you would be an asset to the job and the organization
  • Display knowledge of the agency/organization
  • Customize your letter to each job opportunity
  • Proofread your cover letter; no grammatical/punctuation errors


As you draft your cover letter, you may realize your current skills or experience are lacking. Investing in an MSW or DSW degree from a high quality accredited school like the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work will improve your standing in the field of social work and make you a better candidate in the job market.


How do I write a cover letter?

  • Paragraph 1:
    Introduce yourself. State what job you’re applying for and how you found out about it. If someone referred you, this is where you would mention him/her. End this paragraph with a sentence mentioning something about the agency/organization that you admire, that makes you want to work there. This shows the employer that you’re interested in the job and that you took the initiative to research and learn about them.
  • Paragraph 2
    Answer the question, “Why should they hire me?” or “Why/How am I qualified for this job?”
    Expand on a couple of experiences from your resume – analyze them and write a narrative on how you would be an asset to the job and the agency.
  • Paragraph 3
    Wrap up
    Reiterate your interest in the job. Thank them for their time and that you look forward to meeting with them to discuss the job in more detail. Provide the contact information where you can best be reached.

Current USC MSW Students:
For additional information, please see the workshop schedule.

Alumni:
For additional assistance, please request an appointment.