The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The Writer's Handbook
Writing Cover Letters

Questions to guide your writing*

  • Who is my audience?

  • What is my objective?

  • What are the objectives and needs of my audience?

  • How can I best express my objective in relationship to my audience's objectives and needs?

  • What specific benefits can I offer to my audience and how can I best express them?

  • What opening sentence and paragraph will grab the attention of my audience in a positive manner and invite them to read further?

  • How can I maintain and heighten the interest and desire of the reader throughout the letter?

  • What evidence can I present of my value to my audience?

  • If a resume is enclosed with the letter, how can I best make the letter advertise the resume?

  • What closing sentence or paragraph will best assure the reader of my capabilities and persuade him or her to contact me for further information?

  • Is the letter my best professional effort?

  • Have I spent sufficient time drafting, revising, and proofreading the letter?

  • *From Ronald L. Kraunich, William J. Bauis. High Impact Resumes & Letters. Virginia Beach, VA: Impact Publications, 1982.