Engineering Master’s Cover Letter Advice
Decide What to Write Using This Three-Sentence Method
Save time and frustration! Before you write, answer these two questions, writing three critical sentences:
- Why have I decided to spend my time applying for this specific opportunity and not something else? Write this into a one or two-sentence “connection story” that most other people couldn’t or wouldn’t also have written.
- What have I done in the past that makes me confident that I could thrive in this role, making positive contributions to the organization? (Often these are patterns or habits, not singular experiences.) Decide on two things, writing a separate “impact” sentence to describe each. Similar to before, ensure that these sentences are unique and specific enough that most other people wouldn’t or couldn’t have written the same thing.
Cut and paste all of these sentences into a “master cover letter”. In the future, you’ll prioritize your message with the three questions, then be able to find and edit existing information into the cover letter template, saving even more time.
Structure Your Document Using This Template
Dear [insert recipient’s name],
Take time to research the recipient of your cover letter. Replacing “hiring manager” with a name is preferred.
First Paragraph (Introduction)
Write a brief paragraph that opens with your connection story, includes the name of the role and any application details like the requisition number, and goes on to state your two impact sentences. If you have additional information to include, like who you were referred by, include it in the first paragraph.
Second Paragraph (Evidence of Impact 1)
Elaborate on your first impact sentence. Briefly describe 2-3 examples of your success in this area to illustrate and bring evidence to the claim. You will use data and technical examples but remember that this exists to tell the story of how your past success relates to this future opportunity.
Third Paragraph (Evidence of Impact 2)
Elaborate on your second impact sentence following the same guidelines as above. Remember that 2-3 examples to show a pattern across different settings can be more powerful than a singular success.
Final Paragraph (Conclusion and next steps)
- Politely and briefly conclude, adding no new ideas.
- If you have next actions to take and are perfectly certain you will follow through, state them here.
- Include any contact information not already on the page.
[insert your name]