Guidelines for writing an effective cover letter

Unless you plan to present your resume in person, you will need a concise cover letter to accompany your military resume. The goal of a cover letter is not to rehash the resume, but rather to build rapport and convey interest. You can accomplish this by describing what you know about the company and how you believe you would make a great fit. Follow these guidelines when writing an effective cover letter.

  • Make sure the heading and font on your cover letter matches the heading and font on your resume.
  • Be concise. Two to three brief paragraphs are enough. Don’t over do it.
  • Customize your cover letter for each prospective employer. If possible, include the name of the intended recipient, his or her title, and the company’s name.
  • Write with the reader in mind. Focus on character traits pertinent to the job description and company mission. Build rapport by establishing commonality.
  • Answer the question, “Why should I hire you?”
  • Ask for an interview and let the reader know when you will follow-up (give it a week or so). Thank the reader for his or her attention.
  • Have several “advisers” proofread and edit your work before sending it off.

If you would like professional assistance with composing a winning military cover letter, please contact the staff at