38 Writing a Cover Letter

Melissa Ashman

Activity Guidelines

Suggested Course Level

Lower level undergraduate

Activity Purpose

  • Students will practice writing a cover letter using a real job advertisement and a fictional resume.

Materials Required

  • Copies of a fictional resume
  • Copies of a job advertisement (to match the provided fictional resume, it’s best to find a job advertisement relating to office management or administrative support)

Activity Instructions

  1. Review the parts of a cover letter with the class.
  2. Distribute sample job advertisements and resumes to students.
  3. Place students in small groups. (Steps 2 and 3 can be skipped if this activity is following the employment skills analysis activity.)
  4. Ask students to work with their group to write a cover letter for the person in the resume in application for the job in the advertisement. (NOTE: Try to pair students who have experience writing cover letters with those who do not.)
  5. Provide feedback as you circulate around the room.
  6. Debrief the parts of the cover letter, such as the salutation, introduction, skills/qualifications to highlight in the body of the letter, the conclusion, etc.

Debrief Questions / Activities

  • How did you open your letter? Why?
  • What did you say in your first paragraph? Why?
  • What did you say in your middle paragraphs? Why?
  • What qualifications did you highlight? Why?
  • What did you say in your conclusion? Why?
  • What are you taking away from this activity?

Activity Variations

  • This activity can be done individually instead. If few students in the class have prior experience writing a cover letter, this activity can be done with the entire class (using the instructor as a scribe in a blank document).

Additional Resources / Supplementary Resources

Tags: employment communications, writing mechanics, grammar, style, tone, concision, hands-on, small group, creating a product or document, writing practice, cover letter


Share This Book