38 Writing a Cover Letter
Suggested Course Level
Lower level undergraduate
- Students will practice writing a cover letter using a real job advertisement and a fictional resume.
- 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)
- Review the parts of a cover letter with the class.
- Distribute sample job advertisements and resumes to students.
- Place students in small groups. (Steps 2 and 3 can be skipped if this activity is following the employment skills analysis activity.)
- 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.)
- Provide feedback as you circulate around the room.
- 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?
- 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