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Write Your Hamburger Cover Letter–Preparing to Cook

So you know how to write a Hamburger Essay. So what, right?

How does this translate into a top notch cover letter?

Before I get too deep into this topic, I need to explain my philosophy on cover letters (and resumes too, for that matter). I am a utilitarian — give the employer what they want quickly, concisely, and directly. From my perspective, they don’t care why you think the position at hand is a good fit for you; of course it is! Why else would you be applying?

There will be situations when expressing your interests and connections to a position will be appropriate. However, in most situations, you need to write a letter that is clear and doesn’t waste words.

Some ground rules for cover letters too:

  1. In almost all non-academic job situations, your cover letter should NOT be more than 1 page
  2. Margins, font style, font size, etc., should match your resume
  3. Do not copy and paste your resume’s name block (name, address, email phone) to the top of your cover letter
  4. Avoid using valueless statements/phrases like “I have attached my resume…,” “As the attached resume shows…,” or “As you can see from my resume… .”
  5. Any sentence that is longer than 15-20 words is too long!
  6. Finally, and most importantly, the PURPOSE of your cover letter is NOT to summarize your resume. Its two main purposes are to prove your thesis and highlight your writing abilities.

It is very important that you have a strong thesis before you write the cover letter. Your thesis statement guides how you write your cover letter AND your resume. These two documents must sync and support each other; and the thesis is the starting point. To do that, you must analyze the position announcement to identify the employer’s needs and the language they use.

Next, I will give you a step-by-step instruction on cooking and presenting your hamburger…er…cover letter.

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