Cover Letters & References | Southwestern Illinois College

Cover Letter

A cover letter accompanies your resume and is a personal introduction and background summary that will impress the reader. Most cover letters have three or four paragraphs.

An employer may ask for two to four references who know about your experience and abilities. Be ready with a list of references. This single sheet of paper gives the contact information of those who have agreed to be your references.

The thank you letter is just that—a short letter saying thank you after an interview.

Parts of a Cover Letter

Information about You (your address, Phone#, Cell, E-mail)


Contact Person’s Name, Title, Employer, and Address


Opening Paragraph

Tell job title and where you heard about the job.

Next Paragraph

Summary of your background and critical skills to show you are a match for this position.

Next Middle Paragraph

This is the persuasive paragraph that discusses other qualifications that you would bring to a particular position.

Last Paragraph

Tell them what an asset you will make to their company.

Contact Information (again Phone #, Cell, and E-mail)



Use work/school related references (supervisor, instructors, etc.) someone who KNOWS YOUR WORK.

References are to be clean, neat, easy to read and ON A PAGE BY THEMSELVES.

Always ASK PERMISSION to use someone’s name as a reference.

Reference name, title, company/school, company address, company phone, e-mail address.

Supply your references with a copy of your resume.

Writing Thank You Letters

After an interview or meeting with a potential employer, mentor, or individual who may give you an internship or job, send a thank you letter. This is a great opportunity to bring your name up to that person AGAIN and express interest in the position. The thank you letter reminds the person that you are a candidate and shows that you are very considerate, interested, and appreciative.

TIP: Handwrite and mention something from the interview conversation, mail your thank you letter within 24 hours of an interview, when it is still fresh in your mind and the employer’s mind.