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A resume is a brief, informative document summarizing your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and differentiate you from other candidates.
Used most frequently in academic settings, a CV (curriculum vitae) is also a summary of your experience and abilities, but a CV will include more credentials relevant to academia and research, such as publications, presentations, and references.
Your cover letter is a way to introduce yourself to organizations in a narrative form that will accompany your resume. Use your cover letter to describe your qualifications as well as your interest in both the job and organization so the employer will want to interview you. Since the primary purpose of a resume and cover letter is to “market” you, always keep the organization’s hiring needs in mind.
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While we now use online job boards and Zoom meetings in place of classified ads and formal handshakes, one thing remains the same: A good resume can speak volumes about you, before …
23 Resume Tips for 2023
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Regardless of how you feel about your current job or if you are looking for a new job in the new year — it would be wise to have your resume ready. …
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How to Write a Cover Letter That Sounds Like You (and Gets Noticed)
- Elainy Mata
Do the research, start off strong, and emphasize your value.
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .
I hate cover letters. They add so much stress to the already uncomfortable and grueling job hunt. Every time I’m writing one, I find myself wondering: Do people even read these?
Unfortunately, the answer is “yes.” But, there are some ways to make the process a little less terrible. I asked Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review editor and author of “ How to Write a Cover Letter ,” for her advice. From doing the research, to starting off strong, to emphasizing your value — Gallo taught me exactly what I need to do to get my cover letters noticed by hiring managers. I even wrote a new cover letter that has her blessing. (Scroll down if you’re in need of an expert-approved example.)
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ELAINY MATA: So you want to know how to tackle the cover letter. I do too. I actually really hate cover letters. I hate cover letters. I hate cover letters.
But the cover letter is important. It’s time to face our fears, and just figure out how in the world we are actually going to write it.
I got you, and we’re going to do this together. These tips are going to help you go through the process a lot easier. So if you are ready to tackle the cover letter, stick around and keep watching.
In front of me right now are three cover letters that I’ve written in the past, for three different jobs. And I’m just embarrassed. I’m embarrassed to read these.
To whom it may concern, to whom it may concern, to whom it may concern. I would like to respectfully submit this cover letter. I would like to respectfully submit this cover letter. I am a passionate, detail-oriented person. I am passionate, detail-oriented person.
This sounds like I’m — this doesn’t sound like me at all. I think you want me to talk this way. Here we go like. Hire me.
I talked to Amy Gallo, an HBR editor, and the author of one of our most popular articles, “How to Write a Cover Letter.”
AMY GALLO: First of all, you’re not alone. I write about how to write cover letters, and I also hate them.
ELAINY MATA: She’s done the research. She’s talked to the experts. And I’m going to tell you exactly what she told me.
Make it one page
ELAINY MATA: So how long does a cover letter actually have to be? Just one page, one.
AMY GALLO: Don’t play with the font, and make it like eight point font, and like make your margins really wide. Just really figure out what is the most essential things that need to go on one page.
Do research, find a name
ELAINY MATA: This should be a no-brainer, but let’s get specific. Let’s say you’re applying for a job here, at Harvard Business Review. Go on the company’s website, go to their “About Us” section, and read what they’re about, see their mission statement, see their tone, see what that company is actually looking for, and what they stand for.
So you’ve got the broad stuff, but let’s dig a little bit deeper. What is the company that you’re applying for talking about now? You should actually go into their LinkedIn, their Twitter, see what they’re sharing, see who are they’re talking to, see what they’re talking about, so you can get a sense of what is currently happening. Lastly, find that hiring manager. It is so much better to address your cover letter to an actual person and a name rather than, to whom it may concern. So I have to kind of creep a little bit, and be like a private investigator.
AMY GALLO: Yeah, creeping is definitely part of the process. Usually, with LinkedIn, you can see who’s posted the job, who is sharing it with their network. You may not know for sure that that’s the hiring manager, but at least it’s a little more personable. Sometimes, I’ve heard people just reach out and say, “Who’s the hiring manager for this job? I’d like to address my cover letter to that person.”
ELAINY MATA: You’ve probably written this 100 times before. “Hi, my name is this. I’m based here, and I’m applying for this job.” No, no, no, no, don’t do that. The hiring manager has a stack of cover letters. So you have to write yours to grab their attention. Amy, can you please give me an example of a strong, bold, opening line for cover letter. I promise I won’t steal it.
AMY GALLO: You’re allowed to steal it. Anyone should be able to steal it:
“I saw your listing on this website, and I was thrilled to see it, because it’s exactly the kind of job I’ve been looking for to apply my skills in X.”
Write something that’s short, to the point, but shows both enthusiasm, as well as experience that’s relevant to the job.
Emphasize your value
ELAINY MATA: Figure out what problem the company is facing. They’re hiring for a reason. Figure out what that reason is, and how you can best solve that problem. Amy also found the top two qualities that people generally look for is adaptability, and the ability to learn quickly.
How about if I just got out of college, and I’m looking at these jobs that are asking for three to five years or more of experience. How can I write a cover letter if I feel like I don’t have enough to write about?
AMY GALLO: Yeah, so that’s a good question, because the cover letter shouldn’t be focused so much on the past. That’s the resume’s job. The cover letter is really about the future. So how are you going to take what’s in that resume, your past, and apply it to where you’re going.
Convey enthusiasm, not desperation
ELAINY MATA: This is really hard to balance. You want to show them that you’re excited to work there, and that you’re going to bring a lot of energy to the team. But don’t be too strong, because over eagerness can actually work against you.
Find a proofreader
AMY GALLO: Write the letter you want to write. Then share it with someone else, someone who knows you well, but someone who also will tell you like it is. We’re not good judges of our own writing.
ELAINY MATA: So getting a second pair of eyes will help you look for any errors, typos, and most importantly, they can tell you if you make sense.
Amy, this sounds like a lot. Is there even like a sort of a shortcut to this, or a sort of scalable way that I can do this for multiple different jobs?
AMY GALLO: I mean, you’ve probably heard the phrase looking for a job is a full-time job. It does take a lot of time. You’re tweaking some things. You’re not writing a whole new letter. So you’re going to have a template. Write your best cover letter for the first job you apply for. Share that with your friend to check the tone. Do the research on the company, right? Do that the first time. Then and adjust the cover letter accordingly. Does that seem more reasonable?
ELAINY MATA: Yes, much more reasonable.
So my task is to apply for a job here at HBR, and to write a new cover letter using the advice that Amy gave me. Let’s do it.
This is hard. I never said it was going to be easy, maybe easier than what you were doing before, but definitely not easy.
The first draft
Dear Maureen and hiring team, I saw your listing on Linkedln and am excited because this is exactly the job that I’ve been looking for to showcase my skills in video production and production management to assist the creative center in producing compelling content. Working in news and movie production has taught me to hear an idea and a concept and be able to fully plan out the logistics needed to make the desired final visual product. I have been able to work with software like Adobe Creative Suite and TriCaster, and have worked with other team members to write scripts and compose story boards. Being part of the Creative Center team will give me the challenges to grow as a skilled producer and assist in production, help the production planning process, create a quick tum around for video publication, and manage content.
AMY GALLO: You did well on length. It is very short. That’s good.
ELAINY MATA: My gosh.
AMY GALLO: I read this, I’m like, that first sentence is spot on. And then it gets a little bit stilted. And then it goes into what’s probably on your resume. And I want a little more personality.
The final draft
ELAINY MATA: So Amy, after many back and forths — How do you think I did?
AMY GALLO: All right. So I’m looking at it right now. And I think you did a really good job.
You’ve got the main components here. There’s some personality in it. There’s some flattery in it about the company you’re applying to, but it’s not like over the top. I have to tell you, I would have you in. I think it’s a great letter.
ELAINY MATA: That’s it for me. I wrote the cover letter. You got to see the whole process. And I feel like I definitely have a better outlook on how to approach it. These are not easy to write, so good luck out there. Watch as many times as you can. Practice makes perfect. I’ll see you soon.
Cover letter example
Dear Maureen and hiring team, I was so excited to see your post on LinkedIn because it’s exactly the type of job I’m looking for: an opportunity to bring my experience with video production and enthusiasm for storytelling to an organization that sets the standard for high-quality management content. In addition to five years of experience in broadcast journalism, research, and video production, I would bring an organized and systems-level perspective to this role. I view video production as a puzzle, and like to think about which parts need to come together in order to make a great final product. My approach is to have in-depth conversations with my team members, and the various stakeholders, before each project. This helps me nail down the logistics — from location to talent. From there, the fun begins: fleshing out the concept and identifying what visuals will best represent it. Ideation and storyboarding are essential in this step. I know I’m not right all the time, so I enjoy working with a diverse team that can bring in new perspectives, brainstorm, and pitch ideas that will make the final product stronger. Whenever possible, I also try to seek out other sources for inspiration, like magazines, which allow me to observe different ways of expression and storytelling. This approach has served me well. It’s what has allowed me to enter the film industry and grow as a creator. On my website, you can see examples of how I use the above process to create fun, engaging content. Given this experience and my enthusiasm for the work you do, I believe I’d make a great addition to your team. I recently had a chance to try out your Patient Zero product at my current organization. The simulation is both challenging and engaging. I was impressed by your ability to apply different storytelling methods to an online training course (which, let’s admit, can often be a little dry). Your work exemplifies exactly what I believe: There’s an opportunity to tell a compelling story in everything — all you have to do is deliver it right. I’d love to come in and speak with you more about what I’d be able to offer in this role. Harvard Business Publishing is my top choice and I believe I’d make valuable contributions to your team. Thank you for your time and consideration!
- EM Elainy Mata is a Multimedia Producer at Harvard Business Review. ElainyMata
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Here's an example of the perfect cover letter, according to Harvard career experts
Found your dream job? Don't be so confident that you'll get hired: It's very likely that there are several other qualified candidates competing for that same position.
That's where the cover letter comes in. Including a cover letter to complement your resume can be an effective way to impress hiring managers: It displays your strong writing skills, sets you apart from other applicants and shows that you went the extra mile.
Linda Spencer, associate director and coordinator of career advising at Harvard Extension School, says that a solid cover letter answers two key questions :
- Why are you the right fit for the job?
- How will you add value to the organization?
"It takes the average employer about seven seconds to review these documents," says Spencer. "They're not reading, they're skimming. So you need to make it clear right off the bat how you can add value."
Here's an example of what a strong cover letter looks like, according to Harvard career experts (click here to enlarge):
Credit: Harvard University, Office of Career Services / Harvard Extension School, Career and Academic Resource Center
Don't know where to start? The career experts share tips on how to write a cover letter that stands out:
1. Address the letter to a specific person
"To whom it may concern" is one of the fastest ways to get your application deleted. Always try to address your letter to a specific person — usually the hiring manager or department head. Include their name, title, company and address at the very top below the date.
If you don't know who to address, LinkedIn is a great place to start. Simply enter the company name and some keywords into the search bar (e.g., "Google, hiring manager, sales") and a variety of related profiles will appear.
2. Clearly state the purpose of your letter
Your opening line doesn't need to be anything extravagant. In fact, it should be the complete opposite, according Harvard's career experts.
Keep it simple and straightforward: State why you're writing, the position you're applying for and, if applicable, how you found the job listing.
3. Don't rehash your entire resume
You're not writing a 1,000-word essay that summarizes your resume. The cover letter is your chance to explain why you're genuinely interested in the company and its mission.
No need to make it super formal, either. Use your own voice and add some personal flourishes to make the letter more interesting.
"If you have relevant school or work experience, be sure to point it out with one or two key examples," the career experts note . "Emphasize skills or abilities that relate to the job. Be sure to do this in a confident manner and keep in mind that the reader will also view your letter as an example of your writing skills."
4. Use action words and don't overuse the pronoun "I"
Instead of using flowery words and cliche claims like "fast thinker" and "highly creative," go for action words.
Here are a few examples of action verbs to use when highlighting specific skills:
- To demonstrate leadership skills : Accomplished, contracted, assigned, directed, orchestrated, headed, delegated
- To demonstrate communication skills : Addressed, translated, presented, negotiated, moderated, promoted, edited
- To demonstrate research skills : Constructed, examined, critique, systematized, investigated, modeled, formulated
- To demonstrate creative skills : Revitalized, redesigned, developed, integrated, conceptualized, fashioned, shaped
Avoid using too many "I" statements because it can come off as though you're mostly interested in what you can gain from the company. The focus should be on what the company can gain from you.
5. Reiterate your enthusiasm and thank the reader
The closing of your letter should:
- Reiterate your interest in the position
- Thank the reader for his or her consideration
- State that you look forward hearing back from them
- Include your signature at the very bottom
6. Be consistent in formatting
Visual consistency makes a big difference. Keep your letter to just one page and use the same font (and size) as you did for your resume. If you're converting the letter to a PDF, make sure the formatting is translated properly.
Dustin McKissen is the founder of McKissen + Company , a strategic communications firm in St. Charles, Missouri. He was also named one of LinkedIn's "Top Voices in Management and Corporate Culture." Follow him on LinkedIn here.
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Cover Letter for a job
- Name the exact position. Reference the requisition number if available.
- State why you are interested in the position.
- Show how you think you and the organization are a good match.
- Make it clear that you expect to hear back.
- Keep the cover letter to 1 page , with an optional second page for a list of publications/presentations or a list of references.
- Make sure the cover letter has no spelling or grammatical mistakes.
Ideally, a cover letter is the cherry on top of a long process of networking and research about the job opportunity. In the best case scenario:
- you know exactly who will read the letter,
- you know what they are excited to see in candidates, and
- you are acquainted with the person who will be reading your letter (or you know someone who knows that person) so that the reader knows to pay special attention to your letter.
Your cover letter and resume are the first parts of your job application that will be evaluated. Your cover letter may be the only part anyone reads. If the hiring manager (or selection committee or whatever) doesn’t like what they see in your cover letter, your application might go directly into the “no” pile. You need to quickly assure your reader that the rest of your application is worth looking at.
If you make it over this first hurdle, the cover letter can serve as an overview for your resume. The cover letter and resume are closely related in terms of their purpose and tone, so you might also want to read our guide to writing a resume .
Analyze Your Audience
Get a feeling for the personality of your target employer or organization. Read the job posting and the rest of the employer’s website carefully. A group that describes itself as “a young and dynamic startup” will be looking for a different applicant than “an established industry leader”. Customize the formality and content of your application to match the employer’s self-image. The more you know about your potential employer, the stronger your cover letter can be.
We have demonstrated how to analyze a job posting in the Authentic Annotated Example (AAE) section. We have provided an example job posting, and highlighted the key traits the employer desires to see in an ideal candidate.
Write a different cover letter for every application
A cover letter should show a match between you and the position for which you are applying. To be a fit for a position, you need to also be a fit for the organization. Do your homework! What goals and opportunities excite you about the organization? What makes it a good place for you to work and advance your career? Which of your skills and accomplishments match those requested in the job posting?
You’ll be a more exciting candidate if you demonstrate that you understand and are enthusiastic about the organization’s mission. Find specific words or phrases that the organization uses to describe its own values (e.g, “transforming the landscape of renewable energy,” “fast-moving and dynamic”). Echo these ideas in your letter. Highlight experiences and interests of yours that correspond to these values.
In the AAE section, we have provided an example cover letter that was tailored to the example job posting, and was written to demonstrate how the candidate matches the employer’s desired traits.
Structure of a Cover Letter
Cover letters follow a very specific structure which helps the reader quickly ascertain the candidate’s contact information, interest, and qualifications. Most readers have well-defined expectations for a cover letter. They are reading many cover letters at once and want to quickly decide if you go in the “yes” or “no” pile. A cover letter is not a place for creative structure or excessive flair. See the example structure of a cover letter, below.
Letterhead . Give your name and contact information. List the date and the organization to which you are sending the cover letter.
- Don’t make your name too big. This isn’t a Steven King novel.
- Your telephone number and email are enough. Use your professional or collegiate email address. Include your address if you are local and you think they are looking for local job candidates.
Salutation . Greet the reader of the cover letter.
- If you are addressing a specific person, make sure to spell their name correctly.
- If you don’t know to whom to address the cover letter, use a generic greeting such as, “To Whom it May Concern,” “Dear Sir or Madam,” etc.
Brief Introduction . Name the position. Include job numbers or job posting locations. This paragraph is one or maybe two sentences. Explain why the position interests you, in the context of previous work or education, or other skills that demonstrate your familiarity with the topic.
- “I am writing to express interest in position X…”
- “I am interested in the position because…”
Make it clear that you know what this job will entail. Reference specific examples, such as mentioning certain protocols, software tools, or soft skills such as project management.
Scientific Achievements . Briefly list the organizations and advisors with whom you received your degrees. Describe your overall training.
- “I earned my Ph.D. in ______ at University X…”
Motivation and Impact . Show why you and this organization are a good match for each other.
- “I think I would be a great match for this position because…”
- Why do they need you and exactly you? List specific examples of what you can add to the position
Wrap Up . Make it clear that you expect to hear back.
- “I look forward to hearing your response.”
- Also make sure to thank them for their consideration of your application.
Make concrete claims
Back up any claims about your abilities or qualifications with concrete accomplishments. If possible, quantify your accomplishments. For example, to show that you have “independence and an innovative research spirit”, describe the scope and outcomes of research projects you’ve led or carried out on your own.
Start a conversation
Your cover letter is designed to get you an interview, and successful interviews usually turn into conversations. Start the conversation early. Be humble and curious. A claim like “I know I’m a perfect match because XYZ ” can make you sound naive: how would you know that this is true? A claim like “I’m excited to explore this opportunity because XYZ ” is more professional and more likely to initiate a conversation.
Make no mistakes
A single spelling or grammar error can be enough to make a recruiter think you’re sloppy. Don’t let a little mistake keep you from this job.
If you’ve found a specific person to whom to address your letter, be absolutely sure you’ve spelled their name correctly. A misspelled name comes across as annoying and unprofessional.
This content was adapted from from an article originally created by the MIT Biological Engineering Communication Lab .
Resources and Annotated Examples
Annotated example 1.
Example Job Posting 49 KB
Annotated Example 2
Example Cover Letter 447 KB
Harvard Cover Letter Example
Getting into Harvard is a dream for the nearly 60,000 applicants who apply to the prestigious Boston-area university each year. Whether Harvard is your top choice or a longshot you can’t help but go after, a well-written cover letter, sometimes called a college essay, is one of the most important application materials you can create.
There’s no doubt that you’ve worked hard to ace the SATs or ACTs and spent many hours after school preparing for exams to give you the best grades possible.
Your Harvard cover letter, however, is one piece of the puzzle that doesn’t depend on your booksmarts. This is a chance to tell your own personal story and wow the admissions committee with details of your dreams and resilience.
This guide, along with the corresponding Harvard cover letter, is designed to show you create the most effective college essay possible by:
- Choosing the best cover letter format and including each of the required sections.
- Writing with powerful action verbs and examples of your achievements.
- Sharing your own journey to convince an admissions officer of your desire to succeed.
- Avoiding mistakes often made on college cover letter samples.
Resume.io is a resource for job seekers at every stage of their careers. You can find even more insight and valuable writing tips for your desired field of study in our 125+ free cover letter examples.
Harvard is getting harder. It likely comes as no surprise that the elite Harvard College is tightening up even further as the number of applications rises. For the class of 2025, the university accepted just 1,968 students out of 57,435 – an acceptance rate of 3.43 percent and the college’s lowest ever .
Best format for a Harvard cover letter
As with any cover letter, your Harvard college essay should contain sections that make it easy for the admissions officer to find the information they are looking for. Here are the essential components of your Harvard cover letter sample:
- The cover letter header
- The greeting / salutation
- The cover letter intro
- The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
- The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and call-to-action)
By this point in your high school career, you’ve no doubt written a number of English essays. You’ll likely find that the parts of a cover letter are much the same – the intro is your hook, for example, and the body is the place to present the strongest evidence of your achievements.
This structure helps your letter flow from one section to another and keeps an admissions officer interested in what you have to say. Unlike a normal cover letter which discusses much of the experience on your resume, a Harvard cover letter should tell a personal story without needing much detail about your high school clubs or leadership roles (unless that’s part of the story you want to tell, of course!)
You can find more guidance on writing each of these sections in our comprehensive cover letter guide. That’s also a great place to look for specific formatting tips that will help ensure you keep a sense of professionalism throughout your cover letter sample.
Below is a Harvard cover letter example to help you get started in writing your own.
Dear Professor Lockwood, MY Ph.D advisor, Professor Caroline Buchanan has suggested I write to enquire about the possibly of conducting my postdoctoral research at your Harvard faculty. I am currently completing my Ph.D in mathematical sciences and as you have the same academic background as Professor Buchanan, I am interested to explore the possibilities. My focus on applied mathematics and data science has driven the direction of my academic research and having published 30+ papers and corporate case studies, I am seeking a position with an eminent mathematical mind to help shape my future work. As a keen programmer, I am particularly interested in the intersection of coding and mathematics and how A.I. led programming is able to simplify the manipulation of data. I can demonstrate that my projects are accessible to undergraduate researchers, and I have considerable experience of working in diverse teams – encompassing both academic and corporate research. During my Ph.D studies, I have taught various undergraduate courses, including calculus and advanced algebra. I would welcome the opportunity to continue this at Harvard and have a track record of improving learner outcomes. My tutoring students enjoyed a 100% pass rate and I have 28 letters of recommendation to share. Modules that I would particularly enjoy teaching include: Precalculus, Calculus, Fundamental Maths, Linear Algebra, Probability and Algebraic Structures. Enclosed please find my CV, research and teaching documents and a selection of recommendation letters. I will be visiting Harvard for the machine learning symposium in February and would welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss my application. Yours sincerely, Taylor Laughton
Cover letter header
The header of your cover letter serves two important roles: the first is to label the document with your name and contact information so the admissions officer knows exactly whose letter they are reading. The second is to create a bit of visual formatting that catches the admissions officers attention and helps them remember your cover letter a bit better than all the others.
You may be submitting your college essay in an online application or another format that doesn’t allow for a header. If that’s the case, make sure your name, phone number, email and other relevant details are included in the appropriate boxes so that there’s never a question of how to contact you.
You can see an attractive and functional header on our Harvard cover letter example.
The aim of the cover letter header: Include the most relevant contact details and create an attractive page layout to make your cover letter sample stand out from the rest.
Cover letter greeting
The cover letter greeting is how you address the person (or people) who will be reading your cover letter. In many other situations, you’d be instructed to address your letter to the name of the recipient in order to make a personal connection and show interest. In the case of Harvard, however, you’ll likely need a more general greeting. “Dear Harvard Admissions Officer,” or “Dear Harvard Admissions Team” can get the job done.
In certain circumstances, your Harvard cover letter sample won’t need a greeting at all. If you’re asked to paste your letter into a box with limited word count, forgo the greeting to maximize writing space.
The aim of the cover letter greeting: Use a general greeting that’s appropriate for a Harvard cover letter in order to set a friendly and respectful tone.
Here’s the greeting from our Harvard cover letter example.
Dear Professor Lockwood,
Cover letter introduction
The introduction is the hook of your Harvard cover letter. This is the place to draw a reader into the story you have to tell and to give them a reason to read until the very end. The introduction is generally the first paragraph of your cover letter sample. Set the scene, give the details of the characters and offer a sense of what the admissions officer will discover in the rest of your cover letter.
The aim of the cover letter introduction: Begin your cover letter with an interesting set-up that hints at the rest of the letter and encourages the reader to continue.
Check out the introduction from our Harvard cover letter example below.
MY Ph.D advisor, Professor Caroline Buchanan has suggested I write to enquire about the possibly of conducting my postdoctoral research at your Harvard faculty. I am currently completing my Ph.D in mathematical sciences and as you have the same academic background as Professor Buchanan, I am interested to explore the possibilities.
Cover letter middle part (body)
The body of your cover letter gives you all the space you need to expand on your story and convince the admissions officer that you’re the best choice for one of Harvard’s limited spots. Unlike cover letters for job applications, college essays generally tell a personal story that explains the mindset and qualities of the applicant. In the body section, you’ll need to explain how the experiences you’re writing about changed you and made you the person you are today.
The aim of the cover letter body: Share more details about your story that explain your outlook and attitude today.
Use the body from our Harvard cover letter example as a model for your own.
My focus on applied mathematics and data science has driven the direction of my academic research and having published 30+ papers and corporate case studies, I am seeking a position with an eminent mathematical mind to help shape my future work. As a keen programmer, I am particularly interested in the intersection of coding and mathematics and how A.I. led programming is able to simplify the manipulation of data. I can demonstrate that my projects are accessible to undergraduate researchers, and I have considerable experience of working in diverse teams – encompassing both academic and corporate research. During my Ph.D studies, I have taught various undergraduate courses, including calculus and advanced algebra. I would welcome the opportunity to continue this at Harvard and have a track record of improving learner outcomes. My tutoring students enjoyed a 100% pass rate and I have 28 letters of recommendation to share. Modules that I would particularly enjoy teaching include: Precalculus, Calculus, Fundamental Maths, Linear Algebra, Probability and Algebraic Structures.
How to close a Harvard cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)
Your Harvard cover letter should make a point and wrap up into an easily-digestible conclusion. Generally-speaking, your conclusion should reflect your outlook on the world or describe the ways in which you’d be an asset to Harvard (without directly pleading for a spot.)
Unless you’ve included a greeting, there’s generally no need to sign-off. Your cover letter should be complete at the final line of the conclusion.
The aim of the cover letter conclusion: Share the moral of the story and end with your final thoughts that show what type of student you’d be at Harvard.
Here’s the conclusion from our Harvard cover letter example.
Enclosed please find my CV, research and teaching documents and a selection of recommendation letters. I will be visiting Harvard for the machine learning symposium in February and would welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss my application. Yours sincerely, Taylor Laughton
Writing psychology: how to tell your story
A college essay or application letter is different from a traditional cover letter in several ways. It usually offers you more space (up to 650 words for the Common App) to tell your story and doesn’t require you to focus as much on achievements as it does lessons learned and experiences that shaped you.
In order to succeed in writing a Harvard cover letter sample, you’ll first need to reflect on your own life and look for interesting stories to share. Here are some questions to consider:
- What experiences have I had that were particularly memorable?
- Have I lived through any situations that are unusual for people my age?
- Who or what has influenced me the most in life?
- Where do I get my drive and inspiration?
- What are my strongest personality traits and where do they come from?
- What are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned at this stage in my life?
There are no right or wrong topics for a Harvard cover letter, but make sure to choose one that you are truly passionate about. By weaving a narrative throughout your cover letter and focusing on your authentic experiences and tone of voice, you can be sure the admissions officer will feel your passion and desire to be part of their university.
You are so much more than your grades. While you might have worked years to perfect them, a great GPA doesn’t guarantee admission into Harvard. Many of the applicants you’re up against have also done their best. The cover letter sample can go a long way in making you stand out from other students who are also at the top of their class.
Basic mistakes in a Harvard application letter (and how to avoid them)
- Cliches and generic information: Harvard admissions officers have read it all, so it’s important to give them something that stands out. Cover letters about hard work, athletic achievements or tragedies will need to be revised carefully so that they don’t come across as too generic.
- Poor tone: Your tone should be authentic without ever sacrificing professionalism. You don’t need to beg for admission, but you should also be careful to avoid coming across as entitled or demanding.
- Spelling and grammar mistakes: When the competition is this fierce, any little typo or grammar mistake can be a big deal. Avoid these issues by using spell check and asking a trusted mentor to proofread.
- Formatting issues: If you need to upload a cover letter sample as its own file, you’ll want to make sure that your layout and design is as attractive as possible. A free cover letter template can help you do this quickly.
- A Harvard cover letter, sometimes called a college essay, is one of the most important documents to help you get accepted into this prestigious institution.
- As seen in our cover letter example, having clear and organized sections makes it easier for the admissions officer to understand your letter.
- Most Harvard cover letters will share a personal story about the applicant and explain what they’ve learned or how it affected them.
- Avoid cliche topics like sports victories, tragedies or difficult coursework and look for unique moments in your life to expand upon.
If you’re looking for more cover letter help as a student, check out these related education cover letter examples:
- Scholarship cover letter example
- University cover letter sample
- Internship cover letter sample
- Student cover letter example
- Graduate cover letter example
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Resumes: What You Need to Know
The resume is an opportunity to market yourself to a prospective employer. It should be succinct, target an employer's needs, and distinguish you from your competitors. Before you get started, think about your strengths, weaknesses, personal preferences, and motivations. You should also consider the company's needs, who your competition might be, and your unique skill set. The best way to convince employers that you will add value is to show them that you've done it before.
Alumni Resume Book
Our Alumni Resume Book connects you with organizations looking for talent. Visit 12twenty (our recruiting platform) and upload your resume to get started. You should complete your Profile in 12twenty by updating your Background tab which contains information about your career experience, skills, preferences and more. Ensuring your Background tab is complete and accurate will greatly improve your chance of being contacted by an organization. Looking to connect with fellow HBS alumni? Upload your resume to the Alumni Networking Resume Book to kick start those connections.
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VMock is a smart career platform that provides instant personalized feedback on your resume and LinkedIn Profile to help improve aspects like presentation, language, and skills.
VMock Smart Editor tool will enable you to:
- Receive an objective score on your resume based on recruiter criteria
- Review line-for-line targeted feedback on your resume
- Re-upload your resume up to 10 times to track improvement
Sign up using your HBS email address. Account requests are granted within 24 business hours. During holidays and winter break (December 24th – January 1st) turnaround time will be delayed until the CPD office reopens. Please note, we recommend you review your resume before considering it final.
Resumes: Sections, Templates & Examples
- Contact details - Let others know who you are and how to get in touch with you. In addition to your name, you should list your mailing address, phone number, and email address. It is expected to be found at the top of the page. No need to include it on additional pages.
- Professional history - Start with your most recent role and list in descending chronology. For each role, provide a sentence or two that describes the scope of your responsibility. Then in bullet format, provide accomplishment statements. To write an accomplishment statement, state the problem you encountered, the action you took and the result or impact of your actions. For example, "Led team in implementing a new general ledger package by providing expertise and encouragement, which contributed to a successful, on-time project completion."
- Education - Spell out your degree so it will stand out better. It is not necessary to include your GPA or GMAT score. Do not list courses. Do list any leadership roles or study abroad experiences.
- Summary/Profile - A great opportunity to tell the reader exactly what you want them to know. It should be 3-4 sentences in paragraph form following your contact information. Be careful not to load up on overused resume jargon and avoid listing previous jobs/education as it is redundant. Instead, focus on your branding statement, unique themes in your career path, and skills.
- Key skills - Listing your skills is a great way for the reader to quickly evaluate your skill set. List skills that are relevant to your next position. For each skill, you will need a proof statement in the form of an accomplishment stated in the professional experience section. A good way to set up this section is in 2 or 3 columns with 3-4 skills in each column. The heading could be "Key Areas of Expertise" or "Core Competencies".
- Personal/Interests - Only include if it helps tell your story.
- Additional roles - If you participate in organizations outside of your professional employment, you may list these in a separate section. Headings are typically "Volunteer Leadership Roles" or "Community Service".
- Licenses and Professional Certifications - If you possess a license or certification, these should be called out in a separate section.
- Objective - No longer in style. Do not include in your resume.
- References available upon request - No longer in style. Do not include in your resume.
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Chronological - This is the most commonly used layout. Recommended for a mostly consistent record of employment showing progression/growth from position to position. Not recommended for gaps in employment dates, those out of job market for some time, or changing careers.
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Streamlined Chronological - This layout also shows progression from one job to the next, but does not include extra sections such as Summary/Profile or Areas of Expertise. Recommended for recent alumni.
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Chronological/Functional Hybrid Resume - In this layout, you can highlight your employment history in a straight chronological manner, but also make it immediately clear you have filled a variety of roles that use different but related skill sets. This is useful to provide a few accomplishments in the beginning to show a theme. Each role would also have specific accomplishment statements.
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Cover Letter Writing
It is essential to send a cover letter with your resume to provide a recruiter with insight into your qualifications, experience, and motivation for seeking a position. The letter also conveys your personal communication style, tone, and professionalism. An effective employment letter should:
- Be targeted and personalized
- State why you are interested in the company
- Explain how you can fill a need
- Convey your enthusiasm about the opportunity
- Suggest next steps for communication and action
Guidelines & Examples
Investigate your target company. What is the company's "breaking news?" What drives their business? What are their greatest challenges and opportunities? How can you contribute? eBaker can help with your research.
Outline your objectives using relevant information that attracts the attention of the reader.
- Salutation Address the letter to a specific person. Capture the reader's attention and briefly introduce yourself. Mention the referral/company contact, if applicable. State the purpose of your letter.
- Body Describe relevant information you discovered about the company. Discuss the position offered or the position you are looking for. Detail how your skills will benefit the company.
- Closing Convey your enthusiasm. Anticipate response.
Pay close attention to sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation. Always print your letter to check for typographical errors. Have a friend, colleague, or family member review your letter whenever possible.
Cover letters are the place to briefly and directly address the gap in your career. For example, "I am returning to the workforce after a period of raising children." Then address your strengths, qualifications and goals. Emphasize your excitement and preparedness to re-enter the workforce now.
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Resume writing tips , creating visual impact.
A concise, visually appealing resume will make a stronger impression than a dense, text-laden document. Respect page margins and properly space the text. Learn to appreciate the value of "white space." Limit a resume to one or two pages but not one and ¼. Ensure content is balanced on both pages. A CV is typically longer because it includes additional sections such as publications and research.
Use Parallel Construction
Select a consistent order of information, format, and spacing. If one experience starts with a brief overview followed by bullet points, subsequent experiences should follow a similar form. Parallel construction—including the use of action verbs (pdf) (login required) to start all phrases—greatly enhances a resume's readability.
Pay close attention to margin alignment, spelling, punctuation, and dates. Read your resume backward to check for typographical errors. (You will focus on individual words, rather than the meaning of the text.) Better yet, have a friend, colleague, or family member review your resume.
Use Action Verbs
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Improve Your Writing
Common questions, past program resources .
Reference skills or experiences from the job description and draw connections to your credentials. • Make sure your resume and cover letter are prepared with
you a job or internship, a good resume is an impor- ... Your cover letter is a writing sample and a part of the screening process. By putting your best foot
Unlike a resume, there is no page limit, but most graduate students' CVs are two ... Te Ning's letter is a good example of a highly tailored cover letter.
Your cover letter is a way to introduce yourself to organizations in a narrative form that will accompany your resume. Use your cover letter to describe
Perhaps the most challenging part of the job application process is writing an effective cover letter. And yes, you should send one.
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Unlike a normal cover letter which discusses much of the experience on your resume, a Harvard cover letter should tell a personal story without needing much
Cover Letter Writing · Be targeted and personalized · State why you are interested in the company · Explain how you can fill a need · Convey your enthusiasm about