Cover Letter Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Use this Study.com lesson to teach your students about the what's, why's, and how's of a cover letter. Evaluate examples and have your students make an outline of a cover letter they later create for employment applications.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • understand the importance and uses of a cover letter
  • name and identify the parts of an exemplary cover letter
  • outline a sample cover letter

Length:

  • 1-2 hours

Materials

  • samples of different cover letters, enough for each student

Key Vocabulary

  • resume
  • cover letter
  • heading
  • selling point

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10

Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Instructions

  • Explore background knowledge among students by asking how many have applied for jobs. Ask if any have written a resume or cover letter. Discuss experiences.
  • Show your class the video lesson The Cover Letter: Importance, Details & Format.
  • As a class, address these discussion questions:
    • What does a cover letter contain?
    • Why are cover letters important?
    • Why do cover letters need to be short and direct?
    • What is a selling point and why is it important?
    • What are some examples of selling points?
  • Next, review the parts of the cover letter by listing the parts on the board--'Heading,' 'First Paragraph,' 'Second Paragraph,' 'Third Paragraph', and 'Closing.' Have students recall aspects of these parts of a cover letter, such as lengths and what each section should include, and write out such details on the board.
  • Pass out copies of sample cover letters. Have students work individually, in partners, or in small groups to analyze the samples, notating the components of cover letters along the side. Guide students as they evaluate the effectiveness of language used in the samples and make notations for later use.

Activity

  • Ask students to reflect on their own experiences in terms of cover letters. Brainstorm ideas for 5-10 minutes, having students point out possible skills and experiences they might include in their own cover letters.
  • Next, have students create their own cover letters by creating an outline and filling it in from the heading to the closing. These might be fictional cover letters if students have no experience or skills to refer to. They may use the brainstormed ideas to fill in each section.
  • Circulate the room to answer questions and offer support while students work.

Extensions

  • Invite a human resource specialist into your classroom to discuss the importance of cover letters, resumes, and other professional documents.
  • Practice interview skills by role-playing; create scenarios and allow students to practice answering sample interview questions.

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