Your resume is obviously the detailed summary of all of your engineering skills, projects, and accomplishments. If you have crafted a well-written, compelling resume, it will certainly deserve a good look from HR managers or recruiters.
To get that good look, however, you will need an equally as compelling cover letter that will persuade the reviewer to move on to your resume.
Your cover letter should provide highlights of your technical skills, as well as your major achievements, and even soft skills (e.g., leadership, interpersonal relationships), and even your education if you have earned degrees from well-known universities.
Some Key Tips For Crafting an Engineering Cover Letter
As you think about what to include in your cover letter, here are a few tips that should help.
Highlight your niche-related skills. And you might consider using bullet points to point out those that directly relate to the position opening. This will allow a reader to quickly see that you meet the skill set requirements. And be specific here, instead of listing just the basic categories e.g. databases. Instead, go broader and provide a quick self-assessment of your proficiency. For example:
Proficient: Java, C#, C++, HTML, CSS SQL, Matlab.
Familiar with: MongoDB, Hadoop, Haskel, Perl.
Keywords are not just for digital scanning of resumes. They are important for cover letters too, especially if you are speaking to skills and accomplishments. Using such words as launched, directed, structured, trained, solved, and lead can be used to introduce experience and accomplishments in your bullet points. These are “power” words that grab attention and position you as a strong candidate.
Format of the cover letter. Use professional formal language, and think introduction, body, and conclusion.
Your introduction should include such things as the job title for which you are applying, a statement that you hold the necessary qualifications and expertise, and perhaps make a complimentary comment about the company as one reason you want to apply.
Your body should not be longer than two relatively short paragraphs. Here you want to speak to your achievements, any major projects, and technical skills. You can use bullet points to list these things. If you are an entry-level candidate without job experience, highlight such things as skills acquired during an internship, relevant coursework and other education details.
The conclusion is brief but very important. The best way to close a cover letter is by including a “call to action” – a persuasive statement encouraging the reader to take further action.
“I look forward to receiving an update from you concerning my application as I strongly believe that my skills and past experience can bring massive value to your company.”
Use simple, straightforward language in a standard font. Too “creative” fonts are harder to read and may not be properly rendered by the recipient’s email software. However, this doesn’t mean that you should file a “plain” letter just like anyone else. Using a professionally designed cover letter template can make a huge difference – your application instantly commands more attention when you file a matching cover letter/resume. See for yourself here.
Be certain to proofread it carefully. Most of your cover letter is in prose, not like your resume, and both sentence structure and punctuation are important. If you have any concerns about grammar or punctuation, run your copy through a tool like Grammarly (affiliate link) or ask a friend to proofread it.
Finally, here’s what you came for! Below is a sample cover letter for an engineering position. Obviously, you will want to tweak it to fit the specifics of the position and your unique skills and qualifications.
Cover Letter for Engineering (Word version)
Cover Letter Example for Engineering Positions (text version)
1423 7th Ave.
St. Louis MO 63103
(555) 555-5555[Today’s date]
Dear Mr. Schwartz,
In reference to your posting on Monster.com, requesting applications for an Electrical Engineer, I am attaching my resume for your review.
With 7 years of experience in the field, I possess the exact skill sets which are listed as requirements and specification in your posting:
- Profound knowledge in inter-module communications protocols like SM bus and I2C.
- 5-year experience in launching consumer electronic products to the market (at Siemens).
- Deep familiarity with embedded software development tools and best practices: C# and C++; Keil & Reid 7 compilers; Visual Studio Code; Eclipse and other tools.
I believe I am a solid fit for your opening and am ready to meet the challenges of the position, bringing value to your organization.
Previous work experience, for two major electrical engineering firms, have resulted in a high level of expertise in the design and maintenance of electrical instruments for industrial use. In one instance, I designed an improvement for an existing instrument which has become a permanent enhancement to that piece and received an annual recognition award for my work.
I am available for an interview at your convenience and would welcome the opportunity to discuss my experience and qualifications further as they relate to your needs.
I may be contacted as indicated above and look forward to hearing from you soon.
James R. Sherman
As you can see this letter clearly communicates the candidate’s tech skill set and experience and lists some solid achievements and “bragging” rights. It delivers that “hook” and entices the reader to go on and open up that attached resume to learn more about the candidate’s experience.
Also, it includes a clear call-to-action, showing that the candidate is confident and motivated to pursue the announced position. It’s a short and sweet example you can customize based on your work history.