Hello there, engineering enthusiasts! It’s time to put your problem-solving skills to the test and dive into the conundrum that is an engineering cover letter. Our goal is to show motivation and distill your career onto one page. While you won’t need a calculator, you’ll learn how to subtract unnecessary details and multiply the impact your letter has on potential employers.
Now, even though crafting a cover letter doesn’t involve complex equations and pages upon pages of code, many engineers find the process quite difficult. That’s why we created a comprehensive guide that will show you every step of the way.
So strap in, grab yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s learn how to write a letter that will get you ahead of the pack in this highly competitive job landscape!
Your engineering cover letter should be one page long, with a legible font and a clean layout.
The first paragraph of the letter should hook the reader, while the last one should feature a call to action.
Make sure to tailor the letter to complement your resume and match the requirements from the job ad.
Carefully proofread your cover letter to correct any potential mistakes and ensure you’ve included all the necessary information.
The Best Format For Your Engineering Cover Letter
Knowing how to write a cover letter isn’t just about its content. You also need to know how to format the document, how to arrange its sections, and how to make a visually appealing layout. Here’s a brief outline of what your engineering cover letter should look like:
Engineering Cover Letter Format
Contact information should go in the header of your cover letter.
A formal greeting should serve as a cordial opening.
The body of your cover letter usually needs to have three parts:
An attention-grabbing introduction paragraph
The main part that features most of the content
A strong final paragraph with a call to action
A formal closing with your name concludes the letter.
(Optional) A postscript features a particularly interesting detail about your skills or achievements.
This is the universal outline to follow whether you’re writing an engineering cover letter for an internship or a senior position. Keep that in mind the next time you grab one of the many engineering cover letter examples online to use as inspiration. Not all of them are of the highest quality, so you want the one you use to have all the important details.
Another vital thing to keep in mind is that your document should be one page long. Hiring managers are busy professionals who often skim through cover letters until one grabs their attention. That makes them far less likely to read one if it’s more than a page long.
With that in mind, here are some guidelines that will help you create a stunning layout:
Engineering Cover Letter Guidelines
The sweet spot for the length of your cover letter is 3–5 paragraphs containing 250–400 words.
You want a professional and easy-to-read font (e.g., Arial or Calibri).
Font size should be 10–12 pts.
Use 1-inch margins on all sides.
Set line spacing to 1.0.
How to Write an Engineering Cover Letter
With the format and layout out of the way, let’s examine how you should write each separate part of your cover letter. To help with that, here’s a quick visual guide with a handy engineering cover letter template to follow:
#1. Add Contact Information in the Header
Contact information is a staple section of your engineering cover letter, and it goes in its header. You should start with your details and include the following:
Mandatory and Optional Sections
(Optional) Mailing address
(Optional) Relevant social media links (e.g., LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
(Optional) Personal website or portfolio
In the same manner, you should add the recipient’s details, along with the name of their organization or company and its location. You should make an effort to find out and include their name. Not only will that show your willingness to go the extra mile, but it'll also help you connect with the hiring manager on a personal level.
Lastly, don’t forget to include the date of writing.
Now let’s take a look at an example:
Walter Aguirre Civil Engineer 2182 Benson Street New Richmond, WI 54017 715-246-5250 email@example.com
Fort Lauderdale, 07/05/2023
Hershel Lane Hiring Manager Steel Engineering 1611 Holt Street Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
#2. Greet the Hiring Manager
Before you start writing your cover letter, you should cordially greet the hiring manager. Keep this part short and simple. It’s generally enough to write “Dear” followed by the recipient’s name. If you can’t find their name, you can use their title instead. However, avoid the generic “To whom it may concern,” as it feels too distant and impersonal.
#3. Emphasize Your Achievements in the Introduction
The first paragraph of your engineering cover letter should act as a hook. Its purpose is to grab the reader’s attention and entice them to go through the rest of the document. To achieve that, you want to include a couple of impressive achievements that will give hiring managers a hint of what you’re capable of.
Let’s take a look at an example:
I am writing to express my strong interest in the civil engineer position at Steel Engineering. With 13 years of experience in the field, working on projects with up to a $3 million budget, I am confident in my ability to contribute to your organization’s success.
In a brief, information-packed paragraph, the candidate managed to express interest in the position, highlight their extensive work history, and mention experience with large-scale projects.
#4. Elaborate on Why You’re the Right Fit
The purpose of the body of your engineering cover letter is to portray you as the best candidate for the job. Think of this part as an extension of your engineering resume, where you get to expand on your skills and accomplishments.
In 1–3 paragraphs, you should emphasize those abilities and achievements that are relevant to the position that you’re applying for. That’s why it’s important to do research and find out what kind of candidate hiring managers are looking for so that you can match the requirements.
One neat trick you can pull off to get ahead of the competition is to use numbers to quantify your results. That way, instead of making unsubstantiated claims about your skills and knowledge, you’re giving solid proof of your work and creating a concrete collection of measurable feats.
Here’s an example:
Good Example #1
Throughout my extensive career, I have managed more than 25 projects from inception to completion, meeting 100% of deadlines and often exciting project budgets. Furthermore, my in-depth knowledge of structural design allowed me to analyze and design complex structures, reducing material costs by up to 11% while maintaining the highest levels of safety and integrity.
If you’re writing an engineering cover letter with no experience, you can put more emphasis on your skills and academic accomplishments. Even then, make sure that you mention the skills that are needed for the specific job that you’re after.
On a final note, you can include something specific about the company that made you apply to them in particular. You can show that you’ve been following their work and that they are your choice for a reason. Here’s how you can do that:
Good Example #2
I am drawn to Steel Engineering’s commitment to delivering high-quality projects and implementing innovative sustainable design practices.
#5. Add a Call to Action
To increase your chances of getting invited for an interview, you should end your cover letter with a call to action. You can do that by thanking the hiring manager for their time and expressing your desire to discuss your application further.
Here’s what that can look like:
Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I would love the opportunity to further discuss how my skills and experiences align with your company’s goals. I am available for an interview at your convenience.
#6. Write a Formal Closing
You should close your letter similarly to how you opened it—briefly and tastefully.
Here’s an example:
After formally closing the letter, you can include an optional postscript with a particularly impressive achievement. A postscript grabs attention and can help you convince a hiring manager who just skimmed through your cover letter to give it a proper read.
#7. Proofread the Cover Letter
Proofreading your cover letter is a crucial step in the writing process. It helps you find and correct any potential mistakes. Moreover, submitting a spotless document highlights your precision and attention to detail.
Furthermore, you can use this opportunity to trim unnecessary bits or expand on the more important ones. Lastly, by proofreading your cover letter, you can check if it matches your engineering resume and whether it’s perfectly tailored to the position that you’re applying for.
Engineering Cover Letter Example
Engineering Cover Letter Writing Tips
Let’s wrap up this comprehensive guide with a few expert tips to help you fine-tune your engineering cover letter:
While hard skills are essential for any engineer, you shouldn’t neglect your soft skills. Employers usually look for candidates with strong communication, problem-solving, or critical thinking skills, and highlighting these can place you ahead of the competition.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re writing an engineering cover letter for an entry-level position without any professional experience. You can always leverage substitute activities such as internships, volunteer experience, college projects, and more.
You can show a sample of your engineering cover letter to a friend, colleague, or family member to help you with proofreading. A fresh pair of eyes might find areas in which you can improve or mistakes you’ve overlooked.
If you haven’t heard back from the potential employer after submitting a cover letter, consider following up with a brief and polite email or phone call. That way, you’re demonstrating your proactive nature and strong interest in the position.
Maintain a personable but professional and respectful tone throughout your cover letter. You want to present yourself as a competent and serious candidate without coming off as boastful.
In conclusion, a well-written engineering cover letter is like a good prototype. It should be precise and properly calibrated to act as a strong indicator of future potential.
Think of your cover letter as a tool that serves to connect your skills and experiences with the employer’s requirements. In that sense, this document isn’t just a piece of paper but an exhibit of your competence and a ticket to the world of business opportunities.
Fortunately, creating one doesn’t have to feel like wandering in the dark any longer. You can use this article as a blueprint to craft a perfectly engineered machine that does exactly what you want it to.
Best of luck in your job-hunting endeavors, and may you keep calculating, calibrating, and conquering!