Career Preparation // Job Application
Evaluate a Cover Letter

This activity introduces students to the characteristics of highly effective cover letters.

Suggested Grade Level

Grade

10

Approximate Time Needed

Minutes

50

Instructions

What makes one cover letter stand out against another? In this lesson, you will work with a partner to evaluate two sample cover letters.

Step 1:

After reviewing Tips of a Writing a Winning Cover Letter and Outline a Winning Cover Letter discuss with your partner the characteristics to keep in mind when writing a cover letter to an employer. Make a list together to share in class discussion.

Step 2:

Next, review the attached rubric and become familiar with the characteristics of a cover letter that will help you stand out to potential employers. Read over the “Proficient” and “Advanced” columns for each of the following areas:

  • Format
  • Content

With your partner discuss the following questions:

  • What are some of the major differences between a cover letter that is emerging/developing and one that is proficient/advanced?

  • What is the difference between the section related to “format” and the section related to “content”?

Step 3:

Use the rubric and evaluate the two cover letter samples. With your partner, determine how you would score each of the samples. Be prepared to defend your scores with specific pieces of evidence from each of the letters.

Teacher Notes

Tell students that there is a plethora of information available on the internet about how to write cover letters. Most experts agree that the most effective cover letters have 2–4 paragraphs and are rarely more than one page.

As student pairs move through Steps 1 or 2 (above), bring them back together as a whole class when/if you feel the need to clarify that students understand the characteristics of high quality cover letters.

After student pairs have had a chance to assess the two sample cover letters, bring the class together for a discussion of the following question:

  • Which letter would be more likely to lead to an interview and why?

When assessed on the provided rubric, Cover Letter Sample 2 is clearly a more proficient sample than Sample 1. However, it is important for students to provide evidence for their score to demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of highly effective cover letters.

Assessment Notes

Assessment of Cover Letter Samples on the rubric

 

Return to Career Readiness
Additional lessons in Job Application

Job Advertisement Terminology

This activity helps students make connections between a want ad and the information provided in a job application.

Comparing Cover Letters and Resumes

This activity introduces students to the purpose of a cover letter and how it differs from a resume and a job application.

Introduction to Job Applications Activity

This activity helps students make connections between a want ad and the information provided in a job application.

Write a Cover Letter

The purpose of this task is for students to practice the professional skill of writing a cover letter to share with an employer when applying for a job.Student may use the cover letter for an actual job they are applying for or practice the skill of writing a cover letter for a fictitious job application.