How to Write an Engineering Cover Letter
A potential employer can get an overview of your background and experience from your resume, but a cover letter is your chance to dive into greater detail and ultimately sell yourself as the ideal candidate.
To many hiring managers, a well-written cover letter demonstrates your attention to detail and work ethic. Therefore, it’s important to create a convincing cover letter whenever you apply for a job.
If you’re applying for a job in the engineering field, these tips will help you create a convincing cover letter.
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Important Considerations for a Cover Letter in Engineering
With any cover letter, it’s important to tailor it to fit the industry and job you’re applying for. How you write your engineering cover letter will depend on the field you want to work in.
When applying for a job in civil engineering, most employers want to see that you have a bachelor’s degree in the field of civil engineering technology. Additionally, you’ll need a civil engineering license to apply for most roles.
Most employers in this field prefer a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, but you can obtain a two-year degree and then apply for jobs as a mechanical drafter. Mechanical engineers must hold a license in the state they wish to work in. Certifications worth mentioning in your cover letter include those that designate the technical skills you have, such as control systems design or stress analysis.
Employers in the electrical engineering field want to see that you have a bachelor’s degree from an Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) university. In order to apply for a job, you’ll need to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam to obtain a license. Certifications — such as the Energy Efficiency Management Certificate — can designate your expertise in the field and should also be mentioned in your cover letter.
Structure for an Engineering Cover Letter
When you write a cover letter, it should follow a structure and format that makes it easy for hiring managers to quickly understand your qualifications and interest in the position you’re applying for.
Use a 12 point font such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri to write your cover letter. Align your document to the left and use single spacing.
Your contact information is an important part of the cover letter. It should be the first thing the employer sees at the top of your letter so that they can easily get in contact with you to schedule an interview or to discuss the next steps.
Include the following contact information at the top of your cover letter:
- Full name.
- Phone number.
- Professional email.
Avoid using a personal email, as this can come off as unprofessional to the employer. Instead, use an email formatted with your name (First.Last@email.com).
Note that if you’re sending a physical copy of your cover letter via snail mail, you may need to include the employer’s contact information at the top of your letter — directly under your contact information.
The salutation is how you choose to greet the employer. It should be friendly but professional in nature. It’s important to choose the salutation that makes sense for your situation. For example, if you know who the hiring manager is or made previous contact, address them by name.
Always try to find who the point of contact is so you can address your cover letter to them directly. If you can’t find that information, a generic salutation will do. Acceptable general salutations include:
- Dear Sir or Madam.
- To whom it may concern.
- Dear Hiring Manager.
Generally, a cover letter is three to four paragraphs long. Each paragraph plays a role in demonstrating the value you can bring to the employer.
In your first body paragraph, introduce yourself and explain why you’re interested in the position you’re applying for. In the second body paragraph, go into greater detail about the relevant experience you have, as well as your education, licenses, and certifications. This shouldn’t be a comprehensive breakdown of your qualifications — instead, it should highlight notable qualifications that set you apart from other candidates.
The third body paragraph should be used to reiterate your interest in the role and specify what you hope to bring to that company. Sometimes, a job listing will ask that you provide professional references. The third paragraph is a good place to list references if they are requested.
In the fourth and final paragraph, summarize the valuable experience you have and reiterate what you can bring to the team. Then thank the hiring manager for considering your application and demonstrate an interest in the next steps of the hiring process.
Your signature should be three spaces below your concluding paragraph. If you are sending a hard copy of your cover letter, leave three spaces between your closing and your name so that you can sign it. If you are sending your cover letter digitally, you might include links to your resume, portfolio, or LinkedIn page.
Acceptable signatures include:
- Thank you.
Engineering Cover Letter Example
Below is a sample of a cover letter for the engineering industry.
[123 Main Street.]
[456 Employer Avenue.]
Dear Hiring Manager,
My name is Jared Worth and I have three years of experience working as a junior mechanical engineer for Linx Technologies. I am excited to submit my application for the senior mechanical engineer role with Engineering Today.
I received my bachelor’s degree from the School of Engineering and have honed my skills working with the teams at Linx. I am experienced in all phases of engineering, from conception to production. During my time with Linx, I became a Certified Reliability Engineer. All of these factors will allow me to get a quick start and excel in this opportunity.
I am excited about the prospect of working with Engineering Today, as I have heard nothing but good things about the projects you are working on. Please let me know if I can provide any further information regarding my candidacy.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps in the hiring process.
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This post was updated February 19, 2020. It was originally published February 19, 2020.