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Engineering Cover Letter Example

Use this Engineering cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Engineering positions in 2022. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.
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Engineering Cover Letter Example
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On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy famously stated the goal of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” before the end of the decade. It was perhaps the greatest engineering challenge in history. 

And in fact, the number of scientists and engineers employed by NASA and its contractors grew from 18,400 in 1961 to 65,065 in 1968, by which time they accounted for nearly 40% of all NASA employment. That surge in engineering talent was directly responsible for the successful Apollo 11 mission that landed two men on the moon on July 20, 1969, and returned them to Earth four days later. 

Engineers are consummate experts at answering the question “how.” From building the pyramids of Egypt to the Golden Gate Bridge to the world’s tallest skyscrapers, engineers are the “nuts and bolts” behind our most visionary projects, as well as our most mundane. If water comes out of your faucet and your toilet flushes, you can thank engineers for that as well.

Statistical insight

The word “engineer” describes a broad category of occupations dedicated to designing and building machines, structures, public works and much more. Here is one list of the main types of engineers and their median annual pay, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

OCCUPATION MEDIAN PAY (2020)

Aerospace engineers $118,610
Agricultural engineers $84,410
Biomedical engineers  $92,620
Chemical engineers $108,540
Civil engineers $88,570
Computer hardware engineers $119,560
Electrical and electronics engineers $103,390
Environmental engineers $88,860
Health and safety engineers $94,240
Industrial engineers $88,950
Marine engineers, naval architects $95,440
Materials engineers  $95,640
Mechanical engineers $90,160
Mining and geological engineers  $93,800
Nuclear engineers $116,140
Petroleum engineers $137,330

Source: 
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/home.htm

The world will always need engineers, and the job outlook for most types of engineering is good, as is the pay. 

For the categories mentioned in the box above, the median annual pay in the U.S. in 2020 ranged from $80,720 for agricultural engineers to $137,720 for petroleum engineers. Employment in all architecture and engineering occupations was expected to grow 4% from 2018 to 2028. 

So how do you find the job that’s right for you in your field? Your starting place is an outstanding resume and cover letter that are well written and correctly formatted. Resume.io has prepared several examples of good resumes in various fields of engineering, and we’ve written detailed guides to how to prepare a resume for agricultural, civil, electrical, facilities, health and safety, mechanical, process and research engineers . Our general resume-writing guide is a great place to start.

But that’s only half the job. The second part of the formula is to write a provocative cover letter that makes a personal appeal to a hiring manager. In this guide, along with the corresponding engineering cover letter examples, you will learn how to write a great letter by exploring these topics:

  • Why a cover letter is an essential part of a job application
  • How a cover letter should be organized, structured and formatted
  • Psychology, tips and tactics for writing a standout cover letter
  • Common cover letter mistakes and how to avoid them.

Your cover letter should be a one-page document of up to 400 words that makes a persuasive case that you would be an excellent job candidate. While your resume will cover much of the crucial ground — employment and education history, skills and other qualifications — the value of a cover letter is that it gets a bit more personal. Normally a resume doesn’t even contain the word “I,” nor is it addressed to anyone.

But a cover letter is your way of establishing a personal connection to a hiring manager. It’s a format that gives you much broader leeway to express your personality, passions and skills. It also supplements your resume by allowing you to expand on your experience, achievements and qualifications in your own words.

Although some employers prefer to receive resumes only, you should always include a cover letter example unless you’re specifically asked not to. Done right, a cover letter can only increase your chances of getting a job. And in fact, employer surveys have found that the failure to include a cover letter is among the top reason resumes are rejected.

Best format for an engineering cover letter example

It often helps to present your arguments and tell your story when there is a logical cover letter format.

The format of an engineering cover letter should contain the following elements:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting / salutation
  • The cover letter intro
  • The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and sign-off).
Adaptable cover letter example

Dear Mr. Kristianson,

Having contributed to the design and manufacture of 35+ devices that have been used by millions of patients over the past decade, Engineering News recently voted me one of the top five mechanical engineers in the medical devices field.

Experience in bringing together clinically cutting-edge system architectures, materials and components stems from a deep passion for research and development. My design and verification process formed the blueprint for my consultancy work and I believe that I may be in a position to tweak certain aspects of your already stellar operation. I am a proficient user of Boldworks and enclose a portfolio of solutions that I have incorporated in my previous designs. There are a number of patents to my name and one particular solution for ingress protection in a Class III medical device won “innovation of the year” at the NaaTech awards.

I take a pride in the quality of my design review process with top-quality 3D renderings, models and animations bringing the reality and practicality of the design to life. An inflation system for an intragastric balloon became the market leader within 18 months and I have a deep knowledge of drug delivery systems and insulin pump solutions – particular specializations for which you are rightfully well-known. Having spent the past three years working on a consultancy basis (with 12 product designs driving over $15m in sales), I am looking forward to joining a company that prides themselves on broader employee development. When you work alongside talented colleagues, your designs take on a new dimension.

I am excited at the prospect of an interview to find out what projects you have in the pipeline and how I might play a part in your future success.

Yours sincerely,
Leslie Philoberto

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Engineering - Engineering cover letter best format
Engineering - Engineering cover letter best format

The comprehensive cover letter guide offers more general advice about how to create your cover letters, but below you will find specific advice on how to maximize the effectiveness of each specific letter paragraph and section.

This cover letter example will give you a start on writing your own great engineering letter. 

Cover letter header

This is the section at the very top of your letter that contains your name, address, phone number and email. Its purpose is to give employers your contact info so they can get back to you. It also prevents your letter from becoming a “nameless” piece of paper lost in a pile.

Your name should generally be the first and largest element on the page, since the product you are selling is yourself. This displays your confidence and helps brand your name into your reader’s mind. 

Your header should have an eye-pleasing design that uses an appropriate amount of white space. Everything that follows will be solid blocks of black text, but the header gives you a chance to incorporate some creative design, possibly including a photo and some color.

Expert tip

Align document styles

Your resume and cover letter should use the same fonts, font sizes and formatting styles, giving them a matching look that makes it obvious they come from the same person. The header on both the resume and the cover letter, in fact, should usually be identical.

Matching document styles give you a “visual brand” and show your attention to detail and your understanding of the importance of aesthetics.

The aim of the cover letter header: Make it easy for hiring managers to contact you by keeping it simple. Save your flourishes for the body of your letter.

Cover letter greeting / salutation

“Dear Mr. (or Ms.) Xxxxxxxx” is the time-honored greeting (also known as a salutation ) in any business letter. Traditional style for business letters calls for ending the salutation with a colon rather than a comma, although this practice is not as widespread today as it used to be.

It’s almost always best to address your letter to an individual by name. People like to read their own names, and it shows your attention to detail if you’ve bothered to find out who is the appropriate person to write to. Also, it’s a personal touch that sets up the expectation of a personal reply. You’ll notice that our cover letter examples all use this format.

If you’re replying to a job listing that doesn’t name the hiring manager, it’s worth doing some research (or simply making a phone call) to find out who that person is. But if you get the sense that the hiring manager prefers to remain anonymous, don’t push it. It’s also acceptable to address your letter to an appropriate department or team within the company.

The aim of letter greeting / salutation: Starting the cover letter off on a formal footing is important for an engineer, so keep it professional.

Adaptable cover letter greeting example

Dear Mr. Kristianson,

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Cover letter introduction

Open your letter with a bang — a paragraph of two or three sentences that makes your reader sit up, take note and say, “This sounds promising.” 

Your introduction should both state your job objective and also offer a brief preview of the experience and qualifications that would make you a great hire. Use language that is bold and energetic, never bland or boring, in a tone that is confident yet not arrogant. 

The aim of the cover letter intro: Grab their attention with an enticing message that makes them want to read on.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Having contributed to the design and manufacture of 35+ devices that have been used by millions of patients over the past decade, Engineering News recently voted me one of the top five mechanical engineers in the medical devices field.

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Cover letter middle paragraphs

The central three or four paragraphs of your letter should flesh out your work experience and other qualifications, leaving little room for doubt that you are an outstanding candidate for the job. 

Here you should not just report where you’ve worked, but highlight your specific achievements. Use facts and figure wherever possible, and tell stories about how you faced and surmounted tough engineering challenges. 

Consider employing the STAR method — “Situation, Task, Action, Result” — to describe the problem you faced, your strategy for addressing it and the positive result you achieved.

You can also use the body of your letter to mention your education, certifications and special skills that qualify you for the job. More broadly, you can discuss the passions that drive you and the professional qualities that make you a great engineer.

Adaptable cover letter body example

Experience in bringing together clinically cutting-edge system architectures, materials and components stems from a deep passion for research and development. My design and verification process formed the blueprint for my consultancy work and I believe that I may be in a position to tweak certain aspects of your already stellar operation. I am a proficient user of Boldworks and enclose a portfolio of solutions that I have incorporated in my previous designs. There are a number of patents to my name and one particular solution for ingress protection in a Class III medical device won “innovation of the year” at the NaaTech awards.

I take a pride in the quality of my design review process with top-quality 3D renderings, models and animations bringing the reality and practicality of the design to life. An inflation system for an intragastric balloon became the market leader within 18 months and I have a deep knowledge of drug delivery systems and insulin pump solutions – particular specializations for which you are rightfully well-known. Having spent the past three years working on a consultancy basis (with 12 product designs driving over $15m in sales), I am looking forward to joining a company that prides themselves on broader employee development. When you work alongside talented colleagues, your designs take on a new dimension.

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The aim of the body of your cover letter: Share how you go about solving difficult problems or envision more efficient products and processes. This tells prospective employers how you will help them. 

How to end an engineering cover letter

The conclusion should be both a summary and a call to action. Provide a compelling final statement on your qualifications, and suggest that some action be taken as a result. 

You want to imprint the idea in your correspondent’s mind that they should act on your letter in some way — call you in for an interview, agree to talk on the phone or at the very least send you a written reply. The “call to action” is common to most cover letter examples for a reason.

Keep your tone confident, energetic and optimistic, bearing in mind that you are not “entitled” to a job but planting the thought that you would be a great asset for this company.

Close with a simple “ Sincerely ” or the equivalent, followed by your name. An actual signature is usually not expected unless you’re sending a printed copy of your letter.

The concluding sentence of resume.io's cover letter sample, clearly suggests a path forward and shows that the writer wants to contribute to the company.

Adaptable cover letter conclusion example

I am excited at the prospect of an interview to find out what projects you have in the pipeline and how I might play a part in your future success.

Yours sincerely,
Leslie Philoberto

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The aim of this part: Finish by telling your future employer why they should employ you and justify your request for an interview.

Engineering cover letter with no experience

All this advice is excellent (if we say so ourselves) for job-hunters with experience. But when cover letter examples are all geared for people already in the engineering world, what do you say that will wow those recruiters?

First, remember that engineers are in demand. Focus on your academic achievements, the projects you completed in school and your drive and desire to be a great engineer. 

The psychology behind an engineering cover letter

Psychologists say we process information with a mix of reason and emotion, with our hearts as well as our heads. 

You appeal to the rational side of the mind when you outline your relevant job experience and skills. But don’t overlook the value of emotional language that appeals to human feelings. For example, if you close by saying, “I am excited about this opportunity and would be delighted to meet with you in the near future,” it sends an emotional signal that you are a human being and not a cold fish.

Study the company you’re targeting and gain an understanding of its needs and challenges. Your goal is not to convince your correspondent that you deserve a job, but to make a persuasive case that you provide value that can make this company stronger. Your letter should be about how you can help solve the firm’s problems, not how it can help solve yours.

Put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re writing to and imagine how your letter will be received. Did you hit the right notes, include the necessary content, and set the right tone? If you were the hiring manager and you had dozens of cover letters on your desk, would this one stand out? Does your letter sound like it was written by someone the employer would want to work with?

Remember that every cover letter should be uniquely targeted to address the needs of a specific company. Always endeavor to mention what you have learned about this company and its needs, leaving no doubt that this is NOT a generic cover letter that you’re sending to a dozen other employers.

How to format your letter correctly

In your diligence to make your letter sound right, don’t underestimate the importance of how it looks. And above all, beware of sending it in a file format that your recipient can’t even open.

  • Use one-inch margins on both sides, top and bottom. Choose a modern, commonly used font that’s easy to read, and use a font size of 10 to 12 points. Align your paragraphs left (not justified margin to margin), and insert a space between them.
  • Keep your paragraphs a reasonable length to avoid big blocks of black text. Look at the text you’re reading right now — after every two to four sentences, there’s a return that allows you to take a breath, that gives your eyes a break. Imagine if this guide were written in one continuous paragraph of wall-to-wall text. You probably wouldn’t still be reading.
  • When you think you’re finished with your letter, take a look at the entire page without reading it. Is it pleasing to the eye? Does it include enough white space? Is it visually balanced, or is it too dense, too sparse or too top-heavy?
  • Your first draft of your letter will probably be too long. It’s actually easier to write a two-page letter than a one-page letter. It’s also tempting to cram a wordy letter onto one page by reducing font size or margins, or by turning two short paragraphs into one long one.
  • Resist these urges and focus on trimming the fat from your copy. Less is more.

Finally, you can get all of this right and still make the worst mistake possible by saving your file in a format that your recipient can’t even open. You may create the perfect cover letter in InDesign on your MacBook Pro, but on the recipient’s PC this may be an unrecognizable file type. Or it may open in an application that totally destroys all your formatting and turns the text into garble.

This is why we recommend sending both cover letters and resumes as PDFs, which preserve all your formatting so that your letter will look the same on any computer. (A few employers, however, prefer a Word file over a PDF, and you should obviously follow the employer’s preferences.)

You can sidestep all of these flaws by using a professionally designed cover letter template from resume.io. We’ve taken care of all these issues for you so that you can focus on the content and not worry about the format.

Basic mistakes in an engineering application letter (and how to avoid them)

Engineers, like everyone else, sometimes make mistakes. But as you prepare your cover letter, please don’t make these:

  1. Typos, misspellings and bad English are often cited by employers as the most common reason job applications are rejected. If the written word is not among your long suits, find an editor to proofread and revise your letter.
  2. Generic, non-customized letters that could have been written to anybody are another common mistake. A cover letter sample is only a starting point. Every cover letter you write should be uniquely targeted to a specific employer.
  3. Clichés, PR-speak and fluffy wording, as opposed to original and vigorous writing, make you look lazy and disingenuous. Challenge yourself to use language that your correspondent has never read before.
  4. Non-professional info that is irrelevant to your occupation suggests a lack of focus and an inflated sense of self-importance.
  5. Errors in formatting, fonts and design betray a lack of attention to detail that is the exact opposite of what employers are looking for in an engineer.
Engineering - Basic mistakes application letter
Engineering - Basic mistakes application letter

Key takeaways

To review some of the primary points discussed here:

  1. Engineering is a broad, in-demand and high-paying field that specializes in answering the question “How?” And engineers seeking a job must focus on the “how” of writing an irresistible resume and cover letter.
  2. A cover letter is a critical companion to a resume because it establishes a personal connection with a hiring manager, going beyond the just-the-facts summary of a resume.
  3. Engineers are no strangers to the importance of structure, and those seeking employment must adhere to the proper structure and contents of a cover letter.
  4. Looks matter, and cover letters must be properly designed and formatted.
  5. Mistakes to avoid include errors in English usage, lazy writing and irrelevant content.
Engineering - Engineering Key takeways
Engineering - Engineering Key takeways

Resume.io offers expertise in resume and cover letter design and content, and proven, occupation-specific templates and an easy-to-use builder tool to maximize your chances of a positive response.

Go out there and engineer the next step in your career!

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