Graduate Student Cover Letter Structure
Your Present Address
City, STATE Zip Code
Contact’s Position Title
City, STATE Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Contact’s Name: (OR “Dear Hiring Manager”),
1st Paragraph (Introduction)
• Briefly describe who you are (e.g., “completing PhD in Social Psychology at Duke University”)
• Express enthusiasm and interest in the position
• If you were referred by a specific person in the company, you can mention it here
• Outline the rest of the document (connecting your most relevant skills/experiences, based on the job
description and your previous research, to the actual position/organization) – set up the structure that
you will follow (e.g., focusing on communication skills, then analytical skills, then real-world experience;
OR focusing on problem solving abilities, interpersonal skills, and then technical skills, etc.)
2nd – 4th Paragraphs (Body – Elaborating on specific experiences, skills, & fit – Order of these
paragraphs depends on importance and how you’ve outlined it previously)
• Tell a story about or describe your experience that references several of the necessary qualifications for
which the employer is asking (e.g., communication skills, technical expertise, analytical skills, etc.)
• Tell another story showcasing a different aspect of yourself that is relevant to the position – You can
think of the structure of the Cover Letter and Resume as similar (start with the most
• Explicitly state aspects of the role, team, and organization that you are applying to and emphasize
• Provide evidence that you have the skills/experience/talent necessary and that you will utilize these in
the most relevant and productive way for that particular organization
Final Paragraph (Next Steps)
• Thank them and reaffirm your enthusiasm about the role, team, and organization
• Restate your confidence in the fit between your background and role/expectations
• Detail your next action (e.g., “will follow-up with a call,” look forward to interviewing with you,” etc.)
Your Typed Name
Duke Career Center • studentaffairs.duke.edu/career • 919-660-1050 •
Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708
Principal Data Analyst Big Bank LTD.
• Perform quantitative and qualitative analysis of econometric data, relating constants and variables,
restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters to provide useful
• Define data requirements and gather and validate information, applying judgment and statistical tests;
communicate feedback to internal clients around strength/relevance of criteria/requests for creating
business relevant information.
• Translate data into useful information via strong analytic, synthesis, and communication skills
• Develop complex data structures to support the generation of business insights and strategy.
• Maintain data infrastructure and develop scripts to automate recurring processes.
• Analyze data analysis requests obtained from management to conceptualize and define operational
problems and define data modeling requirements, validation of content, and problem solving
• Use intuition and real time market intelligence to contextualize data/information and communicate your
conclusions to inform product and marketing discussions.
• Ability to tell compelling stories using data/information in order to persuade/influence an audience.
• Identify opportunities to use data analysis to develop new strategies and improve business
performance and utilize knowledge of mathematical modeling and other optimization methods to
perform quantitative and qualitative data analysis.
• Strong grasp of statistical approaches to data analysis; familiarity with analytic stats packages such as
Stata, minitab, or vista is a plus.
• Utilize programming and analytical tools including SAS, SQL, Teradata or similar relational database tool,
and Unix to formulate mathematical or simulation models.
• Communicate and present data to management by developing easily digestible text/reports.
• Create communications suitable for public distribution to thought leaders, industry leaders,
academics, clients, and mass media as needed.
• Serve as ambassador/speaker for the function when interfacing with colleagues from across the
organization; explains the value add of data analysis in simple language, to the effect of growing our
portfolio of internal clients
The position requires a Master’s degree or foreign equivalent in Economics, Finance, Engineering,
Mathematics, Science, Information Technology or a related quantitative analytical field, or equivalent
experience. Must have the following skill set, through formal education or work experience: quantitative and
qualitative data analysis; data modeling; developing reports; Teradata or similar relational database tool;
SQL; SAS; Unix programming. Must have worked with significant data sets, and be comfortable manipulating
such data sets to identify trends and extract useful information. Must be a gifted communicator, with a broad
awareness of domestic cultural trends and interest in global markets.
Duke Career Center • studentaffairs.duke.edu/career • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor •
114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708