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Cover Letters: Dos and Don’ts

What to do, and what to avoid


  • Do check the name of your target journal.
  • Do address the cover letter to the relevant person. It is not enough to simply say “Dear Editor” or “To whom it may concern.” Include the name, title and position of the editor you are addressing.
  • Do avoid superlatives – about the journal, yourself and your own work.
  • Do check the formatting.
  • Do get a colleague to read your cover letter before you send it.


  • Don’t take shortcuts. Your cover letter is very important for getting your manuscript to peer review; it should be treated with due respect.
  • Don’t cut and paste your abstract, or sections of it, into the cover letter.
  • Don’t over-praise the editor or target journal – it is not necessary to use such phrases as “your esteemed journal.” A manuscript will be sent for peer review based on the quality of the cover letter and study, not because you are polite about the target journal.
  • Don’t forget to use your word processor’s spell check function.