HC Chatham Grad School Reporter Laura Jackson is back with her latest installment of her "How to Get An Internship" series!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, grad student or new professional—an internship is essential for academic and career success. Despite your freelance work, stunning portfolio and impressive bachelor’s degree, potential employers will continue to ask, “What type of experience do you have?” Completing an internship, especially during your undergraduate or graduate career, is a great way to build experience.
This month, we will discuss how to write a cover letter!
If you missed the last article, here is the link. Okay, Her Campus ladies, let’s start!
Step 1: Grab the employer’s attention. How can you do this? Start by stating the reader’s name. Make sure you are sending your cover letter and resume to the correct staff member (whether it be a human resource executive or your potential boss.)
Step 2: Solicited or Unsolicited? In other words:
if your employment position has been announced, you are soliciting (“pitching/selling” the idea of your employment) for the job.
If you don’t know if a position is available and you are inquiring about a job, that is an unsolicited job.
In a solicited cover letter, you begin the letter by:
1) referring to the name of an employee at the company,
2) referring to a reference that recommended this job to you and
3) referring to the job title and explaining your qualifications.
In an unsolicited cover letter, you open by either:
1) exhibiting an interest & knowledge of the employer’s business or
2) explaining how your qualifying skills and experiences will benefit the company.
Step 3: Play up your strengths in the body paragraph.
In the body paragraph, you must promote yourself! Describe how your experiences & skills have prepared you for this position. In other words: what can you do for the company? If you’re discussing relevant classes, highlight what new skills and experiences you gained from these classes. Choose your strongest professional traits and clarify how they relate to the job. Don’t be afraid to discuss personal traits in your cover letter! Employers love to hire employees that are group-oriented, responsible, take initiative and learn easily. Be prepared to explain how you identify with each trait. Also, in either this section or the next, refer the employer to your resume. Now it’s time for the closing paragraph.
Step 4: Closing paragraph: ask confidently for an interview!
You heard me. When asking for an interview, make sure to be sincere. Review your strongest points with your reader. Remind the reader of how you can assist the company. Your cover letter should be no longer
than one page. Now, it’s time to send your cover letter (along with your resume) to the employer.
Step 5: Send your cover letter. ALWAYS include a cover letter with your resume. Make sure to both e-mail and snail mail your cover letter and resume. Although e-mail allows employers to read cover letters at their leisure, it’s just as easy for employers to delete your e-mail. Both e-mailing and mailing your cover letter and resume exhibits your determination. Plus, the employer will have to open up the snail mail letter and therefore will have to pay attention to you.
Once you have completed these steps, you will be ready for Part 4 (and next month’s installment): drafting and sending your resume! Best of luck with Maymester, summer break and your internship search!