The 6 Keys to Writing the Perfect Job/Internship Cover Letter

By Jordyn Austin on January 29, 2017
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When applying for jobs and internships, a strong cover letter is a key component of the application process. Even if your particular job interest does not require submission of a cover letter, it is important that you know how to write one. A well-written cover letter could ultimately be the deciding factor of whether or not you get the desired position.

With that being said, here are the keys to writing the perfect job/internship cover letter.

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1. Remember the purpose

First of all, the purpose of writing a cover letter is to essentially show your interest in a company and how you will contribute to it. It should be used to introduce yourself and to highlight your important attributes.

In her article called “How to Write a Cover Letter,” Amy Gallo of the Harvard Business Review tells us that a cover letter is needed today, even though people might be saying that they aren’t. She goes on to talk about how some experts say that sending a cover letter is important and shows proactivity.

2. Research the company

It is important to do some research about the company before writing your letter. It might be helpful to know a little history about the company. Make sure each letter is specific to that company. Nothing screams laziness more than a generic cover letter that you send to everyone. Specificity shows that you are actually interested in the company and not just interested in the position.

Look up the company and their mission, if they have one. Try to use their mission as an explanation for why you are interested in their company. You should try to be authentic in your letter, but cut out the cliché, mundane statements like, “I’m good with people.”

The mission statement essentially embodies what the company stands for and what they hope to accomplish. Including something about the mission in your letter will show that you have gone the extra mile to make your cover letter distinguishable.

3. Highlight your fit

The next important key to writing the perfect cover letter is to be sure to highlight what you personally will bring to the company. Relevant characteristics and qualities always overshadow generic ones. This is where the company’s mission statement can come in handy as well. Talk about strengths that reflect well.

If a company’s mission is to provide for and love all people in need, you may not want to talk about how you prefer not to work with people. This is your chance to show why you are a good fit for the job or internship. Be sure to really feature the skills, coursework, and experiences that are relevant to the position you are applying for. This is also the opportunity to show what makes you different from everyone else.

4. Pay attention to format

When writing a cover letter, you also want to make sure everything is formatted correctly and is in the right place. It is wise to use online resources and examples to help you format your cover letter correctly. Sites like Purdue Owl give step by step outlines on formatting and what should be included.

Take advantage of the examples and tips from experts and other successful people who have done this before. A simple Google search will display various sites with many examples. Some sites even explain what hiring managers are looking for in a cover letter. Sources like these will be helpful when you are proofreading your letter.

5. Stay relevant

Please take note that cover letters are not supposed to be lengthy. When you ramble on, this could cause the reader to lose interest. The letter should be enthusiastic, show interest and display your uniqueness. You must be able to include all of this in a short document. Cut out all of the extra irrelevant information. Try to include as many important qualities that distinguish you as an employee; however, they should not be random.

If you are applying for an office position, “juggling” may not be the best skill to mention in your cover letter; however, specific Microsoft Office skills are probably worth mentioning. Cover letters are not supposed to be a duplicate of your resume either. Odds are the employer has a copy of your resume already, since cover letters and resumes are usually submitted together.

The cover letter’s job is to introduce you and your interest in the company, whereas a resume should just bullet the facts. Use the cover letter as an opportunity to go into greater detail about a bullet point that you’d like the employer to have more information about. Just remember not to ramble or be too repetitive.

6. Proofread

Lastly, be sure to proofread your cover letter over and over again. Reading it aloud is a good idea too, because you may catch errors that you didn’t before. You could also have a peer read it and give you feedback. The point is for the letter to be error free because errors show a lack of trying. These helpful keys should help you write a stellar cover letter. Good luck!

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Senior at Kent State University, planning to go to graduate school for Journalism. Aspiring traveling journalist. I'm super excited to be a writer for Uloop News to continue to build my writing portfolio! I hope to encourage college students around the world!

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