Cover Letter Your Way to an Internship or First Job

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Do you dread writing a cover letter?  Consider it a golden opportunity to win the hearts and minds of recruiters and hiring managers.  You shouldn’t be applying to fifty jobs using fifty standard cover letters.  Instead narrow your focus on the best internship and job opportunities for you. Use this opportunity to really shine and show your capabilities. This is your chance to tell the employer exactly why you deserve the interview and position.

Customize Your Letter

Use the cover letter to explain WHY you are a perfect fit for the company and the opportunity. Identify how your qualities, skills and experience demonstrate a match for each element of the job description. Recruiters and hiring managers are being bombarded with job applicants so help them to see how you will bring value to their organization. Dia Johnson, Senior University Relations Specialist from Johnson & Johnson advises: “Make sure your cover letter is personalized to the job description. Make it easy for me to picture you in that position with your cover letter and resume.

Address to Individuals

“Address your cover letter specifically to the hiring manager, the HR representative or recruiter. Sending it with a name will increase your chances of being noticed. If you don’t have the name, research it with your contacts, your college or through social media. You can find it!”  advises Tony Denhart, Region Manager of University Relations at GE.

Clarity and Brevity

Clearly state the purpose of the letter and why you are writing. Try to imagine that your letter is the only document the recruiter or hiring manager will see. “Make your cover letter clear and concise. Be sure to specifically reference the job you are applying for.”  advises Tony Denhart of GE.  You want the employer to read the cover letter and become very interested to see your resume and to meet you!

Follow up and Contact info is critical

Be sure to say thank you and follow up exactly as you state in your cover letter. Keep a log so you remember every application and critical dates. It’s fine to check in to make sure the application has been received and then periodically after that. Also, clearly list all of your contact information so the employer can easily reach you.

Get help

Work with your college Career Services department to help you craft a great cover letter. Some schools will have workshops on cover letter writing, so always try to take advantage of those opportunities.

Your cover letter is a great reflection of you and the personal brand you are trying to convey. What other tips can you share about writing a cover letter.

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