Many job or internship applications only request a resume. However, a well-written cover letter introduces your resume and directs your reader’s attention to specific areas of your background.
Goals of a Cover Letter
When writing a cover letter, there are a few key things you want to accomplish.
First things first.
- Begin your narrative. Briefly share your major, degree anticipated and how you found the opportunity.
- Express interest. Demonstrate enthusiasm in the position and organization.
- Demonstrate experience. Use specific examples. Match your experience with the position requirements whenever possible.
- Convince the employer. Show that you possess the skills and abilities they are looking for and that they should call you in for an interview.
Keep these points in mind.
- Target each job. Your letter should be aligned to each organization or position sought. Remember to personalize the letter for each position and each organization so that reasons of your interest are not too general.
- Address your letter. Target an individual whenever possible. If a name is not available, use “Hiring Manager” or “Internship Coordinator”.
- Mention referrals. If someone has referred you to the position or organization (e.g. an alumni contact, family friend or parent), mention it at the beginning.
- Send your letter. Email attachments are the norm. It may also be uploaded as part of an online application, along with supporting materials. In rare cases, a printed version may need to be sent.