Ugh! Cover letters… am I right? No one likes to write them – myself included. If you are here because you need to write a cover letter and you are looking for some advice or some next steps, then hit that like button below because I’m about to tell you what you need to know in this video.So, you’re applying for an internship.The first thing to understand is that every company handles its hiring process differently. Some value a cover letter a lot more than others, and some may not even request one. But no matter if they request one or not, you should always submit your resume (and any other application materials that they have listed in their job description) PLUS a cover letter. Think of it this way — a resume is a very boring, formal, and factual document about your education and work history. Important, yes, but not super interesting for someone to read. If you do need tips for polishing your resume as well, you can check out other articles that I’ve published on my website after this one.
Unlike the resume, this is your chance to stand out and tell the company more about yourself. More about your strengths and your past accomplishments that may be relevant to the role that you’re applying for. Overall, when you’re writing your cover letter, I want you to think about not writing like a generic robot.Remember you want to stand out and showcase your excitement for this opportunity. Even if you’re just doing an internship because you need to do an internship, try to act like you’re excited. Okay? Now, pull out a notebook and a pen and get ready to take some notes on how to structure your cover letter for success, because there are going to be some points that I’m sharing that you’re going to want to write down and be able to reference back as you are actually sitting down to write your cover letter. Okay, so we’re just going to start off with how to format the cover letter.
And you’ve likely been taught how to write a formal business letter in the past, right? So it’s very similar to that. The only difference here is that I don’t think it’s necessary to include the company’s address on the top left. It’s kind of outdated, you’re also sending this over email most likely, or uploading it to a website, so including the company address… not necessary – They know where they work. You are going to start though with the date. So list the date in the top left corner, hit enter a couple of times and the next line should be the subject of what you’re writing about. So if you are applying for… let’s say just for example…marketing internship at Amazon. I would say RE: Amazon Summer MarketingInternship …Whatever it may be. Again, this is just calling attention to what you’re applying for, and then the next couple lines down you’re gonna write Dear and the person you’re addressing, or maybe the team that you’re addressing. If you do have a name definitely address that person, but if you don’t the next best thing is just to say Dear Amazon Team or in this case (again we’re using Amazon as an example), but Dear Amazon Marketing Team That is how I would address the letter.It’s just better than To Whom It May Concern which is pretty formal and again kind of outdated.
Make it addressed to the actual team that you are applying for.And from there you’re gonna hit enter two more times and we’re going to kick off that first paragraph, the introductory paragraph to your cover letter. I know that was kind of a lot, and it’s hard to explain how to space stuff out just by talking to you, so I’m also pasting it up here just so you have an example of what I’m talking about. Now the opening line of your introductory paragraph is key. Itis the deciding factor if someone’s going to continue to read your cover letter or if they’re just gonna say “thank you, next” and throw it in the trash.Because this opening line is so important, I’m actually going to share some examples with you on different ways that you can approach the opening line at the end of this video. But first, we’re going to break down the cover letter by paragraph so that you just know how to structure your outline.
The first paragraph (the introduction) – an opening statement that grabs their attention is what you should lead with. Remember, examples at the end of this video.Then, after that opening statement, you want to state who you are, where you go to school, and what you’re majoring in. Specifically what you’re majoring in if it’s relevant to the type of role that you’re applying for. And then wrap up that first paragraph referencing the position that you’re applying for. So be specific. If they have multiple internships that they list on their website and you’re just targeting one in particular, then you want to make sure that you’re being specific in the cover letter on which internship you’re applying for. Make it easy for them to follow along. Moving on to the second paragraph you want to use keywords. This is where you want to connect your experience to keywords that they have in the job description for this internship. Now you may be thinking “I’m in college and I don’t have experience yet.” You do! Think about using your experience from part-time jobs or school clubs, sports teams, volunteer work.
Pay attention to keywords that the company uses to list desired skills or requirements for the internship and then use the same keywords in your cover letter that will help link you to this role and make you look like a good fit for this role based on the experiences that you’ve had in your past. You also want to use this paragraph to demonstrate that you’ve done your research on the company. You can do this by referencing relevant articles or blog posts, social media, the idea here is that you want to use research about the company to show that you’ve paid attention and then also try to match their tone in your cover letter. Again, let’s recap… first paragraph: opening statement, who you are, where you go to school, what position you’re applying for. second paragraph: using keywords and showing them that you’ve done your research on them. And then in the third paragraph: You’re going to highlight your strengths and any relevant accomplishments through a quick story. Because people remember stories (even one to two-sentence stories).
So for example, instead of just stating that you have a strong work ethic (which anyone can say about themselves) you want to give them a specific example about how you went above and beyond for someone or something in the past showing that you had that strong work ethic to go above and beyond. Again, maybe it was a part-time job or some volunteer experience that you were a part of. You want to do your best to tie back to the company and how you will be an asset for them. And then finally, in the fourth paragraph, which is your closing paragraph: you want to use this to restate your excitement about the internship position and how you hope to contribute to the company’s mission. Now, this is a pro tip — most companies list their mission statement or their company values on their website. And if you take the time to specifically tie their mission or values into your cover letter somehow, that can go a long way. Because it shows that you’re paying attention and that you care. So I want you to think about that when you’re stating how excited you are about this position because you also want to show that it’s the company you care about as well. It’s not just that you want to get an internship, but you really want to work for THIS company.
Continued in the next article!