6 answers

How do I write a good cover letter?

Asked San Jose, California

I am applying to a bunch of internships for summer 2018 in the Advertising, Marketing, or Communications fields. If you have any advice that will help me land an internship in one of those fields please let me know! #cover-letters #resume #marketing-and-advertising #communications #business

6 answers

Chris’s Answer

Updated Kansas City, Missouri
Prove you are resourceful, dig into all the info you can find on the company, their creative work, culture and people. Write a cover letter that clearly expresses your interest in a specific role, and shows you have invested considerable energy into determining why you want to be able to experience what it is like to work there - with hopes you can some day. Then triple check your letter for clarity and errors/typos. And send away!
Updated
Hi Chris, Thanks for the answer it was super helpful! Also, I see that you work for an ad agency. I would to pick your brain a bit more. I am interested in account management or media planning. Do you have any ideas how I could specifically enter those fields of Advertising?
Updated
Hi Ben, Those are two very different roles, so find a few agencies who will let you shadow some of their junior staff members in both departments so you can see first hand. At BR, we have ‘ShadowShips’ for this very reason. Check out at least a few agencies, as the culture and vibe will be quite different. Best, Chris

Sophia’s Answer

Updated New York, New York
Every cover letter needs to be specific to the job application. Read it twice. Find 4 things they want you to do. Your letter has to state how you've done those things or why you are qualified to do them. You only need one resume for everything but a cover letter is unique every time.
Updated
Thanks for the answer! It was super helpful!

Alexis’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

First, I am SO glad that you asked how to write a good cover letter. As a hiring manager, I've seen countless applications that didn't include one. Considering the posting is for a communications job, I want to ensure that the person knows how to write well -- think of it as the pre-interview before the interview! I've also seen letters that were clearly a template -- cut and pasted from other roles, so they hadn't nothing to do with the role I was looking to fill. Most importantly: read the specific job requirements, and respond to them in the letter...don't copy the requirements verbatim, but have your examples speak directly to what they're seeking. Have an engaging opening, if possible. Have your voice come through, if you know what that is yet (very hard to figure out!)...without going overboard, since you don't yet know what the corporate culture is. Also, if you know any (publicly available) information about the hiring manager or role (e.g., award from an industry association you know, shared school), feel free to include it if it comes across professionally. And finally, proofread your letter -- and then have two trusted people (e.g., one family member, one friend) proofread it, as everyone might catch a different kind of typo. Don't forget to tell them what role you're applying to (and at which company), in case you have those details incorrect in the text. Good luck!

Alexis recommends the following next steps:

  • Ask people who've recently applied to or found a job if they'd be willing to share their cover letters with you to use as examples or inspiration.
  • Google cover letters to see which examples resonate most with you.

Linda Ann’s Answer

Updated
Both a cover letter AND a resume need to be tailored to the specifics of the requirements for the position, whether that position is one for full-time employment or for an internship. The resume needs to hi-light your work accomplishments and skill sets (part time work and volunteer positions, e.g., Student Government Vice-President, or Fraternity President are both appropriate for a resume from a student). Now, the cover letter should address how your skill set aligns with the requirements of the internship. In other words, it needs to answer the question: "How can you best serve this company (or non-profit or government entity) during the internship. As another respondent noted, you might need to do some digging at the company's website to find out more about what the company is looking for in an internship "hire." The more you can customize both your resume and your cover letter to the position, the more likely it is that you will stand out to the person screening resumes. GOOD LUCK!

Alex’s Answer

Updated
All good advice above. I'd add this: Don't be boring! Readers of cover letters read a LOT of cover letters, so anything that stands out from the crowd is going to help you. If you can add one or two things that'll make the reader smile, or even laugh, that's a huge plus. I find that when I'm reading a cover letter, I respond very favorably to those that tell me a little bit about the applicant's character, and if they're bold enough to color outside the lines a bit on a cover letter, that suggests to me that they might also be an employee willing to go the extra mile. Not all would agree with this but to me, the cover letter is much more important than a resume -- particularly for someone like you who doesn't have a ton of work experience. A well-crafted cover letter can help you get your foot in the door, even ahead of those who might have better qualifications on their resume.

Samantha’s Answer

Updated Austin, Texas
Hi Ben, tell your story! A cover letter is designed to act as a differentiator to get a recruiter to read your resume. With the spotlight on company culture and employee fit, an important hiring criteria these days is WHO you are not just what you can do for the company. Let your personality shine through and tell your story. Be sure not to chase rabbits and forget to emphasize your strengths and skills though. It's the quirky pieces of you that will stick in the recruiters mind - they won't forget you!