Getting your dream internship means passing more levels than Super Mario. You find the internship, throw your hat in the ring with an application and then hopefully land an interview. But one of the most crucial and often overlooked aspects of landing the job is writing the cover letter. You can try to depend on some random Google searches, but most of those How-To’s are geared toward seasoned professionals. Here at CM, we’ve got your back with tips specially for college students with high school resumes, little experience and (probs) no rich uncles with connections.
When writing a cover letter, don’t just launch into cliché reasons why you think this internship would be “a great stepping stone” or “a great fit for your career goals.” Begin by introducing yourself and stating exactly what position you want to apply for. Set a semi-personal tone to show your future employer you want them to know a person, not just a resume. Throw in where you’re from and how you heard about the position. If you heard about the internship from a professor, mention her name for an instant connection.
Show Your Strengths
After your fabulous intro, explain why the internship is a perfect match for you and your strengths. Check out the company’s website and mission to incorporate some of that language into your cover letter. Let them know what you’ve experienced will provide valuable and transferable skills to the internship. If you’re an underclassmen, bring up the environmental volunteering you did in high school. If you’re applying for a social media chair position, mention how you were head of social relations for your high school marching band. Liberty Mutual Insurance corporate recruiter Kristin Keough emphasized the importance of bringing up your extracurriculars and skills. “I think it’s really important to see the technical abilities, work experience and extracurricular activities—whether that be sports, clubs and associations. Highlight two to three achievements that relate to the position and field,” said Keough. Hey, use all that you got.
Brag About How Cool You Are
After explaining past clubs and flawless critical thinking skills, show off your sparkling personality. Companies want leaders, so mention you love working with others and aren’t afraid to take charge. Give examples of you running the show. For example, “I worked with councilwomen Leslie Knope and organized a successful retreat for the Pawnee Godesses.” Call upon your previous experience and make it work for you. Just make sure you can back up what you choose to include. Lauren Mirel, a BC campus recruiter for Vistaprint, said, “Anything you put on your resume is fair game for an employer to ask you about. Just make sure you’re able to talk about each experience that’s on your resume.” By including valid experience in your cover letter, you’ll be able to drop the mic after the interview. Who run the world? INTERNS.
As a college student, writing a cover letter can be challenging since you may not have a lot of experience to brag about. But by connecting the dots between you and the employer by showcasing your awesome personality, you’ll land that internship without the rich uncle, giving all credit to yourself—and CM of course.