Cover Letter Tips
Your cover letter is your best, and sometimes only, chance to make a good impression on an organization you’d like to intern with. Therefore, you need to take some time and put your best effort into preparing it. Here are some tips that will help you prepare an effective cover letter.
- Use a professional letter format. There are many samples on the internet. Your university career center can also provide guidance on this.
- Use a professional tone. Your cover letter should not be casual, like an email you would send to a friend.
- Don’t use slang. It doesn’t sound professional. Moreover, the reader of your letter may have learned English as a second language and not know what you mean. Also, uniquely American expressions and acronyms should be avoided.
- Spell-check AND proofread! Spelling errors will raise questions about your professionalism and writing skills.
- View your cover letter after uploading it to the IE3 site. If the formatting didn’t transfer well, save the letter as a PDF and try again.
- The most standard components of a cover letter are:
- Address Information: You will first include your address (also called the “inside address”) and then below your address, include the address of the person to whom you are writing.
- First Paragraph: The first paragraph of your letter should include information on who you are and why you are interested in this internship placement in particular. What excites you about it? How would you be a great fit for this organization? In short, why should they choose you?
- Middle Paragraph(s): The next section of your cover letter should describe in more detail what skills and experience you can offer the site. Mention specifically how your qualifications match the job you are applying for. Remember, you are interpreting and elaborating on your resume, not repeating it line by line.
- Final Paragraph: Conclude your cover letter by thanking the potential internship site for considering you. Include your hopes for what will happen next in the process.
- Signature Line: Be sure to include an appropriate closing (Sincerely, etc.) and signature. If you are submitting your cover letter as a pdf or word document, you could insert a digital image of your signature. At least type your name in place of the signature.
- Try to be as specific as possible, instead of relying on broad generalizations. Which skills will you utilize? What kind of experience do you want that will be provided by the internship site?
- Use your cover letter to highlight your most relevant experiences, or those of which you are most proud.
- Point out your best characteristics, but don’t say anything that is untrue or which could sound like you’re inflating yourself too much.
- Project confidence in your skills without bragging.