How to Write a Cover Letter

The unexpectedly warm weather this week is as good a reminder as any that summer is going to be here before we know it.  Even though it is still early, it’s a good idea to start getting job and internship applications ready now, before the semester really kicks off and workloads get too insane.

Cover letters are notorious for being overly formulaic, and the upside of this is that you can have a basic draft on file that you only need to adapt slightly to fit different applications (especially if you’re applying for positions in the same general field). Having a strong letter ready once you start sending in applications will make the whole process seem a lot less intimidating.

Since your cover letter is the first thing that a potential employer will see, it’s important to make a good impression.  While some creativity can make you stand out, it’s also important to make sure that your overall tone is formal and that everything is extremely well-edited.  At my internships, I’ve actually overheard the people in charge of hiring make fun of inappropriate cover letters.  Once these letters made their way around the office, they were discarded, despite what the applicants’ qualifications may have been.

The CRC has some great resources for getting started on your cover letter, along with lists of information that you want to be sure to include and samples of student letters that you can download.

Remember, you can always stop by the writing workshop to have someone proofread your letter before you send it out!

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