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Writing a Cover Letter for an Internship

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. Hey there I'm Jenna Rein from

theinternhustle.com and this is Initiative Muscle Monday -- helping you to

start each week with an intentional step toward a successful future. Let's do this!

So, you're applying for an internship. The first thing to understand is that

every company handles their 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 these videos that I've done on my channel

after this one. And I also recommend downloading my

Resume Readiness Checklist so that you can make sure you're submitting a

winning resume. I will include the link for that checklist in the description

below this video, so make sure that you grab that as well. OK, but back to the

cover letter... 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 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 Marketing Internship ...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 as 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. It is 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. And then I want you to close this final paragraph by letting

them know that you look forward to hearing from them (it's kind of a call to

action), and that they should reach out to you should they require any additional

information from you in this process. Don't forget, once you close out all four

of those paragraphs, to sign off professionally. Sincerely, and your name,

always does the trick. And then I want you to read over your cover letter. You

need to read it over for spelling, grammar and appropriate tone. I want you

to do this a couple times, and if you have someone else that can proofread for

you as well then do it. Just like your resume, a spelling error on a cover

letter can get it thrown out of the process altogether, because people just

don't even waste their time if you have spelling errors on something. So really

important here that you are proofreading your cover letter. Once you've done all of

that, then save it as a PDF and title that PDF document using

your first and last name_cover letter_the date.

Now in most cases PDF is going to be the format of choice. It keeps your cover letter from losing

format when you have to upload it into an online system or when you're sending it

over email, because sometimes the version that someone has of Word might open it

differently than how you had it formatted. So unless they're specifically

requesting you send your document in a different format (like in a Word format),

then I really highly recommend you send it in PDF. However, if they are asking for

it in a different format, then make sure you're following their instructions. And

one other thing that I forgot to mention at the beginning of this video, is to create a

header at the top of your cover letter that matches the header on the top of

your resume. You want this to look like a cohesive document with your resume, so

things like your name, a contact phone number, an email address, and I always

recommend putting your LinkedIn profile URL on your header as well. If you're

going to include this though, you want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is

complete and up-to-date. So definitely make sure that you go clean that up. But

if you do have a good LinkedIn profile pulled together then definitely put it

on your cover letter and resume. Okay, as promised because you stuck around till

the end of this video, I'm going to share some examples for opening lines, opening

sentences, that you can use in your introductory paragraph to really make it

stand out. And the goal here is that you're not starting your cover letter by

introducing yourself like "My name is Jenna, I'm a student at Ohio State and

I'm interested in being an intern at your company this summer." blah blah blah

You want to catch their attention right off the bat. So one approach that you can

take to show them that you've done your research on them and that you're paying

attention to what their company is up to... again this is just a made-up example but

to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, you could say something like: 'I

recently read an article about your company in Forbes and I'm inspired by

the innovative work that you are doing to engage your customer base as retail

moves to primarily e-commerce." This shows that you've specifically been

following them as a company and you're referencing something that you're

impressed by. You are showing them that you are paying more attention than the

average person. Now, you can do research on companies online these days and

pretty easily find topics to lead with, but maybe they're a small business and

there aren't enough articles out there, or they don't have blog posts that you can

reference. Then here's another approach you could take to an opening sentence:

You want to pick out keywords in the job description for this internship and

speak to how you're just what they're looking for using those exact same

keywords. So for example, maybe you're somebody that has video editing

experience (you don't have to be a pro, but you have experience). Now say that

you're applying for an internship in content creation or digital media, and this job

description mentions that video editing experience is part of what the company

is looking for an intern to do in this role. You want to use that to hook them

early on in your cover letter by leading off with something like: "In the past two

years, teaching myself video editing and testing out the latest techniques has

been one of the most rewarding ways that I've developed creatively." This

shows them that you do have that experience and that they're going to want

to keep reading to learn more about you. Another approach I like to take when

doing a cover letter is making a connection upfront.

You've probably heard it's not about what you know but it's about who you

know. And who you know is a pretty powerful thing. So if you know someone

from within the company, and they've given you the okay to use them as a

reference, then work with that! Don't forget to check LinkedIn for potential

connections that you may have to this company as well. If you do have a

connection, you can kick off your cover letter by saying: "I recently met John

Smith at my school's career fair, and I was really excited to learn more about

the internship positions within your company. He recommended I apply for the

sales operations internship that you have an opening for this summer." This

shows them that you have talked to somebody within their company. You have a

connection, and they're probably going to be more interested to read on from there.

Finally, if you're striking out with these examples: referencing an article on

the company, tying in to keywords in the job description, or making a connection

with someone. If you're striking out on those (which happens), then it's never

a bad idea to open with expressing genuine excitement. This is always a good

strategy. Remember, a resume is the boring, formal document and the cover letter is

your opportunity to express interest. So something like: "I was very excited to

come across your marketing internship, as I've always been a big fan of the

creative way that your company reaches customers, and I would love the

opportunity to learn from and support your team." You are showing genuine

interest and excitement in the position. Okay, final words of advice with the cover

letter... just like your resume, keep it to one page. Nobody wants to read more than

that. Hopefully this video was helpful for you

today and you are well on your way to writing a compelling cover letter.

Remember, don't waste your opportunity to talk yourself up and draw a connection

to the company... ALWAYS write a cover letter. If you have any additional

questions about cover letters go ahead and leave them in the comments below, and

I'll do my best to answer or address them in a future video. As always, if this

video gave you some new insights today, please give it a like and share it with

a friend or two. Hit that red subscribe button below so that you don't miss out

on future videos. In support of your hustle, I'll see you next Monday.