Toeing the ‘fine line’ in letters

I have suddenly realized that it’s internship application season again, so I’m recycling this post from last year about how to write a good cover letter. Make sure you look at the sample cover letter at the hyperlink.

It’s hard to write a great cover letter. But you have to try. Sweat over it, if you have to.

Let me make sure that this point is clear: You don’t want to sound like everyone else in your cover letter. It’s important to let your voice shine through — especially if you’re applying for a writing job.

And remember that your letter + resume + clips are sitting in a pile with a lot of others.

But don’t go too crazy. Take a few risks, then let a friend or professor or whoever have a look at the letter. Think about the employer: How traditional is the company? Or is this an edgy new media company? It should make a big difference in your approach.

Here’s that sample letter I wrote to show you what goes where. It’s not a “risk-taking” letter, but it at least offers you a form to follow. The rest is up to you.

Finally, don’t forget to proofread your letter several times, and then have a friend who is a killer editor proofread it again. As a person who used to hire a lot, I can tell you that nothing will get you dismissed more quickly from consideration than getting someone’s name or title wrong. Or getting the name of the publication wrong. Or faking knowledge of the publication or market.

Be real, but be professional. And do some homework.

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One Response to Toeing the ‘fine line’ in letters

  1. karenemiller says:

    This comes at the perfect time since we all clearly have internship fever.

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