wRITE A COVER LETTER

A cover letter needs to show two things: First, that you’re a fit for the mission of the organization or company, and second, that you have the relevant skills, experience and temperament for the job. Pull up the job description and print it if you can: A helpful exercise for outlining your application is going line by line and making notes on how your experience aligns or speaks to something in the description. Be creative: what did you do on a day-to-day basis during your summer internship? Were you just “doing admin work,” or were you coordinating calendars, creating decks and proofreading grant applications? What about a particular class about global philanthropy or health crises, or a volunteer experience in which you engaged with your community? Your 8th grade English teacher couldn’t be more relevant right now: Show, don’t tell, with each skill you hone in on.

Structuring your letter: Start with a basic introduction and speak to why you’re applying broadly, then go deeper into relevant experience, and end with skills you’d bring and why they should get back to you. Remember every company wants to learn why you want to work for them in particular— you’ll have to spend some time researching the team and work to convey this.  


Dear Ministry of Magic team,

I’m writing to introduce myself and apply for the Associate Auror position. I’m X, a senior at Y. (Add another sentence about your major).

3-4 sentences here: Show why the mission of the Ministry speaks to you, and why you want to be at this particular company. This is less about the role itself and all about the team and culture.

Dive into the specifics: In reference to the responsibilities assigned to the Associate position, I believe I bring the right experience and drive:

  • Here you can bullet point the main skill groups (Like: Project Management, Community support, Communications, and add 2-4 sentences per category) or organize this by relevant experience instead (at this job I did A, this position I did B, and this volunteer role I learned C).

Conclusion should tie this all together and remind the team why you’re a fit for the company and are excited for the chance to join their team.

Sincerely,

You!


*It’s worth remembering: The cover letter should be no more than 1 page. Say what you want to say in as few words as you can— revise until you have a succinct and crisp product that you can feel proud of.

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Continue to “Upgrading Your Resume”

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