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How To Write a Great Cover Letter

March 20th, 2013


It’s that time of year where companies small and large receive applications, cover letters and resumes from junior and senior college students all over the country. This letter above from a finance student applying for a summer internship has been making headlines. It’s different because it is humble. The student is telling the truth and not selling himself as something he is not. It’s amazing how sometimes just being honest can be a breath of fresh air.

We really like this cover letter as an example of what students should be saying in their materials, interviews, etc. And not what one normally receives. As college students, companies know you’re still learning, they know you’re portfolio is limited and they know you need experience. The students that are contacted and hired for an internship are so because they usually display some of these qualities in the letter.

  • They’ve taken the time to send a cover letter (addressed in our name) and personalized to us.
  • A Resume (not an infographic resume). Click here to read more about this. 
  • A link to view their portfolio online, or a creative printed piece personally mailed to us. (This is specific to the design industry)
  • Arrived to an interview 5-minutes early, with a notepad to take notes. You’re being interviewed for your personality, and your willingness to receive constructive criticism to see how you’ll take it. We (several design companies) want to see how you do when someone else critiques your work. And, we want to see how you take our advice in the interview and run with it. Will you update your portfolio and re-send it to us with your changes? Will you set up an online portfolio if you don’t have one? How eager are you?

The advice will vary from candidate to candidate, but overall we want to see if you’re humble, eager, hard-working, creative and collaborative.