General Question

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Tear my cover letter apart until its flawless. Go ahead. Be mean. ;)

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (2381 points ) October 6th, 2011

Dear Recruiting Manager,

I’m thrilled to see that Edelman is offering a public relations internships for recent graduates and would like to express my interest in joining the New York office this winter. Currently, I’m a senior at xxxxxx xxxxxxx and will be graduating in December with latin honors and a plethora of relevant industry experience to my name. If you’re seeking an experienced, cool-headed, team-player with a creative outlook on PR to join your intern team, then you should review my attached resume.

As you will note, I already have solid career experience and have been fortunate enough to interface with some key players in technology and consumer advertising. As an account coordinator at xxxxx x xxxxxxxxx and a marketing manager for xxxxxxx; I had the opportunity to interface with individuals on all levels and gained hands-on training working closely with companies like B-Reel, Google, Sephora, HarperCollins and many more. The relevant skills I have honed include:

Contributing to brainstorming sessions with account executives and CEO
Monitoring for coverage of clients and competitors
Drafting and distributing media pitches
Writing, editing and distributing press releases
AP style
Business development research
Developing, compiling, and editing large media lists using list-building tools
Ghostwriting bylined articles for clients
Securing speaking events for clients and supervisors
Client research

I’m positive I will be a great addition to Edelman, and am exciting to discuss my capabilities in more detail. I am available for an interview at your convenience and would appreciate the chance to meet with you and explore the opportunities for someone like me at Edelman.

Best regards,
xxxxx xxxxxx

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41 Answers

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Caught my first typo. **“a public relations internship” instead of “internships”

njnyjobs's avatar

First up, don’t say “express interest” if you really want to be in the program… say it straightforward that you would like to be considered for internship.

Your sentences are too long and flowery. Hiring managers just want to see bullet points, not novels.

Don’t get yourself discounted by saying, “if your looking for, blah, blah, blah, then you should review . . . .resume” Keywords like cool-headed, team player, creative outlook are for novices.

Why list your solid career experience then apply for internship? As a hiring pro, I would ask myself, “What happened? Why did you loose those jobs? Something must be wrong” . . . .unless this a gig with a great potential to be hired. Internship programs are usually cost-cutting ways for company to have warm bodies do work for them at little to no cost.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

- I’ll be more straightforward
– I’ll truncate the sentences a bit
– my career experience were internships. I wasn’t fired and might work with those supervisors again in the future. Maybe I should change “careers” to “internships”?

njnyjobs's avatar

The main point is to meet their internship criteria and plead why do you want to intern with them, how will it be beneficial to you in your career path. Companies who offer internship programs don’t really care what you have to bring to the table.

Do not boast about your previous internships. If i see that, I would tend to provide other students the opportunity to learn with my company as oppose to someone who already had his “taste” of the business/industry.

Your closing remarks is too needy. Try a simple statement.

JTSTs2003's avatar

Opinion: You sound pompous as hell, which makes me wonder if you’re all talk and show and not much substance (since we all know people embellish anyway…anyone can look good on paper). Also, all of those words make my eyes cross. Short, simple, intriguing – people are busy!

& Bravo for asking for honest opinions like this. Good thinking ;)

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

LOL ouch, @JTSTs2003! ;) Guess that’s what I get for telling people to be mean… Keep in mind that this is my first attempt at the cover letter and it will probably go through many revisions before I have the balls to send it. When I get a chance, I’ll revise it and repost it in the comments here. But for now, please keep the suggestions coming!

blueiiznh's avatar

The word “interface” should just be simple and say worked with.

You need to tell them why they can’t do without you. What will you offer them.
How will you fit with their team.

Jeruba's avatar

Confidence is good, but you don’t want to go sounding overinflated. It tempts people to offer a pinprick to your balloon. Stay focused on how you match the company’s criteria and expectations (is experience the main qualification for an intern??).

Remember that the point of your resume and cover letter is to get you the interview and not to get you the job. Once you’re in the interview, you can decide what else to bring up.

I agree with most of the other comments above and hence am not repeating them.

Dear Recruiting Manager,

I’m thrilled to see that Edelman is offering a public relations internships internship for recent graduates and would like to express my interest in joining the New York office this winter. Currently, I’m a senior at xxxxxx xxxxxxx and will be graduating in December with latin Latin <cap. L> honors and a plethora of relevant industry experience to my name.<say this differently, without plethora > If you’re seeking an experienced, cool-headed-,- <delete comma> team-player team player <no hyphen> with a creative outlook on PR to join your intern team, then you should review my attached resume.

As you will note, I already have solid career experience and have been fortunate enough to interface with some key players in technology and consumer advertising. As an account coordinator at xxxxx x xxxxxxxxx and a marketing manager for xxxxxxx; I had the opportunity to interface <use it once if you must, but don’t repeat it> with individuals on at all levels and gained hands-on training working closely with companies like<what does “companies like” mean? what companies are like these? are these the companies you’ve worked with or not? perhaps you mean “such companies as”—which is about giving examples rather than making comparisons> B-Reel, Google, Sephora, HarperCollins and many more. The relevant skills I have honed include:

Contributing to brainstorming sessions with account executives and CEO
Monitoring for coverage of clients and competitors
Drafting and distributing media pitches
Writing, editing and distributing press releases
AP style
Business development research
Developing, compiling, and editing large media lists using list-building tools
Ghostwriting bylined articles for clients
Securing speaking events for clients and supervisors
Client research

I’m positive I will would be a great addition to Edelman, and am exciting excited <but I think you mean that you would be, not that you are> to discuss my capabilities in more detail. I am available for an interview at your convenience and would appreciate the chance to meet with you and explore the opportunities for someone like me at Edelman.

Best regards,
xxxxx xxxxxx

Jeruba's avatar

Afterthought: Is Edelman the real company name? If so, what are the chances that they comb the web daily for mentions of their firm and are going to see this very letter that you posted with a public request for help?

mrrich724's avatar

Personally, I think it will be perfect when it doesn’t exist.

As an HR person that recruits for 20+ positions at a time, and some positions attract 500+ candidates, I sure as heck don’t read cover letters.

I expect resumes to speak for themselves, and NOT be an eyesore.

I always recommend (when asked) not to use a cover letter, but if you HAVE to include something other than relevant experience, use a descriptive one-liner such as:

“Degreed HR professional with 5 years of relevant, progressive experience looking for a management level position at an awesome organization.”

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I used Edelman as a placeholder for the company’s real name but it’s on the same level as Edelman. They requested a cover letter.

njnyjobs's avatar

The fact that they requested a cover letter means that they’re gauging applicants’ abilities to follow directions. As such, make it a cover letter, not a brag book. Just state the facts that you are applying for the position, that you are available during such period for interview and whatever information that they are seeking. And a sincere appreciation for the time/attention given to your application. All others will be in the Resume’ and can be provided during the interview/follow-up process.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Maybe I should just scrap this one and start over?

Zaku's avatar

“latin honors” -> “honors in Latin”

blueiiznh's avatar

@njnyjobs Where did it say they requested a cover letter? Perhaps I missed something [redacted].

Any job worth wanting a chance at interviewing or getting past the round file needs a good cover letter to go along with a well constructed informative resume. Nice approach at getting feedback here to help your skills cover letter writing.

JTSTs2003's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace I replied out of love!!! I’m sweet as pie I promise. :) lol Let us know if you get the internship!

njnyjobs's avatar

@blueiiznh yes you missed something . . . see OP’s (11th post) response… also, it’s not a job position, it’s an internship position, a glorified, unpaid staff aide.

lillycoyote's avatar

I would also find out the name of the recruiting director and address it to that person, I would use the full name of the company, at least in the first mention and I would drop the business-speak. The “interfacing” with, as @Jeruba mentions. If you have to use it at all, use it once. Also would say “excited” rather than “thrilled” and while you want to appear confident, you don’t want appear cocky so I would say “I believe I would be a great addition to Edelman” rather than be so “positive” of it and say “I have attached my resume for your review” rather than telling them they “should” review your resume. Also, the cover letter is just that, a cover letter and should be kind of short and sweet, yours is a little wordy, with the “as you will note..” and make them want to take a look at your resume, it is not the resume itself. I would either leave out the list “skills honed” or just mention a couple of things, in a sentence and not as a list and if you do, I would drop the passive voice, drop “honed” and just say something like: My relevant skills include a, b and c.

These people get a gazillion applications and resumes. I think you have a better chance of yours actually being read if you keep it short, to the point, and include only relevant information. Your cover letter should be brief and serve to introduce you and your resume to the recruiter; not be your autobiography or duplicate too much of what you have provided in your resume.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Haha I found the recruiter’s linkedIn and she uses the word “honed” so I might keep that one…

Thanks for all the help guys. I usually start off with a pretty verbose rough draft like this one to get the juices flowing then pare it down significantly before I send.

lillycoyote's avatar

O.K. you can keep honed if you want but maybe not in the passive voice. :-) When I was looking for a way to use the word, I came across these examples of cover letters and they might be helpful. I’m not vouching for them personally; I just came across them and thought I would pass them along.

mazingerz88's avatar

I’m from Edelman and if you re-write just as @Jeruba indicated, then you’re in! ( Awww, can’t I really make a joke on General? ) Hee hee…

Seriously good luck and how bout instead of plethora, you use “a good deal” or “ample” or “a very good number”-?

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Dear xxxxx,

I was excited to see that Edelman is offering a public relations internship for recent graduates and would like to express my interest in joining the New York office this winter. Currently, I’m a senior at xxxxxxx and will be graduating in December with Latin honors and ample PR internship experience under my belt. If you’re seeking a driven team player with a creative outlook on PR to join your team, I invite you to see my attached resume.

I have solid internship experience and have been fortunate enough to interface with some key players in technology and consumer advertising. As an account coordinator at xxxxxxx and a marketing manager for xxxxx; I had the opportunity to interact with individuals at all levels and gained hands-on training working closely with such companies as B-Reel, Google, Sephora, HarperCollins and many more. During these internships I developed relevant skills including:

Contributing to brainstorming sessions with account executives and CEO
Monitoring for coverage of clients and competitors
Drafting and distributing media pitches
Writing, editing and distributing press releases
Developing, compiling, and editing large media lists using list-building tools
Securing speaking events for clients and supervisors

I believe I would be a positive addition to Edelman, and am excited to discuss my capabilities in more detail. I would appreciate the chance to meet with you and explore this opportunity further.

Best regards,
xxxxxxxxxxxx

Jeruba's avatar

Don’t use “excited” twice, or any other content-bearing word.

Don’t say this in any case: ”and am excited to discuss my capabilities in more detail.” Read that back and I think you’ll see why.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Jeruba Yes, and the same with “If you’re seeking a driven team player with a creative outlook on PR to join your team.“Two “teams” in one sentence… perhaps change the last. “your team” to “your firm?” I was also thinking that “Currently, I’m a senior at xxxxxx xxxxxxx…” should be changed to “I’m currently a senior at xxxxxx xxxxxxx…” but I wanted to run that one by you. I’m not sure which one is right. Maybe they both are, but the latter seems less stilted to me.

Jeruba's avatar

@lillycoyote, good catch of the two “teams.” As the OP has said, more work is needed.

With respect to “Currently,” it really isn’t necessary; what does it add that isn’t expressed by the present tense (“I am”)?

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LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Dear xxxxx,

I was excited to see that Edelman is offering a public relations internship for recent graduates and would like to express my interest in joining the New York office this winter. I’m a senior at xxxxxx xxxxxx and will be graduating in December with Latin honors and ample PR internship experience to my name. If you’re seeking an intern who’s driven to create authentic conversations, I invite you to see my attached resume.

I have solid internship experience and have been fortunate enough to interface with some key players in technology and consumer advertising. As an account coordinator at xxxxxx xxxxxxxxx and a marketing manager for xxxxxxx; I had the opportunity to interact with individuals at all levels and gained hands-on training working closely with such companies as B-Reel, Google, Sephora, HarperCollins and many more. During these internships I developed relevant skills including:

Contributing to brainstorming sessions with account executives and CEO
Monitoring for coverage of clients and competitors
Drafting and distributing media pitches
Writing, editing and distributing press releases
Developing, compiling, and editing large media lists using list-building tools
Securing speaking events for clients and supervisors

I believe I would be a positive addition to Edelman, and am eager to discuss my capabilities in more detail. I would appreciate the chance to meet with you and explore this opportunity further.
Best regards,

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

**training (,) working closely…

SpatzieLover's avatar

There are a lot of sentences beginning with “I”.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@I was thinking the same thing. That’s one of the reasons I first said “Currently I’m a senior…” rather than “I’m currently a senior” Any ideas on how to remedy this and make it less repetitive?

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

***@Spatzielover

global_nomad's avatar

Do not use contractions (“I am” instead of “I’m”). And for the love of God, please get rid of the word “plethora.” Good luck!

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@global_nomad already got rid of plethora. See the new versions in the comments.

Jeruba's avatar

I have never hired an intern, but I’m wondering now: is the purpose of internships to hire someone who has already accumulated a wealth of internship experience (in which case why aren’t they looking for a full-fledged staff position now?) or to find and train talented novices and give them a chance to break in? Why would a person seek one internship after another? Why wouldn’t a recruiter favor a newcomer? Can all that experience work against you? (I don’t know; just asking.)

What does ”driven to create authentic conversations” mean? I’m afraid, @LeavesNoTrace, that your letter still sounds to me like a Lego assembly of stock phrases rather than something I’d call authentic.

would like to express my interest” invites the question: if you would like to, then why don’t you go ahead and do it?

am eager to discuss my capabilities” makes me wonder when you are going to get around to discussing the company’s needs.

There are still too many long sentences. Give further thought to the integrity of each sentence: what belongs together and what doesn’t? Keep together things that are part of the same idea and start a new sentence for a new idea. Let’s not just have a string of bullet points linked by grammatical structures.

The cover letter doesn’t have to do the whole sell job, just interest the reader enough to sort you into the further-look pile. Did you overlook this point? —> Remember that the point of your resume and cover letter is to get you the interview and not to get you the job. Once you’re in the interview, you can decide what else to bring up.

You’re taking all this criticism very well, I must say. You’re a good sport. Have you mentioned that in your resume?—“is eager to learn, takes constructive criticism in stride, strives to apply new lessons promptly.”

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@Jeruba Cover letters are kind of an achilles heel for me. For some reason, I’ve been struggling more with this than my senior project. Something about having to write about myself makes me uncomfortable and stiff I guess.

My press releases, though formulaic are better than this, I promise. ;) Subjecting myself to occasional criticism is better than sending in a terrible cover letter and losing a job I could be great at So, I accept that I’m not great at this and could benefit from some sage advice…

I’m looking for entry-level jobs as well as a potential internship upon graduation. This internship in particular interested me because it’s at a company with a good reputation and would help propel me toward the grad program I’m interested in.

My resume is good and has been complimented by a few recruiters, so luckily I’m getting calls. I hope my job experience doesn’t count against me. I’m only 22 so I don’t know why being “too experienced” would be a bad thing. Maybe if I was older and looking for an internship it would look sketchy but since it’s open to recent college grads, I think I would be an appropriate fit. I just have to fix the cover letter, so they’ll look at my awesome resume. :)

njnyjobs's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace you’re 22 with “too much experience” is not a good thing for a hiring manager as it paints a negative picture….like I posted earlier above, it creates a shadow of doubt about your ability to nail down a particular employment.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Also, I absolutely abhor cover letters and don’t bother submitting one unless specified.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@njnyjobs

I have two internships on my resume; not actually that unusual for a college senior…

I don’t think nailing down particular employment has or will be an issue with me. My prior internship supervisor sat me down before I left to finish my last semester to talk about working with me in the future. But I don’t want to rely on just one thing coming through. Therefore, I’m it exploring my options so I can do something productive shortly after I graduate. Really,I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. :)

With regard to how a hiring manager perceives my profile: why would having a little prior experience be a liability?

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