In this article, we will cover cover letter tips after you’ve completed an internship abroad.
Cover letter tip #1: Always customize your cover letter for the position
As already mentioned for the resume, the cover letter should be tailored to the specific position as well. Again, incorporate words from the job description into the cover letter to highlight that you are the ideal candidate for the job.
A cover letter sent to National Geographic telling them all about how amazing Condé Nast Traveler is will get your application in the trash immediately. So be careful who you send which cover letter to.
Cover letter tip #2: Find a personal contact
It is always best to research a position and try to find out who will be receiving your application. Instead of addressing your cover letter to the Internship Coordinator in general, see if there is a specific “Dear Ms. XXX:” that you will be contacting.
You can even search for (don’t stalk!) that person on social media, especially on LinkedIn. Looking up a person on social media is also helpful if you don’t know if they are female or male. If you find a photo on LinkedIn (just make sure it is really them), then you will know whether to use Mr./Ms./Mrs.
Cover letter tip #3: Start by introducing yourself – and what you are applying for
The first paragraph of your cover letter should state which position you are interested in, where you came across the position, and who you are.
Dear Mr. Smith:
I am writing to express my interest in the summer 2018 internship program at National Geographic, as detailed on the National Geographic Careers website. I am currently a sophomore at New York University, majoring in Journalism and minoring in English. My previous experience as a journalism intern abroad, in addition to my various student leadership roles, make me an ideal candidate for this internship.
Cover letter tip #4: Don’t tell bizarre stories from abroad
When it comes to portraying your international internship: at all costs, never try to shock your audience with some bizarre or scary story from your time abroad. (That obviously goes for your interview as well.)
Overall, you want to make your internship abroad tie in with what you would potentially bring to the table at the position you are applying for. For example, did you interact in Spanish while abroad? Will the position you are applying for require you to use your Spanish skills?
A summary of why you are an ideal candidate for this particular position at this particular company should go in the second paragraph. Also, don’t just repeat what is already on your resume, – the recruiter already has this document. Instead, focus on the relevant points that tie in with the position.
I have always been passionate about both writing and traveling. This past summer, I interned abroad in Havana and Trinidad, Cuba, at ROOSTERGNN Global News Network, publishing a series of travel articles in the news agency (YOU CAN EVEN INSERT THE LINK HERE OR HYPERLINK IT IN THE EMAIL). My internship at ROOSTERGNN allowed me to gain hands-on experience as a travel journalist, a skill that I am sure I can put to use at National Geographic. I am convinced that my ability to adapt to challenging situations, my familiarity with foreign destinations, as well as my fluency in Spanish (INCLUDE THIS IF THE POSITION YOU ARE APPLYING FOR REQUIRES SPANISH SKILLS, FOR EXAMPLE), would make me an asset to the National Geographic internship program.
Be careful though: don’t ever talk more about your internship abroad than the position you are applying for. You want the recruiter to feel special, not inferior! Your mention of your internship abroad should always tie in with the specific skills required at the position you are looking to get.
Cover letter tip #5: Make it clear how to contact you – or if you will contact them again
In the conclusion, you will want to wrap it up and make it clear how the recruiter should contact you. The call to action should be clear; usually, it will consist in your request to get a meeting or interview with the recruiter.
Attached, please find my resume for your consideration. I will be following up next week to schedule an interview. In the meantime, you can also contact me at EMAIL or on my mobile phone NUMBER.
Also, please make sure your email is a professional email not email@example.com or something similar.
Cover letter tip #6: Thank you – and follow up
The cover letter should conclude with you thanking the recruiter. You can repeat their name again if you wish.
Thank you for your time, Ms. XXX. Should you require any additional information or references, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I have seen students follow up via LinkedIn to connect with the recruiter as well, which can be useful in terms of connecting a name to a face. You can consider connecting with the recruiter on LinkedIn, making sure to add a message when you connect to remind them that you have applied for a position.
Here’s a sample LinkedIn message after you have submitted an application online: “Dear Ms. XXX, I submitted an application for the journalism internship at company XXX. I look forward to connecting with you. Sincerely. YOUR NAME.”
LinkedIn is usually best for this purpose. Just make sure not to get annoying to recruiters by constantly DM-ing them on Instagram, for example. Be polite and patient.
Some formatting notes:
- Keep your cover letter to one page
- Use a simple font, e.g. Times New Roman
- Use a legible size, e.g. 12 pt.
- If you are sending it via mail, not email, then make sure to have a nice paper to use, not too hard and definitely not colored (off-white is good)
- If you are sending via email, try to figure out if the recruiter prefers the cover letter in the body of the email or as an attachment in PDF or Word. If unsure, I would always send it in the body of the email, and then attach your resume as a PDF document.
- You also want to make sure that it is clear from your subject line that your email is regarding an application for a position.
This article is the third part in a series of articles on how to market your international internship. Check back next week for Part IV, including:
- Interview Tips
- Social Media Tips