How to Prepare a Cover Letter & Resume

Cover Letter

Normally, a cover letter makes the case that you are qualified to perform the duties listed in a particular job description. The cover letter for the minor in professional writing is somewhat different because you will be placed in a specific job after your interview. Your cover letter will instead describe your writing samples and analyze the specific writing skills they demonstrate.

Address your cover letter to Dr. Lindsay A. Martin, coordinator of the professional writing minor. Format your cover letter as a formal business letter with a heading or letterhead, date, inside address, salutation, body, complimentary close and your signature.

Cover letters follow a standard format:

Brief introductory paragraph

  • ​Explain your purpose: To apply for placement in a capstone internship in the minor in professional writing.
  • Give a brief explanation of your interest. How will the internship (which could be in any number of fields) connect with your larger career goals? Do not talk endlessly about what you will get out of the internship. Cover letters are designed to show enthusiasm for an industry or field but—more importantly—to convince employers of how much you have to offer them.
  • End on a clear statement summarizing the writing skills and soft skills you will bring to the workplace.

Tip: Great cover letters project into the future and demonstrate that the writer is already envisioning translating his or her experience into different tasks at the new job. 

Body paragraphs (this is the bulk of the cover letter). Discuss each writing sample by addressing the following:

  • What is the purpose of this piece?
  • If you wrote the piece for a course, describe that context. If the piece was written as part of a group project, what role did you play in the collaboration?
  • What particular writing skills does it showcase? Does it demonstrate skills in working with a particular situation? A particular genre? A particular tone?

Internship application deadlines

Summer 2018 internships: Friday, January 26, 2018 at 4:30 p.m.
Autumn 2018 internships: Monday, January 29, 2018 at 4:30 p.m.

Portfolio Prep Workshop: Wednesday, January 24 5-6:30 p.m. in Denney 311


Resume

A resume aims to persuade your reader that your qualifications, skills, experiences and achievements are both impressive and directly related to the job you want. Your resume for the professional writing minor internship should highlight writing skills and writing-related achievements. For ideas, see this document on Identifying Your Accomplishments from Arts and Sciences Career Services.

The most basic, essential components of a resume are the following. Here is an example resume to consult for formatting contact information, education and work experience. Optional sections of a resume suited for a professional writing internship might include:

Relevant Coursework

  • Consider adding this if you have limited writing-related work experience.
  • List each course just like a job, with location and dates on the right side of the page.
  • Include multiple bullet points for each course to emphasize written work you produced during the course.

Relevant Experience and Other Experience

  • Be creative with your heading titles if necessary—“Work Experience” and “Volunteer Experience” are not always the best way to show how qualified you are.
  • If only some of your work or volunteering experience is writing-related, consider using headings like “Relevant Experience,” “Writing Experience,” “Editing Experience” or “Other Work Experience.”

Gallery of samples from past interns

PDF icon Sample 1

This student had little paid employment experience but significant experience in student organizations, some of which were relevant to writing. This cover letter does a good job of making interesting connections between work that might not initially seem to be writing-related (role as a sketch comic) to skills that will be necessary in a writing-related professional environment.

PDF icon Sample 2

This student had only academic writing samples drawn from a range of courses, and the selection was designed to highlight skills in academic, professional, and technical writing. The resume successfully relates jobs that are not obviously writing-related to writing and communication skills.

PDF icon Sample 3

This student came to the table with significant prior work and internship experience. While you may not have this background experience, notice that this cover letter does a great job of discussing the particular skills showcased by each sample. The resume that appears here is unusual because it is two pages; this occurred because the author requested that we transfer the content from the original design and program (where it was one page) to Microsoft Word. Notice that the resume does a good job demonstrating quantifiable achievements and highlighting the importance of these achievements for the organization.

 


Still have questions about your portfolio?
Come to the Portfolio Prep Workshop before the application deadline!

Have everything ready? Submit your application!


 

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