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?
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:
- 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.”
Samples from past interns
This cover letter is exemplary in its discussion of writing samples. Notice how the author does an excellent job providing detail about the context for each sample, and then elaborating about specific writing skills that each sample showcases. The samples also cover a range of writing styles, and the cover letter highlights this versatility as a strength the applicant brings to the workplace.
This resume is exemplary because each bullet-point offers substantial detail and follows through to demonstrate the result and achievement of each task. This sample cover letter also does a very good job of discussing the skills that writing samples showcase. Notice how the writer even addresses how the third writing sample required specific creative writing skills for a successful book review, which is quite different from the skills required to produce each of the feature stories.
Have everything ready? Submit your application!