Susan Adams reports with these highlights (bolded text is original):
"For advice I turned to Lauren Berger, who runs a website called Internqueen.com and has written two books about getting started in a career, All Work No Pay: Finding an Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience and Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job into Your Dream Career...Plus I talked to four college placement officers and four career coaches, including Jill Tipograph, who specializes in helping young people. Here is their combined wisdom:...[S]ay who you are, where you go to school, what the job is that you’re applying for and how you came to apply. It helps a lot if you can include a name of someone with a personal connection. You should also clarify where you’re located geographically. If the internship is in a city other than where you live or go to school, say you are planning to be there during the dates of the job. Don’t say you 'could' be there...Say where you learned about the job...All job seekers, even college freshmen, should have a LinkedIn profile...[P]rint out the job posting and go through it with a highlighter. Note the buzzwords and incorporate them into this part of the letter. Also spend at least an hour on the company site reading and thinking, including clicking through every link. If the firm has a blog, read at least a dozen entries. Check out the firm’s presence on social media and do a wide-ranging Google search. Describe how your experiences meet the challenges presented in the job description...[D]escribe your personal traits and how they make you a great candidate for the job...[S]ay when you’ll get in touch...In most cases, send the letter as an attachment and format it like an old-fashioned business letter with your address at the top, then the date and then the address of the recipient...Your sign-off can be formal, like 'Sincerely,' or something warmer, like 'All the best.' When in doubt, make the salutation formal: 'Dear Ms. Adams' or 'To whom it may concern.'...Proofread carefully and get someone you trust to check for spelling, grammar and word use...[T]here’s an even more effective way for beginning job seekers to write a great cover letter. It takes work. Spend very little time writing about yourself and devote most of the letter to why you would be thrilled to work in this job for this employer. The first paragraph should be the same as outlined above, introducing yourself, naming your school, saying where you’ll be located during the job or internship and naming the position. But the rest of the letter should be devoted to the company, the job and why both interest you."
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