Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cover Letter Cues from RKPR

We constantly hear professionals complaining about the horrid cover letters they receive during hiring time and it’s not something us young professionals should be proud of. Many very qualified students don’t get opportunities they may be fit for solely because of easily corrected errors in the application process. San Diego PR Professional, Rachel Kay CEO of Rachel Kay Public Relations, vents about the careless mistakes she sees on internship cover letters and how to fix them. Here are a few of her tips to take with you:

1. Know The Contact—Yes, sometimes companies do not list direct contacts for who specifically hires the interns, but stating, “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Staff” is not acceptable. If you don’t know a specific name, write to the company itself. “Dear RachelKPR team” would be a great way to personalize the greeting. Take advantage of the information that is already known.

2. I’m Applying Because I Need A Position, Any Position—We all have times when we are desperate for any job that may come our way, but it isn’t appealing to let a company know that. It is important to prove that you are fit for the position and you are interested in what the company does. The average Joe would write, “I saw your ad for interns and I’m very interested in the position. I haven’t worked in PR previously, but I have experience in other departments.” The more appropriate answer would be, “I’d be a great fit for the company. While I haven’t worked directly in an PR function, as hostess at Malone’s I was responsible for serving as each customer’s first impression of the company, which enabled me to cultivate my communication skills.”

3. Don’t Regurgitate Your Resume—A cover letter is a chance to show your knowledge of the company and why you would be a great addition. As Rachel says, it’s your chance to show you know their business, not the business. Instead of restating your experience in your resume, talk about the company, their clients, and what they’ve been up to lately. Let the professionals know that you keep up with the company and your common interests would be a great addition to the team.

4. Be Relevant—It is always impressive when prospective interns are in the know about what the company has been up to lately. It’s even more impressive when interns offer ideas that they can bring to the team if asked to come on board.

5. Enough About You Already—It’s easy for students to want to talk about all they’ve experienced, but cover letters that discuss the employer show that solid interest and knowledge of the company which can be more impressive than someone with tons of previous internship experience.

6. Edit, Edit, Edit—We hear this time and time again, editing is the most important step. It’s easy to miss tiny mistakes when you’ve been reading the same letter over and over again. Send your cover letter to a friend or a professor to look over before sending it out. That extra step could make the world of a difference in the end.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Andrea Jordan.

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