Tag Archives: internships

How to Survive Your Next Cover Letter Experience

It’s cover letter season. Most of us, if we haven’t already, are scrambling around to secure an internship or job for the summer, and unfortunately, this means that all of our (abundance of) free time is spent writing (or avoiding) cover letters. To help you with your job or internship search, here are a few tips to make the dreaded cover letter writing process a little less painful.

  • Do your research. Before writing any cover letter, be sure to check out the company’s website, social media pages, and any other relevant sources. Take notes on the company’s main functions, values, and beliefs. Look back at your notes when you’re done. What does this company want in an employee? Incorporate this information into your cover letter and argue that you are the best fit for their company. Hiring managers will be impressed by your knowledge of the company, and this makes you stand out among other candidates.
  • Find a real person to address your letter to. Search LinkedIn or the company’s website to find the name of a human resources manager or recruiter. Addressing your letter to one of these people is more personal than addressing it to the hiring manager or hiring committee. It also shows that you’ve done your research.
  • Pull out key words from the job posting and integrate them into your letter. I like to print out job ads, pull out my favorite colorful pen, and then scribble all over the ad, circling words and phrases that describe traits and skills that I have. Pointing out the specific ways I fit the job description helps me organize my professional experience and write about it in a way that fits the job I’m applying for. Including key phrases from the job posting in your cover letter shows that you’ve paid careful attention to the position’s duties and roles within the organization.
  • Write a new cover letter for every job. Companies will recognize a cookie cutter cover letter right when they see it. Instead, customize your letter to fit the position and company you’re applying for. Mention specific information about their company and the position. This shows hiring managers that you’ve put in the time and effort to write a cover letter catered directly to their needs.

These suggestions cover only the tip of the iceberg. For more advice, visit careernetwork.msu.edu. And don’t forget—we’re always available to help at the Writing Center!

Summer Internship and Job Applications

The snow is blowing across the sidewalk, the windchill is in the negative numbers, you lean in to the wind and try not to slip on the ice as you walk to class.

Summer seems like a pleasant dream, but a million miles away.

BUT deadlines for applying to summer internships and jobs are fast approaching!

One of the important advantages of going to a university with the influence level of Michigan State is the connections to employers and opportunities for internships.  Often an internship will determine if you have a lucrative job offer waiting for you when you graduate or not.

As you know, that competition for many jobs is pretty fierce.  A key to getting that interview is having an excellent resume. There is a lot more to resume writing than just making sure there are no grammar errors.  Does your resume really communicate your skills and experience?  Does it have a good flow? Does it use layout, font, and content to communicate who you are in a professional manner?

To produce a good resume is quite a skill.  Usually it will take several major revisions to capture the full picture of someone’s skills and experience.  Don’t wait till the last minute and risk missing out on your dream job.

There is still time to get that resume ready. Make an appointment at the Writing Center today!!

Also, the MSU Career Network has produced a great guide to help you prepare for the job hunt. There are helpful questions to ask employers, great suggestions on what to do, and what not to do.

Click here to get the Career Fair Quick guide

Hope to see you around soon!