Tag: tips and tricks

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!

Finals Are Coming: Take a Minute to Relax!

End of the semester writing projects are coming!!!
Quick, write like crazy, write all through the night, just get it done!


A MUCH better way is to start now (if you haven’t already) and get a good first draft done.  Then, as you are writing, do something to relax.  I love to use some aromatic candles to create a relaxing atmosphere to get those ideas going. Green tea is also nice to sip on as you are thinking about how you are going to tackle your final papers.

lit candles and aromatic spices

Sometimes it is good to take a little walk outside.  Even though it has been a long and cold winter, spring is finally here and a few flowers are starting to pop out.


Take a walk through the Beal Botanical gardens over near the library and see if you can catch any of the early flowers peeking up. You can click on the picture to learn more about this historic place.

Beal Botanical Garden

Another great way to relax is participate in a quick jog around campus or look for a pick up game of basketball.  Exercise helps clear your mind as you breathe deeply and take in the fresh air.  Did you know that MSU has special jogging routes?  There are spots to stop and stretch as well as some great scenic strolls along the riverbanks. Just click on the picture below for more information.

Campus Jogging Route

The next step is to make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback.  Don’t wait till the last minute only to find that there are no open spots.  No matter how good you think that paper may be, it can improve through getting thoughtful feedback and going through revisions. The best way to relax is to know that you have things under control. Stop to see us at the Writing Center soon!

Happy College Student with organized writing