Cover Letter 101 for College Girls

Introduction

Hey there girl friend. Today I am bringing you Cover Letters and Resumes 101! I know when I started applying places or just looking at job openings because I am a weird kid, I always came across the phrase: please send your resume and cover letter to kayla@gimmejob.com. The word resume rang a bell…I knew it was important but the words “cover letter” left me in awe – like girl what!? So in this post I wanted to clear things up for those who are cover letter and resume challenged just like I once was. Cheers to ditching the confusion and closing those Google tabs, xoxo!

Cover letter > what is it and why I need it

So what is a cover letter? Well in my terms: it’s basically is a document you attach alongside your resume that shows off your personality. It gets the potential company interested in who you are as a person and your character. Here, you want to let them know who you are, why you want to work for them, and most importantly what you bring to the table.

Resume > what is it and why I need it 

So what is a resume? Well in my terms: it’s another document that helps you market yourself to get that employers attention. Now, here is where you provide your receipts. Pure facts. You’ll list out your education, experience, skills, awards, leadership skills, etc. 

How do they work together? 

Sometimes when applying for a job they will request just the resume and other times they will request both. My suggestion, always send both. Why? As I stated earlier, the cover letter allows you to remain human, connect, relate, show off personality while the resume is all facts and no personality. I believe you need both. Plus if they don’t ask for a cover letter and you still send them one….you automatically stand out and come off on top *flips hair*

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How to send a cover letter and resume? 

One full PDF document…so two pages total. All computers whether it be Windows, HP, MAC, Chrome accept PDFs and you won’t have to worry about conversions with Word and allllladat. Or, you can send your “cover letter” in the email body section and attach your resume…it’s really up to you!

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Cover Letter 101: 

Types:

There are two types of cover letters that you can create. The cover letter for when they’re hiring [letter of application] and the cover letter for when they aren’t but you still want to get their radar [letter of inquiry]. I didn’t even think about the letter of inquiry option until I was listening to the podcast #MyTaughtYou by Myleik (LISTEN TO THIS IT IS BOMB) and someone asked her how to get the internship they want and she mentioned a story on how she basically emailed a company, showed them her skills and how she could help, set up an interview, and left with the job. Okay, girl boss…go take what you want.

Format + Length:

Yay, the boring stuff. But it is important. Your cover letter needs to be one page, single spaced, and only contain anywhere between 1-3 paragraphs. There should be three spaces between your “sign off” and typed name, and if it’s printed…you need to put your written signature in between the sign off and your typed name. Also, it should be 1 inch margins all around, however, if you need more room, you can adjust the margins, just be sure to keep your margins equal.

Parts:

the heading

We all know what a heading is right? Okay, remember this is a cover letter so we still follow basic letter etiquette. For the heading be sure to have your contact info (phone, email, web, address) somewhere and make sure it is the same one you use on your resume! You need to also include the company’s address. Can’t find it? Look harder. Check the company’s website, LinkedIn, or if all fails go to Google Maps and type in the company name and their location should pop up. Lastly, be sure to put the date you either created the letter or the date you plan to submit/send the cover letter.

the greeting

Y’all this little tip right here…it’s going to change your life and be a key factor into landing the internship or job. Do not, I repeat. Do not put “To whom this may concern”

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Girl, this is what that comes off as: Hey, I am lazy. I didn’t take the time to personalize this. I don’t pay attention to detail. Yikes. You’re probably like really Micah? I am probably, looking back and you and nodding my head with one of those fakes smiles saying “yeah, really”.  A majority of the time, no matter where you look, whether it’s the company’s site or through sometime like Indeed. They typically will say, send your resume and cover letter to Reghan@Thisisabigjob.com. Looky there mate! A name! Take advantage and — USE IT.

So address your greeting with: Dear, Hello, Hi, Miss, Ms. Mrs. Mr. – whatever works depending on your field and put. their. freaking. name. It’ll make them feel important, shows you pay attention to detail, you’ve gone in to customize your cover letter (hello effort), and again, it’ll make you stand out in pile of “to whom this may concern’s”. It is the simple things that can have the biggest impact. Company’s like personalized covers AND resumes. Remember that girl. Matter of fact, go write it down lol!

the connection/relation grabber

We all took high school English right? Okay, cool. Remember all of those annoying high school essays we had to write and our teacher would always say you need to start with an attention grabber? Welp, the same thing applies here. But I like to call this the part where you snatch their edges (as politely as possible of course).

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First, show some excitement about the position. Next, mention how you found out about them – if someone has referred you, MENTION their name! Showing that you have similar “big name” connections is always a win. Then, show them that you actually use or have benefited from them [the company or person] in some way. Have you purchased a product or service they sell, did you go to event their boss spoke at, have they inspired you, did you read a book they wrote, watched an interview they were in? Say something about this! Don’t be too mushy or emotional here BUT do be appreciative. 

the body (1-3 paragraphs)

Here is where you tell them what you bring to the table, tell them how you benefit them…what have you done, learned, led, etc. that can relate to this specific job. List out skills/training you’ve completed that can play apart in your success at said company. Get extra bonuses by adding in numbers and results. People love PROOF.

the closing

This is your chance to wow them one more time, add in personality and wit. Now depending on your field and internship limit the amount of humor because you still want it to be professional! Add something personal. In the end of my cover letter that I submitted for my Blavity internship I said:

 Simply put, I’ll make your life a lot easier by being organized, creating material, and staying innovative just for starters. Plus cool kids come from Missouri and have first names that start with the letter M. Hey, Morgan DeBaun!

Let’s set up a time to chat soon about the position and discover more ways I can be a valuable member of your team. I’ve included my resume and contact info, including social links below.

the sign off

The sign off is simple but add some swag to it. Everyone says “Thanks” so try switching it something else that people don’t always see! Try some of these:

  • Chat soon*my go –to*
  • Best
  • Sincerely
  • Regards
  • My Best Regards
  • Yours Truly

the (written) signature 

Here you have three options:

  1. if you’re printing your cover letter because you’re sending it, you can easily add your signature with a pen and call it a day. Remember it goes > sign off > written/typed sig. > typed out name
  2. if you’re sending your cover letter via email, then you can skip the written signature and just typed your name after the sign off.
  3. if you’re like me, extra af, and you’re sending your cover letter via email then you can purchase a hand written or cursive font! Type and place the cursive font in place of where you would normally write it. This will still give off the look of a written signature and keep the true flow of a cover letter.

the (typed) signature 

This part is simple, you just type your name in the same font you used for the majority of your cover letter. When writing your cover letter you want to choose a font that is legible. However, in a Forbes article I read the other day via LinkedIn it said to ditch the Times New Roman font as it is boring and out dated. Try something that’s sleek and modern but still legible!

Woohoo! There you have it, cover letters made simple! I hope this has helped because when I fianlly understood how to do cover letters, it’s made getting internships a breeze. I want to remind you I sell, Killer Cover Letter Formula Templates, that you help guide you to making a legit cover letter than will have your employer dying to call you in for an interview.

I use them and have landed 3 out 3 internships I’ve applied for, including Blavity / 21 Ninety. I have also helped NINE other girls land internships and jobs too! View the product, proof, and reviews, here.