How to Write a Cover Letter
There are a few dos and don’ts for writing a cover letter for a journalism job or journalism internship.
Generally, it’s best to keep it straightforward. Avoid gimmicky approaches as most internship coordinators and hiring editors have seen them all a dozen times. Also avoid the tale of how you got interested in journalism as it’s cliché. Instead, talk about what qualities and experience you would bring to the position and why you want the position.
Just like writing a story, you have only a sentence or two to grab the reader’s attention, so have a good lead. Avoid a standard opening such as “I am writing to apply for an internship at Newsday” as your opening sentence. Most applicants begin their cover letter that way and it’s boring.
Instead, try something like, “Having grown up in Long Island, written for a weekly community newspaper, served as news editor of my university’s student newspaper and developed strong multimedia skills, I am writing to apply for a summer internship at Newsday.” This way, right off the bat, you distinguish yourself from other applicants and tell the reader why you’re a qualified candidate.
After that, discuss why you’re interested in the position and elaborate on your experience and qualifications. End by including your contact info (e-mail address and phone number) and by stating that you’re available to meet for an interview (if you are). Keep the letter to one typed page or less. If e-mailing the letter, just paste in into the e-mail. For e-mail, try to keep it to a paragraph or two, as most people generally despise long e-mails.
Finally, have your cover letter or e-mail proofread by a good writer.
Here are examples:
SAMPLE COVER LETTER