Remember to customise your cover letter for all of the different jobs/internships you apply for.
Generally you should always attach a covering letter, unless just a CV is requested or you have to fill in an application form.
Structure of the letter:
- should be no longer than 1 page
- no more than 3 or 4 short paragraphs
- the first paragraph should state your interest in the job
- the second paragraph should summarise your background
- the third paragraph requests an interview.
Sign 'Yours sincerely' and type your name in full under your handwritten signature.
If you are writing about a work placement/internship you should never write a letter which begins,
"I am required as part of my public relations course to expand my experience in the public relations field. I am writing to you to request a work placement".
This is not a positive way to approach a company, put yourself in their shoes, would you take someone on from an opening like that, probably not.
Never address a letter Dear Sir/Madam, it will probably go unanswered, as it shows a lack of effort on your part to find out who to address the letter to, also how would you like it if you were written to as Dear student?
Ensure you have the correct spelling of the name and title of the person and company you are you are writing to.
Always ensure your home address, landline and/or mobile number and email address are on the covering letter. When adding your email address it might be preferable to create a new professional email account, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Never hand-write a cover letter unless specifically requested.
Don't photocopy and mass produce the same letter and fill in the details later, it looks sloppy and obviously mass produced, which tells a potential employer that you couldn't be bothered writing to them individually. Print your cover letter on paper that matches your CV.
Don't be tempted to put too much detail in your cover letters, they are only an introduction. Important information, such as your skills, should be in your CV already. Avoid repetition!
When answering ads requesting a cover letter, make sure you include all the information they have asked for.
Some of the things you might want to consider putting in your cover letter:
- your desire to work for their organisation
- your commitment to the public relations/communications industry
- proficiency in turning your theoretical knowledge into practice
- determination to be a valued member of their organisation
- your ability to work as part of a team
- also if you are writing about work experience you can mention you are willing to work for free (this will be the case 90% of the time, it is quite rare to gain paid work experience).
Sample cover letter
The following links below offer a number of cover letter examples.
Please do not copy these verbatim, they are just examples to guide you towards writing your own. Remember being able to write well and creatively is essential in PR so you should apply these skills to your cover letter.