As a college student coming close to the end of your academic program, you will most likely be applying for internships.
Internships give you an opportunity to gain experience in your desired career field prior to or immediately after graduation.
By gaining hands-on, specialized experience, you become more competitive in the Kenyan job market.
To secure an internship, you need to submit a quality resumé, cover letter, and at times, some additional application requirements.
If you submit an outstanding application, you’ll receive an interview invitation. And if you hit your interview out of the park, you’ll receive an internship offer.
Some job seekers and internship candidates believe that a cover letter is rarely read by the recruiter thus it is not important. This myth is disastrous and you should discard it immediately in order to boost your chances of securing an internship with the organization of your choice.
In order to write a compelling cover letter that will make you get noticed it is important to understand the purpose of a cover letter in your job application process.
The cover letter exists to fulfill the following three purposes:
- Introduce yourself to a prospective employer.
- Communicate your interest in a specific position and company.
- Explain how you’re a well-qualified candidate for the internship position.
Anything less or more than this and you fall short of being an outstanding candidate.
In order to make your cover letter speak for you and create a powerful impression before the hiring organization, consider the following points:
Be on point on what you want
As you start drafting you cover letter, be point blank and loud on what you are after. Make it clear that you are applying seeking for an internship role with that specific organization.
Do not draft a cover letter that leaves the hiring personnel guessing what exactly you want from the organization.
One of the very first sentences should be about the position you want to be considered for, clearly indicating the department you wish to work for and the time period.
This should be followed by a brief introduction about self, name, school year etc.
Why the organization?
Any lady in a relationship will always want to know from her man, why her and not other women? Similarly while drafting a compelling cover letter to secure an
internship; it is important to explain why you choose that particular organization.
This is where your research about the organization comes into play.
Most serious companies have websites with crucial information that could help you understand them better and how you fit into their purpose.
Use the information gained from your research to explain why you are applying for the internship in that particular organization.
Is it about their outstanding reputation for creativity and innovation, diversity and Inclusion, or is it because they are the market or industry leaders in their area of operation?
Be very clear on this since it makes the organization or the hiring team feel appreciated for their hard work and the fact that someone took his/her time to know what it is they exactly do and that such a person would be interested in plugging into their purpose as well.
Demonstrate your strong work ethics
The known reality of internship positions is that candidates have little or no work experience. All employers are aware of this but they still demand an individual with a positive work track.
This is where you need to bring to the fore all the school based assignments and temporary jobs you got involved in. Make mention of your campus side hustle and what business skills you have learnt from the same.
This will demonstrate you as a job candidate with a strong work ethic and great ability to balance the demands of work and school.
It also shows that you are committed to the career you are pursuing.
Demonstrate your transferable skills
Share how the experiences (above) and courses have equipped or prepared you to be an effective, productive, outstanding professional with the company of choice.
Show how the skills acquired during your temporary assignment or by engaging in campus activities will be brought to good use within the organization where you want to intern.
Are you are medical student looking for an internship with a private medical hospital? Then mention the opportunities you had working on several projects and assisting with the shifts within the campus medical unit.
Customize the cover letter
NEVER use a generic cover letter to apply for an internship position. Take your time and customize each application detail to the specific organization and its goals.
The tone and feel of the cover letter will tell whether it is a generic application or a customised one.
Whilst the structure may be the same, make sure that the content is specific to the company where you hope to secure an internship role.
Remember a well-researched, thought out and drafted cover letter is like a firm handshake: it grabs the recipient’s attention.
Make every effort to grab the employer’s attention with your compelling cover letter so that you can get that much desired internship job opportunity.