Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Get a Marketing Internship: Write an Amazing Cover Letter

This is my third of three posts on creative ways to land a marketing internship. Read the first. Read the second.

It's Simple
This is the easiest of my three suggestions for how to get a marketing internship: write an amazing cover letter. I've read hundreds (thousands?) of marketing internship cover letters, and only a few still stand out in my mind. Your letter must include the following three components, in this order:
  1. State that you really want to work at the company and why you want to work there -- be sure to mention how you feel the internship fits into your career goals. Be enthusiastic.

  2. Describe why you are the best qualified for the job. Keep it short and to the point.

  3. State that no task is too small for you and that you will have a positive attitude no matter what you are asked to do.
Do not start your cover letter describing how you are qualified for the job. It's not about you at first – it's about the company and its needs. And the company's most important need in a marketing internship candidate is a strong desire for the job.

The Advanced Cover Letter
If you're looking to get a little crazy with your cover letter, consider these three ideas:
  • Write your cover letter from the point of view of the fish that lives in a bowl in your house. Your fish hears about all of the things you're involved in and hears about all of the qualifications you have for the job and is happy to get the chance to finally tell someone about them. Your fish knows that you are reliable because you always feed him at the same time every day, and you're not afraid to get your hands dirty because you clean his tank once a month.

  • Write the first two sentences of your cover letter in a foreign language. Be sure to translate what it means. Use this technique if having foreign language skills is important to the internship.

  • Cut out letters from a magazine to form the following statement (ransom-note style) at the top of your cover letter: "Give me an internship and everybody wins." Then, type a brief letter below.
Add This to Your To-Do List
My advice is the same as it has been in the last two posts:

If you're currently looking for an internship or a job in marketing, get creative! Sell yourself well and convince the employer that you can sell their products or services even better than you can sell yourself. Stick yourself out there and see what happens. The worst that can happen is that you don't get the job. Trust me -- it's better to try and not succeed than it is to have never tried.

There's never a lack of ideas.