Flyby’s Guide to Cover Letters

By Sarah E Amanullah

Unless you’ve managed to nail down an internship during the fall recruiting season (lucky you!), the month of January is unfortunately not just a time to catch up on Netflix and sleep. It also signifies the start of a desperate stretch of cover letter-writing, phone-calling, and resume-sending, as you attempt to market yourself for the real world and, hopefully, a real job. Luckily, Flyby is here to help, with its very own fill-it-in guide to writing a cover letter:

Dear (consulting/finance/tech employer),

I am a (freshman/sophomore/junior/senior/gap year student) at Harvard University studying (something VERY applicable to your firm). Ever since I was a (newborn/elementary school student/unemployed millennial) I have dreamed of being able to work in (consulting/finance/tech) - indeed, (consulting/finance/tech) reflects my interest in (making money/living a corporate lifestyle/working at a brand-name firm/all of the above). I would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to use my (Microsoft Word/LinkedIn/Facebook/”Verbal Communication”) skills at your company this summer.

In my time at Harvard, I have developed strong (CS50-level coding/procrastinating in Lamont/Seattle’s Best coffee-drinking) skills that would prepare me for the (coffee-making/emailing/spreadsheet-editing) work I’d do at your company. Indeed, the company’s work aligns with my current studies in (economics/CS/government), and my previous work experience in (New York/Silicon Valley/Boston). Last summer, when I was working at (a startup/my mom’s company/my dad’s company/a research lab at Harvard), I developed meaningful work experience and honed a genuine interest in studying (financial markets/big corporate firms/big corporate tech firms).

At Harvard, I am (frequently on Facebook/lamenting my lack of sleep/complaining about the General Education program/attending networking events), which would prepare me for the work expected of interns at your firm. I am the (director/president/leader) of (HCCG/HFAC/VFG/any other acronym). In this position, I am responsible for (leading/directing/creating/driving) the team towards success. I have a strong (leadership/synergy/mentorship/any buzzword on your company’s website) ethic and am very (stressed/Type-A/tired). My (Google calendar/iCal/iPhone schedule) is meticulously (color-coded/scheduled/frequently ignored).

I have worked in small, startup environments before and am comfortable taking my own initiative. In high school, I (actually pursued my passions/was the president of at least five clubs/had drive and motivation I no longer possess), and founded my own organization that worked to (support literacy in a poor neighborhood close to my home/support literacy in a third-world country/support computer literacy among the elderly). I am really excited by the opportunities that your firm provides and believe I will be able to make a meaningful contribution this summer.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

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