When applying to internships or potential jobs, pr students face a series of questions such as:
- “Should I include a summary on my resume?”
- “Should I include a cover letter?”
- “If I have a summary on my resume, why should I have a cover letter?”
- “Why isn’t my resume not enough for the recruiter?”
No matter if you asked one or all of the questions above, here are the three reasons every public relations student should have a cover letter and submit it when applying to internships or potential jobs.
Allow the recruiter to know you’re human.
Essentially, the cover letter eliminates the summary on your resume and gives you more freedom to talk about yourself. Unlike the summary, which gives you one to two sentences to describe your objective, the cover letter gives you a few paragraphs. This is where the recruiter gets to know who you are professionally.
Tip: Don’t include a paragraph of you rambling about your dog’s love of peanut butter. Instead, include how your communication skills have helped you resolve a crisis at work or during your internship.
Stand out from the sea of applicants.
Even if a cover letter is not required in the application process, include one anyway. Employers will not take time out of their busy schedule to research you. Your resume should act as bait and your cover letter should reel them in.
When I was on a local agency tour, the CEO of the agency stated that he does not require cover letters in the application process. However, once he has narrowed down his potential choices on who to hire, he looks to see if the applicant has either sent a thank you note/email or has a cover letter.
Highlight proud accomplishments you couldn’t include on your resume.
Not every accomplishment you have can be listed on a one-page resume but it can be included in your cover letter if interesting enough. You can talk about your favorite internship and the highlights of that internship. You can also talk about the least fabulous part of your internship or job and how you made the most of it.
Tip: Remember, not only is the cover letter your place to showcase yourself as a public relations practitioner, it’s your first chance to showcase your storytelling skills to your potential boss.
Rachel-Ann Jones is a junior at Wayne State University. She is a public relations major and the assistant fundraising director of Wayne State University’s PRSSA Chapter. Upon graduation, she hopes to venture into public relations in the hospitality industry.