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An honest cover letter


Dear Selection Committee,

I am writing to apply for the internship position listed on your website for the summer of 2018. I was particularly excited to learn of this opening as it aligns perfectly with a niche area of academic study about which I have just now, serendipitously, decided I am passionate. I have excitedly pursued a number of related topics in my recent courses, which is to say that I am almost certain that I read — okay, was assigned — books that mentioned these subjects tangentially.

I won’t bore you with meticulously glamorized anecdotes about past research and educational experiences that prove just how prepared I am for this position because, to be frank, I don’t have any. However, like any good millennial, I can confidently and truthfully say that I have beyond sufficient practice with one qualification mentioned in the job description: social media. There’s just one catch: You’re going to have to blindly trust me when I tell you that I am a social media mastermind.

To do justice to my expertise would necessitate revealing to you, my (possible) future employer, that the Facebook page which I grew from its conception to a record high of more than 110,000 likes was a One Direction fanpage. So the fact that I finessed a six-figure audience and leveraged my social media clout to secure online sponsors (which provided me with — you guessed it — free One Direction merchandise) will have to go unsaid. The unfortunate truth is that my only relevant, marketable accomplishment is a byproduct of my 13-year-old self’s major thing for Harry Styles. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you also don’t care that Ariana Grande and Austin Mahone follow me on Twitter, but that’s a story for another time anyway.

The truth is that I have no hard evidence that definitively proves any level of interest in your organization or its mission. How am I supposed to cultivate a cohesive, on-brand academic profile when I could be taking classes like ancient athletics or social dance instead? Pardon me for believing everyone when they assured me that as long as I made it through my first quarter at Stanford with a decent GPA, I’d have CEOs falling at my feet. Instead, I’m just hoping this letter makes its way to you before all of this year’s graduating seniors give up on their dream starting salaries and resign themselves to the same applicant pool that I’m trying to infiltrate.

Thank you so much for taking the time to review my application. I would love to speak with you further about this opportunity to contribute to your company or about any other open positions for which I am equally unqualified. I look forward to hearing from you soon, though my current response rate suggests that it’s a long shot. I wonder why.


Contact Jackie O’Neil at jroneil ‘at’

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Jackie O'Neil '21 is a senior staff writer and the former Managing Editor of the Grind for Volumes 255 and 256. She's a Richmond, Virginia native who loves constitutional history, pretending to be a serious triathlete, waking up at the crack of dawn and Gilmore Girls – in no particular order. Contact her at jroneil 'at'