The Cover Letter Charade

Writing has always been a source of comfort for me—a way to express myself free from the judgment of others.  Ever since my mom bought me that rhinestone-studded diary in third grade (yes, I was “that girl”), I have used writing to convert my scattered thoughts into comprehensible beliefs. There is something about just me, a pen, and a piece of paper that puts my mind at ease.

However, my benevolent relationship with writing has been tragically severed this semester. *Enter summer internship search stage left*.  As I draft cover letter after cover letter, I find myself increasingly irritated by the writing process. The standard “cover letter formula” completely strips away the liberation in writing. It constricts me to robotic sentences like “I am confident I can make valuable contributions to your future initiatives” that I would never write otherwise. I loathe the fraudulent nature of it all. The purity and authenticity I once cherished has now been replaced with vacuous, pretentious, sentences.

While I understand some structure is necessary, the complete lack of flexibility seems absurd.  The purpose of a cover letter is to provide the reader a glimpse of your values, goals, and achievements. It seems counterintuitive to require such formality. Why can’t we step outside the box and convey who we truly are? If you ask me, we should scrap cover letter standards and let creativity rule. Then again, what do I know—I’m an unemployed undergrad.

Sarah Holt

About BentleyWritingCenter

This is the official blog of the Bentley University Writing Center staff.
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