OPIA Job Search Toolkit
Get answers to all your public interest job search questions at whatever stage of the process you’re in.
General Public Interest Job Search FAQs
Summer public interest job search faqs, post-grad public interest job search faqs, professionalism guide, finding the right fit.
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- Cover Letter Advice & Samples
- For Students
- Toolkit for Student Job Seekers
Cover Letter Advice and Samples
- Draft your cover letter knowing it is your first writing sample.
- Understand that a cover letter should persuade the reader.
- Use the cover letter to “connect the dots” of your experiences.
- Resist the temptation to restate your resume.
- Keep your cover letter to one page.
- Use the font style and point size that match your resume.
- Remember that the reader is busy: less is more.
- Ensure your cover letter is error free.
Cover Letter Construction
Address block and salutation.
- Address the cover letter to an actual person.
- Avoid “To whom it may concern” or “Dear hiring committee.”
- Research websites or call employer to determine recipient’s name.
- For firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. For larger firms, contact information is available at www.nalpdirectory.com and in Firm Prospects by clicking "hiring contacts.”
- Use the NALP Directory’s mail merge feature for generating multiple letters.
- In the salutation, include the recipient’s title and last name (e.g., “Dear Ms. Raintree”) or write the recipient’s entire name (e.g., “Dear Jamie Morales”).
- Tell the employer who you are and what you are seeking.
- Highlight (past, present, and future) geographic connections.
- Indicate if you have talked to students/faculty/friends/alumni who speak highly of the organization.
- Show that you understand the employer’s mission/practice, the work its attorneys do, and the clients it serves.
- Demonstrate your proven interest in and connection to that mission/practice, work, and clients.
- Describe skills you will contribute to support that mission/practice, work, and clients.
- Provide evidence from your experiences and coursework.
- List the documents included with the letter.
- Tell the employer how to get in touch with you by email, telephone, and mail.
- Convey your availability for a conversation, mentioning upcoming trips to the area.
- Thank the employer for considering you.
- Mention availability of Yale summer funding, if applicable.
- Optional: Promise that you will follow up in a few weeks if you think the employer would appreciate the diligence.
Sample Cover Letters (PDF)
First Year Student Examples | Second Year Student Examples | Third Year Student Examples
-Last updated Aug 2022
Letters of introduction are mainly used to express interest in a job that has not been advertised, while cover letters are used to express interest in a job that has been advertised.
In a letter of interest for a teaching position, include topics like the reason for an interest in the position, specific examples of qualifications as well as experience and a “thank you” paragraph with contact information.
The correct salutation on a cover letter should always include the word “Dear” followed by the contact person to whom the letter is addressed. This should be followed by either a comma or a colon, then a blank line and the first line of the...
My work with the Harvard Defenders has begun to give me experience in public interest litigation, and working at the OCR would allow me to gain experience
Use OPIA's resources to learn how to construct, revise, and send out your resume, cover letter, and any other application materials. Public Interest Resumes
The HarvardKey system, and the systems, data, and other resources that require HarvardKey authentication for access, are only for legitimate Harvard
I have attached my resume and cover letter here for your reference.
Sample Email: Dear Mr. Johnson,. I am writing to apply for a summer internship with [EMPLOYER]. Attached please find my resume, cover letter and writing sample
Pereira,” for example, in which case you can mirror the same in your cover letter. If additional research does not resolve the question, “Attorney” is an
employer would value. RESUMES AND COVER LETTERS. RESUME TIPS. RESUME LANGUAGE SHOULD BE: • Specific rather than general. • Active rather than passive.
HLS alumni may submit their resumes and cover letters for review by an OPIA
Finding the Right Fit · What is Public Interest Law? · What Do Public Interest Lawyers Do? (videos) · Self-Assessment Questions · Career & Application Guides.
Keep your cover letter to one page. · Use the font style and point size that match your resume. · Remember that the reader is busy: less is more. · Ensure your
SAMPLE 1L SUMMER ASSOCIATE COVER LETTER.