Do you have to talk about why the specific programme in your Cover Letter?

Cover letter
Edited on Sep 05, 2021
4 Answers
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Alex asked on Oct 21, 2019

So I know a typically cover letter would consist of: 1) why you, 2) why consulting, 3) why the firm. Do I need to dedicate a paragraph to why the specific programme as well (e.g. summer internship)?

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Giulia
Expert
replied on Oct 21, 2019
McKinsey Business Analyst | 3+ years Experience | MBA at LBS

Hi Alex,

I actually know that best practice with the cover letter is:

- Intro

- Why consulting and why you (you can also talk about summer internship here)

- What can I bring you that makes the valuable

- Conclusion

The third part is actually the most important because it says why you should choose me among all other candidates.

Hope it helps!

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Alex on Oct 21, 2019
Thank you for the reply Giulia! Do you also know what the best practice for who to address the cover letter to? (E.g. Dear Recruitment Manager, Dear Sir or Madam, To whom it may concern, the name of someone from your first choice recruiting team even if you're not sure they will be the one reading your cover letter) Thank you so much!
Giulia on Oct 21, 2019
Hi Alex, it’s usually better to avoid the “to whom it may concern”, because it seems “not-customised”, as if you are copy-pasting the same cover letter for all companies. The ideal is if you know who is reading it, so that you can address it directly to them. If you don’t know who’s going to read it, it’s better to opt for “Dear [company name] HR team” or directly “Dear HR team” or “Dear recruiting team” (which is the right name for MBB offices)
Alex on Oct 21, 2019
Thank you for the thoughtful response Giulia. On the point of customising it to the company, would you say finding the address of its office would also help? Or is it unnecessary for cover letters submitted through online applications? Thank you again for your help, I really appreciate it.
Giulia on Oct 21, 2019
Hi Alex, I would say it is actually not that useful since, as you said, it’s an online application. Customisation can be done a great deal in the why you though. If you have been to a presentation, talked to someone from their company, read online website/articles about them it’s worth mention it. It’s much better to read a cover letter in which someone can really relate to the company or felt inspired by one of the members rather then “I like big money and challenging careers” ;p
Alex on Oct 21, 2019
These sounds like very good suggestions, thank you so much Giulia. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into answer my questions!
Deniz
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 22, 2019
BCG | A.T. Kearney | University of Cambridge | 350+ coachees | 5+ years of consulting experience in London, Dubai and Istanbul

Hi,

My personal preference is as follows:

  • Short intro
  • Why you
  • Why this company & geography
  • Short recap

The best practice is to have your cover letter occupy 2/3 of the page and max 450 words or so, given reviewers only spend a minute to review each cover letter (in some cases they do not even look at them).

Best,

Deniz

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Alex on Oct 22, 2019
Thank you for your reply Deniz. You mentioned why the Geography as well. However, I know many firms allow you to choose multiple countries for the application. If my second location choice ended up reviewing my cover letter, do you think having a specified geography in my cover letter would be not ideal?
Marco-Alexander
CoachingPlus Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Sep 05, 2021
Former BCG | Case author for efellows book | Experience in 6 consultancies (Stern Stewart, Capgemini, KPMG, VW Con., Hor

(edited)

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Alex on Oct 22, 2019
Thank you for your reply Macro-Alexander, your answer makes a lot sense!
Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 21, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I would rather do:

  • Intro
  • Why you
  • Why the company
  • Outro

The specific program can be one of the arguments why company if it is a unique program (e.g. some industry practice). In case of an internship - it doesn't really matter.

In addition - don't waste to much time on your cover letter. They don't pay too much attention to it

Best

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Alex on Oct 22, 2019
Thanks for the advice Vlad. It's good an insider view on the importance (of the lack of importance) of the cover letter.
Giulia gave the best answer

Giulia

McKinsey Business Analyst | 3+ years Experience | MBA at LBS
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