Getting a Studio Internship — Cover Letter (Part 1)

Hey, folks. Matthew Weiss here — weiss-sound.com, theproaudiofiles.com/members and mixthru.co.

We’re going to do something a little different in this tutorial. We are going to be talking about getting internships.

Alright, so this first segment is going to be about sending a cover letter. Why do we send a cover letter and a resume? Well, there’s a lot of reasons, because of what they do, but ultimately, the reason why you want to send a cover letter and a resume is because that’s what you do when you’re applying for a professional position.

You see, the thing is being on the hiring side, I’ve learned that what I’m really looking for is somebody who actually takes it — truly takes it — seriously.

So when you send a cover letter, just the fact that you are actually sending a cover letter is already going to put you ahead of about 50% of the people who send in internship requests.

I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true! Half of the people who are applying are just simply not writing cover letters.

Now, I’m going to read you this cover letter that was sent to me a number of years back. It’s an example of a cover letter that I thought was very good. There’s a couple of tiny little things that maybe would be improved, but overall, this is certainly going to be something that will get me to do the next step, which is read the resume, and that’s really what the cover letter is for. It’s an informal advertisement of who you are and why you want the job that gets me to read your resume.

Alright, here we go. “Dear Mr. Weiss.”

So number one, he’s addressing me by name and properly. He’s spelled my name properly, and he said Mr. Weiss. He’s addressing me in a professional way. Again, I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous, but I’d say about a third of the internship requests I’ve gotten over the years have not put my name down correctly.

Okay, “My name is [blank], and I am inquiring about interning with your organization, Weiss Sound this summer. I am looking for an internship to gain experience that I can not get in a classroom. After researching your website, I noticed that I am familiar with some of your clients, particularly Random.

“I have previously worked with Mr. Jarbo, producing one of his early MegaRan songs, so I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with an engineer who has credits with established artists, and thus has knowledge to share.”

Alright. So the very first thing that you want to do, at the top of your cover letter — and this is fantastic. This guy nailed it. Make it clear why you want to work with me personally.

Now, when I say me, I sort of mean the universal me. Whenever you’re applying to a particular studio, make it clear why you want to work at that studio. One thing that I guarantee you all of the hiring managers hate to see, is a generic cover letter that looks like it was just being sent out to every studio in town. That’s a very quick way to get your cover letter and resume trashed.

Alright, so this is great. He’s relating to me, he’s speaking to what he’s looking for, and why me in particular.

Alright, “I am currently a Broadcasting, Telecommunications, and Mass Media major at Temple University, specifically in the Recording Industry program, but my experience extends further than the school I attend. For eight years, I have experience recording, producing, and mixing music for independent artists and myself, with extensive knowledge of both digital and analog recording equipment. In addition to engineering knowledge, I am a hard worker and very eager to learn. One of my strengths is being able to adapt to new systems easily, and I am confident that I can be of help to you in a professional manner. In addition, I am easy to get along with, while still being a hard worker. I love being in a studio environment, and part of a team dedicated to music, and I believe this internship will be a great benefit to both of us.”

Alright, so my two little nitpicks are there is a grammatical error. He left out the word, “a,” and this is a little bit wordy. But these are very small things. This would not dissuade me from having an interview and going over this person’s resume.

This is great. You know, he’s making the things clear. The things that I would want to hear. He has an interest in the field, he’s studying it on several levels, he can probably shorten up some of that, but he’s also making it very clear that he is a hard worker who is eager to learn, and learns quickly.

That’s really important. He wants to be part of the team, he wants to learn, and he wants to get involved. This is what I want to hear. This is somebody who is going to take it seriously, someone who sees the benefit for them, and then also says that there will be a benefit for me.

“I believe this internship will be a great benefit to both of us.” Okay, well why is that? Because I’m a hard worker. Great. Cool.

“Attached is my resume detailing skills and accomplishments in and out of music. I would love to meet face to face and will contact you in a week about a possible interview, if you think I am a good fit. If possible, I would also like to send you a few songs I have done producing other artists. I feel that they would give a better insight into my abilities, and if you have any further questions regarding my resume, please feel free to contact me by e-mail or phone at [blank]. Thank you for your consideration, sincerely, [blank].”

So again, a couple of things, because this is a little long for a cover letter, but I would say leave out the part about “I would also like to send you a few songs.”

If the person that you are requesting an internship from wants to hear your work, they will ask for it, but usually, people volunteer their work too much, and that’s not really necessary. The other side of it, and this sounds harsh, but nobody on the hiring side actually cares what your music sounds like.

It’s not that we don’t care, it’s that it doesn’t really matter in terms of what we’re going to expect of you in an internship. We expect you to do things that are not necessarily musically related to make our lives easier, and in turn, we hope to foster your musical growth.

So whatever your songs are sounding like, we will learn that as time goes on. I do like that he says I will follow up with you in a week. I think the phrasing of it is a little overly assertive, but again, this is not something that would ever dissuade me from going further with this particular cover letter, and I think that it’s just solid.

At the end of the day, what I’ve really seen reading this cover letter is that this is a person who is taking this seriously and wants to be professional, and that’s the most important thing that I can get from it.

So this is a great example. You guys can use this as a template as a general idea of what you want to do. Relate to the person that you’re trying to get hired by, explain briefly where you’re at in terms of skill and what you will do for the person who would hire you, and conclude it with, “Here’s my resume, I’d like hopefully to have an interview, and I plan to follow up.”

Alright. Until next time, guys.

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss is a Grammy nominated and Spellemann Award winning audio engineer from Philadelphia. Matthew has mixed songs for Snoop, Sonny Digital, Gorilla Zoe, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development, 9th Wonder, !llmind & more. Get in touch: Weiss-Sound.com.
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