Three lucky Ohio Wesleyan University students earned cash for their employment or internship cover letters at an awards ceremony held October 24 during the University’s alumni-student “Munch and Mingle” luncheon.
The winner and runners-up received $200, $100, and $50 respectively, for their well-written cover letters. The contest was open to current juniors and seniors, and applicants were able to submit new cover letters or letters used for past jobs and internships.
Senior Kate Hudson, an English major and education minor from Delaware, Ohio, won first place with a letter for a paid teaching position.
Emily Webb, a pre-professional zoology and environmental studies double major from Troy, Michigan, received second place with a letter for an internship.
Senior Eilee Foley, a psychology and women’s and gender studies double major from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, finished in third with a letter for an internship.
“It’s fantastic,” Hudson said of her first-place award. “It’s great to know that I have a cover letter that’s appreciated that I can use for the future. Beyond that, the $200 is great because now I’m a little bit closer to paying off those licensure tests for the education department.”
She wrote the letter as part of her English 310 Writing for the Workplace course, and plans to submit it with an application to work at a KIPP Academy, which are schools committed to helping “students from educationally underserved communities develop the knowledge, skills, character and habits needed to succeed in college and the competitive world beyond.”
Hudson and her fellow award recipients were selected by members of the OWU Alumni Board, Office of Career Services, and Sagan Writing Center. The top letters will be posted on the career services’ website and writing center wiki as examples of creative, effective cover letters.
Judging criteria included the basics – grammar, punctuation, spelling – as well as the letter’s composition and relevance to the position being sought. For guidance, students had access to career service samples, and they were required to have their letters reviewed by a faculty member or by either career services or writing center staff before submitting them.
“One of the things (we) wanted to do is make sure students are prepared well in advance to start applying for positions,” said Leslie Melton, director of career services.
The new contest was organized by Melton and Jim Stull, coordinator of advising for the Sagan Writing Center. “The purpose of the program is to motivate students to start thinking about the process a little bit earlier,” she said.