A Cover Letter... What's That?
A cover letter is your face to the company. It is addressed to a person at the company when possible and always accompanies your résumé. It is an opportunity to let your potential employer know more about you than just what is on the résumé.
Use the cover letter to express yourself, your passion for working at the company, and as an example of your writing skills. You want to reflect on how your skills and experiences match the needs and interests of your potential employer, as well as the requirements for the position. Always send a cover letter with your résumé - even if the job description does not specifically say to.
Things to keep in mind as you write a cover letter
- Research the company of interest. Find out about the services offered and the logistics of the job so that you can tailor your letter to that position and company.
- Focus on what you can do for the employer, not how this job will benefit you as an employee. What makes you stand out from other applicants?
- The desired length of a cover letter should be one page. You may consider using the same heading on your cover letter as you did on your resume for consistency and style. This can help you stand out in the crowd.
- Font size should be 10-12 point in Arial or Times New Roman font type consistent with style used on your résumé.
- Salary Requirements: Visit the Career and Internship Center to review nationwide average salary data for new graduates if you are asked to include this in your cover letter.
- Print your cover letter on the same bond paper that you used for your résumé.
- Don't forget to sign your name at the end. Make sure to use either blue or black ink.
- Neatness counts! Proof well for typing or grammar errors and use only clean copies of your cover letter.
The staff in the Career and Internship Center are happy to provide assistance as you develop your cover letter and provide critical review as needed. Contact us!
ACM: Chicago Program
ACM Chicago Program
Subjects: The ACM Chicago Program engages students academically, professionally, and personally with the city of Chicago. The primary areas of emphasis in the program are Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Urban Studies – students have the opportunity to explore one of these topics in depth, or participate in classwork and projects across these disciplines. The program offers an innovative mix of academic work, including an internship, independent study project, common core course about the city of Chicago, and a variety of seminars focused on the arts and creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, and urban studies and social justice. Students are able to explore the vital issues facing cities and the people who live and work in them, while digging deeper to relate these issues to their personal lives, education, and career aspirations.
The program is offered in both the fall and spring semester, and students earn a full semester worth of academic credit.
Prerequisities: 2.7 GPA, junior-level standing and demonstrated maturity.
Length: Fall or Spring Semester
Credit: 4.00 Albion units (16 semester hours). 1.0 unit internship, 1.0 unit core course, 1.0 units seminar course, 1.0 unit independent study project.
Housing: Students live with other Chicago Program participants in furnished, shared apartments in various neighborhoods throughout the city of Chicago. While locations may vary each semester, apartments are located close to public transportation and a variety of amenities. The neighborhoods where students live are an integral part of the program, as students get involved with local community organizations and examine neighborhood issues as part of their classes.
Cost: Students pay Albion College tuition, plus the ACM program fee (which covers housing, field trips, some instructional materials, and a local transportation pass for the semester).
Costs Not Covered by Albion: Meals, travel to and from Chicago, materials and supplies, cultural events/entertainment, and miscellaneous personal expenses. For more information, go to the ACM Chicago Program cost page
Laurel Draudt, Robinson 106A,
Patrick McLean, Robinson 201B,
Comments: The ACM Chicago Program is open to students of any major. While the internship component of the program is important, the Chicago Program offers a balanced curriculum of two classes focused on Chicago, an independent study project (ISP), and the internship. The ISP gives students the chance to pursue a topic that relates to their personal and/or academic interests during the semester, and can take many forms, depending on the project. For examples of recent projects, see this resource page. The Chicago Program has a long history dating back to 1969, with over 5,000 alumni of the program.
Emily Gaul (
11 E. Adams Street, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60603
Addressing Illegal Questions
Various federal, state, and local laws regulate the questions a prospective employer can ask you. Questions must relate to the job for which you are applying!
You have options if you are asked an illegal question
- Choose to answer the question knowing you are providing information that isn't job related. You take the risk that a "wrong" answer could harm your chances for a position.
- Refust to answer the question. You will be within your rights, but you may come off as uncooperative or confrontational which could put off potential employers.
- Examine the intent behind the question and respond with an answer to this. For example, if you are asked if you are married or engaged, you might choose to respond that your personal life allows you to meet all the requirements for the position.
Questions that might be asked - illegally and legally
National Origin / Citizenship
Employers are allowed to ask if you are authorized to work in the US. They are not allowed to ask if you are a US citizen, were born in the US, or your native language.
Employers are allowed to ask if you are over the age of 18. They are not allowed to ask how old you are, your birthdate, or the year your graduated from college if it isn't on your résumé.
Marital / Family Status
Employers need to know if you are able to perform the requirements of the job - including working overtime, relocating, or traveling if necessary. These questions should be asked directly. They are not allowed to ask about your marital status, children, or daycare arrangements so they can make assumptions if you are able to meet these requirements.
The social organizations or clubs you belong to are personal. The employer may aks if your membership in any organization might be relevant to your ability to perform the job.
Your height and weight is personal. The employer's right is restricted to knowing if you can fulfill the physical requirements of the position (e.g., lifting a 50-pound weight).
Employers are not allowed to ask if you are disabled or for your, or your family's, medical history. They may ask if you are able to perform the essential functions of the job and even request you demonstrate job-related functions. Once hired, companies are allowed to have you undergo a physical examination. Results are confidential with the exception that medical/safety personnel may be notified of conditions which could require medical treatment and supervisors regarding the needed accommodations.
For more information on when and how to disclose a disability, check out The National Organization on Disability and National Mental Health Center.
Employers are not allowed to ask if you have been arrested but may ask if you been convicted of a crime that is resonably related to the performance of the job.
Employers are not allowed to ask if you were honorably discharged from the military. They must limit their questions to the branch of service or training and education received during your time in the military.
Mentoring and Success at Albion College
Who is an Albion Mentor?
Albion Mentors are Albion alumni, friends, and parents who have successfully navigated college and careers. They enjoy the personal satisfaction of contributing to a student’s growth and the challenge of relating to today’s Albion students. Mentors play a variety of roles, from offering basic advice about a job search to sharing critical insights on career readiness. Combined with assistance from the Career and Internship Center, mentoring can create a powerful environment for student success.
Mentor/Student Relationships: Expectations and Guidelines
The Albion College mentoring program uses the strengths of the Linkedin network, Albion alumni, and supporters. The Albion Mentoring Linkedin group is a subgroup of the Albion College Official Linkedin group. You will need to be granted permission to be a part of the Mentoring group and will be expected to adhere to strong ethical standards to participate.
Topics that may be covered within a mentoring relationship may be as simple as questions about how to communicate a skill in a resume. Students and mentors may form longer term mentoring relationships that cover choice of career, success in college, and success after college.
Getting Matched with a Mentor
The matching process will materialize in one of a few ways: the public arena of the Linkedin group or through a student reaching out to a specific mentor that is a member of the group. Public postings allow the Career and Internship Center, Alumni, and Parent Leadership offices to monitor and facilitate matches.
Steps for Connecting with a Mentor
- Make sure your Linkedin profile is up to date and professional.
- Join the Albion College Official Group on Linkedin.
- Request to join the Albion College Mentoring Group within the Albion College Official Group (located by clicking on the More tab and then Subgroups).
- Post questions or topics where you would like assistance to the group. This could be a request to be contacted by a mentor or a question for the group. Your posts may look something like the following examples:
- “I am a junior majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Art. I would like to connect with someone with a similar background to help me explore career options.”
- “I am a sophomore majoring in Philosophy and I have not yet chosen a minor. I would like to ask the group their thoughts on this topic.”
- “I am looking for a mentoring relationship as I prepare for my junior year with aspirations of going to law school.”
- “I live in the Detroit area, and I would like to work in marketing after I graduate. Is there someone in the group that I could meet with while I am home during Thanksgiving Break?”
- Make sure that you always follow-up with mentor communications.
- When appropriate, foster a longer-term relationship by providing updates once per semester to mentors.
Mentors are not official representatives of Albion College. Make sure to exercise care and be an educated consumer of information.
Terminating the Mentor/Mentee Relationship
There is no formal process to terminate the mentoring relationship. At any time, either the mentor or the student can indicate that contact is no longer necessary. Both the mentor and the student is expected to respect the wishes of the party requesting termination.