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Practicums are formal work positions similar to internships that, as with other jobs, require a cover letter. To write a practicum letter, individuals have to get data about the position and company, compare the company needs to what they can provide, include contact information, explain why they are writing and how they are qualified, how they will meet the demands of the practicum, request an interview while inviting correspondence, and provide a formal closing that details any enclosures. This is not much different than writing a general job cover letter. The letter should be no more than one to two pages in length.
A practicum letter, similar to other job cover letters, always should be tailored to the organization or agency at which the person wants to work. Thus, the first step in writing one of these documents is to get some information not only about the available practicum position, but also about the company or agency in general. Looking at company products and services, the business mission statement, and even the company's current stock price are all good ways to ascertain how the business is doing and how the practicum duties fit into the overall scope of the agency's objectives.
Next, look at the practicum posting in depth, identifying the exact skills, knowledge or abilities a successful candidate should have for the position. This allows a person to compare what the company wants to what she can offer. The goal is to demonstrate to the company that the candidate is a good fit given her education and experience.
Once a person has figured out the skills, knowledge and abilities she has that match the company requirements, it's time to get to the physical writing of the practicum letter. As a formal correspondence, the document should have one inch margins, have a minimum of 12 point font, and use block paragraphs with single line spacing. The contact information for the candidate should be included, either left justified at the top of the letter or left justified underneath the candidate's typed name at the bottom. The recipient's contact information always goes at the top, under the candidate's address if provided. The letter also should have date and subject lines, as well as an opening salutation addressed to a specific person.
The first paragraph of a practicum letter serves to explain the purpose of the letter and how the candidate heard of the practicum position. This paragraph expresses interest in working for the company, as well. The second paragraph is where the candidate can go into greater detail about her education, experience and skills, linking them to what the company requires from applicants. Some of this section may be expressed with bullet points if desired, but the content always should describe what the candidate has achieved or can do and with whom, rather than who the candidate is — that is, use verbs, not adjectives and adjective phrases.
After it is clear the candidate is qualified and a good fit for the practicum position, the candidate should clarify details of the practicum, such as start and end dates or degree requirements. She should explain how she can comply with these details, such as receiving her bachelor's degree the month prior to the start of the practicum session. If there are potential conflicts, the candidate should discuss how she intends to resolve those issues.
The last paragraph of a practicum letter expresses that, given everything else the candidate has discussed, she feels she is a good fit for the practicum and would enjoy the opportunity to interview for the work. This section also expresses gratitude to the recipient for taking the time to read and consider the letter, explaining the best way to contact the candidate. If the practicum posting required a resume or other documentation for application to the position, the last paragraph notes that these items are included with the letter, as well.
The last elements of a practicum letter are the closing phrase, such as "Sincerely," the candidate's full name, and an enclosure line indicating the number or type of enclosures, if any. Following inclusion of these elements, the candidate should proofread the letter for typographical and grammatical errors. At this point, the letter is ready to print and send.
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