How to write a great cover letter for your internship at NPR Visuals

We want to see your best work.

Here’s how.

Cover letters

All candidates must submit a cover letter. Your cover letter should be a statement of purpose. We’re interested in what you’re passionate about and why you’re passionate about it. (Most cover letters tell us that you are hardworking, passionate and talented, etc. And that you love NPR. We don’t need you to tell us that.)

  • Tell us what you care about and work on.
  • Tell us why you are passionate about your work.
  • Tell us why this opportunity will help you reach your potential.
  • Tell us how you will contribute to our team.

There are also a few simple style tips you should keep in mind:

  • Use hyperlinks for any reference to online work. We’re mostly reading your work on our computers, and being able to click a link saves a lot of time.
  • Export your resume, cover letter, and all other documents as PDF. PDF is more secure and portable than Microsoft Word files.

Other expectations

  • Photo internship candidates must have a portfolio.
  • Programming/design candidates with either projects on Github or a personal site are strongly preferred.

Selection process

After you submit a resume and cover letter, our selection committee will read through all the applications. We’ll reduce the list to approximately 8-10 candidates by eliminating applications that don’t have a cover letter and resume or who clearly aren’t a good fit for the team.

If you’re one of these candidates, two or three folks from the Visuals team will conduct a short Skype interview with you. Our interviews usually last 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the applicant pool and our availability.

You’ll get an email before your interview with outline of the questions you’ll be asked in the interview and also given the opportunity to ask any questions beforehand. The questions may vary a bit from interview to interview based on your professional experience, but we will be as consistent as possible.

If you make it to the interview round, we’ll collect references if you haven’t uploaded them already. Then we’ll call your references and conduct some follow-up via email, possibly asking one or two more substantial, interview-style questions. Email communication is crucial in our workplace, and gives us an opportunity to see how you communicate in writing. We expect that answers are prompt, succinct, and clear.

We’ll follow up with all of our finalists with some constructive criticism about their application and interview. While we can’t promise to follow up with all applicants who meet the basic requirements, we will try to provide feedback to everyone who applies.

Who we are

We’re a small group of photographers, videographers, photo editors, developers and designers in the NPR newsroom who make visual journalism. (Yeah, NPR is a radio thing, and yeah, it’s weird sometimes.) Check out our latest stuff!

Why we’re doing this

Everyone on the Visuals team wants to open our field to the best people out there, but the process doesn’t always work that way. So we’re trying to make the job application process more accessible.

Applicants with strong cover letters and good interview skills naturally tend to do well in this process. Often, those skills are a result of coaching and support — something that not all students are privileged to have. To help candidates without those resources, we’re being more transparent about our process and expectations.

We’re certain that we’re missing out on candidates with great talent and potential who don’t have that kind of support in their lives. We think knowing our cover letter expectations and interview questions ahead of time will help level the playing field, keep our personal bias out of the interview process, and allow better comparisons between candidates.

Current positions

Check out our careers site for much more info on dates, pay, etc.

We hope to hear from you!

Never miss a gig

Join the Visuals Gigs mailing list to get an email when we post internships and full-time jobs.

Your membership will be kept confidential.

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