"ASK HR" is our advice column where we answer readers' questions about pressing work dilemmas, job search queries, resumes, and navigating Hollywood. If you have a career-related question, email us, and the answer could appear in a future newsletter! All submissions will remain anonymous.
Dear Hollywood Resumes,
I applied for an internship at my dream company, but not in my dream department. About a week later, another posting went up, this time in a department that's more aligned with my ultimate goals, but I'm not sure if it sends the wrong message if I apply. And if I apply, should I send in a fresh cover letter? I'd love to work for this company one way or another, and it's a fairly small firm (under 30 employees), so I think either internship would be valuable long-term, but I also don't want to nix my chances by submitting for two internships! Help!
-- Doubting a Double Down
Dear Doubting a Double Down,
There's certainly reason to be wary of seeming inauthentic if you apply to multiple jobs in different departments at a company -- for instance, if you say in one cover letter that your goal is to be a marketing executive, but in the other, you write that your dream is to handle post-production services, it'll be clear to the hiring team that you're either lying or not really committed to a path. But that's more of an issue later on in your career once you've established a clear trajectory, or if you're applying to a large company like a studio and inundating their HR portal with hundreds of resumes for unrelated jobs. But in this case, you're applying for an internship, so it's fairly reasonable to assume that you're interested in learning about multiple areas of the industry. Plus, you call this company your "dream" company -- presumably, there's something specific about this firm's work or culture that speaks to you. That's great! Companies want to hire interns (and full-time employees!) that really want to be there, and you've got that box checked.
The question is, how do you convey to the hiring manager what you've conveyed to us? First, you can assume that at such a small company, there's either one internship coordinator or that the departments talk to each other. If you can, reach out to the person who posted the second internship and let them know you recently applied for an internship in Department A, read about the posting in Department B, and would love to be considered for either because you're passionate about the company. Here's where you briefly reference what makes this company your dream company (and we do mean brief; don't expound on all the ways the work they're doing is changing society, because you're not actually privy to the inner workings of the company). If the posting is generic, and you can't find a direct contact, (although, at a small company, you should be able to do some LinkedIn research to find the right person and figure out their direct contact info), tweak your initial cover letter to include your interest in both internships. If there's something specific about your skills that would make you an asset to Department B that you didn't reference in your previous letter, feel free to add that in as well.
-- Angela & Cindy