How your cover letter can help you land an internship

How Your Cover Letter Can Help You Land an InternshipInterning can help you set the foundation for a bright future in an industry of your choosing.

An internship is a fantastic way to kick-start your career. But to secure an offer from your top-choice company, you need to make a bold impression with your application.

Once you’ve crafted a flawless internship resume, it’s important to pair it with a persuasive cover letter that explains in detail why you’re the perfect candidate.

Companies are looking for specific traits when they choose an intern. Our insider tips for how to write a cover letter for an internship break these down so you can apply with confidence.

Tip #1. Motivation is More Important Than Experience

You don’t need extensive work experience to be an intern.

Therefore, hiring managers want to see enthusiasm and willingness to learn in cover letters for internships. These qualities suggest the candidate will take full advantage of the training they’re given.

Here are three ways to prove your motivation:

  1. Show passion by describing relevant interests
  2. Give examples of when you used initiative
  3. Don’t lie or embellish the truth

Notable school projects, extracurricular activities, volunteer efforts, or even just an interesting life experience can all potentially be your golden ticket for landing an interview.

In this example cover letter for a marketing internship, the candidate discusses how their college coursework is directly applicable to their target company. Then, they describe a campaign they designed that won third place in an industry-relevant competition.

These examples demonstrate how this candidate is eager to expand their knowledge, and that they even already possess some entrepreneurial flair.

Hiring managers know this type of person won’t waste a single moment of their internship opportunity.

Looking to showcase more abilities in your application? The best skills for your resume work equally well in your cover letter.

Tip #2. Always Go the Extra Mile

If you go above and beyond in your internship cover letter, it’s a sign that you’ll exceed expectations once you’re at the company as well.

Not all interns make coffee and organize filing cabinets. Many companies give promising candidates real projects that affect the company’s bottom line, and then go on to give them jobs in the future as well.

Cover letter for internship

Kim Isaacs, Monster resume expert How Your Cover Letter Can Help You Land an Internship

Use these cover letter tips to get an internship.

Looking for cover letter examples for internship success? You're in the right (write?) place. Writing a cover letter to get an internship can be intimidating. By using well-chosen words, you can make a good impression. While your letter needs to be customized to individual circumstances, this sample cover letter below can help an aspiring intern's cause.    

451 Highland Ave. #45 | Sometown, TX 75000 | (555) 555-5555

Jan. 5, 2017 Mr. James Crowley
Finance Manager
Acme Inc.
555 W. Applegarth Blvd.
Anytown, TX 75000 Dear Mr. Crowley: Two of your former interns, Brian Hodges and Martha Smith, suggested I contact you regarding finance internship opportunities. They are familiar with my background and felt I would be an excellent match for your summer internship program.

Currently a junior majoring in finance at UNT, I have demonstrated strong academic performance in all finance courses, maintaining a 3.5 GPA in my major.

The courses I have completed have given me a solid foundation in the tools, processes and methodologies involved in the successful analysis and management of portfolio-investment strategies.

I have a proven ability to learn challenging concepts quickly and have developed competencies in diverse areas, including:

  • Industry research/information sourcing
  • Comparative analysis
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Pro forma analysis
  • Cash-flow analysis
  • Financial modeling and asset valuation
  • Portfolio and asset management
  • Insurance plans and mutual funds
  • Retirement and estate planning
  • Tax planning and investment strategies

How to Write an Entry Level Cover Letter

Landing a job is a challenge for many professionals. Landing a job without any experience can be an even bigger challenge.

As a job seeker without any experience, it’s discouraging when you’ve applied for dozens (or hundreds) of jobs and received zero responses from employers. Although you might feel like giving up on your job search, it’s important to persevere and continue writing cover letters that will make you stand out to employers.

Here are some tips for writing a cover letter when you have little or no experience:

First Paragraph: Clearly introduce yourself.

The first paragraph is your opportunity to make a strong first impression on the employer. This section should explain who you are, the position you’re interested in and how you discovered the opportunity.

The introduction is also a great opportunity to mention any connections you have with the organization. For example, if you know a previous intern or alumni who worked for the organization, be sure to mention their name in your introduction.

For example:

“My name is Sarah and I’m a recent graduate from Purdue University. I graduated in December with a B.A. in communications and a minor in marketing. An alumni forwarded me a job posting about your Associate Marketer position at ABC Media Group. I’m highly interested in this opportunity because I’d make a great fit for your agency.”

Second Paragraph: Talk about your relevant skills and accomplishments.

This section is the biggest challenge for job seekers with little or no experience. It’s also the section where many job seekers make mistakes because they don’t know how to highlight their relevant skills and classroom experience.

As you explain why you’re qualified for the position, it’s important to connect the dots with the employer. For instance, if you didn’t have a marketing internship but you’ve gained a lot of marketing experience through a part-time job in student services, you could highlight the communications skills and experience you gained through that position.

For example:

“I realize you’re looking for a candidate with strong written and oral communications skills, as well as experience with event planning and strategy development.

As an office assistant in Purdue’s Office of Student Life, I was responsible for planning and promoting campus movie nights for students.

This project required me to promote the event on social media, send email blasts to students and design flyers to post around campus.”

Third Paragraph: Highlight your best qualities and explain why you’re a good fit.

Most employers want to hire candidates who are creative team players with strong time management skills. Although you consider yourself a great fit for the position, you need to use examples that illustrate why you’re a good fit for the job. The reality is, simply stating that you have excellent time management skills and a knack for leadership won’t land you a job.

When talking about your qualities, it’s important to talk about real-life examples. The key point to remember here is to make sure your examples are succinct and visual.

For example:

“During my final semester at Purdue, I led a group of three students to create a marketing campaign for an animal shelter in Indianapolis.

I was responsible for leading brainstorming sessions, communicating with our client and editing the final version of the campaign.

Through this project, I learned how to collaborate with others and work effectively in a team in order to accomplish a common goal.”

Fourth Paragraph: Conclude with a call to action.

The final paragraph is the section that will seal the deal for a job interview. You want to leave a lasting impression on the reader, so make sure your conclusion is confident, upbeat and encourages the hiring manager to get in touch with you.

For example:

“With the combination of my marketing experience and leadership skills, I’m confident I’d make a great fit for this position. Thank you for taking the time to review my application and consider me as a candidate. I will follow up next Wednesday to schedule a time to talk with you more about this position. I look forward to hearing from you soon!”

After you’ve proofread the cover letter and are confident it’s error-free, you’re ready to send it to the hiring manager.

Make sure you’ve included a header at the top of the document including your contact information and a shortened URL for your LinkedIn account. Once the document is ready, save it as a PDF and attach to an email for the hiring manager.

This will ensure the formatting of your cover letter doesn’t change once it’s downloaded by the recipient.

Just because you don’t have experience doesn’t mean you can’t write a stellar cover letter. By following these tips, you’ll write a cover letter that gets you noticed by employers and land your first entry-level job.

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How Your Cover Letter Can Help You Land an Internship

How Your Cover Letter Can Help You Land an Internship

Internships are a valuable opportunity for college students to build their portfolio and gain the essential skills for success in their career field.

When you apply for an internship, employers typically require the submission of a resume and references.

Sometimes employers list a cover letter as optional, but a great cover letter can be an integral factor in setting you apart from other candidates.

When composing your cover letter, it's essential to understand how to present yourself in a way that shows your full potential. Keep reading to learn how your cover letter can help you land an internship.

Your cover letter can provide you with an extra advantage

As a college student, it can often be challenging to build a portfolio of relevant work opportunities to present to prospective employers. When your resume might not fully showcase all you bring to the table, a cover letter can help employers gain valuable insight into your potential.

During the interview process, internship employers want to know how you will fit into the everyday culture of the company. Employers are often most interested in applicants that show drive and dedication from the start of the application process.

That includes taking the extra time and effort to compose and submit a cover letter. If you use your cover letter as an opportunity to set yourself apart by telling your story and showing how it relates to their mission, you'll stand out.

Important elements to include in your cover letter

Research the company or organization to send a cover letter specific to the position you're applying for. If there's a description of the role, read it carefully for insights that will help you convey how you could benefit the company. Think about ways that your experience and goals match up with the company's mission and what they're looking for in an intern.

In your letter, begin by introducing yourself and stating what position you're seeking. Be specific, especially if there's more than one internship position available. Briefly discuss your schooling and any relevant coursework you've taken. Then, move quickly into explaining why this opportunity personally resonates with you.

Think about ways that your experience and goals match up with the company's mission and what they're looking for in an intern.

Keep your letter brief—a page or less—and make it consistent with your resume in terms of font, formatting, and other visual elements. You'll appear polished and professional.

Use your cover letter to illustrate your interest in the company or organization

Be sure to explain why you're interested in interning at this company. What do they offer that's a unique opportunity or excellent learning experience? How do you feel this position will help you achieve your long-term goals? Addressing these questions will give them a better understanding of your career trajectory and show that you're serious about this position.

Even though you're using this letter to introduce yourself, it's a great opportunity to present yourself as a good fit for this specific employer.

Even though you're using this letter to introduce yourself, it's a great opportunity to present yourself as a good fit for this specific employer. It's important to describe yourself in relation to their needs, and include only relevant work, classes, and volunteer experience.

Submitting a cover letter with your resume can showcase to potential employers that you're serious about this position and your career field. Use your cover letter as an opportunity to display your interest in the company, their mission, and the doors this position could open up for your future.

Lora Wegman is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

Cover Letter for an Internship: Examples & Tips for All Interns

  • A good internship cover letter must convince the employer you’ve got the skills, willingness, and determination to succeed in your internship role.
  • All the more so as companies tend to offer jobs to those who gained internship experience with them.
  • Don't worry.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a cover letter for internship positions that will get you more interviews than any cover letter you’ve written in the past. Plus, you’ll get to see two full-length internship cover letter examples you can copy, tweak, and adjust to your needs.

Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.

Internship Cover Letter for a Resume—See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here.

One of our users, Nikos, had this to say:

[I used] a nice template I found on Zety. My resume is now one page long, not three. With the same stuff.

Create your resume now

  1. Send your cover letter for internship positions along with an internship resume that proves you’re the #1 pick. See our guide: How to Write an Internship Resume
  2. Looking for a specific internship cover letter? See:
  3. Let's start with the cover letter samples for an internship, and then we'll show you how to make yours just as amazing.
  4. The first sample internship cover letter is aimed at a position with a corporate financial institution—notice how the formal tone of this cover letter reflects a more “traditional” company culture.

Sample Cover Letter for an Internship

  • Peter Thurlow
  • 4938 Spruce Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA, 90045
  • 555-321-123-45

[email protected]

  1. 10 October, 2019
  2. James Watkins
  3. Head of Human Resources
  4. TD Finance
  5. 551 Massachusetts Avenue
  6. Los Angeles, CA, 90024
  7. 444-345-543-12

[email protected]

Dear Mr. Watkins,

I was truly elated when my student project on cash flow improvement won the first prize in a local business club contest. Two months after that, my solution was implemented at a construction company where it cut change orders processing time by 20%.

I must admit it was no random win, though. I always had a strong desire to pursue a career as a leader in the finance function.

As I believe the only way of reaching this goal is through adopting a results-oriented attitude reflected in initiative and accountability, I used my time at university to develop these.

I also gained hands-on quantitative, analytical, and problem-solving skills by completing such courses as:

  • Statistical Inference in Management 
  • Analytical Methods for Business
  • Business Communication

Cover Letter for an Internship Samples and Writing Tips

Image by Emilie Dunphy © The Balance 2019

If you are applying for an internship, you will likely have to submit a cover letter as part of your application. Your cover letter should be tailored to the specific internship and should include examples from your work, academic, and extracurricular experiences.

Read below for tips on writing an internship cover letter, and review a sample cover letter for an internship.

Use proper business letter format when sending a cover letter by mail. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the contact information for the employer.

Be sure to provide a proper salutation, and sign your name at the bottom. If you are sending the cover letter via email, you do not have to include the contact information at the top.

Instead, place this as part of your email signature at the end of your letter.

Make sure to write a unique cover letter for each internship for which you apply. Highlight skills and abilities you have that relate to the specific internship listing. The main emphasis of your cover letter should be convincing the reader that you will be an asset as an intern.

One way to individualize your letter is to use keywords from the internship listing. For example, if the listing says the intern needs to have excellent “time management skills,” include an example of how you have demonstrated time management skills in the past.

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If you say that you have a particular skill or ability in your cover letter, be sure to prove this with a specific example from your past work, academic, or extracurricular experience.

In the letter, you can mention academic experience, if applicable. Especially if you have limited work experience, you might use examples from school to demonstrate that you have particular skills. For example, if the internship requires you to work as part of a team, provide an example of a successful team project you worked on during one of your college courses.

You can also include details about your relevant experience from extracurricular activities or volunteer work. For example, a reporter for a college newspaper can point to interviewing and writing skills; a history of volunteering at a shelter can provide an example of strong interpersonal and organizational skills.

Towards the end of your letter, say how you will follow up with the employer. You might say that you will call the office to follow up in about a week (don't follow up any sooner). However, do not include this if the internship listing specifically says not to contact the office.

Be sure to thoroughly proofread your cover letter for spelling and grammar errors. Many internships are very competitive, and any error can hurt your chances of getting an interview. Also, avoid using too many words to convey your information and intent. Keep your points brief and targeted.

© The Balance 2018

  • Joseph Q. Applicant123 Main StreetAnytown, CA 12345555-555-5555
  • [email protected]
  • September 1, 2018
  • Jane SmithDirector, Human ResourcesBC Labs123 Business Rd.
  • Business City, NY 54321
  • Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing to apply for the scientific research summer internship position that was listed in the Anytown University Career Services Office. I believe my research and conservation experience make me an ideal candidate.

I have had a great deal of research experience in chemistry, biology, and geology, both in the lab and in the field. Most of my experience is in environmental field studies.

I am currently conducting research in our school's outdoor laboratory to assess the water quality of a nearby pond.

I know water quality assessment is a component of this internship, and I know my previous experience makes me a prime candidate for this.

Last summer, I worked as a conservation assistant at the National Trust's Clumber Park. Along with trail maintenance and building, I also served as a research assistant for the research organization at the park.

I conducted an analysis of soil samples, and input data from various research projects. I received a special commendation from the director of the research organization for my attention to detail and dedication to research.

I believe that I would be an asset to your program. This internship would provide me with the ideal opportunity to assist your organization and to expand my research skills.

I will call next week to see if you agree that my qualifications seem to be a match for the position. If so, I hope to schedule an interview at a mutually convenient time. I look forward to speaking with you.

Thank you for your consideration,


Joseph Q. Applicant (signature hard copy letter)Joseph Q. Applicant

  1. Subject: Liz Lerner – Marketing Intern Position
  2. Dear Mr. Peters,
  3. It is was with much interest that I read your posting on the ABC College job board inviting applications for a marketing internship at Brand Solutions Inc.
  4. As an honors student in marketing, I have successfully completed upper-division coursework in marketing management, print and online advertising, social media management, and data analysis that has provided me with a firm understanding of rising market strategies and technologies.

How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship

As a student, you don’t have a lot of time in the day that isn’t already eaten up by classes, problem sets, essays, extracurriculars, sports, hackathons, research, dance performances…the list goes on. Applying for any kind of job is time consuming (not to mention nerve-racking), so when you see a job posting where the cover letter is optional, you might be tempted to skip it. Not so fast!

If you’re looking at internships, it probably means you don’t have a ton of work experience to set you apart from other candidates. Or perhaps you do have some experience, but it’s not the most relevant or as obviously related.

The cover letter is exactly the place for you to make a case for yourself. This is where you can connect the dots for the recruiter and tell the story that your resume can’t on its own.

(How does competitive ballroom dancing connect with being a management consultant?) And, if nothing else, it’s a chance to get across your excitement.

While it can certainly help to check out some general cover letter tips and read through some examples, here are some specific pointers on how to make the most of a cover letter for an internship.

1. Make It All About the Company

Step one is to introduce yourself and why you’re interested in this particular internship. As a student, you’ll probably instinctively want to write about all the things you’re excited to learn on the job.

Including some of that is fine, but remember that applying for an internship at a company isn’t the same as applying for college. Companies are more invested in what you have to offer them than what they have to offer you.

Or, put more bluntly, they have no reason to care about you yet. You have to give them one.

A better way to show your enthusiasm is to be specific about why you’re interested in this company. What makes it special? Is their product one of a kind or solving an important problem in a unique way? Are they working toward a particular mission that resonates with you?

Avoid being impressed in a generic way. If you can say the same thing about another company then you’re not being specific enough. In other words, don’t say: “I’m impressed that Company X is a market leader in clean-tech.” Instead, say: “Company X’s unique approach to removing plastic pollution from the ocean by using currents and robotic traps is fascinating.”

It can feel a little weird to be too fawning, but it’s fine in small doses. After all, companies have internships because they are trying to create a recruiting pipeline, so letting them know you’re a fan of their work or at least very interested in the industry is a good idea. You want them to know that you’re worth training and investing in—that you’re going to stick around.

2. Mention Relevant Projects, Extracurriculars, and Classes

In a typical cover letter, the next step would be to write about all your relevant experience. But perhaps this internship you’re applying for is the relevant experience you’re hoping you can write about one day. So what do you write about today?

It’s okay to have no directly relevant work experience.

The next best thing is to choose two examples of things you’ve done that are as closely related to the role as possible and then to go into detail about the parts of the work that are most relevant.

You’re trying to tell a story and you want the reader to understand that the next logical step in it is the exact internship you’re applying for. You want to give the reader an “It all makes sense!” moment.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Your resume represents an essential component of the job and internship application process.

The resume includes information relevant to the opportunity you are pursuing and provides the connection between your education, experiences, and skills to the employer and industry of interest. Your resume can also (and should be) a part of your online brand.

What story does your online brand tell about your professional skills and experience? Get comprehensive information, guidelines and assistance on our Resume page.

Cover Letters

A cover letter is often required by employers when submitting a resume for a job or internship.

See also:  When are double words ok?

Cover letters represent a one-page document that highlights your writing style, contains no spelling and grammatical errors, and includes your most relevant coursework, experiences, and skills to the opportunity of interest. Get comprehensive information, guidelines and assistance on our Cover Letter Guide page.

Resume Drop-In Hours & Coaching Appointments

Drop-In Coaching – Stop by our office and meet with a Career Coach during a 15-minute drop-in for assistance with resume and cover letter writing, interviewing strategies, researching careers or learning about LACS resources.

  If you are just getting started with career services, beginning your resume or cover letter, or polishing your application materials, drop-ins are for you! Click on the link above for our current drop-in advising schedule.

Please note that we offer only scheduled appointments during the summer, winter, and spring breaks.

Coaching Appointments – After your drop-in advising session, schedule an appointment with a career coach to learn more about how your resume can help you land a job or internship. Your coach can help in other areas as well, including researching careers and improving your interviewing skills. Please contact our office at 512-471-7900 to schedule an appointment.

Cover Letters & Other Correspondence

One of the most common forms of professional correspondence is the cover letter, which employers typically request with your resume when you apply for a position. This page provides guidance on writing a cover letter and introduces other important forms of correspondence.


Types of Letters/Correspondence

  • Cover Letter:  Accompanies your resume when you apply for a position.
  • Acceptance Letter: Written to accept a job offer and confirm the terms of employment.
  • Withdrawal Letter: Graciously informs an employer that you are withdrawing from further consideration.
  • Informational Interviewing/Networking Letter: Attempts to expand your network and gain insight into a specific job function, industry, or company.
  • Thank You Letter: Expresses appreciation to anyone who has helped you in connection with your job search. In the case of a job interview, it is an opportunity to reinforce your interest in the position, clarify something that you said during the interview, or highlight something that you failed to mention.
  • Statement of Purpose:  A statement of purpose is sometimes requested for formal applications. A well-written statement will articulate your intent for applying, future aspirations, and learning objectives; it will also showcase your personality through its writing style.

Tip: Proofread Carefully – Errors can be “Deal-Breakers”

The Cover Letter: Format & Content

Note: Check out this OCS 2-minute cover letter video for additional cover letter tips

The cover letter is your personal introduction to a prospective employer that outlines your interest in the position and the organization and expresses why you are qualified.

While your resume lists all of your relevant experiences and associated skills and accomplishments, your cover letter makes an explicit connection between the 2-3 most relevant skills you have that match the skills an employer is looking for as listed in the position description.

Each cover letter should be tailored to a specific job description and organization. Demonstrate what you know about the organization/industry and why you are a good fit.

Show how you meet the required qualifications for that particular job by emphasizing your 2-3 strongest skills; where possible, make a direct connection between those skills and how you could use them to accomplish what is required for the position.

Use confident language, write in an active voice, and, except in rare circumstances, limit your letter to one page.

Tip: Before you begin, ask yourself these four questions

  • What is the employer looking for in a candidate?
  • What skills/attributes do you have that match the skills/attributes that an employer wants?
  • Why do you want to work for them? 
  • Why this position?

Remember, an employer is trying to match the skills they need with the skills you have, so where possible, use key words from the job/internship description and weave them into your cover letter.

Cover Letter Format

  • Same font as your resume, sized within 1pt (larger, not smaller)
  • One page in length, left justified, margins ideally 1”
  • For consistency, consider using the same header on your cover letter that you use on your resume
  • Top of letter: date, employer name, contact information (if you are short on space, remove the employer name/contact info and only include the date)
  • Formal salutation (person's name, if possible)
  • End of the letter: your name and contact information (your contact information is not necessary if you include it in the header)

Cover Letter Framework

  • Opening Paragraph: Introduce yourself. Who are you (e.g. rising senior at Yale studying Anthropology)? For what internship/job are you applying? Why do you want to work for that employer (e.g. draw a connection between who you are and why you are a good fit with this employer)? End your introduction with a short ‘thesis statement’ that highlights the 2-3 related skills that will enable you to contribute to this position (e.g. My experience conducting statistical analysis combined with my ability to take an initiative make me a strong fit for this position).
  • Middle Paragraph(s): Start each supporting paragraph with a topic sentence that highlights one of the 2-3 skills you have that relates to the position for which you are applying; use the rest of the paragraph to showcase examples of that skill. Where possible, show how that skill will help you accomplish what is required for the position. Do not simply restate your resume; use the cover letter to expand on your resume and help your prospective employer make sense of your skills. 
  • Concluding Paragraph: Summarize your qualifications and reiterate your interest in the employer. Invite them to speak with you further regarding how your qualifications align with their mission and purpose.

Overall Elements of a Strong Cover Letter

  • Tailored to the employer and position – makes a connection
  • Focuses on 2-3 skills that match the skillset the employer is looking for
  • Uses specific examples rather than a string of generalities
  • Varies sentence structure, is well-written, keeps the reader’s attention and flows well
  • Has genuine tone, demonstrating style and personality
  • Is confident, not cocky
  • Complements, instead of repeats, the resume

Frequently Asked Correspondence Questions

FAQ: How should I address the letter if I don't have a contact name at the organization?

Always try to address a correspondence to a specific person rather than “To Whom It May Concern.” If you do not have a name, call the organization to try to get one or check out the OCS Employer Directory within the Yale Career Link to see if OCS has a contact name. Be sure you have the person’s full name, correct spelling of their name, and current title.

FAQ: How should I address the letter if I'm not sure of the recipient's gender?

Start each letter with a salutation (i.e., Dear Ms. Employer:). If you are unsure about the recipient’s gender, type out the full time (i.e., Dear Pat Pollen:).

FAQ: How much of my contact information should I include?

All letters require your return address, including telephone number and e-mail address, the date, and the full name, title and address of the recipient.

FAQ: How long should the letter be?

In general, your letter should contain no more than three to four paragraphs, with double space between paragraphs. The introductory and concluding paragraphs should be between one and three sentences, and the body paragraphs should be between three and five sentences. Vary the sentence length and structure throughout your letter to ensure a smoother flow.

FAQ: How should I close the letter?

Close your letter with Sincerely, Yours truly, or Best regards, followed by your name.

If you are submitting a hard copy, use resume-quality paper, and sign each letter individually (leave four returned blank lines before your typed name). Make sure the letter looks professional.

Align all of your information to the left margin, and use a clear, easy to read font, such as Arial or Times New Roman.

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