How to craft a great student cover letter
A cover letter is the first thing an employer will look at in a submitted application and it will determine whether they’ll consider calling you back for an interview.
Cover letters remain an important component of any job application that gives you the opportunity to get ahead of the competition.
And so, whether you’re at the beginning or nearing the end of your academic journey, a great student cover letter presents the ideal introduction and an extended interpretation of your experience.
The purpose of a great student cover letter
While your official resume contains a condensed account of your previous work positions, skillset, and other relevant accomplishments, a cover letter offers a more detailed interpretation of your experience and applied competencies.
Although not often required, attaching a cover letter to your resume will demonstrate professionalism and a preview of what you could eventually bring to the role.
In a single page, you’ll be able to explain what makes you a perfect candidate for the role and the skillset you can bring to the table.
Having a hard time getting started? This simplified guide offers a few simple steps to ensure an impressionable cover letter for any recruiter.
1. Start your student cover letter with a proper greeting
A cover letter should always include a heading that contains your name, address, and date in a similar format as other professional letters.
Most LinkedIn job posts will include the name of the hiring manager to whom the letter should be addressed to, so make sure you obtain this information from the get-go.
Here are 2 examples of personalized student cover letter greetings
- Dear Mr. Jack Green,
- Dear Hiring Manager Joe Johnson,
If a name is not provided, start your letter with Dear Hiring Manager, or Dear Sir or Madam.
In this day and age, the outdated To Whom It May Concern phrasing is no longer acceptable, so make sure to do your research!
2. Open your student cover letter with a strong introduction
Your introduction should be strong and captivating in as little as one to three sentences.
Express your enthusiasm for the role and why you would be an ideal candidate. Some companies may have multiple job postings at a time, so make sure to address the specific position you are applying to within the first sentence.
As a good rule of thumb, make sure to submit an original, tailored-made cover letter to each job you are applying to.
Here are a few examples of strong student cover letter introductions
As a highly motivated student with over 3 years of experience in the digital arts, I am excited to apply to [insert role name].
As a third-year undergraduate student with an extensive background in accounting, I am eager to pursue the [insert role name] at your organization.
3. Mention what attracted you to the role
Before applying to a job, it is best practice to commit some time to researching the company or organization you are applying to.
What is their mission? Do their values align with yours? What attracts you to their particular industry? Is there something you admire about their line of work?
This information will offer a bit of insight into your interests and will help recruiters determine if you fit into their company culture. Include this information within your introductory paragraph.
Here’s an example to get you started
I am eager to take part in your company’s mission to provide high quality products while advancing sustainable, eco-friendly home solutions.
4. Detail your previous work and academic experience in a student cover letter
The second paragraph of your cover letter should be devoted to explaining what makes you a great candidate for the role.
Detail the relevant experience that you’ve gained from previous jobs, internships, or volunteer positions concisely. Don’t be modest. Even that three-month administrative internship at your local library taught you an array of customer service and organizational skills.
Detail your most recent, and most impressive accomplishments first and avoid being redundant.
Tailor your responses to the specific skills and experience the recruiter is looking for in any specific job post.
Here are a few examples of how to detail your previous experience
At my previous sales associate role, I leveraged customer service skills and time management to help achieve our daily sales goals.
At my previous role of editor for the student-run newspaper, I gained valuable skills in writing, proofreading, time management and communication.
5. Highlight your hard and soft skills in a student cover letter
What’s the difference between hard and soft skills? Hard skills are learned by experience, either through training, education, and previous job positions.
Here are a few examples of hard skills to mention in your student cover letter
- Graphic design
- Deep knowledge of utilizing scientific equipment
- Recording and analyzing research data
On the other hand, soft skills are those that come naturally and can vary by individual.
Here are a few examples of soft skills to mention in your student cover letter
- Time management
Make sure to add a little bit of both to your second paragraph as a means to enhance your range and versatility.
Feeling stuck? It’s always good practice to refer to the original job post to see pinpoint the specifics skills required for the role and highlight those you already possess.
6. End your student cover letter with a strong concluding statement
The concluding paragraph is almost as important as the introductory paragraph. The goal is to leave a memorable impression that stands out from other applicants.
In a few sentences, summarize your experience and enthusiasm for the role and remind them why they should consider you for the role.
Don’t be afraid to ask for an interview and make sure to thank the recruiter for their time and consideration. Include the best way for the recruiter to contact you, whether it be your phone number, email address, or both.
At the end, use a professional sign-off phrase like “Sincerely” or “Best Regards.”
Here’s an example of an effective concluding statement for your student cover letter
Finally, I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my qualifications in further detail. I can be reached at 555-555-55555 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.