How to craft a great student cover letter
Unlocking the doors to your dream job as a student? It's time to unleash the power of a stellar cover letter!
While your resume showcases your qualifications, a well-crafted cover letter adds that extra punch of personality and passion. Don't let your student cover letter be an afterthought—let it be your secret weapon to make employers go "Wow!"
In this guide, we'll show you how to captivate employers, land interviews, and prove that even as a student, you've got what it takes to make a lasting impression.
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.
1. Start your student cover letter with a proper greeting
A cover letter should always include a heading that contains your name, address, professional websites or portfolios, 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In this day and age, the outdated To Whom It May Concern phrasing is no longer acceptable, so make sure to do your research!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 motivated and ambitious student with a passion for [field of interest], I am thrilled to apply for the [position] at [company]. With a strong academic foundation and a drive to learn and grow, I am confident in my ability to contribute to the success of your team.
- 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
- During my summer internship at [Company Name], I had the opportunity to work closely with a cross-functional team, where I developed strong problem-solving and communication skills. I contributed to various projects, including [specific project], where I successfully implemented [specific task], resulting in [positive outcome]. This experience taught me the value of collaboration and adaptability in a professional setting.
- As a volunteer at [Organization Name], I honed my leadership skills by organizing and leading fundraising events for local charities. Through my involvement, I developed exceptional event planning and coordination abilities, managing a team of volunteers and ensuring seamless execution of initiatives. This experience not only deepened my commitment to community service but also strengthened my organizational and interpersonal skills.
- 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 best hard and soft skills in a student cover letter
Think of hard skills as your trusty toolbox, filled with technical expertise and knowledge, ready to tackle any challenge.
But hold on, don't forget about the secret sauce: your soft skills! These are the magical ingredients that add flavor and finesse to your professional recipe. From communication sorcery to problem-solving wizardry, your unique blend of hard and soft skills will impress any potential employer.
Here are a few examples of hard skills to mention in your student cover letter
- Graphic design
- Deep knowledge of utilizing scientific equipment
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Technical skills in programming languages (e.g., Java, Python, HTML)
- Data analysis and interpretation
- Research and analytical skills
- Knowledge of project management methodologies
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
- Excellent communication skills (both verbal and written)
- Strong problem-solving abilities
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Leadership and decision-making
- Time management and organizational skills
- Attention to detail
- Positive attitude and willingness to learn
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.