You’ve spent years in school, and now it’s time to transition into the working world. But how do you convey all of those grades, skills, and academic experiences on one sheet of paper? Don’t worry – our guide will help you answer that question.
Review expert tips for writing a compelling cover letter worth the read. First, learn how to write your own and then provide cover letter examples student candidates can use for inspiration. Then, we’ll introduce you to the best jobs for entry-level job seekers and where to find them.
How Do You Create a Student Cover Letter?
Many hiring managers understand the unique challenges of looking for a job as a student and are ready to take on new graduates. According to a recent study, more than 50% of the hiring managers surveyed say they plan to increase hiring efforts for entry-level candidates.
But with limited work experience, how do you approach writing a cover letter?
As a student, you’ll take a different approach than that of a seasoned professional. Instead of detailing an established career, focus on your relevant:
- Academic achievements
- Part-time gigs
- Volunteer work
Think about which aspects of your experience best relate to the position you’re applying for, and write about your abilities with confidence. Draw a connection between what you’ve accomplished at school, as an intern, a barista, or a tutor, for example, and the requirements of this new position. Our college cover letter guide provides deeper insight into how to do this as a college student.
Student cover letter templates
The goal is to present yourself as the best person for the job. Study the job posting and identify how you and your abilities match the list of required skills and experience. Then, pull those keywords from the job posting to use in your document. As you write your cover letter, work these keywords into your narrative. Explore our comprehensive guide to learn more about how to write the best student cover letter.
What Can You Do? Common Entry-Level and Student Jobs
Companies of all kinds are often in search of interns, assistants, clerks, and customer service representatives to help them with tasks that keep daily operations running smoothly.
- Administrative clerk: Find out what it takes to run an office smoothly. Put your organizational skills to the test and learn how to handle databases, schedule appointments, or maintain a filing system. Get a job in nearly any industry with this role. Law firms, government agencies, retailers, and clinics often need clerical assistance.
- Customer service representative: Develop your interpersonal skills like conflict resolution and communication in this position. As a go-to person for inquiries and problem-solving, you’ll help customers better understand the products or services they’ve purchased. From retail to health care, you can find customer support positions in most sectors.
- Marketing intern: Learn how different organizations promote their products, services, and brands. You’ll likely be conducting market research, creating content, and managing social media profiles, among other things. Startups, marketing agencies, tech companies, and nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are well known for hiring interns.
- Research intern: Team up with researchers and scholars to gather data and analyze information. Be part of the advancement of academic and scientific knowledge as you further research initiatives. Collect data for universities, medical schools, NPOs, or private companies through experiments, observations, surveys, and interviews.
- Sales associate: If you’re looking for another customer-centric position, consider a role in sales. Learn about products and services, understand customer needs, and provide recommendations to make a sale. Build your skills of persuasion and learn how to upsell and cross-sell through excellent customer service. Retailers are usually on the lookout for fresh sales talent.
Where Can You Work? The Best Entry-Level Employers
These large, prestigious organizations are where you’ll find opportunities for career development and upward growth. We’ve researched the best entry-level employers for students – now all you have to do is apply.
- Goldman Sachs: Founded in New York City over 150 years ago, Goldman Sachs is one of the most prominent and prestigious investment banks in the world. Boost your career with this well-known organization and learn from top finance professionals. The company’s career section for students advertises exploratory, internship, and full-time opportunities.
- Johnson & Johnson: As one of the largest health care companies in the world, Johnson & Johnson operates in three major sectors: pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer health. From research and development to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and design, the company’s full-time student roles are designed for those with or in pursuit of bachelor’s degrees or higher.
- Patagonia: Best known for its outdoor gear and clothing, Patagonia is a retailer with a commitment to environmental sustainability. If you want to work for a socially responsible organization, this is the place to be. Whether in-store or at headquarters, full-time roles and paid internship programs are available across a range of departments.
- Salesforce: This leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform and software company is a great option for those interested in the tech field. With a strong focus on continuous learning and development, Salesforce is great for students and recent grads. Find a role as an employee or intern within sales, marketing, customer service, or software development.
- Walt Disney Company: Work for the world’s largest and most iconic entertainment company within marketing, finance, engineering, animation, hospitality, and more. Disney prioritizes employee development, making this a great learning opportunity for students and graduates. If you’re passionate about storytelling, find a job or internship at one of many Disney locations.
Where Should You Look for Work? Entry-Level Job Boards
When you’re ready to start your job search, you can always look at the large national job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter. But did you know there are job sites dedicated to helping students and new graduates find work?
In the section below, we’ve put together a list of top entry-level job boards you can use to bolster your job search.
Connecting entry-level job seekers and employers since 1999, AfterCollege is a simple, user-friendly site where you can find jobs and internships. Before users apply, they can learn more about company culture, benefits, and employee experiences.
To get alerts and updates about the latest jobs in your area, use the “Create a Job Alert” tool. Select positions by job title and location. Then, provide an email address, and you’ll get job alerts sent directly to your inbox. Learn more by browsing the AfterCollege website.
For over 30 years, College Recruiter has bridged the gap between the world’s largest employers and students or recent graduates. Today, the company uses artificial intelligence (AI)-powered search to connect over 12 million job seekers each year with the latest internships, part-time positions, and entry-level jobs.
Browse the website’s collection of resources to prepare yourself for your job search. Then, once you’re ready to start looking, set up job alerts to be notified of the latest openings that match your search criteria.
If you’re looking for an opportunity within the nonprofit and social impact sectors, Idealist can help. Find a rewarding position where you can further social justice, environmental advocacy, education, and more.
Navigate the site by using the tabs at the top of their homepage to explore jobs, internships, volunteer work, and organizations partnering with Idealist. Make a difference while earning valuable experiences with one of their tens of thousands of opportunities.
USAJobs Pathways Recent Grad Program
If you’re interested in working for the government, USAJobs offers a structured career path within its federal agencies and departments. There are multiple programs offered for students at varying stages of educational development:
- College Graduate Hiring Authority
- Internship Program
- Pathways Recent Graduates Program
- Post-Secondary Student Hiring Authority
- Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program
Check out the USAJobs Pathways Program page to learn more about these opportunities and discover an even larger list of programs.
WayUp was founded by friends JJ and Liz, whose dream job is helping students and recent graduates find their dream jobs. This company helps early-career professionals find internships, part-time work, and entry-level positions.
WayUp also partners with universities and colleges to provide exclusive job listings and internship opportunities. Visit this unique career platform to create a free account and find your next position.
Frequently Asked Questions About Student Cover Letters
Do students need a cover letter?-
In most cases, yes. Anyone who applies for a job or internship should be prepared to write a cover letter. Whether or not you include one will depend on what each job posting says.
Employers will either require them, make them optional, exclude them, or give no instructions at all. Even if cover letters are only an option or you’re not sure, it’s best to include one. Unless it’s asked that you do not include a cover letter, always take the opportunity to introduce yourself and express interest.
Should you include GPA in a cover letter?-
Your resume is typically the place for your GPA, not your cover letter. Unless you’re applying for an academic position or internship program in a competitive field, you don’t need to include it.
Instead, show your commitment to high performance through achievements. Discuss your academic accomplishments, positive feedback from professors or managers, or leadership roles in extracurricular activities.
Can I use the same cover letter for all of my applications?-
Technically speaking, avoid copying and pasting the same cover letter for every job or internship you apply for. The main point of this document is to make a unique connection with the organization and show how you would be a great addition to their team.
However, you don’t need to start from scratch every time. You’re probably safe to keep some portions of your letter the same while editing or rewriting other portions for each application. If you go this route, double-check names and job titles. Avoid missing an opportunity because you sent a letter addressed to the wrong company or person.
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