When writing your cover letter as a student, focus on the relevant education you can apply in your target job. Also, highlight key skills you’ve gained through your degree program, such as advanced research, time management, or problem-solving. This guide will show you how to write a cover letter that helps get you interviews for your first job out of school.

Student Cover Letter Templates and Examples

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How To Write a Student Cover Letter

Your student cover letter should usually have five sections, in this order:

1. Heading

At the top of the page, include:

  • Your name and contact information
  • The date
  • The recipient’s name, title, company, and contact information (when available)

(Note: Feel free to omit this section if you send your letter by email and your contact details are part of your signature.)

Example


Liam Greene
(555) 789-1234 | [email protected] | 678 Your Street, Boston, MA 20138

Friday, August 12, 2024

Mx. Pat Martin
Hiring Manager
Biotech Engineering Inc.
(123) 456-7890
[email protected]

2. Salutation

If you can’t find the recipient’s name, use a variation of “Dear Hiring Manager.”

Examples


Dear Mr. Johnson:

Dear SSB Client Services Manager:

3. “Hook” or introduction

Catch the reader’s attention by citing an achievement from your resume or a key credential the company seeks in applicants.

Example


Recently as assistant editor of Columbia Journalism School’s student newspaper, The Bronx Beat, I redesigned our Facebook page for more timely reporting of top stories. I’d be thrilled to uphold that same standard of efficiency and innovation at your paper.

4. Body paragraph(s)

Explain why the job or employer interests you. Then, cite a few more of your key achievements or qualifications, possibly using bullet points.

Example


Your job posting jumped out at me, particularly the call for someone who “wants to build human-technology interfaces to help those stricken with disabling diseases.” During my education and work activities, I’ve gained a strong knowledge base and interest in robotics, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. Below are four more highlights from my experience to date:

  • As a research intern for Wallops NASA Flight Facility, created a program to detect conductivity that may impact satellite launch times
  • In the same role, designed prototype of Mars Mission with other research interns
  • Recently completed Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering with honors from Boston University
  • Extensive formal and independent education in data modeling and structural analysis

5. Closing

Finally, request an interview and thank the hiring manager for their time.

Example


I’d welcome the chance to speak with you further about how I can help your business grow positive client relationships. I appreciate your time and look forward to possibly hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Walter Thomas

Student Cover Letter Tips

1. Show you draw on a strong education

Start your letter with a clear example of the relevant knowledge you’ve gained through your studies. If possible, use an example that shows how you’ve applied your education in a past job, volunteer, internship, or extracurricular experience. But also feel free to name a highlight from your degree program so far. For instance, maybe you’ve earned a high-grade point average in your major. Or perhaps you recently finished an academic project that speaks to the job opening at hand.

Example


Recently as a member of Boston University’s robotics club, I co-designed a robot that won our intercollegiate competition. I’d love to uphold that same standard of quality and innovation at your engineering firm.

2. Tell why you’re attracted to the opportunity

On a separate document or sheet of paper, take 10 minutes to brainstorm why this job interests you. For example, maybe it would let you apply learning from both your major and minor concentrations. Or perhaps it relates closely to a topic you covered in your dissertation. Also, consider the company’s industry, products, or mission – do they overlap somehow with your college coursework or other experiences?

When you’re done brainstorming, review your notes: Do any stand out as important or persuasive? Take another 10 minutes to brainstorm and elaborate on them. Repeat this process until you have two or three concise sentences that speak to the job opening. By adding these to your cover letter, you can show hiring managers you read their job posting and are responding to it directly.

Example


Your job posting caught my attention, particularly the call for someone “experienced in customer relations that require tact, enthusiasm, and a strong work ethic.” Those are three core qualities I’ve demonstrated most during my school and work experience.

3. Highlight your other strengths

Add a list of bullet points to further display your relevant education and how you’ve applied it. Choose highlights that also reflect the soft skills you’ve gained, such as diligence, efficiency, focus, collaboration, or resourcefulness.

Example


Below are four highlights from my experience to date:

  • Recently completed a master’s degree with honors from Columbia University Journalism School
  • As an editorial intern for Wilkins & Wilkins (New York), polished final drafts of speeches given by the firm’s partners
  • In the same role, met 100% of deadlines for press releases and other public relations (PR) materials
  • As assistant editor of The Bronx Beat, devised a faster process for choosing and assigning student newspaper articles based on writer availability

Student Text-Only Cover Letter Templates and Examples

  • Example #1
  • Example #2
  • Example #3

Walter Thomas
(555) 123-4567 | [email protected] | 678 Your Street, Boulder, CO 98765

Friday, August 12, 2024

Mr. Matthew Johnson
Hiring Manager
SSB Client Services, Inc.
(123) 456-7890
[email protected]

Dear Mr. Johnson:

As a retail sales assistant, I recently won “Employee of the Month” for excellent customer relations and new hire training. I’d love to bring that same level of service to your company.

Your job posting caught my attention, particularly the call for someone “experienced in customer relations that require tact, enthusiasm, and a strong work ethic.” Those are three core qualities I’ve demonstrated most during my school and work experience, which include these three highlights:

  • Provided top-quality customer service as a Banana Republic retail sales assistant, helping the store earn a 97% satisfaction rating
  • In the same role, trained and coached new staff on effective sales and product promotion strategies
  • Recently finished BA degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a 3.95 GPA

I’d welcome the chance to speak with you further about how I can help your business grow positive client relationships. I appreciate your time and look forward to possibly hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Walter Thomas

Student Cover Letter Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need a cover letter for my job search?-

Yes, in most cases. Job postings today usually require or allow you to send a cover letter along with your resume. While not every hiring manager reads or prioritizes them, a well-crafted letter can only help you stand out from other applicants. It will also help you clarify what points to emphasize during the interview.

How do I write a cover letter when I’m not qualified?-

Don’t write a cover letter when you’re not qualified. Limit your search to jobs you’re generally qualified for, and never apply to a role you doubt you could satisfy.

That said, there’s room for discretion. You don’t need to meet every qualification on a job posting to be confident you’d excel, especially if you have other pertinent skills or experiences to draw on. In these cases, your cover letter can help. Toward the end of your letter, feel free to briefly acknowledge the qualification gap and explain why your other experiences compensate for it. This gives hiring managers helpful context and can motivate them to call you even if you aren’t a perfect fit on paper.

How do I professionally say I’m willing to learn?-

There’s nothing unprofessional about describing yourself as “willing to learn” on your cover letter. The problem is this phrase comes off as too vague to impress or persuade hiring managers. To capture the idea better, get specific. Give one or more examples of your training up quickly or learning new skills in past jobs, and spell out how that helped organizations achieve their goals.

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Jacob Meade

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, ACRW)

Jacob Meade is a resume writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience. His writing method centers on understanding and then expressing each person’s unique work history and strengths toward their career goal. Jacob has enjoyed working with jobseekers of all ages and career levels, finding that a clear and focused resume can help people from any walk of life. He is an Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW) with the Resume Writing Academy, and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches.

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