How Can I Build a Winning Cover Letter for a Student Job?

How Can I Build a Winning Cover Letter for a Student Job? was originally published on The Campus Career Coach.

Milinda from New Mexico State University asks:

“What would be an example of a good cover letter for a student job?”

Thanks for your question, Milinda.  Writing a cover letter for a student job is no different than for a full-time, entry-level job you pursue in the future.

Here are some basic guidelines to use when developing your cover letter content:

Address your cover letter to a specific person.

Begin with “Dear Mr. or Ms.”, followed by the last name of the person and a colon (i.e. Dear Mr. Smith:).

Don’t use the first name of the addressee as it is too impersonal.  If you really want the position, exhaust all ways of finding a contact name before going generic (i.e. do some research).  When you have to use a generic salutation, use “Dear Hiring Manager:”.

COVER LETTER SECTIONS

1st Paragraph – The Hook (get them interested)

Clearly and concisely express who you are, what you are writing them about, and where you heard about the position.  Also, consider adding a “hook” – something that will get the reader interested and more likely to continue reading.

Example:  “I am a sophomore international business student at New Mexico State University and I am writing in regards to your marketing internship posted on your company’s website.  With over two years of experience building brands through internships at Fortune 500 companies, I possess the experience and drive to produce immediate results for your team.”

2nd Paragraph – Your Value Proposition (show how you fit)

Show you are qualified for the job.  Summarize your relevant background, mention specific skills and experiences you have that are applicate to the position.  If you are replying to a posted advertisement, then make sure to incorporate keywords used in their specific posting.

Example:  “As a member of Student-Athlete Advisory Board, I have extensive experience researching key constituent / customer issues, collaborating with others to develop potential solutions, and implementing effective solutions with measurable improvements.  I understand your company uses SalesForce CRM and I have been using this software the last two years.”

3rd Paragraph – Research Company (show your interest and research)

Demonstrate your knowledge of the company and why it interests you.  This is where you subtly let them know you’ve done your research, and you are certain you would make a good fit.

Example:  “This must be a very exciting time for ABC Enterprises, as you make the transition into infrared technology.  I have been researching this type of work, and when I read about your latest project on LinkedIn, I immediately searched for job openings at your Las Cruces location, where most of your testing and prototyping is being done.  By combining my marketing background with my computer knowledge, I am confident my skills would meet your needs.”

4th Paragraph – Request for Interview/Closing Paragraph (indicate interest in interviewing for position)

Encourage further communication.  Mention that your resume is attached or enclosed, and that you are interested in learning more about the position, as well as their company.  Offer days and/or times that would be most convenient, and tell them how eager you are to learn more about their needs.

Example:  “I’ve attached my resume for your consideration.  I would enjoy having the opportunity to learn more about your specific needs while discussing the relevance of my background and accomplishments through an interview.  Please feel free to contact me at 561.555.1212 or via e-mail at emailaddress@email.com at your convenience to schedule a date and time to meet. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Student Name”

EXAMPLE COVER LETTER

March 1, 20xx

Mr. Richard Smith
Vice President of Business Development
ABC Company
111 Anywhere Street
Las Cruces, NM  11111

Dear Mr. Smith:

Most people start studying business administration in college, but I got my start when I was 12 years old as I developed a seasonal beverage/refreshment business.  I am now a 2nd year Business Administration student at New Mexico State University engaging my passion for growing businesses, while pursuing my bachelor’s degree.  I learned about ABC Company’s internship program through Interships.com and I am eagerly applying for your position.

It all began when I set up a lemonade stand in my family’s front yard, when my dad taught me how to market my lemonade stand to increase sales.  He, along with other relatives, offered on-going advice on how to reduce expenses, while growing sales.  I am proud to report that I made over $1,000 dollars during my two months as a 12-year-old selling lemonade.

At New Mexico State University, when I am not competing as a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball team and tutoring 8th grade students in geometry, I spend my free time with the Investment Club, working on growing our group’s investment holdings and portfolio.  I would enjoy the opportunity to speak with you about these experiences, while describing how I am certain I could contribute to the internship program at ABC Company.

I applied on-line through your web portal, however, I also attached my resume for your consideration.  I look forward to speaking with you about my qualifications.  If you need any additional information, you can reach me by calling 954-555-1212 or via e-mail at email@email.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Joe Student

Putting It All Together

Most job seekers, especially college students, spend very little time crafting powerful cover letters. Recognize that a well-written cover letter has the power to get the reader more interested in your story, which is closer to landing the interview.  Spend time researching the company, while building a “hook” to get them interested.  Also, make sure to have others proofread your work before sending the letter.  Your career center can provide this assistance in addition to others whom you trust.  You’ve got this, Milinda!

Good luck and best wishes!

Here’s to your success,

Bob Nealon