Cover Letter Examples for Students and Recent Graduates
The Balance / Luyi Wang
- Cover Letters
- Skills & Keywords
- Salary & Benefits
- Letters & Emails
- Job Listings
- Job Interviews
- Career Advice
- Work-From-Home Jobs
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
College graduate cover letter example, student / recent graduate cover letter templates, student and recent graduate cover letter samples, how to write a cover letter, cover letter format and presentation tips.
If you're a student or a new grad, you may not have much experience in the workforce. This can make building a resume and writing a cover letter challenging. After all, if you haven't worked previously, what information can you include in these two documents?
Fortunately, on-the-job experience is not the only thing that shows your abilities. Here's guidance on what to include in your resume and cover letter, along with cover letter examples and cover letter templates are designed especially for high school students, as well as for college students and recent graduates seeking employment.
Academic Achievements and Extracurricular Activities
You can mention volunteer work, academic achievements, participation in clubs or activities (particularly those in which you held leadership roles), and internships. Your academic background is also an asset. Include details that are relevant to the position you want (use the job description as your guide to the qualities and training the employer seeks).
GPA and Honors
If you are an honors student with a GPA higher than 3.5, it is a good idea to mention this on a cover letter as well, along with any honors societies you have been inducted into.
Skills and Abilities
Other things you can mention are soft skills—interpersonal “people” skills like creative thinking, communication, teamwork, or time management that will help you to adapt easily to the people and clients or customers you will be working with.
Your goal in this cover letter is to show how you would be an asset to the company, describing the skills you bring that would allow you to perform well in the position.
Below, you'll find a list of student cover letters, listed by position and level of experience, to help you develop your own cover letter.
Watch Now: 7 Tips for Finding Your First Job
You can use this sample as a model to write a college graduate cover letter. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.
College Graduate Cover Letter Example (Text Version)
Lucy Applicant 123 Main Street Anytown, CA 12345
October 18, 2021
Eric Lee Media Director Kansai Collaborative Arts 123 Business Rd. Business City, NY 54321
Dear Mr. Lee:
I am writing to you to express interest in the graphic design position as advertised on Indeed.com. As a recent graduate with experience in 3-D animation software and the Adobe suite of software, I believe I am a strong candidate for a position at Kansai Collaborative Arts.
During my time at the University of Northern State, I was awarded the top prize in the student design competition for my version of an app that would allow students to learn Japanese characters on their own time.
In addition to graduating with a 3.75 GPA, I spent a semester at a university in Japan, and I have strong conversational skills in the Japanese language. I believe this would be an asset, as I know your studio does a lot of collaborations with major design studios in Japan.
Although I am a recent college graduate, my maturity, artistic skills, ability to work with others, and knowledge of the Japanese language and culture will make me an asset to your studio.
I have enclosed my resume and will email you within the next week to see if we can arrange a time to speak further. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Before you can begin writing your cover letter, it's important to know the guidelines governing these letters. Unlike a casual email to a friend, there are set standards for how to greet recipients, organize the letter's content, and much more. That's where templates can help: they allow you to know what information to put where, and they help you format your letter correctly. Review the templates below:
- Cover Letter Format
- Cover Letter Template
- Email Cover Letter Template
- Email Cover Letter Sample
- Cover Letter Sample: General
- Cover Letter Sample: Block Format
- Microsoft Word Cover Letter Templates
These lists of cover letters include both general examples that will help you format your letter, as well as sample cover letters used to apply for specific positions, such as roles as a nanny or a marketing assistant.
Do not copy these sample letters—instead, use them as a guide to help you know what kind of information to include, and how to format your letter.
Entry-Level Cover Letters
Have a look at these samples to see how best to present your experience when applying for an entry-level job.
- Entry Level Inquiry Letter
- Cover Letter Sample: Entry-Level
Student Cover Letters
As a student, the information you should emphasize in your cover letter will vary depending upon your level of education. Here are examples of effective cover letters created for students at the high school, college, and graduate levels.
- Recent College Graduate Sample #1
- Recent College Graduate Sample #2
- Response to Job Posting
- College Senior
- Graduate Student
- Networking Letter
Job-Specific Cover Letters
These cover letter samples target specific career fields. They demonstrate how to incorporate industry-specific keywords into your narrative.
- Email Cover Letter - Psychology Job
- Internship Cover Letter
- Finance Internship Program
- Entry Level Marketing
Cover Letters for Summer and Part-Time Jobs
Being able to write an enthusiastic and informative cover letter will set you apart from your competition when you apply for summer or part-time jobs while you’re still in school.
Make sure you send your cover letter and resume as soon as possible after a job is announced—these opportunities are snatched up quickly.
These samples can be modified to both summer and part-time work.
- Part-Time Job
- Summer Assistant Job
- Email Summer Job
- Summer Job #1
- Summer Job #2
- Summer Job Email Message
- Camp Counselor
- Email Editorial Assistant
- Sales Associate
- Summer Camp
This guide to writing a cover letter will walk you through everything you need to know to write a cover letter, including what to include in the letter, how to write it, and the proper cover letter format. Plus, find out about how to write a targeted cover letter and browse through additional cover letter samples and examples.
Here are cover letter tips and techniques for writing top-notch cover letters to send with your resume, including information about cover letter format and presentation, choosing a type of cover letter, writing custom cover letters, and cover letter examples and templates.
- Marketing Cover Letter Example and Writing Tips
- Student Resume Examples, Templates, and Writing Tips
- Teaching Assistant Cover Letter Samples
- Retail Cover Letter Examples and Writing Tips
- Admissions Counselor Cover Letter and Resume Examples
- Speech Pathologist Resume and Cover Letter Examples
- Consulting Cover Letter Samples and Writing Tips
- Academic Recommendation Letter Examples and Writing Tips
- Social Worker Cover Letter and Resume Sample
- Resume and Cover Letter Examples Listed By Job
- Tutor Resume and Cover Letter Examples
- Academic Advisor Cover Letter Sample and Writing Tips
- Entry-Level Finance Cover Letter and Resume Samples
- Software Developer Cover Letter and Resume Example
- Receptionist Cover Letter Examples and Writing Tips
- Cover Letter Examples for Sales and Marketing Jobs
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Academic Cover Letters
What is this handout about.
The long list of application materials required for many academic teaching jobs can be daunting. This handout will help you tackle one of the most important components: the cover letter or letter of interest. Here you will learn about writing and revising cover letters for academic teaching jobs in the United States of America.
What is an academic cover letter?
An academic cover letter describes your experiences and interest as a candidate for a specific position. It introduces you to the hiring committee and demonstrates how your academic background fits with the description of the position.
What do cover letters for academic teaching jobs typically contain?
At their most basic level, academic cover letters accomplish three things: one, they express your interest in the job; two, they provide a brief synopsis of your research and teaching; and three, they summarize your past experiences and achievements to illustrate your competence for the job. For early-career scholars, cover letters are typically no more than two pages (up to four pages for senior scholars). Occasionally, a third page may make sense for an early-career scholar if the application does not require a separate teaching statement and/or research statement. Digital versions of cover letters often contain hyperlinks to your CV or portfolio page. For some fields, cover letters may also include examples of your work, including music, popular articles, and other multimedia related to your research, service, or teaching available online. Typically, letters appear on departmental or university letterhead and include your signature. Above all, a strong cover letter presents your accomplishments and your familiarity with the institution and with the position.
How should I prepare to write my academic cover letter?
Like all writing, composing a cover letter is a process. The process may be as short as a few hours or as long as several weeks, but at the end the letter should present you as a strong candidate for the job. The following section has tips and questions for thinking through each stage of this writing process. You don’t need to answer all of these questions to write the letter; they are meant to help you brainstorm ideas.
Before you begin writing your cover letter, consider researching the institution, the department, and the student population. Incorporating all three aspects in your letter will help convey your interest in the position.
Get to know the institution. When crafting your cover letter, be aware of the type of institution to which you are applying. Knowing how the institution presents itself can help you tailor your letter and make it more specific.
- Where is the institution located?
- Is it on a quarter-system or semester-system?
- What type of institution is it? Is it an R1? Is it an R2? Is it a liberal arts college? Is it an HBCU? Is it a community college? A private high school?
- What is the institution’s culture? Is it teaching-focused or research-focused? Does it privilege experiential learning? Does it value faculty involvement outside the classroom? Is it affiliated with a specific religious tradition?
- Does it have any specific institutional commitments?
- How does the institution advocate for involvement in its local community?
- What are the professional development opportunities for new and junior faculty?
Learn about the department. Knowing the specific culture and needs of the department can help you reach your audience: the department members who will be reading your documents and vetting you as a candidate.
- Who is on the search committee? Who is the search committee chair?
- What is the official name of the department?
- Which different subfields make up the department?
- Is it a dual appointment or a position in a dual department?
- How does the department participate in specific types of student outreach?
- Does the department have graduate students? Does it offer a terminal Master’s degree, Ph.D., or both? How large are the cohorts? How are they funded?
- Does the department encourage or engage in interdisciplinary work?
- Does the majority of the department favor certain theoretical or methodological approaches?
- Does the department have partnerships with local institutions? If so, which ones?
- Is the department attempting to fill a specific vacancy, or is it an entirely new position?
- What are the typical course offerings in the department? Which courses might you be expected to teach? What courses might you be able to provide that are not currently available?
Consider the students. The search committee will often consider how you approach instructing and mentoring the student body. Sometimes committees will even reserve a position for a student or solicit student feedback on a candidate:
- What populations constitute the majority of the undergraduate population?
- Have there been any shifts in the student population recently?
- Do students largely come from in-state or out-of-state?
- Is there an international student population? If so, from which countries?
- Is the university recruiting students from traditionally underrepresented populations?
- Are students particularly active on campus? If so, how?
Many answers to these questions can be found both in the job description and on the institution’s website. If possible, consider contacting someone you know at the institution to ask about the culture directly. You can also use the institution’s course catalog, recruitment materials, alumni magazine, and other materials to get answers to these questions. The key is to understand the sort of institution to which you are applying, its immediate needs, and its future trajectory.
Remember, there is a resource that can help you with all three aspects—people. Reach out to your advisor, committee members, faculty mentors, and other contacts for insight into the prospective department’s culture and faculty. They might even help you revise your letter based on their expertise. Think of your job search as an opportunity to cultivate these relationships.
After you have done some initial research, think about how your experiences have prepared you for the job and identify the ones that seem the most relevant. Consider your previous research, internships, graduate teaching, and summer experiences. Here are some topics and questions to get you started thinking about what you might include.
Research Experiences. Consider how your research has prepared you for an academic career. Since the letter is a relatively short document, select examples of your research that really highlight who you are as a scholar, the direction you see your work going, and how your scholarship will contribute to the institution’s research community.
- What are your current research interests?
- What topics would you like to examine in the future?
- How have you pursued those research interests?
- Have you traveled for your research?
- Have you published any of your research? Have you presented it at a conference, symposium, or elsewhere?
- Have you worked or collaborated with scholars at different institutions on projects? If so, what did these collaborations produce?
- Have you made your research accessible to your local community?
- Have you received funding or merit-based fellowships for your research?
- What other research contributions have you made? This may include opinion articles, book chapters, or participating as a journal reviewer.
- How do your research interests relate to those of other faculty in the department or fill a gap?
Teaching Experience. Think about any teaching experience you may have. Perhaps you led recitations as a teaching assistant, taught your own course, or guest lectured. Pick a few experiences to discuss in your letter that demonstrate something about your teaching style or your interest in teaching.
- What courses are you interested in teaching for the department? What courses have you taught that discussed similar topics or themes?
- What new courses can you imagine offering the department that align with their aim and mission?
- Have you used specific strategies that were helpful in your instruction?
- What sort of resources do you typically use in the classroom?
- Do you have anecdotes that demonstrate your teaching style?
- What is your teaching philosophy?
- When have you successfully navigated a difficult concept or topic in the classroom, and what did you learn?
- What other opportunities could you provide to students?
Internships/Summer/Other Experiences. Brainstorm a list of any conferences, colloquiums, and workshops you have attended, as well as any ways you have served your department, university, or local community. This section will highlight how you participate in your university and scholarly community. Here are some examples of things you might discuss:
- Professional development opportunities you may have pursued over the summer or during your studies
- International travel for research or presentations
- Any research you’ve done in a non-academic setting
- Presentations at conferences
- Participation in symposia, reading groups, working groups, etc.
- Internships in which you may have implemented your research or practical skills related to your discipline
- Participation in community engagement projects
- Participation in or leadership of any scholarly and/or university organizations
In answering these questions, create a list of the experiences that you think best reflect you as a scholar and teacher. In choosing which experiences to highlight, consider your audience and what they would find valuable or relevant. Taking the time to really think about your reader will help you present yourself as an applicant well-qualified for the position.
Writing a draft
Remember that the job letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your accomplishments and to communicate why you would be a good fit for the position. Typically, search committees will want to know whether you are a capable job candidate, familiar with the institution, and a great future addition to the department’s faculty. As such, be aware of how the letter’s structure and content reflect your preparedness for the position.
The structure of your cover letter should reflect the typical standards for letter writing in the country in which the position is located (the list below reflects the standards for US letter writing). This usually includes a salutation, body, and closing, as well as proper contact information. If you are affiliated with a department, institution, or organization, the letter should be on letterhead.
- Use a simple, readable font in a standard size, such as 10-12pt. Some examples of fonts that may be conventional in your field include Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman, and Verdana, among other similar fonts.
- Do not indent paragraphs.
- Separate all paragraphs by a line and justify them to the left.
- Make sure that any included hyperlinks work.
- Include your signature in the closing.
Before you send in your letter, make sure you proofread and look for formatting mistakes. You’ll read more about proofreading and revising later in this handout!
The second most important aspect of your letter is its content. Since the letter is the first chance to provide an in-depth introduction, it should expand on who you are as a scholar and possible faculty member. Below are some elements to consider including when composing your letter.
Identify the position you are applying to and introduce yourself. Traditionally, the first sentence of a job letter includes the full name of the position and where you discovered the job posting. This is also the place to introduce yourself and describe why you are applying for this position. Since the goal of a job letter is to persuade the search committee to include you on the list of candidates for further review, you may want to include an initial claim as to why you are a strong candidate for the position. Some questions you might consider:
- What is your current status (ABD, assistant professor, post-doc, etc.)?
- If you are ABD, have you defended your dissertation? If not, when will you defend?
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Why are you a strong candidate for this position?
Describe your research experience and interests. For research-centered positions, such as positions at R1 or other types of research-centered universities, include information about your research experience and current work early in the letter. For many applicants, current work will be the dissertation project. If this is the case, some suggest calling your “dissertation research” your “current project” or “work,” as this may help you present yourself as an emerging scholar rather than a graduate student. Some questions about your research that you might consider:
- What research experiences have you had?
- What does your current project investigate?
- What are some of the important methods you applied?
- Have you collaborated with others in your research?
- Have you acquired specific skills that will be useful for the future?
- Have you received special funding? If so, what kind?
- Has your research received any accolades or rewards?
- What does your current project contribute to the field?
- Where have you presented your research?
- Have you published your research? If so, where? Or are you working on publishing your work?
- How does your current project fit the job description?
Present your plans for future research. This section presents your research agenda and usually includes a description of your plans for future projects and research publications. Detailing your future research demonstrates to the search committee that you’ve thought about a research trajectory and can work independently. If you are applying to a teaching-intensive position, you may want to minimize this section and/or consider including a sentence or two on how this research connects to undergraduate and/or graduate research opportunities. Some questions to get you started:
- What is your next research project/s?
- How does this connect to your current and past work?
- What major theories/methods will you use?
- How will this project contribute to the field?
- Where do you see your specialty area or subfield going in the next ten years and how does your research contribute to or reflect this?
- Will you be collaborating with anyone? If so, with whom?
- How will this future project encourage academic discourse?
- Do you already have funding? If so, from whom? If not, what plans do you have for obtaining funding?
- How does your future research expand upon the department’s strengths while simultaneously diversifying the university’s research portfolio? (For example, does your future research involve emerging research fields, state-of-the-art technologies, or novel applications?)
Describe your teaching experience and highlight teaching strategies. This section allows you to describe your teaching philosophy and how you apply this philosophy in your classroom. Start by briefly addressing your teaching goals and values. Here, you can provide specific examples of your teaching methods by describing activities and projects you assign students. Try to link your teaching and research together. For example, if you research the rise of feminism in the 19th century, consider how you bring either the methodology or the content of your research into the classroom. For a teaching-centered institution, such as a small liberal arts college or community college, you may want to emphasize your teaching more than your research. If you do not have any teaching experience, you could describe a training, mentoring, or coaching situation that was similar to teaching and how you would apply what you learned in a classroom.
- What is your teaching philosophy? How is your philosophy a good fit for the department in which you are applying to work?
- What sort of teaching strategies do you use in the classroom?
- What is your teaching style? Do you lecture? Do you emphasize discussion? Do you use specific forms of interactive learning?
- What courses have you taught?
- What departmental courses are you prepared to teach?
- Will you be able to fill in any gaps in the departmental course offerings?
- What important teaching and/or mentoring experiences have you had?
- How would you describe yourself in the classroom?
- What type of feedback have you gotten from students?
- Have you received any awards or recognition for your teaching?
Talk about your service work. Service is often an important component of an academic job description. This can include things like serving on committees or funding panels, providing reviews, and doing community outreach. The cover letter gives you an opportunity to explain how you have involved yourself in university life outside the classroom. For instance, you could include descriptions of volunteer work, participation in initiatives, or your role in professional organizations. This section should demonstrate ways in which you have served your department, university, and/or scholarly community. Here are some additional examples you could discuss:
- Participating in graduate student or junior faculty governance
- Sitting on committees, departmental or university-wide
- Partnerships with other university offices or departments
- Participating in community-partnerships
- Participating in public scholarship initiatives
- Founding or participating in any university initiatives or programs
- Creating extra-curricular resources or presentations
Present yourself as a future faculty member. This section demonstrates who you will be as a colleague. It gives you the opportunity to explain how you will collaborate with faculty members with similar interests; take part in departmental and/or institution wide initiatives or centers; and participate in departmental service. This shows your familiarity with the role of faculty outside the classroom and your ability to add to the departmental and/or institutional strengths or fill in any gaps.
- What excites you about this job?
- What faculty would you like to collaborate with and why? (This answer may be slightly tricky. See the section on name dropping below.)
- Are there any partnerships in the university or outside of it that you wish to participate in?
- Are there any centers associated with the university or in the community that you want to be involved in?
- Are there faculty initiatives that you are passionate about?
- Do you have experience collaborating across various departments or within your own department?
- In what areas will you be able to contribute?
- Why would you make an excellent addition to the faculty at this institution?
Compose a strong closing. This short section should acknowledge that you have sent in all other application documents and include a brief thank you for the reader’s time and/or consideration. It should also state your willingness to forward additional materials and indicate what you would like to see as next steps (e.g., a statement that you look forward to speaking with the search committee). End with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Kind Regards” followed by your full name.
If you are finding it difficult to write the different sections of your cover letter, consider composing the other academic job application documents (the research statement, teaching philosophy, and diversity statement) first and then summarizing them in your job letter.
Different kinds of letters may be required for different types of jobs. For example, some jobs may focus on research. In this case, emphasize your research experiences and current project/s. Other jobs may be more focused on teaching. In this case, highlight your teaching background and skills. Below are two models for how you could change your letter’s organization based on the job description and the institution. The models offer a guide for you to consider how changing the order of information and the amount of space dedicated to a particular topic changes the emphasis of the letter.
Research-Based Position Job Letter Example:
Teaching-based position job letter example:.
Remember your first draft does not have to be your last. Try to get feedback from different readers, especially if it is one of your first applications. It is not uncommon to go through several stages of revisions. Check out the Writing Center’s handout on editing and proofreading and video on proofreading to help with this last stage of writing.
Using the word dissertation. Some search committee members may see the word “dissertation” as a red flag that an applicant is too focused on their role as a graduate student rather than as a prospective faculty member. It may be advantageous, then, to describe your dissertation as current research, a current research project, current work, or some other phrase that demonstrates you are aware that your dissertation is the beginning of a larger scholarly career.
Too much jargon. While you may be writing to a specific department, people on the search committee might be unfamiliar with the details of your subfield. In fact, many committees have at least one member from outside their department. Use terminology that can easily be understood by non-experts. If you want to use a specific term that is crucial to your research, then you should define it. Aim for clarity for your reader, which may mean simplification in lieu of complete precision.
Overselling yourself. While your job letter should sell you as a great candidate, saying so (e.g., “I’m the ideal candidate”) in your letter may come off to some search committee members as presumptuous. Remember that although you have an idea about the type of colleague a department is searching for, ultimately you do not know exactly what they want. Try to avoid phrases or sentences where you state you are the ideal or the only candidate right for the position.
Paying too much attention to the job description. Job descriptions are the result of a lot of debate and compromise. If you have skills or research interests outside the job description, consider including them in your letter. It may be that your extra research interests; your outside skills; and/or your extracurricular involvements make you an attractive candidate. For example, if you are a Latin Americanist who also happens to be well-versed in the Spanish Revolution, it could be worth mentioning the expanse of your research interests because a department might find you could fill in other gaps in the curriculum or add an additional or complementary perspective to the department.
Improper sendoff. The closing of your letter is just as important as the beginning. The end of the letter should reflect the professionalism of the document. There should be a thank-you and the word sincerely or a formal equivalent. Remember, it is the very last place in your letter where you present yourself as a capable future colleague.
Small oversights. Make sure to proofread your letter not just for grammar but also for content. For example, if you use material from another letter, make sure you do not include the names of another school, department, or unassociated faculty! Or, if the school is in Chicago, make sure you do not accidentally reference it as located in the Twin Cities.
Name dropping. You rarely know the internal politics of the department or institution to which you are applying. So be cautious about the names you insert in your cover letters. You do not want to unintentionally insert yourself into a departmental squabble or add fire to an interdepartmental conflict. Instead, focus on the actions you will undertake and the initiatives you are passionate about.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Ball, Cheryl E. 2013. “Understanding Cover Letters.” Inside Higher Ed , November 3, 2013. https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/11/04/essay-cover-letter-academic-jobs .
Borchardt, John. 2014. “Writing a Winning Cover Letter.” Science Magazine , August 6, 2014. https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2014/08/writing-winning-cover-letter# .
Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education. n.d. “Basic Classification Description.” Accessed November 1, 2020. https://carnegieclassifications.iu.edu/classification_descriptions/basic.php .
Helmreich, William. 2013. “Your First Academic Job.” Inside Higher Ed , June 17, 2013. https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/06/17/essay-how-land-first-academic-job .
Kelsky, Karen. 2013. “How To Write a Journal Article Submission Cover Letter.” The Professor Is In (blog), April 26, 2013. https://theprofessorisin.com/2013/04/26/how-to-write-a-journal-article-submission-cover-letter/ .
Tomaska, Lubomir, and Josef Nosek. 2008. “Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Cover Letter to Accompany a Job Application for an Academic Position.” PLoS Computational Biology 14(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006132 .
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Student Cover Letter Examples
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.
Create your cover letter fast with artificial intelligence.
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.
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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 [email protected]. Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.
Martin is a resume expert and career advice writer at Kickresume. In his five years at Kickresume, he has written nearly 100 in-depth, painstakingly researched resume advice articles and, as chief editor, he has also edited and revised every single article on this website. Tens of thousands of job seekers read Martin’s resume advice every month. He holds a degree in English from the University of St Andrews and a degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Amsterdam .
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4 Academic Advisor Cover Letter Examples: Head, Career Coach, Student Advisor, And More.
4 Academic Advisor cover letter examples for Head Academic Advisors, Student Advisors, Career Advisors, and Career Advisors.
Writing an academic advisor cover letter on top of writing a resume is one tough task. Especially, when both should highlight your strengths, but one can’t contain what the other does.
Understand that your cover letter is an introduction to you and your resume. Before someone looks at the details of what you’ve done, they want to make sure they are about to look at a promising profile.
Your cover letter is essentially making a promise of what and what doesn’t your profile has in store for the reviewer.
To help you write your cover letter, here are some samples to take inspiration from.
Academic Advisor Cover Letter Examples
Head academic advisor cover letter example.
Dear Dr. Lee,
I came across your job posting in the New York Times, dated 25th Oct’19. Since I’m currently serving in the capacity of the Head Academic Advisor, I understand the responsibilities and I’m very much interested in being a part of the Student Guidance team at the University of California. In my quest to support and help students get through their college life and build a strong character, I pursued Adolescent and Young Adulthood Psychology for 2years while on the job at the university. This helped bring my theory into practice and understand the real-world complexities of student life.
I have counseled over 350 students individually over the course of 2 years and seen them make progress in whatever field they chose for their career. I also focused on gathering the general issues faced by the majority of the students to address them in classes and later published a copy for the use of other students who might benefit from it. The book raised demand and had 1500 copies printed to suffice the demand.
I also have done extensive study of various fields of job and the job market in those fields to help students prepare better when they are out for a job in the market. I have held 2hr sessions every 3 months to address a batch of over 80 students each time I took a session on career counseling.
Since I would like to shift to New York City to be with my family, I’m very much looking forward to this opportunity which offers me more extensive experience in student counseling.
Thanks for considering my application. I hope to meet you personally in the coming week to discuss more on how I can be useful for your Student Guidance team.
Warm Regards, Joan Smith
Student Advisor Cover Letter Example
I found your advertisement for an Academic Advisor to join your Student Support team. My education & experience as a Student Advisor at Texas university builds up a strong profile for this job.
In my experience college life, environment and education are paramount to a student’s career. It shapes them into who they may become in the future. To help them find their interests and passions while pursuing their degrees is essential to their development. And I put everything into doing just that. Student life during higher education could be very stressful at times and I find it very fulfilling to relieve that stress by eliminating uncertainty and bringing in useful information to guide them.
I mastered in Education at London University. There, I studied the effect of various elements and events in the development of young minds. This research was very interesting and an eye-opener on how things can be changed through right guidance. I have put my work to practice and seen students change to become what they really wanted to be. I thoroughly enjoy this process and keep researching the subject further to be more valuable to my colleagues, institutes, and most importantly students.
I’m sure to provide immense value to the students and the Student Support Team at New York University. I welcome the opportunity to meet you and discuss how we can work and make the campus life and student development more enjoyable and fulfilling at New York University.
Please feel free to call me at 555-555-5555. I’ll follow up in the next week to set-up a meeting with you.
Sincerely, Many Fletcher
Career Advisor Cover Letter Example
I’m currently working as a career advisor at Utah Career Coaching Institute. I’m very much interested in the opportunity posted on indeed by the University of Utah for an Academic Advisor.
I work 5 hrs each day coaching students personally and 2 hrs taking group sessions on career advice in various fields that the students might be interested in. I have had 3 years of experience analyzing student's interests and suggesting career fields to students who find it difficult to make a choice. I feel accomplished when my students feel they are in the right degree program or course.
To be able to guide better, I have taken training in Psychology and Human Behaviour to understand my clients better and serve them better. I have researched the process of education and impact of the environment with Dr. Casy Washington and will be publishing the outcome after 6 months in the journal of Science and Psychology. I further plan to pursue my Ph.D. along with the topic while serving as a counselor for my research, experience, and benefit of students.
I’m hoping to hear from you within the next week to discuss how I can serve at the University of Utah. I will follow up after 7 days to see if we can arrange a meeting in the coming week.
Sincerely, Tom Fletcher
Career Coach and Advisor Cover Letter Example
Dear Mr. Beans,
I’m writing to express my interest in your vacancy for Career Coach and Advisor posted on LinkedIn. I have 8yrs of experience working at various career counseling institutes and colleges supporting the healthy development of students and providing career coaching to job aspirants.
I have coached students of various disciplines- science, technology, arts, design, medicine, writing, business, and many more. I gained knowledge in these areas and researched further to understand industry trends and job markets for these jobs. Many times I have also counseled experienced job seekers on a career change and career development.
I hold a Ph.D. in Human Behaviour and Development study. I completed my Ph.D. and published 6 research papers in and around Human Behaviour until last year. This year I have a book coming up in the last quarter on “Impact of Social Life on Education” which I have completed with Dr. Rand Sinsky. I take a deep interest in solving the problems of my students and clients by studying their environment and personal agendas. I would love to collaborate with your Student support team and see how I can contribute.
Waiting to hear from you and discuss further on my application. Please feel free to contact me anytime.
Sincerely, Kim Sinsky
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Resumes and Cover Letters
Your resume is a powerful marketing tool to land an interview. Employers typically scan a resume for 15-30 seconds, so craft a resume that is clear, concise, and demonstrates how you meet their needs.
How to Build Your Resume
Reflect on your experience.
Make a list of special qualities that set you apart from other applicants. Employers will be looking for examples of:
- How your skills/experience/knowledge fit with the position/industry/organization.
- Your ability to deal with high-pressure situations.
- Willingness to assume responsibility.
- A high energy level.
- Strong interpersonal skills and initiative.
Think of specific examples of where and how each skill or attribute led to a tangible result or achievement. Include work experience, internships, volunteer activities, clubs and organizations, research projects, sports, etc. Consider the following as you get started. Have you:
- Identified and/or helped solve any problems? Instituted any new methods, systems, or procedures?
- Acquired industry-specific knowledge?
- Done something faster, better, or cheaper?
- Increased membership, participation, or sales?
- Saved your organization money or reduced waste?
- Suggested a new service, product, or project?
- Re-organized or improved an existing system?
- Refined the nature of an existing task?
- Maintained a consistently high level of performance?
- Demonstrated leadership skills and exhibited good team player skills?
- Reached out for more work or more responsibility?
- Achieved results with little or no supervision?
- Motivated others?
- Coordinated an event or project?
- Trained another person? What were the results?
- Tutored anyone? Did their grades improve?
Emphasize the Results
Show measurable results to an employer. Quantifying and qualifying your accomplishments gives prospective employers a sense of how you went about an assignment or project and the bottom-line results of your performance. Numbers speak volumes to people who make hiring decisions. Qualifying your results is also important so prospective employers can see the impact of your services. Here are a few examples of how you can turn your bullet points into powerful statements that demonstrate your accomplishments.
Instead of: “Organized all sorority philanthropic events.” Write this: “Organized all sorority philanthropic events which resulted in contributions of over $4000.”
Instead of: “Served food.” Write this: “Developed tact and diplomacy when dealing with customers in a fast-paced environment”
Instead of: “Responsible for typing and filing.” Write this: “Commended for efficiency and accuracy in completing office duties”
Building a Powerful Resume
Writing a stand out resume requires the perfect combination of formatting and content. Make sure your resume is easy to read, understand, and digest.
Name & Contact
- At top of resume, centered or justified to left or right. Name should be larger by at least 4 points.
- If you have a preferred name, include it in parentheses between your first and last.
- May include contact information on one line, separating address, phone, and email with a bullet.
Margins & Spacing
- 0.5” to 1” on all sides
- Include white space between the sections of your resume. The space should go before each section heading (not necessary after each section heading).
- Include a space between each item within each section so that it’s clear where one ends and the next begins.
- Size: 10-12 points
- Font: Any that is easily legible (ie Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica, Times). Use the same font throughout.
- Color: Black is preferred. Color may be difficult for some to see and/or not industry-appropriate.
- Typical items to bold include Name and Headings.
- You may bold whatever content is most relevant to the position such as the university name under Education or your position title under Experience.
Tables & Text Boxes
Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan resume submissions for keywords. Avoid tables, text boxes, and other complex formatting, as they may make it difficult for the ATS to scan your resume.
Length & Paper
- 1 page for undergraduate students and recent grads. Fill the page completely.
- 2 pages may be acceptable for grad students and others with extensive relevant experience.
- When printing your resume, use 8 1/2” x 11” resume paper in white or ivory.
- Experience descriptions should be in bullet list format.
- Use bullets and avoid dashes, arrows, check boxes, or diamonds.
- List all dates along the same margin (right preferred).
- Include months and years for each experience instead of the year only or the quarter/season.
- You may format dates as numbers (09/20xx), words (September 20xx), or abbreviate (Sept. 20xx). Be consistent.
- Left justified (preferred) or centered.
- All caps and bold (preferred).
- May include a bottom border line. To add a line under your section headings in MS Word, go to Home > Paragraph > select the Bottom Border icon.
Resume Content: Essential Categories
- Name (16-18 pts), address, phone #, email, and web address (optional).
- Make sure your email address and your phone’s voicemail greeting are professional.
- Name of school, degree earned or seeking (i.e., BS, BA, MS, MA, PhD), major and minor, expected graduation date (month and year), and GPA (if required or if above 3.0).
- List highest degree first. Include study abroad. High school information should be omitted after sophomore year at the latest.
- Job title, company name, location (city, state), dates of experience, bullet points describing your actions, skills, and accomplishments.
- May include any type of experience: paid and unpaid positions, internships, military service, volunteer, leadership - anything you’ve done that’s relevant to the position you’re seeking.
Resume Content: Additional Categories
Include only those categories that best represent your qualifications for the position. The order of your resume categories should be based on the needs of the position.
- A specific, concise, one-sentence description of the position desired.
- For a specific position, include the title and company name. For general use, omit or state the field, industry, type(s) of positions you are seeking.
- List of all of your qualifications for the position (tailored to the job posting).
- Typically toward the top of the resume, after Education
- Categorize the relevant, concrete skills you possess. Categories may include: Languages, Computer, Laboratory
- List only the skills you can perform with little or no supervision. State your proficiency level with languages and programs (fluent, advanced, proficient, etc.).
- List course titles (not numbers) of relevant courses, in order of relevance. If a lab, include (Lab) after title.
- May be listed separately or as a subsection under Education.
Honors & Awards
- Students & recent grads can include academic honors, awards and scholarships.
- May be listed separately or as a subsection under “Education”. Include date or # of quarters honors, awards, & scholarships received.
- List the research project, department/lab/organization name, dates, and description of the project, methods, & findings.
- Use same format as Experience section.
- Cite publications using the correct format for your discipline (MLA, APA, etc.). Bold your name.
- Identify if still in submitted status. May also indicate if peer-reviewed.
- List office(s) held, organization, dates, and a brief description of accomplishments * Use same format as Experience section.
- List membership in any clubs, sports, or community service experiences.
- May not include a description, depending upon the depth of your involvement.
- List outside hobbies, interests and talents. * Only include those that are unique, specific,and/or require skill/dedication.
- List is applicable to the position or field
- Can go under Education or Skills
Do Not Include
- References should not be on your resume, but can be on a separate page.
- Personal information such as marital status, citizenship, date of birth, etc.
- Pictures or headshots should not be included on a resume (except if applying for acting/modeling positions or in countries where it is customary to include a photo).
Build Your Bullet Points
There is a formula for creating detailed, compelling bullet points. The content of each bullet point should contain the following:
What did you do? : What were your duties, responsibilities, and/or projects?
How did you do it? : Specific tools, resources, or technology (transferable skills)
Elaborate with details : How often? How many? What was the purpose? Who else was involved? (Use numbers when possible.)
What were the results? : What did you accomplish or improve? Did you meet or exceed a goal? Did you create something new? (Use numbers when possible.)
Download the "Build Your Bullet Points" worksheet here .
CV vs. Resume
A Curriculum Vitae (CV) may be requested in lieu of a resume, typically for academic, scholarly or research opportunities. For undergraduate students, the differences between a CV and a resume are limited.
Curriculum Vitae (CV) * Audience: Academics, researchers, or teachers * Goal: To obtain an academic or research position, grant, or fellowship * Structure & Format: Complete history of your academic credentials - research, teaching, awards, funding, service * Focus: Your academic achievements and your scholarly potential * Unnecessary Information: Activities not related to academic pursuits (ie., personal information, irrelevant work experience, hobbies, etc.) * Length: Flexible
- Audience: Potential employers and networking contacts
- Goal: To obtain a position in any industry outside of academia
- Structure & Format: Brief snapshot of your most relevant skills and work experience. Most relevant skills and experiences should be in the first 1/3 of the resume. Resumes are targeted specifically for the job description
- Focus: Relevant experience and demonstrated skills through accomplishments that prove you can do the job well
- Unnecessary Information: Unabridged list of publications, presentations, conferences attended, courses taught. Work or accomplishments that are not relevant to the position
- Length: 1-2 pages (One page highly recommended)
Target Your Resume to the Job
Your Skills + Their Need = Connection
- Make it easy for the employer to see your fit for the job.
- Do not assume they will “know what you mean” - be specific.
- Use action verbs to demonstrate what you have accomplished.
- Use the job posting as a guideline for targeting your resume.
Steps to Target Your Resume
- Create a great resume following the guidelines in the preceding pages of this chapter.
- Review the job description. Read the specific skills and qualifications: underline words/phrases that match your background. Read the job responsibilities: underline words/phrases that match your background. Take an inventory of your experiences: how and where have you applied these skills?
- Use the keywords from the job posting in the targeted industry (Online applications are often matched to keywords in job posting for screening out resumes)
- If the job posting is very limited, find similar jobs to use as a guide
- The cover letter will also be targeted and can elaborate your “fit”
To see a variety of sample resumes targeted to specific positions and industries, download Chapter 6 of the Career Guide at the bottom of this page.
Writing a Stand Out Cover Letter
A cover letter should communicate your strong interest in the company and your enthusiasm for the position or internship you’re applying for.
Purpose of the Cover Letter
- Brief overview of qualifications.
- Differentiate yourself from the crowd.
- Captivate the attention of the reader.
- Communicate interest in the organization.
- Convince the employer of your skills and accomplishments.
Rules for Cover Letters
- Address the employer’s “wish list”.
- Assess the employer’s needs.
- Actively promote yourself.
Focus on What You Have to Offer
- Describe how your skills, expertise, and past accomplishments can benefit the employer.
- Follow standard business letter format.
- Write clearly and concisely, and proofread your letter for spelling and grammar.
- Use the same font and paper that you used for your resume.
Send Your Cover Letter to a Specific Individual
- Ideally, the letter should be addressed to the person who is likely to make employment decisions. It may take some resourcefulness on your part to identify this person, but the letter will probably be better received.
- Make sure you have the correct spelling of their name and title before submitting.
- If you cannot find the name of the person the letter is addressed to, you may use a title that is specific such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Internship Coordinator”.
- Don’t forget to sign your letter (You can scan it and include it as a .jpg).
Cover Letter Samples
There are cover letter samples in Chapter 6 of the Career Guide and in Firsthand .
- Resist the temptation to take a “fill-in-the-blank” approach based on the samples.
- Do not use the exact same language found in a sample. Your cover letter should be a reflection of you.
- A cover letter need not stick to a set structure or outline as long as it effectively communicates your fit for the company and position as well as your desire to work for them.
For more information on Resumes & Cover Letters, download Chapter 6 of the UCLA Career Guide .
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When you are applying for a job, a cover letter demonstrates why hiring you is the best decision your future employer can make.
The following guide will show you the tips and tricks to creating a strong cover letter.
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Resumes and cover letters.
- Jobs and Internships
The Brown Center for Career Exploration provides resume and cover letter support for all students.
Resume, cover letter and LinkedIn workshops are offered throughout the year and can be found on our Events@Brown page. Peer Career Advisors (PCA) are trained to review your resume, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles during weekly PCA open hours. You can walk in or make an appointment. Ph.D. Student Open Hours are available with Graduate Student Fellows, as well.
Ph.D./Grad Student Fellow open hours will be posted at the start of the semester.
Undergraduate resume and cover letter resources.
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Resumes for Federal Government Jobs
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*Use this template as a starting point. Consider meeting with a PCA for help with further refinement.
Ph.D. Student Resume/CV Resources
- Resume/CV Tip Sheet and Samples for Ph.D. Students
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LinkedIn and Other Online Profiles
- A well designed LinkedIn profile will contain much of the information from your resume and your best cover letter.
- Peer Career Advisors are trained to give you feedback on your profile. They can also provide advice on how to use LinkedIn to find jobs and internships.
- PCAs can also advise you on how to reach out to the more than 100,000 Brown alumni and student users on LinkedIn.
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How to Write a Cover Letter for Students
You’ve found a dream job posting and worked hard to create a polished resume. But before you submit your application, you need to write a cover letter. It’s an essential written document that accompanies your resume and showcases how your skills and work experience match up with the key requirements listed in the job description.
Of course, writing the thing is easier said than done, especially when it comes to creating a cover letter for students. Luckily, we’ve talked to the pros and got the 411 on cover letters. This article will cover how to address a cover letter to striking the right professional cover letter format to how to write a cover letter with no experience. Dive in and learn how you make the best first impression to a prospective employer.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page written introduction to a prospective employer, which is submitted with your job application. Consider it the sidekick to your resume : it briefly explains why you’re applying for the position and gives you a chance to sell your skills.
“It sends out a call for action for them to call you for an interview,” says Christine VandeGraaf, General Manager of Employment, Training and Settlement Services at the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford.
These days, debates rage about whether the cover letter is dead , and the jury is still out on the verdict. While it’s true that some employers are phasing it out, a cover letter can nonetheless give you a leg up in the job application process.
“The potential employer is seeing dozens of other resumes along with yours,” says Cheyene Shuart and Abby Russell from the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario. “So your cover letter is your chance to start a conversation with the employer and show them who you really are and why you would be a good fit for the position.”
Do you need a cover letter as a teenager?
The unanimous answer from the experts is…yes! Teenagers should always include a cover letter with their resume, even if a job posting doesn’t explicitly state that one is required. Consider it a best practice that can help you stand out above the rest, and if you have limited work experience, the experts say it can especially give you a competitive edge.
“It can be intimidating to find work when you haven’t had much (or any) work experience, especially when most positions are looking for previous experience,” says Shuart. “Sometimes resumes aren’t enough to prove to the employer that you would be a good fit for the position,” adds Russell.
“Cover letters are meant to highlight a little bit of your experience and skills, but they are mostly used to explain how that experience and skills relate to this exact position, which is what matters the most to potential employers.”
Read more: 14 best part-time jobs for teens .
What should a high school cover letter include?
Whatever you do, don’t draft a saga of all the things you’ve ever done in your life and why it makes you great. When it comes to writing a cover letter, brevity is your BFF: Recruiters generally spend six seconds reviewing the average candidate . Make every word count! Here’s what should make the cut in your cover letter, including how to address a cover letter.
Your contact information
Your contact information should appear first. Typically, this section sits in the left-hand corner at the top of the page and includes your name, address, email address, website, LinkedIn URL, and phone number in a listicle format.
Hit the enter button twice and write the date in full [DAY/MONTH/YEAR].
The employer’s contact information
Next, include all the employer’s contact information two lines after the date. List the hiring manager/employer’s name, company name, company address, and any other contact information pulled from the job posting.
Start with a polite greeting, such as “Dear [Ms./Mr./Dr./Professor/etc.] [LAST NAME].” If you aren’t sure of the hiring manager’s gender or wish to avoid gendered greetings altogether, you can enter their full name (“Dear FIRST NAME/LAST NAME”).
Avoid using “To whom it may concern” if you can, as some experts say this greeting is starting to feel a little tired .
First paragraph: Introduce yourself
Right off the bat, the first paragraph should cover the basics: who you are, what position you’re applying for, how you heard about the position, why it interests you, and what makes you an ideal candidate.
“This should be no more than three or four sentences and should just be a quick snapshot to capture the reader’s attention,” says Shuart and Russell.
Second paragraph: Your qualifications
The next paragraph should describe your credentials as it relates to the job description. Specifically, describe how your relevant education, work/volunteer, and skills or training experience make you a good fit for the job. But keep it short: Focus on how your accomplishments match the job requirements and leave the nitty-gritty details for your resume. This section should be no more than five to seven sentences.
“When writing sentences about your skills and how they apply to the job, always explain when you used the skill, how you used it, and what the end result was,” says Shuart and Russell. “This shows the employer that you did your homework on what they are looking for and helps to illustrate why you would be a good fit.”
For example, if the job posting is asking for “excellent communication skills,” you could talk about your experience as a student council representative: “As student council secretary, I am responsible for producing an online newsletter that is distributed monthly to over 700 students—an experience that has given me the opportunity to build and apply my excellent communication skills.”
Depending on the job, you may also want to highlight other strengths or “selling features” that could help get you onto the interview list.
“For a young person, it may include phrases such as availability (evenings/days/weekends) driver’s license and access to a car, WHMIS certifications, or how the experience will fit into their future career goals,” says VandeGraaf.
The bottom line: Explain how your qualifications directly relate to the position and use concrete examples.
Closing paragraph: Wrap up and thank you
In your final paragraph (around three to five sentences), wrap up with a brief conclusion about why the skills you highlighted make you a good fit for the job. Shuart and Russell also say to “be bold” and include a call to action—such as requesting a job interview —as well as restate how you can be contacted (“I can be reached by mobile phone or email”). Last but not least, don’t forget to thank the employer for their time and consideration.
“They have lots of resumes to get through, so a little appreciation can help them remember you better!” they add.
End on a professional note: “Finish strong with a polite, formal closing, such as “Sincerely, [YOUR FULL NAME]”.
Learn more: Job interview questions for teens and sample answers .
Tips for writing a cover letter for a student with no work experience
No work experience under your belt? You’ve got this! Here are a few tips for how to write a cover letter with no experience.
Read the job posting
“The job posting tells you what skills and experience the employer is looking for, so you should show the employer how you measure up to their needs,” says Shuart and Russell. It also gives away keywords to use in your cover letter and resume.
Prove your skills
Make a list of the key skills required for the position (e.g., excellent communication, time management, problem-solving abilities). Then, think of examples of when you accomplished something using those desired skills. “Whether it was work, volunteer, or academic experience, the most important part is proving you have the skill,” says Shuart and Russell. “You also can relate it to the position: ‘My communication skills would help me build a strong rapport with customers.’” If you’re struggling to make the connection, ask a friend or family member to help you brainstorm.
Think outside the box
If you’ve never had a job, draw on your lived experience to illustrate putting your skills into practice. Were you a volunteer tennis coach for kids last summer? Did you organize a climate justice rally that 500 people attended? Did you teach your grandma how to use Microsoft Office on a weekend? “Any experience is good experience!” says Shuart and Russell. “You don’t have to have previous work experience to have good communication. Can you use a volunteering or academic example?”
If the job is asking for “excellent customer service skills,” include that phrase somewhere in your cover letter. “Some employers use software that searches for the keywords they are looking for, so your cover letter could be screened out if you don’t have the keywords noted in the job posting,” says Shuart and Russell. “The other benefit of using these keywords is showing the employer you read carefully through their job posting. It’s a great, subtle way to show you pay attention to details as well!”
Use “action” words to paint a picture
Use descriptive language to showcase your skills and experience, as well as your accomplishments. Instead of simply saying you did something, use “action” verbs such as led, researched, created, managed, delivered, resolved, founded, developed, tracked, collaborated, grew, or promoted. Put your thesaurus to work!
Keep it simple
A cover letter should be easy-to-read and not cluttered with text. Keep it simple and don’t bedazzle it with fancy colours and graphics. “Most employers prefer to see simple, easy-to-follow applications,” say Shuart and Russell. “Keep most of your text left-aligned and keep it professional-looking.”
Run a spelling and grammar check. Read your cover letter out loud to catch any long-winded sentences or awkward transitions. Get a parent or friend to proofread for typos. Double-check that the hiring manager’s name is spelled correctly. Your cover letter should be as clean as a whistle before you hit send.
Learn more: Best summer jobs for teens in Canada .
Sample cover letter or high school student
Need inspo to write a killer cover letter? Here’s a sample cover letter for high school students.
1000 Fairyland Blvd
January 1, 2023
Toronto Public Library – Palmerston Branch
560 Palmerston Ave
Toronto, ON M6G 2P7
Dear Ms. Wright,
Please accept my application for the position of Library Page at the Toronto Public Library, Palmerston Branch. As an avid reader and regular library patron, I was very excited to learn about the available position, which is currently posted on your organization’s website. My professionalism, work ethic, and understanding and appreciation for public service make me an ideal candidate for this position.
As student council secretary, I am responsible for producing an online newsletter that is distributed bi-weekly to over 700 students—an experience that has given me the opportunity to apply my excellent communication skills in action. Most recently, I completed a twelve-week co-op experience at FoodShare Toronto, where I worked in the community garden and supported food literacy workshops in schools. The experience gave me an opportunity to interact with the public in a professional manner, as well as complete tasks independently and part of a team. My values for hard work and continuous learning allowed me to complete the co-op with a grade of 95%. My time management skills were also demonstrated when I had to juggle three essays and two exams during last semester. I used my superior organizational skills to ensure that I prioritize my school work based on difficulty level and deadline, while balancing my hobbies of tennis and piano. As a result of my efforts, I achieved Honour Roll status and a good work-life balance.
The Toronto Public Library values teamwork and public service, both of which align with my skills, experience, and values. I also get enormous satisfaction in serving the public and have a passion for promoting literacy. Based on my qualifications, I believe I would be a strong member of the team at the Palmerston Branch. I would love to discuss my candidacy further in an interview with you. I can be reached by phone or email. Thank you so much for your time and for considering my application.
Last word about how to write a cover letter like a pro
The task of writing a cover letter can feel daunting when you’re facing a blank screen. But there’s only one way to overcome that hurdle: start writing! Using these expert tips, kick off your letter by formally introducing yourself and then outlining how your skills and experience make you suited to the job. Use concrete examples that are action- and results-oriented, showing (not just telling!) how you’re a great candidate.
If you’ve never had a job, remember that your lived experience is equally valuable, and no employer expects you to have a plethora of job experience at this stage in your life. Avoid padding your cover letter with overblown achievements, and focus on sharing what you have to offer.
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5 Tips for a Great Cover Letter (and samples)
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Cover Letter Format & Samples
Cover letters are a tool of introduction in the job search and are just as important as your resume. A cover letter is your opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the organization and make direct connections between what the employer has asked for in the job description and your own background. The best cover letters are addressed to a particular person, and are tailored to present your qualifications in relation to the specific job and company of interest. In addition to that, there are some universal tips and considerations to keep in mind when you are writing a cover letter.
Cover Letter Tips
1. ) All margins should be approximately one-inch. Typically, a cover letter consists of three to four paragraphs.
2.) The font size should be easy to read. Times, Palatino or Helvetica are good choices. A font size of 12 pt. is preferable, but in some cases you may need to use 10.5 or 11 pt. font.
3.) Don’t be tempted to send “generic” letters. Each cover letter you write should be different, because each job and company you’re writing to is different. Make it easy for the reader to see the relevance of your qualifications to the job in question.
4.) Be sure to proofread each new cover letter you create so that it is free of errors.
5.) It is important to write to a specific person whenever possible.
In addition to these quick tips, check out our comprehensive Job Search Letters guide for more information on structuring cover letters and other job search documents.
- Sample 1: Application Letter
- Sample 2: Prospecting Letter
Finally, we know that some people work best when they have a format to follow. Especially when they are writing a document, like a cover letter for the first time. The following example reflects the correct business format to use when writing a cover letter:
Your name Return address City, State, Zip
Name of the contact person Title Company Name Address City, State, Zip
Dear Mr./Ms./First name Last name:
The opening paragraph states your reason for writing the letter. Mention a specific job of interest, or a particular department in which you are seeking work. If possible, mention how and when you learned about the job opening or the company, i.e., through a classified advertisement, a contact person or a career services professional. Be sure to mention the name of the person who suggested this job to you, especially if that person is highly respected within the company.
The middle paragraph is an opportunity to expand on the skills you have developed as they relate to this position. This should not merely repeat your resume. You can discuss your education and particular courses or skills attained while in college. If you’re an experienced person, you may wish to use this paragraph to describe your professional background and highlight any specific job experience that may be of particular interest to the organization and that will differentiate you from other applicants. You may need a second paragraph to fully describe your related abilities.
The next paragraph reflects the research you have done on that particular organization. Use company literature, a web site, or conversation with an employee of the organization as ways to gain knowledge about the organization. Explain why you are interested in the job, and convey your awareness of what the company does to show that you have done careful research.
In closing, reiterate your enthusiasm to be considered and ask for an interview. Either state a specific week you’ll make a follow-up phone call or mention an interest in having the contacted person call to set up an interview date. Specify how you can be contacted. Remember to thank the person for considering your application.
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Should I use my university's letterhead for a cover letter for a job application?
I currently teach at University X and am applying for a job at University Y. Should I write my cover letter on University X's letterhead, or use a blank page?
8 Answers 8
No. It is you as a person who is applying, not you as a representative for your university. Univ. Y would probably look very negatively on an application on such lerterhead, as would Univ. X. Letterheads are intended for your official business of your position at X as teacher, researcher etc. Applying for a job or for example writing somewhere for your private business is just that, private. You can, however, create your own private letterhead to use for such instances but this should reflect your private standing and show only private address, phone and e-mail.
So keep the official business separate from your private. As alluded to this also applies to e-mail, something most people forget about. It is good to have your own private e-mail for instances such as this.
- 3 BAM. That's precisely the dilemma I was trying to resolve. Thanks. – Bennie N. Short Oct 20, 2013 at 21:18
- 25 I find this attitude really different from anything I've encountered. I have access to some job files right now, and while usage of letterhead was maybe 50/50 (I think mostly because it's a pain to get electronic letterhead that works with LaTeX from most schools), but everyone uses their professional address, email, etc. and I think it would set off a red flag if someone didn't. I don't especially care and am not sure I've encountered anyone who does before, but I think this answer may emphasize what should be done over what people actually do. – Ben Webster Oct 21, 2013 at 1:16
- 3 Quite. As an employer, I would not be terribly impressed that a member of staff was using my resources, whether stationery, printers or anything else, to negotiate a voluntary move to a different employer. (Had I just had to lay them off or something, that would be a different story.) – calum_b Oct 21, 2013 at 10:30
- 32 @scottishwildcat: But academia is not always like other employers. For instance, we have fixed-term jobs (such as postdocs) which are understood to be stepping stones to more permanent positions at other institutions. In my experience, looking for a permanent position is more or less accepted as part of a postdoc's job . – Nate Eldredge Oct 21, 2013 at 19:39
- 6 At least in the dim past of my youth, in academic math people always used letterhead. – paul garrett Jan 20, 2014 at 22:54
I personally side with Peter Jansson on this one (do not use an institutional letterhead if you're not conducting business on behalf of your institution), but you will have to note that this position is not universally shared . I cite only one example, of somewhat high-profile blogger/consultant , who says:
Your letter must be on letterhead if you have a current academic affiliation of any kind. This is not negotiable.
I think it may be a field-specific and/or generation issue: some people, and some fields (humanities/law/medicine) have more attachement to older traditions and think a letterhead is a crucial part of correspondence etiquette.
- 10 I actually joined academia@stackexchange to be able to upvote this answer. Of course you should use letterhead! If you don't, University Y thinks there is some reason why University X does not want you to be affiliated with them. – my.back Oct 21, 2013 at 8:48
- @don.joey well, welcome here! I hope you stay around, it's a very nice community… – F'x Oct 21, 2013 at 8:59
- A separate post by the same blogger indicates that there is regional and disciplinal variation in this convention. (Apparently, it is universal in the US and not used in the UK, Australia and NZ?) – E.P. Apr 14, 2020 at 14:01
- @my.back Keep in mind that blogger you linked specifically provides this advice for graduate students, where it's perfectly acceptable/encouraged to use the letterhead. This is clearly not the case with other jobs where for example people may be looking to change jobs (from one tt position to another). – cryptic0 Dec 3, 2020 at 17:56
I would ask a senior person in your field. In my experience in mathematics in the US, no one gives a flying flip how you format your cover letter; in all likelihood, no one will read it. Using department stationary is common, though far from universal and I don't think affects anyone's thinking one way or the other.
I don't think this advice is universally applicable; I know in many other disciplines, cover letters are read carefully, and thus their professionalism will have some salutary effect. My personal feeling is that using your current institution's letterhead, your office address, etc. looks more professional, but obviously this isn't a universal feeling, so all the more reason to check about your field specifically.
- 1 To be honest, regardless of what you use, just make sure that it is a damn good letter. Departments might have practices. Now, here is a question for others - can Bennie just call and ask? – Theresa Liao Mar 11, 2014 at 19:18
In academia, if you are applying for an academic position (e.g., assistant adjunct prof applying for assistant prof), regardless of whether it is at the same of different institution, it is absolutely essential that you use the letterhead for the institution with which you are currently affiliated. I realize that this is different for private companies, where "company" letterhead implies official communication on behalf of the "company." But in academia, the letterhead is an indicator that you are recognized as a member of a scholarly community and you have the rights, privileges, and responsibilities associated with your academic appointment. In academia, it does NOT mean you are conducting official institutional business. Official institutional business will have "Office of the Chancelor" in the letterhead or "Office of XYZ Department Chair." If the chancellor or department chair were to apply for jobs, they would probably still use institutional letterhead but not have this "Office of the __" line in the letterhead.
Using your institutional letterhead is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL when applying for academic jobs. Even (especially) if you are a grad student. Everyone knows that you are not speaking on behalf of the institute, the letterhead is an indication of your membership in that scholarly community.
- This answer is probably useful within the culture from which it was written, but academia varies more than you think it does . As such, this answer should be taken with a large grain of salt unless you know for a fact that it applies to your region (cf. e.g. this link ), or unless the answer gets edited to provide suitable confines in both geography and discipline. – E.P. Apr 14, 2020 at 14:05
- Unless the author of this post can provide clear evidence, I think this advice is misguided and just plainly wrong on more than one level. Not using the current letterhead is not a disqualification for a new job. And using one institutions email to apply to another institution is definitely uncalled for. – cryptic0 Dec 3, 2020 at 17:48
One point that I'm missing so far, but which IMHO makes quite some difference is the position which you are in:
My "default" opionon on this question is not to use your employer's letterhead, nor your email at your employer's. The reason is that unless your relationship with your current employer is really bad (in which case you don't want to use their letterhead), (ab)using your employer's letterhead demonstrates illoyality: not only are you not acting in as an official of your employer, but as @scottishwildcat already pointed out, you are presumably acting against your employer's interests.
But in academia, there are certain situations where your old university is anywhere between quite happy with over positively encouraging you to expecting you to apply for another job. You may be in a stage of your career where a change of university is expected or at least reasonable and you and your employer agree on this (close to finishing your degree, did a postdoc abroad but want to move home again, want to move for family reasons, want to become a professor which in some countries you cannot at your "home" university, ...), or you are on a project position and for external reasons they cannot keep you. In this case, IMHO you may use the university letterhead (although I'd probably still not do it). But if you do so, you should make sure the university where you apply knows unambiguously that your university is happy with your application for their position, e.g. by naming your current supervisor as reference.
As for the email, free emails are available also with sober username and sober providers, so that shouldn't be a problem, neither.
Do whatever you want.
There are strong and conflicting opinions on this ("it would set off a red flag" to not use institutional letterhead, etc. vs "I put those letters at the bottom of the pile.")
We should ask ourselves, as academics: if we are evaluating people's job applications using such incredibly fine distinctions in academic etiquette, either:
1) we are prioritizing completely useless information and probably introducing a good deal of bias against folks like international students and first-gen college students along with it!
2) academia is so irredeemably petty that getting this right is actually an important sign of success in an academic position.
Either answer doesn't make academia sound like a place you'd want to work. I have faith that people are not actually making such important decisions using trivia. I therefore suggest that the original poster should choose whichever option allows them to make the content of their letter clearer, i.e., if you need the space for more information, don't use the letterhead!
- 3 I completely agree with everything you've written, but it's not an answer to the question. – David Richerby Dec 16, 2017 at 7:41
- This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review – Flyto Dec 16, 2017 at 8:43
- 1 @Flyto: While it may be debatable whether this post is an answer, it is certainly not a valid comment. It does not do any of the things comments are for. – Wrzlprmft ♦ Dec 16, 2017 at 8:55
- Probably not - it's too long for a start. Unfortunately my comment above is that which is automatically posted when one votes to delete with the "not answer" reason. – Flyto Dec 16, 2017 at 8:56
- I agree the only part that is an answer is the first line ("do whatever you want"), but I think this is a necessary corrective. The question rests on an important assumption (that there is a good answer, and people care about it), which isn't necessarily supported. – AJK Dec 16, 2017 at 15:17
I fully understand the notion of not writing on letterhead except in an official capacity, but consider the tradition of using a hotel's letterhead when staying with them as a guest. I appreciate this is perhaps almost akin to sending a picture postcard (and an advertising opportunity for the hotel), yet this clearly is not a matter of the hotel's business activity.
This practice extended to the English with houses large enough to have guest rooms, where the etiquette is to provide headed notepaper of your own for your guests to use.
- Welcome to Academia SE. While your post provides a new and valid outlook on OPs question, I would still like to see how it relates to OPs specific case. – user3209815 May 12, 2015 at 13:54
Completely agree that you should not use letterhead from the academic institution you are trying to leave. I put those letters at the bottom of the pile when reviewing job applications for teaching positions. Only caveat is when you hold a postdoc, but if you are tenure track or more, then no, use your own.
- 3 Exactly what part of the criteria listed in the job advertisement makes it reasonable for you to disregard letters written on letterhead? Does it indicate an inability to do research? To teach? Does the advertisement clearly state that applications on letterhead will be disregarded? – David Richerby Dec 16, 2017 at 7:40
- I didn't say they would be disregarded, just put at the bottom of the pile, like those with bad writing or less than wonderful vitae. If the rest is amazing it may rise up again but the choice to use letterhead shows poor judgement. If you don't want to be at an institution that is currently paying your salary and expecting you to stay, don't use their letterhead. – iris Dec 17, 2017 at 16:19
- 1 I think inferring poor judgement from the use of a letterhead shows poor judgement. I would not expect a good working environment from an academic institution that uses such practices, and they would be put at the bottom of the pile. – E. Rei Nov 8, 2021 at 12:02
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- Here's a step-by-step rundown on the best approach for finding your next role.
Welcome to the first Saturday of September — and possibly the start of you finding a new job.
Now that summer is starting to fade, the search for jobs is heating up. The fourth quarter is typically a pretty busy time of year, according to Mike Steinitz, an executive at talent and consulting firm Robert Half.
"People are looking for a new job as they get through the year. It's sort of like a psychological thing, like: 'Oh, I should start looking,'" Steinitz told Insider. "Just by the fact that the calendar is going to be changing tends to give a little bit of momentum to things."
And on the company side, they begin thinking of budgets, projects, and the right talent on their teams.
So as the job market heats up for the last push of the year, here's a step-by-step rundown on the best approach for finding your next role.
- Resume. During this uncertain time, having a standout resume is even more important. Updating your skills and tailoring your resume to each posting is one way to stand out, according to career experts . You should also avoid "text bricks" and delete your graduation year .
- Cover letter. Sure, you could just outsource writing your cover letter to ChatGPT. (Here's a step-by-step guide .) But be careful. An employer caught one applicant doing this, and it cost them the job . Plus, it could impede you during the interview process . A former Google recruiter also recommended sending a personalized message after applying for a role and before the interview. (Here's how to write an email subject line that catches a hiring manager's attention, by the way.)
- Interview. Think of some questions to ask during the chat . That can include what the interviewer thinks of you, how the company is doing, and what the company culture is like. But be careful discussing pay. It could make you less likely to get hired . And don't forget a thank-you note after the interview. Experts say they aren't an equitable way to judge candidates, but they're still viewed by some as important in today's market .
Applying for jobs can feel like a job itself , but be patient throughout this process. One career consultant tells clients to expect to apply to 100 jobs before receiving an offer.
"People are not commodities, and jobs are not commodities," Brett House, a Columbia Business School professor, said. "If people are contemplating changes in their work situation, they should look at that as a long ongoing process to find that mutual fit."
And if you aren't on the job hunt, beware of joining the growing contingent of " grumpy stayers " — people who are reluctantly stuck at their jobs amid a cooling labor market.