Cover letters are a key component of a job application. They are the first glimpse a hiring manager gets of a candidate’s personality, and they don’t require work experience to construct. What type of job seeker is this especially valuable for? College students.
If you’re a college student who wants a great job, but has never worked a single day — no problem. We all start somewhere, and working as an intern is a strong way to jumpstart your career!
The following college student cover letter is a great example of how you can hook a hiring manager and get your dream internship.
Feel free to download it, or check out our full slate of professional cover letter templates.
Or if you’re pressed for time, use our free cover letter builder to write yours in minutes.
Table of Contents
College Student Cover Letter Sample
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College Student Cover Letter (Text Format)
Oct 30, 2015
Hiring Manager’s Name
341 Company Address
San Antonio, Texas, 78006
Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I found your post looking for marketing interns on the Mays Business School bulletin board yesterday. I’m a fourth year marketing student at Texas A&M, where I’ve had the opportunity to build real experience with digital marketing, branding, and advertising not just on campus but also throughout our community. [TARGET COMPANY] has a great reputation as being an environmentally conscious company, and I’d love the chance to work amongst people who share my passion for green energy and the environment.
As a student, I’ve already had success coordinating a marketing campaign that encouraged people to shop more at local businesses. I managed the budget, helped design advertisements, and used social media platforms to get our message out, and it resulted in a 13% revenue increase for local stores in the College Station area. My organizational skills, creativity, and social media fluency helped me succeed, and can help me thrive as a member of [TARGET COMPANY]’s marketing team.
I’m aware that [TARGET COMPANY] wants to expand further into the college-age demographic. My familiarity with university students and how to create content that appeals to them can help [TARGET COMPANY] develop further in this part of the market.
I would love to get an interview and elaborate further on the ways I can immediately contribute to your team. You can contact me via email at [EMAIL] or by phone at [PHONE], I’m free most nights and can meet in person any day if we schedule it ahead of time. Thanks for your consideration, I look forward to your reply!
Three Key Writing Tips
If you adhere to these three tips when writing your cover letter, you’ll be getting interview requests in no time. If the process still seems foggy, our comprehensive writing guide can help get you started.
1. Do your homework.
Get online and begin digging — why exactly is your target company looking for interns? What are their short-term and longterm goals? Are they involved in any charities? Do they play a role in your local community? Are their products great? What about eco-friendly? If their website yields little information, try sites like glassdoor.com, linkedin.com, or even Facebook and look to see if you have any friends (or friends of friends) working at your target company. Get acquainted and find some answers!
If their website yields little information, try sites like glassdoor.com, linkedin.com, or even Facebook and look to see if you have any friends (or friends of friends) working at your target company.
If you’re able to track down some of this info, you’ll be in good shape when you start writing. Hiring managers want to see that you’re interested in their specific company. If your cover letter is 100% self-promotional and stuffed with generic content, you’re doing something wrong.
Ask yourself: How can I fit within the framework of this particular company? What niche can I fill?
Don’t ask yourself: How can I write one awesome cover letter so I don’t need to make more than one?
Although it may feel tedious, make sure you research each individual company and write a letter tailored to them. This will boost your chances of moving to the interview stage, so put in the time and make it happen! This brings me to my next point —
2. Select keywords from the job advertisement and use them.
This is another subtle way to show that you’re paying attention to the needs of the hiring manager. Avoid lying, but you should definitely make sure to use some of the posting’s keywords to describe yourself and your abilities. If not, it might be time to re-evaluate what internship you’re applying for!
Another thing to keep in mind is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). If your cover letter gets run through a company’s ATS (which according to some experts, it most likely will), keyword use will help you survive the robotic purge. ATS software hunts for applications that correlate with the needs of a company, and unfortunately lack the human touch of a hiring manager. If yours doesn’t reach the relevance threshold, it’ll get tossed before anyone lays eyes on it. Since it’s now necessary to appease these automated overlords, do what you need to do and strategically place keywords throughout your cover letter.
3. Use at least one example of experience that’s relevant to the job.
Experience doesn’t necessarily have to be the professional type. Academic experiences, extra-curricular activities, and even times when you volunteered are all available to draw from. In the cover letter sample, our candidate states that:
- “As a student, I’ve already had success coordinating a marketing campaign that encouraged people to shop more at local businesses. I managed the budget, helped design advertisements, and used social media platforms to get our message out, and it resulted in a 13% revenue increase for local stores in the College Station area.”
This is a very solid piece of evidence in favor of the applicant because:
- It highlights her abilities. In two sentences, she shows that she’s an experienced leader, can handle money, design ads, and is capable with social media.
- It includes the project outcome using numbers. If you are able to quantify your experiences, you’re already a huge step ahead of many applicants. Being able to conclusively state that your work had an effect on the outcome of a project is great proof that you’re competent. Hiring managers are on the lookout for these numbers, so make sure to put them in there if you can.
Even if you don’t have an experience as concrete as the one above, don’t worry! Just make sure to include numbers. If you helped hand out soup to the needy, note the rough number of how many people you served. If you worked on a project at school, describe how many team members you had, what you accomplished, and how long you worked on it.
Be sure to quantify wherever you can on your resume. Not only does it add a sense of concrete proof to your experience, but numbers also act as brain candy and are better at getting the attention of readers who are skimming.
Our lives are filled with experiences and numbers. If you can organize these effectively and connect them to the job listing, you’re well on your way to getting an interview and finding a solid internship. Or even better, a full-time job!