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3 Tips to Writing an Effective Student Cover Letter

Posted by Gavin Redelman

3 Tips to Writing an Effective Student Cover Letter

In a recent report, students stated that they are more daunted about how to write a cover letter than they are about writing a professional resume. When written correctly, the cover letter will give you a huge advantage over your competitors and ensure that your resume is given an automatic advantage over them. A badly written cover letter, however, can also have the opposite effect and cause the hiring manager to delete your application without even opening your resume. In good news, there are many ways you can make your cover letter stand out. 

Target your cover letter to the job you are applying for

An experienced hiring manager can easily tell the difference between a targeted cover letter written for a specific job and a generic cover letter that has been used over and over again (and probably without success). With the high demand for graduate internships and jobs, you need to ensure that your cover letter emphasises the skills and attributes you can offer this specific role that you're applying for in order to stand out.

Focus on your leadership and innovative skills

In order for your cover letter to stand out, you need you need to focus on what makes you a unique job seeker. Although you may not have direct work experience, you can draw on your university experience (group assignments, presentations, projects etc.), your extra-curricular activities and your community service to provide examples of the value you can bring to a job. Most companies are interested in hiring people who are go-getters, who can think outside the box and show passion in wanting to learn and improve their skills.

Emphasise your Achievements

Pretend that you’re the hiring manager and read through your existing cover letter – are you impressed with what you just read? Would you hire yourself? If the answer is no, you need to think about what you can include in your cover letter that will make a hiring manager stand up and take notice.

Emphasise your achievements that are related to the role you are applying for. If the job description requires a strong communicator, for example, provide achievement-based examples to highlight your skills in communication. Writing that you are a “dynamic presenter capable of projecting a strong, credible, articulate and engaging personal presence" or "experienced in presenting assignments in front of teachers and peers” are just a few examples.

Top 5 Cover Letter Mistakes

  • Letter addressed to the wrong person or company 
  • Spelling and/or grammar mistakes 
  • Long Winded 
  • Generic 
  • Lack of contact details

Is Your Cover Letter or Resume Letting You Down?

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