For many students, searching for jobs can be a challenge, especially with limited work experience. Even if you're just starting out, here are nine tips for writing a cover letter and resume that will make you look your best!
How to write a cover letter
1. What's the point of a cover letter?
Essentially, you want to convey to your potential employer why you're enthusiastic about the job you're applying for, and why you think you are the perfect fit. Your resume may include related experience and skills, but a little explanation in the cover letter can help tie this information to your application in a more personal way. What specific skills have you gained from extracurricular activities that you feel will help you in your job?
2. Write formally, but with a friendly tone
Don't be afraid of showing your personality, but maintain a professional tone and address the employer politely. Be sure to include the current date at the top, followed by a salutation (like "Dear Mrs. Flumberboots" or "Dear Sir"), and a valediction (like "Sincerely"). Organize your letter in clear paragraphs and add your contact information at the end so the employer can reach you. It may be worthwhile to look at some online examples to help you with formatting and layout.
3. Begin by introducing yourself and briefly describe your background
Mention where you go to school or will be attending school in the fall, and explain your interest in the job. How did you hear about it? Why did you decide to apply? Remember, you want to convince the employer that you are right for the job, so sound enthusiastic about the position!
4. Create connections between you and the job
Review the job description and the type of employee they're looking for. Explain why you'd be a good match for the position, and include details from past experiences. If you've held jobs before, talk about what you learned from them and how you may apply these skills to future jobs. If you haven't held a job but have volunteered, played on a sports team, or managed an organization or group, you can refer to these roles and the skills you developed that make you a good fit for the job you're applying for.
5. Follow up
If you don't hear back within a week or so, don't be afraid to follow up. Send an email reiterating your interest and thank them for the opportunity.
6. Proofread, proofread, proofread
Your letter should sound as professional as possible. A little personal tone is great, and fully necessary when discussing your interest in the job, but make sure to check your spelling and grammar and avoid sounding too casual.
How to write a resume
The resume is the meat of the application, and should connect directly to your cover letter. Your cover letter will discuss aspects of your resume, so you need to back up your interest in the job with as much substantial experience as you can provide. This doesn't have to be limited only to jobs — in fact, you should think about what experiences you have under your belt that may help you as an employee, whether work-related or not (for example, a tutoring job).
7. List your educational background
What high school do you (or did you) attend? If you're a graduating senior, which college will you be attending in the fall? Include your years of attendance, as well as any honors or special achievements. If you feel it will help your application, include your GPA. Even if your educational experiences aren't the focus of the resume, you should include them.
8. List relevant experiences, starting with the most important ones
These can include jobs, internships, service opportunities, leadership positions in school clubs or organizations, etc. For each position, add a brief explanation of your responsibilities and any special skills you earned. Include locations and dates. Again, don’t feel limited only to jobs — there are definitely benefits to other experiences that your employer will recognize. Point them out in quick explanations of each activity.
9. Be sure to include your certifications
If you completed lifeguard training and are CPR certified, add this along with the date of your certification. The same is true for first aid certification or other job-specific skills that may apply to the job you're interested in.
If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be on the right track to getting yourself a summer job. Remember to be confident about approaching employers and showcase your best qualifications. Happy job hunting!
Summer job money isn't the only way to help pay for college. Check out our Scholarship Match to find scholarships that are perfect for you.
All animations courtesy of Giphy.
About the author
Maya is our 2015 Top Ten List Scholarship winner. She attends Yale University, majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, and is a fan of whales, baseball, and classic rock.
Summer Job Cover Letter Example
Applying for a summer job? It is important that you write a strong cover letter for a summer job position. Read below for tips on how to write a strong summer job cover letter.
Also see below for a sample cover letter for a summer job in customer service. You can use the sample to help write your own letter.
Tips for Writing a Summer Job Cover Letter
Highlight skills related to the job. Like all cover letters, you should use the cover letter to show that you are an ideal candidate for the job.
Highlight one or two skills or qualifications from the job listing that you have. Include examples from past work experiences to demonstrate you have these skills. Include keywords from the listing to draw a direct connection between the job and your abilities.
Include examples from school and extracurriculars. If you are a student or recent graduate, you may not have extensive work experience. You can include examples from school, volunteer positions, or extracurricular activities (such as clubs or sports) to demonstrate your skills and abilities. For example, if you are applying for a job at a local newspaper, mention your work on your school’s newspaper. If you are applying to be a camp counselor, mention a successful project or course you took in early childhood education.
Emphasize your ability to learn quickly. Employers hiring summer workers look for job candidates who can pick up skills quickly.
After all, they do not want to spend much time training a summer employee. Highlight your ability to learn quickly through examples from work, school, volunteer positions, or extracurriculars.
Show you are responsible. Another important skill for summer workers is responsibility. Employers want to know summer workers won’t take lots of days off to go enjoy the summer weather.
Provide an example of your responsible nature in your cover letter. For example, mention if you have held any leadership roles that required a lot of responsibility, or if you were given additional responsibilities at a previous job.
Use examples. Look at cover letter samples, like the one below, to help you write your own cover letter. Examples can help you format your letter, and think of what information to include. However, do not simply copy and paste a cover letter example. Change the information and the specific examples to fit your own circumstances, and the job you are applying for.
Edit, edit, edit. Be sure to thoroughly proofread your summer job cover letter. Read through the letter, looking for any spelling or grammar errors. Ask a friend or family member to look over the letter as well. If you are a student or graduate, make an appointment with a career services counselor at school to look over your letter.
Sample Cover Letter for a Summer Job
City, State, Zip Code
Cell Phone Number
Hiring Manager’s Name
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Hiring Manager,
I am interested in the summer position at Sarasota Convenience Store as advertised in The Sarasotian newspaper.
I believe that my communication skills, customer service abilities, and positive work ethic would make me an asset to your store.
I have excellent communication skills. I am a Communications minor at XYZ University, and have extensive experience presenting information orally. I recently received an award for a presentation I gave to the entire Communications department. I am confident speaking clearly and confidently to others, which is critical in a job that requires listening to and speaking with customers.
I also have an aptitude for customer service. In my past position as a volunteer at Sarasota Hospital, I focused on providing quality customer service. I provided service to people of all ages, which is something that I would be doing at Sarasota Convenience Store.
Finally, I have a strong work ethic.
I am a responsible employee, and even received a certificate from the Sarasota Hospital for my dedication to the position. I would love the opportunity to bring this work ethic to your store.
Thank you for your consideration. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 555-555-5555. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Your Signature (hard copy letter)
Your Typed Name
Sending an Email Cover Letter
If you're sending your cover letter via email, list your name and the job title in the subject line of the email message:
Subject: Sarasota Convenience Store Position – Your Name
Include your contact information in your email signature (rather than at the beginning of the message), and don't list the employer contact information anywhere. Start your email message with the salutation.
Read More: Summer Job Cover Letters | More Sample Cover Letters | How to Send an Email Cover Letter | Summer Job Resumes | How to Get a Great Summer Job