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5 Cover Letter Tips for Students & Recent Graduates

Chloe Chioy

What every company wants is dedicated employees. The easiest way to show your interest in the company and position is to do your research and show it in your cover letter. Students and recent graduates should use cover letters to elaborate on relevant experiences and skills to communicate their education and qualifications because they often lack professional work experiences.

Here are five tips to show you how to write a cover letter that lands jobs.

  1. Address your letter to a specific person

When addressing your cover letter, don’t write “Dear Sir/Madam” or an equivalent because they are impersonal and seem templated. Giving the impression that you are sending off the same cover letter to multiple companies is the last thing you want.

Instead, grab the hiring manager’s attention by addressing them by their first name. This shows the hiring manager you have taken the time to personalise your cover letter along with researching the company.

You can often find the hiring manager’s name on the company’s website. Searching on LinkedIn is also a great way to find people using their titles.

If all fails, you can use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear ___ Department”.

  1. Include keywords from the job description in your body paragraphs

Look through the job description and note down adjectives and keywords to add to your cover letter. These keywords describe the qualities and skills the company is specifically looking for in a candidate.

Some examples of keywords include:

  • Enthusiastic
  • Hardworking
  • Customer service
  • Video editing

Including keywords in your body paragraphs shows the hiring manager you have paid attention to the job description and emphasises that you’re a good fit for the job.

You should focus on including soft skills, skills that relate to how you interact with people in a professional setting if you are a student or recent graduate. As long as you can prove you have them, it doesn’t matter where you got them from.

Additionally, you can choose to include a short anecdote explaining how you gained a certain skill or qualification to personalise your cover letter.

For example, if you are applying for a job in the gaming industry, you can write about which game initially piqued your interest and how you decided to start learning to code or how to use streaming software.

  1. Match your cover letter’s tone with the job industry

Your writing tone should reflect the level of job you’re applying for as well as what’s expected in the industry. Consulting the company’s website, social media, press releases, and reviews is a great way to understand the tone and register they use.

For example, if you’re writing to the editor of a magazine like Cosmopolitan, you should use playful vocabulary and showcase your wit because they are known for being sassy and to the point. On the other hand, The Guardian covers topics ranging from politics to the environment and so you should keep your register formal.

  1. Elaborate on the information on your CV

Your cover letter should elaborate on your skills and experiences on your CV rather than repeating them. As a student or recent graduate, a cover letter gives you the opportunity to elaborate on your strongest section: education.

Simply choose a few relevant highlights during your education such as an achievement or module and go more in-depth about the experiences. You can write about what inspired you to choose your major or how you won a certain award.

  1. End your cover letter with your career goals

Include the career goals you wish to achieve in the position and how you plan to bring value to the company at the end of your cover letter. Your goals can range from entering the marketing industry to helping a company increase its website’s traffic by 5%.

As a student or recent graduate, you may not have much work experience, but if you can convey confidence in your abilities and interest in the company, it will communicate your value as someone who will grow in the company.

Back up your career goals by doing your research. You can mention a recent product launch and how you would improve it, give your opinion on a recent software update, or include ideas on how the company can branch out in the future.

Get creative and showcase what you can bring to the table.

If you want to build a network with local and national companies to discover new opportunities, you’ll want to attend our events! As the UK's number one platform for face-to-face recruitment, we at The UK Careers Fair promise several opportunities to meet with the best companies for you. Get a ticket today!

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