Writing A Placement & Work Experience Cover Letter



A placement cover letter accompanies a CV in an application for a placement year. It should outline who you are and explain why you are interested in the placement.

The aim of your covering letter is to persuade an employer to read your CV, (over the fifty others they received), and eventually invite you for an interview.

You want to be able to capture the employer as quickly as possible. So keep it brief, no longer than 250 words (one page in length).



What goes into a work experience cover letter

Although you should always tailor your cover letter for each job you apply for, there are a couple of things that all cover letters must include. On top of the usual letter niceties, these are…

  • Your name and contact details (unless you’re copying and pasting it into an online application form)
  • The role you’re applying for
  • Why you’re interested in the role and company
  • Your skills and previous experience
  • What you’ll bring to the role and company
  • Your career goals

How to write a cover letter for a placement

Here are the six steps to writing the perfect cover letter.

Step 1: Dear Sir/Madam?

The first three words of your placement cover letter are crucial. You’re in trouble if you do or say anything out of the ordinary.

That includes addressing your placement cover letter to the wrong person.

Recruiters and employers get itchy eyes when they read a work placement cover letter addressed to – Dear Sir/Madam, and they really lose their minds when they see – To whom it may concern.

It’s best to address your letter to the reader directly. So...

Dear Full Name, e.g. Dear David Attenborough, this is ideal as it’s gender-inclusive and doesn’t rely on the use of ‘mr’ or ‘ms’.

Dear Mr Surname, e.g. Dear Mr Attenborough

Dear Ms Surname, e.g. Dear Ms Attenborough, (never presume marital status, so write Ms instead of Miss/Mrs).

If you do not know the name of the person who will be receiving your placement cover letter, there a few things you can do…

  • The first place to look would be LinkedIn. Loads of companies will have a profile that lists their employees. Even searching for the job you’re applying for might give you more information about who the recruiter is
  • Contact the company that is organising the placement, and ask for the name of the person who is tasked with reading the cover letter
  • Address your cover letter to the department manager
  • If you cannot locate the person who handles recruitment, address your placement cover letter to someone who works in HR

If you're applying for a placement, do read How to Write a Placement CV. It’s another versatile number. You can use it for putting together a CV for any form of work experience.



Step 2: Swift intro

Next, you need to disclose what placement you are applying for. 

A company might be hiring placement students in a number of different departments. Be specific, to make sure you are being considered for the right role.

Write something like this –

I am writing regarding the vacancy for the marketing placement with IBM, as advertised on RateMyPlacement. Please find my attached CV.

Let the recruiter know where you found the vacancy for the placement. Employers are always keen to know what channels students use to find jobs. It makes a good impression.



Step 3: Why are you interested?

Now you’ve introduced yourself, it’s time to explain why you are interested in the chosen placement or work experience scheme.

It’s important to do some research about the company you are applying to and the content of the programme. Use this research to give convincing reasons for your interest in the placement.


Step 4: What can YOU bring?

In this section, you want to explain what you will bring to the company as a placement student. There’s no need to mention everything you’ll bring.

Be specific and keep it relevant to the role. What unique skills will you bring to the organisation? Answer that question.

It’s also a chance to talk a little bit about your hobbies and interests - keeping them relevant to the role you’ve applied to.

I am halfway through a Marketing degree, and on course to achieve a 2:1. So far, I have focussed on digital marketing modules, which have imparted strong analytical and problem-solving skills. I am also now proficient in basic coding. My three years at Mecca Bingo have provided experience with customer service practices and other useful soft skills.


Step 5: Final flourish

Aptly named the final flourish, you will end your placement cover letter in this section. Thank the recruiter for considering your application, and register your interest in attending an interview.

Thank you for considering my application, I’m looking forward to the prospect of discussing the placement in greater detail in an interview.


Step 6: Farewell

If you found the name of the recruiter/employer, end your placement cover letter with Yours Sincerely. If you are one of those rogues who wrote "to whom it may concern", put Yours Faithfully.


Placement cover letter example

Here is an example of a placement cover letter. This is the structure and general length you should be aiming for...


Dear Mr Attenborough,

I am writing regarding the vacancy for the marketing placement with IBM, as advertised on RateMyPlacement. Please find my attached CV.

I am particularly interested in this placement at IBM because of the focus on different areas of digital marketing. IBM is at the forefront of the digital marketing industry, and I am fascinated by the cloud-based software IBM provides for companies on email, web and social media. 

I have been reading about IBM’s most recent project, which aimed to improve customer experience across the buyer journey. It links closely to a project I completed in the first year of my Marketing degree, which centred around optimising user experience for online retail.

I am halfway through a Marketing degree, and on course to achieve a 2:1. So far, I have focussed on digital marketing modules, which have imparted strong analytical and problem-solving skills. I am also now proficient in basic coding. My three years at Mecca Bingo have provided experience with customer service practices and other useful soft skills.

Thank you for considering my application, I’m looking forward to the prospect of discussing the placement in greater detail in an interview.

Yours Sincerely,

Kevin McCloud.



Things to remember…

Now you have the tools needed to craft a superb piece of career prose, there are a couple of things to keep in mind…

  • If you’re applying online for a placement, you’ll be asked to write your cover letter in a text box. Write your cover letter in Microsoft Word or Pages, then copy+paste it into the text box. That way you can check your grammar and spelling beforehand.
  • If you’re sending your cover letter via email or attaching it to an online application, save it as a .pdf rather than a word/pages file. All computers can read PDFs, so there’ll be no problem when an employer opens the file.
  • Always save your cover letter as '[YOUR NAME] Cover Letter'. It looks clean, and employers will be able to find you easier.

There’s no time like the present to start applying for work experience. There are hundreds of roles currently available on RateMyPlacement.co.uk.