8 September 2023
Writing a Placement & Work Experience Cover Letter
When you apply for a placement, you’ll need to send a cover letter along with your CV. A placement cover letter supports your application by explaining who you are and why you’re interested in the role.
The aim of your cover letter is to persuade an employer to read your CV, (over the fifty others they received), and eventually invite you for an interview.
Want to write the perfect one? Read on for the how…
- What goes into a work experience cover letter?
- How to write a cover letter for a placement
- Placement cover letter example
- Things to remember
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
- The role you’re applying for
- Why you’re interested in the role
- Your skills and previous experience
- What you’ll bring to the company
- Your career goals
How to write a cover letter for a placement
Step 1: Dear Sir / Madam?
The first three words of your cover letter are crucial. Make no mistake!
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. Write Ms instead of Miss / Mrs.
Don’t know who to address your cover letter to? There’s a few things you can do.
1. Browse LinkedIn – Lots of companies have a profile that lists their employees
2. Contact the employer – Ask for the name of the person who is tasked with reading placement cover letters. You can do this by phone or email
3. Address your cover letter to the department manager
4. If you can’t locate the person who handles recruitment, address your placement cover letter to someone who works in HR.
Step 2: Swift intro
Next, you need to disclose what placement you’re applying for.
A company might be hiring placement students in a number of different departments. Be specific to make sure you’re 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’re interested in the chosen placement or work experience scheme.
It’s important to do some research about the company you’re applying to and the content of the programme. Use it 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’ll bring to the company as a placement student. There’s no need to mention everything.
Be specific and keep it relevant to the role. What unique skills will you bring to the organisation?
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 rebelled and wrote “to whom it may concern”, put ‘Yours Faithfully’.
Want to set yourself up for success with your work experience application? Sign up to our FREE Career Coaching Course, a four-day virtual programme in October, to upskill yourself on CVs, applications and interviews.
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 (approx 250 words) …
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 the 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.
Things to remember…
Now you have the tools needed to craft a superb piece of career prose, there are a few things to keep in mind…
Online Placement Applications
1. If you’re applying for a placement online, you’ll need to write your cover letter in a text box. Write it in Microsoft Word or Pages first, then copy and paste it into the text box. That way you can check your grammar and spelling beforehand.
2. 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.
3. Always save your cover letter as ‘[Your Name] Cover Letter‘. It looks clean, and employers will be able to find you easier.