Placement & Work Experience Cover Letter

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How to write a placement cover letter

Writing a placement cover letter can be tricky, but necessary if you want to find a placement with a top employer. It’s like chopping a tomato. It’s messy and the pips go everywhere, but if you’re making a BLT, you don’t have a choice.

So we’ve put together a simple six-step guide to help you write the Daniel Day-Lewis of cover letters. (The best.)


Work experience cover letter

If you’re looking for some work experience, you can also use this guide to write a work experience cover letter. It’s better than Jamie Oliver’s All Purpose Three-in-one peeler, which peels all manner of vegetables. Such versatility. Placement & Work Experience CV

You should also check out our blog: Placement & Work Experience CV. It’s another versatile number. The CV guide offers simple steps to help you craft your CV for placement applications.


Before we begin...

Before we begin, and the giddiness takes over, let us explain what a placement cover letter actually is. A placement cover letter is a formal letter that 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. A placement cover letter is the garlic bread before the pepperoni pizza – a starter, a teaser for the main event. Keep it brief, no longer than 250 words.


Cover letter tips

  • TAILOR your cover letter to the placement you are applying for.
  • DON'T forget to proof-read.
  • DON'T undersell yourself. Your cover letter shouldn't be a list of qualities you don't have.
  • DON'T lie about work experience/qualifications. Employers can smell fibs like a grizzly bear smells out salmon. 
  • DON'T use cliches, or describe yourself using application buzzwords, such as 'hard working' + 'dynamic'. Otters work hard. 
  • DON'T overshare. A cover letter shouldn't include any personal information. 

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Step 1: The name game

The first three words of your placement cover letter are crucial. It’s like the opening moments of a blind date. If you do or say anything out of the ordinary, you’re in trouble. If you address your placement cover letter to the wrong person, you too are dancing on the edge of a volcano.

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,

Unless the recruiter has been raised by wolves, and they don’t have a name, it’s best to address your letter to the reader directly. Like so –

Dear Full Name, e.g. Dear David Attenborough,

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…

  • Ring or email 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 manager of the department you will be working in. 
  • If you cannot locate the person who handles recruitment, address your placement cover letter to someone who works in HR.
  • As a last resort, address your letter to someone who works in the team you are applying to join. This is not ideal, but better than the riots that To whom it may concern causes. 

Step 2: Swift intro

Once you have played the name game, 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 in regards of 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 – it’s like offering them a crisp.



Step 3: Why are you interested?

You have introduced yourself, you have given them a crisp, now it’s time to explain why you are interested in the placement. It is 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.


    If you are looking for a placement, we have placements-a-plenty on RateMyPlacement. The button below will take you there.


Step 4: Why 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. An employer doesn’t care for your nagging doubts about the state of British farmyard animals, or what sandwiches you’ll bring on your first day.

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

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 of part at Mecca Bingo have provided experience with customer service practices, and other useful soft skills.

That was marvellous. Onto the next section.


Step 5: Final flourish

This is aptly named, the final flourish. In this section, you will end your placement cover letter. 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.

And that’s it! Six simple steps and you’ve got yourself a placement cover letter that will have employers swimming through crocodile-infested waters to get to you.


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 in regards of the vacancy for the marketing placement with IBM, as advertised on RateMyPlacement. Please find my attached CV.

I am particularly interested to 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 of part 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.


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