Writing A Placement & Work Experience Cover Letter



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. So keep it brief, no longer than 250 words.



How to write a cover letter for a placement

STEP 1: Dear Sir/Madam?

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…

  • 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 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.

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. 


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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 chosen placement or work experience scheme. 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.


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. 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.


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.


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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