Preparing to get your first job takes some effort. You need to research job opportunities, prepare a flawless resume, gather references….Do you really need a cover letter too? The answer to that question is, Yes! Cover letters are especially helpful and maybe even essential for getting your first job because you’re likely to have little or no experience, so a cover letter can give the hiring manager some insight into who you are as a person, something that they might not get just looking at your resume. The good news is that a cover letter doesn’t have to be lengthy and boring! Three concise and well-written paragraphs can do the trick and set you apart from other candidates applying for the same job. And once you write one, you can just tailor that letter for each specific job you are applying for.

So what does a winning cover letter look like?

  • It’s concise and introduces “who you are” as a person to the hiring manager.
  • It highlights what makes you a great candidate for the position (it does not restate your entire resume).
  • It concludes with a call to action.
  • It’s error-free…Make sure you spell check and have someone else review it for grammar and spelling accuracy!
  • It has your contact information on it. Be sure to include an e-mail address and phone number on the cover letter so the manager can easily get in touch with you.

A cover letter has 3 succinct paragraphs and gives the hiring manager a little insight into the applicant’s background, as well as their personality.

So, let’s break it down!

1st Paragraph

This should be a simple introduction to the hiring manager and to let them know which position you’re applying for.

Dear Hiring Manager
My name is Jennifer Smith and I am extremely interested in the part-time childcare attendant position that you are currently hiring for. I am a Sophomore at WTC high school where I am a member of the marching band and also part of the new student welcoming committee. I have three younger siblings so I have been helping to take care of children most of my lifeI

2nd paragraph

Highlight why you would be a great fit for this position. If you don’t have any direct experience you can focus on relevant skills, classwork or awards or recognition you have received.

I feel I would be a great fit for this position! In addition to the experience I have gained caring for my siblings, I have also babysat for families in my neighborhood since I was 12 years old. I am currently taking a child development class at school and plan on taking advanced child development and child psychology classes next year. Through my involvement with the New Student Welcoming Committee, I have been awarded two school spirit awards for demonstrating character and inclusion. I am creative, organized and have excellent communication skills with both children and adults.

3rd paragraph

This is a call to action and should be stated with confidence.

If given the opportunity, I know I would be a valuable member of your childcare team! Thank you for taking the time to review my attached resume. I look forward to the opportunity to meet with you in person.

Jennifer Smith

Don’t be afraid to be creative and let your uniqueness shine through! It’s what will set you apart from all the other candidates and will make your resume memorable! And one last important thing, remember to customize your cover letter for each specific job you’re applying to!

Need help getting your first job? Check out our Resume Builder & Video Training Programs geared just for teens!