Candidate Guide

How to write a cover letter? 10 key steps !

You have identified several organizations where you would like to do your internship, work-study program or first job and you need to send them a cover letter? Whether you are applying for a job offer or making an unsolicited application, a cover letter is often a prerequisite for a job interview! In addition to your resume, it allows you to deepen your experiences and illustrate your acquired skills. Its purpose is also to show your interest, your motivation for the organization you are writing to, your common points and what you can bring to them thanks to your skills. Here are 10 things to know about writing a good cover letter.

Before writing your student cover letter

1# Learn about the organization

The first thing to do when applying for a job is to find out what the organization does. Who created it? What is its mission? Its history? Its values? What issues does it face? What are its current events? This information will help you identify the first common points between you and the company.

2# Ask yourself why the job offer is right for you

Also, take a good look at the job posting. Why do you think you're the right person for the job? What skills can you bring to the organization? Where does your motivation to fill their position come from? How can your profile be better than others to succeed in this position?

The Editor of the student cover letter

3# The structure of your letter

In general, a cover letter is built in three paragraphs:

A paragraph about the company

A paragraph about the company, in which you express your interest in the company and in the proposed mission. In impact companies, the interest in the mission is often what will make the difference in the eyes of SSE recruiters.

A paragraph about you

Next, it's time for you to highlight your acquired skills and experience that are related to the organization's mission.

You X the company

In this last paragraph, show them the benefits of working with you in the future! You can talk about what you would and could bring to the company. You can also mention the consistency of the position with your future career plans.

4# Illustrate with examples

Each professional experience has its own example! Indeed, in order for a recruiter to understand what your strengths are, you have to explain them in order to put them forward.

For example, saying "I acquired interpersonal skills while working in sales" is a bit flimsy. You can opt for something more in-depth like "As a salesperson, I have learned to deal with the emotions of stressed or dissatisfied customers and I have developed ease in my communication with others."

5# We avoid copy/paste

Each organization has its own particularities and deserves a personalized letter. Remember that recruiters will surely read twenty or even more letters and will only retain those that stand out from the crowd! To achieve this, you can, for example, use a news item or a specific element about the company in the opening line. This way, you capture their attention right from the start!

For example: "Your latest press report, in which you highlight the advantages of working with people in vocational rehabilitation, made me want to send you a letter for a spontaneous application." You could then explain in the rest of your letter, your interests in diversity and social mix for example.

You can also use key words used by the organization on its communication tools to adapt your vocabulary to theirs.

Copying and pasting ready-made sentences from a cover letter template on the Internet could also be a disservice to you. Writing sentences that come from you will allow the recruiter to better understand your personality!

6# Some tools to build it

The first option for writing a cover letter is a piece of paper, if you choose to write a handwritten letter. Otherwise, word processing documents such as Word or Open Office will do. The advantage of these tools? They allow you to choose a nice font, create a structured layout and underline your spelling mistakes! Not bad, right?

7# The details that will hit the spot!

Paragraphs, commas, sufficient space between each line (1.15 or 1.5), at least 3 paragraphs and a well readable font will make your letter easier to read.

8# The greeting

This is the final touch to your letter: the greeting! Here are 3 examples of polite formulas you can use as inspiration:

"Looking forward to hearing from you, please accept, Madam, Sir, my sincere regards."

"Hoping that my application will attract your attention, please accept, Madam, Sir, my distinguished consideration."

"Please accept, Madam, Sir, my best regards."

Proofreading and sending the student cover letter

9# Beware of mistakes!

Spelling mistakes are really what can sting your readers' eyes. So, once your letter is written, proofread it well or have someone close to you proofread it.

10# Transmission of your cover letter

If you have written your letter in Word or another format, ideally download it in PDF format to send to the applicants.

Here is a sample student cover letter

In this sample cover letter, the student is in BTS MCO, (operational sales management) and is looking to do a first internship in a startup to learn how a company and its operations work.

Last name First name

Postal code/City



Last name First name or company name of the recipient


Postal code/City

Done in..., on...

Subject: application for the operation project manager internship

As a first year BTS MCO student and passionate about companies implementing solutions for the ecological transition, [COMPANY NAME] caught my attention. While watching your "all by bike" report, I saw myself in your company.

My first year of training in BTS allowed me to acquire skills in sales and customer relations through many practical cases and I would like to put them to good use in a sector of activity like yours. Passionate about bicycles since the age of 10 and regularly repairing them for friends and family, my knowledge in maintenance will allow me to understand some of the issues related to the management of a bicycle fleet.

Joining [COMPANY NAME] as an operations project manager attracts me particularly to understand the functioning of a young company, wishing to create my own in a few years. I will take pleasure in being proactive to answer your daily challenges.

I am at your disposal for any further information, and please accept, Madam, Sir, the expression of my respectful greetings.


Pour aller plus loin 

👉 10 steps to prepare for a job interview

👉How do I make my resume ?

👉First job, how to choose ?

👉 What skills are SSE recruiters looking for ?

To take action

👉 Find all our offers of work-study, internships and first jobs in CDI or in CDD