Before you proceed to the Application Materials section of the Virtual Career Center, there are a few things you may want to know about writing resumes and cover letters for student jobs in particular. While all of the information you will learn about resumes and cover letters applies regardless of the type of job you’re trying to get, you may find yourself wondering how to apply some of the information. Below are the answers to a few commonly asked questions about resumes and cover letters for student jobs. Review them now or return to this page later.
Resumes and Cover Letters for Student Jobs
Do I really have to target my resume to every job I apply for?
When you’re applying for internships or post-graduation jobs, yes. This can be a little more challenging when you’re applying for student jobs, though, because you’re more likely to be applying for many different types of jobs, and possibly also a larger number of jobs, so targeting your resume to every position might end up being a lot of work. What some students choose to do instead is identify the main types of jobs they’re going to apply for (for example – customer service, office work, child care, etc.) and create a version of their resume targeted to each of those types of jobs. That way, they can still send out resumes that highlight the types of skills and experiences that are most important to a given employer without having to change every resume. If you find a position that you’re really excited about, though, it may be worth the extra time to create a resume customized to that job where you make sure to address every specific thing in the job description and use all their keywords.
What about cover letters? Do those really need to be targeted?
Yes. You really can’t ever send the same cover letter twice. You CAN, however, create a couple versions of cover letters for different types of jobs, like you might do with resumes, and then customize them before sending them out. A cover letter needs to address how you meet the qualifications and how you will contribute to the company in the job you’re applying for, as well as why you’re interested in that particular job and company. Not every job you apply for will want a cover letter, however, so this probably won’t take you too much time.
What do I say about why I want the job or why I’m interested in the company?
This is another thing that’s easier when you’re applying for internships or jobs in your career field, but that doesn’t mean you get to skip it completely for a student job. In this case, the employer doesn’t expect this to be your dream job, or be closely tied into your long-term career goals, or for you to have done a TON of research on the company (just some!). They do, however, want to know that you ARE really interested in the job and feel like it’s going to be a good fit for you. So, think about what you would enjoy about the work. For example, if it’s customer service, do you enjoy meeting new people and helping them? You do want to avoid saying a job is appealing to you because of things like the pay, benefits, hours, etc. Focus on things that will benefit them. (Note that if you’re applying for an on-campus job, make sure to address the department you’re applying to rather than just Boise State.)
Do I still need to address my cover letter to a specific person?
Yes! You should at least make a good attempt to find the name of someone appropriate to address your letter to. If you’re applying for an on-campus job, this is easy to do, because Boise State has a full staff directory available online, and many departments have staff directories on their own sites as well.
Should I include a resume and cover letter with my application even if they are not required
It’s up to you, but here are some guidelines to consider. If the job posting or application states that a resume or cover letter is “optional” but not required, it would be a good idea to go ahead and include it. If there is no mention of a resume or cover letter, it may come down to whether there is a realistic way for you to submit any additional documents. If you’re submitting a paper application, for example, you could always clip a resume to it.