As a college student, finding a job that is at your level of experience, but still interesting, can be a challenge. Fortunately, employers who specifically hire college students generally understand that students may not have an extensive professional work history.
That means it's important to include other relevant information in the cover letter, including your major/minor, volunteer experience, internship experience, and personal skills that pertain to the position. Here's more insight into what to include in your cover letter, along with how to format it and a sample letter that you can use for inspiration while writing your own.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
Since you're applying for a psychology job, you'll want to emphasize any experience that you may have in the field. That may include internships, volunteer work, and part-time jobs.
If you haven't had any hands-on experience in the field, you can describe related coursework.
Another way to show you are a good candidate for the role at hand is to describe your relevant skills. You'll want to emphasize that you have the skills mentioned in the job description. Some of the key skills that are often required for roles in the field of psychology include:
- Communication skills: Nearly every role requires strong communication skills, but of course, the ability to listen to patients/clients is particularly important for psychology-related roles. If you're working with minors, you'll need to communicate details and recommendations with guardians.
- Strong time management: People in this field may find themselves needing to manage time during client sessions as well as balance meeting clients and tackling paperwork in a timely fashion.
- An affinity for the details: Given the paperwork mentioned above, you'll need to feel comfortable filling out forms, calling up insurance companies, and fulfilling similar detail-focused tasks.
- Analytical skills: People in the field of psychology need to be able to understand theory, and also apply it to individuals. Since people are complex, this may require developing many potential solutions, and working patiently to uncover what works for each individual. Psychologists need to use observational skills and critical thinking as well as problemsolving skills and more.
Tips for Writing Your Cover Letter
Here's what to keep in mind as you write a cover letter:
- Formatting matters: There are fairly set guidelines for how to format your cover letter, so make sure to structure your cover letter so it meets hiring managers' expectations.
- Showcase your relevant skills, experience, and ability: As you're reviewing the job description, keep an eye out for what the employee is looking for in candidates. When you have those qualities/experience, make sure to mention it.
- Sell yourself: Hiring managers don't care about how much you want to land the job. They're interested in how you'll be able to fulfill the job description and help out the company. With that in mind, emphasize how you're a good fit along with ways you'll add value to the company in the role.
- Don't forget to proofread: Small errors can make you appear unprofessional. Before sending off your cover letter, thoroughly read through it, removing typos or grammar errors. Keep your message brief and use language that is easy to understand. If you find it hard to catch errors, you can ask for help from friends.
Email Cover Letter Example
Sample Email Cover Letter for a Psychology-Related Position at a Science Museum
Subject Line: Early Childhood Psychology Position - Maggie Brown
Dear Mr. Martin,
I am interested in applying for the Center of Science Discovery Early Childhood Psychology Position. I am studying Psychology at Boston University, and I have studied how children and adults learn and how they respond to each other and their environments in several senior-level courses. Additionally, I am currently enrolled in a research-based course focused on Psychology of the Family, so I would love for the opportunity to actively apply my new knowledge to the internship. In addition, I absolutely love working with children, so this is a position I would undoubtedly enjoy! I have real-life experience working with children, coupled with academic knowledge as well.
I have a lengthy history of working with children of all ages, especially young children. While I enjoy working with all ages, young children are my favorite, and I am personally inspired by their unique sense of curiosity and creativity. Although I love working with kids, my past positions have also necessitated that I work dually with both kids and adults. Therefore, I am comfortable interacting with parents and their children, a responsibility highlighted in the position description on your website.
I have numerous experiences working with young children. I was a summer volunteer at the Sagamore College Child Care Center, where I worked with children in the toddler room and in the pre-kindergarten room. In addition to tutoring children in an academic environment, I was also responsible for conducting stimulating learning activities and developing arts and crafts projects. At the end of each day, I updated parents about their child’s daily progress and his or her achievements of the day. I also chaperoned field trips in which I interacted with both children and parents in different environments.
In addition, I have experience as an After-School Care Giver for two elementary-aged children. I was also the primary caregiver during my summer hours. I was responsible for entertaining the children and assisting them with their school work, as well, and one of my duties included analyzing their progress in the form of informal "progress reports" that were well-received by their parents. Also, I routinely interacted with both parents on a regular basis, discussing each child’s individual needs and communicating about the scheduling of daily activities. As a result, I am comfortable with working with parents and children together and ensuring that everyone is happy and safe.
I have also taught young children skiing as a certified ski instructor and horseback riding as an experienced equestrian. In both situations, I was responsible for familiarizing parents with safety information and explaining daily routines. Also, in lessons that included entire families, I incorporated both parent and child in the learning experience, focusing on cooperation while making sure everyone was learning while still having a good time. Through all of my prior experiences, I have developed a keen awareness of how to successfully interact with entire families.
Once again, thank you so much for your consideration. As a candidate with academic experience in the field of psychology as well as extensive experience working with children, I would look forward to working at the Center of Science Discovery. I look forward to hearing from you.
How to Send an Email Cover Letter
More cover letters are sent via email than through snail mail these days. Nearly everything remains the same if you're emailing a cover letter, but you'll need to make the following adjustments to the format:
- Write a strong email subject line: You'll want to include both your name and the job title in the subject line. That way, you'll get the hiring manager's attention and avoid the message looking like spam. Here's an example subject line: Jane Jones — Assistant to Counseling Department Position
- Skip the employer contact information: Instead, start your email message with a salutation.
- Include an email signature: Below the body of your email and your closing, you'll want to include your email signature, which lists your full typed name, contact information, address, phone, and email address.
Format Your Cover Letter Appropriately While the contents of your cover lettermatters, the way you present it is also important. Make sure to review the proper way to format your letter. You'll want to make sure everything from your font choice to your salutation is appropriate.
Show You're a strong Candidate Emphasize your relevant experience and skills. Share them in a way that makes it clear that hiring you will benefit the company.
Proofread Before You Send Most hiring managers view carelessly written, generic cover letters as a red flag. Carefully edit your letter to eliminate all grammatical, spelling, and formatting errors. Ask a grammar-savvy friend to proofread it for you as well.