So you’re hitting the job market, even if it’s with flexible work hours and low pay. It may seem like a part-time job is less formal than a full-time job. It’s not unheard of for young college-goers to take on part-time jobs for pocket money, with half the seriousness and dedication they’d give a full-time position.
But it’s always a good idea to treat part-time jobs like they are no different from full-time ones. For a good start during any job search in a wholly new and unfamiliar territory, you want to reduce all the variables that could work against you.
While a cover letter is not necessary for every part-time job, writing one won’t cost you much. And it will let your employer know that you’re interested in the job. The letter is also a way to show that you’re capable. Why wouldn’t you want to start out on a new chapter of your life with everything you can do to smooth your way?
A well-crafted cover letter for your first part-time job can be easy to write if you follow a template.
Follow a Business Letter Format
Your letter should be written in a format that is used widely in professional circles, wherever there’s a need for a cover letter. A business letter format will help you clearly communicate what you want to say. It will also act as a record both for you and the employer you’re sending the letter to.
There are many kinds of business letters, tailored to the audience. They all have a few elements in common. Your name and contact information must be at the beginning. You could write this on the top-left corner of the letter. Also include the date after a line space, and then the name and address of the employer.
Some people write their address and the date on the top-right and the employer’s name and address on the top left. As long as all of this information starts off your letter, you’ll be off to a good start. If you’re writing an email, though, you don’t need to include the recipient’s address.
Next, you must include a reference, or subject line, following a line space. This will help the reader know at a glance what the purpose of your letter is. The hiring manager is probably sifting through dozens of letters in the middle of a busy workday. It’s only courtesy to let them know what you’re writing about.
You could include the reference of the position you’re applying for. For example,
Subject: Application for Shop Assistant
Not all business letters need a subject line, especially if they’re brief. But a cover letter must contain one.
The greeting typically comes after the subject line. It will usually be addressed to the hiring manager. You could say, Dear Hiring Manager, for instance, always followed by a comma. If you know the hiring manager’s name, you could begin simply with Mr Brown, again followed by a comma. If you know someone’s name, use it. The greeting will depend on your relationship with the person you’re writing to.
The Body Paragraphs
Now you can start writing the introduction. Introduce yourself, let the reader know why you’re writing. Explain your interest in the job you’re applying for. You’ll usually need one or two paragraphs for this. Make sure to mention where you heard about the position, and if someone recommended you.
The body of the letter must be as concise and clear as possible. After you’ve written the opening and explained why you’re interested in the job, talk briefly about your qualifications and the skills that make you suitable for the job you’re after. This doesn’t have to be a copy of your resume. Just pick out the skills that are directly relevant from your experience in school or college, and mention them. A few examples can be very helpful here.
Since this is your first job, you may not have a lot of (or any) work experience. So unlike someone applying for a full-time job, you may not have much to detail. You can look at your volunteer activities and extracurricular activities for example.
Finally, end with a paragraph that expresses your expectations from the reader. Let them know where they can reach you or how you will reach them. Sign off with your handwritten sign followed by your full name in typed letters. This is a professional ending that is used around the world for business letters.
Other Points to Keep in Mind
Whether or not you need to send an email or a letter should be clear from the job description. If there are no instructions, you can choose.
Also, note if the job requires shift work. If it does, make sure that you let the employer know you can work flexible hours. If you can rise to the occasion and take on multiple shifts, you will score high on the employability scale.
Unless the part-time ad explicitly mentions that they don’t need a cover letter, you should write one. It will show your initiative. But this doesn’t mean that you should put your entire resume in the letter. Keep it concise and to-the-point. This is true both for cover letters for full-time positions as well as part-time positions. Keep in mind that the employer will have received numerous applications for the part-time job. They shouldn’t have to read through a more wordy letter than is necessary.
Carefully read and edit your letter after you write it. Typos will come across as unprofessional. If you email your cover letter, you could write it in the body of the email or attach a PDF.
A sample cover letter follows for your reference.
108 A Street
December 18, 2019
The Hiring Manager,
111 B Drive,
Dear Mr King,
I would like to apply for the position of assistant at your bakery, as advertised in the Seattle Times on 10th December. I am Alfred Loft, a chemistry graduate at A&M College.
I have a strong interest in food science and have had over five years of experience in helping my grandmother run her own home bakery. From my experience, I have developed a passion for flavour and a love for creating. I have also developed a steady hand when decorating cupcakes and cakes for special occasions.
I am also experienced in monitoring ovens, temperatures gages and ingredients to determine whether or not a cake is done. On one occasion, I took on the task of decorating fifty cupcakes for a party, singlehandedly, and received praise for my job.
I would love to work at your bakery, and further hone my skills while contributing to the growth of your company. For more about my experience, please contact me at (555) 222-5555. I would be happy to be considered for the job.