You have completed a degree — an impressive accomplishment. Now, it’s time to find that first career position, and you are “ready to roll.”
What you don’t have is work experience to put on that resume and to appeal to it in a potential job interview. So you will have to be creative and focus on your coursework and other activities that relate to any opening you intend to apply for.
Be realistic about the openings you go after. You will need to look for entry-level positions and assess if your core competencies match the describe duties. But we all know that those entry-level jobs are very competitive.
While your resume will look much like that of others applying for those same positions, you can stand out with a cover letter. One that showcases your unique personality, soft skills, enthusiasm, and overall “fit” for the position.
Recent Graduate Cover Letter Example (Word version)
Below is a cover letter example for a recent graduate in accounting.
Sample Cover Letter for a Recent Graduate (text version)
Dear Ms. Smart,
I was excited to learn from Dr. Ralph Sommers, my tax accounting professor, that you have an entry-level accounting position open in your firm. He suggested that I apply because he feels I would be a good fit.
I will graduate this May with a Bachelor’s in accounting, a field that has excited me from the very beginning of my studies. I am now looking forward to contributing to a public accounting firm that focuses on external auditing, while I complete the work requirements and exam preparation for my CPA license.
This past semester, I completed an internship with the local chapter of the United Way, working under the supervision of their in-house financial director, and observing an external audit.
One of the things that excite me about your firm is that it performs audits for a number of non-profit organizations, a few with which I am familiar. In fact, during my sophomore year in college, I volunteered as a tutor for the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Toledo, which I have since learned is a client of yours.
The enclosed resume will provide my educational background, as well as co-curricular activities, several of which involved leadership positions. For the past two years, I have served as the President of our campus chapter of Beta Alpha Psi.
I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the current opening and how I may be of benefit to your company. Please contact me to schedule any time that would be convenient for you.
How to Write a Cover Letter as a Recent Graduate
The sample above is short, sweet, yet rather memorable. Why? Because the author mentions specific details about the company and showcases how their experience perfectly matches the company values.
By the time the recipient of your letter has read it, they should know who you are, why you are applying for this position, why you believe you are a fit for this organization, and that you have the skills to fulfill the requirements of the job.
To draft a similar cover letter, take a close look at these great tips.
Do Your Research
You must demonstrate that you have had enough interest in this company to research it and to know a bit about its mission and its major focuses. In the case of the letter above, the applicant knows that the company performs external audits and that it does so for some non-profit organizations. For your letter, try to find a “connecting point” too and bring that up in relation to your personal interests and/or career objectives.
Drop a Name if You Can
Note in the letter above that the candidate learned about the opening from one of his professors. It is quite likely that some people in the firm know this individual, so it is appropriate to drop the name. As a side here — be certain to ask the individual if you can use them as a reference.
Back-Up Statements with Facts
If you state that you have coursework or activities that relate to the position opening, state them specifically, to prove your point. In the cover letter sample for recent graduates above, the internship with a non-profit and the position as an officer with a student accounting association are the perfect details to include.
Refer to Your Resume
Your cover letter should not repeat the information in your resume. The goal of the letter is to engage the reader and generate enough interest that they will be motivated to open up that document and learn more about you. Still, you should point the reader in the direction of your resume for more detail regarding statements you make about your background and qualifications.
Final Thoughts: Perfection is a Must
The smallest error in grammar, sentence structure, or punctuation may seem minor to you, but it isn’t to a reader who is considering job candidates. They want to see the attention to detail and a candidate who has taken the time to review, edit, and ensure that the cover letter is perfectly written. Use basic software editing tools such as Grammarly or Wordtune. Ask a friend, a uni career counselor, or a mentor to review your letter too.
The bottom line is this: Be absolutely certain that letter is perfect before you click that “send” button.