It’s always challenging to get those important interview callbacks. If you’re a recent graduate or entering the workforce for the first time, you face even more obstacles. How can you convince employers to take a chance on you when you don’t have tons of experience? The key to success if communicating that you are hardworking, enthusiastic, and ready to learn. You can do that within your cover letter.
This post offers some quick tips for writing a cover letter that perfectly communicates why the company should bet on you. Scroll till the end for a compelling entry-level cover letter sample too!
Dig Deep For Experience
Entry-level doesn’t always mean a complete lack of experience. If you think hard enough, you’ll surely find some work that can communicate your skill sets such as:
- Research projects
- Community and volunteer work
- Coursework and at-school events
Imagine you were applying for an entry-level position as a sales clerk at a bookstore. Here’s how you’d frame your “pitch”:
“At Madison High School, I was the captain of the Reading Club for 4 years and was responsible for selecting the best titles for monthly reading, curating a newsletter of interesting literature reviews, and moderating the meetings. Also, I volunteered at the local library and my duties included stocking shelves, and assisting students looking for school textbooks and leisure reading.”
Share Specific Personal Qualities
Since you don’t have much experience, you’ll need to sell your personality. So forget about vague platitudes. It’s a waste of time to state that you’re a “people person”, or that you’re a hard worker. Instead, focus on traits that are specific, and relevant to the job.
For example, if you’re going for a job that requires dealing with a lot of customers, provide a good snapshot of your interpersonal skills:
“I am very good at dealing with angry or frustrated customers diplomatically. As an annual volunteer at Crafts Fair, I know exactly how to moderate customer’s expectations and provide quick and effective resolution to any issues they may have”.
Share a Connection if You Have One
Use the first paragraph to introduce yourself, and indicate the job you’re interested in. This is also the perfect place to mention any connection to the place of business or hiring manager. For example:
- Were you referred to the job by a current employee?
- Have you interned at the company previously?
- Did you meet a company representative at a job fair?
- Do you have an alumni connection with someone at the company?
- Have you participated in any company-sponsored programs or volunteer events?
Here’s an example:
“My name is Beth, and I am a recent graduate from The Art Institute with a BFA in Interior Design. I recently volunteered at the Applied Arts Expo and worked with your assistant Head of Residential Design And Aesthetics. They informed me that you had an opening for an interior designer trainee, and encouraged me to apply. I believe I would be a great fit, and I’m excited to share my qualifications.”
Don’t Be Too Formal
Inexperienced job seekers often make the mistake of writing in an overly-formal, stilted style. That’s seldom necessary and can work against you. If you’re seeking a job in an environment that’s fun and laid-back, words like ‘whom’ and ‘therefore’ can be off-putting. Just like your interview attire, keep your letter business casual. That is more formal than when you speak to your friends, but not like you are holding court with royalty.
Entry Level Cover Letter Sample (Word version)
Entry Level Cover Letter Example (text version)
As you know, I worked at Mike’s grocery store while I attended high school. There, I bagged groceries, helped customers find items they needed, stocked shelves, and assisted in the floral department. I also learned to use the POS 2000 which is the same system used at Russell Drugs. I have received praise from my manager on my attention to detail, and customer service skills.
I plan to attend Rogers University in the spring to study nursing. I believe that my interest in inpatient care will help me to understand the needs of customers filling their prescriptions. In addition to that, I’m a regular volunteer at the local senior center where I help plan recreational activities.
Once again, I am very excited about this opportunity. I’ve included my resume, and hope to hear from you soon.
Final Tip: Be Sincere
The entry-level job you land will probably not be the job of your dreams. You know that. The hiring manager knows this as well. There’s no need to carry on as if this is the ideal job, and that you plan to stay with the employer for years. For example, “I look forward to learning about web design, and working with the team at Harris Digital” is much better than, “It is my dream to work as a help desk technician. I look forward to a long career at Big Box Computers.”