Entry-Level Cover Letter Examples and Writing Tips
When you are applying for an , composing a cover letter can be a challenge because you may not have a lot of work experience. However, it's fine to highlight your non-employment related experience in your cover letter if it's relevant to the job. After all, interviewers for entry-level positions are aware that this may be your first position.
Why a Cover Letter is Important
Here's a secret: Writing cover letters is hard for nearly all candidates — not just entry-level applicants. So, don't be disheartened if you're feeling overwhelmed by the process.
To get the hiring manager excited enough to call you in for an interview, you need to convey not only your skills and qualifications, but also your passion for the organization and your aptitude for the specific role. This means writing a cover letter that complements your resume, and not one that merely duplicates that information.
A good cover letter also shows off your and writing skills and proves that you know how to – a bonus in almost every job, even if the job description doesn’t include writing as a requirement. Finally, taking the time to craft a cover letter proves that you know how things are done in a professional environment and that you’re willing to play by the rules. That might sound obvious, but when you’re applying for an entry-level position, it’s important to show the hiring manager that you’re aware of what’s expected and that you won’t need to be trained in the basics of office life.
New to cover letters? Use to familiarize yourself with the format and best practices for writing a cover letter that helps you get the job interview. It includes the different types of cover letters, the information that needs to be included in your letter, and the proper way to format your final draft and send it to the hiring manager.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
The good news is that it's basically a level playing field when it comes to applying for entry-level jobs. Your competitors likely won’t have a great deal of work experience, either.
Feel free to mention volunteer experiences, internships, related classes, projects, leadership experience, extracurricular activities, and your skills that pertain to the position. Providing these details about related experience helps differentiate your application from the crowd.
Look for ways to draw connections between your non-work experience and the job and industry at hand. For instance, if you are applying for an entry-level position in publishing, you might point out your strong grades in literature classes, volunteer work at the library or in literacy programs, an internship at a publishing house, your involvement with the school newspaper, etc.
Look at the specific skills mentioned in the job description, too, and think about ways to . For example, if a job posting calls for someone detail-oriented and organized, your experience managing a fundraiser for your academic club is good evidence that you have those abilities.
Tips for Writing an Entry-Level Cover Letter
Match your qualifications to the job. Research the thoroughly before beginning to compose your letter. Make a list of the key qualities, areas of knowledge, skills, or experience that the employer is seeking. Review descriptions for similar titles on Indeed.com or another job site if the employer hasn’t provided a good list of requirements with the ad.
Get inside information. Contact the career office at your school, if time permits, and request a list of alumni volunteers in your field of interest. Ask them what they would be looking for if they were hiring for the type of entry-level job which you are targeting.
Make a list of your qualifications. Compile a list of your assets that will enable you to meet the job requirements and excel in the job.
Write a perfect opening sentence. Compose an that conveys enthusiasm for the job and summarizes why it is a good fit. Name the precise position if one is mentioned in the job announcement. For example, you might say “I am highly interested in consideration for your sales assistant vacancy since it would tap my strong customer service, organizational, and verbal communication skills.”
Describe your skills. Draft a sentence for each one of the assets on your list that will qualify you for the job. Briefly include a reference point in your background such as course project, leadership role, internship, or personal experience that proves that you possess that strength. You can merge more than one asset into each statement. For example, “I utilized strong persuasive skills and leadership ability to recruit and attract new members to our sorority.” Remember that for many entry-level jobs you will be trained on the job, so eagerness to learn and the ability to learn quickly and well are often assets to emphasize.
Quantify your accomplishments. Whenever possible, frame your statements as accomplishments and . For example, “Attentiveness to detail and editing skills enabled me to reduce publication errors in the yearbook by 15% over the previous year.”
When to mention following up. If you have identified a contact person and the employer has not conveyed how interviews will be arranged, then you might suggest that you will follow up to determine if they need further information and to discuss the possibility of arranging an interview.
End with a professional closing. In , reaffirm your keen interest in the job and that you are hopeful that you can meet with them to discuss the exciting opportunity further.
Proofread your letter. Carefully . Read it out loud and place your finger on each word. Have a counselor, teacher, writing tutor, or other trusted person critique your draft.
Review Entry-Level Cover Letter Examples
Review these sample cover letters for entry-level candidates for employment to get ideas for your own letter. You'll find both general examples, as well as sample cover letters for specific fields and positions. Do not copy the text exactly, but rather, use the samples for inspiration when writing your own personalized cover letter.
7903 Harbor Street
Portland, OR 97035
Human Resources Manager
Portland Bay Books
801 Powell Street, Suite #200
Portland, OR 97035
Dear Mr. Jeffries:
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Portland Bay Books’ recruiter, Sarah Smith, at the job fair held on the campus of Portland State University. As a graduating senior with a major in English and a minor in Communications, I was interested to learn about your publishing operations. Please accept the attached resume as a sign of my deep interest in becoming your next Editorial Assistant.
During my studies in the English Honors Program at Portland State University, I have honed strong analytical, writing, and grammatical skills that will serve me well in this position. For the past four years I have been a book reviewer for our department’s literary journal, Chiaroscuro, and am now serving as its Senior Editor. I thus understand how to collaborate with a team of writers, how to brainstorm engaging content, how to proofread manuscripts and perform line edits, and how to design page formats.
I am also currently completing a three-month internship as a Marketing Assistant with ABC Marketing, a role which has provided me with “real world” experience in conducting competitive market research, creating social media posts for client companies, and designing unique corporate newsletters.
My technical skills include Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, and PowerPoint) and the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of publication tools. You can view samples of my writing and design work in my online portfolio at http://JaneGordon.weebly.com.
Eager to learn more about your expectations for your next Editorial Assistant, I would welcome the opportunity for a personal interview. Thank you for your time, consideration, and forthcoming response.
Basic Entry-Level Cover Letters Examples
It can be challenging to write a cover letter when you haven’t graduated yet. Include both your academic accomplishments and work experience, if you have it. Here’s advice on how to structure your letter, what to include to get it to stand out from the crowd of entry-level applicants, as well as a sample to review.
The best way to show an employer you’re well qualified for a job, tips for writing a cover letter when you’re a recent graduate, and a sample letter to review.
When you apply for a job that has been listed through your university career center, mention that in the first paragraph of your letter. Review what to write, and examples.
What to include in an email cover letter, an example of an email message sent to a hiring manager, and how to format and send an email applying for a job.
An inquiry letter is sent to an employer who may be hiring, but hasn’t advertised job openings. Review an example, and tips for writing inquiry letters.
Entry-Level Cover Letters Listed by Job
When you’re applying for an analyst position, focus on the technical business skills you have acquired in college, during internships, or in prior positions.
If you’re looking for an entry-level teaching position, review this guide on how to write a cover letter for a teaching job, with advice on how to prepare your application, and letter examples. Also review the information required to apply for a teaching job, including documents, certifications, and transcripts the employer will request.
When you don’t have a lot of related experience, include information on your college major, relevant volunteer experience, writing and editing you did while a student, and internship experience.
For education-related jobs, learn as much as you can about the school or organization you’ll be working for. Then take the time to match your qualifications to the job description.
IT jobs are competitive and so you need to be detailed and specific when writing a cover letter for one. It's important to show the employer you have the skills, technologies, and certifications listed in the job posting. The closer a match you are to the ideal candidate, the better your chances of getting selected to interview.
In your cover letter, share examples of your related internship or job experience and describe the marketing skills you have acquired through academics or experience. Use examples to highlight the skills and attributes you have that qualify you for the job.
When applying for a research job, focus on your analytical, research, and writing skills. Also share examples of any laboratory experience you’ve gained, research you've been a part of, and technical research tools you have used.
Showcase your related academic experiences along with work experience, if you have it, when writing a cover letter for a summer position.
This cover letter example focuses on the applicant’s academic achievements, as well as the candidate’s skills that are a strong match for the job requirements.
Start Your Cover Letter With a Template
A cover letter template is a helpful way to format and organize your letter. In general, applying for a job is a ritualized process. Some of the cover letter requirements may seem old-fashioned, but it's important to adhere to the expected cover letter style, from the greeting all the way through to your closing sign-off.
Use these templates to help you establish a framework for your cover letter so that you know what information to include and where, but be sure to personalize your letter so it reflects your qualifications and attributes.
How to format a cover letter for a job, font, paragraph and styles choices, guidelines for what to include in each paragraph, and information about how to address and sign the letter, with examples.
A template can make cover letter writing easier, because you simply personalize the template with your own information. Do be sure to customize it though, so you show the employer how you are qualified for the position.
The format of an email cover letter is different from a cover letter that you upload or send as an attachment. Review how to format and send a cover letter by email.
Online Template Resources: has a variety of templates you can use to write a cover letter or a resume. When you use a template, be sure to change the file name to your name (janedoecoverletter.doc, for example). Double-check to be sure you’ve written over the standard information and changed the date.
If you are Microsoft Office user, you can download to use as a starting point for writing your own cover letter.