How To Write a Cover Letter With No Experience (With Examples)

Have you come across a job opening that you’d really like to pursue, but you don’t have any experience in that field? Sometimes, it’s best just to send in your application and see what happens. And if it’s an entry-level job, you might not even need any experience.

But how can you stand out from the sea of applicants who want the same entry-level job — many of whom might have more experience than you?

A great cover letter can be the difference between getting a call for an interview and your resume ending up in the trash. Here’s how to write a cover letter with no experience, plus some cover letters templates to help you get started.

Why Is a Strong Cover Letter for Entry-Level Candidates So Important?

When you’re shooting for an entry-level position, it’s crucial to play to your strengths by emphasizing the transferable skills and experience outside of work. Chances are your resume isn’t going to knock the hiring manager’s socks off if you don’t have a ton of relevant experience. That’s where the cover letter comes in. Around 83% of hiring managers consider the cover letter in their hiring decisions. If you have little experience on your resume, it could be the deciding factor in whether you get an interview.

The cover letter is your chance to shine. This is where you can:

A strong cover letter can set you apart from other entry-level job seekers who may be throwing something at the wall to see if it sticks.

Introduction to Writing an Effective Cover Letter With No Experience

Maybe you just read a job description that excites you so much that you can’t think about anything else. You know this is what you want to do. But how do you write a cover letter for a job with no experience?

Even if you’re fresh out of high school or college and have never worked a job in your life, you have a wealth of experience, skills, and strengths that may apply to the job you’re applying for. You can focus on these in your cover letter.

Structure Your Cover Letter for Maximum Impact

Your cover letter should quickly grab the reader. The average hiring manager spends about 20 seconds reading your cover letter. A typical cover letter is about half a page to one page long. You want to get to the meat and potatoes quickly and be concise.

Be sure to break up long paragraphs so they’re easy on the eyes. Nobody wants to read a wall of text. Shorter paragraphs make your cover letter quicker to read and help give it more structure, with each paragraph having a different focus.

Format and Layout of a Standout Cover Letter

Here’s a good starting point for a great cover letter:

 

[Name]

[Phone Number]

[Email Address]

[LinkedIn or Portfolio Link]

 

[Date]

 

[Employer’s Name]

[Employer’s Address]

 

Dear [Hiring Manager or Company Name],

 

[3 or 4 Body Paragraphs]

 

[Closing, e.g., “Sincerely,” “Best regards,”]

[Signature]

[Name]

 

This is a standard cover letter structure that you can tweak to your needs. For a digital cover letter, you may not need a signature, and you don’t need to include a LinkedIn or portfolio if you don’t have one. We’ll talk about what should go into the body of the cover letter in the next section.

How To Craft Compelling Content in the Cover Letter

The body of the cover letter is where you can let the employer know why you’re the person for the job. You can highlight your transferable skills and experiences in the body of the cover letter. This is also a great place to express your personality and creativity, especially if you have a bare or bland resume. Following these tips will leave your future employer impressed that you know how to write a cover letter with no relevant experience.

Captivate the Reader With an Engaging Opening

Showing your commitment to your field is a great way to create an engaging opening — especially if you have limited experience. It also demonstrates how your values align with the company’s mission.

You can start out with something like:

  • “I believe creativity has the power to change the world. It’s universal. As a graphic designer, I’m passionate about using art to tell stories.”
  • “I firmly believe that authentic storytelling is the key to success in marketing. Consumers crave genuine connections in the digital landscape we live in today.”
  • “I believe communication is the cornerstone of successful business relationships.”

This kicks off the body of your cover letter by showing your passion and understanding of what’s important to succeed in the field. Another effective way to start a cover letter is to express your enthusiasm for the company and excitement about the role.

Show you’re enthusiastic (and did your research)

Demonstrating a genuine interest in the company can help you stand out and get an interview. While inserting details about the company might sound forced, recruiters and hiring are looking for evidence that you’ve at least looked up the company.

Mentioning how you align with the company’s values and culture can be one of the smoothest ways to prove you’ve done your research and will be a good fit for the role, which we’ll go over later in this article. But recruiters also want to know why you are interested in working with the company in the first place. How does the company’s mission align with your personal interests and goals? For example:

  • “As a movie buff and amateur film critic, Netflix’s mission to entertain the world makes me excited to put my passion for entertainment to work.”
  • “My passion for communication and community building make me excited to be a part of Meta’s mission to build community and bring the world closer together.”
  • “My affinity for the well-being of lost animals drives my passion to be a team member at your animal shelter so that I can help dogs all over the community one by one.”

You don’t have to necessarily give direct comparisons like, “Just like the CEO, I have an affinity for the well-being of lost animals.” You can just mention some of the company values and talk about how they will help you succeed in the job. Just mentioning a company value will prove to the hiring manager that you’ve done your research and can be a team player.

You can also pick out different responsibilities from the job description and express your motivation to get the job done. Why are you excited about the role? Even if you don’t yet know how to do a particular task, let the company know that you’re excited to learn. This will help the hiring manager see that you will be committed to the well-being of the company and are likely to stick around for a long time.

Showcase Transferable Skills and Traits

Now that you’ve captivated your reader, it’s time to explain how you can add value to the company.  Even if you don’t have any professional experience, you likely have experience outside of work where you used critical skills.  Mention any critical technical skills and past projects where you put them to use. You  should also mention keysoft skills you’ve likely developed, such as:

  • Teamwork — You can talk about projects, sports teams, or activities you’ve been a part of. Mention how you worked with others to achieve a goal and discuss how you will do the same in the position you’re applying for. Give your employer concrete examples of how you work within a team.
  • Communication skills Highlight ways you’ve effectively used your communication skills in your community, at school, or in your personal network. Even the interpersonal skills you use to relate to your siblings or parents can be appropriate if worded in a professional way. You can also talk about any type of customer service skills you might have.
  • Creativity Mention how some of your creative endeavors will relate to tasks listed in the job description. If you like to paint or play music, you can talk about how these skills allow you to focus and think outside the box. Give the hiring manager a sense that your creativity will improve the workflow at the company.
  • Problem-solving Talk about a time when you solved a difficult problem and how this will help you in the workplace. You don’t want to get too vulnerable here, but you want to give the idea that you are confident facing challenges and can overcome obstacles. Instill trust in the recruiter that you will do whatever it takes.
  • Critical thinking This also ties in with creativity and problem-solving. Give examples of when you had to think critically to come up with solutions to a problem. Talk about how you weighed the pros and cons of a particular outcome, which potential solutions you tried, and why they worked.

While the aforementioned soft skills are all critical, you should tailor your cover letter to the job description. Try to highlight specific skills that were mentioned in the job listing.  

Align Your Aspirations With Company Values

Hiring managers give offers to candidates who align with often very specific company values. While more critical in the interview phase of the hiring process, proving you’re a good fit for the company culture can help you stand out. Mentioning a specific company value also proves you’ve done your research. Review the company’s website, paying close attention to the mission statement and corporate values. Brush up on the company’s history, founder, and CEO as well.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the company culture and history, select a company value that most resonates with your personal values and experience. You can explain the connection in your cover letter like this:

  • “As a lifelong learner with experience as a research assistant studying rare birds, Amazon’s “Learn and Be Curious” Leadership Principle resonates with me and makes me confident that I’ll be an excellent fit for the team.
  • “As a futurist with a passion for helping culture adapt to technology, Meta’s commitment to ‘live in the future’ makes me confident that I’ll be an excellent fit for the culture and team.

While mentioning a company value may sound unnatural, hiring managers from companies like Amazon are seeking candidates who explicitly align with their leadership principles. Mentioning a connection to company culture in your cover letter shows that you’re a team player and helps you stand out.

Be clear and concise

Hiring managers usually spend less than 30 seconds reading cover letters–they don’t have time for fluff or wordiness. 

Be concise. Don’t worry about trying to sound ultra professional– say what you mean and get to the point. Only include information relevant to the job description. While you can describe your relevant skills and experiences, the hiring manager doesn’t need to know about your personal life, unique circumstances, or hardships. 

Try using concise sentence structure like this: “When I did [activity], I was able to use my [soft skills] to achieve [a goal], which will help me [do task from job description] and benefit your company by [results that can come from your involvement with the company].” 

If you can make a very readable cover letter that highlights your excellent soft (or hard) skills and shows how you’ll benefit the employer — along with expressing your personality and enthusiasm for the role — you’re way ahead of the curve.

Proofread and Polish and Polish Your Cover Letter

Nothing is more off-putting to an employer than a cover letter with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Go over your cover letter a few times, and have somebody proofread it. Be sure that you’ve included all the necessary components of a cover letter, that all the information is accurate, and that the formatting of the cover letter is clean and consistent.

You can also write a few drafts of your cover letter until you get it right. In the first version of the cover letter, write a little bit more than you will actually send to the employer. Over the subsequent drafts, you can whittle it down into a digestible size. By the end, you should have a few short paragraphs followed by a closing paragraph.

Examples To Help Make Your Cover Letter Shine

What good is all of this talk without good cover letter examples, right? Now that we’ve given you an overview of how to write a good cover letter, let’s look at some sample cover letters. We’ll show you two that work well first, then one that doesn’t work, so you’ll know what to do and what not to do.

Via The Balance

Why it works:

This expert cover letter is straight to the point. It quickly lets the hiring manager know who is applying, addresses them by name, and gets right into how the applicant can add value to the company. She briefly highlights her time management and soft skills. 

It’s also effortless to read, with the text broken up into short paragraphs and a bulleted list. With a quick glance, we’re already about to pick up the phone and call Victoria for an interview. 

Via Pathrise

Why it works:

While there is a bit of a wall of text here, the applicant masterfully makes the keywords pop out of the letter. At a glance, you can see numbers that clearly show the results they’ve created in their career. 

This is also someone who is going for a more high-level position and has a ton of experience. An employer will take more time to read over a cover letter for a job like this even if it’s long because they are more invested in filling a highly specialized position.

Via The Muse

Why it doesn’t work:

Though a hiring manager may get a laugh out of this, and they may actually resonate with your cynicism and sarcasm, it’s simply not professional. While a cover letter like this may potentially captivate the reader and get them to pay attention to what you have to say, the unprofessional delivery may lead an employer to look at you as a liability. If you’re willing to put this amount of cynicism in a cover letter, how would you deal with the company’s clients?

Unlock Your Potential With Pathrise

Now you know how to write a cover letter with no job experience. Of course, every job description and every job applicant is going to be different. There are thousands of factors that might affect how you structure and flesh out your cover letter in your job hunt. That’s why it can help to have a mentor to help you with every step of this process.

Pathrise offers one-on-one mentoring and in-depth guidance to give you a solid foundation for writing a winning resume and perfect cover letter. On top of that, our career coaches will help you at every step of your job search, and you won’t pay anything until you land your dream job. Apply to Pathrise today.

Apply today.

 

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