So, you’re applying to an entry-level job and wondering where a cover letter fits in the application package.
Is an entry-level cover letter a requirement? If so, what should you write in your entry-level cover letter to really improve your employment chances?
Should it be the same as a normal cover letter, or should it include some specific information that can serve an entry-level job?
Yeah, there are quite a few questions on the topic—and for good reason. After all, who doesn’t want their application to be as perfect as possible?
In this article, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about entry-level cover letters.
- What’s an Entry-level Cover Letter and Why It Matters
- Entry-level Cover Letter Format
- Tips & Examples on Writing an Entry-Level Cover Letter
- Entry-level Cover Letter Template
Ready? Let’s dive in!
What Is An Entry-Level Cover Letter?
An entry-level cover letter is a cover letter that you write when you’re applying for an entry-level job.
As such, you will need to write an entry-level cover letter on these occasions:
- As a college senior on a job hunt.
- As a recent college graduate looking to land his first job.
- As a professional who has changed industries/career paths.
In any of these cases, an entry-level cover letter is an essential part of the application.
One could even argue that entry-level cover letters are even more beneficial to your resume than your average cover letter.
As a college senior/graduate or someone changing careers, chances are, your resume might not be that rich in terms of practical work experience.
So, in addition to your resume, your cover letter is your second-best chance to explain why you’re the perfect fit for the job!
What Should an Entry-Level Cover Letter Include
Before we get into the specifics of writing an entry-level cover letter, let’s go over the basics.
Namely, the format.
If you don’t know how to properly “set up” your letter, it will end up being disorganized and confusing.
Entry-Level Cover Letter Format
So, what should your entry-level cover letter contain? Here are all the details.
- Header with contact information. In addition to your name, your contact information should contain your email (a professional email, that is), your phone number, and (optionally) LinkedIn profile. Underneath your contact info comes the date and then the receiver’s information: manager’s name and title, company name, and the company’s street address.
- Addressing the hiring manager. How you address the cover letter is important. Preferably, you want to include the hiring manager’s name/professional title or the name of the department head doing the hiring.
- Opening statement. Your opening paragraph should be professional, but at the same time personal and attention-grabbing. The best way to achieve that is by tailoring your introduction to the job application.
- The body. The body of your entry-level cover letter should consist of 2-3 paragraphs highlighting your skills, accomplishments, and education.
- Closing paragraph. To end your cover letter, you need a professional closing paragraph. You can mention that you will be following up the cover letter, wrap up anything you couldn’t in the previous paragraphs, or just simply thank the recruiter for their time.
- Formal salutation. Formal closings include salutations such as “best regards,” “kind regards,” “sincerely,” and “thank you.”
How to Write an Entry-Level Cover Letter With No Experience (Tips & Examples)
Ready to get into the knits and grits of writing an entry-level cover letter?
Great! Let’s get to it.
#1. Write a Strong (But Professional) Opening
The first thing you want to do is write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph.
Recruiters receive hundreds of applications daily, so you can probably imagine how limited their time is. This leaves you with one goal—to make your cover letter worth reading, right from the get-go.
One thing is for sure, you’ll never achieve this by writing a generic, one-fits-all kind of introduction, like the one below:
My name is Samantha and I’d like to apply for the Sales Representative entry-level position at your company. I am a recent Marketing graduate, so I believe I would be a great fit for the role.
See, you could use this kind of introduction to apply for any entry-level position in sales. And though it’s not bad, per se, it’s not memorable either.
Instead, you want your opening paragraph to be custom-made for the entry-level job you’re applying for. Bonus points if you can mention an achievement or two in the opening paragraph to show the recruiter how you stand out from the rest of the candidates.
Here’s what a well-written entry-level cover letter would look like:
My name is Samantha and I’d like to become part of XYZ Inc. by applying my newly acquired marketing knowledge to your Sales Representative position. I am confident that my excellent university results and the practical knowledge gained during my academic internship at Company X, where I was trained in sales, make me the right candidate for the job.
#2. Include Relevant Employee Skills
After you prepare the ground with an attention-grabbing introduction, you should use the body of your cover letter to show exactly how your skills, achievements, and education make you the right fit for the job.
In light of your limited work experience, your skills are your second-best chance to prove your worth and showcase your strengths.
Start by listing skills that are relevant to the job by doing the following:
- Scan the job description to find what the required skills are for the position.
- Explain how your skills can benefit the company.
- Optionally, you can mention that you are eager to learn required skills that you may not have to get better at the job.
For example, an entry-level journalism position may require that you:
- Know how to apply the AP Stylebook rules
- Are up to date with media law and ethics
- Are an effective communicator
- Can meet deadlines.
Here’s how you could highlight those skills:
As a recent Journalism and Mass Communication graduate from X University, I am up to date with the 55th Edition of the Associated Press Stylebook and all media law and ethical reporting standards. Being Editor-in-Chief of the university’s newspaper taught me how to be an effective communicator while being in charge of publishing the newspaper each week improved my attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines.
#3. Do Some Research
Research is one of your best friends when it comes to cover letters, as it can give you valuable information on what the recruiters are looking for in a candidate.
After thoroughly researching the company’s history, products/services, goals, and even challenges, you can mention exactly how:
- You fit in the position
- You stand out from your competition
- You can be of use to the company
Say, for example, that you’ve previously worked as a proofreader and you’re now going into magazine editing. After some research, you find out the magazine you’re applying to puts great attention to producing quality content.
Here’s how you can work that to your advantage:
I have read the content your magazine produces and I think it’s extremely well-researched, reader-friendly and grammatically correct.
During my 5-year experience as a proofreader, I have mastered editing and writing and I am confident that this experience can further improve your magazine quality.
#4. Quantify Your Achievements (When Possible)
The best practice, whenever achievements are involved, is to quantify them and back them up with concrete examples.
Imagine you’re a recruiter and you’re on the fence about two candidates for an entry-level customer service position. They have almost-identical resumes in terms of education and they claim to have customer support experience from past internships.
So, you jump to their cover letter. This is how each candidate has described their achievements:
As a Client Services intern, I was required to contact and ask clients for feedback daily, I supported the management team in improving customer services based on clients’ comments and I provided suggestions to teams from other departments to improve overall client satisfaction.
This is not horrible. However, compared with the second candidate’s much more detailed description, it lacks substance. Take a look for yourself.
As a Customer Services intern at Company X, I helped raise customer satisfaction by speaking to and collecting our clients’ feedback and working with teams from different departments to address their dissatisfaction and implement relevant suggestions. After one year, we ran a survey that showed customer experience had improved by 50%. This result was backed by a 30% increase in profit within that same year.
Sure, the first candidate “improved customer services,” but this opens up a lot of questions:
- How well did they improve the customer services?
- Over what timeframe?
- What kind of impact did this have on the company’s bottom line?
The 2nd candidate, though, mentions all this information, and as such, their cover letter is a lot more impactful.
#5. Highlight Your Education
Your education can very well replace what you lack in work experience when it comes to entry-level jobs. It can convincingly back up your skills and achievements, as well as help you demonstrate some of your strengths.
Now, when we tell you to highlight your education, we don’t mean mentioning the title of your diploma and calling it a day.
Instead, what you need to do to reinforce your skills and strengths is to mention relevant group projects and classwork, extracurricular activities and school clubs, published work, or independent research.
Highlighting your education can be just as effective if you’re changing career paths.
Did you take classes on your newly-found passion when you were in college? Or maybe you got to practice it as part of a club. No matter the case, make sure to highlight it, as this is exactly the part of your education that will make a difference in your cover letter.
Now, let’s say you’re a college senior thinking ahead and looking for a graphic design job for when you graduate. To improve your chances of getting that entry-level job, here’s how you can highlight your education:
My passion for visually communicating a message began alongside my work at InFocus Magazine, our university’s photography and graphic design magazine, where I am Head of Design. I mainly work with Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, but I am now also learning to use Canva and Crello in my Design & Illustration class.
#6. Don’t Forget a Call to Action
Finally, it’s time to wrap up your entry-level cover letter with a conclusion.
For your entry-level cover letter’s final paragraph, you want to do the following:
- Mention anything you couldn't during the previous paragraphs. If you think you left something important out (something that could help you get hired), this is your chance to say it.
- Thank the recruiter. You can use the closing paragraph to thank them for their time. This is a chance to be formal, but make sure you don’t sound like you’re trying to get to the recruiters’ good side.
- Include a call to action. As a call to action, you can mention to the recruiter that you will be following up (if they haven’t specified the interviewing procedure) to inquire about the application or ask them to take some action.
And here’s what this would look like on a cover letter:
To conclude, let me first thank you for considering my application. I believe I can help your company improve its customer satisfaction by putting to use all the experience I’ve gained from my past jobs in customer service. I’d love to discuss in length how I can help you improve one-on-one customer service at your stores.
#7. Conclude with a Professional Closing
Once you’ve written your closing paragraph, all you have to do is sign off your cover letter.
Your “goodbye” should be formal and include only your name and signature.
Any of the following is an acceptable way to sign off your cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
- Thank you,
Want to know other ways to conclude your cover letter memorably? Head over to our guide on how to end a cover letter for additional info!
#8. Proofread Your Letter
And you’re finally done!
Make sure to proofread your cover letter before attaching it to your job application. Any effort you might have put into it will lose value if your cover letter has mistakes.
Want to Make Things Easy? Use a Cover Letter Builder
The way you design your cover letter matters!
Sure, you can go for a generic text in a Word Document, but having a well-designed cover letter that matches your resume in style will help you stand out much more in a sea of applicants.
Well, Novoresume makes that easy for you! Just pick any of our matching cover letters and resume templates and leave a lasting impression!
Entry-level Cover Letter Template
[First Name and Last Name]
[Date of Writing]
[Manager’s Job Title]
[Company’s Street Address]
[City, State, ZIP Code]
[Addressing the hiring manager]
[Write your attention-grabbing opening paragraph]
[Write 2-3 paragraphs where you include skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for, where you quantify your achievements (when possible), and where you highlight your education.]
[Conclude by saying thank you and by making a call to action.]
[Sign off your letter professionally]
And that’s a wrap! We hope that you feel more confident about your entry-level cover letter knowledge and writing after reading this article.
Now let’s go over the main points we covered:
- An entry-level cover letter is a cover letter that you write for an entry-level job. You may need to use it as a college senior or recent college graduate or as a professional changing career path.
- Your entry-level cover letter should follow the following format: header, addressing the recruiter/company, opening paragraph, body, closing paragraph, formal salutation.
- To write a good entry-level cover letter you should write an attention-grabbing opening, include some relevant skills, highlight your education, and make a call to action.
- Use a cover letter builder to make sure your cover letter meets recruiters’ standards and to save your time.