Cover letters are always a good way to show hiring managers why you’re the best pick for the job, no matter what level you’re at in your career. For candidates with little job experience, however, a cover letter is even more useful.
A cover letter allows you to speak to the hiring manager in your own voice, using your words to make a strong impression that can make up for your lack of experience. Here, we’ll explain what should be included in an entry level cover letter and share a sample you can use as inspiration to help land your first job.
What is an entry level cover letter?
An entry-level cover letter is a document that accompanies a resume when recent graduates or individuals new to a particular industry apply for entry-level positions. Unlike cover letters written for senior roles, an entry-level cover letter focuses less on extensive professional experience—since the applicant might not have much. This letter provides an opportunity for the applicant to introduce themselves to potential employers, highlight their passion for the industry, and make a persuasive case for why they’re a fitting choice for the position, despite their limited work history.
Why you should send a cover letter for an entry level job
Sending a cover letter for an entry-level job is essential because, at this early stage in your career, you might not have an extensive work history to lean on. A cover letter becomes your platform to spotlight your passion, drive, and the foundational skills you bring to the table. It offers hiring managers a glimpse into your character, showcases your ability to communicate effectively, and details why you’re interested in that specific role and company. Furthermore, for entry-level positions, employers often look for candidates who exhibit potential, adaptability, and a willingness to learn; a well-crafted cover letter can convey these qualities. In essence, an entry level cover letter amplifies your resume, offering context and personal insight, making it a vital tool in differentiating yourself in a competitive job market.
When you should send an entry-level cover letter
A cover letter should be sent to the hiring manager when applying for a job. How you send it will depend on the company’s application process. Some companies use an online portal where every document is submitted as an attachment. Other application portals have candidates type their cover letter into a free-entry form.
Sometimes, you’ll be asked to send your resume and cover letter via email. In this case, you have two options. You can either put your cover letter in the body of the email and add your resume as an attachment, or send both documents as attachments. Check whether the job listing specifies these instructions before sending.
What to include in an entry level cover letter
Say who you are and what position you’re applying for.
Why you’re interested in the position
If someone referred you from within the company, mention it here.
Examples of relevant knowledge
This could be from college coursework, experience from part time jobs, volunteer work or internships.
Skills that are related to the position
Use keywords from the job description to decide what skills to touch on.
A call to action to the position
Ask the hiring manager to contact you and express your enthusiasm to speak further.
What to omit
- Experience that’s not related to the job. While spending five summers as a swim instructor is admirable, it’s probably not relevant if you’re applying for a position as a research assistant. Stick to experience you can connect to the job requirements.
- Saying that you’ll call to follow up. This is an outdated practice and most hiring managers today don’t want to receive phone calls from candidates.
Entry level cover letter sample
Everyone has to start somewhere, and most hiring managers welcome the opportunity to help a diligent young professional get their start. Use the tips above to write a cover letter that convinces them to give you a shot.