Looking for a job can be a stressful task. Your technical skills and relevant experience are the tools you need to be successful in your search. For a fresh college graduate with limited experience, an entry-level cover letter is a great tool because it can make finding a job easier.
Writing your entry-level cover letter and resume might be difficult, but we will break down the basic steps and elements and show you how to create both documents. With the samples below, we will model the details of these documents so that you can understand and use these principles to write your own.
Entry-Level Cover Letter Guide
An ideal entry-level cover letter comprises any skills you may have, relevant achievements, and volunteer experience. It should present you as the perfect candidate for the job. Your cover letter might be your first impression on the recruiter.
Why Does Your Entry-Level Cover Letter Matter?
As a recent graduate, you might have minimal work experience. Your cover letter helps supplement and expand on your experience by showcasing your skills and enthusiasm to work in a professional environment. It introduces you as an ideal candidate and proposes reasons why the recruiter should consider you. Also, it creates a lasting first impression and compels the recruiter to invite you for a job interview.
In addition, Glassdoor’s findings on where new grads want to work during the Covid-19 crisis say that fresh graduates’ job openings dropped by 68 percent from the previous year. It means that with few job openings available, there is more competition.
Essential Components of Your Entry-Level Cover Letter
Below are the essential components of any entry-level cover letter. The aim is to have good structure and flow. Since recruiters don’t spend a lot of time scanning through letters, you have to make sure you deliver the right information correctly so that they can have a favorable opinion of you.
- The Header. This component of your letter is crucial because it includes your name, email address, and other contact details. Also, the date of writing the letter appears in this section. You can align the header to the left or right, but it should match the same layout as your resume.
- The Salutation. A formal salutation is necessary and should come after your header. Before writing your letter, you should find out the hiring manager’s name and address the letter to them. If you can’t get their name, however, use something like “Dear Hiring Manager” or even the company’s name.
- The Introduction. Your introduction is meant to captivate the recruiter. With your first paragraph, you should introduce yourself and include a brief explanation of your work experience and your desire to join their team.
- The Body. This is your opportunity to show them why you are the perfect candidate for the job. Use the job listing and your skills from any internships, volunteer experiences, and extracurricular activities to market yourself. For brevity, use a minimum of two or three paragraphs for this section, depending on your experiences.
- The Conclusion. Your closing paragraph should summarize your cover letter, include a call-to-action, and express appreciation to the recruiter for reviewing your letter. Use formal phrases like “Sincerely,” or “Kind Regards” to close your letter. Afterward, include your name and signature. If you are submitting via email you don’t need a signature.
5 Tips for Writing a Strong Entry-Level Cover Letter
Apart from the essential components that you must include in your letter, there are other factors you need to consider when constructing it. As an entry-level candidate, your letter must be up to standard regardless of your amount of expertise in the professional space. Before you start writing your cover letter, consider the tips below.
- Do your research. You should research the company before submitting your job application and cover letter. You should familiarize yourself with the company’s culture, values, business objectives, and core areas of specialization and operation. The information you find will help you tailor your letter to fit the company’s standards and business models.
- Include relevant skills and accomplishments. With limited work experience, you want to market yourself with whatever skills you have. All your included skills need to relate to the job listing. Also, when stating your accomplishments, quantify them with numbers if possible. It helps the hiring manager measure the value you have to offer.
- Use simple sentences. Avoid words that you wouldn’t use when having a conversation. While you maintain a formal tone, try to be as simple as possible in your sentence construction so that the recruiter will not have any difficulty reading your letter.
- Focus on what you have to offer. Writing a cover letter is like making a business proposal. Don’t focus on what you have to gain. Instead, focus on the merits of the company potentially employing you.
- Proofread your letter. Avoid pressing the send button immediately after finishing your letter. Mistakes are inevitable so proofread your letter before submitting it. In addition, ensure that your letter is fairly brief. If your letter is too long, it could discourage the hiring manager from reviewing it.
Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
At this point, you should be able to craft an effective letter. But to show you how to use the points we have discussed so far, consider the entry-level cover letter sample we have provided below. You can use this sample letter to help you write your own.
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Entry-Level Cover Letter Sample
[Month Day, Year]
Dear [Hiring Manager’s name],
As an advocate for renewable energy and its continuous usage, I am thrilled to submit my application for the Materials Specialist position advertised by [Company Name]. Considering my degree in Materials Engineering and my expertise testing various materials for industrial applications, I believe I would be a perfect addition to your materials selection team at [Company Name].
While working as a student at the [University] department, I was responsible for testing specimens for defects, assisting with forensic metallurgy, and preparing arc furnaces for experiments. In addition, I coordinated and helped in the testing of materials for strength which reduced material failure during service by 12 percent.
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From my research, I understand that [Company Name] is promoting the usage of renewable energy for materials processing. During my time at [University], the operations exposed me to the utilization of renewable energy for furnace heat generation. [Company Name] would provide the perfect opportunity to contribute my expertise in harnessing renewable energy resources and learning more about this profitable energy source.
Attached is my resume, which details my technical and transferable skills. I look forward to speaking with you on details concerning the Materials Specialist position and learning more about the industry operations of [Company Name]. Thank you for your consideration.
Entry-Level Resume Guide
Your resume as a recent college graduate might not be sufficient to land you an interview, hence the need for a cover letter. However, you still have to develop a professional resume to help strengthen your application and increase your chances of getting entry-level jobs.
Why Does Your Entry-Level Resume Matter?
Your minimal experience could seem like an obstacle when developing your resume. But still, the resume helps to highlight your technical and soft skills and display any experience you have. The recruiter is not focusing on your years of experience, but on what you have to offer. Your resume is the perfect platform to highlight your skills, educational background, and achievements.
Essential Components of Your Entry-Level Resume
There are different styles and formats for entry-level resumes. Regardless of the type you use, there are essential components that you must capture in your resume. We have listed some of these key elements below.
- Header. Similar to your cover letter, the header includes your name and contact info. It is located at the top of the resume and helps to give an identity to the document. Your header should consist of your name, contact information, LinkedIn profile, and date.
- Professional Summary. Depending on your level of professional experience, you can either use a summary or an objective. A summary is perfect when you have tangible experience and should not be more than four sentences. An objective statement, on the other hand, is ideal when you have no work experience. In both cases, ensure the statements are not generic.
- Education. Unlike experienced candidates’ resumes, the education section should be listed before the experience. Your degree as a recent graduate is technically your most significant achievement and should come first. If you have a high GPA, you can include it.
- Work experience. You can gain work experience from volunteer work, projects, or previous internship experiences, your resume should include any relevant experience.
- Skills and Qualifications. This is an opportunity to distinguish yourself from other entry-level applicants. While you need to include technical skills, your interpersonal skills are equally important. In addition, your qualifications and certifications are useful to employers.
5 Tips for Writing a Strong Entry-Level Resume
Depending on the company and position you’re applying to, there could be hundreds of applications competing with yours. It’s important to craft your resume in a way that will impress your potential employer. The following tips will help you create a strong entry-level resume.
- Use relevant keywords. Most organizations use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to screen resumes. This technology works with keywords in the job listing. The terms you use in your resume should align with the keywords in the job posting so that you can have a high score with the ATS.
- List your skills. The skills you have are likely to be transferable skills. You should list them in bullet format to allow recruiters to see them in a clear and concise way. Include skills that portray you as a strong candidate, such as leadership skills.
- Use simple font formats. Your resume is not a document to show extensive creativity. While you can add some style to the layout of your resume, maintain a legible font that will be easy to read. Use font styles like Times New Roman or Arial with a font size of 11 or 12.
- Highlight relevant qualifications. Your education and qualifications are vital factors that can determine whether or not you get the job. If they are related to the job, recruiters could see it as relevant work experience. Include certifications, as well.
- Check for errors. A slight error can disqualify you from the hiring process. Before you submit it, proofread your resume to find any mistake you may have made.
Entry-Level Resume Examples
The entry-level resume examples below will help you to understand and apply the tips discussed in this article. These samples can help you to write your own.
Entry-Level Resume Sample: The Professional Summary Section
I am a focused and personable graduate assistant currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Materials Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (GPA 3.75). I am enthusiastic about joining BlastSteel Industries as an Operations Coordinator to contribute to the manufacture of reliable structural rods and materials, and help plan and implement automated systems. I have sound knowledge of metal casting, conflict resolution, and strong time management skills.
Sample Entry-Level Resume Template
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
[Email address, phone number, and links to respective profiles]
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- [Type of Degree with GPA] [Graduation date]
- [Position Held] [Start date – end date]
[Company Name, Location]
- [Position Held] [Start date – end date]
[Company Name, Location]
Entry-Level Resume Template Resources
- Zety Template. Zety offers a resume builder that allows you to personalize each field and customize the aesthetics.
- DayJob Template. If you are targeting an entry-level accounts clerk position, consider this template. With its editable fields, you can construct a solid resume that will display your most relevant skills and accomplishments.
- ResumeLab Template. Apart from the customizable features of this template, it has a lot of space to accommodate a plethora of skills, expertise, and certifications. If you have many details to highlight, this template might be a good fit.
Importance of an Entry-Level Cover Letter and Resume
Being a qualified candidate for any entry-level position goes beyond your basic skills, academic experiences, and certifications. It requires showcasing your candidacy to recruiters, and your entry-level cover letter and resume provide you with an opportunity to do that. It is your chance to show the employer that you have the required skill set and offer the best value to their organization.
Entry-Level Cover Letter and Resume FAQ
Yes. If you have limited work experience, you should pull resources from anywhere you can. Transferable skills come in handy and will supplement any work experience deficit. If you have good communication skills and some leadership experience from previous work, it can boost your resume.
No. Every job application requires you to design a new cover letter to fit the job requirements. Generic cover letters are ineffective and can prevent you from getting invitations for interviews. In order to successfully end your job hunt, personalize each cover letter, include relevant keywords, and refer to their specific work and mission.
It is not necessary. Since you are likely to send your letter via email, you can leave out your mailing address. The necessities are your phone number and email address.
Your cover letter should not be more than a page. Try to be straightforward and concise so that it does not exceed a page. When your letter is lengthy, it tends to discourage the recruiter from reading it. In about four paragraphs, try to compel the recruiter to invite you for an interview.
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