Landing a job is a challenge for many professionals. Landing a job without any experience can be an even bigger challenge.
As a job seeker without any experience, it’s discouraging when you’ve applied for dozens (or hundreds) of jobs and received zero responses from employers. Although you might feel like giving up on your job search, it’s important to persevere and continue writing cover letters that will make you stand out to employers.
Here are some tips for writing a cover letter when you have little or no experience:
First Paragraph: Clearly introduce yourself.
The first paragraph is your opportunity to make a strong first impression on the employer. This section should explain who you are, the position you’re interested in, and how you discovered the opportunity.
[Related: Employers, learn how to get strategic to attract the right applicants by being specific about these 11 things.]
The introduction is also a great opportunity to mention and connections you have with the organization. For example, if you know a previous intern or alumni who worked for the organization, be sure to mention his or her name in your introduction.
“My name is Sarah and I’m a recent graduate from Purdue University. I graduated in December with a B.A. in communications and a minor in marketing. An alumni forwarded me a job posting about your Associate Marketer position at ABC Media Group. I’m highly interested in this opportunity because I’d make a great fit for your agency.”
Second Paragraph: Talk about your relevant skills and accomplishments.
This section is the biggest challenge for job seekers with little or no experience. It’s also the section where many job seekers make mistakes because they don’t know how to highlight their relevant skills and classroom experience.
As you explain why you’re qualified for the position, it’s important to connect the dots with the employer. For instance, if you didn’t have a marketing internship but you’ve gained a lot of marketing experience through a part-time job in student services, you could highlight the communications skills and experience you gained through that position.
“I realize you’re looking for a candidate with strong written and oral communications skills, as well as experience with event planning and strategy development. As an office assistant in Purdue’s Office of Student Life, I was responsible for planning and promoting campus movie nights for students. This project required me to promote the event on social media, send email blasts to students, and design flyers to post around campus.”
Third Paragraph: Highlight your best qualities and explain why you’re a good fit.
Most employers want to hire candidates who are creative, team players, and have strong time management skills. Although you consider yourself a great fit for the position, you need to use examples that illustrate why you’re a good fit for the job. The reality is, simply stating that you have excellent time management skills and a knack for leadership won’t land you a job.
When talking about your qualities, it’s important to talk about real-life examples. The key point to remember here is to make sure your examples are succinct and visual.
“During my final semester at Purdue, I led a group of three students to create a marketing campaign for an animal shelter in Indianapolis. I was responsible for leading brainstorming sessions, communicating with our client, and editing the final version of the campaign. Through this project, I learned how to collaborate with others and work effectively in a team in order to accomplish a common goal.”
Fourth Paragraph: Conclude with a call to action.
The final paragraph is the section that will seal the deal for a job interview. You want to leave a lasting impression on the reader, so make sure your conclusion is confident, upbeat, and encourages the hiring manager to get in touch with you.
“With the combination of my marketing experience and leadership skills, I’m confident I’d make a great fit your this position. Thank you for taking the time to review my application and consider me as a candidate. I will follow up next Wednesday to schedule a time to talk with you more about this position. I look forward to hearing from you soon!”
After you’ve proofread the cover letter and are confident it’s error-free, you’re ready to send it to the hiring manager. Make sure you’ve included a header at the top of the document including your contact information and a shortened URL for your LinkedIn account. Once the document is ready, save it as a PDF and attach to an email for the hiring manager. This will ensure the formatting of your cover letter doesn’t change once it’s downloaded by the recipient.
Just because you don’t have experience doesn’t mean you can’t write a stellar cover letter. By following these tips, you’ll write a cover letter that gets you noticed by employers and land your first entry-level job.
What are your best tips for writing a cover letter without experience?
TagsCover LetterCover Letter TipsEntry-level
No-experience job positions seem like they would be the easiest ones to land, but these are often some of the most difficult jobs to apply for. When you're first entering the work force, it's challenging to prove your competence, skills, and value without a solid work history to point to. You know that you'd make an excellent employee, but how can you convince your potential employer of this in just a handful of words?
Your no-experience resume is the only introduction you have before landing that coveted job interview, so it's crucial that you make a good impression and give a well-rounded look at your skills and talents. You may not have an extensive work history, but you've no doubt been doing something to fill your hours the last few years. Turn your school activities, volunteer jobs, and educational achievements into worthy inclusions for your resume. Check out this no-experience resume sample for ideas on how you can help your future employer see who you are and what you have to offer.
Common Mistakes for No-Experience Resumes
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you're building a no-experience resume is to trim it down to nothing. Though you may not have work experience, you can still fill out this field with other types of experience. An empty resume may give hiring managers the impression that you haven't done anything productive with your time in school. Prove that you have, and offer solid examples of the education and experience that you've gained along the way.
Don't hesitate to get creative and think outside the box as you're building your resume. This no-experience resume template demonstrates how you can use your experience as a summer camp volunteer or the skills you learned in a computer class to fill out your resume. If you're struggling to identify your strengths, ask around. Teachers, parents, friends, and family members can help you identify areas where you stand out from the pack. Point out that you're a strong speaker, an organized and punctual individual, or a natural leader, particularly when these skills translate well to the job that you want to land.
Tailor your resume to the position that you're applying for as much as possible. Highlight the most relevant skills and try to give some cohesion to your no-experience resume whenever possible. For example, if you're applying to work on construction of park facilities, you can make your teamwork, physical abilities, and experience with outdoor activities into relevant features that show why you're right for the job.
No Experience Resume Sample
2013 - 2014
- Assist with the construction of over a dozen homes in the Toronto area
- Coordinate with others on a team to complete projects in a timely manner
- Perform various construction jobs, including framing, siding, painting, and finish work
2012 - 2013
- Prepared meeting agendas with the President
- Facilitated discussion at meetings and mediated disputes
- Worked with the President and Treasurer to prepare calendars
2011 - 2012
- Assisted with presentation of outdoor nature interpretation programs
- Cleaned and maintained the Nature Centre
- Fed and cared for amphibians and reptiles at the Nature Centre
- Proficient in Microsoft Office – Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
- Strong interpersonal and leadership skills
- Powerful oral communication skills, particularly in group settings
- Strong time management skills
- Excellent time management skills
2011 - 2015
Toronto High School
Ontario Secondary School Diploma
No-Experience Positions to Consider
Are you ready to apply for a no-experience job? Check out the following links to start searching for exciting job positions in your area.