While your resume is an important part of the job application process, a cover letter may be the most crucial part, especially if you’re applying to an entry-level position in a new field. Whether this is your first job or you’re searching for jobs in a different field, your cover letter is an opportunity for you to explain to a potential employer why you’re a good fit for the position.
With a lack of work experience in the field you’re applying for, your resume simply isn’t enough to convince an employer you’re the right person for the job. Job searching is hard and once you find a job that appeals to you, it’s important to do everything you can to impress the recruiter. If you can put together an effective cover letter, it’s more likely you’ll get a call for the next steps in the interview process.
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Writing a Cover Letter for Your Entry-Level Job
Writing a great cover letter for an entry-level position is a way to set yourself apart from the competition. If you find the perfect job, it may be tempting to run on and go over the top when explaining your educational background or skills in hopes you’ll impress the recruiter. However, keep in mind, your resume has already been provided, so there’s no need to cover these details again.
It’s important to stay focused and remain professional when crafting your cover letter. There are specific actions you should take when writing your cover letter to ensure you stand out from the crowd and grab a potential employer’s attention right away.
Write a Killer Hook
It’s essential to communicate that you’re a unique candidate. Capturing a recruiter’s attention with a killer hook at the beginning of your cover letter is one of the best ways to ensure you keep the recruiter reading past your first line.
While it’s important to show your uniqueness and keep the attention of a hiring manager, it’s just as important to make it clear that you understand how to be professional. Shock value, slang words, or an inappropriate remark will garner the wrong type of attention, so it’s best to stay away from these snafus in your opening statement.
Most recruiters will be intrigued if you show your excitement for employment at a specific company or for the job at hand. Mentioning your personal experience with the company or your intrigue for the position can help keep a recruiter engaged and reading.
Keep It Simple
Every corporate job opening attracts an average of 250 job candidates and it’s the recruiter’s job to read all those cover letters and scan all those resumes. If you drag on with your cover letter and add unnecessary information, chances are the recruiter will simply skim through and might miss out on the good stuff.
Get right to the point, outline your skills, and communicate why you’re fit for the position. This is the best way to ensure the recruiter will understand what you’re getting at. Long and dramatic cover letters will bore recruiters and it’s less likely you’ll get a call back.
Highlight Relevant Skills and Experience
The skills section of your resume is important because it showcases what you know how to do. You may also use your cover letter to highlight relevant skills that are useful in the workplace and explain how you’ve obtained and sharpened these skills.
Consider the position you’re applying for and the skills a person needs to be successful at the job. If you don’t have job experience directly related to these skills, consider other relevant experiences you have or useful skills you can highlight in your cover letter. If you’ve volunteered or organized an event, the skills you used to succeed may be similar to what you need for the position.
It’s also important not to generalize your skillset or experience. Mention specific training experiences that allowed you to acquire hard skills. Discuss the experiences you’ve had and relate them directly to the position and tasks you know you’ll be responsible for. For example, if you’re applying to a social media manager position, you could talk about how you organized a charity event and the strategies you used to promote it on social media.
Back Up What You Say
Provide examples for the claims you make within your cover letter. It’s not enough to simply list your skills and experience, since that information can be easily found in your resume. When you talk about a skill or quality you have, explain how you acquired that skill.
For example, if you mention that you’re great with people for a potential sales position, take a moment to explain how you volunteer at a voter registration booth and are usually successful with getting people to register to vote. Real-world examples like this can make your skills and experience come to life from the page, encouraging the recruiter to keep reading.
Tell Them About Yourself
Adding your own personality to the cover letter is also important so you can show the recruiter you’re easy to get along with and are an asset to a healthy work environment. While you shouldn’t write a novel about yourself and list all the professional references who could vouch for you, telling the recruiter why you’re a good fit is helpful. Since your resume only lists your skills and experience, your cover letter is the perfect place to show yourself off.
Explain Why You Are a Good Fit
You can still get a job with no job experience in the field if you can adequately convince the recruiter you’re a good fit. Highlight the best qualities you have to show why you’ll do well in the position. For example, if you know you’ll be working with a team, explain that you’re a “team player.” Again, it’s important to give a real-world example to illustrate this quality, such as when you stayed late to help a co-worker with a project.
Make a Call-to-Action
A call-to-action is a statement, usually in the closing of a communication, that asks the reader to perform an action immediately. In advertising, a call-to-action is used to direct a potential customer to buy a product, call a number, or visit a website. In your cover letter, use a call-to-action to tell the recruiter what you want them to do next. For example, you could say, “I look forward to hearing from you soon with the next steps in the interview process.” Be firm but polite with your direction.
Edit and Review
Grammar or spelling errors will ruin a cover letter and your shot at the next steps in the job process. Take the time to review what you’ve written and ensure you’re following all the guidelines for creating an effective and professional cover letter. Read through your letter once for errors and again for content before you send it.
Entry Level Cover Letter Example
[Your Contact Information.]
[Recruiter’s Job Title.]
Dear [Recruiter’s Name],
I was excited to see your advertisement for a [Job Title]. I have a passion for [job field] and have been looking for a [job title] position. [Company Name] stands out as one of the best in the industry and it would be an honor to start my career in [job field] there.
While completing my education at [School Name], I focused on [major] and learned about business, marketing, and accounting. During my time as a student, I sharpened my organizational and event-planning skills by leading several fundraisers for an animal rescue facility. I also assisted several students in creating and promoting social media campaigns for various events, including the school’s annual food drive and bake sale.
I’m a hard worker who thinks outside the box for solutions and always goes the extra mile for the team. With my attention to detail, organizational skills, and social media experience, I think I’d be a great fit for the [Job Title] position.
Thank you for considering me for this position. Please contact me for professional references and to complete the next steps in the interview process.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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