How To Write a Cover Letter With No Experience (With Example)
Updated 1 August 2023
Writing a cover letter when you have yet to gain any work experience might be the first step in a long career. Although you possess no experience, there is still a lot you can bring to any job application, and your cover letter can convey this. Taking the time to understand how to do this can greatly help your chances with a job application. In this article, we explain the importance of a cover letter with no experience, how to write one and provide you with an example.
Related: Writing a CV with No Experience
Why a cover letter with no experience is important
You may be wondering what the purpose of a cover letter with no experience is, given that you have no work experience to discuss in the letter. However, work experience is not necessary for an effective and well-written cover letter. Informing a potential employer or recruiter of your qualifications, education and experiences is the purpose of your CV. Your cover letter is supposed to persuade the reader that they ought to hire you, regardless of whether you possess work experience.
This means that a cover letter is even more important when you lack experience, as it can convey your suitability in other ways. For example, your educational or personal background may have equipped you with certain transferrable skills that can be used in a work setting. Your personality is also a significant factor that recruiters consider, and is best conveyed through a cover letter. While you may lack experience in paid work, you may have completed internships, apprenticeships or volunteer work, or taken part in extracurricular activities or informal work like babysitting or lifeguarding.
How to write a cover letter with no experience
Writing a cover letter with no experience is much easier than it may seem. You just need to be organised and know what to include. Your first reference is the requirements listed in the job advertisement, which can be the most important things to talk about. Meeting all of a job's requirements with no experience can be a challenge, but you'll often possess transferrable skills and similar experiences that are almost as good.
Rather than focusing on work experience, your cover letter can focus on your education, personal skills and attributes, and any other experiences that might be relevant to the job you're applying for. To write a cover letter with no experience, follow the steps below:
1. Research the company
Before you begin to write your cover letter, take some time to research the company that's listed the vacancy. Get an idea of their values and priorities, and whether the company is undergoing any significant changes that might indicate why there's a vacancy. Try to find out who'll be receiving your cover letter, unless the information has already been provided.
2. Address the recipient by name
Once you've identified who's receiving your cover letter, you can address them by their name. This immediately helps your cover letter stand out among those of other candidates that begin with a more generic 'Dear Sir/Madam'. This shows that you're serious and diligent. In the absence of a name, you can address them by their job title, such as 'Dear Hiring Manager'.
3. Talk about why you want the job
Before you start persuading the recipient of your candidacy, inform them of the job you're applying for. Do this within the first line of the cover letter, as recruiters receive many applications and don't know which job you're applying for unless you state it. This saves the recipient from having to guess. You can then briefly talk about why you're interested in that particular job, or why you're interested in working for that company in particular. Within this first paragraph of your cover letter, you can also briefly introduce yourself and mention where you saw the vacancy.
4. Talk about why they should hire you
This is the part of your cover letter where you actively persuade the recipient that you're the best candidate. The most important aspect of this is addressing the requirements in the job advertisement. Demonstrate how you meet these requirements wherever possible. In many cases, you can do so by talking about transferrable skills if you lack the necessary experience. Once you have shown how you meet the needs in the job advertisement, you can talk about additional skills and attributes that are relevant to the role.
Wherever possible, talk about your skills in context. For example, instead of saying 'I have good teamwork skills', you can say 'My time as a volunteer organiser helped me to develop good teamwork skills'.
5. Conclude your cover letter
After you've finished the main body of your cover letter, thank the recipient for taking the time to consider your application. You can also say that you look forward to the opportunity to discuss it further. You can then close the letter politely and leave your full name and contact details. If your contact details have already been requested at a separate step of the application process, you can omit them from your cover letter.
Related: How to End a Cover Letter
6. Proofread and assess your cover letter
Take the time to proofread and assess your cover letter before you send it. This allows you to find and correct any grammatical or spelling errors. You can also assess how well you've written and whether the formatting needs adjustment. Try to assess how persuasively you've written, and whether you've omitted anything that you'd like to include. If you know a friend or relative who has relevant experience, you can ask them to read your cover letter and give you their feedback.
Below, you can find a three-part checklist of the most important features of an effective cover letter. When you assess your cover letter, make sure that it is:
If you're using a master copy or template for writing several cover letters, make sure that the final copy is always unique and tailored to the job you're applying for. Make sure that you've addressed the recipient by name, that you've specified the job and company in question and that you've matched your skills with those required in the job advertisement wherever possible. If you think anything isn't completely relevant, cut it.
A successful cover letter doesn't necessarily need to contain work experience, it just needs to be tailored to the job. This allows it to be persuasive. When you are re-reading your cover letter, try to do so from the point of view of a recruiter. Ask yourself if you'd be interested in interviewing this candidate, or even hiring them. You can also ask a friend or relative to do the same. If your cover letter is lacking in any way, take the time to amend it.
With all of the above, you may find you've got more to include than you thought. An effective cover letter only needs to be one page long, even with extra spacing. Ideally, your completed cover letter should contain an introductory paragraph, a main paragraph or two and a concluding paragraph. Aim for these to be no longer than four or five lines at the longest. Ensure your language is clear and free of repetition or rambling.
Example of a cover letter with no experience
To help you write your cover letter, there is an example below. If you use this as a guide or template, make sure yours is unique before submitting it with an application:
Dear Ms Lewis,
My name is Daniel Mason, and I would like to submit my application for the graduate programme at Fernsby Marketing, which I came across on the Indeed website. I believe that my good organisational and communication skills, along with my recently concluded studies, make me a great candidate for the opportunity. I have always been fascinated by marketing work, and I believe your graduate programme will help me develop a career in this field.
I recently graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in journalism and this has granted me excellent writing and analytical skills. I was also a regular contributor to the university newsletter, and I helped with the writing and design of promotional materials for a local charity. This has given me insight into what gets people's attention, and I believe this would be an invaluable skill within the context of your graduate programme.
Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my application, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
0111 2222 333
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