Applying for a position with no experience can be challenging, especially when writing a cover letter. Luckily, there are ways to feature relevant skills or achievements that capture the attention of the hiring manager. Explaining how your skills can benefit the employer and provide value to the company can make your cover letter stand out among other applicants.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document approximately one page in length that supports your resume and highlights any skills, qualifications, experience or other information related to the position you're applying for. Your cover letter should clearly outline the reasons why you would be a perfect fit for the position by tying your qualities together with the responsibilities of the specific position.
In this article, we explain how to write a cover letter with no experience and feature a template and example to help you build a strong cover letter.
Can you write a cover letter with no experience?
Though it may be challenging, it is possible to write a cover letter even if you have no related work experience. While a cover letter can often be used to highlight your previous work experience, you can instead use it to focus on any soft skills you have gained from other experiences like extracurricular activities, educational courses or volunteering.
It is important to highlight any of your soft skills as many employers will value them. Soft skills are more difficult to teach since these are naturally developed through experience, while hard skills can often be taught through training.
How to write a cover letter with no experience
When crafting your cover letter, include important information relevant to the position that will show the hiring manager that you are a good fit for their position and company. The steps below explain how to write a cover letter with no experience.
1. Carefully review the job posting and research the company's website
Before you begin your cover letter, you'll want to ensure that you are relating your information to the preferred and required skills listed on the job posting. You can carefully read through the job posting and note any listed skills that you may already have. Use these skills as keywords in your cover letter and mention them throughout the document. You should explain how you can apply these skills toward the position.
You can also dedicate time to learning more about the company to highlight why you may be a valuable addition. Review their website, social media pages and any additional material that feature their company's information. This helps you learn about their values, culture and goals. Mention any information you found and explain how it aligns with your own goals or values.
2. List your contact information at the top of the document
As you begin your cover letter, list your name, phone number and email address on the top left corner. Then add the date as well as the employer's name and address, if you have that information, as these would make your document look more formal and professional. Also, add a link to your online portfolio and social media channels (if you have them) to help them learn more about yourself and your professional online presence.
3. Greet the reader and introduce yourself
Start with a formal greeting by saying, "Dear Hiring Manager" or "To Whom It May Concern". If you already know the name of the hiring manager, list their name in the salutation. Next, introduce yourself to the reader by saying your name and your excitement for the job opportunity. Mention the exact job title you're applying for along with where you saw the position or how you learned about the job.
If a friend or colleague who previously worked or currently works for the company referred you to the position, you can mention their name in this section once you've received permission from them to do so. Your introduction should be around two to three sentences long.
4. Explain your skills and achievements relevant to the position
This is the section of your cover letter where you can mention your skills and how they align with the position. Since you have no previous work experience, talk about your educational experience and how the courses you've taken have helped prepare you for the position. You can also mention some awards and achievements related to the position you are interested in that you have achieved, as these will catch the hiring manager's attention.
For example, if you were president of an academic club at your university, highlight this in your cover letter. Explain that being elected president helped you develop and enhance your leadership skills.
5. Remind them why you are the best for the position
Throughout your two body paragraphs, detail why you are the best fit for the role and the company. This can be a great time to mention the values or goals you have read on their website, and you can share these insights with the hiring manager to show that you are truly enthusiastic about working with them. Employers are often pleased to learn your dedication and interest in learning more about the company and that your personality may align well with those of their other employees.
This is also a great time to mention your passion for the role and that you are excited to learn more. You can even outline a few of the responsibilities mentioned in the job posting and explain your enthusiasm to gain those skills and experience. Employers are often looking for employees passionate about the role and who will put their best effort towards delivering valuable work. Some employers may value this more than experience, which can help put you ahead of other seasoned candidates.
6. Ask them for an interview
The last paragraph should express your interest in the position once again. Mention your enthusiasm for the role and how you want to speak with them again. Your chances of getting an interview after requesting one in your cover letter may increase, so try to ask for it in your final paragraph. Thank the reader for their time. To formally end your letter, you can write, "Sincerely," followed by your full name at the bottom of the document.
7. Proofread for spelling, grammar and clarity issues
Once the cover letter is complete, read through the document to catch any issues with spelling and grammar. Carefully review it to ensure that it is clear and that it makes sense. You can read the cover letter out loud to yourself or you can send it to friends or colleagues, and through this, they may catch an error in your document that you may have missed.
8. Save the document as a PDF and send to the hiring manager
When you have carefully reviewed your document and applied any edits, review it once more for formatting. If it looks ready to send, you can save it as a PDF. Check the job posting to see if they mentioned how they would like to receive your cover letter. Most employers prefer cover letters as a PDF and but some require other formats.
The job posting should also explain how to submit the cover letter. You may be required to attach it to an application file or you may email it directly to the hiring manager.
Cover letter with no experience example
The example below can be used as a guide to help you build your cover letter if you have no experience:
Lewis Marketing Agency
123 Stewart Lane
Dear Mia Lewis,
My name is Chris Adams, and I am thrilled to express my interest in the Marketing Coordinator position at Lewis Marketing Agency. I was excited to learn about this position from my friend and former classmate, Taylor Daniels. I believe my strong communication and time-management skills will help me excel as an employee at your company.
As a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, I gained strong hands-on writing and researching experience as a journalism major. I have also been a lead writer for our college newspaper, where I wrote compelling stories that captured the significance of our school and provided informative material to readers. I can apply these same skills to create thoughtful and engaging marketing material for your clients.
My dedication to research and finishing projects within tight deadlines make me the perfect candidate for you and your company. If I were to work as a Marketing Coordinator, I would enjoy expanding my skills as I create informative materials that capture the attention of your clients' target audiences. Your website mentions your passion for helping promote your clients. I share this passion with you, as I felt very motivated to promote my university and their newspaper during my time at the University of T oronto.
I am very excited to learn more about your company and to develop my skills further. Thank you very much for your time and attention. Please reach out to me when you are available to arrange an interview. I look forward to hearing from you soon.