How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job with No Experience
A well planned and researched cover letter is vital when you are applying for a job regardless of whether you’ve got plenty of experience under your belt or you’re a recent graduate searching for an entry-level job. A strong cover letter will help sell yourself in terms of the skills and qualities you have that are relevant to the role, but more importantly, it will allow you to also explain your lack of work experience. Here are some cover letter writing tips for your first job or job without experience in your chosen field.
1. Research the job description and company
Before writing an entry-level cover letter, ensure you fully understand the job description and check out the company website to get a better idea of what their values are. Research will allow you to show an understanding of what the role entails and where you may have gained relevant experience from other activities. This way, you can demonstrate how your skills and personality fit into the requirements that they are looking for.
2. Research sample cover letters for inspiration only
Yes, it may be tempting to copy a template found on the internet. However, it’s likely that another applicant would have done similar. This is why it’s recommended to write your own cover letter so it can be tailored to suit the position and organisation you are applying for. If you want to see what others are saying about themselves and how they’re selling their skills to the hiring manager, sample cover letters can provide the inspiration you need to structure your own letter. However, ensure you use them for inspiration only, not to copy.
3. Follow what the job ad requires
Each job description is unique and each hiring manager has their own individual preferences. If you stray away from this, you might find yourself not being considered for the role because it shows that you can’t follow instructions. Tailor your letter to the specific job advertisement. If their brief states not to write a standard cover letter, then don’t do it! A great cover letter is tailored specifically to the requirements of the job ad.
4. Introduce yourself
Begin by introducing yourself and telling them why you are writing to apply for this job. You want to show the hiring manager that you are the perfect candidate. 1-2 sentences should be enough, highlighting any unique qualities about yourself that might fit the job description. For example, if you’re applying for work to become a disability support worker, you may want to highlight that you enjoy working with other people. If you’re applying for an administrative role, you may want to highlight your organisation skills. The company wants to get an idea of what type of person you are and how you will fit in with the culture of the organisation. If you have little or no experience in your field, this is your time to let your personality shine.
5. Highlight experiences from your everyday life
Just because you don’t have work experience in your field, doesn’t mean you don’t have great experiences to share. When writing an entry letter cover letter it’s fine to give examples from your personal life. If you were the president of your local football club, ran a stall at a community event, or anything similar – bring it up! It shows you have initiative and great leadership qualities. This section is also an opportunity for you to be creative. For example, if you want to talk about your strong communication skills, you can talk about a group project you worked on with other students. The options are endless!
6. Talk about what sets you a other candidates part from
Hiring managers read tens if not hundreds of cover letters each day, this is especially the case if you’re applying for an entry-level position. You need to grab the hiring manager’s attention and show that you’ve invested time into the application. If there’s something that sets you apart from other applicants, bring it up! Examples include volunteer work, any hobbies or leadership roles in clubs or activities.
7. Finish off strong
Use the last few sentences of your cover letter to summarise your non-work-related experiences and talk about why you feel you’re the right candidate for the job. Your closing statement should leave the hiring manager feeling impressed, informed and interested. If you’ve done this successfully, they will be keen to find out more.
8. Keep the length under one page
If you want to be taken seriously, your cover letter needs to be short and sweet. If it’s more than a page long, people may look at it as a turn off because they don’t have time or patience to read an essay that isn’t coherent and straight to the point.
9. Proofread and spell check your letter for errors
You should always double and triple check for spelling and grammatical errors before sending off your cover letter. Simple errors like that highlight poor attention to detail and show that you have not put much thought or effort into preparing your letter.
10. Check the format of your letter
Spend some time perfecting the format of your letter. When choosing fonts and colours, simple is best! Cover letters with too many colours and fonts can be distracting. It is also highly recommended to use the same font throughout your letter, so if you choose Arial size 10, for your opening paragraph, keep it the same throughout.
Some other things to remember when formatting your cover letter include:
- The hiring manager’s name and their professional title (if known)
- The organisation’s name and address
- Your full name, contact information and address
These days more and more employers are choosing to prioritise candidates without direct experience in the field. If this is the case with your chosen industry, you need to consider how you can demonstrate your commitment and passion for the industry. Writing the perfect cover letter with no experience isn’t difficult. With these helpful tips & tricks, you’ll have the job of your dreams in no time.
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If you know the hiring manager’s name, try to address your letter directly to them. If not, use a phrase such as “Dear Hiring Manager”.
Keep your ending professional. Examples of how you can sign off your cover letter include “Sincerely,” “Warmest regards,” “Best Regards”, and “Kind Regards”.
Yes, you should include a cover letter even if the job ad doesn’t state that you need one. This is especially the case for entry-level jobs or jobs that you don’t have any professional experience in. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to stand out and give yourself a better chance against other applicants who may have more experience in the field. The only instance in which you should not include a cover letter is if the job ad specifically states to not include one.