Afraid of looking underqualified or disappointing your hiring manager because you have no work experience?
Companies want to work with those who have the conviction to help them reach their goals. Yet, some job seekers still show signs of uncertainty in their cover letters with some even doubting their own abilities.
If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect to convince hiring managers that you have a lot to offer?
I know, it sounds harsh. But the reality is that the hiring process can be brutal. Recruiters are swiping through dozens of resumes and cover letters like Tinder profiles, with many being automatically sent to the rejection pile.
In this guide, we’ll show you step-by-step how to write a cover letter with no experience including examples and templates that you can use for free.
11 Steps to Nail Your Cover Letter Without Any Work History
There are 12 steps to follow. The objective of a cover letter is to express the value the company gets by hiring you.
1. Complete the Header Section
This includes your contact details at the top of your cover letter such as:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Company name
Here’s an example below.
2. Address the Hiring Manager
All letters start with a salutation. When building a cover letter, it begins by addressing the hiring manager preferably by their last name like so:
• Dear Mr. Jacquet
• Dear Ms. Jacquet
If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, address them in your cover letter by job title, e.g. Dear Hiring Manager. Or you could say “Dear Sir/Madam”. However, the worst way to greet them is by saying “To Whom It May Concern”.
Here’s a few ways to find the name of your hiring manager:
- Ask the company’s HR team via email, phone, or LinkedIn
- Check the company’s website about page
- See the company’s LinkedIn page
- Refer to the job description
3. Make an Introduction
Introduce yourself by stating the job you’re interested in and how you came across the job opening.
Next, share a bit about your professional background such as where you’re currently at in your career, why you’re confident that you’re a good fit for the role, and what you’re hoping to achieve in the future.
Here’s an example.
4. Share the Backstory of Your Qualifications
While you'll have a resume catered toward having no work experience, use your cover letter to share the backstory of your academic achievements. Focus on how your education helped you develop your industry knowledge as well as relevant skills that would be useful for the job.
Write in a way that showcases how you applied your knowledge as opposed to just writing about what you learned from each module. This is especially important for internship cover letters.
Moreover, align with the company’s mission and core values. For instance, highlight any particular communication skills that the company seems to stress over on their website’s about page.
Here’s some more factors to consider:
- How you overcame an obstacle and what you gained from the experience
- The thought process behind an achievement that you’re proud of
- How a specific area of the profession caught your interest
5. Focus on the Impact by Using the Active Voice
Use the active voice to highlight the impact of your efforts. This means starting your sentences with the subject followed by the verb and then the object. Here’s an example below of a passive voice sentence compared to an active voice sentence:
• Statistical analysis tools are something I have extensively used
• I have extensive experience working with statistical analysis tools
Besides making your points more transparent to the reader, it shows confidence.
6. Mention Fields of Interest
More can be said about a person’s character based on not what they say but what they do.
With that in mind, hiring managers want to select those who are passionate because they’re the ones more likely to continue growing with the company for a longer period of time.
If you’re writing a software engineer cover letter for example, mention the areas of software engineering that interest you the most. And if you were curious enough to say, build a website with HTML code in your spare time, then it’s worth mentioning. Or you could even talk about it in more detail.
7. Link Back to the Company Culture
Make references to the company’s core values to express your interest. Check their website’s about page, LinkedIn page, and job description to see what the personality of the ideal candidate looks like to them.
Take note of the tone of voice the company is projecting and the types of words or phrases that keep coming up. Then, use these words or phrases in your cover letter in the context of your professional background.
Here’s some example sentences:
• As a leader in combining IoT and hospitality, working at your inn would be a fortuitous coming together of passion, competence, and opportunity.
• Your company is a market leader in the X industry, and I would love to become a part of your winning team. I am confident that I can smoothly fit into your company culture.
8. Include a Sentence That Summarizes Your Value
Summarize your cover letter in a sentence or two. Write at least one sentence that directly addresses why you’re a good match for the job opening. If you haven’t included your career goals yet, this is a good time to mention it.
Here’s some example sentences:
• My career goals include working with a team of analysts and clients to create a positive work environment, and I look forward to the next step in my career.
• My passion for design along with my understanding of the importance of creating a positive user experience will help drive success for Company X.
9. Make the Next Steps Clear
The next steps after submitting your cover letter could be:
- Scheduling an interview
- Sending or receiving a follow-up email
- Waiting for a response
Or it could be as simple as saying something along the lines of looking forward to what the future has to offer. End your cover letter by thanking the reader for their time, implying the next steps, and then signing off.
Here’s some examples:
• Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
• I would welcome the opportunity to meet in person to discuss how I could contribute to the team.
10. Nail the Edits
Good job if you’ve followed all the steps so far. It means you’ve completed drafting your cover letter, and that’s awesome.
The first round of editing is about making sure you’re not missing any key ideas or details and ensuring that your cover letter is personalized. See this part of the process as looking at the bigger picture.
Here’s a few questions to ask yourself:
- Have you written in the same tone of voice as the company?
- Are there any achievements or statistics you’ve forgotten to include?
- Were all company culture references written in context?
- Did you include keywords from the job description?
The second round of editing is about taking a closer look at your sentences. Check for any spelling, punctuation, or grammar mistakes.
Aim for a minimum of 180 words and no further than 350 words. If your cover letter exceeds 350 words then it’s not as concise as it should be. Go through it again and see what words or sentences could be removed or rephrased without changing its meaning.
11. Submit Your Cover Letter
Submit your cover letter by following the steps given to you by your recruiter or refer to the job description for instructions. Doing this step incorrectly can lead to your cover letter being sent to the rejection pile.
If there are no clear instructions, download your cover letter as a PDF and send it as an attachment through email. For online applications, upload it as a PDF into the provided field.
But in some cases, sending a cover letter won’t be necessary.
What to Include in a Cover Letter When You Have No Experience
Having no previous work experience isn’t the same as having no relevant experience. With that in mind, here’s a few ideas of what to include in a cover letter:
- Hard skills and soft skills
- Career goals
- Extracurricular activities
- Volunteer experience
Hard Skills, Soft Skills & Technical Skills
Hard skills: skills that can only be developed from repetition, application and practice (e.g. coding - you can also mention your degree or academic qualifications)
Soft skills: relating to interpersonal skills and qualities you have that enable you to thrive and do your job better (e.g. emotional intelligence)
Technical skills: relating to your expertise and knowledge with modern technology, e.g. data analysis
To avoid confusion, some technical skills also tie in with hard skills. Anyhow, you're likely to have developed different types of skills through your years in education or after completing one of your courseworks.
When mentioning your skills, be sure it's something you're confident in. It's a common cover letter mistake to lie and throw in skills which you're not familiar with.
Education and Achievements
Your education and qualifications is evidence of being acknowledged from respectable institutions. Even without any work experience, your academic achievements can indicate that you're qualified for the role. If you've completed any additional training or coursework that's relevant, you can also use this to your advantage!
Any extracurricular activities you've taken part in are worth mentioning too.
Goals and Objectives
Your passion and level of commitment is an important aspect to consider for the long run. When your objectives and goals correspond with what the company is looking to achieve, it gives insight into how you could potentially provide more value in the future.
Not having any work experience can be viewed in a positive light because you don't have any bad habits built into the way you work.
Have you volunteered or supported your local charity?
Or perhaps you've assisted with a school event by helping out behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Volunteering is still a valuable thing to talk about and is still relevant in 2021. It can show employers you have a sense of what it means to work as a team, which is something a real corporate working environment would look like.
Going back to our first point, you'll also have familiarity with some useful skills. For instance, if you have volunteering experience at a local charity shop, you may have developed skills such as stock management and customer service. Both of these qualities are valuable things you can talk about.
Injecting Your Voice and Personality
To stand out, it's important to inject your own voice and personality into your cover letter to show genuine interest. Though ATS optimized resumes are more factual and straight to the point, your cover letter should be more personal.
A good way to inject your own unique voice and personality is to add your own unique examples when making a statement.
Hobbies and Interests
This ties into the previous section because showing your hobbies and interests exposes your personality.
An advantage you have compared to others is that the company can mold you into their own because you have no work habits they’d want to change. Hiring managers would take into account training you especially when your own objectives and beliefs align with theirs.
3 Points to Get Across to Your Hiring Manager
Perhaps you’re wondering how to make one or all of the following clear to your reader:
- You’re willing to learn
- You really want the job
- You’re really passionate
It all comes down to showing it by giving examples rather than just telling. Your actions often say more about you than your words. We’ll show you how to say each of these things without directly saying it using our cover letter templates.
How to Say You’re Willing to Learn on a Cover Letter
Don’t focus on saying you’re willing to learn. Instead, focus on writing about a time when you demonstrated a strong willingness to learn in your field and a time when you quickly learned how to do something and applied your knowledge to get results.
In other words, reflect on experiences that show your curiosity and quick learning ability.
Here’s some example sentences:
• This position directly complements my career as I plan to…
• I am a quick learner with a genuine interest in new technologies and I am driven to learn new skills.
• My rigorous coursework has motivated me to apply and hone my skills and knowledge as a professional.
How to Say You Really Want the Job on a Cover Letter
Show you’ve done your research and that you know exactly what the company is about and what they’re currently doing.
Another way is to write about how your career goals and objectives align with the company’s core values. Or, talk about what excites you the most. You could even dedicate a paragraph to write about this.
Here’s some example sentences:
• What excites me most about this position is that the role involves…
• I can speak Spanish, which should come in handy given how frequently your department collaborates with researchers from…
How to Say You’re Really Passionate
You can emphasize your enthusiasm and passion to recruiters without having to actually say it. Here’s how:
- Mention hobbies and fields of interest
- Talk about relevant side projects and certifications
- Highlight how and why you made your career choices so far
- Refer to the company’s mission and products
- Use keywords from the job description
Here’s some example sentences:
• My love for spreadsheets and analysis is what attracts me most to the position.
• The intersection of tech and humanity (specifically, how people respond to and adapt to technological changes) is a passion of mine. It’s one that I discuss frequently on my tech blog [URL].
How to Structure a Cover Letter With No Experience
Now we’ll go through all parts of a cover letter including what each part focuses on. Including this in your cover letter outline helps keep your writing coherent.
The Opening Paragraph
The opening paragraph highlights three things:
- What the cover letter is about
- Your goals and intentions
- Achievements and/or strongest transferable skills
Hiring managers are skimming through dozens of resumes and cover letters. Get straight to the point on why you’re interested and what makes you qualified to spark their interest.
The Main Body
This part is made up of 1-3 paragraphs. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of your career.
For example, the first paragraph is about your education and academic achievements. The second paragraph is about a side project you worked on with the third being about relevant coursework and training you took part in.
Prioritize the most important information. Whatever’s closest to showcasing your strengths goes first.
Make a final statement about why you’re a good professional to work with. The aim is to end on a positive note by radiating enthusiasm and an earnest desire to work for the company. From there, imply the next steps and then sign off professionally.
Cover Letter Examples With No Experience That Got Interviewed at Top Companies
Or learn more from the key takeaways of our best sample cover letters which landed interviews at tech giants including Apple and Amazon. Get further inspiration for your application.
Research Assistant Cover Letter
Recent Graduate Cover Letter
Create a Cover Letter That Fits Your Background in 60 Seconds Using Rezi’s AI Cover Letter Writer
Cover letters are a piece of cake with Rezi’s AI cover letter writer.
Rather than starting from scratch, use AI to write the whole thing for you based on your background and the company’s job description.
Here’s how it works:
- Enter the company name.
- Write the job position/title you’re applying for.
- Select a previous job position/title to highlight.
- Press “AI Writer Ready”.
Then either press the button again for more inspiration or edit what’s written until you’re happy with the result.
In other words, it’s easier than ever to create a cover letter. All you need is a Rezi account, which helps you build a cover letter off of one of our resume templates.
Or click the video below to see Rezi AI in action.
Hiring Managers Want to See Confidence
Have the mindset of do or die. Either you can do it, or you can’t.
Even if you don’t meet all the job requirements, ask yourself this – could I persist enough to learn on the go, solve all the problems that come my way with the right resources, and become the perfect candidate in the future?
Most times, the answer is yes.
One thing that makes you qualified isn’t just having decades of experience. It’s whether you can persist to find the answers and overcome the obstacles ahead of you with sheer hard work and determination. These are attractive qualities to have as a professional no matter where you’re at in your career.
Believe in your ability and knowledge that you’ve developed over the years because usually, what’s really holding you back is those limiting beliefs. You’ve got this!