Perfecting a resume is already hard enough. How about a cover letter with no experience?
Most students/fresh university graduates worry about having nothing to say on their cover letter because they have literally got no work experience whatsoever.
For some of you, this could be your very first cover letter application you’re writing...
Compared to the other applicants you’re competing with, you might be convinced that you’re at a disadvantage since you don’t have much of a professional background. As you have no real experience in the corporate working environment, you might also think there aren’t many things you can talk about to make yourself stand out.
Although it seems you’re at an utter disadvantage, there are still different things you can do to show you’re more than qualified for the job vacancy.
After helping over 120,000 happy job seekers including students, we’ve put together this ultimate guide on how to write a cover letter with no experience. We’ve included a list of things you should focus on and broken down an example of a cover letter with no experience too.
We’ll start by answering the biggest question most of you probably have.
With no work experience at all, you might be thinking that there’s barely anything you could talk about.
But that’s not true. There are six areas in particular that you can focus on which include:
Generally in life, you should be making the most out of everything you have.
Despite not having any work experience, one advantage is that you can be molded into their own since you haven’t developed any working habits yet. More importantly, you haven’t developed any bad habits either.
If you’re a cultural fit who’s more committed, as well as having aligning goals or visions and they can see you’re passionate, then you’ll still be taken into strong consideration.
Going back to what you can include, let’s look at each of these in more detail.
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.
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.
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.
To stand out, it’s important to inject your own voice and personality into your cover letter to show genuine interest. Though 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.
This ties into the previous section because showing your hobbies and interests exposes your personality.
More can be shown from someone’s character based on not what they say, but what they do.
If you’re applying for a software development role for example, you could talk about how you’ve always been intrigued in coding or programming. Have you built a website in your spare time? Or have you learned any extra technical skills that would be helpful?
When you have hobbies or interests aligned with your job position, it shows the hiring managers you’re genuinely interested in what you do.
Keywords are important to beating the applicant tracking system and matching the job description posted by the company. ATS keywords will also keep your application relevant and will demonstrate that you have a good understanding of what you’re going to be doing.
Regarding the types of words you should avoid, you might also find our other guides helpful:
The standard cover letter format will always stay the same, even when you have no work experience. This includes:
While the structure stays the same, for us job seekers with no experience, we have to take a different approach. Because we have no real work experience in the corporate world, we’re going to have to make the most from what we’ve got to make up for it.
At this point, you now have all the ingredients for writing a cover letter with no experience whatsoever. Now it’s time to put the pieces together and create a powerful cover letter to help you launch your career.
We’re going to go through the structure of a cover letter and how we can implement what we’ve discussed.
The opening paragraph should focus on your intentions, reasons and motivations for why you want to work with the company you’re making an application for.
In other words, you should be focusing on why you’re making an application.
It’s also a good idea to give some general background information to your hiring managers while you’re doing this. For example, let them know where you majored and what university you attended.
Keep reading on! Later on, we’ll be breaking this down in our cover letter with no experience sample.
The main body is usually made up of 2 paragraphs.
In your first paragraph of the main body, you can focus on your education, relevant coursework, training or certifications. As you’ve already touched on this on your ATS resume, you can go into more detail about what you’ve learned or developed that makes you qualified for the job. If you have any extracurricular activities or volunteer work to talk about, that should also be included.
From the first half of your cover letter, the main focus should be on the hard skill aspects to show the hiring manager that you’re capable of doing your job.
On the topic of skills, don’t forget to be going into detail when discussing this.
In contrast, the second paragraph in the main body is where you can prioritize the more personal aspects about yourself. To put it another way, cater this paragraph towards the company culture to show how you’re a good fit for their working environment specifically.
With the final paragraph, you’ll want to summarize everything about your cover letter. In this summary, you should also be explaining why you’re the best person to hire for the job.
That said, it doesn’t mean you should repeat yourself and copy what you said two sentences ago. It’s better if you can rephrase it into something that captures the purpose of your cover letter and application.
How you finish is important. To leave a strong, final impression, be sure to show enthusiasm and an earnest desire for the opportunity of working for them.
Before you sign off, set the pace for what comes next, e.g. request to schedule an interview or for a follow up email. Once you’ve done that, it’s now time to close your cover letter with a closing salutation and professional signoff.
Let’s take a look at this science cover letter example from Rezi:
Following on from what we’ve discussed, the candidate gets straight into introducing themselves in the opening paragraph.
When we get to the main body, you’ll notice how this student focuses on their academic achievements and qualifications. They’ve also touched on technical skills clearly and made their motivations clear by stating the opportunity is something which they can strongly relate to.
As we go further, the candidate then starts to go more in depth on their skills which have been developed through a course field trip. The key thing to note here is how they’re talking about skills which would be beneficial for the role.
Before getting to the signoff, the closing paragraph mentions work experience as an intern. If you have any experience at all but haven’t got much to say, you can always leave it to last like the sample from above. And if you don’t have any work experience at all, then this can be omitted from your cover letter.
Throughout this sample, they’ve made sure to use keywords from the job description to make sure they beat the applicant tracking system.
To finish, you should thank your hiring manager for their time and set the pace for what happens next.
To recap, here’s what you could include on a cover letter with no experience:
Last of all, don’t forget about your ATS keywords and you’re good to go.
When you have no work experience at all, creating a cover letter can be challenging. If it’s your first job application too, it can especially seem daunting.
But it doesn’t have to be so difficult - not with Rezi’s AI cover letter writer feature.
With our GPT-3 technology, you won’t have to stress about being stuck in a spiral of analysis paralysis because it’ll create a complete tailored cover letter for you.
It works in three simple steps:
Step 1: Enter your job title
Step 2: Copy and paste the job description
Step 3: Press the “AI Writer Ready” button
Could you believe it only takes 3 simple steps to generate a full tailored cover letter that matches the job description? From there, you can edit as much as you’d like until you’re happy with the result. You won’t have to worry about ATS keywords either because that’s taken care of for you and you’ll be provided with a list of what to include!
Ready to skip writer’s block completely? Create your cover letter now with Rezi for free by clicking below!
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January 13, 2021
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