When you are an entry-level job candidate, with little or no professional work experience to describe on your resume, a well-written cover letter can make the difference between whether a hiring manager decides to read your resume or simply deep sixes it without a glance.
A cover letter that is articulate, grammatically flawless, and enthusiastic in tone will often receive favorable attention, particularly if it describes educational, extracurricular, and volunteer experience that demonstrates that its author has both the skills and the potential to succeed in the job to which they are applying.
Entry-Level Cover Letter Tips
You need to write a unique cover letter for each position you apply for. Don’t be tempted to use a generic cover letter; one size does not fit all. Instead, show that you’ve taken the time to research the employer and to think about how the skills you have to offer are a great match for the qualifications they’re seeking in their new employee.
In the sample cover letter below, you’ll see that the writer has placed a strong focus upon the employer rather than upon her own needs and desires; the emphasis is not upon “ME, the applicant,” but upon “YOU, the employer.” The most effective cover letters work the same way that strong, consultative sales pitches do – they recognize an organization’s mission and needs, and then they “sell” the candidate’s ability to fulfill those requirements.
Sample Cover Letter for an Entry-Level Position
815 Main Street
Sarasota Springs, CA 12111
Mr. Sylvester White
Education First Corps
108 Beacon Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Dear Mr. White,
Please accept my enthusiastic application to the Education First Corps. I would love the opportunity to be a hard-working, passionate member of your urban education fellowship. As soon as I read the description of the program, I knew I was a well-qualified candidate who believed wholeheartedly in the goals of Education First.
What immediately drew me to Education First was the program's emphasis on depth over breadth. I love that Education First fellows work with six to seven students, allowing them to focus on the individual needs of each child. I have extensive tutoring experience, having tutored an incoming high school student in English, another high school student in Algebra, and a college student in Calculus. I value the one-on-one relationship I developed with each of these students, and watching each of them gain confidence and improve academically was rewarding for both the students and me. I will never forget how proud one student was when she handed me her first high school English paper, on which she received her first "A." I believe I can bring these personal experiences and successes to the role of an Education First fellow.
I also love that Education First provides college graduates the opportunity to give back to their community. In high school, I worked at a nearby YWCA women's shelter, creating activities for children in the shelter; in college, I became involved in a community-wide reading program, Sarasota Reads, in which college and high school students lead literary discussions with 4th and 5th graders.
I believe that with the benefits of an education come responsibilities - particularly the responsibility to give back to those who may not have had the same opportunities. I know I can apply my passion for community service to enact social change as an Education First fellow.
You specify that Education First fellows must be willing to work hard and tirelessly for their students. I have a strong work ethic that would serve me well as a member of Education First. I have always been a driven student, receiving highest honors each semester and recently being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.
However, my work ethic extends beyond the classroom. I have worked for the past three years as the Recruiting Assistant for ABC College's Career Services Office; my supervisor nominated me for Student Employee of the Year in 2018, and I was promoted the same year. I continuously strive in extracurricular activities as well; as a clarinet player, I served as the first clarinet of my high school wind ensemble and performed in various competitions throughout Massachusetts and the East Coast. When I am passionate about an issue or a given task, I work tirelessly to see my goal achieved. I know I would extend this diligence to a position with Education First, particularly because it is a program about which I feel so strongly.
I am therefore confident that my tutoring experience, interest in community service, and strong work ethic are the qualities you are looking for at Education First. I have enclosed my resume and would love the chance to speak further with you about the opportunities your program offers.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Ellen Smith (signature hard copy letter)
More Sample Cover Letters
Cover letter samples for a variety of career fields and employment levels, including an internship cover letter sample, entry-level, targeted, and email cover letters.