Writing a Cover Letter When You Don't Have Any Experience

John Krautzel
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Your first job represents a Catch-22. A cover letter and resume should expand on your previous work experience, but your first job means you have an inherent lack of experience.

Despite this void in your professional acumen, you can still earn that vaunted summer internship as a younger job seeker by including relevant details in a cover letter. Many companies already realize a freshman in college may have a lack of experience. This is because an internship provides relevant job training for someone who wants insider knowledge of a particular career track.

Armed with this knowledge, fill your cover letter with necessary data points. Describe your current situation geographically and educationally. Assess how you connected with this potential employer, such as through a mutual friend or a current employee. List traits that show you are a hard worker, including volunteer efforts and grades.

Explain who you are in the first paragraph. Tell a potential employer where you attend school, the job that interests you and why you chose to apply for this opportunity. The first paragraph of a cover letter serves to introduce you to a company. If someone referred you, mention that person in the initial paragraph.

Connect yourself to the company in the second paragraph. Show what characteristics, motivations, passions and interests correlate to the company's mission, culture and background. If you love animals and your internship revolves around a marketing position for a dog food company, relate how you volunteered at an animal shelter for three summers. Professional experience does not have to come from a paid position.

Describe personal traits that make you an ideal candidate in the third paragraph of a cover letter. Show examples of how you communicate, how you work well with others and when you accomplished goals. Relate writing for the high school newspaper, positions on student councils and fundraising for local political candidates. All of these tasks show how you work in a real-world situation, even if you were not an employee.

Close your correspondence with a simple sentence explaining how you contact the company next. Say that you shall call the HR manager or internship expert at a specific time and date so the employer can expect your call.

Keep your letter short, usually under one page total. Put the most important information first, with the most relevant data in the first sentence of each paragraph. Identify the most crucial requirements of the job and expound on how you fit those needs. All of these facets make the recruiter's job easier to spot your talents.

A cover letter does more than relate your work experience to an employer. It tells your story, which leads a human resources staffer to investigate further. The next step involves vetting your references through relevant connections such as teachers, professors and volunteer coordinators.

Photo courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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