Applying for a job with no experience can be difficult, and it’s even more so when you have to include a cover letter. How can you make a cover letter stand out when you have no experience? Fortunately, there are definitive ways to market yourself amongst a pool of candidates. Having relevant skills, accomplishments, or even certificates can boost your chances of impressing your hiring manager.
Emphasize Soft Skills
When it comes to selecting the qualities you want to mention in your cover letter, soft skills are a must. It’s highly regarded by employers due to the fact that it shows both your character and what you can contribute to the company. Soft skills are personal attributes that you develop in a working environment, whereas hard skills are abilities that are taught and educated in a professional setting.
Examples of soft skills:
- Time Management
Examples of hard skills:
- Graphic design
- Certifications and Licenses
- Mobile development
Jobseekers who have no experience tend to elaborate on their soft skills in both their resume and cover letters. However, simply stating that you possess those qualities will sound dull to the hiring manager. You would want to include specific examples where your leadership was tested or a time when you made a product using creativity. They’re also subtle skills that tend to be overlooked. If you have been complimented before for being a great leader, or if you notice that you have better grades on assignments that focus on teamwork, those are examples of soft skills you can use.
On the contrary, you can add any relevant hard skills if possible. Jobseekers with no experience tend to emphasize certificates or extracurriculars.
Review the Job Posting and Company
Hiring managers love to see that their candidates pay attention to what is needed for the position and for the company as a whole. You can elaborate on how you resonate with the company’s mission and how hiring you will help them in their goal. It will make the cover letter a lot more personal than just keeping it vague and dull. Searching for keywords in their job posting will help you identify what skills you need to talk about. For example, if the company is looking for an effective and funny communicator, find a way to tie in relevant experiences that can match what’s being said.
Reflect on Your Academics
Relevant coursework can cushion your cover letter since they’re the closest thing you have to professional experience. You can also mention that besides learning academically, you’re also eager to learn more skills under the guidance of the company.
Academic experience you can mention:
- Having a high GPA or good grades.
- Taking honors or advanced classes such as Advanced Placement or Dual Enrollment.
- Learning under teachers or professors who are popular in the field that is relevant to the position.
- Taking relevant courses that help you better understand the skills needed for the role.
- Participating in any clubs or extracurricular (can relate to the position or used to elaborate on your soft skills.)
- Field trips that have taught you something valuable.
- Workshops you attended.
- Mentors or tutors that have helped you cultivate your talent.
Some employers actually require a certain degree, certificate, or even GPA even applying. You want to make sure that your academics match with the requirements, otherwise, you may have a harder time crafting a compelling cover letter. If you lived in circumstances where school hasn’t been a prominent factor in your life, you can always mention educational experiences you learned from your parents or in public.
Link to Your Social Media
At the very top or on the left side of your cover letter, include a link to your website or social media that showcases your professionalism and personality. Having no experience means that you have to let your personality and dedication shine throughout. Social media is a good way to leverage your character beyond the cover letter. Make sure that both the platform and your profile are appropriate to be viewed by a hiring manager and employer.
Examples of appropriate social media platforms:
Linking back to your Snapchat or Tinder, unless relevant, does not provide any substance of your character. The platforms mentioned above allow you to customize your profile and lets you engage and network with communities that pertain to your dream career. If you’re a fanatic of game design, you may want to mention that you follow certain game companies like Activision-Blizzard or Riot Games on social media to learn more about the topic.
Personalize Your Cover Letter
Tailor your greetings to the name of the hiring manager, if possible. It adds depth and shows that you’ve done research in order to avoid vagueness in your letter. You may also want to mention why exactly did you apply to their company. If you have any friends who worked there, or if you’ve had any history with the company, mention it!
Make sure to add your name, number, email, and social media at the very top of the letter. Follow it by adding the date, name of the employer, and their address. Address the hiring manager and not the employer when starting your introduction. Make sure to format your cover letter correctly by adhering to a professional standard.
Have a Bold Finish
Finish your cover letter with a call for action by asking for an interview (ex. “Please reach out to me for an interview to further discuss my interest.”) Having confidence is a quality that hiring managers appreciate. It also stands out that you really want the position and that you’re confident you can fit in. The rest of your letter should support that statement.
Confidence is actually the number one way to market yourself, especially when you have no experience. It’s powerful enough to sway your hiring manager or employer’s attention. Be cautious to not go overboard or overpraise the company. Make sure to sound like a unique individual throughout it all.