A great cover letter can help you differentiate yourself from the competition during the job search, especially as a recent graduate. Even if you lack hands-on experience, you can still make a lasting impression on prospective employers by highlighting your academic achievements and industry knowledge. This guide provides examples and expert tips to help you build a winning cover letter and land your first entry-level job.

Recent Graduate Cover Letter Templates and Examples

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How To Write a Recent Graduate Cover Letter

A great recent graduate cover letter has five main elements:

1. Heading. Use a professional template to enhance the style and presentation of your cover letter. Be sure your heading includes:

  • Your name, title, and contact info
  • The current date
  • The addressee’s details

2. Salutation. Greet the hiring manager by name — Mr. or Ms. [Last Name]. If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, use a variation of “Dear Hiring Manager.”

3. Introduction. Craft a strong opening paragraph to introduce yourself and convey your interest in the job. Provide a defining achievement from your resume or highlight key skills the organization is looking for. If you don’t have an internship you can point to, showcase academic achievements that demonstrate your qualifications for the job.

Example:


During my internship with Brooklyn Financial Services, I interfaced with a team of financial analysts to evaluate investment opportunities for a multimillion-dollar firm. Through this experience, I gained valuable knowledge of business models, product use cases, and financial forecasting. I believe this makes me the ideal candidate for the financial analyst position with your company.

4. Body paragraphs. Continue to demonstrate achievements from your internships in the subsequent body paragraphs. If you haven’t had the opportunity to work in your field, draw attention to your academic projects. Using a list of bullet points to break up the monotony of the text on the page is helpful here, as this will improve the overall readability of your document. It’s also important to mention the organization’s reputation or mission statement and how it aligns with your background and professional values.

Example:


New England Marketing Inc.’s reputation for driving customer success draws me to apply for this position. I believe my expertise in brand messaging and social media marketing will allow me to provide valuable contributions to your organization based on my career achievements:

  • Supported the marketing team in executing social media campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter platforms, and utilized Hootsuite to schedule posts based on KPIs, resulting in a 500% increase in followership on LinkedIn
  • Collaborated with copywriters and SEO specialists to create engaging copy and brand messaging, which resulted in a 10% increase in page views for a customer website
  • Served on a student marketing team to manage Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn social media pages for Columbia University under the supervision of the marketing manager

5. Closing section. Think of your conclusion as a call to action. Ask the hiring manager to contact you to learn more about the position. Be sure to thank them for their time and consideration.

Example:


I look forward to speaking with you further regarding how my application development experience can aid Solaris Software Inc. in continuing to create value for users. You may contact me via phone or email at your earliest convenience. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Curtis Jones

Recent Graduate Cover Letter Tips

1. Leverage your internships

One of the best ways to grab the hiring manager’s attention is by leveraging your internships. This shows potential employers you’ve acquired hands-on experience, which can be exactly the type of information that advances you to the next phase of the hiring process. Be sure to provide context and numbers for any notable achievements, as this will heighten the impact of your positive contributions.

2. Feature academic achievements and certifications

If you haven’t had the opportunity to pursue an internship, you can still make a strong impression on the hiring manager by featuring your academic achievements. Instead of only mentioning coursework, make a point to call out impressive projects that demonstrate how you’ve applied industry skills while completing your degree.

3. Showcase volunteerism and community service

Another way to compensate for a lack of hands-on work experience is by highlighting community service and volunteerism on your cover letter. Even if this isn’t relevant to your field, in some instances, this can help show potential employers you’re the right culture fit for their organization. It also sends a positive message in regard to your personal values.

Recent Graduate Text-Only Cover Letter Templates and Examples

  • Example #1
  • Example #2
  • Example #3

Jessica Adams
Financial Analyst | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | New York, NY, 12345 | LinkedIn

Jan. 1, 2024

Raymond Johnson
Hiring Manager
Cohen Financial Partners
(987) 654-3210
[email protected]

Dear Mr. Johnson,

During my internship with Brooklyn Financial Services, I interfaced with a team of financial analysts to evaluate investment opportunities for a multimillion-dollar firm. Through this experience, I gained valuable knowledge of business models, product use cases, and financial forecasting, which I believe makes me the ideal candidate for the financial analyst position with your company.

Cohen Financial Partners has a reputation for ethical business practices, which strongly aligns with my core values as a finance professional. I believe I can continue to help your organization grow your investment portfolio based on my previous achievements from my work experience and academic career:

  • Conducted financial analysis of investment opportunities for new products in coordination with a team of economists and analysts, which included evaluating long-term financial outlook, product use cases, and long-term growth potential
  • Supported the team in creating financial models and PowerPoint presentations on investments
  • Wrote a 15-page research paper evaluating financial projections for the housing market and the impact of COVID-19 on first-time homebuyers

I would like to schedule an interview to discuss further how my experience in financial analysis and risk management can benefit your organization. Feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience with any additional questions you may have about my background. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jessica Adams

Recent Graduate Cover Letter FAQs

Why should I include a recent graduate cover letter?-

While not every job will require a cover letter during the application process, including one can help bolster your chances of landing the interview, especially as a recent graduate. This allows you to make a strong introduction and highlight your most relevant qualifications using a more personal approach than you would on your resume.

How do I make my cover letter stand out?-

To make your cover letter stand out, carefully research the company you’re applying to. Think about how your academic background and experience match the needs of the organization. Mention something specific about the company and why it drew you to pursue the opportunity. This shows you’re a serious candidate who’s truly engaged in the hiring process.

How long should my cover letter be?-

Keep your cover letter concise and focused, limited to no more than three or four paragraphs. This ensures your document is centered on your most relevant academic achievements, internships, and industry-related skills. Avoid padding your cover letter with fluff and generic buzzwords, as this doesn’t provide any valuable information that would interest the hiring manager.

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Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).

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