Cover Letter Examples and Tips for Recent Graduate

Updated July 12, 2023

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After graduating from college, you can apply for entry-level positions in the workforce or pursue additional education in a master's degree program. Your ability to write an effective cover letter as a graduate can affect the number of professional opportunities you receive right after college. By reviewing graduate cover letter examples, you can determine the best methods for displaying your qualifications to employers or admission officers.

In this article, we define what a graduate cover letter is, review why it's important to write a good graduate cover letter, list how to write a cover letter as a recent graduate and provide multiple examples to help you get inspiration for your cover letter document.

Related: How To Write a Recent Graduate Resume

What is a graduate cover letter?

A graduate cover letter is a professional document that recent college graduates use when they apply for jobs or graduate degree programs. A graduate cover letter acts as an extension of an individual's resume and includes details about college activities and previous professional experiences.

Related: Cover Letter for Graduate School: Tips and Examples

Why is it important to write a good graduate cover letter?

It's important to write a good graduate cover letter because it helps an employer identify who you are as a recent college graduate and what you offer. Here are some additional examples of why it's important to have an effective graduate cover letter:

Highlights your fresh knowledge

As a recent college graduate, you can use your recent learning experiences to your advantage by demonstrating the different courses and industry updates you learned about during your education. An employer might be more willing to hire you if they know you can help their business acclimate to new technologies or practices.

Conveys your energy and enthusiasm

Although your resume objective statement can help you convey your enthusiasm for a job position, your cover letter is your first opportunity to express that enthusiasm in detail. This is important, as it shows the potential motivation and work ethic you could bring to a job as a recent college graduate.

Deepti Sharma is a certified career coach with over a decade of experience. She provides personalized career advice to her clients, and she often works with students and recent graduates. Here's how she believes a cover letter can be beneficial:

A well-written cover letter serves as a valuable tool to complement the experience and qualifications showcased in your resume. So, leverage it well to showcase your suitability and enthusiasm, emphasizing the unique value you bring to the role.

Deepti Sharma

Shows your professional writing skills

A good cover letter also allows employers to gauge your ability to write comprehensive, error-free messages. If you have a well-written cover letter, this shows employers that you could write emails, memos or other business documents to contribute to your work activities.

Related: How Important Is a Cover Letter?

How to write a cover letter as a recent graduate

Review these steps to determine how to write an effective cover letter as a recent graduate:

1. Address the recipient with a formal salutation

A formal salutation includes words like dear, hello or greetings. Use the recipient's full name when addressing them. If you can't find a specific person to address your cover letter to, you can use Hiring Manager (for jobs) or Admissions Officer (for applying to graduate school.)

2. State the position you're seeking and how you found the opening

This is an important step as it helps personalize the message and direct your cover letter toward a specific employer. For instance, "I am applying for the position of Marketing Manager at XYZ Company, which I learned about through a job search engine."

3. Demonstrate your interest in the position

As part of your introductory statement, also make a brief statement about why you're applying for the position. This can help employers determine your genuine interest in the job. There are a variety of ways you can convey your interest in the job position and the company you're applying to. One example is "Having reviewed the job description and learned more about your company's mission and values, I am eager to learn more."

4. Summarize your coursework, experience and relative skills

Because you just graduated from college, you should emphasize your college coursework, internships and other experiences that show your employability. For instance, "During my time at XYZ University, I took a variety of courses that helped me develop an understanding of nutrition and how our diets affect key biological processes. These courses included microbiology, anatomy, food science, nutrition and mental health and sports nutrition."

5. Connect your qualifications to the job position

This is an important part of your graduate cover letter because it helps employers compare your qualifications and allows you to emphasize what you offer. An example of this would be "Because of my education in nutrition and dietetics and my passion for clinical research, I believe I can successfully perform the role of Junior Nutritionist at your company."

You can't have one-size-fits-all cover letter for every job profile. A compelling cover letter should be tailor-made to showcase that you've done your research and are really serious about that opportunity.

Deepti Sharma

6. Conclude with a forward-looking statement

A forward-looking statement aims to encourage the recipient of your message to take action. Examples of forward-looking statements include:

  • I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

  • I look forward to hearing from you.

  • I look forward to discussing the position with you further.

  • I look forward to learning more about the position.

  • I am eager to learn more about the position.

7. Include your name and contact details

Closings include words and phrases like "best regards," "best," "sincerely" or "thank you." On the next line, you can include your signature followed by your typed full name. Below this, include your email and phone number for the employer to reference if needed.

Related: How To Write a Cover Letter With No Experience: Your Entry-Level Cover Letter

Graduate cover letter examples

There are several ways you can write a good cover letter that highlights your unique and employable qualities. Here are four graduate cover letter examples you can reference, depending on your current qualifications and professional goals:

Example 1: Recent graduate with professional experience

Dear Jordan Colman,

I am applying for the role of Marketing Coordinator at Tallson Financial Services. I originally came across the job posting on a professional networking site and was immediately intrigued by your employer's mission to help those in need.

During my time at Northwestern University, I completed three marketing internships, one of which included assisting the marketing team of a financial advising group. I also worked as a student marketing assistant in the university's admissions department where I scheduled and updated marketing campaign calendars, wrote the admission ad copy and designed infographics to help prospective students and their families navigate financial aid options.

I believe that my experience marketing for financial services could help me meet and exceed expectations as Marketing Coordinator at your company.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Morgan Etchison

Example 2: Recent graduate with little or no professional experience

Dear Hiring Manager,

My name is Sam Markson, and I am applying for the Entry-Level Computer Programmer position advertised on your company website. I've used several of your cybersecurity and data storage products over the years, and so I was very excited to hear about the position.

Throughout my four years at Florida State University, I developed a passion for computer programming and computer systems management. I have advanced knowledge in programming languages like C++, JavaScript, Python and SQL and continue to expand my coding experience by taking certification courses in my free time. While at Florida State, I also had the privilege to assist a professor and a few other computer science majors in performing a cybersecurity audit on the school's networks and developing code libraries for future auditors.

I believe I'm right for this position because I have excellent attention to detail and a passion for coding that inspires me to continue learning.

I am eager to speak with you further about the position.

Best regards,

Sam Markson

Related: How to Address a Cover Letter (With Examples)

Example 3: Recent graduate applying to graduate school

Dear Admissions Officer,

My name is Alex Hartson, and I am applying to the counseling psychology master's degree program at Baylor University. I recently graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in Psychology, where I developed an interest in family counseling. When I read about your counseling degree program and discovered that you offer a family counseling specialty, I knew that this was the right master's degree program to continue my studies.

During my time at Northwestern University, I worked as a student research assistant in the psychology department and also worked at the front desk in the counseling office. As a master's degree student at Baylor University, I would aim to contribute to campus activities and initiatives while I complete my studies.

Thank you for taking the time to review my application.


Alex Hartson

Example 4: Recent graduate seeking job outside of degree field

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am applying for the entry-level travel agent position at Flight Travel Agency. When I saw your job listing for a travel agent with international travel experiences, I was eager to learn more. I am extremely passionate about traveling and I have been to five countries including Ireland, Spain, France, England and Italy.

I recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University. During my time there, I took a variety of courses related to budgeting, taxation and international finance. I also developed valuable skills including attention to detail, problem-solving and bookkeeping, which I think could help me when listening to clients' travel needs, scheduling trips and recording expenses.

I look forward to learning more about the position.

Thank you,

Margaret Colt

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