How To Write an Entry-Level Cover Letter (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 19, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated July 19, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: How To Write a Cover Letter: Top 3 Tips, Format & Examples

In this video, Holl explains what employers want from a cover letter, the optimal cover letter format, and 3 key strategies for success.

Cover letters are a very helpful tool for recent college graduates who are seeking an entry-level position with limited work experience. An entry-level cover letter is important because it can make you stand out to potential employers and help you receive your first job offer after college.

In this article, we discuss what an entry-level cover letter is, take a look at how to write one and provide a template and an example of an entry-level cover letter you can use as a reference when composing your own.

cover-letter-format-infographic
Image description

Cover Letter Format

  1. Date and contact information

  2. Salutation or greeting

  3. Opening paragraph

  4. Middle paragraph(s)

  5. Closing paragraph

  6. Letter ending and signature

What is an entry-level cover letter?

An entry-level cover letter is a document to add to your work portfolio that identifies your knowledge and skills and how they make you the best candidate for a job. You should use an entry-level cover letter along with your resume during a job search to make an impactful first impression. The hiring manager will likely use your resume and cover letter to form an opinion about you as a candidate before they ever meet you. Your cover letter should do four things:

  • Introduce you to the potential employer as a strong candidate.

  • Include your reasons the employer should consider you for the position.

  • Leave the employer with a positive and memorable first impression of you as a candidate.

  • Cause the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.

The cover letter is your chance to highlight the relevant skills, experience, knowledge and work attributes you possess that make you the best candidate for the position you are applying to.

Related: Resume vs. Cover Letter: What’s the Difference?

How to write a cover letter with minimal experience

You can think of your cover letter as the hiring manager’s first meeting with you. Here are six steps to help you write a strong entry-level cover letter:

1. Address your letter professionally

Because your cover letter will be part of your candidate portfolio, use a professional format to address the letter. Begin with your contact information written in the top left-hand corner. Your contact information should include your name, address, city, state and ZIP code, phone number and email address.

Beneath your contact information, write the date. After the date, write the employer’s contact information. The employer’s contact information should include the hiring manager’s name, company name, company address and city, state and ZIP code.

Then open your letter with a professional salutation to the hiring manager. You should always do your best to research the company and the person you will interview with before you write your cover letter. When possible, your greeting should specifically address the hiring manager or recruiter by their last name.

Place a space between your contact information and the date, between the date and the employer’s contact information, between the employer’s contact information and the greeting and between the greeting and the first paragraph.

The opening part of your cover letter should look like this:

Mackenzie Smith
Tampa, Florida 33626
(813) 555-1234
m.smith@email.com

August 28, 2019

Principal Johnathon Carrington
Early Learners Elementary School
555 Early Learners Way
Tampa, Florida 33635

Dear Principal Carrington:

Related: Tips for Writing a Modern Cover Letter

2. Express your interest

Begin your first paragraph by briefly introducing yourself and expressing your interest and excitement for the position. Your cover letter should be specific to both the job and the company you are applying for. This shows the reader you have done your research about the company and position and explains why you are interested in this specific role or this specific company.

If someone has referred you to the position or the company, mention their name. Make a brief statement describing why you would be the perfect candidate for this specific position. Close the first paragraph with a statement about how this position aligns with your personal career goals.

Example: My name is Mackenzie Smith and I am writing to express my interest in the third grade English/Language Arts teacher position with Early Learners Elementary School. I am excited about the opportunity to teach at Early Learners Elementary School because it would be a pleasure to return to my own elementary school as a teacher. I would be the perfect candidate for the third grade English / Language Arts teacher position because I have the training, skills and personality to provide children a solid foundation for a lifelong love of learning. This position aligns perfectly with my goal of playing an active role in the classroom as I prepare for advancement into administration.

Read more: How To Include a Referral in Your Cover Letter

3. Describe your specific knowledge and skills

Your second paragraph should be a detailed description of how your knowledge, training, skills, experience and strengths make you the ideal candidate for the position. Use the job description to find keywords you can relate to the specific characteristics you are highlighting. When you have limited work experience, this section is more important because it showcases how you have the knowledge and skills necessary for the position, without prior work experience.

This is the area you'll focus on all of your strengths and relevant experience, even if your experience isn’t directly work-related. For example, you can highlight relevant course work, high grades and honors, volunteer work and organizations you are a member of.

Example: As a recent graduate from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education I have the required training needed for the third grade English / Language Arts teacher position at Early Learners Elementary School. Relevant course work included Emergent Literacy Strategies and Assessment, Learning and Development within a School Context and Creating and Differentiating Learning Environments.

I graduated with High Honors and was a member of the SunCoast Area Teacher Training and Educational Research Program (SCATTER), Kappa Delta Pi and eduCARE. My prior experience in customer service in the retail industry also gave me the patience and skills needed for effective classroom management.

Related: How To Tailor Your Resume To a Job Description (With Example)

4. End your letter with a call to action

Begin your third paragraph with a statement about something that attracted you to this specific employer. By doing this, you will once again emphasize the fact that you have done your research on the company, but will also convey how your values align with the company’s beliefs.

After this statement, close your letter with a specific call to action, such as asking for an interview. After asking for an interview, thank the hiring manager or recruiter for their time and consideration.

Example: One thing that attracted me most to Early Learners Elementary School is the volunteer work the school does to give back to our disadvantaged youth. I am also passionate about empowering every student with a love of learning and volunteer regularly for my local YMCA Club as an after-school tutor. I look forward to meeting you in person during an interview to further discuss my qualifications and how I will be an asset to the teaching team at Early Learners Elementary School. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Read more: How To End a Cover Letter (With Examples)

5. Include a signature line

The last thing you should include in your cover letter is a professionally formatted signature line. Choose a standard salutation such as “Sincerely." You need to physically sign the letter if you are mailing or handing it directly to a hiring manager or recruiter. If you are sending your cover letter electronically, you can leave your physical signature out. Below the physical signature, print your name. End the signature line by stating any enclosures or attachments accompanying your cover letter.

Here is an example of a completed signature line:

Sincerely,
{Your physical signature}
Mackenzie Smith

Enclosed: Resume

Related: How To Create a Business Email Signature with 10 Examples

6. Proofread and check the length

Before sending your completed cover letter to the employer, proofread the document and check the length of your letter. This step is important to ensure you are leaving a professional impression with the hiring manager. Your cover letter should not be longer than one page when you print it. If you need to upload or send your cover letter electronically, try to keep the letter as brief as possible to minimize the amount of scrolling the reader will have to do.

Your cover letter should be specific but brief enough to encourage the hiring manager to review your resume for additional details. You should also proofread your cover letter to check for grammar or spelling errors. Before doing this, consider taking a break so you can come back to the letter with a fresh perspective. You could also ask a friend, family member or professor to review and edit the letter for you.

Read more: 7 Powerful Ways to Start a Cover Letter (With Examples)

Entry-level cover letter template

You can use this template as a guide when writing your entry-level cover letter:

[Your name]
[Your full address]
[Your city, state and ZIP code]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]

Date: _________________

[Hiring manager’s name]
[Company name]
[Company address]
[Company city, state and ZIP code]

Dear hiring manager [Use their name if you know it]:

My name is [Your name] and I am writing to express my interest in the [Name of position] with [Company name]. I am excited for the opportunity to work for [Company name] because [Provide specific reason]. I would be the perfect candidate for the [Name of position] because [Provide specific reason]. This position aligns perfectly with my goal of [Your career goal].

As a recent graduate from [University or College name] with a [Type of degree] I have the required training needed for the [Name of position] at [Company name]. Relevant course work included [Names of courses]. I graduated with Honors and as a member of [Name of associations]. My prior experience in [Name of position] in the [Name of industry] also gave me the [Relevant skills/experience ] needed for [Specific job responsibility from job posting].

One thing that attracted me most to [Name of company] is [Specific thing you like about the company]. I am also passionate about [Related skill] and volunteer regularly for [List relevant volunteer experience]. I look forward to meeting you in person during an interview to further discuss my qualifications and how I will be an asset to [Company name]. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your physical signature]
[Your name printed]

[Enclosed/Attachments]

If you are sending your cover letter via email or electronically, you can omit your full address, the company’s name and address information and your physical signature.

Read more: How To Format a Cover Letter (With Tips and Examples)

College grad cover letter entry-level example

Here is how your completed entry-level cover letter should look:

Mackenzie Smith
Tampa, Florida 33626
(813) 555-1234
m.smith@email.com

August 28, 2019

Principal Johnathon Carrington
Early Learners Elementary School
555 Early Learners Way
Tampa, Florida 33635

Dear Principal Carrington:

My name is Mackenzie Smith and I am writing to express my interest in the third grade English / Language Arts teacher position with Early Learners Elementary School. I am excited about the opportunity to teach at Early Learners Elementary School because it would be a pleasure to return to my own elementary school as a teacher. I would be a great candidate for the third grade English / Language Arts teacher position because I have the training, skills and personality to provide children a solid foundation for a lifelong love of learning. This position aligns perfectly with my goal of playing an active role in the classroom as I prepare for advancement into administration.

As a recent graduate from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education I have the required training for the third grade English / Language Arts teacher position at Early Learners Elementary School. Relevant course work included Emergent Literacy Strategies and Assessment, Learning and Development within a School Context and Creating and Differentiating Learning Environments. I graduated with High Honors and was a member of the SunCoast Area Teacher Training and Educational Research Program (SCATTER), Kappa Delta Pi and eduCARE. My prior experience in customer service in the retail industry also gave me the patience and skills needed for effective classroom management.

One thing that attracted me most to Early Learners Elementary School is the volunteer work the school does to give back to our disadvantaged youth. I am also passionate about empowering every student with a love of learning and volunteer regularly for my local YMCA Club as an after-school tutor. I look forward to meeting you in person during an interview to further discuss my qualifications and how I will be an asset to the teaching team at Early Learners Elementary School. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
{Your physical signature}
Mackenzie Smith

Enclosed: Resume


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